Updated: 01/07/2016 5:14 PM | Print Story |  Email

Taste the Trend: Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats

TCL regular and cookbook recipe developer Mary Jane Miller tackles another viral video recipe that is all over social media. She shares her review of Tip Hero's Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats and makes a revised version.

Mary Jane gives Tip Hero's Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats recipe 1.5 out of 5 wooden spoons and tell us the highlights.

Here's her review:
I can tell this recipe was written by a pretty good cook who is inexperienced at writing recipes.  
8 oz. chicken is hard for the average consumer to measure.  It should be in cups.
Ingredients should be listed in the order they are used and from largest amount to the smallest. This is picky. The order is good, but the spices are out of order.
I think she intended the cilantro to go in the filling, but the recipe doesn’t say that.  I think it’s better as a garnish anyway.  Cilantro is polarizing and is so good fresh.
I’m not crazy about the ingredients in most canned enchilada sauce.
When you have options, like chicken broth or water, you should list the preferred ingredient first. I think chicken broth is better. Maybe that’s just me.
She didn’t instruct us to trim the ends of the zucchini.
Scooping out zucchini boats is tedious. I broke about half of mine. I’ve done stuffed zucchini before, but only when zucchini is coming out of my ears from the garden. Plus when it’s baked in a closed casserole you are doomed to a watery sauce.
Regarding step 3, please tell me to spray my pan with cooking spray before you instruct me to spread a sauce in the bottom.
Re: step 4, if the garnish is optional, say “if desired” first.
What Mary Jane changed:
I used a vegetable container that is already built for stuffing. Poblano peppers are used in Mexican cooking for chiles rellenos so the flavor fits.
Because I’m using peppers for a vessel, I left them out of the filling.
I added a chopped zucchini to the filling. It fits the flavors so well plus I love getting more veggies into a dish.
I ditched the canned enchilada sauce. I researched from scratch sauces, but didn’t want to add more work to this. It is much easier to find canned tomato sauce with a clean label, so I started with that.  It also increased my chances of making this spontaneously—I usually have tomato sauce on hand.
Here is the original version, followed by Mary Jane's revised version:
Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats
2 lbs medium zucchini (about 3-4)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup diced green bell pepper
2 cups cooked, shredded or chopped chicken (I used leftover rotisserie chicken)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp medium-hot chili powder
3 Tbsp water or chicken broth
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 can (10 oz) red enchilada sauce, divided
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or other melting cheese of your choice)
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Cut each zucchini lengthwise, then using a spoon to scoop out the flesh, hollow out each zucchini half to create the zucchini boats. Set the boats aside and chop all of the scooped out zucchini flesh into small pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Sauté until the onion has softened and become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the chopped zucchini flesh, salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, 3 Tbsp of the enchilada sauce, the 3 Tbsp of chicken broth and chicken and stir to mix. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
3. Spread ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Line up all of the hollowed zucchini halves in the pan, then spoon the filling evenly into each zucchini boat. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over top of the zucchini, then sprinkle the shredded cheese.
4. Cover the pan with foil and bake 35-40 minutes until the cheese is melted and the zucchini is tender.
5. Sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro and optional green onions, if desired.
Mary Jane’s Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers
4 large poblano or medium red bell peppers
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium zucchini, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken 
1/2 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
2 Tbsp. each, chopped fresh cilantro and green onion 
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut peppers in half lengthwise.  Remove seeds and ribs.  Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, zucchini, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes or until the onion has softened and the zucchini begins to brown. 
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt and chicken broth.
4. Spread ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the pan. Arrange the peppers cut side up in pan.  Spoon the filling evenly into each pepper. Spoon remaining enchilada sauce over top.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake 35 minutes until the peppers are tender.
5. To serve, spoon the pan sauce over the peppers and garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions.
This is a great use for rotisserie chicken
Use portabella mushroom caps, gills removed with a spoon instead of peppers.
Make this vegetarian by replacing the chicken with a can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
Makes 4 servings