Fried Chicken Nuggets Topped With Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese and Mushrooms

When I was a senior in college, my roommate concocted a chicken recipe that seemed strange, but mysteriously tasted magnificent.  I used to sneak a few bites whenever I could as she wasn’t sharing.  I made this for my daughter a few times over the years- since nobody else in the family except for the two of us liked mushrooms, and she announced that it was her favorite chicken.  Last week, I made it for her and her family, and she loved it.  I dropped off a taste of this dish to a foodie friend of my daughter’s and mine, and she said, “What’s in this?  It’s insanely delicious!”  So here is the recipe.

  • 1  to 1 1/2 cups of organic chicken breast cutlets (not thin sliced), cut into chunks about 1 1/2 in. by the same (I try to use Nature’s Promise from Stop and Shop)
  • bread crumbs (I used a mixture of Wegman’s Whole Grain Bread Crumbs and Trader Joe’s Organic Bread Crumbs)
  • 2 eggs beaten with a little water
  • light olive oil for frying (or a mixture of canola and light olive oil)
  • 10 to 16 oz. mushrooms (I used baby bella) (slice in 1/4 inch thick slices)
  • about 8 of shredded Monterey Jack and Mild Cheddar (I use Whole Foods)

olive oil and a little butter and kosher salt and pepper for sautéing the mushrooms

Put cut chicken in egg mixture and toss well.  Then coat well in bread crumbs.  Heat oil (a depth of about 1/2 in. till very hot (about 350 degrees) in a large frying pan.  Carefully place chicken in hot oil, and cook quickly only till browned on one side, then turn with tongs, and brown on other side.  Keep in mind that you will be baking the chicken in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, so don’t overcook it at this stage.  Cook it only till browned on both sides.  Drain on paper towels.  Place chicken in a 8 1/2 in. by 11 in. baking dish.   In sauté pan, pour a little olive oil with a little butter.  Slice and saute mushrooms (sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper- optional cayenne- till they no longer have that raw look to them.  They don’t need to be overly browned.

Place mushrooms over chicken and the grated cheese to cover the mushrooms.

You can bake in a preheated 375 degree oven right away for about 10 min. till cheese is melted or you can refrigerate this casserole until dinner time.  Then preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake uncovered till cheese is melted and starting to bubble – about 15-20 minutes.  If you are cooking the chicken right from the fridge, it may take a few minutes longer.  I recommend taking it out of the fridge- if you are preparing it earlier in the day- about 30 min. before you intend to start baking it.

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