Chicken With Bacon and Pepper Jack Cheese

  • 4 to 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons thick barbecue sauce
  • 4 to 6 slices pepper jack cheese
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish, optional

Grease a baking dish and set aside. Heat the oven to 375°.  Fry or bake* the bacon until almost crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Cook the bacon the day before and refrigerate for even quicker prep time.

Wash the chicken and pat dry. Put a chicken breast half between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to a uniform thickness of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Repeat with the remaining chicken breast halves.  Dredge in the flour to coat thoroughly.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the garlic half, stirring around in the butter mixture. Remove the garlic and discard after about 30 seconds.

Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned cooked through. It should register 165° on an instant read thermometer.

Arrange the chicken breasts in the baking dish. Spread about 1 tablespoon of thick barbecue sauce over each chicken breast half. Top with a slice or two of bacon. Cut bacon slices in half to cover the chicken. Top the bacon with a slice of pepper jack cheese.

Bake the chicken for about 5 to 6 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving, if desired.

*Baked Bacon: Line a large baking sheet or roasting pan with foil. Place a cooling or broiling rack in the pan. Arrange bacon slices on the rack. Bake at 375° for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bacon is as crisp as you like.

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