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Cowboy Casserole

Cowboy themed foods are traditionally very hearty and full of calories and fat. Not this one! You’ll find here a lower calorie, low fat and low carb “Cowboy Casserole” which was a hit at the recent potluck dinner hosted by The Children’s Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region. Jeanne, one of the parents brought this casserole and it was devoured!

Here is the recipe and it’s many versions she shared with me. Thank you Jeanne!

Cowboy Casserole is a very quick and easy one dish meal to prepare. It’s as good reheated as it is fresh from the oven too!

Basically it’s a layering of mashed potatoes, shredded chicken, bacon bits, grated cheese and BBQ sauce! I used puréed cauliflower in place of the potatoes for fewer carbs and an even lighter taste. Mashed or puréed are good

Other options are to use instant potatoes or adding flavoring packets to your mashed potatoes such as Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix or Caesar Salad Dressing Mix. Or add your own seasoning like garlic salt, pepper and dried dill weed. Or use frozen hash browned potatoes!

I used grated sharp cheddar cheese. You may prefer another cheese like white cheddar or Parmesan. If you prefer more meat add more. Add more or less bacon. Use your favorite BBQ sauce. I like Sweet Baby Rays or Billy Bones.

To make it real easy, buy a deli roast chicken. Or roast your own chicken. Or poach 3 chicken breasts. Instructions for poaching below. Shred the chicken

Voila!

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower or 2-3 pounds potatoes cooked and mashed or puréed or a large package of instant potatoes or a large package of frozen or premade mashed potatoes or cauliflower
  • Ranch Seasoning mix optional
  • Garlic salt, pepper and dill weed optional
  • Butter for lining a baking dish
  • 1 whole roasted chicken, shredded
  • 1/3 cup or more real bacon bits or pieces of leftover cooked bacon
  • 1 cup or more grated or shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup or so BBQ sauce

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish
  • Spread the pureed or mashed cauliflower or potatoes in bottom of baking dish
  • Place shredded chicken over potatoes
  • Sprinkle bacon over chicken
  • Sprinkle cheese over bacon
  • Squirt or spoon BBQ sauce over cheese to cover in s striped pattern
  • Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Covering with foil is an option. Then remove foil and bake till crispy on top if desired
  • It’s best served with a large flat spatula so the layers remain intact on the dinner plate
  • Reheat as needed
  • Voila!

Spread puréed cauliflower in buttered baking pan

Sprinkle on shredded chicken

Sprinkle on bacon pieces

Sprinkle on shredded cheese

Squirt or spoon on BBQ sauce

Cover and bake

Remove foil and bake till browned

Poached Chicken

Don’t cook them too long! Chicken breasts are easy to over cook and dry out

Place chicken breasts of equal size in a large cooking pot. Cover with water by 1 inch. Add an unpeeled onion, quartered, 2 celery sticks, 1 bay leaf and 5 peppercorns Also salt if you like.

Bring mix to a boil. Then reduce heat to lowest level to barely a simmer for 10 minutes. Check temperature of chicken with an instant read thermometer. Remove chicken from water at 155F degrees and set aside 10 minutes. The chicken will reach 165 degrees while resting at room temperature.

To make some wonderful stock, continue simmering the broth uncovered until it’s reduced by half. Pour through a fine sieve and ladle into jars or freezer containers. Store in the frig or freezer

Puréed Cauliflower

Cut up 1 head of cauliflower into large pieces and place in a large saucepan with at least 2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer covered 15 minutes or until very fork tender. Drain and mash with a bit of added butter and milk. Use a stick blender if you like to make it really smooth

Enjoy!