Smoky Chicken-Squash Gratin

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Smoky Chicken-Squash Gratin

When I thawed chicken this morning, I thought I was thawing 2 nice chicken breasts in those ziploc freezer bags.  However when I went to debone them, what I had thawed was two leg quarters, and not very large ones at that.  So I skinned them, deboned and switched my menu plans to a little casserole of some kind. Had a leek I wanted to use, so this dish started forming in my head.  I grabbed the bacon of the refrigerator shelf and started the creative cogs.  The resulting dish was sinfully delicious and my husband said said to be sure to put this on my website.  That’s a thumbs up in my book, as he doesn’t like spaghetti squash very much. 🙂

This dish is a little carb-y, but virtually all the carbs are coming from the spaghetti squash and leek…..all healthy carbs, so I’m not worried there.  It is suitable for Atkins Induction and Keto diets if you can fit it into your daily numbers.  This would not be suitable for Primal-Paleo.  This recipe is high in sodium, from the cheese and bacon, so be forewarned.  If you are extremely sodium sensitive, you may need to cut back the cheese and bacon a bit.

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5 oz. bacon, chopped small

5 oz. leek, chopped small

13 oz. chicken meat, cut into small pieces (or cooked turkey meat)

¼ c. heavy cream

¼ c. water

3 oz. smoked Gouda cheese, shredded

dash of xanthan gum (or your favorite thickener) to thicken

3 c. spaghetti squash threads (this is what my half of a squash yielded)

2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

DIRECTIONS:  Cut your spaghetti squash in half, reserving one half for another use.  Place one half, cut side down in a baking dish with ½” water and microwave for 13 minutes on HI.  You can also bake them in your oven (which I have never done) but it will take much longer, probably around 30-45 minutes?  When tender, holding in your hand with a hot pad, fork/strip the threads out onto a paper plate and set aside.  Preheat your oven now to 350º.

While the squash is cooking in the microwave, brown the bacon in a skillet over high heat.  Remove and drain on paper towels about 2 T. of it to use for top garnish.  Add the chopped leek to the skillet along with remaining bacon and continue sauteing until the leeks are nearly tender.  Add the chicken (or turkey) and continue sauteing until it too is done.  Lower heat to medium and add the water, cream and most of the Gouda cheese, reserving just a little cheese (about 3 T.) to sprinkle on the top of the casserole(s).  Stir the cheese into the mixture until it begins to melt.  Move the solids to the edges of the pan and dust a wee bit of xanthan gum/thickener into the middle puddle of liquid, stirring briskly and allow to thicken up.  You don’t want this very thick, so I only dusted it one time.

I made 3 individual 6″ long oval casseroles, but you can just make one using an 8/11 baking dish you have oiled lightly.  Spoon the mixture into your oiled baking dish(es).  Top the casserole(s) with the reserved cheese and the chopped parsley (if using).  Pop into preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld and mellow.  Serve with a nice green salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 3 servings, each contains:

569 calories

42.5 g  fat

17.23 g  carbs, 2.86 g  fiber, 14.37 g  NET CARBS

30 g  protein

1365 mg sodium



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