Monterey Chicken

Monterey Chicken

I am, before anything else, a tinkerer.  I find a recipe that looks delicious and tweak it here and there until it matches my personal tastes perfectly. So a lot of my recipes start off as being based on stuff that I find on Pinterest.

Today’s post is no exception.  I found out the night before that I had to cook for dinner group, so I had to pick something that I happened to have the ingredients for on hand.  So I picked Monterey Chicken.  I’d found a recipe on Pinterest months ago that looked highly appetizing, but I wanted to tweak just a little. This was the perfect opportunity.

I started by cooking the chicken tenderloins in the oven. I know that grilling them is ideal, but I have a great way to cook chicken in the oven that keeps it moist and flavorful.  

1)    I started by preheating my oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  The trick to moist, cooked chicken tenderloins or breast is low cook times at high temperatures. (If you’re using chicken breasts, just kick the temperature up to 450 and use the same cooking times).

2)      I have an older oven, so while it was taking its sweet time to heat, I lined a large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and sprayed the foil lightly. Have I mentioned that I hate doing dishes? This is a great way to avoid something that is too large to wash conveniently.

3)      I coated each tenderloin on both sides lightly with some mayonnaise.  Miracle Whip or other spreads work too, I just happen to prefer mayo.  Some people prefer butter, or olive oil to coat the chicken, so those are options to if you have some weird bias against mayo. Then I spaced them evenly across the pan.

4)      I put them in the now heated oven for 8 minutes, pulled them out, flipped the tenderloins, and cooked them for another 8 minutes. 

5)      Next, I pulled the pan out of the oven and turned it down to 400 degrees. While I waited for my oven to cool down, I added a mixture of my favorite barbecue sauce and sweet chili sauce on top of each tenderloin, followed by a little bit of my favorite sweet chili sauce.

6)      Then I added a few diced green chilies to each one.

7)      Sprinkled on some cheese, bacon bits, and green onions.

8)      And put them back in the oven for 4 minutes.

And itcame out deliciously well. The chicken was perfectly tender and moist. The sweet chili sauce and the green chilies added an extra bite to it that mixed well with the barbecue sauce. The saltiness of the bacon and the cheese perfectly offset the sweetness. I was a big fan.

I served it with brown rice, green beans, and my famous chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

If you want to make just a few chicken breasts or tenderloins, you can do so by not mixing the sauces and adding dollops of them separately to each breast and doing the same for the other ingredients. 

 

Recipe:

Cook time: 20 minutes  Prep time not included in cook time: 10-20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 oz) pre-cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 3 bags (2.5 lbs/40 oz. bags) thawed chicken tenderloin
  • 1 cup mayo or similar spread
  • 2-4 cups grated colby jack cheese according to taste
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced green chilies (add more for spicier taste)
  • 8 sliced green onions (more or less to taste)

Cooking process

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • While oven is heating, line a large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  • Lightly coat each chicken tenderloin (all sides) with the mayo and lay evenly on the jelly roll pan.
  • Put chicken in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, flip it, and put it in the oven again.
  • While the chicken is in the oven, mix together the barbecue sauce and the sweet chili sauce. Also make sure to chop the green onions.
  • Pull the chicken out of the oven and spread the mix of sauces on top of each tenderloin. 
  • Sprinkle green chilies over the top of the tenderloins.
  • Sprinkle cheese liberally over the chicken.
  • Sprinkle the bacon evenly over the chicken.
  • Sprinkle the green onions to taste.
  • Put back in the oven for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving