EVERYTHING! It’s true! Whether it’s wings, tenders, pizza, or even calamari, if it’s covered with buffalo sauce, then it’s headed straight for our stomachs. Trust us, it’s no coincidence that our blog is named after a buffalo wing flavor from a favorite college bar.
Want to know what else we love? Casseroles! Why? Because anything that can be prepared once and yields 6 servings or more is bound to be a hit in our household. So imagine our delight when we found this awesome recipe for Buffalo Chicken Casserole from PaleOMG. In fact, this particular recipe ended up on our radar because the main ingredient is spaghetti squash – an ingredient we have been itching to try at home.
This perfect combination of hot saucy goodness + spaghetti squash intrigue was just the push we needed. If you saw our Facebook page earlier this week, you know that we had been planning for days.
As you will learn through our documented at-home culinary adventures, we typically stick to the recipe (at least the first time). The only time we’ll stray is if we have to make necessary substitutions or to enhance an already delicious recipe with some of our own flair. In the case of this recipe, we did not have ground chicken, so a necessary swap for 99% fat free ground turkey took place. We also added extra carrots, celery and onion – something we do regularly because you really can’t go wrong with extra veggies. We also skipped the avocado. Not because we don’t like it, just because we weren’t going to use the whole thing!
When it came to preparing the squash, we will admit to feeling a little bit overwhelmed. While it seemed simple enough, there are a few different ways and all of the recommendations vary slightly (what temperature for the oven, whole vs. half, steam vs. no steam, cover vs. no cover, how many minutes). Even the sticker that came on the squash from the grocery store offered recommendations.
We decided to stick with the recommendation of one of our favorite sites: the kitchn. They have an amazing and detailed (yet simple) article on How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven. This article is complete with beautiful pictures, simple instructions, and even a video! We selected the steaming method and chose to roast our squash in halves, removing the seeds before roasting.
As we had received many warnings from others about how overcooking a spaghetti squash can ruin it, we tested it after only 25 minutes before letting it cook for another 5 minutes of so. We were less concerned about it being slightly under cooked since we knew we would be baking it for an hour, but likely would’ve cooked it for a few more minutes if that weren’t the case.
We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to turn the squash into noodles. The biggest recommendation is to let it cool for 5-10 minutes, otherwise you will definitely burn your fingers!
Upon initial review of the recipe, our other top concern was how all of the ingredients were going to fit and get mixed together in an 8×8 pan. For this reason we decided to mix everything together in the skillet after it had been removed from the heat. It gave more space in to ensure that all ingredients were incorporated together. There was no way that we were going to fit all of our buffalo chicken goodness in an 8×8 pan, we ended up using the 10×14 pan we used to roast the squash. This yielded a flatter casserole than what Julie Bauer intended, but it worked out a-ok for us!
After an hour in the oven, we were ready to dig in and we were not disappointed! The casserole tasted great – a bit spicy, so if you are more sensitive to spice, you may want to use less than the full cup of hot sauce. We passed blue cheese dressing at the table to cool things down, although a great recommendation would be to add a few blue cheese crumbles on top (though this original recipe is Paleo friendly, we don’t follow any type of strict diet – we just eat things that taste good and try to enjoy everything in moderation).
Overall we really enjoyed this dish, and found it to be just as tasty (if not even a bit better) the next day. The instructions were simple and clear and it was not too complex. We definitely wouldn’t tackle this on a work night simply due to the number of steps, but it is perfect for Sunday dinner!
And now that we have officially conquered spaghetti squash, we are ready to tackle a few more of these spaghetti squash recipes from PaleOMG.
-The Sweet and Sweaty