Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Cheddar-Mustard Sauce

by Cate on September 21, 2007

I debated about writing tonight. The Husband’s dad died today. Although he was relatively young, he’s been in declining health for awhile. No matter the circumstances, it’s never easy. At first I was going to skip tonight, but then I remembered when The Neighbor Wife’s dad died, she came here looking for a distraction (bathing beauties!), and as Nicholas and I sit and wait for The Husband to come home, a distraction it is. I’ll tell you about a new chicken recipe we had earlier in the week, Rachael Ray’s Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Cheddar-Mustard Sauce (a recipe I found in Rachael’s 365: No Repeats, but she also made on her show on an episode with Jessica Simpson, which you can watch right here).

The chicken could not have been more moist or yummy. The sauce? Pass. Cheese sauce should be thick, rich and creamy. This was none of those and a waste of three cups of grated cheese. But the chicken, totally worth it, and as Madeline says, “it’s a keeper.”

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Cheddar-Mustard Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

4 quart-size plastic food storage bags
4 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 5-ounce bag of salted pretzels, any shape
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3/4 pound, about 2 1/2 cups, sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
2 heaping tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, a generous handful, chopped
1/4 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large sour dill pickle, finely chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Yields: 4 servings

Preheat a large non-stick skillet with a 1/4-inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle a little water into four medium food storage baggies. Place 1 chicken breast in each bag and seal it up, pushing out excess air. Use the bottom of a heavy pot or pan and pound each breast until flat, just shy of busting out of the bag. Repeat with the other 3 chicken breasts.

Place the pretzels in a food processor or blender and grind until fine. Transfer the ground pretzels to a shallow dish, add the thyme and some salt and pepper. Crack and beat 2 eggs in a second shallow dish with a splash of water. One at a time, coat each chicken breast in the egg and then the ground pretzels.

Add the pretzel-coated chicken breast to the hot oil. Cook in a single layer, in 2 batches if necessary, about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear and breading is evenly browned.

While the chicken is frying, in a medium saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook flour and butter for 1 minute and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese and mustard with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper, and remove cheese sauce from the heat.

Transfer the fried pretzel-crusted chicken breast to a serving plate, drizzle with the mustard cheddar sauce, then sprinkle with a little parsley, finely chopped onion and sour dill pickle. Serve lemon wedges alongside.

Cate’s Notes: Skip the sauce.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire September 21, 2007 at 1:38 am

Oh, I am so sorry to hear about The Husband’s dad. That’s so hard no matter how long they’ve been in bad health. The chicken look really good. may have to play around with the sauce some.


Pam September 21, 2007 at 1:50 am

This is one of my favorite blogs to read. I don’t post often (ever, really) but I wanted to say that I am so sorry for the loss that your family has suffered. Take care of your family.


Anonymous September 21, 2007 at 2:19 am

Last night at church we discussed death. I hope your family is at peace tonight knowing that your father in law is in heaven praising God. It is this faith and hope that get us through these sad times.


Kelly Mahoney September 21, 2007 at 3:42 am

I’m sorry to hear about the loss in your family. I’ll be sending positive thoughts your way.


mdvelazquez September 21, 2007 at 12:35 pm

My condolences on the loss of your FIL.


Alisha September 21, 2007 at 1:51 pm

I’m so sorry for you family’s loss, Cate. My deepest condolences.


Anonymous September 21, 2007 at 2:15 pm

To The Husband and Sister-in-Law,

I’m sorry sorry to hear about your Dad. You’re both in my thoughts and prayers.

Cate-I can’t believe it’s been 2 years already. The kids look so cute.

The Neighbors (wife)


Sarah Caron September 21, 2007 at 3:50 pm


I am so sorry for your family’s loss. And you are right, it’s never easy whether it comes suddenly like this or after a long illness.

As for the chicken, I am SO trying that. Do you think that the cheese sauce would benefit at all from the omission of the (EWWWW!) mustard?


Erika W. September 21, 2007 at 5:34 pm

((Cate and Family))

I’ll be keeping your family in my prayers for the days ahead of you.


Anonymous September 21, 2007 at 6:43 pm

I am very sorry for your loss. Enjoy every day you have with your loved ones.


Cynthia September 22, 2007 at 12:52 am

Cate, my sympathies to you, your husband and the family. Sorry to hear you all lost a loved one.


Kalyn September 22, 2007 at 4:16 am

Hi Cate,
Sorry to hear about the death of your father-in-law. It’s always difficult no matter the age of the person or the circumstances. Please give my best wishes to your husband and family.


Anonymous September 22, 2007 at 1:00 pm

From The Husband, I would like to thank everyone who sent their condolences and their thoughts to my family. Thank you all.


Anonymous September 23, 2007 at 9:45 am

My sympathies to all of you, Cate. It’s never easy. Thoughts and prayers are with you, dh and your family.


Sophie October 4, 2007 at 3:46 am

wow, this is such a cool idea!


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