Chicken and Potato Gratin; a loaded question

The other day I thawed chicken breasts to cook on the grill for dinner.

Then it turned cold and windy and rainy….

I decided an oven dish was more in tune with the weather.

I googled chicken and potatoes to see if I could come up with any new ideas.

That’s when I learned about ‘loaded’ food.

It’s a new term to me but, apparently, not to the rest of the world as there were pages and pages of loaded everything.

One can make loaded pizzas, loaded soups, loaded salads, loaded sandwiches, loaded casseroles, etc.

One can make specific loaded items: loaded potatoes, loaded cauliflower, loaded cheese fries (??), loaded chicken, loaded pasta, loaded liver (okay, I made that one up)….

After spending a frenzied minute or two (or less) I came to the conclusion that ‘loaded’ meant adding lots of bacon and cheese to whatever to turn what may have been a healthy food into …. Not a healthy food.

Think about it….

A baked potato is a healthy, nutritious side dish.

A baked potato smothered in sour cream, cheese and bacon – not so much.

Does everyone really need that much added fat and salt?

For the record, it’s not the ingredients that I found shocking – it’s the quantities.

Back to dinner…..

This was seriously good but I can’t call it ‘loaded’ as there is no bacon or cream and only a modest amount of cheese.

Actually, it was one of the best ‘throw it together at the last minute’ dinners I’ve made in ages.

If it was winter I would have baked a chopped onion with the potatoes and added broccoli….

Chicken and Potato Gratin

Total time: 60 minutes


  • 2 medium potatoes (10oz, 300gr) total, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 chicken breasts (12oz, 360gr) total, cut into small pieces
  • 4 green garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbs fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 tbs fresh marjoram, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp maizena (cornstarch)
  • 3/4 cup (3oz, 90gr) shredded cheese
  • 1/4 (1oz, 30gr) Parmesan, grated



  • Combine potatoes, paprika, olive oil in a large bowl.Stir well
  • Put potatoes into a flattish casserole large enough to hold everything.
  • Roast, uncovered, 400F (200C) for 10 minutes while you prep the rest.
  • Prep the rest – put it all, except the cheeses, into the same bowl and stir well to combine.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the potatoes.
  • Add the potatoes to the bowl and stir well to combine.
  • Put it all back into the casserole.
  • Cover, return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes..
  • Uncover, top with the 2 cheeses and bake for 10 minutes to brown.  Serve.

Print Recipe

One other thing I noticed about the recipes for ‘loaded’ food – they didn’t often include what I consider to be flavor enhancers like a good vinegar or mustard or herbs or spices or even hot sauce. Those are all things to use to add flavor without fat or salt or whatever.

Here’s the loaded question: Why, with obesity levels where they are, are recipes for loaded everything so popular? Isn’t anyone paying attention to what they eat?

Wouldn’t 1 slice of crumbled bacon be enough for your potato? Does it half to be 2? or even 3?

I know bacon is tasty – but bacon donuts and bacon ice cream and bacon chocolate and, and, and…. really?

Yes, I know, being over-weight is a complex issue, but eating bacon and cheese on everything is not helping.

One of the ladies in my French conversation group just returned from a 2-week trip to the US. Her first comment was that, while there are fat people in France, she has never seen such HUGE people as she saw in the US.

She went on to say that she saw do-nut shops everywhere. One could buy a dozen do-nuts for $1.50 but she had to pay $3.00 for 2 apples. She was amazed at the high prices of fruits and vegetables and the low prices of fast food.

When we eat at McDo’s – sandwich and fries for mon mari and a wrap for me, it costs about $18.00….

But our apples are cheap.

As to portion sizes in restaurants…. We won’t even go there.

As to vegetables….

The big pots are herbs that will eventually go on the deck,,,, when they are safe from the birds.

The trays are all of my winter squashes, that I put out on the deck every morning. Everything comes in at night – to protect from the birds.

I’m off to buy netting tomorrow.

That was the other big topic with my French friends. I’m not the only one plagued by birds this year.

Last update on May 16, 2018

8 thoughts on “Chicken and Potato Gratin; a loaded question”

  1. You did call that a loaded question! But is it if I totally understand your point?
    One evaluation reading a cookbook is “the less seasonings the less taste/interest in the food. Why would I buy that.

  2. I don’t do ‘loaded’ anything. I’m not a huge cheese lover anyway and really don’t like it on meat. I know, I’m picky, but geez, do I have to have cheese on everything? And if you thought the loaded craze was ridiculous, look up ‘crack’ potatoes or veggies or chicken. Those are all “toss in a dry package of Ranch dressing or some other HIGH salt content spice packet, that’s mostly salt, did I mention that?

    This country is going to hell in a loaded baked potato, cheese and bacon basket and no one cares!

    • Those ‘dry’ seasonings… Onion Soup – salt with onion flakes. And, strangely, a lot of salt makes me crave sweet – potato chips followed by brownies…. the only thing loaded would be my thighs lol
      I love cheese, but not on everything, In Spain it’s very popular to put a blue cheese sauce on steak. Why would I mess up my steak with that?!?

  3. So that’s what’s wrong with my cooking!? I’m not addicted to cheese or bacon. I’ve always said that bacon would not be the food I missed if I turned vegetarian. Having said that, I did batch cook cauliflower and broccoli cheese yesterday for the freezer, with extra leftover cheese sauce, and I made cheese soufflés for dinner. No bacon anywhere in sight though.

    • By US standards the bacon n France is not worth bothering with… so I don’t. The only time I miss it is in summer when I get a craving for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich lol
      Cauliflower cheese freezes…. I never thought of doing that. Great idea!

  4. I must admit that I’m a big fan of loaded potatoes. With too much butter, too much sour cream (and/or cheese) and almost too much bacon.

    But you make a very good point. There’s loaded and there’s Loaded.

    But when we make cream sauce, we generally do so by making a bechamel with milk and a little butter, rather than using heavy cream as so many recipes suggest. Nobody has ever complained that the sauce isn’t rich enough.

    Like your French friend, I too have never seen so many really overly large people in one place as I have when we’ve visited the US. And, of course, there are many overweight people in Canada too, as well as an obsession with deep-fried everything, often topped with cheese, creamy gravy, and too much bacon. (Poutine, anyone?)

    What a shame that so many of us haven’t managed to grasp the notion of “everything in moderation”.

    • I’ve never understood Poutine…. It’s just not right lol I love baked potatoes with all the trimmings, but, sadly, we do not have proper baking potatoes here so it’s been years since I’ve had one. Our potatoes all tend to be on the waxy side. Twice-baked potatoes used to be my favorite!

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