Baked Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken
Crispy, Moist & Delicious Baked Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken
OMG. A crispy baked chicken dish that isn’t dry and the flavor punch is out of this world?!?!? Ummm….Yes Please!
I made this and my husband absolutely devoured it. Holy Moly. It is Knock-Your-Socks-Off…. Slap-Yo-Mama Good!!!
And, best of all, simple! I promise…make it once and you’ll never miss fried chicken.
Here’s how ya do it:
Season Your Chicken
You can use a package of chicken tenders, but since I didn’t have any, I used 3 Chicken Breasts (organic & grass-fed). Then I took my kitchen shears and cut each breast into 3 similar sized pieces (you could use a knife as well). Sprinkle them with a little bit of seasonings, and you’re good to go. You can keep it simple and just salt and pepper them. I also used Onion Powder, Garlic Powder and Dry Mustard. You could also throw in some herbage and use Italian Seasoning. I just wanted to keep the seasonings pretty simple and let the flavor of the chicken and jalapeño take front stage.
Crispy, Crunchy Cracker Breading
Prepare your Cracker Breading. Just crush a couple of handful of buttery crackers. Then season them with a dash of salt, a bit of fresh ground pepper, and some dried jalapeños. I might have added a little bit of garlic powder and onion powder to the cracker mixture as well. TIP: I used Late July Organic Classic Rich Butter Crackers in lieu of Ritz. They are freakin’ delicious. I absolutely ADORE these organic crackers!
Cheese & Buttermilk Stations
Grate some Sharp Cheddar Cheese into a bowl and set aside. (Use REAL CHEDDAR CHEESE AND GRATE YOUR OWN!!! Don’t skip out and use that pre-grated crap!! Trust Me on this!) Pour a bit of Buttermilk into a bowl add a few tsp of your favorite hot sauce, mix and set aside. (EDB TIP: Whole milk will work as well! Simply Add a tsp or so of lemon juice or vinegar to the milk and let it sit for a few minutes. Easy Peasy!)
Get ready to start dunking & coating!
Get a baking sheet ready and place your ingredients in this order: Chicken, Buttermilk, Cheese, Cracker Crumbs.
For this method, I first dipped the chicken into the buttermilk, then into the cheese and tried to press the cheese into the chicken with my fingers before rolling it in the cracker crumbs. I have to admit, this wasn’t 100% successful. If this method works for you; Great! If not, and you are having a difficult time getting the cheese to stick to the chicken and the getting the cracker crumbs to stick as well….do what I did:
Cheese & Cracker Crumbs
Just dump the damn cheese in with the stupid cracker crumbs and mix to combine! Let me tell you, this was WAY better!!!! Finally could get the chicken coating to stick!!!
So, now I change the recipe to:
Dip the Chicken in the Buttermilk, Press the Cheese & Cracker Mixture onto the Chicken firmly with your hands.
Wow. Much better and a bit simplified. I’d just to it this way if I were you. Hey, when you create, you gotta roll with the punches and improvise. Best part of cooking!!! I could have left this part out and just put the cheese and crackers together in the first place, but I like to show you, my faithful readers, that sometimes you gotta change things up to make it work. Cooking is an ever-changing art and there is no one right way to do it. (Baking is another story!!!!)
On the Baking Sheet
Line a 9 x 13 with foil and spray with non-stick cooking oil. Arrange Chicken on pan so they are not touching. Sprinkle with a bit of parsley. This is what your chicken pieces should look like.
Pop ’em in the Oven!
The coating does NOT have to be perfect. Just do the best you can! It will still come out crispy, moist & delicious!
Cover & Bake
Lightly cover with foil and bake for a bit first. Then, remove the foil the last 10-15 mins to make the chicken get a nice brown, crispy coating.
It already looks absolutely divine. Now, plate it up!
Served with Horseradish Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
I made some seriously good mashed taters to compliment this. It was a perfect combination. I had a nice fresh salad on the side as well!
A little saucy drizzle on top!
I had some of my Top Secret White BBQ Sauce that I drizzled on top. Killer. It was honestly killer on this.
I wish I could eat this right NOW!!!
I will for SURE be making this again soon. You are going to fall in love….and so will the people you serve it to!
Baked Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken
*Preheat Oven to 375. Take out 9 x 13 baking sheet, cover with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
*Cut each Chicken Breast into 3 equal portions, or use Chicken Tenders. Season Chicken with Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dry Mustard, Salt & Pepper. Now get 2 bowls. One for your Cracker/Cheese Mixture and one for your Buttermilk. Crush Crackers. (I put them in a plastic ziplock baggie and crush them up with my hands and then pour that into a bowl. Works pretty good!) Season Crushed Cracker Crumbs with Salt & Pepper and add a dash of Garlic and Onion Powder if desired. Add dried diced jalapeños to crumb mixture and toss to combine. Add a little parsley if desired! Add Grated Cheddar to Cracker Crumb Mixture and stir to combine. (or keep the cheese and cracker mixture separate if you want…but I find combining them worked better). Pour Buttermilk into separate bowl, add a bit of Hot Sauce and stir to combine.
*Take Chicken and dip into Buttermilk. Then roll into Cracker Crumb/Cheese Mixture. With you hands, press mixture firmly into the chicken to make a nice layer of coating. Lay on baking sheet so they are not touching and sprinkle with Parsley. Then, cover baking sheet with foil and place them in the preheated oven. Cook for about 30 mins. After 30 mins, remove the foil and cook another 10-15 mins or until the chicken in brown and crispy!
Serve with Sauce of choice: Alabama White Sauce is Perfection with it! And you can never go wrong with Ranch!
From My Creations to Your Kitchen!
Eat, Drink & Be Kari