Crispy Baked Pizza Cheez-it Chicken Bites

This recipe is sponsored by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. As always, all opinions and writings are my own. Thank you to my sponsors who allow me to continue producing free recipes!  #MVCheezIt #CollectiveBias

Looking for a fun way to serve up some chicken? Coat in crushed Cheez-its, flavor with italian seasoning, and bake to crisp perfection. Tender on the inside, crunchy on the outside. The flavor is amazing and everyone loved these!

cheez-it-chicken-4

Chicken bites. Chicken nuggets. No matter what you call them is fine by me as long as you try them coated in Cheez-its sometime in your life.

I recently got the opportunity to work with Cheez-It for a little collaboration. Surely you know how much I love yummy snacks by now, so a recipe combining my beloved chicken bites and my new favorite snack food was an easy choice. For these chicken bites, I used the new Cheez-it Grooves. Let me just tell you, these are awesome.  I got mine at Target in the cracker aisle:

target-cheez-it

Cheez-Its are on sale for 3/$8 at Target – You can use Target’s Cartwheel app to save an additional 35% off of this sale price when they buy 3 boxes of Cheez-Its.

big-cheez-its

Of course when I went to Target for Cheez-It grooves, I just had to get myself a box of the Big Cheez-its. I’m obsessed with these!! I always have been, and I’m pretty sure I always will be. These chicken bites totally steal the spotlight, but you betcha I had a bowl of these out for our hungry basketball game watchers while I was making these chicken bites for them. Okay, okay, maybe the bowl was just for me, but shhh don’t tell them!

I can’t wait to try all the other flavors. Right now Cheez-it is running a Most Valuable Cheese Contest from Feb – April 2015, where you can vote on your favorite Cheez-It flavors and play games for a chance to win $10,000!! Click here for more details. 🙂

cheez-it-chicken

Chicken bites are a food everyone seems to love. And we eat them in many different ways – baked (my favorite!), fried, chopped up in salads, lunch, dinner, with ketchup, BBQ, honey mustard, all the condiments. For us, these easy chicken bites and basketball games go hand in hand around here… I made these as an easy dinner one night while we were watch our home team play basketball, and I LOVED how easy and delicious they were. Since I have made these for every basketball game night! Part of it is me being lazy since they’re so simple and an even bigger part of it is because they are soooo good!

Since these chicken bites aren’t fried, it’s important to smother them in lots of flavor before going into the oven. This way, you won’t feel like you’re missing out by eating a healthier version.

THIS chicken gets coated in an Italian seasoned flour, a tomato sauce/egg mixture, and then crushed cheddar Cheez-it Grooves.All the flavors come together to create the most glorious pizza flavor. Served with a little barbecue sauce, and it tastes like barbecue chicken pizza. This dish is by far our favorite way to enjoy chicken bites.

cheez-it-chicken-2

If you want an ultra crunchy coating for your baked chicken fingers – go with crushed Cheez-it Grooves.Cheez-it Grooves are crispier than the original Cheez-It’s, which makes them perfect for coating chicken bites with because the crust stays crispy, while the chicken inside stays moist and tender – just like fried chicken, but so much healthier!  Other than the flavor, the texture is the BEST part about the recipe!! We ate the whole plate in about 15 seconds flat.

I also love that these chicken bites are baked not fried. We felt a little better eating these compared to chicken bites served at a restaurant. There’s just really no need for oil clogging the coating and taking away from the crunchy, salty, cheesy taste.

These are perfect for any occasion… we LOVE serving them as an easy dinner when we watch our

cheez-it-chicken-3

Serve with BBQ sauce for dipping. Who says baked versions of fried food just aren’t the same? Clearly they’ve never had these chicken bites before. We’re obsessed.

They’re so crispy!

Crispy Baked Pizza Cheez-it Chicken Bites

Looking for a fun way to serve up some chicken? Coat in crushed Cheez-its, flavor with italian seasoning, and bake to crisp perfection. Tender on the inside, crunchy on the outside. The flavor is amazing and everyone loved these!

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken tenders (cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoons water
1 and 1/2 cups finely crushed Original Cheez-It Grooves (or more, as needed)
nonstick spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or coat heavily with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine flour Italian seasoning in a shallow dish. Beat eggs, tomato paste, and water in another shallow dish. Pour Cheez-Its into a third shallow dish. Coat each chicken piece in flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then generously roll in the Cheez-its, shaking off any excess. Add more crushed Cheez-Its to the dish if you are running low. Place the chicken bites on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray each with nonstick spray to “seal” the breading, which will prevent the breading from staying raw and allows it to bake onto the chicken fingers.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn each piece over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the centers are cooked through, about 6-8 minutes more. Baking times may vary, just make sure yours are cooked through. If you like them more brown, bake longer. Serve with barbecue sauce or any other sauce. Enjoy!
  4. Baked chicken fingers freeze well, up to 2 months. Bake frozen for about 15 minutes (flipping once) at 300F degrees.