Monday, December 16, 2013

Ritzy Cheddar Baked Chicken

Here's a fun recipe that is different but so easy for a weeknight.  This gorgeous chicken is baked with a cheesy, crunchy, buttery crust and topped with a yummy sauce that couldn't be simpler.  It's sure to beat your regular old "oven baked chicken" with a lively cheddar flavor, a crispy exterior coating, and that juicy interior that you love.  Once of my children is a cheese-o-phobe (umm.. is that a word?), and HE even polished his off!   You know what you call that?  Winner winner chicken dinner!!!  :)

As a matter of fact, just look at the ingredient list.  These are things you probably have on hand in the fridge or pantry right now!  

Print this Recipe!
 
Ingredients:

Chicken -
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 full sleeves of Ritz crackers
  • seasoning:  
    • kosher salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup reduced fat sour cream 
    • or nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley 
Sauce -
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp dill pickle juice (yep - from the jar)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp butter

Step-by-Step:
Prep:  Crush your Ritz crackers in a large ziptop bag.  This is a great job to let the kids help you with.   As you can see, Lily just home from dance class.  But there's no way she was going to miss out on something like pounding and crushing!  Changing clothes would just have to wait!
Trim your chicken breasts of fat and season well.  I used kosher salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Use whatever you prefer.
Make yourself a "breading" station of sorts:  1.  Low fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.  2. Freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese.  3.  Crushed up Ritz crackers with the added dried parsley.  



 







Coat your chicken in the sour cream, then the cheese, and finally the crackers. 
If you are thinking "hmmm... that doesn't look like sour cream" you would be right.  It's milk.  I tried that first.  It didn't work well.  So I regrouped and swapped it out for a reduced fat sour cream.  That worked like a charm.  So you are just going to have to pretend that it's sour cream in the photo (since I forgot to take another one). 
shredded cheddar
Get as much or little of the cheese on the chicken as you would like.
Ritz and parsley crumb coating
PRESS the cheddar coated chicken into the cracker crumbs until well coated.  Turns out, cracker crumbs worked beautifully for a coating!  And the dried parsley in there look gorgeous!
 
Set them on your baking sheet.  Here are some options.  I am using this silicone mat that has all of these little ridges.  It keeps the chicken raised up, allowing fats etc to run away from the meat while allowing the hot air to circulate underneath.  And nothing sticks to it.  Cool, huh?  You could also put your chicken on a cooling rack set into a sheet pan.  Other options?  Line your pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  OR... spray your sheet pan with nonstick spray.  
 Bake 400 x about 35 min or until internal digital thermometer reaches 160 degrees.  The temperature of the meat will continue to rise to 165 when you remove from the oven.  Allow it to rest 5 minutes. 
See the thermometer sticking out of the chicken on the right side of the photo? Do yourself a favor and buy one of these instant read thermometers.  They take all the guesswork out of it so you can have juicy cooked chicken that is not under or overcooked!  (Ask Santa for one!)

Now for a super quick sauce -  
Combine all the sauce ingredients and stir until hot.  Okay, so I know you may be skeptical.  But give it a shot!   It's creamy and tangy, and dill goes extremely well with chicken.  Even my little kids loved it!
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 Tbsp sour cream
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp dried dill
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dill pickle juice
- and here it is!  That simple!   
Now.  Let's put all this together and see what we come up with.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe!  It was a fun recipe to make on a busy weeknight.  If you are curious as to what else I have up my sleeve, pop on over to my Recipe Index and have a look!  You are sure to find some great recipes to make with/for your family.

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Tomato Basil Chicken

Cream Cheese Stuffed Pear Dumplings with Praline Sauce

Salted Caramel Appletinis

Oriental Cole Slaw

Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole

High Class Shepherds Pie

Written Method:

Crush your Ritz crackers in a large ziptop bag.  This is a great job to let the kids help you with.   Make yourself a "breading" station of sorts:  1.  Low fat sour cream or Greek yogurt.  2. Freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  3.  Crushed up Ritz crackers with the added dried parsley.
Trim your chicken breasts of fat and season well.  I used kosher salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Use whatever you prefer.

Coat your chicken in the sour cream, then the cheese, and finally the crackers.  Set them on your baking sheet.  Here are some options.  I am using this silicone mat that has all of these little ridges.  It keeps the chicken raised up, allowing fats etc to run away from the meat while allowing the hot air to circulate underneath.  Cool, huh?  You could also put your chicken on a cooling rack set into a sheet pan.  Other options?  Line your pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  OR... spray your sheet pan with nonstick spray.  

Bake 400 x about 35 min or until internal digital thermometer reaches 160 degrees.  Will continue to rise to 165 when you remove from the oven.  Allow to rest 5 minutes.  Do yourself a favor and buy one of these instant read thermometers.  They take all the guesswork out of it so you can have juicy cooked chicken that is not under or overcooked!  (Ask Santa for one!)

22 comments:

  1. Yum! This looks so tasty - total comfort food!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sara - you got it! Hope you give it a shot! :)

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  2. Making this tonight & I'm very excited!!

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  3. Great recipe! My family loved it, even my picky son! Will definitely make again :)

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  4. Had this for lunch today and it was wonderful! My daughter who is extra picky even enjoyed the sauce! I couldn't believe it! It is definitely saved to have again! Thank You!

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  5. The flavor was really good but in my opinion the sour cream is to thick next time I'll thin it out a bit with heavy cream

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  6. What could I sub for the pickle juice? I have a ridiculously strong aversion to pickles and just the thought makes me cringe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, Kim -

      You could try your favorite vinegar... maybe a champagne vinegar, or tarragon vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.. it just needs something acidic to balance out all the richness.

      Best wishes!
      Julie

      Delete
  7. Can you sub yogurt for the sour cream in the sauce

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely. I would do a Greek yogurt, which is thicker than the regular American yogurt.

      Delete
  8. Hello, where can I purchase a silicone mat like that?

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    Replies
    1. I purchased mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I'm sure you can find them online if you don't have one near you.
      Julie

      Delete
  9. does the reduced fat make a difference than regular sour cream? or is it just to be healthier?

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    Replies
    1. Nope.... That's probably just what I had on hand. I really am just a regular mom who cooks from her kitchen. I use stuff I have in my fridge. :)

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  10. Just made this and LOVED it! So juicy but crunchy and cheesy! I skipped the sauce and used low fat ranch dressing, YUM!!! Can't wait to eat the leftovers! ;)

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  11. Excellent!!! Will make again!!!

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  12. What!? How is this so delicious? So easy to throw together. You're right, my five year old loved smashing the Ritz crackers. The sauce was such a surprise. I don't really care for dill, but this didn't taste like DILL. It was such a subtle flavor. Everyone, even the one year old, devoured it. Thanks for the great, very easy recipe.

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  13. Mine is in the oven now. I didn't have sour cream or Greek yogurt so i used mayo with a little mustard mixed in...that's what my grandma uses. Hopefully it turns out good! Making some wild rice and green beans on the side.

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  14. Making this with pork chops instead of chicken. Looking forward to it!

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  15. What would be some options for a good side with this? Already doing corn and no to rice (I don't cook rice well). Suggestions please and thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hannah,

      Since the chicken is already rich, I like to do steamed or roasted veggies as one side. Have you tried flavored rice packets? Just a question, as they are pretty no-fail.
      ... or maybe your family would enjoy the chicken sliced over pasta?

      Julie

      Delete

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