1 tablespoon olive oil 4 thin boneless skinless chicken breasts or 2 thick ones cut in half lengthwise kosher salt freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup barbecue sauce use your favorite brand 1 cup Monterey Jack and cheddar blend 4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled 1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes 1 green onion thinly sliced
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MONTEREY CHICKEN

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Delicious Monterey Chicken: A Flavorful Weeknight Dinner Option

Looking for a simple yet delicious dinner idea? Look no further than Monterey Chicken! This recipe combines juicy chicken breasts with tangy barbecue sauce, melted cheese, crispy bacon, and fresh toppings for a meal that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds. Plus, it’s easy to customize with your favorite ingredients and can even be adapted for keto and low-carb diets. Let’s dive into the recipe and discover how to make this mouthwatering dish!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 2 thick ones, cut in half lengthwise)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (use your favorite brand)
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack and cheddar blend
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Season the Chicken: Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Cook the Chicken: In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through.
  4. Add the Toppings: Spread barbecue sauce evenly over each chicken breast. Top with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, diced tomatoes, and sliced green onion.
  5. Bake: Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Serve: Remove the skillet from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Serve the Monterey Chicken hot, garnished with additional sliced green onions if desired.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Thick vs. Thin Chicken Breasts: If using thick chicken breasts, consider cutting them in half lengthwise to ensure they cook evenly and more quickly.
  • Barbecue Sauce Variations: Feel free to use your favorite barbecue sauce or experiment with different flavors, such as honey mustard or sriracha.
  • Cheese Options: Mix up the cheese blend by using different varieties such as Pepper Jack, mozzarella, or provolone.
  • Vegetarian Option: For a vegetarian version, substitute the chicken with grilled portobello mushrooms or tofu slices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Can I grill the chicken instead of baking it?

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  • Yes, you can grill the chicken breasts on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan instead of baking them. Simply cook them over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side, then add the toppings and let them melt before serving.

2. How can I make this recipe keto-friendly?

  • To make a keto-friendly version of Monterey Chicken, use sugar-free barbecue sauce and omit the tomatoes. You can also substitute the barbecue sauce with a homemade low-carb version using ingredients like tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and keto-friendly sweeteners.

3. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can prepare the chicken breasts and add the toppings ahead of time, then bake them just before serving. Alternatively, you can assemble the dish and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking.

4. What sides go well with Monterey Chicken?

  • This dish pairs well with a variety of sides such as mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, corn on the cob, or a simple side salad.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

For those following a ketogenic or low-carb lifestyle, you can easily modify the Monterey Chicken recipe to fit your dietary preferences. Here’s how:

Keto Version:

  • Substitute the barbecue sauce with a keto-friendly version made with tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and a keto-friendly sweetener like erythritol or stevia.
  • Use sugar-free bacon or omit it altogether to reduce the carbohydrate content.
  • Instead of using diced tomatoes, opt for cherry tomatoes in moderation or omit them entirely to further reduce carb intake.
  • Ensure the cheese blend is low in carbohydrates or use a combination of keto-friendly cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, and cream cheese.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Choose a low-sugar or sugar-free barbecue sauce to minimize carbohydrate content.
  • Use turkey bacon or omit the bacon entirely for a lower-fat and lower-carb option.
  • Reduce the amount of tomatoes used in the recipe or replace them with low-carb vegetables like bell peppers or zucchini.
  • Consider using a smaller amount of cheese or a low-fat cheese option to lower the overall calorie and fat content of the dish.

By making these simple substitutions and adjustments, you can enjoy a delicious Monterey Chicken dish while staying within your keto or low-carb diet goals.

Monterey Chicken is a versatile and flavorful dish that can easily be customized to suit various dietary preferences and restrictions. Whether you’re following a keto, low-carb, or traditional diet, this recipe offers a delicious combination of tender chicken, tangy barbecue sauce, melted cheese, crispy bacon, and fresh toppings. With its simple preparation and satisfying flavors, Monterey Chicken is sure to become a go-to meal for busy weeknights or casual dinners with family and friends. So why not give this delicious recipe a try and enjoy a tasty and satisfying meal that everyone will love?