Panko-Crusted Cheesy Chicken with Wild Rice & Lime Ranch Salad
New & Notable

Panko-Crusted Cheesy Chicken

with Wild Rice & Lime Ranch Salad

35 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

For this comforting dish, we’re coating chicken with Cajun seasonings and a savory topping made with airy panko breadcrumbs and melty cheddar and monterey jack cheeses before baking, which helps keep the chicken juicy as it cooks. Sides of wild rice and a creamy, tangy, lime ranch salad add an abundance of dynamic flavors.
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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    790 Cals (est.)
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fresh
ingredients
Panko-Crusted Cheesy Chicken with Wild Rice & Lime Ranch Salad
Title
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 cup Red Rice Blend
  • 2 Persian Cucumbers
  • 2 Romaine Lettuce Hearts
  • 1 Lime
  • 2 Tbsps Raw Pepitas
  • 4 oz Shredded Cheddar & Monterey Jack Cheese Blend
  • ½ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • ¼ cup Ranch Dressing
  • 1 cup Chicken Bone Broth
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun Spice Blend (Smoked Paprika, Ground Yellow Mustard, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Whole Dried Oregano, Whole Dried Thyme & Cayenne Pepper)
Cook the rice
1 Cook the rice

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the lime crosswise. In a medium pot, combine the rice, broth, a big pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, without stirring, 24 to 26 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork. Add the juice of 1 lime half; stir to combine.

Prepare the remaining ingredients
2 Prepare the remaining ingredients

Meanwhile, roughly chop the lettuce. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Peel 2 cloves of garlic; using a zester or the small side of a box grater, finely grate into a paste. In a bowl, combine the cheddar and monterey jack, breadcrumbs, garlic paste, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Start the chicken
3 Start the chicken
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with salt, pepper, and all but a pinch of the spice blend. Transfer to a baking dish; arrange in an even layer. Bake 12 minutes. Leaving the oven on, remove from the oven.
Finish the chicken
4 Finish the chicken

Carefully top the partially baked chicken with the cheesy breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through.* Remove from the oven. 

*The USDA recommends a minimum safe cooking temperature of 165°F for chicken.

Toast the pepitas
5 Toast the pepitas

Meanwhile, place a piece of foil on a work surface. Place the pepitas on one side of the foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and the remaining spice blend; toss to coat. Fold the foil in half over the pepitas. Fold the open edges inwards to completely seal the packet. Place directly on an oven rack and toast 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and carefully open the foil pack to cool.

Make the salad & serve your dish
6 Make the salad & serve your dish

In a large bowl, combine the ranch dressing and the juice of the remaining lime half. Just before serving, add the chopped lettuce and sliced cucumbers to the bowl of dressing. Toss to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve the finished chicken with the cooked rice and salad. Top the salad with the toasted pepitas. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Cook the rice
1 Cook the rice

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the lime crosswise. In a medium pot, combine the rice, broth, a big pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, without stirring, 24 to 26 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork. Add the juice of 1 lime half; stir to combine.

2 Prepare the remaining ingredients

Meanwhile, roughly chop the lettuce. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Peel 2 cloves of garlic; using a zester or the small side of a box grater, finely grate into a paste. In a bowl, combine the cheddar and monterey jack, breadcrumbs, garlic paste, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the remaining ingredients
Start the chicken
3 Start the chicken
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with salt, pepper, and all but a pinch of the spice blend. Transfer to a baking dish; arrange in an even layer. Bake 12 minutes. Leaving the oven on, remove from the oven.
4 Finish the chicken

Carefully top the partially baked chicken with the cheesy breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through.* Remove from the oven. 

*The USDA recommends a minimum safe cooking temperature of 165°F for chicken.

Finish the chicken
Toast the pepitas
5 Toast the pepitas

Meanwhile, place a piece of foil on a work surface. Place the pepitas on one side of the foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and the remaining spice blend; toss to coat. Fold the foil in half over the pepitas. Fold the open edges inwards to completely seal the packet. Place directly on an oven rack and toast 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and carefully open the foil pack to cool.

6 Make the salad & serve your dish

In a large bowl, combine the ranch dressing and the juice of the remaining lime half. Just before serving, add the chopped lettuce and sliced cucumbers to the bowl of dressing. Toss to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve the finished chicken with the cooked rice and salad. Top the salad with the toasted pepitas. Enjoy!

Make the salad & serve your dish
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