Just when I thought I had run out of ideas for chicken, clear out of the wild blue this smacked me in the face.
One second my mind was completely blank and the next it was picturing chicken with all the charm of hot, cheesy nachos.
Making them is sooooo easy! There’s no dipping and dunking and dredging and dirtying up fifty million bowls. You set the chicken right in the pan, coat it with mayonnaise, the glue, then pat on crushed-up white corn tortilla chips. Rather than grinding them up into fine crumbs I crush them by hand into chunky, little pieces and mix them with a little bit of panko crumbs.
While the chicken is busy baking it’s way to crunchy and golden brown, you get to work on the sauce. Can I say easy again?
Cheddar and Monterey jack cheese is tossed with a little cornstarch, the thickener, and heated up with evaporated milk and the optional jalapenos for a zesty kick. That’s all. A little bit of whisking gets you to the silkiest, creamiest cheese sauce you will ever taste. A sauce you can use over and over again for making tried and true nachos and more.
All that’s left is to put two and two together. Ladle the hot, spicy sauce over the crunchy, succulent chicken and eat your little heart out.
Nachos in chicken form. Destined to be a favorite. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner.
Baked tortilla-crusted chicken with all the charm of hot, cheesy nachos!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or roasting pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with non-stick spray.
- Place the chicken breasts in the pan so they're not touching. Brush the mayonnaise over the top and sides of each one.
- Mix the tortilla chips and panko together then spoon them over the chicken breasts, patting them on with your hands.
- Bake 25 - 40 minutes, depending on their size, until internal temperature on a meat thermometer registers 165 - 174 degrees F.
- Toss the cheese and cornstarch together in a medium bowl until the cheese is well coated then place it in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add 1 cup of the milk and whisk often until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce starts to thicken.
- Add the jalapenos, if using. Turn heat down to low to keep warm until the chicken is done. If the sauce thickens too much, you can slowly stir in more of the milk to thin it out and turn the heat up to warm it through.
- To serve, generously ladle the warm sauce over the chicken and top with a few sliced jalapenos.
Cheese sauce adapted from Serious Eats
Tortilla chicken adapted from Hellmann's
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