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frito chili cheesy chicken

a recipe by
Pam Ellingson
Wichita, KS

Inspiration can come to me from anywhere. This recipe basically popped into my head while I was thinking about a Tandoori Lamb dish. (Which is still in its nascent stages) I had half a bag of Fritos Chili-Cheese corn chips, a carton of plain yogurt, some cilantro and a lime. Wanted an easy chicken dish, baked, with a Mexican accent. POP* Tandoori style yogurt marinade with chilies and lime on chicken tenders, coated with cheesy crumbs and baked. Mildly spicy and a little cheesy, this recipe was written before the dish was made. With just a few tweaks I had dinner in no time.

serves 2 to 4
prep time 4 Hr
cook time 30 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For frito chili cheesy chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, cut into strips about 1 1/2" sq by the length of the breast or use 6 to 8 skinless boneless chicken tenders
  • 1 carton 6-8 oz plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c buttermilk (can use more yogurt or add sour cream or just milk)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp of ancho, aleppo or guajillo ground pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1/4 c cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1/4 tsp mexican oregano
  • lime zest and juice (half a lime)
  • 1-2 tsp sweet or hot paprika (optional per your taste, for brighter color)
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 c finely crushed frito chili cheese flavored corn chips.
  • 1 c. panko crumbs
  • 3/4 c hard mexican grating cheese (cotija or anejo cotija)
  • 1/2 stick (2 oz) melted butter
  • lime wedges for serving/garnish

How To Make frito chili cheesy chicken

  • 1
    In a medium bowl, mix all of the marinade ingredients. Place chicken strips/tenders in a gallon zip storage bag and pour marinade over. Zip and place in refrigerator for approximately 4 hours to marinate. (I actually let them marinate overnight)
  • 2
    When ready to bake, Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crumb coating in a food processor. Grind Fritos to fine crumbs, add panko crumbs, and 1/2 c. grated cheese. Whiz together to mix. Melt butter in small microwaveable bowl for about 20-30 seconds. Turn on proceessor and add butter. Let mix well. This will be loose crumbs which will hold together if squeezed. (If you want more flavor, add some chili powder, chopped cilantro, garlic powder or onion powder to suit your taste.) Place crumbs in shallow dish for coating.
  • 3
    Remove chicken from marinade, letting any excess drip off. Then place in crumbs and coat well, pressing crumbs lightly onto chicken. Place coated chicken slightly apart on a baking pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.
  • 4
    Bake for 15 minutes, turn pieces over carefully, sprinkle with the reserved 1/4 c grated cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until brown and crusty. Test internal temp for 160 degrees to assure proper cooking.
  • 5
    Remove chicken from pan, serve with Spanish rice, refried or whole pinto beans, warm tortillas, salsa or pico de gayo and perhaps a shredded lettuce and tomato salad. Serve with Lime sections to squeeze over the chicken just before eating. Gives it a zing!

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