Archive | September 2012

Fall Colors

I’m from Texas.  This means we don’t really have a proper fall season.  We have summer and not summer.  There’s not too much other definition between seasons.  That being said, I am FASCINATED by the changes aspen in the mountains this time of year.  This weekend and last weekend, we’ve gone up into the mountains to look at all the gorgeous trees and I figured I’d share in case anyone else lives in a state where one day the trees are green and luscious and the next, they are completely bare.  Hope you enjoy!

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Cheesy Ranch Chicken Strips

Cheese + ranch + chicken + more cheese  = mmmm!!  Yes, they are as delicious as they sound.  The best part: they’re easy too!

I’ve made these before, but never with ranch.  Oh my gosh, the ranch takes these from delicious to incredibly delicious.  Seriously.  What’s NOT better with ranch added though?  I do have to give partial credit to my husband for combining my two meal ideas for tonight.  Rather than doing the regular cheesy chicken strips or ranch chicken, we did both!

Enough of my babbling, here’s the recipe:

CHEESY RANCH CHICKEN STRIPS

Ingredients:

2 cups Pepperjack Cheez-Its (1 cup crushed)
1 package ranch dressing mix
2 eggs
1-1.5 lbs chicken (I used 2 very large chicken breasts)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzerella)

Directions:

1. Cut chicken into strips (if using chicken that is not already in strips).  My chicken was pretty thick, so I actually cut my strips only about a half inch wide so that they wouldn’t take forever to cook.

If you want to season your chicken at this point (I don’t because the crumbles have more than enough flavor in my opinion), I’d only use pepper because the Cheez-Its are plenty salty.

2. Crush Cheez-Its.  The smaller the crumbles, the better they are going to stick to your chicken.  I used my food processer to make them as fine as breadcrumbs.

You don’t have to use the Pepperjack Cheez-Its, it’s delicious with regular ones too.  You could even try doing it with reduced fat if you’re trying to watch what you eat.

On a side note, has anyone ever seen the Jalapeno Cheez-Its in a bag bigger than the little ones they sell at convenience stores?  I might have to be the crazy lady who just goes and buys like 6 little bags of Jalapeno Cheez-Its at the Shell down the road.

Anywho…

3. Mix your packet of ranch into your Cheez-It crumbs.  This is going to smell delicious.  Resist the temptation to eat the entire bowl.

4. Crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk together with a fork.  You could use milk if you’re trying to go a little healthier, but I prefer to use egg.

5. Dip your chicken into the egg, then into the cheesy ranchy crumby mixture, then place on a cooling rack placed in a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, sprayed with cooking spray.

6. Sprinkle shredded cheese over top of the chicken strips.

In theory, you could leave this part out if you aren’t a cheese-aholic like my husband and I, but I highly recommend NOT skipping this step.

Also, I used mozzerella cheese only because it was what I had on hand.  You could use just about any other kind of cheese.  So if you happen to have cheddar laying around, definitely use that.

7. Bake at 400 for 16 minutes.  If your strips are really thick, it’ll take a little more time and if they are really thin, it may take a little less time.  Just watch them.

8. Enjoy your delicious creation.  Seriously, you’ll impress your friends.  And maybe your husband.  Your kids will love you.  My hubby even agreed that this meal was “definitely blog-worthy”.  He’s cute, I know.

I had the leftovers at work the next day and, while not as crispy after being warmed up in the microwave, they were just as delicious.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

EDIT 12/14/2013: I made these last night with the Cheez-It “DUOZ”  Sharp Cheddar and Parmesan.  Didn’t add any ranch or do the extra cheese on top and they were DELICIOUS!!  So there’s another variation if you don’t want to do the Pepperjack.  🙂