Let me start out by saying this recipe is long and it takes some time to make. BUT, it is so so worth it. It’s more worth it than anything I’ve made all year. Do yourself a favor and block off a few hours on a weekend to make this Paleo Buffalo Chicken Casserole from Cassy Joy Garcia’s brand new cookbook, Fed & Fit: A 28 Day Food & Fitness Plan to Jump-Start Your Life with Over 175 Squeaky-Clean Paleo Recipes.
This entire book is fantastic! I love that the recipes are all squeaky-clean. You won’t find Paleo treats in this book, but you will find over 175 healthy, nutritious and flavorful recipes that your entire family will enjoy!
In addition, you will find a 28-day fitness plan that you can do at home. Since becoming a mom, I am a huge fan of short, effective workouts that I can squeeze in before my little one wakes up.
Back to the recipe real quick. It is so GOOD! It’s an explosion of all my favorite flavors. It is loaded with protein, carbs and vegetables. It’s healthy and filling. It makes a huge batch, so I had intended to freeze half of it for later in the month. BUT, I finished the entire thing in 2 days! I ate it for every meal (including breakfast!) until every last bite was gone. That is no over-exaggeration.
You can make your own buffalo sauce and ranch sauce for this recipe, BUT you don’t have to. To save time, you can substitute Frank’s RedHot for the buffalo sauce (which can be found here) and Primal Kitchen’s Ranch dressing (which can be found at Thrive Market online).
Paleo Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Program Compliance: Nut-free, Egg-free, AIP*
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes or 5 hours, depending on method used
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
I always make this casserole with the intention of freezing half, so that I can have healthy servings at the ready when my buffalo chicken craving strikes. Unfortunately, it never makes it to the freezer. Happily plating up servings for almost every meal of the day, my husband and I devour the whole thing in just a couple days. This one-pan dish is an incredibly delicious and balanced meal that will leave you feeling so satisfied.
4 sweet potatoes, cubed (about 8 cups)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (find high quality, organic oil here)
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
2 tablespoons salted butter, divided (use EVOO for AIP)
4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (omit for AIP)
¾ cup Buffalo Sauce (recipe below or substitute Frank’s RedHot sauce – Find it HERE)
6 packed cups de-stemmed and chopped kale (about 2 bunches)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided (about 1 small lemon)
¾ pound thick-cut bacon (about 8 strips), diced and cooked until crispy
1/3 cup 3-Ingredient Paleo Ranch (recipe below or substitute Primal Kitchen’s Ranch Sauce – Find it HERE)
¼ cup sliced green onions, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the sweet potato cubes in the olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Spread them out on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.
- While the potatoes are in the oven, season and sear the chicken: Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan that has a matching lid over high heat. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper. Once the butter is melted, sear the chicken on one side for 4 minutes, or until it develops a slight brown color. Flip the chicken over, sear for an additional 3 minutes. If using a slow cooker to finish cooking the chicken, jump ahead to Step 4.
- To cook the chicken on the stovetop: In the same pan, cover the chicken with the water, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
- To cook the chicken in a slow cooker: Transfer the seared chicken to a slow cooker, cover with water or broth, cover, and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Pull the chicken from its cooking liquid and place in a large bowl. Using two forks or an electric mixer, shred the chicken into small pieces. Pour in ½ cup of the Buffalo sauce and toss to combine. Set aside.
- In a separate sauté pan, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the kale and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until the color is deepened and each piece is wilted. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, or similar size, spread the roasted sweet potatoes out evenly along the bottom. Top with the kale and then with the buffalo chicken last. Drizzle the remaining ¼ cup of Buffalo sauce on top of the chicken and sprinkle the bacon over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until heated through.
- Whisk the ranch dressing with the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and drizzle it over top. Garnish with the green onions and serve warm.
- To defrost a whole frozen casserole, place the frozen casserole in a cold oven. Turn the oven heat on to 350ºF. Once the oven reaches temperature, bake for 30 minutes.
- Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days or you can cover and freeze for up to 5 months.
Approximate Calories & Macro Breakdown (based on 1 of 10 servings)
Calories: 460; Protein: 46 g; Fat: 24 g; Carbohydrates: 13 g
Program Compliance: Nut-Free, Egg-Free, Low-FODMAP*, GAPS
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Yield: 1 cup (1 tablespoon per serving)
This is a truly magical sauce that keeps my recipe inspiration brimming with flavorful family favorites. It’s entirely customizable, depending on whether you prefer more or less heat and adds MEGA flavor to casseroles, baked or grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, and salads. Experiment and keep this winner on hand for when you need more variety in your routine!
1/3 cup avocado oil (use EVOO for low-FODMAP) (find avocado oil here)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (find organic ACV here)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons)
2 teaspoons garlic powder (omit for low-FODMAP)
2 teaspoons onion powder (omit for low-FODMAP)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk all the ingredients together until well combined. Bring to a simmer and continue to whisk for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and either use right away or transfer to a jar for storage in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Note that when chilled, the olive oil in the sauce may separate and rise to the top of the jar. This is normal! Just let it come to room temperature before use and stir to combine or heat it either in a microwave for 30 seconds or on the stove and stir until the oil is incorporated.
- This sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to 5 months. You can either freeze it in freezer-safe jars or pour it into an ice cube tray to make convenient-sized portions for later use.
Approximate Calories & Macro Breakdown (per serving)
Calories: 47; Protein: 0 g; Fat: 5 g; Carbohydrates: 1 g
3-Ingredient Paleo Ranch
Program Compliance: Nut-Free, Low-FODMAP, GAPS
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 cups (2 tablespoons per serving)
This ranch dressing is probably the single most consistently popular recipe on my blog. Why? Because it’s so easy to make and really flavorful. I’m updating the Fed+Fit classic by substituting avocado oil for the “light tasting” olive oil in the original recipe. I’ve found that avocado oil lends itself to a much more mild and consistent flavor.
- Whisk the lemon juice and dill into the mayo until well combined.
- Enjoy right away or transfer to a jar for storage in the refrigerator. It will keep for about 1 month.
Approximate Calories & Macro Breakdown (per serving)
Calories: 201; Protein: 0 g; Fat: 21 g; Carbohydrates: 1 g
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