This recipe is a healthier twist on the classic Mexican snack. It is a medium difficulty recipe, however it is explained in a way that will make it easier for beginners. The actual recipe is written in plain font, but I have inserted my own notes in italics. My notes are not needed for the recipe, but they do help you if you want some extra advice.
In this recipe you will need: 4 medium size russet potatoes, 1-2 cups shredded cheese of any kind, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, spices (paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme), 3 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs butter, 2 tbs flour, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 chicken breast.
You could also use these optional toppings: cooked bacon, green onions, red or white onions, tomatoes, sour cream, jalapenos, beans, spinach, and mushrooms.
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Step 1: Important Cooking Skills to Know
Place whatever you are trying to cut on a secure cutting board and place your hand on it gently to avoid movement. Keep your fingers well away from the blade and cut in a shearing motion to allow the blade to slice through the ingredient. Do not try to cut quickly, it is dangerous. Using a sharper knife will allow you to cut easier.
All seasoning is to taste. If you don’t like something, then don’t include it. Alternatively, if you like a certain spice you could add it or use more of it. Potatoes are fairly plain, so it is easy to make them taste good with many different spices.
It is much easier to cook when you have a well-organized space with everything pre-prepared. Many chefs will pre-measure everything they need into small bowls then add it when ready. Other chefs will not even touch the stove until everything is cut and mixed together.
Step 2: Step 1
Preheat the oven to 450°F. While the oven preheats, wash and scrub the potatoes.
It is important that the oven is preheated or else the cooking time could vary.
Step 3: Step 2
Slice the potatoes into ¼ inch slices. Place in a largemixing bowl with 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Mix together until all slices are well coated.
The only important spices are salt and pepper. You could use different ones depending on taste. If you like your potatoes a little spicier, you could add paprika, cayenne, or even chili powder.
Step 4: Step 3
Place potatoes flat on a well-oiled baking sheet, place in oven for 20 minutes, take out, flip, and bake them again for 20 minutes. The potatoes should be slightly crispy and brown, but not burnt.
Baking time may vary depending on the pan you use. A good rule of thumb is to take off 2 minutes if you are using a dark pan since they tend to retain heat better.
Step 5: Step 4
While the potatoes are cooking, cut chicken into 1 Inch chunks. Coat chicken with 1tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and ½ tsp of cayenne pepper.
You can use any spices you want, but I find that these spices give the chicken a nice tangy taste.
Step 6: Step 5
Fry chicken on medium heat in 1 tbs oil until brown on the outside and completely cooked on the inside.
If you have a cooking thermometer, the temperature on the inside of the chicken should be 165°F. Which is the temperature needed to kill all bacteria in chicken.
Step 7: Step 6
Add ¼ cup of barbecue sauce to chicken and cook until slightly reduced. The sauce should get thick enough to leave a thick coating on a piece of chicken when you pick it up. Once it is done cooking, set aside until later.
Step 8: Step 7
Once the chicken is done cooking, melt 2 tbs of butter inthe sauce pan on medium heat. Add 2 tbs of flour and mix well.
This creates a roux, which is what thickens the sauce.
Step 9: Step 8
Warm 2 cups of milk in the microwave for 1 min. Add to the roux slowly, mixing well between each pour.
This is a now a béchamel sauce, which is one of the five French mother sauces. It is used as a base for many different sauces.
Step 10: Step 9
Add 1 tbs salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, andpaprika. Then stir on high heat, while boiling, until the sauce can leave a thick coating on the bottom of a spoon.
The sauce can burn easily, so stir quickly and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.
Step 11: Step 10
Take the sauce off heat and add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Stir it well and allow the cheese to melt in the sauce.
Taking the sauce off heat while adding the cheese melts the cheese without curdling the milk, which gives the sauce a “grainy” texture.
Step 12: Step 11
Place enough potatoes to cover the bottom of the pan, thenadd cheese, chicken, and toppings. Repeat until you run out of potatoes.
Layering the potatoes gives the dish good depth.
I will be using cooked bacon and onions for toppings in my recipe.
Step 13: Step 12
Cook the dish in the oven for 5 minutes or until all the cheese is melted. Cover in raw toppings and serve with a bowl of cheese sauce and a drink of choice. Enjoy!
If you are 21 the dish pairs well with a dark beer or a cider.