Keto/LowCarb King Ranch Casserole

Keto/Low Carb King Ranch Casserole

Rarely would you go to a potluck or church social here in Texas and not have King Ranch Casserole. For it to be missing would be like a bride not showing up at her wedding – gasp! It is a layered dish of corn tortillas, chicken, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, two kinds of canned soups and tons of cheese! So we decided it was time to try our hand at making this comfort dish and low-carbing it without all the canned soups and tortillas…but how to get that starchy feel without tortillas? In rolls the spaghetti squash – the end result was fantastic!

Instead of traditional bell peppers, we decided to use poblanos, which I think was a perfect addition to this dish! I roasted the poblanos in the toaster oven on a small sheet tray for about 10 minutes on 425,  turning them occasionally so each side was blistered. After that, pop them in a covered bowl or plastic bag (I just use the plastic grocery store bag they came in) and let them cool. The skins come right off!  I went ahead and did two, even though we only used one so we could eat it in eggs or on salads for the week.

Keto/LowCarb King Ranch CasserolePoblanos right after roasting and the lovely prep work (thanks Mr. T)!

Spaghetti squash is so versatile and a snap to make! For this dish, we cut it in half, scooped the seeds then popped it in the microwave. After scooping out the ‘noodles’ we even used the shell as our cooking vessel (easy clean up)!

I like spice and the jalapenos this time were pretty tame.  I had to add some Chipotle Cholula to kick it up!  That was a lot of chopping for my tiny arms.

I like keeping things simple and uncomplicated (Mr. T might argue differently)! To keep this dish easy, we used the white meat of a store bought rotisserie chicken. Also, we didn’t stick to the traditional ‘layering’ of the dish…instead we mixed the whole thing up, covered it with cheese and baked it in the toaster oven for 30 minutes. All in all pretty easy to make. I hope you cowpokes enjoy!

Keto/LowCarb King Ranch Casserole

Keto/LowCarb King Ranch CasseroleA peak of it after we devoured half – holds its shape pretty well!

Keto/Low Carb King Ranch Casserole

1/2 medium spaghetti squash
1 poblano pepper
½ cup white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 mushrooms, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
salt and pepper
¼ cup water or stock
1 cup diced or shredded rotisserie chicken
½ cup canned, crushed tomatoes (like Muir Glen fire roasted)
¼ cup canned green chilies
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups shredded jack cheese (or habanero jack)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
dash liquid smoke
1 Tbsp olive oil
Chipotle Cholula for extra kick (optional)

For the poblanos: Roast in an oven (or toaster oven) at 425 for 10 minutes, turning occasionally so they blister on all sides. Once properly blistered, add to a plastic bag or covered bowl and set aside. Once cooled enough to handle, rub the skins off under running water and discard stem and seeds. Coarsely chop and set aside.

For the squash: cut in half lengthwise (stem to end). Scoop out the seeds. Place in a gallon zip-lock or covered microwave dish with a small amount of water (less than ¼ cup) so it can steam. Microwave on high for 7-10 minutes or until tender and threads easily scrape out with a fork. Scrape all the insides out, resembling spaghetti. Set aside.

Heat a saucepan on medium and once hot, add in olive oil. Add in onions, jalapenos and mushrooms. Let cook for 5-10 minutes until all softened. Add in your garlic and spices. Let the spices coat everything and toast (1-2 minutes). Turn off the burner and add in your water, poblanos and chicken to warm through.

In a large mixing bowl add in the tomatoes, green chilies, sour cream, liquid smoke, cilantro and 1 cup of each cheeses (saving the ½ of each for adding on top), mix together. Add in your warm skillet goodies to the bowl and mix all together. Put in a cooking dish, or use the scooped out squash, top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly. Garnish with extra cilantro, and if you want some extra spice I recommend adding some Chipotle Cholula.

Serves: 4

Estimated Nutrition Stats: Calories – 312 | Carbs 9g | Net carbs – 7g | Fat 24g | Protein 17g | Fiber 2g.