Loaded Baked Potato Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Got all that?

If not , you should. ‘Cause it’s good.

So I found this via Pinterest as I was searching for yummy one-dish meals (because they make my life easier, and I am all about anything that makes my life easier). In fact, I like easy things so much, that I modified this to make it easier (at least for me).

Confession time: I hate cooking chicken. Hate it. I hate looking at or touching, or even being near raw chicken. Which makes cooking a little difficult on account of chicken is sort of one of those staples.  And believe me, I try. But it always ends the same: if I see raw chicken, I can’t eat. Which sort of, kind of, defeats the whole point of cooking. Sometimes, I avoid this because my husband does the chicken part. But usually, I can’t avoid seeing it, and then I’m out.  Also, even when I don’t see it, I have a hard time with chicken. I worry about under-cooking chicken. And then I over-cook chicken. And either way, it’s…yuck.

Loaded Baked Potato Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Loaded Baked Potato Buffalo Chicken Casserole

I also blame those chicken trucks on the highway (which I see far more frequently now that I have an hour commute to work spent mostly on the interstate). If I see one of those trucks carrying all those live chickens shoved together in little tiny, unbearable boxes with their feathers flying about in the 80-mph wind, I can’t even think about eating chicken for at least a month.  It’s just a thing I have. Cows (and therefore, beef) don’t bother me nearly as much. So anyway–I have far less of a problem with already cooked chicken, including that chicken that comes in cans. Yeah, I know, but still. My Campbell’s Cookbook turned me on to the possibilities of using canned chicken in cooking. It is, in fact, the featured ingredient in one of our all-time favorites: Fiesta Chicken Casserole.

To get back to the point,  I figured I’d give canned chicken a try for this recipe. I also used red potatoes because that’s what they had at the Farmer’s Market, where I also picked up green onions. Eat local, y’all (except for chicken)!

We had basically everything else I needed (except bacon, which I got at Food Lion):

cup olive oil
1 &½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
6 Tbsp. hot sauce
Topping:
2 cups fiesta blend cheese
1 cup crumbled bacon
1 cup diced green onion

Here’s what I did:

So I had a few other “modifications.” For starters, by the time I tossed all my potatoes in the sauce, there wasn’t much left for marinating the chicken, so I made more by cutting the original sauce recipe in half.  Then, I put my chicken in there. Also, I definitely didn’t remember to cook and crumble the bacon before I started this whole process, so I put the bacon in the oven while the potatoes were roasting (bacon in the oven is the best–frying pan = no-go around here). It worked out well. While that was happening, I scissored up the green onions (I once read somewhere that’s way better than “chopping” it because it preserves more of the flavor).

Also, I made this in the middle of the day because I had been up all night and wanted to nap but couldn’t. So I added to my sleep debt by making this. As a result, it was ready before dinner time. So basically, what I did was stop after the potatoes were done and kept them warm until dinner time when I added the toppings and threw it back in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees to get it finished off.  The fact that the chicken was pre-cooked made this possible.

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Filed under Home Life, In My Kitchen

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