Cooking & Food Science Lesson Plan
Who doesn’t love food? It’s fun to make, it’s fun to eat, it’s fun to study. That’s right! There is a lot of science that goes into the everyday foods that you love. Explore questions such as how baking ingredients work, how and why certain ingredients mix well together, and why people’s tastes differ. Teaching consumers how to cook is one of the best things you can do to prepare them for independent living.
Crack Chicken/Rice Pilaf
Why Is It Called Cracked Chicken?
So, what is crack chicken, you ask? The story goes that “crack” is actually the term for a combination of ingredients: cream cheese, ranch seasoning, cheddar, and bacon.
What Is Crack Chicken Made Of?
I go over the key ingredients for this cheesy ranch chicken dish below. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for a full ingredient list and detailed instructions.
- Bacon– I like to buy thick-cut bacon as it dices up nicely. You can make this recipe with turkey bacon if you’d prefer a leaner variety.
- Chicken– Boneless, skinless chicken works best here. I use chicken breasts, but thighs are great, too. If you’re working with larger chicken breasts, pound them to about ¼ inch thick before you start.
- Cream Cheese– You can use full-fat or low-fat cream cheese, but you’ll want to use the cream cheese that comes in blocks, rather than the spreadable kind that comes in tubs. Take your cream cheese out of the fridge so that it can soften.
- Ranch Seasoning– I make my own homemade ranch seasoning with garlic powder, onion powder, dill, and chives. You can also substitute this with a store ranch seasoning mix.
- Cheddar Cheese– Shredded white cheddar, yellow cheddar, or a combination of both.
- Cook the bacon. First, you’ll fry up the diced bacon to get it nice and crispy. Remove the bacon but leave the bacon grease in the skillet. Because ~flavor~.
- Prepare the chicken. Next, season the chicken breasts and then sear them on both sides until browned, and arrange the chicken in a baking dish.
- Add the “crack” ingredients.Combine the ranch seasoning with cream cheese, then spread the mixture over the chicken breasts. Sprinkle on the cooked crispy bacon and top with shredded cheese.
- Bake. Bake the cracked chicken in the oven at 400ºF for 15 minutes, until the chicken breasts are cooked through, and everything is melty and golden. Garnish with fresh parsleyor scallions and serve!
Tips for Success
This baked crack chicken is so simple to make, it’s practically guaranteed to come out ahhhmazing!!!!😊.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Use skinless, boneless chicken. This cuts down on the fat and makes the dish less greasy.
- Use real bacon. Bacon bits tend to taste artificial and make this recipe overly salty. I mean, what’s more tasty than real bacon?! 😊
- Try a different cheese. In place of cheddar, make it spicy with Pepper Jack, or try another kind of melty cheese like Colby Jack, provolone, or Swiss cheese.
- Don’t overcook. Overcooked chicken will be tough and dry instead of tender and juicy. Make sure that you check the chicken for doneness towards the end of the baking time, as not all ovens bake the same.
- To check that your chicken is done baking, take the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. According to the S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE(USDA), chicken is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
- Double the recipe. Double the recipe and have leftovers on hand for easy lunches and dinners throughout the week. Crack chicken freezes well, too, see below for details.
- Don’t feel like turning on the oven? Other options is try this recipe as Instant Pot crack chickenor slow cooker crack chicken.
Can I Use Frozen Chicken?
Yes, but if you’re using frozen chicken breasts or thighs, make sure that the chicken is completely thawed beforehand. Chicken that’s not defrosted will take longer to bake and can make the dish watery.
Question that you sometimes ask me.
Why is my crack chicken watery?
The melted cheese may look a bit liquid when the crack chicken is just out of the oven. If your crack chicken is too watery (if you use frozen chicken that isn’t 100% thawed, or the chicken was “plumped” with water), feel free to scoop out the excess liquid with a spoon.
Do you bake chicken covered or uncovered?
For this crack chicken recipe, you’ll want to bake your chicken breasts uncovered. This allows the cheese to melt and brown.
What to Serve With Crack Chicken
Now that your crack chicken is baked all golden and cheesy, it’s time to pair it with some tasty side dishes! Here are some of my favorite ideas to turn this ranch chicken into a meal:
- Serve crack chicken with a side of green vegetables like steamed or roasted broccoli, carrots and green beans, or a baked potato.
- Dish up your chicken over a bed of fluffy white rice or brown rice (or try a savory rice pilaf). If you’re keeping your meal keto, serve it with cauliflower rice.
- Round out dinner with a family-sized Caesar salad, a leafy garden salad, or a grilled zucchini salad.
- Serve keto crack chicken with low-carb keto breadsticks or a side of cloud bread. Fluffy bread is perfect for sopping up the extra melted cheese!
This rice pilaf is made with orzo pasta, long grain white rice, onion, garlic, chicken broth, and just a little salt. It’s a super easy recipe that makes a fantastic side dish for chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and more! Best of all, the rice turns out perfectly fluffy and flavorful in about 30 minutes!
Servings: 4 servings
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30minutes minutes
Total Time: 35minutes minutes
🔪 How to Make Rice Pilaf
- Butter – 2 tablespoons of butter or one of these butter substitutes.
- Onion – ½ cup of diced white or yellow onion.
- Garlic – 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
- White Rice – ½ cup long grain white rice
- Chicken Broth – 2 cups of chicken broth, chicken stock, or a chicken broth
- Salt – ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Parsley or Cilantro(optional) – 1 tablespoon of chopped Parsley or Cilantro for garnish.
How to make rice Pilar
- Making rice pilaf is about as easy as making any rice, just with a few extra steps. You’ll need a knife for dicing the onion and garlic, a fine mesh sieve for rinsing the rice, and a skillet.
- This makes about 4 servings of rice pilaf, but you can always double all the ingredients if you need more. Just be sure to use a large skillet or Dutch oven!
Step by step:
Rinse your rice under cold water for a few minutes until the water runs clear. Set aside
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the orzo pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo turns golden brown.
½ cup orzo pasta, 2 tablespoon butter
Add the onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
½ cup onion,2 cloves garlic
Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes
After 10 minutes have passed, turn off the heat and let your rice pilaf sit covered for another 10 minutes as the pasta and rice continue to cook.
Use a fork to fluff the rice pilaf before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley if desired.
1 tablespoon chopped parsley.
Rinse the rice. Rinse your rice under cold water for a few minutes until the water runs clear. Set aside.
Sauté onions and garlic. Add ½ cup of diced onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until translucent, then add 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Add remaining ingredients. Add ½ cup of long-grain white rice, 2 cups of chicken broth, and ½ teaspoon of salt to the pan and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil.
Simmer. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Let sit. After 10 minutes have passed, turn off the heat and let your rice pilaf sit covered for another 10 minutes as the pasta and rice continue to cook.
Fluff. Use a fork to fluff the rice pilaf before serving. Garnish with 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley if desired.
Tips & Recipe Notes
- Rinsing the rice is optional, but it yields the fluffiest, tastiest results.
- Add a bouillon cube to the boiling chicken broth for a robust chicken flavor. If you do, I recommend omitting the extra salt because there is plenty in the bouillon cube.
- Any long-grain white rice will do; my favorites are Jasmine and Basmati rice.
- Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, chives, and even mint, make an excellent addition to this rice pilaf if you want to add a little extra flavor.
- To store: Cooled leftovers can be put into an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- To freeze: Once the leftovers have cooled, place them in a heavy-duty freezer bag and squeeze the air. Seal it tightly, and your rice pilaf will keep well frozen for up to 3 months.
- To reheat: Reheat your rice pilaf in the microwave or stovetop over medium-low heat until warm. Add a splash of broth to keep it from drying out.
Calories: 222kcal (11%) | Carbohydrates: 35g (12%) | Protein: 5g (10%) | Fat: 6g (9%) | Saturated Fat: 4g (25%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 17mg (6%) | Sodium: 776mg (34%) | Potassium: 132mg (4%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 2g (2%) | Vitamin A: 262IU (5%) | Vitamin C: 3mg (4%) | Calcium: 26mg (3%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
Everyone To Clean Up:
- Cleaning up stations. Wipe down all surfaces used tables, countertops, stove, microwave, refrigerator.
- Clean off all floors (sweep and mop) and vacuum surrounding areas.
- Unload (if there are any in the dishwasher) load dishwasher and wash containers and pots (hand washing dishes).
- Trash- take to the dumpster.
- Laundry (if there are some kitchen towels in the basket) and ect…
Thank you for coming and participating in the cooking class, with much love Ms. Ruth ❤️
Have a wonderful day! 😊