Oven-fried Chicken Monterey

Since my mom passed away last February, I have been trying to think of ways to pay tribute to her love for cooking and all that she taught me in the kitchen. At first, I thought a recreation of the Family Cookbook she put together years ago would be a good idea. Or maybe I could do a Family Cookbook Volume 2? Then at 3:00 a.m. this morning when my mind was racing, I had a much bigger, better idea — documenting all the amazing recipes she created and curated over the years onto a website for everyone to enjoy.

Since Brian and I have been caring for my dad, I’ve become acutely aware of just how many recipes my mom collected over the years. Some are cut out from magazines, some are written in notebooks in short-hand (which I have no idea how I’ll translate), and some are organized neatly in her collection of recipe boxes that must date back to the 70’s. Laying in bed, I discreetly started to research available domain names, not to wake Brian with the glow from my cell phone. lisascookbook.com? Taken. fromlisakitchen.com? Taken. livelikelisa.com? Taken. After about 20 more attempts, I settled on what we have today, which in my mind, could not be more perfect for this project, lisasrecipebox.com.

Now that I had a site and some semblance of an idea, what would be the first recipe to recreate? I started to pull some more complex recipes out of the boxes, but decided to go with something we needed to use in the fridge — chicken thighs. So, here we go. Oven-fried Chicken Monterey is the first recipe in the virtual box. If you have had this before or make it, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

Oven-fried Chicken Monterey

Serves: 8

Active Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes


  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 14 oz package taco seasoning mix
  • 16 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 13 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 tsp. bottled hot pepper sauce
  • 1 c. jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c. sliced olives
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Shredded lettuce for serving


  1. Combine 1/4 c. flour and taco seasoning mix in a paper or plastic bag.
  2. Add 2 or 3 chicken thighs at a time and shake to coat.
  3. Melt butter in a 15×10 baking pan.
  4. Place chicken in pan, turning once to butter surfaces.
  5. Roll chicken in crushed chips and return to pan.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45-50 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, cook onion in oil till tender, but not brown.
  8. Blend in 2 Tbsp. flour and the salt.
  9. Add evaporated milk and hot pepper sauce all at once.
  10. Cook and stir till mixture thickens and bubbles.
  11. Add cheese, olives, and lemon juice, stirring till cheese melts. Do not boil.
  12. To serve, line serving dish with leaf lettuce. Top with shredded lettuce and chicken. Spoon some cheese sauce over chicken. Garnish with additional tortilla chips and ripe olives, if desired. Pass remaining sauce.

Emily’s Notes:

  • We made this recipe with 5 chicken thighs, but kept all the other amounts the same. There might be a little more cheese sauce than you need for the chicken, but it’s pretty amazing and delicious to dip chips in!
  • I’d recommend using more taco seasoning with the flour. The recipe only calls for 1/4 oz., but I will use the whole 1 oz. package next time.
  • The original recipe didn’t specify red or green hot sauce. We used green sauce since that was what we had on-hand and it made for great flavor.
  • If your cheese sauce gets a little thick while you are waiting for the chicken to cook, add a tablespoon of regular milk, one spoonful at a time, until the sauce reaches desired consistency again.
  • We added a few diced tomatoes to the top for some added fresh flavors. It would also be good with a can of mild Ortega chilies.
  • 10/10 would make it again!
Man holding serving dish with tortilla chip crusted chicken with cheese sauce.
The finished dish is served — Oven-fried Chicken Monterey.
Chicken being shaken in a plastic bag with flour and taco seasoning.
Shake that chicken!
Pair of tongs with a piece of chicken
After the flour mixture is on the chicken, coat the chicken in butter for the crushed tortilla chips to stick.
Chicken thighs covered in tortilla chips and ready to go in the oven.
Green hot pepper sauce being added to milk and flour mixture.
Adding several (or a lot of) dashes of green chili sauce to the milk and flour mixture.
Monterey chicken sauce with cheese and olives being added.
Add the shredded Monterey jack cheese and olives to the flour and milk mixture.
Cheesy Chicken Monterey sauce is ready
So cheesy! Try not to eat all the sauce with chips at this point.
Tortilla chip crusted chicken with cheese sauce.
Oven-fried Chicken Monterey

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