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I am always looking for good chicken breast recipes as this is one ingredient we always have on hand.  It is so easy to fall into a rut, but I'm trying to work my way out of it.  When Jen told me about this meal, I just had to have the recipe.  I use to love to watch Rachael Ray when we had cable/TV reception.  I am very thankful that I did try it and will definitely be making this dish again in the near future.  I hope you all like it as well!

Rachael Ray's Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Breasts w/Cheddar Mustard Sauce Recipe

Supplies needed:  4 quart-size plastic food storage bags, knife, measuring spoons, measuring cup, cheese grater, large non-stick skillet, medium sauce pan, whisk, wooden spoon and a heavy frying pan, brick, etc to pound chicken

Ingredients
  • 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

Yields: 4 servings

What to do:
  1. Preheat a large non-stick skillet with a 1/4-inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle a little water into four medium food storage baggies. 
  3. Place one chicken breast in each bag and seal it up, pushing out excess air. 
  4. 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 three chicken breasts. 
  5. Place the pretzels in a food processor or blender and grind until fine. (Have your child beat the pretzels, secure in double Ziploc bags, with a rolling pin to get them involved!)
  6. Transfer the ground pretzels to a shallow dish, add the thyme and some salt and pepper. 
  7. Crack and beat 2 eggs in a second shallow dish with a splash of water. 
  8. One at a time, coat each chicken breast in the egg and then the ground pretzels.
  9. 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.

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Sweet Girl smashing pretzels.
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Cooking and smelling so good!
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All done and "resting" before serving.
Meanwhile, while the chicken is frying:
  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to it. 
  2. Cook flour and butter for 1 minute and then whisk in the milk. 
  3. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese and mustard with a wooden spoon. 
  4. Season with a little salt and pepper, and remove cheese sauce from the heat.

Serving suggestion:
  1. Transfer the fried pretzel-crusted chicken breast to a serving plate.
  2. Drizzle chicken with the mustard cheddar sauce.
  3. Garnish with a little parsley, finely chopped onion and sour dill pickle. 
  4. Serve lemon wedges alongside.
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Serving suggestion. Notice the specks of mustard in the sauce--YUM!
The Verdict
I followed the recipe as listed above, but didn't have any thyme.  It was amazing though how flavorful the chicken was with just the pretzels, salt and pepper.  My husband suggested serving a vegetable that would go with the cheese sauce, so I went with broccoli.  I served the cheese sauce in individual dishes for everyone so they could drizzle, dip or scoop it out any way they pleased.

My family really enjoyed this meal.  Sweet Girl said she really loved the sauce.  Love Bug liked the sauce so much that she was eating it like soup!  They also enjoyed the chicken.  My husband liked everything about it!  My mom even got to taste some leftovers and said it was good.  I really enjoyed this meal as well.  

Once all of the prep work was done (smashing the pretzels, pounding the chicken, grating the cheese) things went pretty quickly.  The girls were hungry and restless, so it made doing the prep work a little harder and thus took me longer than I had planned.  I did have the girls help smash the pretzels.  The pieces weren't as fine as doing it in a food processor, but I liked having some "bigger" pieces of pretzel on the chicken.

Tips
  1. I made the cheese sauce as directed, but did not add the mustard to the large pot.  I whisked some mustard and cheese sauce in the individual bowls for the adults.  This would allow for someone to add more or less mustard as desired.  I used a hearty mustard the first night and Dijon when we had leftovers for lunch.  Both were good.
  2. Children can help by smashing the pretzels and pounding the chicken.
  3. You could butterfly the chicken breasts instead of pounding and have similar results with less prep/mess.
  4. Serve with a vegetable that goes well with cheese so the sauce can do double duty.  The recipe makes a nice batch and there's plenty of sauce to go around.  The girls even dipped their dill pickle in the cheese sauce, which prompted my husband and I to do the same.  It was actually good!








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