Mexican Chicken and Squash Casserole
When the weather turns wintery, I turn to casseroles and comfort food. This one is a great use of leftover chicken, but the recipe is designed to use less meat and feature instead more whole grains and vegetables. Make this the day before or early in the day, and then just bake it when you are ready for dinner. Easy peasy, and delicious.
- ½ of a roast chicken, bones and skin removed, chopped
- 1 small spaghetti squash, cooked and scraped from the skin
- 1 cup diced roast chile peppers (I used mild poblanos but you can use any heat level)
- 1 cup rice or faro, cooked according to package directions
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of chili powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Combine the chopped chicken with the shredded squash, chiles, rice or faro, and half of the cheese in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan until melted together, then whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking frequently. Combine the milk and butter milk and slowly whisk into the roux, simmering until it thickens. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, chili powder and cayenne pepper, and add remaining cheese, stirring until melted.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the chicken mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into a greased 9x11 glass baking pan, cover with foil, and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes if starting at room temperature, or 45 minutes if cold from the refrigerator.