Monterey Chicken

Remember last post when I mentioned how food prepared at home tastes so much better then the kind you order out in a restaurant? It’s true, but sometimes you just want to splurge. You want that cheesy, bacony piece of chicken smothered with bbq sauce and those smashed potatoes covered in gravy but you don’t want to injest over 50 grams of fat and 900 calories. Welcome to my world, all the things I crave but refuse to let myself eat. So what do you do, well you get creative and create your own healthier version at home. Use organic chicken breasts, low sodium bacon, reduced fat cheese and those gravy covered, butter injected smashed potatoes are still there just made with a lot less butter and reduced fat sour cream for richness. I’m not sure how the calorie and fat grams stack up against the restaurant version but I know I don’t feel like I ate a house afterwards. And this version is more tender and juicy then any I have had in a restaurant and loaded with so much flavor your family will quickly be requesting this on a weekly basis. And the best part, it’s on the table in less then 30 minutes…in my opinion you just can’t beat that!

Monterey Chicken
Serves 4

To Make the Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 strips low sodium bacon
4 teaspoons of your favorite BBQ sauce
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, this go round I used cheddar but it’s entirely your preference (quick tip: this is the time to break out the box grater, block cheese is much cheaper then the pre packaged shredded kind and tastes so much better)

Start by placing 4 bacon strips in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook until crispy, then remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat and return to medium heat. Season chicken breasts on both sides liberally with salt and pepper then add to pan. Cook breasts about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on their thickness. Once browned, top each chicken breast with 1 teaspoon of BBQ sauce, 1 strip of bacon (I break mine into pieces to cover the entire breast) and a good sprinkling of cheese. Turn heat to low and cover the pan to melt the cheese and finish cooking (about 2-3 minutes). Remove and serve on top of the below garlic smashed potatoes along side a fresh steamed veggie. For me it’s broccoli and for the boy it’s an extra helping of potatoes, no broccoli for him.

To Make the Garlic Smashed Potatoes:
4 medium red potatoes, washed well and cut into cubes…leave the skin on!
2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream

Cut up potatoes, place them in a medium sauce pan and cover with water. Add smashed garlic cloves, a good dose of salt and bring to boil over medium high heat. Boil until potatoes are fork tender. At this point you can choose to remove the garlic cloves or just mash them up with the potatoes, I go back and forth on this, just depends on the amount of garlic flavor you want in your dish. Drain potatoes but leave just a little bit of water in the bottom, I think it helps to keep them moist when mashing. Add in the butter and sour cream and lots and lots of fresh cracked black pepper. Grab your potato masher and mash away until you get to your desired level of mashy-ness. I like mine a little clumpy so instead of a potato masher I just use a fork to break them up. Stir well to combine the butter and sour cream throughout and season to taste. Then, if you’re like me, add it more cracked black pepper!


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