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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Anniversary Chicken

Almost exactly a year ago I had one of those desperate evenings when I had no idea what to make for dinner. I browsed a couple of recipe sites for ideas and found this dish that happened to include ingredients that we happened to have on hand. When Bob looked at the recipe, he said, "Sounds like a teenage boy's dream come true--teriyaki sauce, ranch dressing, bacon, cheese--what more could they want?" And in fact, our son asked for it a couple of weeks later for his eighteenth birthday dinner.

I passed the recipe on to my sister-in-law, Marianne. I don't think I made it again. Last week Mari asked why the recipe wasn't on the blog. "Because I never make it," I said. She said that she makes it all the time and felt that it should be shared with the rest of the world, so I made it for dinner the other night and was pleasantly surprised. It was much better than I remembered.

I made a few changes this time. Instead of using straight teriyaki sauce, I thickened our usual sauce with a heaping teaspoon of cornstarch, cooked on the stove top until it thickened a bit. You can also use prepared sauce from the store; I can't recommend a particular brand, but I'd recommend something that looks thick enough to stay on the chicken. I also used our homemade ranch dressing, but commercial brands work just fine. As one last note, I used chopped, sauteed white onions for this version because that is what I had in the pantry (I sauteed them in the leftover bacon drippings). Finely chopped green onions (not sauteed) also work well and are a bit prettier, in my opinion.

Anniversary Chicken
1/3 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup teriyaki sauce (thicken with corn starch if necessary)
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3-4 green onions, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on the stove top. Fry chicken in hot oil until light brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Arrange chicken in a baking dish. Spoon the teriyaki sauce over the chicken breasts. Add a spoonful of ranch dressing to each breast and spread evenly. Top with cheese, then top with onions and bacon. Bake for about 20 minutes, then serve.

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