Sunday, September 15, 2013

Buffalo Chicken and Veggie Bake (Trim Healthy Mama)

My friend Dianna, mother of one of the cutest redhaired child I know besides my own, was preparing the dish that inspired this "Trim, Healthy, Mama" re-make of The Loaded Potato  and Chicken bake. When I entered her home I said what smells so good? I looked at the recipe and said Seriously -- that sounds delish.

I'm trying to keep normal blood sugars and lose a few pounds so I made some carbohydrate reducing choices, and I think you'll find them delicious!

Living not far from Buffalo, NY at times, I insist that authenticity requires diced celery to mimic the traditional accompaniment to wings served in that fair city. It's baked with the chicken to give an interesting but not overwhelming note to the dish. In further interest of authenticity, you might want a  little blue cheese crumbled over the dish, on your plate.

Buffalo Inspired Chicken and Veggie Bake
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless thigh meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 (16 oz pkgs) frozen cauliflower,thawed or 4 cups of chopped cauliflower florets, diced 1/2-inch.
  • 1 large zucchini or other summer squash, diced into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2 cups total)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil  
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 TBS. paprika 
  • 2 TBS. garlic powder 
  • 6 TBS. Franks Red hot sauce, or other tangy Louisiana style sauce or substitute milder pepper sauces 
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded. (I cut this down from 2 cups)
  • 1 c. turkey bacon, diced and fried crispy
  • 1 c diced green onion

Preheat oven to 500F for high heat roasting. In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika,garlic powder & hot sauce.  Add the cubed vegetables and stir to coat. Strain the  veggies with your slotted spoon into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish, leaving behind the marinade for the chicken you're going to add in a minute.

Put the chicken into the leftover marinade, and set aside for the next few minutes while you fry the turkey bacon.  Stirring every 10 minutes, bake the veggies until they're crispy & browned on the outside. It may only take 20 minutes.  While the veggies are cooking, heat a medium skillet and dice one pound of turkey bacon into small cubes. Stir regularly until crispy.

Check the oven. When veggies are brown around the edges and crispy looking, remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 400F.  Top the cooked cauliflower and squash with the raw marinated chicken leaving behind any un-absorbed marinade.  Add the diced celery at this point to the chicken and give a quick stir. Discard the marinade.

Bake at 400*F for 10 minutes until chicken is nearly done, and then sprinkle the casserole with the shredded cheese, the diced turkey bacon, and the diced green onions. Return to oven for the final five minutes, which will melt the cheese and heat the toppings through. 

This is delicious served with a big green salad for the whole family, with a side of mashed or potatoes for those who need to have extra carbohydrates, and perhaps a small slice of .Trim, Healthy, Mama approved sourdough bread to sop up some of those juices. Some ranch dressing or extra hot sauce might be wanted at the table, or as the locals do, add Blue Cheese Dressing!

If you're interested in keeping your hunger at bay, feeding your whole family more healthy, and losing a few inches around your middle, this might interest you ---

Learn more about making gradual, reasonable changes in the way you eat and feel, here.

Here's the original recipe:

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