Chicken Bacon Broccoli Ranch Casserole (Paleo!)

Good afternoon, y’all! it’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood. The weather might get warmer (not holding my breath), the sun is shining, I am trying to shed some winter fluff and I have picked up running much more regularly. All the good things! I told my younger brother that we’re running the Kennett Run, so there’s a goal to work towards. I’ve been in the gym at least 6 days a week, but let me tell you… these ol’ bones take a beating. I jumped back into it like I was 18 years old again, and that was DEFINITELY! not the right way to do it. I suspected a plantar fasciitis flare up (or a peroneal tendon issue), so I let up for a few days and soaked my foot in Epsom salt. It did the trick, but now I’m nursing some sore quads. Does anyone have any good recommendations on running shoes for folks with extremely high arches? 🙂 🙂

I’ve made a ton of food over the last few weeks, but I’ve just been so busy with everything that I either hadn’t documented it once I cooked it, or people ate it before I got a chance to.

One thing I’m super pumped about is this tasty casserole. I came across a recipe for a buffalo chicken casserole I really liked, but I wanted to put a different twist on it with some other flavors. the good thing about this one is that it’s low in carbs, high in protein and just overall filling and delicious. Just to warn you, it’s definitely a weekend project that reheats well during the week… I’d advise to make this when you’ve got some time to play in the kitchen 🙂

 

Chicken Bacon Broccoli Ranch Casserole (Paleo!)

prep time: ~ 2 hours for all cooking involved

cook time: 35 min

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 
  • 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 package paleo-friendly bacon (typically 8-10 oz, or a generous half pound)
  • 1 large head of broccoli, stems trimmed and cut into small florets
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup paleo-friendly mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Grey Poupon dijon
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley

 

Directions

  1. As this takes the longest, preheat your oven to 400 F. Cut your spaghetti squash in half and place face-down on a lined baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 50-60 minutes. Once cooked, carefully scrape the seeds out with a spoon and discard. With remaining flesh, gently scrape out with a fork into a large mixing bowl and discard the leftover skin.
  1. Now onto your chicken. Cook your chicken in an instant pot per instructions —  with enough chicken broth to cover the meat for 30 min. If using a traditional oven, (while simultaneously cooking your squash), place chicken a Pyrex dish and cover with broth. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until fork tender and cooked thoroughly. With both methods, remove from heat  after cooking, shred finely, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then cover and set aside until ready to use.
  1. While chicken is baking, cook your bacon  by your preferred method (I like to bake on a baking sheet at 375 degrees F until crisp) until the bacon is thoroughly browned, but not burnt.  Remove from heat once cooked, roughly chop (once cooled!!), and set aside.  
  1. Since I like to live dangerously and multi-task, at this point I start cooking my broccoli, until just slightly tender. In a large skillet, add your preferred cooking oil and broccoli over medium heat. Once brought to temperature, add 1/8 cup of water to the pan and cover with a lid. The broccoli should only slightly cook, until bright green — about 2 minutes. Once finished, remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together your spices, dijon and mayo. adjust flavors as needed — I like a bit of a punch of dill and garlic to really bring out the ranch flavor. Remember, be generous with your salt, as the chicken has a lot of protein to break down, and the squash has a lot of fiber – salt is our friend!
  1. Once taste is up to par, add your two eggs, continuing to whisk until thoroughly mixed.
  1. In your large bowl with spaghetti squash, add your chicken and bacon, and mix together. Add your sauce, continuing to mix thoroughly. Add to a greased Pyrex dish and spread evenly.
  1. Hopefully your oven is still hot! Set temp/pre-heat to 350 degrees F. Bake your casserole until your egg has set and the top starts to brown, about 35 minutes.

Serve, and enjoy!

 

-S

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