Cheddar Chicken – I’ll Definitely Keep Them 8

I like to cook, but I don’t have much formal training. So, “experiments” and “first tries” often end – well – let’s just start with the beginning.

There were huge chickens in the freezer. I’d just finished reading about brining, crispy skin, and moist meat. These were going to be perfectly seasoned birds. They would be so intoxicatingly juicy, they would win the hearts of my new friends. (Courting new friends is serious business.)

There were appetizers and wine. There was dessert (I’ll come back to that in another post, I promise). There were games to play. And, there were two five-pound chickens brined, buttered, and in the oven.

I followed the recipe to a tee, almost. It called for one three-pound chicken.

By 10 PM we were pulling the chickens out of the oven, ripping off their extremities, and shoving them back in. Sharing a bit of leg here and a bite of wing there, I periodically sliced a little more chicken from the dwindling, still cooking, carcass. My new friends didn’t blink an eye – though now we tell the story with a chuckle.

The roasted chickens left my ovens covered in a thick coat of grease. Not to mention, roasted chicken adventure number two was equally as disappointing and messy. Conclusion: the roasted chickens can go. The friends are a definite keep!

Next time, I’m going to a tried and true favorite – Cheddar Chicken.

Cheddar Chicken
Adapted From Real Simple

I made two healthy changes, saving your waistline and your pocket book. The first is replacing “buttery crackers” with homemade breadcrumbs. For the second, I substituted buttermilk for butter. I particularly like this change because the buttermilk gives the chicken an extra tanginess. The other change I made is garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. It really sticks to the meat better, delivering the maximum amount of flavor.

¾ cup breadcrumbs
6 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated (feel free to use more if desired)
1 TBS garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.

In a shallow bowl combine breadcrumbs, cheddar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour buttermilk in a shallow dish.

Pat each piece of chicken dry. Dip one breast into the buttermilk and then press each side gently into breadcrumb-cheese mixture. Place on lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until chicken is golden brown and juices run dry.
Note: If you are using a thermometer, the center of chicken should be 165 degrees.

Serve warm with veggies.

Recipe in print-friendly format

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About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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