The first thing to do is melt a little butter (about a Tblsp.) in the bottom of a skillet for which you have a tight-fitting lid. If you are a conscientious objector when it comes to butter, you could use a little olive oil or (gasp!) go completely rogue and use a modern non-stick pan without any fat. Do this right over the firebox.
Next, place pieces of boneless chicken in the hot butter. Ideally, you would have had time to defrost these, but I've made this several times when that wasn't the case, and everything works just fine. Sprinkle the tops of the chicken pieces with the seasoning of your choice. I was in a hurry and unashamedly used Mrs. Dash.
At this point, you could begin to fry one slice of bacon for each piece of chicken that you are cooking. In the pictures below, we used pre-cooked bacon which had been given to us.
|A glimpse of the chicken after the lid has been on for awhile|
and it has been turned once.
Once the chicken has browned a bit on both sides, you can move the chicken away from the fire to a much lower heat to continue cooking until it is done, keeping the lid on the skillet. For the boneless thighs that you see in the picture, they were basically cooked by the time they had gotten to this point, but keep in mind that they were considerably thinner than what a chicken breast would be, for example. I always cut into the thickest piece of chicken to see if the juices run clear in order to tell whether it is cooked.
|The chicken is completely cooked and has been moved over|
to the coolest part of the cooktop near the reservoir.
|Thick slices of Monterey Jack cheese on each piece of chicken.|
|Cooked bacon strips added to the top of the chicken and cheese.|
|Poor Man's Chicken Monterey, a brown rice and mushroom pilaf|
that I concocted (which Nancy tasted and spit out and I considered
delicious) and fresh pineapple wedges: our noon dinner two
Here are some variations of this dish that we think have been successful:
1. Instead of bacon, sliced, canned mushrooms make a delicious and low-fat (but not low-sodium) substitute.
2. When they are in season, a slice of ripe tomato between the chicken and the cheese is very appetizing. Wait to put on the cheese until the tomato has cooked a little, though. I have also used home-canned, whole tomatoes in the same manner and had good results.
3. I have eaten a similar, fancier version of Chicken Monterey that was cooked under a broiler where slices of artichoke hearts were put on top of the chicken with the slice of fresh tomato.
As I've done it here, this dish is embarrassingly easy, but it is a tasty main dish for a busy day.