Chicken Casserole

chicken casserole3

Who doesn’t love a casserole?!  Being from the South, I believe casseroles are a staple ingredient at every family function, holiday, birthday, or even a week night supper.  My mama made casseroles quite often growing up… we LOVED them!  But let’s be honest… most casseroles are not the most healthy thing in the world.  A lot of them are filled with ooey-gooey cream of whatever soup.  Which if you ever read the ingredients list on those, they’re filled with god-awful things people call food.   Now days, I steer clear of those processed foods and try to come up with new and healthy ways of bringing back good, old fashioned food that makes me happy and reminds me of my childhood!  I’m pretty sure this was the first healthy casserole I’ve made my husband.  When he asked what I was making for dinner and I said, “Some sort of chicken casserole.”  He had the weirdest look on his face… thankfully he gave this dish two thumbs up.  So, I’m sharing it with you.  🙂

To make life a little bit easier I did use an organic rotisserie chicken for this casserole (that I might’ve had delivered to our condo…but let’s not talk about that.)  Actually, let’s do.  Whomever it was that came up with Instacart (the Whole Foods grocery delivery app), I LOVE YOU.  You’ve made my life SO MUCH easier.  I know some people will read this and think, “You’re so lazy.  You have groceries delivered?”  And I will loudly and proudly scream at the top of my lungs, “YESSSSSSSS!!!”  1.  We live in a high-rise and bringing groceries up with a toddler by myself is not my idea of a fun time.  2.  We only have one car.  So, when my husband doesn’t get home until late, this makes my life easier by having a few things delivered and ready for him to eat by the time he gets home.        3.  It’s a win win.  Once you do it, you’ll be hooked.  I’m actually a person that LOVES to grocery shop, too.  There’s nothing more therapeutic than walking the aisles of a Whole Foods or Fresh Market and reading the ingredients list on everything you see and hoping they have samples of wine out.  WEIRD.  I know.  But when I get the opportunity to shop for groceries by myself…THIS is what I do.

Ok, enough about my weird habits… Let’s move on to the casserole!  Like most casseroles, this makes enough for a LOT of people.

Yields:  6 – 8 (possibly more depending on how big you serve your portions)

chicken casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole organic rotisserie chicken; shredded, de-boned, and skin removed
  • 2 – 3 tbsp fat (olive oil and butter are my favorites fats!)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup mushroom, diced
  • 1 – 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 – 2 1/2 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Get all of your veggies washed, chopped, and ready to go.  Grease a Dutch oven or 9 x 13 inch glass pan with olive oil and set aside.  (I used a 12 inch pie pan just because I thought it was pretty 😉  )
  2. In a LARGE saute pan on medium-high heat, add a tbsp or two of fat to the pan.  Once it’s hot add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.  While your onions and garlic cook get the spaghetti squash in the oven.  I cut it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds with a spoon, spray down a sheet pan with some nonstick spray or olive oil, and lay the squash cut-side-down, and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the skin gives when you press your finger to it.
  3. Now, add the bell pepper, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and spinach to the onions.  Let all the veggies marry and soften together.  I like to season my layers… meaning:  I season with S&P each time I add more to the pan.  You do you.  Season whenever or however you prefer.
  4. Add the chicken to the veggies and stir well.  IF your meat and veggies look dry, add some stock to the pan.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper together.  Set aside for a few minutes.
  6. At this point your spaghetti squash should be done.  Pull it out of the oven and let it cool for 5 – 10 minutes.  Use a fork to remove the threads from the skins of the squash and add to the chicken/veggie mixture.   Stir everything until well incorporated.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  7. NOW… Add the chicken/veggies mixture to your greased pan.  Pour the egg and milk mixture on top and mash it into the chicken/veggies with a spoon.  Create little pockets for the milk/egg mixture to run into so it doesn’t just sit on top of everything.
  8. Bake for 1 hour or until the top forms a little crust that doesn’t give when you press it in the middle.  Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

chicken casserole2

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