1If you’re using frozen chicken, thaw it first. Follow common sense rules in thawing chicken, and when it’s completely thawed, proceed:
2Pre-heat your oven to 400F. I cook everything at 400, no matter what the recipe says, but if you’re more comfortable at 350, just add some cooking time.
3Prep a cookie sheet for baking (cover with foil & spray with Pam or coat with oil/butter/Crisco, whatever method you prefer to use for baking)
4Make your breading by putting about a cup of Panko in a flat vessel (dinner plate, pie plate, whatever) and add ½ cup parmesan shreds to it. Mix together well. Set aside. If you need more, you can always mix up more, but for heaven's sake don't waste that spendy Parmesan if you don't need to :)
5Sprinkle one side of the chicken with enough Montreal Chicken seasoning to form a “crust” but not so much that it falls off when you pick up the piece.
6Squeeze enough butter/margarine on each breast to rub into the Montreal seasoning and make it “paste-y”. You know…like gooey…should take a couple teaspoons at most. Schmear the butter & McCormick goo around until the chicken is nicely covered.
7Pick up each piece of chicken and plop it, one at a time, gooey side down, into the Panko. Only bread the gooey side, and make sure the Panko goes all the way to the “edges”.
8Place the chicken, Panko side up, on prepared baking sheet & drizzle with some oil to help brown the crust. It shouldn’t take more than a teaspoon or so for each breast: we’re not oven-frying here…we just want brown & crunchy!
FREEZING FOR LATER: 35 minutes if you plan to cool/freeze it for use later (less cook-time now means a better taste when you cook it again the night you serve it)
READY TO SERVE: 45-50 minutes if you’re eating it immediately BUT REMEMBER all ovens are different! If your chicken isn’t “done” cook it some more, but don’t just go by brownness of coating: cut it open and check the inside. No PINK allowed!
To use chicken after partial cooking, don’t thaw it again; put it straight into a hot oven for 30-45 minutes or so, and it should thaw and finish cooking.
For best results, freeze each breast individually after partial cooking, either by wrapping each one in foil* or using separate bags/bowls for each. Since you’re not going to thaw it again before final cooking, by separately freezing each one, you can place them on your baking sheet easier. *Make SURE you open the foil packs completely when you place them in the oven, or your crust will be gummy. :(