Sneaky Jalapeno Popper Casserole
When I first found out that I was going to be a mother I vowed to always be 100% honest with my kids about everything. Then, I actually became a parent.
It is socially acceptable to “omit some truths” when it comes to certain holidays. Most of us want our kids to enjoy these “omitted truths” and all of the fun and memories that comes with it.
Another socially acceptable “omitted truth” is sneaking vegetables into their food. I mean it’s for their own good!!! Right? For a lot of us parents it’s like badge of honor when you can get those little rascals to eat their veggies.
My youngest will usually eat most anything. And then there is the time I served spaghetti with spaghetti squash instead of pasta. You would have thought it was the end of the world! The first mistake I made was telling him we were having spaghetti. The second mistake was not seasoning the squash at all. I’ve never been able to get him to eat it again. Until now!
The kid LOVES cream cheese and spicy foods. When I came across a recipe for Jalapeño Popper Casserole I did some thinking. My hubs has a gluten allergy and I know from past experience that cooking gluten free pasta in a casserole is not good. Unless you like your casseroles with a gluey, pasty texture. That’s when spaghetti squash entered the picture.
I am proud to say that I successfully “omitted the truth” and made a spaghetti squash lover out of him, even if he doesn’t know it!
I always cook 2 chickens at the same time. It doesn’t take anymore effort and it’s great to have on hand for those days you don’t want to do all the work of cooking and deboning.
Be VERY CAREFUL when cutting any squash! I had to get out the meat clever for this particular squash.
I prefer roasting as opposed to boiling my chicken. I always save the chicken carcass for making broth. I also save the scraps from onions, carrots, and celery for the broth. Waste not want not!
Believe it or not, it’s not very spicy. You could substitute a bell pepper for the jalapeños if you don’t want any spice.
I roasted the squash while the chickens were roasting. After they cool, just use a fork to scrape and pull apart the strands of squash. I forgot to set the timer and over cooked mine a bit, but you couldn’t tell in the finished product.
Now, before baking, would be a good time to freeze this if you want to save for a later date.
With all the veggies snuck in, this is a one dish meal!
SNEAKY JALAPEÑO POPPER CASSEROLE 1 Triple S Farms Chicken, cooked, deboned, and shredded 1 Tbs. Olive oil 1 Onion, chopped 3 cloves Garlic, minced 6 Jalapeños, deseeded and minced 1 C. Chicken broth(I used leftover turkey broth this time) 8 oz. cream cheese Salt and pepper, to taste 1 spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded 2 C. Shredded cheddar or any shredded cheese you have on hand( I needed to use up some Parmesan) Preheat oven to 375°. Heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeños. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth and cream cheese and continue to cook until cream cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper. Add squash, chicken, and 1 C. shredded cheese. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Place in a greased 9”x13” baking pan. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese on top. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. COOKING SPAGHETTI SQUASH Carefully cut squash in half, lengthwise. With a spoon, scrape out seeds and stringy parts. You can save the seeds to roast! Place cut side down in a baking pan. Bake at 400° for 35-40 minutes. You should easily be able to pierce the skin with a fork. Wait to cool and pull out flesh into separate strands. It is a very bland squash so don’t forget to season it!