August 6, 2012

Cheesy Chicken with Crunchies

This is one of those recipes that upon first hearing, can sound a little... well, if not boring, then kinda gross. That's certainly what I thought! When Stephen told me I had to get his mother's recipe for "Cheesy Chicken", I envisioned dried out chicken breasts with cheese just melted over the top... maybe some cream of chicken soup in there... Bleh. Boy, was I wrong.  Fortunately, this is also one of those recipes that with seriously minimal effort turns out completely delicious. We have changed it a bit, of course, cuz that's just what we do around here! We'll take a recipe, sit down to eat it, pick it apart detail by detail, and adjust over and over until we get it perfect. So no stories, songs, or anecdotes today. Today is just a simple, scrumptious recipe post. :) (PS-Sorry, this isn't REMOTELY healthy...I do have healthier recipes, I swear!)

Cheesy Chicken with Crunchies

3-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, depending on size (I had huge ones, so three was plenty for me)
1 stick of butter, melted
2 cups shredded (not pre-shredded!) cheddar cheese
1 bag seasoned croutons (or if you make your own, use them! And teach me how...)
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Trim your chicken breast and cut into fillet/tender-sized chunks. This is not an exact science. A large breast usually makes three, a small will make two. 
Crunch up your croutons. You can stick them in a blender or a food processor, I usually put them in a bag and pound the bejeebers out of them with my marble rolling pin. (Wedding present from my mom. She had one, and I was determined no wimpy wooden one was good enough for me!!) This recipe started with crackers, but they got soggy, chips were too greasy, breadcrumbs had no flavor, croutons were just right. We usually pick a flavor like "Garlic and Herbs", whatever seasonings your croutons have, that will be the seasonings for the dish. Consider carefully, my friends! Crunch them a little finer than I did, some larger chunks are fine but I was a bit impatient.
Toss in the cheese and pepper and mix well. I just use my hands, trust me, they're gonna get dirty anyway!
And now you're ready! Take a piece of chicken, dip it in butter, (Mmmm...) then in the cheese-crouton mixture. Squish as much on that chicken as you can, and kinda hold some on it when you place it in your 9x13 baking dish.
It should look basically like this: some crouton-stuff on the top, and underneath, and squished against the sides.
Don't worry if it's not perfect. Repeat with all your other chicken pieces, sprinkle any extra crouton-stuff over the top. Drizzle remaining butter over the top too. (there won't be much left over)
Ta-dah! Invisible chicken! Just kidding. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more. Done! (Note: you can leave your breasts whole, and bake for 1 hour, but we like having a higher crunchies-to-chicken ratio. You can also easily halve the recipe for two, this makes enough for our family to eat and half leftovers)
You would THINK that all that butter and cheesy-ness would make it melty and gooey, right? Nope. The cheese and butter and croutons create these wonderful little nuggets we call "crunchies". They are the bits of cheesy croutons that get all toasted up on the bottom of the dish and in between the chicken. They are so good, we have to divide them evenly; heaven forbid someone gets shafted on the crunchies!! Stephen would like to find a way to just make a pan full of crunchies... and skip the chicken...
Surprisingly, I really don't know how, the chicken gets moist and seasoned and flavorful, just by having this stuff sitting on top! It probably wouldn't be hard to make chicken-less crunchies, but we are just NOT going to go there. That's dangerous territory.
This goes wonderfully with rice and mashed potatoes, and we always have another veggie, because we have to have SOMETHING healthy!
I like the chicken, I think I'll keep it around. Tis yummy. Give this a try, I promise you'll like it, it hasn't failed yet!

Featured on This and That for Foodie Fridays!


  1. Oh my. That does look good. Similar to my butter chicken, but with cheese. Could it get any better??? Perhaps add some bacon? I dunno. Looks pretty scrummy as is!! xxoo

  2. these look absolutely delicious. found you through back to seconds social. Newest follower and would love if you would share some of your recipes on our Linky Party that starts in about an hour. Great giveaway for the recipe that is voted Top 3 voted.

  3. This does look good! Thanks for linking up to Foodie Friends Friday! Don’t forget to come back on Sunday to Vote.
    Lois @

  4. Thanks for sharing this on Foodie Friends Friday... Also I wanted to tell you that I make my own croutons... they are easy to make.. I use a loaf of French Bread ~ dried out some or lots even... cut in bite size piece. Mix about a cut of olive oil and seasoning of choice. Bake at 350 until they become brown... Easy! My seasoning are seasoning salt and greek seasoning.

  5. Sounds yummy, and I think even my kids would eat it. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday!


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