[Paleo] Creamy Chicken Casserole
Paleo Update: After completing a 31 day Paleo challenge, Jon and I are slowly working to make the transition from 100% Paleo to 80% Paleo. It’s only been a week and we’re still trying to settle into a manageable Paleo-friendly lifestyle.
- Here’s our logic: We’ve decided that our 100% Paleo months (Jan, May, Aug/Sep) will be our hardcore-supercharged-weight-loss focused months. Then, during our “off” months, we’ll be more lenient and work to maintain our weight and workout routines with a decreased focus on weight loss. For example, during a Paleo month my goal would be to lose roughly 5lbs but during an off month, my goal may only be to lose 2lbs. Basically this is how we plan to keep ourselves sane and not become binge eaters.
- Even though January is over, we have decided to keep tracking our calories with the My Fitness Pal app. It keeps us honest about what we’re eating and helps with portion control. I highly recommend this app to anyone looking to lose weight.
- Within the first week of February, my weight has fluctuated wildly from day to day. From one day to the next I may lose 1lb, gain 1.5, lose 1, gain 2, etc. However, even with all of the little treats and cheats lately, I’ve only gained 1lb since January 31st and I’m completely okay with that. I just thought it was interesting to note the highly variable weight compared to our stable January diet. I attribute this difference to sugar, salt, and carb bloating.
POP QUIZ: What’s creamy, low-cal, low-carb, and for dinner this weekend? If you answered a Paleo-friendly creamy chicken casserole then you’re brilliant (or you’ve hacked my computer and you’ve already read this post!).
Sometimes you just want comfort food but without all of the calories, heavy ingredients, and guilt, right? Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. 😉
I was inspired to make this casserole after seeing this Creamy Chicken & Leek Casserole by M Equals 1 and this Gluten-Free Veggie Bake by fitsugar. I pretty much thought to myself, “Combine them!!” – so that’s what I did.
This casserole has a layer of spaghetti squash in the bottom (in place of pasta) and is then topped with a sautéed mixture of chicken and veggies that’s been simmered in a smooth coconut milk mixture. The coconut milk is the secret ingredient – that’s where the creaminess comes from and it’s so much better for you than heavy cream.
I apologize for the pictures in this post – They were taken at night in a yellow-lit kitchen. 😦 The pictures do not do the flavors of this dish justice. Trust me, Jon and I loved this!
Let’s get cooking!
First things first, we need to get that spaghetti squash in the oven and roasting since it’ll take about 45 minutes. If you’re not familiar with roasting spaghetti squash and then striping it into “spaghetti” noodles, check out my tutorial here.
While the spaghetti squash is in the oven, slice up your onion and add it to a large frying pan. Cook the onion over medium heat for a few minutes until it begins to soften. At this point, add your cubed chicken.
Cook the chicken for roughly 5-7 minutes, or until it’s just about cooked through. Then, add your broccoli florets and sliced mushrooms (or whatever other veggies you choose) and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
Time to increase the heat to medium-high and pour in your coconut milk. Let the mixture come to a boil for 5 minutes to help the sauce thicken.
When your spaghetti squash is done cooking, take a fork and shred the flesh into spaghetti strands. Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ cake pan and spread the spaghetti squash on the bottom.
Pour the mixture from your frying pan on top of the spaghetti squash and bake for 20 minutes. If you’re not following a strict Paleo diet, go ahead and throw some shredded cheese on top before you bake it!
Once it’s done cooking, remove from the oven and let cool slightly (5-10 minutes) then slice and serve.
Tip: My casserole didn’t hold its shape as well as I expected it to. When I scooped it out of the pan, it kind of just came out as a scoop, not a nice neat square – still tasted great though!
[Paleo] Creamy Chicken Casserole
- 1/2 large onion
- 1.5lbs raw chicken breasts, cut into bite size cubes
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 spaghetti squash, roasted and shredded
- 14oz can of full-fat coconut milk
What to Do
- Roast and shred spaghetti squash. (Click here for detailed instructions)
- While your spaghetti squash is roasting, slice up your onion and add it to a large frying pan. Cook the onion over medium heat for a few minutes until it begins to soften.
- Add your cubed chicken and cook for roughly 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is just about cooked through.
- Add your broccoli florets and sliced mushrooms (or whatever other veggies you choose) and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and pour in your coconut milk. Let the mixture come to a boil for 5 minutes to help the sauce thicken.
- When your spaghetti squash is done cooking, take a fork and shred the flesh into spaghetti strands. Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ cake pan and spread the spaghetti squash on the bottom.
- Pour the mixture from your frying pan on top of the spaghetti squash and bake for 20 minutes. (If you’re not following a strict Paleo diet, go ahead and throw some shredded cheese on top before you bake it!)
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly (5-10 minutes) then slice and serve.
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