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!
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?! ?
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!)
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.
Needless to say, we have a lot to do and see over the next couple of years!
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. ?
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!
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!
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.
Next, setup three shallow dishes to create the breading station for the chicken.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken
Tortilla-Crusted Taco Chicken is a family-favorite. Gluten-free, and full of flavor and crunch!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
I made this last night and it was DELICIOUS. Seriously, one of the best dinners I’ve had in a while. I did take the lazy route and use spicy taco seasoning mix and I also skipped the flour and egg steps. But just with the seasoned tortilla chip coating, it was awesome! The cheese and salsa on top just take it over the top. So good – thank you!!
Oh I’m so glad to hear it, Amanda! Thanks so much for the great feedback!
Can you make this meal egg free? If so, what would you suggest? Looks delicious!
Hi Lindsey! This post has some suggestions that might work for you (not sure if you’re dealing with any other food allergies/sensitivities!)
I have a question- I am planning to make this meal for my family and possibly for my in-laws, who are having to be out of town a lot lately to take care of my husband’s ailing grandpa. What is the longest period of time you would say the chicken can “rest” with the chips on them? If I prepared the chicken tonight, could it rest in the refrigerator until tomorrow night, when my in-laws could then cook it for themselves, or would that be too long? Thanks for your help. I am excited to test this one out!
Hi Sarah – that’s so nice of you! I think you could let it sit overnight – 12ish hours – and it’d be just fine. :)
Great! Thanks so much!
Yum! This is going on the menu soon. I had to do a double-take when I saw the fish-tunnel picture. I have dozens of my son that look just like that since we have an annual membership :) Glad you enjoyed KC.
I’ve just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, so I’m glad to see such a large number of recipes on your site. One positive point of the diagnoses: a good excuse to spend lots of time looking at cooking blogs. :)
Definitely!! I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but you are not alone. All recipes on my site from February 2014 are completely gluten-free. I hope you find some food you’ll like! :)
These look AMAZING! So glad you also enjoyed my hometown of KC, too! So much to do there and so much good food!!!
I can’t even properly express how happy and relaxed entirely gluten-free restaurants make me feel! It’s like xanax for celiacs haha. If you’re ever in Boulder, check out Shine Restaurant. It’s absolutely wonderful and entirely GF.
Seeeeeriously – it’s paradise!!
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday 03.15.2016
I had never heard the tip about refrigerating the chicken to keep the coating on! That’s so smart! And this looks delicious :) Any time you make chips part of a meal, I’m in :)
Looks like you guys had a fun weekend!! This looks delicious!! We eat Mexican food a couple times a week! Can’t get enough!
Next time you go to KC check out DeAnna Rose farmstead, the zoo, and wonderscope. Your little guy will love them! Not to mention there are tons of amazing parks all around the area. Oh an if you go during the summer theater in the park is a must and if you go in the fall check out Louisburg Cider.
Also that recipe looks super tasty!
The plaza bunnies come out every year for Easter, along with a few other animals. The turtle is definitely funny looking.
Ah, ok! The bunnies made sense for Easter, but there were some other seriously suspect animals!
Thanks for the weeknight dinner inspiration! I made this tonight and it turned out great! I baked half of them to see how they would turn out – and they were just slightly less crispy, but still so good. Your tip in refrigerating after coating is a game changer. Our chicken spedini thanks you for it!
Glad you can use that tip moving forward – so helpful!
Michelle parker 03.14.2016
What kind of salsa is that, Kristin? If so, where can I find it in Des Moines? Always looking for good ones !
Yes you can! It’s called Melina’s Salsa and it. is. the. BEST! I find it in the HyVee Health Market.
Michelle parker 03.14.2016
Thank you ?
It was a busy weekend here in KC with the Big 12 tournament! Glad you had a good time and so glad you discovered T.Loft…. isn’t it the best?! They have one out south where I live in the burbs as well. Love everything on the menu!
SO good – I am dying for a place like that around here!
I laughed aloud at the photo of Lincoln and the turtle seriously in need of orthodontia! The chicken recipe sounds delish. Thank you for both!!
Seriously, there were too many strange ones to count. No idea what they are there for! ?
Jen Kahler 03.14.2016
I think this will be in my meal rotation this week – looks lovely! I have to ask – I am without a food processor but am in the market. Do you have a favorite, or a particular brand that you’d recommend? I’d like to get one that will be a well rounded machine, and since half of what I make is your recipes, it seemed like a good idea to ask your opinion! (My husband and I are both gluten free as well!)
Yes I definitely do! I LOVE my Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor. It comes with a slicing and grating blade too – I use it all.the.time!
Jen Fitz 03.14.2016
What kind of rice did you make to go with the chicken? That looks good too!
That’s just 1 cup long grain white rice cooked in 1-1/2 cups chicken broth + 1/2 cup salsa! :)
I can’t wait to try this! It sounds amazing. Have you ever tried using the Daiya brand cheese for Lincoln? My son is also allergic to dairy and he loves the stuff. Just thought I’d put that out there. Sometimes my little guy feels left out when people get to eat stuff he doesn’t, so it’s nice to have. Thanks for all your amazing recipes!
We use Daiya for pizza night! I haven’t tried it with this recipe because I’ve cut his chicken into tenders so he can eat them like chicken fingers. He especially likes the blue corn chip ones which we call “Cookie Monster chicken”. Big hit! ?
Brittany | Words Like Honeycomb 03.14.2016
oooooooooh my goodness <3 haaaaappening! Thanks for the tip about refrigerating the chicken breasts!! I have done a similar recipe and had that crust falling off situation :( Cant wait to try this :) Your recipes are allllways delicious and a favorite in our home!
[email protected] 03.14.2016
All I can say is OLE! Loving this 4:30 pm inspiration. Glad you guys had such a fun trip too!
Kelli @ Hungry Hobby 03.14.2016
Mexican food is pretty much a win no matter what, this looks DELICIOUS! I’ve used vegetable root chips before for breading but never gone for the gold and used tortilla chips, that sounds amazing! Looks like you guys had a lot of fun!