Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Enchilada Zucchini Boats

One year ago today, while KK and I were fortunate enough to be on a beach in Thailand, Hoboken and the rest of the Eastern seaboard were hit by Hurricane Sandy.  Thankfully, we were able to keep in touch with family and friends through email and social media sites (I joined Twitter so I could see pictures of Hoboken).  A friend moved our car, otherwise it would've been totaled by the 3-4 feet of water our apartment's garage took on.  And finally - thankfully our heat and power were restored by the time we arrived home, but much of the city was still in the dark.  According to Hoboken's mayor, nearly 80% of Hoboken had flooded, many shops and bars failed to reopen, and the PATH train was down for months (many of you probably saw this picture of the train station I use everyday).  It's amazing to see how the city's residents came together and rebuilt after the storm's devastation, and it's even more reassuring to hear that that Hoboken officials are still working to improve the city's infrastructure to lessen the impact of future flooding.  Hoboken's been my home for 12 years, and I think KK and I will be here for a few more, so I'm happy to see the city bouncing back to life!

Now - onto the food! I should warn you that these zucchini boats take awhile to prepare.  It's not that they were difficult to make, but they just took longer than a normal weeknight meal.  This recipe works best if you already have extra shredded chicken, otherwise you'll have to add additional cook time.  Luckily, KK had enough foresight in his menu planning to have me prepare extra chicken when I made the Chicken Chili Tacos (we actually had these boats the same week as the tacos, but my posting schedule has been wacky recently).  To hollow out the zucchini boats, I simply used a regular spoon from the kitchen drawer.  If you're feeling fancy (and if you have one), feel free to use a melon baller for that step.  The rest of the steps were straightforward and easy to follow.  Use as much or as little cheese as you like when topping the boats.  Since the primary ingredients of this meal are vegetables, we opted not to serve dinner with a side salad.  I did, however, get a little innovative with the leftovers - I chopped up one of the leftover boats and used it as salad topper for lunch later during the week!

Enchilada Zucchini Boats
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 4


4 medium zucchinis
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green bell pepper, diced
½ lb. chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp chipotle chili powder
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp tomato paste
10-oz. can enchilada sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
¾ c shredded Mexican cheese
Salsa and sour cream, optional toppings

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.  When water boils, preheat oven to 400.

2. Meanwhile, cut zucchini in half lengthwise.  Using a small spoon, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4" thick zucchini "boats."  Save insides of zucchini for later use.  Drop the zucchini halves in pot of boiling water.  Cook for 1 minute, and remove.

3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Cook onion, garlic and bell pepper for 3 minutes, until onions become translucent.  Add insides of zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and cook 4 minutes.  Add the cumin, oregano, chili powder, water, and tomato paste; cook for 4 minutes.  Finally, add chicken, stir thoroughly, and cook for 3 more minutes.

4. Cover bottom of a glass 9x13 baking dish with ¼ cup enchilada sauce.  Using a spoon, fill each boat with about ⅓ cup chicken mixture.

5. Top filled zucchini boats with remaining enchilada sauce and shredded cheese.  Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Cheese will be melted and zucchini will be cooked.  If desired, serve topped with additional salsa and sour cream.

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