Meal times can get boring if you just cook the same dishes on repetition. Yes it definitely makes it easier, but it’s good to discover new recipes. Especially when you’ve got children. I always want N to eat lots of different foods, so I try new meals regularly. I try for at least once a week. Chicken recipes are often my trial experimental meals, and the latest one I’ve discovered is Queso Chicken.
I’ve never come across it as a dish before, but we like mexican flavours. And it looked like quite a fast meal to prepare.
If you’ve never had this chicken dish, I recommend trying it. You can easily adapt the heat and spice to your preference. Ours was very mild, but you do still get a hint of warmth and spice. The chicken was really tender too thanks to the marinade, which is just how it should be (the courgette’s aren’t normal for this recipe, but I always add in whatever random vegetables I have to get more veg in).
It got one of the best comments from N about how much he liked it. And even the OH obviously liked it – he was wiping the remaining bits of dip from the pan after we’d finished the meal.
My only issue was queso sauce.
Queso dip is basically a flavourful cheesy sauce, often eaten as a warm dip. In the UK I’ve never seen it in the supermarkets to buy, so I had to search out a Queso recipe to make my own.
The queso sauce didn’t take long to make as I had all the ingredients. Except the jalapenos. The OH doesn’t do spicy, so instead of fresh chillies, I added in a little chilli powder instead.
I was in a rush making the sauce so didn’t blend it. But next time I would use my basic hand blender to blitz it smoother. I think I’ll make the sauce more often as it’s handy to have for different meals, and as a dip.for vegetable sticks and crisps.
Once you’ve got the queso sauce, the recipe is good for fast cooking, and little washing up because it’s a one pan dish.
Homemade Queso Dip recipe
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 10-15 minutes
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 small onion (or 2-3 shallots), finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 jalapeno chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional) or ½ – 1 tsp chilli powder, to taste
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 400ml double cream
- 150-200g cheddar cheese, grated
- Salt, pepper
Instructions for queso sauce
1. In a frying pan, melt butter, then saute diced onion (I used shallots) and crushed garlic for a couple of minutes until soft and smelling amazing.
2. Add fresh chopped tomatoes, chopped jalapeno chillies (if using), saute until soft.
3. Add cornflour and stir until it’s soaked into the ingredients. Add the cream and cheese, stirring over a medium heat until the cheese has melted.
4. Let the sauce thicken and become smooth. Season with a little salt and pepper.
It will be a little textured due to the tomatoes, but if you want it smooth, blitz the tomatoes (and chillies) with a handblender before adding to the pan.
Eat with tortilla chips, vegetable crudites, turn cauliflower cheese into a mexican flavoured version, or alongside other Mexican dishes.
You can store queso dip in an airtight jar or tub in the fridge once cool, for around 4-5 days. Alternatively you can freeze (in portion sizes if needed), just defrost at room temperature. Or to get the original dip consistency, you can reheat in the microwave.
Queso Chicken recipe
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes (plus marinading time 15 mins to 2 hours)
Ingredients for Queso Chicken
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into halves. I also cut them open slightly to help them cook all the way through faster
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion or 3 shallots, finely diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- Jalapeño chilli, diced (optional, deseeded if you want less spice)
- 500ml queso sauce
- Fresh coriander to garnish
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp oregano
- Salt, pepper for seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Marinade the chicken in a bag or covered bowl with the marinade ingredients. Leave in the fridge for at least 15 mins to let the flavours infuse. The longer the more intense the flavours will get.
3. In an ovenproof frying pan, heat the oil, then sear the chicken until browned on both sides and just cooked through. Put on a plate to keep warm until needed.
4. In the pan add the onion, garlic, tomatoes and jalapeno and saute until softened.
5. Put the chicken back in the pan, pour over the queso sauce.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven for around 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, the sauce is bubbling and golden brown.
7. Garnish with fresh coriander to serve, with green veg, pasta or crusty bread.
If you don’t have an ovenproof frying pan, you can transfer the chicken to a shallow baking dish before covering with the queso sauce.
I had leftover chicken the next day, warmed up in the microwave. You can store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Try these other chicken recipes and cooking tips.
Let me know if you make either the queso dip or the full queso chicken recipe.