Posted by: Erica Retrochef | October 8, 2012

Cheese Baked Chicken (from the Garden of Eatin’)

A few weeks ago, as part of the Church Lady Casserole Challenge, we picked out a recipe for Retro Ruth to make, from the “Garden of Eatin'” cookbook. Well, the book seemed so charming, Buzz decided that we ought to make something out of it ourselves. He selected this recipe, for two reasons: first, it looked pretty simple; second, it involves meat covered in melted cheese, which is a concept that he loves. (As an added bonus, this dish was invented by the same woman, Georgia Perron, as came up with the Sausage Apple Noodle Casserole we stuck Ruth with.)

I love that drawing. Adam and Eve, with a giant pie and a giant fork. And the title’s just puntastic.


chicken parts to serve 2
1/4 bottled French dressing
2 tbls chopped onions
2 tbls parmesan cheese grated

Combine dressing & onion. Brush all over chicken pieces. Place in single layer in baking dish. Bake at 375 for 50 min. Baste chicken with drippings. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese… bake 10 min. more.

A very simple ingredient list — chicken, salad dressing, cheese, and onion. This is either very clever, or very scary.

Our guest photographer this week is the kindergartener of the house. That’s why all the photos were taken at approximately waist height.

Once the sad excuse for a “sauce” is on the chicken, it has to bake for a while.

The chicken was basted, hopefully magically making things better somehow.

The recipe called for a fairly large amount of cheese, but we were happy to oblige. That orange chicken just isn’t promising good things.

And the melted Parmesan does cover everything up nicely. But is it enough?

This was pretty bad. I mean, there was no obvious disgusting flavor to it, but that’s because there were no particularly obvious flavors at all. Any bite that didn’t have cheese, even if it was well-soaked in French dressing and onions, was totally bland. I don’t think the onions even added anything — I forgot they were there until I ate one and was surprised by the crunchy-squishy texture. Mrs. Perron, I’m disappointed!

Recipe comes from the Festival ’77 Garden of Eatin’ cookbook, published by the Church of the Ascension in Virginia Beach, VA.



  1. It’s a shame that the dish was sub-par. But I love that cookbook!

  2. Ah! Church potluck dishes!!

    I guess because so-called French Dressing is basically oil, vinegar, ketchup (with a significant amount of sugar), a tiny bit of Worcestershire and paprika, it really is basically orange and sweet-vinegary… which might work passably well for salad greens, which have not much in terms of flavor to enhance, but for chicken…? Well, I guess it assures that it was tender?

    Yeah, I can see why the cheese didn’t help this one.

    Well done for the kindergartener, though. Some good photography there!

  3. The french dressing is just another marinade, perhaps marinating overnight might have helped. I don’t get why they would put parmesan on top, though, it doesn’t seem to go with the other ingredients.

  4. Lassie beat me to the punch. I was going to say, poke WELL with a fork, apply dressing and let sit overnight, assemble per directions. Personally I think boneless / skinless chicken has all the appeal of an old flip flop. There’s just nothing there to give the breast meat any flavor.

    Maybe onion salt would work better too, in the ‘marinade’ instead of the onion pieces.

  5. Just as a point of information, this exact same recipe (except they use Italian dressing) is currently featured on the Kraft Recipe website. The chicken STILL has to be marinated overnight for any flavor.

  6. I made a similar recipe on the 90’s but I added apricot jam and didn’t use cheese. It was better.

  7. Well French Dressing depends on the age of your cookbook older recipes for french dressing are basically just a garlic, vinegar, and olive oil sort of thing, which I think would be better than anything with ketchup.

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