When I was in college, a staple dinner of mine was Shake & Bake chicken, a cooked veggie (usually steamed broccoli), and a Knorr’s Pasta or Rice. I was so proud that I had advanced past the days of Hamburger Helper (blech!). Nowadays, I think I’ve lost touch with the more simple meals. I’m always trying something new and spending insane amounts of time in the kitchen. When I came across this Crispy Cheddar Chicken recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!, it reminded me just how simple a great dinner can be.
I made her recipe exactly as written, until I got to putting everything in the pan to cook. It was a disaster and I completely failed at getting everything to stick tot he chicken. So I said Enough! and proceeded to dump the topping (cheese & cracker mixture) on top of the chicken. It still tasted fantastic! The recipe below includes my modifications. The sauce is totally optional, and while I thought it was good, Ryan wasn’t crazy about it. In fact, he used some of the leftover gravy from the Chicken Fried Steak and said it was awesome.
I feel like everyone I know is always eating dinner out or ordering delivery. Pizza, Chinese food, subs, etc. I love to make take-out type food at home. It’s so much cheaper (even to feed just 2 people) and you can be sure that there are no weird chemicals added to keep it fresh. Last week I wanted Chinese food, but didn’t want fatty chicken or steak, with tons of salty sauce. It just so happened that one of my favorite bloggers, Beth @ Budget Bytes, was feeling Chinese-y as well, and she posted what looked like a great recipe for Easy Sesame Chicken.
Ever since Beth mentioned Jasmine rice in one of her posts, I’ve been using it in place of plain white rice. For some reason, when I make plain white rice it’s always gummy and sticks together. But not when I make Jasmine rice! This stuff is foolproof! Just make sure to follow the directions on the bag, because the water-to-rice ratio is a little bit different. I don’t know how Beth got her Sesame Chicken to be so beautiful and dark. My sauce looked great, just like hers, until I added the cornstarch as a thickener. Every time I add cornstarch to a sauce, it turns it a dull, muted color. Regardless, it tasted great, but just didn’t look as nice.
I’ve been on a homemade pizza kick lately. I don’t know what it is, but smelling pizza baking is akin to smelling chocolate chip cookies baking. It’s okay, I know what you’re thinking and I know I’m strange. Moving on.
I knew I wanted some kind of chicken pizza, because I’m trying to use less red meat in an effort to eat a little healthier, and unfortunately, pepperoni counts as red meat (shocker!), so chicken it is. I was tired of BBQ chicken pizza (with red onion slices and some ranch dressing drizzled on top — mmm!), so I tried to find something a little.. different. And definitely not traditional.
My inspiration: Gourmet White Chicken Pizza from Meet Penny. But I’ve had very little success getting Ryan to eat a “white” pizza (i.e. no sauce) that’s not white spinach-and-onion pizza. So I changed things up a little.