Festive Weeknights Are for This Barbecue Chicken and Spaghetti Squash Casserole
I am not a huge fan of casseroles, but I'll admit, there's a time and place for these. They remind me of my children's potluck cast party dinners or the meals I've delivered to friends recovering from surgery or grieving the loss of a parent.
This one is great and simple to make (of course).
I made this recipe, adapted from PaleoOMG, on Monday to serve for dinner before attending the Queen concert at the Verizon Center with my sister Ilene, Mia, and her friend Annie Simon. To get us in the mood for a Monday night out, I chilled martini glasses and made a pitcher of tart cherry cosmopolitans, mixing for each drink, 2 ounces of Tito's vodka, 1 ounce of triple sec, 1 ounce of tart cherry juice, and the juice of half a lemon (I was out of limes).
If you're one of those people who refuses to get excited about spaghetti squash, this will be a perfect recipe for you, because it makes the most of the low-carb vegetable without it being the center of attention.
The original recipe says this serves 4-5, but I'd say it's closer to 6 or even 8. The four of us ate healthy servings on Monday night, and there are still plenty of leftovers. Mia put together a green salad bibb lettuce, baby Persian cucumbers and cherry tomatoes from Sunday's Bethesda Central Farm Market and a vinaigrette made from my favorite kale salad recipe, mixing 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp. minced fresh shallots, and 1 1/2 Tbsp honey (she used agave, the sweetener of choice for millennials.)
The casserole, along with everything else that evening, turned out fantastic. For dessert, after the concert, we had Banana Bread Snack Bars Topped with Epic Peanut Butter Frosting
Barbecue Chicken and Spaghetti Squash Casserole
1 medium spaghetti squash (about 21⁄2 pounds)
1 rotisserie chicken, sliced and cut into small pieces, removing the skin if preferred (about 4-5 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion (mostly minced, leave a few thin slices for the top of the casserole)
1 teas garlic powder
1 teas sea salt
½ - 1 teas red pepper flakes
1⁄4 teas black pepper
1 13-14 ounce bottle BBQ sauce (I used peach BBQ sauce from Toigo Orchards at the Bethesda Central Farm Market)
3 eggs, whisked
2 fresno peppers, sliced (I couldn't find these and used long, skinny red peppers that were fairly sweet. Fresno peppers are hot and smokey, so you might try them depending on your tolerance for heat)
½ cup sliced banana peppers or other medium hot pepper
chopped parsley or cilantro, to garnish
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove the squash from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Grease an 8x8 glass baking dish.
Use a spoon to carefully remove the seeds and then a fork to remove the spaghetti squash threads, placing them in a large bowl. Add the chicken, garlic cloves, minced onion, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, whisked eggs, and bbq sauce and mix. Pour everything into the prepared baking dish and smooth out with a spatula.
Top the casserole with the onion slices and sliced fresno (or sweet red) peppers and banana peppers or other medium hot yellow peppers.
Place in oven and bake for 1 hour or until the edges are a little brown and toasty looking.
Let sit for a few minutes, and garnish with parsley or cilantro.