Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pretzel Crusted Chicken

Where have I been?  I wish I knew...I feel like the first part of this year has just flown by.  Between the strep throat/restricted airways incident in January and the flu outbreak a few weeks ago, I just can't seem to stay healthy!  Things are changing soon, I can feel it!  C and I have made a plan to ease back into working out and eating healthier.  I know that not all of my flu and strep throat is related to these things, but it can't hurt right?  Anyway, before we get into the full swing of "healthier eating," I thought I would share a family "not so healthy" favorite!  It's chicken coated in pretzels then smothered in a cheesy mustard sauce, what's not to love?

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Breasts with Cheddar Mustard Sauce
from: Rachael Ray
4 quart-size plastic food storage bags
4 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 5-ounce bag of salted pretzels, any shape
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3/4 pound, about 2 1/2 cups, sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
2 heaping tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, a generous handful, chopped
1/4 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large sour dill pickle, finely chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preheat a large non-stick skillet with a 1/4-inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle a little water into four medium food storage baggies. Place 1 chicken breast in each bag and seal it up, pushing out excess air. Use the bottom of a heavy pot or pan and pound each breast until flat, just shy of busting out of the bag. Repeat with the other 3 chicken breasts.
Place the pretzels in a food processor or blender and grind until fine. Transfer the ground pretzels to a shallow dish, add the thyme and some salt and pepper. Crack and beat 2 eggs in a second shallow dish with a splash of water. One at a time, coat each chicken breast in the egg and then the ground pretzels.
Add the pretzel-coated chicken breast to the hot oil. Cook in a single layer, in 2 batches if necessary, about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear and breading is evenly browned.
While the chicken is frying, in a medium saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook flour and butter for 1 minute and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese and mustard with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper, and remove cheese sauce from the heat.
Transfer the fried pretzel-crusted chicken breast to a serving plate, drizzle with the mustard cheddar sauce, then sprinkle with a little parsley, finely chopped onion and sour dill pickle. Serve lemon wedges alongside.

My notes on the recipe:  I omit the lemon wedges, the onion and the dill pickle.  I'm not a fan of garnishes on top of my dishes, it just doesn't float my boat!  I love having the crunchy pretzel coating surrounding the super moist chicken!  And the cheesy mustard sauce is really good.  It does make way too much though, so I try to halve the recipe when I remember.  I like this dish, it's not one of C's favorites though.  He doesn't care for the mustard in the cheesy sauce, to each his own.

It has been SOOOOOO long since I have blogged, I almost feel like I forgot how!  :)  I promise that this blog is going back on my high priority list.  For the last few weeks the only things on that list have been laying on the couch, drinking Gatorade and trying not to cough up a lung!  I've got so many things to catch up on, but I promise there will be more posts!

Let the cooking experiments commence.  I added Peanut Butter Extract to my pantry today, now I'm just trying to figure out what to do with it! :)  Suggestions?  C already claimed it for buttercream icing...what else?  Stay tuned, I know it's going to be fantastic!

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