Perfect Picnic Chicken

Yum

 One of my favorite things to do, on a warm summer day, is pack a picnic and spend the afternoon outside, feeling the breeze and inhaling the fresh air and sunshine.  There is a special kind of magic in playing with your kids, laughing and running around until you’re absolutely exhausted, and then spreading a picnic blanket, settling into the soft grass, and enjoying a delicious picnic meal and each others’ company.
One of the favorite recipes that my Mom used to make for picnics was this chicken.  We took it to picnics, so often, that we always called it “picnic chicken.”  I think the original may have come from an old Taste of Home magazine, but over the years we changed it up to suit our tastes and make it our own– and you should, too!  It’s delicious hot, out of a thermal casserole container, or just as tasty, cold, kept in the cooler until you’re ready to eat.  So pack your bag, gather your family, and take a picnic outside.  Heck– spread a blanket and have a “picnic,” inside, if it’s cold.  And don’t be surprised if, after you taste it, this delicious chicken is the hit of many more picnics, to come.  😉
What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Picnic Chicken Recipe

(adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Directions:

Mix the seasoning ingredients and place crumbs in a Ziploc bag.  You probably won’t need the entire “crumb” mixture for one meal.  I reserve the mixture and add only what I need to the chicken (any crumb mixture that touches chicken must be thrown away, so add gradually as you need it so you don’t waste it).  Dip chicken pieces in egg wash and then dredge in crumb mixture.  Mist top of chicken with cooking spray and bake in greased 13×9 at 375 for roughly 1 hour, or until juices run clear.
Now, in pictures! 🙂
To begin with, make yourself an egg wash.  A wha???  Egg wash is basically just an egg mixed with a tablespoon or so of milk or water.  It just helps whatever coating you’re using to stick to the chicken.  I am using milk, but water is fine, too.
Use a fork to mix egg and milk together.  Shake things up, a little!  Let’s get this party started!
Now, make your crumb mixture.  One of my favorite things about this topping is that it makes enough for 2-3 chicken meals.  I place the crumb mixture into a Ziploc bag and dump maybe 3/4 cup into a bowl to use for dredging the chicken.  Don’t pour all your topping into the bowl– that way, if you need a little more, you can add a few more tablespoons of topping to your bowl, but keep the untouched crumbs for next time.  If you use the entire recipe to dredge chicken, then, even if you have any left (and you will), you have to throw it away.  Anything that touches raw meat needs to be thrown away.  So keep your crumbs on an “as needed” basis, and save your leftovers.  This makes for a lightning quick meal, anytime– just grab that bag of chicken topping, take out what you need, and get dinner rolling!
Make yourself a little work station– place your chicken pieces on the left, followed by egg wash, followed by about 3/4 cup of your crumb mixture.  If you end up needing a squidge more chicken topping, you can add a few more tablespoons from the Ziploc bag, at the end.  This recipe works great with both white and dark meat– I generally use 2 thighs, 2 legs, and 1 breast, cut in half.  You can use skin-on chicken, if you like, but I prefer to trim the skin and fat off.  If you need a little help on knowing how to cut up a whole chicken, check out my tutorial, here.  It’s easy and saves you so much money.  I also like to cut up several chickens and place the parts I will use for a meal, together, in a freezer package. Then, on busy days, when I’m trying to get supper on the table in a hurry, all I have to do is grab one of those pre-made chicken packs, and I have a nice variety of pieces to whip up into a great chicken dinner when I’m ready.
Dip your chicken pieces in the egg wash and then dredge in your crumb mixture.  It helps to use one hand for “wet” stuff (grabbing the chicken and swishing around in egg wash), and one hand for “dry” ingredients (dredging the chicken and placing it into the pan).  Place your finished chicken pieces in a greased 13×9 inch pan and mist the top of the chicken with cooking spray.
Bake at 375 for about an hour, until the chicken juices run clear or until internal temperature has reached at least 165 degrees. If you prefer your chicken a little more “done,” take it up to 175 degrees.
Perfect Picnic Chicken
Pack your chicken for a delicious picnic, or just eat it, plain, for an awesome supper.  Spread a picnic blanket in the living room, if you want to.  It’s delicious, no matter how you have it.  Good food is always the basis of good memories.  Make some memories with your family, today.
You did it.  And I’m just so proud of you.

 


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