Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yummiest CopyCat EVER!

With my craft room still a total disaster and my garage full of boxes, not usable tools, I have turned my creative needs towards dinner time.  Originally I never wanted to put recipes on my blog because I think food is pretty gross to look at up close...
I am hoping you will forgive me.  My recent finds on Pinterest have left me with nothing else on my mind but these yummy meals and an excitement to cook dinner!
{I know...I am as shocked as my husband ;0}

Today's CopyCat dinner comes to you from Jamie over at Jamie Cooks It Up

Crispy Cheddar Chicken
I started out following the recipe...
1 c. milk 
3 cups cheddar 
2 rows of crushed Ritz Crackers {I don't bother having to wash my food processor to crush.  I hold one end of a row or Ritz Crackers in one hand, the other end in my other hand, then push my hands together will all my strength {while the crackers are still in the sealed bag}.  Then, when the crackers are as smooshed as I can get them, I crush the sides in, open the row's packaging, and poor it into the bowl...or bread pan.}

You are supposed to dip your chicken {3-4 large boneless chicken breasts cut into pieces} into the milk.  I cut my chicken, putting the cut pieces into my baking dish while I finished cutting the rest of the chicken pieces.  Again, I am too lazy to wash extra dishes.  That was when I decided to put ALL my chicken in the milk, and pull it out one piece at a time.  Do what works best for you.  

SoOooo, take one piece of chicken out of the milk at a time, roll it in cheddar, then set the chicken in Ritz cracker crumbs.  

 Pat more crumbs on top. 
I hope you have realized that, while somewhat adventurous, I am rather lazy at times.  I patiently dipped four pieces of chicken in the mix as directed above, then lost all focus and changed the game plan.

New plan!
Mix the cheese and crackers together!!!
Do you see where this is going???
I dumped half of the mixture into the pan and spread it around.
Put the rest of the milk-dipped chicken on top, then piled the other half of the cheese/Ritz mixture on top.

After patting the top layer of crust out smooth-like, the pan was covered with aluminum foil and thrown into an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees F.  It was baked for 35 minutes covered, then the foil was removed and it was baked for 10 more minutes.

Here is the result...This left side is where I dipped the chicken individually...

While the right side of the pan shows the chicken baked covered and smothered style.

My kids LOVED IT!!!  We scooped out chicken, 
covered it with the sauce and loaded the elevator straight to heaven ;0)

So, side-by-side comparison of the right way vs. the easy way...not too much difference.
The one-at-a-time method gave a slightly more cheesy chicken, but the crackers were awesome on the layered side.  One thing is that the bottom layer of crackers was a smidge soggy.  If you are anti-soggy, then don't do it this way.  If you just love a blue ribbon dinner with minimal effort, just layer the thing!

Also, I recommend using half the cheese and crackers.  I think that will cut down on soggyness and give you a whole 'nother batch of cheesy chicken next week with the cheese and crackers we saved.

  If you want to read over the original recipe, you can check that out over at Jamie's site.
If you wanna have a go at this easy chicken dish my way, the recipe is below.

 Layered Cheesy Chicken 
{note the different amounts of cheese and Ritz}
Preheat oven to 400.

3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into portion-sized pieces
1/2 - 1 c. milk
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar
1 row of crushed Ritz crackers {even Saltines will work great}

Pour the milk into a bowl or bread pan.  Place the chicken in the milk.  In a separate bowl, mix the shredded cheddar and row of crushed crackers.
***Optional: add 1/2t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, and 2t. dried parsley to the cracker/cheese mixture.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray for easier clean-up.  Pour 1/2 of the cheese/cracker mixture into the baking dish and spread out evenly.  Take the chicken out of the milk and place it evenly across the cheese/cracker mixture.  Now pour the rest of the cheese/cracker mixture on top and spread that around evenly.  Cover the whole dish with aluminum foil, then bake at 400 for 35 min.  Take aluminum foil off baking dish and bake the layered cheesy chicken for 10 more minutes.  

While the chicken cooks for that last 10 minutes mix the following sauce

1 can cream of chicken soup {or follow the recipe for CopyCat cream of soup}
2T. sour cream
2T. Butter
Heat on med-high until hot, stirring until mixed.  

Serve chicken hot, topped with the sauce. 
The chicken was a total hit served with leftover mashed potatoes, like ours was, or would be great with a side dish of pasta and some freshly steamed veggies.

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