We are coming to the end of “N0-Buy” January in our house. That means lots of chicken and potatoes. Normally I serve lots of chicken but potatoes, especially white potatoes, are not used very often by us. That is probably why I have so many to use up now.
“No-Buy” January is never easy but it is fun. The kids love seeing what they find in the bottom of the freezer. We had leftover Turkey Soup from after Thanksgiving for our lunch yesterday. I do have one turkey left to use but I plan on using that at the very end so we can eat Turkey for a few days. So, have we saved money? YES! Between the drop in gas prices and “No-Buy” January our budget was nowhere near as tight as usual. It felt good to be able to breathe.
So, if you like join us when we do a “No-Buy” June to use up the last bits in our freezers again before getting ready to freeze all the great fresh produce of summer!
This was an awesome meal according to my kids. They loved the cheesy au gratin potatoes and the smothered chicken over the top of it. I love that my son helped by making the cheese sauce. I talked him through the entire process but he did it on his own. He tasted it and adjusted the spices. Although, in the end I did veto adding more garlic to the cheese sauce.
I served this with steamed broccoli and a green side salad.
5-6 large russet potatoes
8-10 slices of bacon
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts (boneless and skinless) cut into tenders
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
3 cups fat-free half and half
Salt & pepper (to taste)
- 1 tsp + powdered garlic (to taste)
- 2 TBSP Morton’s Nature’s Seasonings
- Spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash and peel potatoes then cut into thin slices.
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once butter has melted sprinkle flour over the top of the butter. Whisk constantly until the flour becomes light brown in color. Slowly add milk to the skillet. Turn down the heat if it starts to boil. You want no more than a slow simmer, a few bubbles popping up. Continue to stir until the mixture begins to thicken. When the sauce is the desired consistency remove from heat and add 2 cups of shredded cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir until fully incorporated and the cheese has melted. Taste and adjust spices to your liking.
- Spoon 1/4 of the cheese sauce into the bottom of the dish. Add a single layer of potato slices. Spoon another 1/4 of cheese sauce over potatoes. Repeat this process two more times so that you have three layers of potatoes topped with cheese sauce.Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- While potatoes are baking slice bacon into 1/2-inch strips and cook in a skillet over medium-high heat until bacon is browned and crispy. Remove bacon pieces from skillet with a slotted spoon; set aside.
- Season chicken tenderloins with Morton Nature’s Seasoning then sauté in bacon drippings over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Set chicken aside.
- Remove dish from oven and uncover. Arrange chicken tenderloins on top of potatoes and pour reserved 1/4 of the cheese sauce over chicken. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over chicken and potatoes then top with bacon pieces. Return dish to oven and continue cooking, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until chicken and potatoes have completely cooked through.
- Remove dish from oven and uncover. Check potatoes by piercing with a fork. They should easily slip through the potatoes. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over chicken and potatoes then top with bacon pieces. Return dish to oven and continue cooking, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.