Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

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.

I served the chicken with broccoli sautéed with red bell pepper and garlic, and roasted sweet potato fries (leftover from Thursday night).

chicken breast cheddar cheese ritz crackers quick recipe

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?

2 thoughts on “Cheddar and Cracker Chicken

  1. Gwen says:

    Num-num, Missy D!! Been watching you, especially since signing up for Pinterest (always the Late Bloomer)-tell me, didja love this?

  2. deirdrereid says:

    Yes, it was really good. Jim had two servings — always a good sign. And I enjoyed it on a sandwich thin on Monday for lunch. It’s in the chicken repetoire!

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