My "From the Garden" series features recipes that make use of fresh produce straight out of the garden (or from farmer's markets, farm stands, pick-your-own, etc.) It's going to be a tasty summer! Click here to see the other recipes in the series.
Let me just start by apologizing in advance for the number of zucchini recipes that are about to hit this blog. The garden is growing like crazy and we are going to have a LOT of zucchini. We went away for the weekend and came back to find three the size of my forearm.
The good news is, I LOVE zucchini! And my fellow gardener friends may need some tasty recipes to use up their bounty. SO... here's the first of many.
I love buffalo chicken anything... and though I have made stuffed zucchini in the past (with ground turkey, ground beef, philly cheesesteak mixture), I had never stuffed a zucchini with buffalo chicken! THIS might be my favorite stuffed zucchini to date!
Make the recipe easier by starting with pre-cooked chicken. I love to pre-cook and freeze chicken for recipes like this, or you could even use a rotisserie chicken. And to add to the wonderfulness, this recipe is also Whole30 approved -- dairy free, grain free, gluten free. My husband, who is usually a huge fan of slapping cheese on everything, didn't even comment on its absence. #truetest
Note: You may need to adjust the amount of chicken and filling ingredients depending on how large your zucchini are! I only used about half the amount I cooked, so I mixed it up buffalo-style anyways and threw it in the freezer for another day.
Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats
Makes: 8 zucchini boats
2 2/3 cups shredded, cooked chicken (if starting from raw chicken breasts, use seasoning below)
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot
1/4 cup Whole30 Mayo (I use this recipe from The Healthy Foodie)
1/4 - 1/2 cup almond meal
4 small to medium zucchini
Seasoning for Chicken:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
TIP: If you are starting with pre-cooked chicken, skip this first part.
Cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into uniform pieces. Spray with olive oil, then season with cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. No need to measure, just sprinkle some on there and massage it in with your hands so it is all pretty evenly coated.
TIP: I like to cut the thinner/pointed end off of the chicken breast as one piece, then cut the thicker/top half into two thinner pieces.
Throw the chicken in the oven while you prep the zucchini. The chicken should bake for 15-20 min or until cooked through. Once the chicken is done, add to a large bowl and shred it with 2 forks.
TIP: If you're using pre-cooked chicken, you should plan on about 1/3 of a cup per store-sized zucchini
Wash the zucchini and cut each one evenly in half. Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet and spray with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Par-bake for 15 minutes. At this point, it should have given up some of its moisture and softened a bit.
TIP: To make the next step easier, allow the zucchini to cool some while you shred the chicken.
Using a spoon, cut through the flesh of the zucchini, scooping out and reserving the middle spongy/seedy part to make room for the buffalo chicken goodness. Chop up the zucchini centers, squeeze it out to remove as much liquid as you can, then add it to the bowl along with the chicken.
Sauce time! Add in 1/2 cup of Frank's Red Hot and 1/4 cup mayonnaise to the chicken/zucchini centers. Stir to combine. Add in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of almond meal (depending on how wet your chicken mixture is). I didn't drain my zucchini very well, so I ended up using the full half cup of almond meal.
Portion the buffalo chicken mixture out evenly among the zucchini halves. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until zucchini reaches desired tenderness. Switch your oven to broil and bake for an additional 5 minutes until the chicken starts to brown on top.
Serve with a drizzle of Whole30 ranch dressing if desired. And who am I to judge if you wanted to pick one up and eat it like a buffalo chicken sub? Not saying I would do that or anything...
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