Monday, July 31, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Casserole

My best grad school friend, Glutenless Goddess, used to make a fabulous buffalo chicken pasta from A Year of Slow Cooking. I think she even won a cookoff with it. Well, I was reminiscing about big potluck meals with fellow starving grad students, and I started to crave it. Could I make something with those same flavors using cauliflower? Yes! It works really well as a substitute for noodles in any sort of baked pasta dish. This is the idea behind my cheeseburger cauliflower helper, jalapeno popper cauliflower gratin, and baked fake-ziti

This is my favorite way to eat cauliflower yet! The cauliflower softens and takes on the texture of pasta and gets enveloped in a super creamy, cheesy, tangy sauce. Whenever we buy rotisserie chicken, we always seem to have an awkward amount leftover--not quite enough to make a meal. This recipe is the perfect way to use it up! It tastes even better as leftovers and freezes well, too. Serves 6-7 main courses.

Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Casserole
3 lbs cauliflower florets
2 T water
1/4 t salt
8 oz cream cheese (I use lowfat)
6-8 ounces grated jack, cheddar jack, or pepperjack cheese, a handful reserved for sprinkling over the top
3/4 cup Frank's buffalo sauce
1/2 cup (3 oz) crumbled blue cheese
1 cup (8 oz) cooked shredded or cubed chicken (this is a great way to use up leftovers from a rotisserie chicken (optional)
1 t garlic powder (optional)
1 t worchestershire sauce (optional)
1/2 t smoked paprika (optional)

In a large oven and microwave safe casserole dish, microwave frozen cauliflower, 2 T water and salt until softened, about 15 minutes, stirring and checking every now and then. Preheat oven to 375. In a separate mixing bowl microwave cream cheese or put in preheating oven until soft, mix all remaining ingredients except cauliflower. Once mix is combined, stir in cauliflower and any remaining liquid, and return to casserole dish. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes, until cauliflower is hot and bubbly, and the top is slightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving; the cauliflower will absorb the remaining liquid and "set".