Chicken · dinner

Cheddar Chicken

My friend, Kim, stopped by for a surprise visit when she was driving through town on Sunday. She asked if I had all my meals planned for the week, if I packed lunches for the kids every day… My answer to both was “no”. I’m not a planner. I really really wish I was. If I’m out of town, Ryan likely has the meals planned a full week ahead of time and written on our little meal plan notepad (that I use maybe once every few months). When I see a week of meals laid out, I feel both a sense of amazement and awe as well as a bit of claustrophobia… “What if on Wednesday I don’t want to eat Thai chicken? What if I get a craving for pork carnitas? What if my kids form a riot and demand poppyseed chicken?” Ugh, enough with the poppyseed chicken, kids. I’m so done with it.

So no, I told her I knew what we were eating for dinner that night. I had gone to Trader Joe’s earlier that day and shopped with a bunch of meals in my head, but have I made any of them this week? Nope. For the record, it has been a crazy week. Kids in three schools and one in high school, plus working with college students, has caused us to hit a new level of full.

Also, school lunches… I do not like lunch. I usually just find something to put in my body so I can say I ate, but it’s rare for me to actually eat a meal for lunch. Since I’m a terrible lunch eater, I’ve got very little inspiration for our kids. Add that to the fact that mornings and I have a complicated relationship, and you can infer that my kids will not be boasting of their school lunches that their mom made for them. In my dream world, I would make a chart with different food groups for them to choose from so that they have a well-balanced meal. That has been a dream for a few years now, so it’s probably not going to happen.

When I asked one of the kids what he was planning to pack for lunch one day last week and he answered, “Hot Cheetos,” I realized we hit a new low. And it’s only September! In an act of desperation, I found a 21 Day Fix chart of food, put that on the refrigerator, and called it our lunch chart. (I do realize Hot Cheetos are nowhere on that chart, and I’m confused why they keep entering out home… but they do. And as much as I resist processed foods, I just can’t resist any type of Cheetos if they are offered to me.)

And now that brings us to what was for dinner on Sunday. It’s a recipe that I discovered when reading through a Real Simple magazine years ago, is so simple, and very kid-friendly. Buttery, garlicky, cheesy… all good things. I shared it with Kim, who made it for her family this week as well, and they approved. Yay for easy dinners! And yes, this does include processed food… wah. Ritz-type crackers. But at least you can get organic ones?! With shorter, mostly recognizable ingredients…?

Cheddar Chicken

Cheddar Chicken

Yield 4 servings


  • 16 buttery crackers (like Ritz) crushed
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar grated
  • 1 clove garlic pressed
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted


  1. Heat oven to 350° F. In a bowl, combine the crackers, cheese, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  2. Dip the chicken in the butter, then in the cracker mixture, pressing gently to help the crackers adhere. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle any remaining cracker mixture on the chicken and drizzle with any remaining butter. Bake until the chicken is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.


I cut up chicken into 6 pieces to feed our family. Same amount of everything, just smaller servings of chicken. This won't work for much longer as our kids are getting bigger appetites!

Source: Jane Walsh, Real Simple Magazine, May 2010

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