Loaded Potato & Smart Chicken Casserole

From Mary Anne: The perfect culinary marriage.loaded baked potatoes and Smart Chicken! This savory casserole goes together very quickly and can be prepared the day before or frozen for up to three months.

6-8 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2" cubes, divided

2 pounds boneless, skinless Smart Chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1" cubes

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of poultry seasoning

1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon, divided

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese, divided

1 cup diced green onion, divided

1 (8-ounce) package regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, sliced into 1/2 -inch cubes, divided

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or half-and-half

1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish or two 9x9-inch baking pans with non-vegetable spray (Pam). In a medium saucepan, boil cubed potatoes until almost done when pricked with a fork. Drain well and add potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Set aside.
  • Spread half of the potatoes in bottom of prepared pan. Spread the cubed Smart Chicken breasts and/or thighs evenly on top. Season Smart Chicken with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Layer with 1/2 of the bacon crumbles, 3/4 cup of cheddar or Mexican cheese, 1/2 (4 ounces) of the cubed cream cheese and 1/2 cup of green onion.
  • Layer with the remaining potatoes, bacon, 3/4 cup cheddar or Mexican cheese, 1/2 (4 ounces) of cubed cream cheese and 1/2 cup green onion.
  • Pour cream or half-and-half over casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for approximately one hour. In the last five minutes of baking, uncover and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and continue bake for about five minutes more or until cheese is hot, bubbly and melted. Remove from the oven and let it rest about five minutes.
Serves 10-12.

Note: I like to make sure the Smart Chicken is done by inserting a digital thermometer into several pieces. If the thermometer reads 165 degrees F. the dish is ready to remove from the oven and serve.

Note: This casserole freezes well; I like to cover it tightly in foil and then place in an appropriate size (1 or 2-gallon) Zip-lock bag. I then write in black magic marker what it is, the date, and cooking instructions. To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed.