Tag Archives: zucchini

A Leftover’s Makeover: Chicken Zucchini Boats

If you haven’t heard about using zucchini as a vessel for chicken, lamb, ground beef, etc., you absolutely live under a rock. It’s a “thing,” a trendy new way to use zucchini sans making them into noodles (I have feelings about zoodles but that’s for another post).

Zucchini happens to be one of my favorite vegetables to eat. Not only is it high in water and fiber, it’s actually known to lower blood pressure and provide your body ample amounts of vitamin C. Zucchini is incredibly versatile and when made into tiny “boats,” it can turn any meal into a low-carb masterpiece!

I originally sought to make these boats in an enchilada style, but that will be a follow-up recipe. Instead of taking out more chicken and boiling it then shredding, seasoning, and making an enchilada sauce, I opted to repurpose the leftover coconut cream and tomato chicken thighs from yesterday’s blog post (that recipe can be found here). Ready for the step by step? It’s super easy that it doesn’t even require a recipe. Here’s the deal:

  1. Take four zucchini and slice in half.
  2. Hollow out the zucchini with a spoon (or melon scoop) and repeat until all are finished. Remember to not hollow all the way down to leave a “skin” of zucchini so it resembles a boat. They will soften in the oven.
  3. Preheat oven to 350*
  4. Layer in the leftover chicken (or you can use ground beef, lamb, etc.) Be generous here 🙂
  5. Place in dish (pre-sauced with any kind of marinara sauce or some leftover sauce from the chicken).
  6. Bake for 15 minutes; take out at 15 minutes to sprinkle cheddar cheese and turn oven to broil.
  7. Broil until cheese is melted about 3 minutes.

THAT’S LITERALLY IT. Here are pictures to explain visually (it’s also really not complex, just follow the steps above).

Don’t worry, if you weren’t able to use leftovers it’s really alright. Make some taco meat with taco seasonings found on Thrive Market and make taco boats! Hmmm, #idea.

Nomaste 🙂

Bolognese with Sweet Potato and Garlic Butter Zucchini

Alright, I must admit, this is not my recipe. *GASP*.  It’s my husband’s recipe and in fact when he makes it, his version always tastes better (you’re welcome babe.) Bolognese is something that can’t be done in 15-20m, but it’s possible in an hour.  The slow simmer of the meat and sauté of fresh veggies filling the air with scents that remind me of vacation in Florence.  The faint scent of sweet potato in the oven brings so much happiness to my belly and to my pooch who LOVES sweet potato (side note: sweet potato is one of the best starches for all species, more on that in a different post…)

What’s fun about bolognese is that it can be done with a variety of ingredients. We’re rather traditional and like our meat sauce to be marinara or tomato-based with fresh garlic (I throw in minced garlic too for the flavor), oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder.  I start with browning the meat first as traditional bolognese sits on a low flame for hours and grows saturated with all the flavors.  I prefer to cook with grass-fed beef.  My reason? The quality, the taste, the COLOR is so much richer than conventional beef, and the animal it comes from is treated in a humane way and literally only fed grass, as they’re supposed to.  I usually buy my beef/chicken from Whole Foods or ButcherBox and their grass-fed beef is 10/10 every time.  I brown the meat in some oil with minced garlic and then add some jarred low sugar marinara sauce, stir it around and then add spices (oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and sea salt – can either be fresh or dried.. I use dried). Once this simmers for 15 minutes, I add my parmesan and creamer – this will thicken the bolognese and make it creamier! I like to use coconut creamer from Trader Joe’s because it just has a nice smooth texture with not a lot of coconut flavoring.  Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. note: the bolognese can get salty and oily quickly, mind your oil and salt here!

I’m a sucker for zucchini in all forms, but sliced, sautéed in butter with garlic is my ultimate favorite.  I try to stick with organic or local produce as much as possible.  I am a firm believer that local is better and supporting small farms in the area really benefits more than just my family, but theirs and our community. These are from Whole Foods and were perfectly crisp as I sliced them. I sautéed in butter (#kerrygoldFTW) and sprinkled garlic powder right when they turned translucent (approx. 10m on med-low heat, covered).IMG_3649

The last few months I have tried to stay away from rice and pastas (heavier carbs and I are not BFFL anymore) so I find alternatives…alas, the sweet potato!  I love the bright orange color and how this potato is versatile: mashed, sautéed, fried, baked, the possibilities are endless!  I start with slicing them rather thin (1/4in), then cut the slices into quarters – they bake easier.  I toss in some avocado oil, lay on a pre-oiled pan, sprinkle some sea salt, and place in the middle rack of the oven.  I suck at timing things, but I’d say it takes about 15 minutes (on 325*) to really get the potatoes just soft enough to taste awesome. Enjoy this recipe y’all.. it’s one of my favs 🙂

 

Bolognese with Sweet Potato and Garlic Butter Zucchini

Bolognese with Sweet Potato and Garlic Butter Zucchini
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 lb grass-fed or whatever you have available beef
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes sliced then quartered
  • 2 medium zucchini sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 tbsp oil for beef
  • Cooking spray for pan for sweet potato
  • 1 jar low-sugar marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c cream or nondairy creamer
  • Oregano - to taste
  • Red pepper flakes - to taste
  • Garlic powder - to taste for beef and for zucchini
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add beef and break up into smaller pieces/to your liking. Stir the meat until 90% is browned. Here, add minced and chopped garlic. Continue to stir. Pour in marinara and stir around to coat the ground beef. Mix in your seasonings (red pepper flakes, salt, garlic powder, and oregano) and stir it all in! Let simmer for 15 minutes on medium low heat. After 15 minutes are up, pour in your creamer and parmesan cheese.
  2. Turn oven on to 325 degrees. Rinse and slice your potatoes to 1/4in circles, then cut the slices into quarters. Throw into a bowl and toss with your favorite oil (I like avocado or EVOO). Pour over a pre-greased pan and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes on 325 (can lower heat if it's cooking too quick to 300) in middle rack of oven.
  3. Turn another pan onto medium heat with 3 tbsp butter to melt. Place zucchini slices into pan, toss to coat zucchini evenly. Let sauté for 5 minutes, toss again. Cover pan and let sit. Continue to check on zucchini ever 2-3 minutes as it will become translucent fast and start to burn. When most rounds are see-through, add garlic powder and turn down heat to low. Cover and cook for another 5-7 minutes, checking every so often to toss and stir. Once most pieces are tender, turn off flame and plate separate from the bolognese and sweet potato.
  4. Assemble bolognese with sweet potato at bottom, ladle two scoops of bolognese on top, and sprinkle with garnish such as cheese, more grated parm, or leave as is 🙂 Bon Appétit!

Recipe Notes

You do NOT need to add creamer if you don't want to! Please make this recipe your own. Add in different spices like coriander or maybe even cinnamon to give it a different taste. Making dinner for a larger family? Double the recipe (2lbs of meat instead of 1, etc.)