Chopped Challenge: Twice Baked Party Potatoes

Chopped Challenge: Twice Baked Party Potatoes
This feature was brought to you by Sargento Cheese and the Chopped at Home Challenge.
One of our favorite household foodie shows is Chopped, on the Food Network. If you aren't familiar with it, basically a bevy of chefs -- from celebrities to stay-at-home moms -- compete for a prize by cooking through three challenges. For each challenge (typically themed appetizer, entree, and dessert), the contestants are given a basket filled with specific ingredients, and the chef must use ALL of the ingredients and transform them into a dish. And typically, the ingredient combinations are hard -- think strawberry popsicles and blue corn tortilla chips, or oysters and clementine oranges. Oh, and did we mention the time constraints? Thirty minutes per dish!
We love the creativity that is forced out of the chefs, and we also love learning about new foods; the show doesn't stray away from the obscure or unusual ingredient.

Today, Plum Deluxe is participating in an internet version of the Chopped Challenge. It's a fun excuse to exercise the creative culinary skills. Today's challenger basket includes:
  • Sargento® Off the Block 4 Cheese Mexican
  • Boneless chicken tenders
  • Couscous
  • Salsa

This isn't the hardest basket, but it is an interesting combination -- especially if you want to achieve what Chopped judges like to taste, a "transformation of the ingredients."
While I'll leave it up to you to decide what is required for ingredient transformation, I know that your dinner party guests will love these potatoes -- great for either appetizers or side dishes. And any leftover filling makes for a great snack the next day.
We've omitted the 30-minute time constraint, because rushing is pretty much the opposite of what Plum Deluxe is all about. Get creative in the kitchen, take your time, and use this challenge as a conversation starter with your party guests.

Twice-Baked Party Potatoes

Base recipe is for 2 potatoes. Increase portions as needed.

  • 2 bakers-type potatoes
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2/3 cup couscous
  • 2 chicken tenders, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup salsa (plus extra for topping)
  • 1 oz Sargento® Fine Cut Shredded 4 Cheese Mexican

Preheat oven to 400F.
Poke some holes in the potatoes and bake for 1 hour. Remove potatoes and scoop out the insides into a bowl.
While potatoes are baking, bring water, taco seasoning, salt, and butter to boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, stir in couscous, then remove from heat and cover. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
In a fresh saucepan, sauté chicken, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin over medium-high heat until cooked (approximately 10-15 minutes). Stir in salsa.

Once all items are prepared, mix the couscous, chicken, and scooped out potato in a large bowl. Using a large spoon, refill the potato skins with the combined mixture. Top with a generous helping of cheese and salsa and stick back in the oven for 15 minutes.
Serve topped with extra cheese, olives, salsa, or sour cream (as desired).

Available in 30 versatile varieties, unique blends and distinct cuts, Sargento Shredded Cheese is always cut from blocks of 100% real, natural cheese. For more inspiration, check out the Sargento Pinterest page or visit for more information. The Chopped at Home Challenge gives viewers a chance to create their best recipe using the selected basket ingredients, including Sargento Shredded Cheese, for a chance to win $10,000!

This is a sponsored conversation written by the author on behalf of Sargento. The opinions and text are all mine.

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe. He authors our award-winning weekly email newsletter, The Blend and curates our popular organic tea of the month club.
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