As Saturday afternoon came to an end, I still didn’t know what to make for dinner. The problem: I have too many choices. Between computer files, food blogs, cookbooks and magazines, I’m overwhelmed with menu ideas.
My recipe choice usually depends on:
- what level of effort and time I want to put into dinner
- what we’ve had for dinner recently
- what flavors I’m in the mood for
- what’s in season
- what’s in the refrigerator already
- what’s on sale
This time, instead of consulting my recipe files and other resources, I decided to narrow it down by looking at the Lowes Foods circular to see what was on sale – value packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts. One decision made, we would have chicken for dinner. But what kind of chicken? I went to my latest fun source of recipe ideas, Pinterest, and searched for “chicken.” I opened four pins – one of them would be dinner.
Winner winner, chicken dinner – Cheddar and Cracker Chicken from the What’s Cookin, Chicago? blog. It had enough comfort food appeal for a weekend dinner, and would be quick and easy to make.
Of course, I made a few adjustments.
- Added pickled jalapeno – isn’t a little kick always welcome?
- After grating 6 ounces of cheddar (per the original recipe) and seeing what that looked like — too much — I reduced the amount of cheese.
- Increased the garlic.
- Added flour to the dredging ingredients and substituted a beaten egg instead of butter.
Cheddar and Cracker Chicken
You’ll need three shallow bowls, meat pounder (mallet) and a foil-lined baking sheet.
- 16 Ritz crackers, crushed, about 3⁄4 cup
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole pickled jalapeno, minced, about 1 tablespoon
- 1 or 2 stalks of scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper
- 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts — I used 2 large breasts, each sliced in two pieces after pounding
- 1/4 cup or so flour
- 1 egg, beaten — or you could follow the original recipe and use butter
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine the crackers, cheese, garlic, jalapenos, scallions, salt and pepper.
Pound the chicken to about 1/4-1/2” thickness with a meat mallet. Slice large breasts into two pieces. Dip each piece in the flour, then egg, then the cracker mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle any remaining cracker mixture on the chicken. Bake until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 20-25 minutes.
Original recipe: Cheddar & Cracker Chicken, What’s Cookin, Chicago?