Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole

You may have seen this one floating around Pinterest.  I have had it pinned for a while, but I had kind of dismissed it since it contained the words “buffalo chicken”.  Those of you that read my blog regularly know that my family can’t take any heat, whereas I love some schpice.  However, I decided to take a closer look at the recipe and realized I could make a couple of simple changes and make it work.  I just reduced the hot sauce, added in a ranch type dip, and cut back the green onion a bit.  Wowza! This was GOOD!

Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole

adapted from Cook Lisa Cook
my changes are in italics
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8-10 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. fresh ground pepper
1 T. paprika
1 1/2 T. garlic powder
3 T. buffalo wing sauce
3 T. Loaded Baked Potato Dip*
*Could use Ranch dip or salad dressing in the place of the dip I used or skip it altogether and use 6 T. hot sauce.  Depends on the level of heat you like. Or, you could use all ranch or other sauce in the place of the hot sauce.
Topping:
2 cups cheese of choice (I used 1 1/2 c. reduced fat sharp cheddar and 1/2 cup Gorgonzola)
1/2-3/4 cup real bacon bits
1/2 cup diced green onion
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. (It’s gotta be hot to cook those taters!)  In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, buffalo sauce and dip/dressing.  Add the cubed potatoes and stir to coat.  Pour potatoes into a sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish, reserving as much sauce as possible for the chicken.  (There will not be a lot left, but should be enough to coat the chicken).  Bake the potatoes at 500 degrees for 45-50 mins, stirring every 10-15 mins (I did 15), until potatoes are cooked through and crispy & browned on the outside.  While the potatoes are cooking, add the chicken to the bowl with the remaining sauce.  Stir to coat.  Once potatoes are done, remove from oven and lower oven temp to 400 degrees. Add the chicken to the top of the cooked potatoes.  (I know, raw chicken on top of cooked potatoes seems a little weird, but it all heats back up and cooks through.)  Cover raw chicken with cheese, bacon bits and green onions in an even layer.  Place assembled casserole in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
You can serve this with extra hot sauce, ranch or blue cheese dressing if desired.  I topped mine with a little extra wing sauce, and some plain yogurt (instead of sour cream), and additional green onions.
Verdict?  Fantastic!  This is like combining my favorite appetizers into one glorious dish – loaded potato skins and buffalo wings!  The recipe can be adapted to suit your family’s taste buds, and would be great to serve for a crowd on game day.  It seems like there is some big football game coming up sometime soon?  You know, the one with all the cool commercials 😉  The only drawback is the time it takes to cut up all the potatoes and chicken, but that could be easily done ahead of time. My plan is to pre-cook some chicken breasts, chop them up, and freeze for when I make this again, and this recipe is definitely a keeper and will be made again!

‘Lightened Up’ Loaded Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of those things I kind of have to be in the mood to eat.  Until now.  I think I could eat this as a side almost every day!  Yes, it was that good!  I made this for my family’s 4th of July cookout.

‘Lightened Up’ Loaded Potato Salad 

6-8 small to medium red potatoes – cooked*, cooled and cubed
1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
8-10 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled
6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided (reduced fat to cut calories)
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 dash celery salt (can also use seasoning salt)
1 dash garlic powder
1 dash paprika (or cayenne pepper)
  • Gently stir together all the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving a little cheddar, green onion and bacon for garnish.
  • Transfer to a serving dish.
  • Top with reserved shredded cheddar, green onion slices and bacon.  Can be served immediately while still warm, or made ahead of time and served cold.  It was good both ways!
*I cooked my potatoes in a steamer bag in the microwave
 
Adapted from: Craving Comfort 
 
Verdict? This was a delicious potato salad, and an excellent side to this-
Yes, I like to see how big I can make my burger!
By making a few ingredient swaps, I was able to greatly reduce the fat and calories in this side dish, without sacrificing flavor. Not to mention, no one realized I had used yogurt and light mayo in the place of the regular stuff!  If you are not a fan of turkey bacon, you could use regular bacon, and just reduce the amount as well.