Juli Bauer's Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Juli Bauer from PaleOMG was one of the first Paleo bloggers I started following a couple years ago when I began my grain-free journey. Her unapologetic, witty humor; easy and delicious recipes; and amazing fashion sense kept me coming back for more. I was thrilled when I finally received her most recent book, Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook in the mail last week, and was thoroughly impressed with the layout, beautiful photography (Bill and Hayley of Primal Palate), and easy to make recipes with ingredients you can find anywhere. Her personality shines through on every page and makes you feel as if you are cooking with your best friend! 

A few weeks ago I stocked up on some ground chicken on sale, threw it in the freezer and forgot all about it. I had absolutely no idea what to use it in, and along with all of the spaghetti squash in our garden, Juli's Buffalo Chicken Casserole was the perfect recipe for what I had on hand. 

This meal (and whole cookbook for that matter) is a perfect way to show your skeptical friends and family that eating and preparing healthy, REAL food doesn't have to be expensive, time-consuming or labor-intensive. 

Scroll down for a sneak preview of Julie Bauer's Paleo Cookbook, and go buy her book for over 100 more gluten-free recipes!!

Buffalo Chicken Casserole from Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook

by Rebecca Bainbridge

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil, divided into two servings
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (homemade or store bought - Sir Kensington's or Primal Kitchen Foods are great brands)
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • sliced avocado, for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the skin gives when you press your finger to it. Remove the squash from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

Grease a dutch oven or an 8-inch square glass baking dish with 2 Tbsp of the butter/ghee/coconut oil (I used a Le Creuset 3 1/2 quart dutch oven).

Let the squash cool for 5 minutes, remove the seeds, and then use a fork to remove the threads and place them in the greased baking dish.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter (or ghee/coconut oil). Add the garlic, carrot, celery, onion, and bell pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the ground chicken, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and cook, using a wooden spatula to break up the chicken into small pieces, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, then add the hot sauce and mayo and mix well to combine.

Add the chicken mixture to the baking dish and mix well with the squash threads. Add the whisked eggs and mix everything together until you can no longer see the eggs.

Bake for 1 hour or until the top forms a slight crust that doesn't give when you press it in the middle. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Garnish with chopped scallion and avocado slices.

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This recipe is so easy, and if you want/need to cut down on cooking time, you can microwave the spaghetti squash instead of baking it. Just cut the squash in half length-wise, scoop out the innards, brush some olive oil on the surface, and nuke for about 10 minutes. This should save you almost 30 minutes and doesn't affect the taste at all! 

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did- the leftovers were just as good, maybe even better! See for yourself that healthy eating can taste AWESOME!!  

What new recipes have you tried this week? Let us know in the comments below!