May 14, 2010

Cheddar Chicken

Orange chicken on an orange plate - brilliant!

As promised, here is Cheddar Chicken from Real Simple's May 2010 issue. It was part of an article where women wrote in sharing recipes that reminded them of their moms, or that they made with their moms growing up. Warm and fuzzies like that. They recommended serving the chicken with rice pilaf and steamed green beans, but when Marshal Mike saw the picture in the magazine, he said, "eww, I do not like that kind of rice. When you make it, can you use some other kind of rice?" So I went one better and used a bag of frozen vegetables from Trader Joes and no rice at all. That's right, housewife of the year, right here.

The chicken was pretty good. Mine cooked for only about 20 minutes, because I bought thinly sliced chicken breasts. (I find that neither of us can eat an entire chicken breast when I buy the regular size ones. It is an absurd amount of chicken and probably comes from those poor chickens whose breasts are so large they can't walk or stand because they fall over. Yes, that does exist. Weekend reading assignment: The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan - believe me, it will be worth your time.) 

Anyway, back to the cheddar chicken. The chicken itself was incredibly moist, but I think the ratio of cheddar to Ritz crackers in the topping was way off. Too much cheese (I know, how is that possible?) and not enough crunch! The breading on the bottom of the chicken turned into a soggy mess. Tasted fine, but soggy Ritz crackers? No thanks. I have cooked other breaded meat on a wire rack on a baking sheet before, so maybe I would try that with this dish. And come to think of it, my mom used to make chicken breaded with Ritz crackers for my brother and me and it was delicious. Perhaps I should ask her what she did to hers. (She also served hers with rice!) 

Luckily, Marshal Mike loved the chicken and gave it his stamp of approval. When I was packing the leftover pieces into tupperware, all I could think of is my uncle saying, "That'd be good in a sandwich!" (We have a joke in my family that every leftover will be good in a sandwich and my uncle proclaims it after every meal.)

Oh, what about Trader Joes' frozen medley of vegetables? They were ok. The green beans were the best part - still had some crunch and good flavor. The peas were peas, nothing to write home about. But the broccoli, cauliflower and romanesco were piles of mush disguised as vegetables! Yuck. I guess those kinds of vegetables really shine brightest when roasted. Or at least I think so.

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