I took this picture at an upscale grocery store in New York City last month. These meats were so beautifully prepped that it was easy to see how folks might be inclined to pick them up for dinner. However appealing they look, though, it is good to remember just how easy it is to give meat great flavor yourself. Fifteen minutes of active prep time and a dollar or two of seasonings can make $2/lb chicken breasts taste every bit as good as chicken sold in the meat case for quadruple that price.


Baked Herb-Crusted Chicken Breasts

Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (including time to marinate)

Serves: 6


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (or 8 boneless thighs)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1- 1/2 cups cracker crumbs (or panko)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Using a meat mallet, pound chicken breasts between wax paper until 1/2- 3/4 inch thick. Place chicken in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and add lemon juice. Shut bag tightly and let marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Remove chicken from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat oven to 450. Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, til just melted. Combine with oil. Set aside.

3. In a flat dish or pie pan, mix cracker crumbs, basil, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper. Brush chicken breasts on both sides with melted butter and oil mixture. Dip chicken pieces carefully into cracker crumb mixture, coating both sides.

4. Place chicken in a greased 9x12 casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through and coating is golden, 20-25 minutes. I like to serve this with rice and green beans, with a nice salad on the side.

Enjoy your homemade herb-crusted chicken!