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Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken is a family-favorite. Gluten-free, and full of flavor and crunch!

Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken is a family-favorite. Gluten-free, and full of flavor and crunch! | iowagirleats.com

Happy Monday, everyone, did you survive the daylight saving time switch? Ben had Friday off so we headed down to Kansas City for the weekend, and luckily Lincoln was so tuckered out from all the fun that he slid seamlessly into the transition – hallelujah!

We were anxious to get away for a couple of days after I decided to skip my friend’s bachelorette party in NOLA two weekends ago to say home with the boys after Ben’s heart episode, and he’s feeling better than ever, so we escaped to KC for a change of scenery. Literally. I couldn’t believe how many flowering trees and bushes have already moved passed the bud stage and into full blossoms there – such a beautiful sight!

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The flowers were definitely loving the spring showers, as it was drizzly and grey out, but we walked around the plaza as long as we could letting Lincoln find all the fountains and deranged animal sculptures that have popped up since the last time we were here. Seriously, what is UP with this turtle?! ?

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We also tried into a new to us spot on the plaza for lunch – T. Loft – which serves ALL gluten-free food. I felt like I’d won the lottery!! The Turkey Scramble both Ben and I ordered came with big hunks of roasted turkey, salsa, buffalo sauce, scrambled eggs, and fresh vegetables. It was light, healthy, and totally hit the spot. Ben went back later that day while Lincoln was napping to get me their Extreme C juice which I sucked down in 2 minutes flat. The vibe was really cool and modern, and the prices were great too. $7 for our bowls, and $4 for Lincoln’s kids “lunch box” which came with a ton of turkey, fruit, vegetables, and a peanut butter protein ball (which I ate – also bomb!)

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After lunch we hit up the Sea Life Aquarium, about 10 minutes away from the plaza. Ben and I have been coming to KC every summer for the past three or four years, just the two of us, so it was different going from a day drinking + shopping KC trip, to a family-focused one, but Kansas City has a TON to offer young families. Attached to the aquarium is a Legoland Discovery Center, right outside is a skating rink and water fountain park (very similar to the Union Station fountains in Denver,) and I think there’s a Crayola experience store right across the street.

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Needless to say, we have a lot to do and see over the next couple of years!

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Of course no family vacation would be complete without a dip in the hotel pool! I remember hotel pools being the BEST part about family vacation and I think Lincoln felt the same way. He asked no less than 100 times a day to jump in, which Ben graciously handled because Mom “forgot” her swim suit. No shame in my suitcase omission game. ?

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No shame in my Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken game, neither. No need to wait until Tuesday – make this easy, crunchy, taco-inspired chicken dish TONIGHT!

Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken is a family-favorite. Gluten-free, and full of flavor and crunch! | iowagirleats.com

So I’m basically obsessed with this recipe, which came to me in a vision a few weeks ago. And by “in a vision” I mean while I was tearing through the cupboards at 4:30pm one night because I had zilch planned for dinner. After rooting around the fridge and cupboards for a bit, I emerged with tortilla chips, chicken, taco spices, cheese, and salsa, and Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken was born!

Check this out – tortilla chips are pulverized into crumbs, seasoned with taco-inspired spices including chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and cumin, and then coated onto chicken that’s been pounded thin. After a sear in a skillet, which renders the crumbs crunchy and crispy, the chicken is topped with melty cheese and cold salsa. I liken it to a Mexican Chicken Parmesan, swapping mozzarella cheese for sharp cheddar, and marinara sauce for salsa.

I also liken it to something TOTALLY delicious – I mean look at that crust and gooey cheese! All three of us (minus cheese for Lincoln, who’s allergic to dairy,) totally inhaled this dinner that was made up on the spot!

Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken is a family-favorite. Gluten-free, and full of flavor and crunch! | iowagirleats.com

Start by making the tortilla crumbs to crust the chicken. You’ll need 6 cups tortilla chips of any kind. I’ve used regular, blue corn, and even Beanitos and they all work perfectly. Add the chips to a food processor then process until the chips have turned into crumbs. Alternatively you could crush the chips in a big Ziplock bag with a rolling pin until fine.

Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken is a family-favorite. Gluten-free, and full of flavor and crunch! | iowagirleats.com

Next, setup three shallow dishes to create the breading station for the chicken.

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In one dish add 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I used brown rice flour,) seasoned with salt and pepper, in the next dish add 2 eggs whisked with salt and pepper, and in the final dish add the tortilla chip crumbs that have been seasoned with salt, pepper, 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 3/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon cumin. 

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One at a time dunk a chicken breast (you’ll need 4 total) that’s been pounded thin into the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Next dunk into the egg mixture then the seasoned tortilla chip crumbs.

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Place the chicken onto a platter then, this is the most important part of the whole dish, refrigerate the chicken breasts for at least 15 minutes to let the crust set. If you were to immediately cook the chicken, the crust would fall right off. This short resting time will ensure the tortilla chip crumbs stay adhered to the chicken while cooking. Very important!

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Alrighty, time to cook! Drizzle enough extra virgin olive oil into the bottom of a large skillet to cover, then preheat over heat that’s just a touch above medium (6/10 on the heat scale.) Saute for 3-4 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through, turning the heat down slightly if the tortilla chips begin to burn.

When there’s 2 minutes left on the second side, divide 6oz freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese between the chicken breasts then place a lid on top and let the cheese melt.

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Last step is to plate the chicken then top with lots of cold salsa and a sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro. Crunchy, just a little bit spicy, and perfectly cheesy, this chicken dish is a WINNER! Enjoy!

Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken is a family-favorite. Gluten-free, and full of flavor and crunch! | iowagirleats.com

Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken

Description

Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken is a family-favorite. Gluten-free, and full of flavor and crunch!

Ingredients

serves 4

  • 6 cups tortilla chips (any kind, I used Beanitos)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 6oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup salsa

Directions

  1. Add tortilla chips to a food processor then process until they're fine crumbs (alternatively you could add tortilla chips to a large Ziplock bag then crush with a rolling pin.) Pour crumbs into a shallow dish then stir in salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and cumin, and then set aside.
  2. Break eggs into another shallow dish, season with salt and pepper, then whisk and set aside. Add flour to another shallow dish, season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
  3. Season chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper then one at a time dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into the eggs, and then into the tortilla crumbs. Place chicken on a platter than refrigerate for a minimum of 15 minutes (this will ensure the coating doesn't fall off during the cooking process.)
  4. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet then place over heat that's just a touch above medium (6 out of 10 on the heat scale.) Add chicken then cook for 3-4 minutes a side, or until cooked through, turning heat down slightly if crumbs begin to burn (may need to do this in two batches. Place cooked chicken on a cooling rack set atop a baking sheet to stay crisp while cooking the second batch.) When second side has 2 minutes left, divide cheese between tops of chicken breasts then cover skillet and allow cheese to melt. Plate chicken then serve with salsa.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken is a family-favorite. Gluten-free, and full of flavor and crunch! | iowagirleats.com