09 August 2013

Summer Squash / Zucchini Chicken Bake

If your summer is going anything like mine, there is no shortage of summer squash and zucchini.  It's a good problem to have.  If you're running out of ideas for using them, check out this recipe!  I'm not a huge fan of squash, so I was a little skeptical, but I was blown away by this dish.
Plus chicken!  I made this dish and ate it for lunch every day.  And every day, I would dish it up and take photos, trying to get one that looked decent.  This is not an easy dish to photograph.  Then when I finally pulled the photos off my camera, the first one totally rocked my socks.  All that work for nothing!
Let's talk about the SLAP CHOP.  No tears onions?  Check.  Easy chopping?  Check.  Knockoff version for a dollar at Goodwill?  Count me in!  Now that the chopping is out of the way, start the sauteing.  While the onions soften, you have the perfect opportunity to shred the summer squash and zucchini.
The shredded squash is added to the onions, and then we spice things up!
It looks like a lot, but in the end the flavors all come together.  Tomato time!  Test the limits of this pan.  (Note:  slap chop also turns stewed tomatoes into diced tomatoes - minus the mess!)
Try to stir it up, decide things have gotten out of control, start to spoon everything into the baking dish.
Still not sure about this...time to add chicken (vegetarian option:  close your eyes and scroll down).
Bake all these flavors together!  Chicken juices act like broth to the stew beneath, while cooking into a delicious casserole that will feed you for a week.
I might have snuck some parmesan cheese in there, too.

Okay, here's the real story.  I saw this recipe for Summer Squash Meatball Casserole and thought it was worth a try.  But when I tried it, I changed...well...everything.  Chicken breasts were literally a third of the price of either ground beef or ground turkey, so I nixed the meatball idea.  I was tired of spending so much time cooking every night and not getting much else done, so when I made this I made it BIG.  And there was no regret. 

Summer Squash/Zucchini Chicken Bake (inspired by this)
Serves:  8 to 10 as a main dish

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 med onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 c. shredded summer squash
  • 3 c. shredded zucchini
  • 2 tbs cumin
  • 2 tbs ground coriander
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika (make sure it's smoked!)
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can tomato puree (14 oz)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz) - I used stewed and slap chopped them into diced-size pieces
  • 3 small chicken breasts, cut into...meatball-sized pieces (vegetarian option:  omit chicken)
1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Saute the garlic and onion until soft / translucent (and super fragrant!).  Use your largest saute pan.
2.  Add the squash and zucchini and continue to cook until soft.
3.  Add the spices.  Stir stir stir it up.
4.  Add the tomato (both diced and pureed).  Continue cooking until the tomatoes start to simmer.
5.  Pour the entire mixture into a 9x13 pan.  Top with raw chicken.  If desired, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
I think it's the smoky paprika that really secures this dish as a favorite.  I will definitely be making this one again.  And if you still have any zucchini left, make some zucchini bread!  Everyone loves zucchini bread. 

No comments:

Post a Comment