This is one of those recipes that is so simple that I almost feel silly posting it. But I’ve found that one of the main roadblocks I have to getting dinner on the table is actually thinking of something to make. This past fall, I began planning out our dinner menus in 2 week increments to try to combat this, and it’s really helped! I love not having to think about what to make for dinner every night. I just refer to the menu I’ve made, and off I go.
The only problem with this process is that I have to think of 2 weeks worth of dinners at one time. I have a pretty wide variety of standards that I rotate through and then I try to add in a couple of new recipes every couple of weeks. These breaded turkey tenderloins are definitely one of the standards. So much so that Peter actually requested that they be put on the menu this time around.
When I first started cooking turkey breasts, I used to buy the cutlets, but I found that they got very dry and very tough really easily, even if I was only sauteing them for a short amount of time. So I basically stopped making turkey for a while, which is a shame because it’s such a lean meat. Then I noticed these tenderloins in the turkey section next to the cutlets (seriously? How had I missed them all this time?). So I gave them a try, and now I make them all the time. They’re always perfectly tender and juicy.
I tend to gravitate toward the Jennie-O brand when purchasing turkey for a few different reasons. 1) They’re the only brand at my grocery store that offers 99% lean ground turkey (the rest are 90% or less, therefore not as lean, therefore not as healthy) and 2) they’re the only brand I’ve seen that offers tenderloins. The package comes with 3 good sized tenderloins, so I usually bread up two of them for Peter and I to eat for dinner and just bake the other one plain with a little seasoning to use later in the week for sandwiches or on salads. I used to bread all three but reheated breaded meat just isn’t as good and crispy the second time around, so I quit doing that.
I pretty much always bake these little guys since I have a tendency to burn the crap out of thicker cuts of meat when attempting to pan-fry them. There was quite a debacle with some breaded pork chops a few weeks ago that I would rather not talk about. A little trick when baking breaded meat that I learned thanks to the genius of Rachael Ray was to stop baking it on a plain cookie sheet or in a casserole dish. That makes the crumbs on the bottom all soggy and gross. So instead, I place a cooling rack (like you would use for cookies) on a cookie sheet, spray it down with a little cooking spray, and bake the tenderloins on that. The cooling rack lifts the meat up a little and keeps the bottom from getting mushy. After they’re baked through, I flip on the broiler for a few minutes just to make sure that the tops get nice and crispy. The result is pure deliciousness.
The best part for me is the fact that they’re so lean and healthy, even with the breading. This allows me to indulge a little more on the sides, like I did last night with some garlic & cheddar mashed potatoes paired with steamed green beans. Or you can keep the sides light as well and not feel guilty about eating dessert after!
Italian Breaded Turkey Tenderloins
Servings: 3 (1 tenderloin per serving)
- 1 (20 oz) package of turkey tenderloins
- 1/3 cup Italian flavored panko breadcrumbs
- Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
- Preheat oven to 350. Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Season tenderloins with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roll in the panko breadcrumbs and place on the cooling rack.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the internal temperature on a meat thermometer reads 165 when stuck into the thickest portion of the meat.
- Turn the oven to broil and broil for 5-10 minutes, or until the tops of the tenderloins are brown and crispy. Keep an eye on them though! The tops can burn easily if left under the broiler for too long.