OK, so the War On Christmas Season 2016 is over. FINALLY! You’re done with the ultimate orgy of consumerism, and with spending half the day in the kitchen making some sort of extravagant meal you only attempt once or twice a year. You fought the crowds at the grocery store, stocked the larder thoroughly, made the cookies and the pies, brined the turkey, baked the relatives, and had the annual fight over the Great Family Misunderstanding (Treason! Misunderstanding! Deliberate Betrayal! Misunderstanding! Enid, get our coats, we’re leaving!) of 2005. Now you’re getting down to the last of the leftovers and a third of the kids’ toys are already broken, some surreptitiously, by you, because of that noise they made.
And you’re exhausted.
But you still need to eat. Well, Pink has something for you, for this interregnum between Boxing Day and New Year’s Drinking/Avoiding Drinking Eve. Something simple, but loaded with flavor – and as a bonus, it keeps you safe from vampires*!
Today, we’re giving those taste buds a workout with…
CHEDDAR-GARLIC OVEN FRIED CHICKEN BREAST! (But It’s Actually Baked)
Intoxication level: Anything up to stumbling. As long as you can set the timer and remain conscious to hear it when it goes off, you’re probably OK.
Time: 20 minutes prep, 35-45 minutes baking: approx 1 hour total.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 1⁄3 cup butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided, or to taste
- 1⁄2 teaspoon seasoning salt (or can use white salt, if you don’t love Babby Jesus)
- 3⁄4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1⁄2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
- 1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Measuring cup & spoons, a bowl or two, a plate, an 8 X 13(ish) cooking dish, whatever tool you prefer to create minced garlic.
WHAT TO DO WITH WHAT YOU NEED:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Butter the 8 X 13(ish) cooking dish** (if using more than 4 breasts use a larger dish).
- In a bowl, combine melted butter with fresh minced garlic, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and salt.
- In another bowl, combine the dry breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon garlic powder and coarse ground black pepper.
- Dip chicken in butter mixture; then in crumb mixture.
- Place in prepared pan and bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through, larger breasts may take more time.
- Top with shredded cheddar or mozzarella the last 5 minutes of cooking (optional)
And that’s it. I told you it was simple! Easy enough for a weekday meal, but good enough for company. It has a great, crispy coating that packs a lot of flavor due to the cheese, and then, Oh Em Gee, the Garlic!
Put it on a plate with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes & Country Style Green beans, as pictured (recipes eventually), add maybe some Cornbread, then sit down at the table and eat like a civilized person, already. You fought well, and you need to rebuild your strength.
*Sadly, this only protects against mythical vampires, not the real life monsters we actually face today.
**Optional, but recommended: For a crispier underside, place on a rack in your dish, rather than directly on the surface.