Because of its versatility, mild flavor and affordability, chicken is an American dinnertime favorite. Encrusting chicken is a good way to add flavor and to keep chicken moist, and using mashed potato flakes as a coating is an easy way to make chicken interesting and new. Baking chicken adds far fewer calories and far less fat than pan-frying or deep-frying, and with a couple of techniques, it can come out crispy and golden.
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Prepping and Baking Chicken
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees for skinless chicken breasts or 400 degrees for whole cut-up pieces. Rinse each piece of chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel. Trim all visible fat or excess skin.
Scramble the eggs in with the milk in one shallow dish. This will serve as the binder that holds the breading onto the chicken. While eggs do this job best, you can use orange juice, melted butter, buttermilk, a vinaigrette, or any liquid that's relatively thick.
Mix the salt, pepper and potato flakes together in the second shallow bowl. The mild flavor of the potatoes acts as a blank canvas, so you can use herbs, spices or other additions to add your own twist to your chicken. Try dried oregano, basil, granulated garlic and Parmesan cheese for an Italian flavor, or cumin, oregano, garlic, paprika and cayenne for a southwestern touch.
Dip the chicken into the egg mixture on both sides. Then, press the chicken into the potato mixture on each side. Shake off any excess. Brush each side with melted butter. Potato flakes tend to stay a pale white color after they're cooked. Adding butter helps them turn a golden brown.
Place each piece of chicken on the baking rack. This will ensure that your chicken is crispy on both sides. If you're using whole cut-up chicken pieces, place them skin side down. Bake the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the juices run clear.