This recipe came to me in a ketogenic fever-dream. I haven't always been the biggest fan of ranch dressing, but have always loved dry ranch wings from any wing restaurant that makes them. So, I was wanting a dry ranch moment without dealing with the mess of making wings, and knew I had bacon and cheddar cheese and I thought - let's just combine 'em all. I will say - this isn't too ranch-heavy, so if you don't love ranch (or your husband doesn't, a la Ryan), then this won't be overwhelming, it will just add a little herby garlicky flavor.
What you'll need: chicken tenderloin pieces, dry ranch seasoning (either the packet or the big bottle that I recently discovered existed), bacon, and sliced cheddar cheese. Definitely experiment with a different flavor of cheese if cheddar isn't your style. I will say, don't use shredded cheese; it just makes a mess.
Lay the bacon on a foil-lined sheet tray and place in a cold oven. Start the preheat for 375, cook until pliable but not fully cooked. In my oven it takes 13 minutes to reach 375 degrees, and I cooked the bacon an additional 9 minutes. I used thick-cut bacon, so if you're using a thinner cut, cook for less time. Let cool until warm but not too hot to handle.
I typically make 9 chicken fingers when I make this recipe. 2 for me for dinner, 3 for Ryan for dinner, and 4 leftover for both of our lunches. You may see that I have 10 slices of bacon on this sheet tray and think, "...But Savannah, you just said you were making 9 chicken fingers? Why are there 10 slices of bacon?" Because I didn't want to deal with putting it back in the package neatly, and sometimes you just need a snack.
Sprinkle some ranch seasoning on a plate, lay the chicken on top, then cover with more ranch seasoning. Let sit while the bacon cooks. When you go to wrap the chicken in the bacon later, the chicken will be a little gummy from the ranch seasoning. Don't worry, that just means the flavor has really gotten in there. However, if you want to avoid that, dry the chicken really well before covering in ranch seasoning, and don't let it dry marinate as long - maybe only 3-5 minutes.
Wrap each piece of chicken in a slice of bacon and place on a rack* over the same sheet tray you cooked the bacon on. The rack will ensure the heat gets all the way around the chicken fingers, making sure the chicken cooks quickly and the bacon gets crispy. Also, one pan dinner!
*You don't have to use a rack over a sheet tray if you don't have a rack. Just make it straight on the hot sheet tray. The first time I made this, I baked the chicken fingers in a casserole dish and I didn't get the crispiness I desired. Also - I don't like to bake my bacon on the rack if I'm only par-cooking it initially, because it sticks. This is all personal preference of course - you do you.
Bake in the 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Take out, top each chicken finger with half a slice of cheese, return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
These come out so cheesy but also crispy and tender and juicy and are one of my most recent obsessions. I like to serve them with just a veggie on the side - grilled zucchini here - and some of Kyndra Holley's ranch dressing. I absolutely love her blog and her cookbook, Craveable Keto, is where I got the recipe for her ranch dressing.
I really hope you make these tonight and that they become a regular in your house. They're easy and extremely satisfying.
Ingredients (there's only FOUR!):
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