(served 2 adults, 2 kids, + 1 leftover to take for lunch the following day)
One night this week I experimented with a new recipe, and it turned out to be a real keeper! In the spirit of the cheeseburger zucchini boats, this dish is called Chicken Parm Zucchini Gondolas. We wanted it to feel Italian! Seriously, seriously, good.
I would rank this dish as tasting better than the cheeseburger boats, and the kids loved their kiddie versions of the dish. In fact, when Taylor sat down to his plate, he said, "This looks good." It was a special moment.
I'm going to do this post with the kiddified version, meaning that I will post it exactly as I made it, which includes cooking the meat and onions separately, so there would be a higher chance of the kids eating the chicken.
- 2 big zucchinis
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1 onion, diced pretty small
- a few handfuls of reduced-fat, shredded mozzarella cheese1 tbsp. or so of Italian seasoning
- healthy squeeze of the garlic that comes in a tube in the produce section (or sprinkle of garlic seasoning)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 to 3/4 jar of pasta sauce (we like Bertolli tomato basil)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Take your zucchinis and cut them in half, length-wise. Use a pairing knife and a spoon to hollow out the middle of the zucchinis (and create your gondolas).
- Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up!
- Pop them in the oven to let them cook while you're making the rest of your meal.
- Get your ground chicken cooking in a frying pan on medium heat. I added a sprinkle of salt to the meat to help give it a little flavor. Use a spatula or something to break up the meat into nice sized crumbles.
- In a separate frying pan, saute your onions with seasoning, garlic, salt & pepper.
- Once your chicken is browned all the way through, you can pull some aside for the kiddos.
- Once you've pulled out the kiddie plain chicken, add your onions and seasoning mixutre into the chicken.
- Add the 1/2 to 3/4 jar pasta sauce. I think it helped that I reserved about half the jar. It kept the "gondolas" from being too saucy.
- Once you've got everything mixed nicely, pull your zucchinis from the oven and the pan from the stove. *Now is a good time to cut off some plain zucchini for the kids.
- Take your saucy meat and fill up your gondolas!
- Top the gondolas with your handfuls of reduced-fat mozzarella. Enjoy a few shreddies for yourself while you're at it!
- Pop it all back in the oven and turn the gauge on to Broil on Hi.
- Keep a close eye on your gondolas and take them out just when they've started to get bubbly and brown.
This really was a fabulous dish. The marinara sauce goes really well with the sort of meatiness of the zucchini, as well as the ground chicken. And the seasoned onions really add a nice bit of texture, complexity, and taste to the dish. You could do it without, but they are a nice touch. It was really very filling, too. I only had one of the "gondolas," so I could save the other one and have it the next day for lunch. It reheated well and kept me full all afternoon :)