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15-Minute Cheesy Couscous

cheesy couscous with panko chicken tenders topped with salsa

While we subscribe to hundreds of cable television channels, there are really only two that we watch with any regularity, one being the Food Network. Surprised? I didn’t think so…

Anyhow, one of my favorite shows on there is Chopped. If you’re not familiar with it, Chopped is cooking show that’s all about skill, speed and creativity in the kitchen. Each episode starts with four chefs who are challenged to quickly turn baskets filled with mystery ingredients into a dinner course, starting with an appetizer, then an entree, and finishing up with dessert. After each course, the judges decides which contestant will be “chopped” from the competition.

I’m frequently amazed at some of the dishes the chefs turn out, combining flavors that I would never dream of pairing up — yet somehow they just work!

Cheesy Couscous Sargento Off The Block 4 Cheese Mexican Cheese

So when Sargento recently challenged me to enter the Chopped at Home contest, I was really excited to participate. Thankfully, I wasn’t under the timed pressure to cook on the fly with a camera in my face, like the actual show contestants. Also I have to say I was a bit relieved to find that the challenge ingredients we were presented with were pretty “normal”:

  • Sargento® Off the Block 4 Cheese Mexican
  • boneless chicken tenders
  • couscous
  • salsa

Like the show, I can include additional ingredients, but all of the ingredients listed above must be included as the main focus.

Since I wanted to cook a meal that my family would actually eat, I didn’t get want to get too wild and crazy with this challenge. The chicken tenders were a no brainer — I turned them into crispy baked panko chicken tenders with the addition of some egg, Panko bread crumbs, and olive oil spray. Yum!

While the chicken tenders were baking, I sautéed some chopped shallots and garlic in butter, and then added some chicken stock and the couscous. Finally, I stirred in a good amount of the cheese to create a delicious cheesy couscous.

Couscous Recipe

To tie it all together, I plated the cheesy couscous first, sprinkling some additional cheese on top. I then laid a couple of the baked chicken tenders on top, and topped it all off with a generous spoonful of fresh salsa and some chopped fresh cilantro.

All in all, this meal was a huge hit with my family! And I was pretty pleased with it also, as it only took about 30 minutes to prepare.

cheesy couscous with panko chicken tenders topped with salsa

15-Minute Cheesy Couscous

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes


  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup Sargento Off the Block 4 Cheese Mexican


  1. Sauté the shallots in the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until translucent. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add chicken stock to the pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the couscous and cover. Turn off heat, and move the pan to another burner to sit for 7 minutes or until the broth is absorbed.
  4. Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Stir in the cheese until melted.
  5. Serve couscous warm, topped with additional cheese, baked chicken tenders, fresh salsa and chopped fresh cilantro.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 524mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 11g

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag it @unsophisticook and hashtag it #unsophisticook!

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 me on behalf of Sargento. The opinions and text are all mine.

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