I think we've all had those nights when we just have no idea what to make for dinner. Those open-the-fridge-and-stare-blankly-into-it-awaiting-inspiration sorts of nights. Granted, since I plan our meals now, those nights don't happen very often for me anymore -- but since I was on vacation last week, my entire meal plan went right out the window. It was the middle of the week, I hadn't been grocery shopping, and I had absolutely no idea what to make for dinner.
Here's what I had on hand: some chicken breasts that I'd put in the fridge to thaw without knowing what I was going to use them for. A nearly-full tub of chive and onion cream cheese. A block of extra-sharp cheddar. Panko bread crumbs. An abundance of fresh chives in my herb garden. Finally, inspiration struck: breaded chicken cutlets with cheddar-chive sauce.
I pounded the chicken thinly, dipped it in seasoned flour, egg, and panko, then shallow-fried it until crispy and finished it on a baking rack in the oven. I made a sauce of chive and onion cream cheese, a little milk, and some shredded cheddar. I serve the chicken aside a box of Uncle Ben's rice and a can of carrots -- not my most adventurous sides, but all I could find in my pantry. And it was such an incredibly delicious meal.
I loved the crispiness of the chicken paired with the velvety, oniony, creamy sauce. The flavors worked together perfectly, and Joe was pretty impressed that this was something I just made up on the fly. I'll definitely make it again.
Chicken with Cheddar-Chive Sauce
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves, pounded very thin
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup panko bread crumbs
6-8 ounces chive and onion cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh snipped chives
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Coat chicken cutlets in flour mixture, then dip in egg. Coat evenly with bread crumbs.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable or canola oil (enough to coat the bottom). When oil is heated, add chicken cutlets and cook on each side until crispy. Remove chicken to a baking rack on a cookie sheet in the oven while you prepare the sauce.
4. In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream cheese and milk until smooth and bubbly. Stir in cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Pour sauce over chicken and top with fresh chives.