Dinner Tetris: Recipe developer Ali Slagle makes low-effort meals

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Eggs are the perfect midnight snack, and Ali Slagle’s recipe for crispy potato, egg and cheese tacos uses common ingredients within arm’s reach. Photo by Mark Weinberg.

In her new book “I Dream of Dinner (so You Don’t Have To),” recipe developer Ali Slagle admits she passed down the resourcefulness gene. She describes playing dinner Tetris in her head, imagining the moves around the kitchen to make cooking efficient  — coming to the counter with ingredients in hand and making prep part of the recipe itself.

Slagle says she learned to cook by watching her mother work her way around the kitchen. Instead of chopping onion for her famous chili, her mom would heat the oil and use that “inactive time” to do her mise en place and get ready for the next step. 

“You’re constantly in the recipe and what happens next,” she says.

Slagle’s goal is to go from 10 raw ingredients or less to a finished dinner in 45 minutes.

Crispy Potato, Egg & Cheese Tacos
Makes 2

So crisp, you could even skip the tortilla.


  • 1 oz. cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup of 1 russet potato
  • 2 small corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Eggs
  • Hot Sauce 
  • Lime


  1. On the large holes of a box grater, grate ¼ cup sharp Cheddar cheese (1 ounce) and ½ cup of 1 russet potato.
  2. Warm 2 small corn or flour tortillas over your flame or in a large nonstick skillet. Transfer to a plate. Read and rehearse what’s happening next. It comes together quickly.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Sprinkle the potato into two piles in the pan, then use a spatula or fork to spread out each pile to about the size of your tortilla. You want the strands touching but not clumped, like a snowflake. The more space between the potato, the crispier the final result. Salt the potato, then evenly sprinkle the cheese over the potato. It’s okay if some cheese comes into contact with the pan—it’ll taste like the crispy edges of a grilled cheese.
  4. Make a little indent in the center of each pile and crack an egg right there. S&P the eggs, then cover the skillet and cook until the cheese and potatoes are golden and the egg white is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Use a spatula to wiggle the potato and cheese loose from the skillet, then slide them onto your tortillas. Eat with hot sauce and lime wedges or whatever toppings you like (keeping in mind that the yolk is a built-in sauce). Eat and repeat.

*If you have chili powder or another warm spice, add a dash to the grated potato in step 1.

Reprinted from “I Dream of Dinner.” Copyright © 2022 by Alexandra Slagle. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Mark Weinberg. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

All the prep happens in the recipe itself, as Ali Slagle develops meals that you can make in 45 minutes, using 10 or less ingredients. Photo by Mark Weinberg.

Taking the complication out of meal time, recipe developer Ali Slagle does the mental gymnastics over what to cook in her book, “I Dream of Dinner.” Photo courtesy of Clarkson Potter.