Panko(ish) Parmesan Chicken Breasts….sort of…

I hope you have a sense of humor, because that’s what I had to have tonight as I was making dinner. Let me back up and set the stage…

It’s Friday night. After a long week of work and being sick, we are also expecting a big snow storm to roll in this weekend. I went to Sprouts after work and battled the crowds to get some fruit, coffee, veggies, and what few other things I had on my list that we needed. Truthfully, I wasn’t prepared. So I grabbed and picked here and there, rushed to the checkout, and went home. Luckily I had gotten the ingredients that Hunter needed to bake some banana oat chocolate chip cookies, so there was that! But I had no idea what to cook for dinner.

I can cook. Really, I can. But this super amazing boyfriend I have is a genius in the kitchen. He throws stuff together, whips up sauces, and cooks probably 90% of the time now. I won’t lie — I enjoy it. And if anyone wants to take over in my kitchen, I gladly step aside without complaint! However, with him being sick this week….I’ve been forced to feed myself and my kids haha. So tonight I had to figure something out.

I decided I would make panko crusted chicken breasts. I’ve done those before and they were decently tasty. Problem #1: I only had frozen chicken breasts. So I took out 4, put them in a pot of water and started thawing them on the stove. Ok, problem resolved. Then…problem #2: no panko crumbs. Seriously?? I thought we just had some of those! Well, no panko crumbs but we DID have Cheerios. So of course, I poured some into a bowl and started crushing them. I remembered that we had some shredded parmesan cheese in the fridge, and some almond slivers in the pantry. I thought I’d spice up the recipe a little with those added in. I couldn’t think of what spices I wanted to use, so I found this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen on Pinterest. Yay! Taking out some of the guesswork. I got started.

I poured in the olive oil into a gallon size baggie, added some mayo (the sour cream was old, yuck), threw in the seasonings…Hmm, the recipe calls for the chicken to marinate. Well, ain’t nobody got time for THAT. My chicken was about thawed, so I decided I’d go ahead with the plan. Dumped in the crumbled Cheerios, added in the shredded and grated parmesan cheese, and decided it looked a little dry. Since I didn’t have the lemon juice that was in the original recipe, I added in a little water. Close enough, right?

Crushed up cheerios...and generic ones at that.

Crushed up cheerios…and generic ones at that.

Baggie of yum

Baggie of yum

I took one piece of chicken out of the pot and put it in the bag. Started squishing it around, trying to coat it with the mix. And then it hit me: I wasn’t supposed to put the crumbs and cheese in there. OH CRAP. Welp, too late. I wasn’t about to start all over now! So on with the coating of the chicken, and again with the other three breasts. I ended up slapping the last of the crumb mixture onto the breasts after I put them in the pan. Sprayed the tops with a little olive oil cooking spray (don’t even know why, but that’s one of the few things from that recipe that I actually did), then put the pan in the oven to cook.

That’s about the time I realized that I had forgotten to add in the almond slivers. Whatever. I’m starting to lose hope at this point.

Sideways, but tasty!

Sideways, but tasty!

I let the chicken bake for about 20 minutes (it was already pretty much cooked through when I was thawing it on the stove) and then took it out to check it. It looked good! Tops were golden brown and the chicken was fully cooked. Time to taste it… SUCCESS!! It was actually pretty good and even the 5 year old approved! Now I supposed it’s time to give you MY version of this recipe. 😉

Kaiden likes it! Even with all the fails, it was a win.

Kaiden likes it! Even with all the fails, it was a win.

Panko(ish) Parmesan Chicken Breastsfor when you’re pressed for time and you just want to feed your family

Prep time: 10 min or less, depending on how fast you are
Cook time: 20 minutes (if your chicken is already cooked haha, longer if it’s raw)
Serves: 4 people


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt, mayo, or sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (rosemary and thyme and all that stuff)
  • 1 Tbsp powdered garlic (you could do about 4 cloves of the fresh stuff, chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 3/4 cup crushed Cheerios (or panko breadcrumbs if you haven’t run out!)
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (in the cheese section or deli)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  1. Heat the oven 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or glass pan with foil and spray the foil with olive oil cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Put all ingredients in a large ziploc bag and add chicken breasts one at a time to coat.
  3. Place the chicken onto foil sheet. Press any remaining crumb mixture onto the breasts (it’s pretty yummy). Spray the top of the chicken lightly with a bit of olive oil cooking spray.
  4. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and juices run clear. Garnish with fresh chopped basil, herbs, or additional cheese if desired (or just cut it up on a plate and serve to your kids with a quick and easy veggie). Note: baking times will differ depending on the size of your chicken breasts.

If you try this crazy variation, please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear how it turns out for you.


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