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Zucchini rice chicken bake

Unfortunately, casseroles have gotten a bad rap over time. I suppose some people use the casserole as an excuse to throw a bunch of leftovers together in an oven-proof dish, stir in some binding sauce and call it a deal. I’ve heard that my father in law used to do something similar years ago, and after it arrived on the table he looked to his kids for help naming each creation. “Good corny stuff” was one name my husband remembers. Enough said.

This, my friends, is a casserole recipe that stands out above others. It’s also one of our all time favorite comfort foods. I make it in the summertime when garden-fresh zucchinis are as convenient as walking to the garden with a knife. Diced green chilies and chili powder give it a southwestern feel, the sour cream and chicken broth make it creamy, and the tomatoes add flavor and color. It’s inexpensive, can feed a family, and can be made ahead of time to be popped into the oven thirty minutes before dinner.

Until this summer I always sautéed slices of zucchini, but now that I have my nifty, As seen on TV! “Veggetti”, I prefer using the spiral-cut strands.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced or shredded into strands
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin, including part of green tops
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (7 ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 3 cups cooked rice – brown, white or a combination of different kinds
  • 2/3 cup sour cream, or low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Over medium heat, sauté the zucchini and onion in a large sauté pan or skillet until zucchini just begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the green chilies, rice, sour cream, chicken broth, 1 cup of the cheese, salt and chili powder.

Turn the casserole into a lightly greased baking dish, about 8x8-inches. (I actually made three small casseroles in the pictures here.) Top with the sliced tomatoes and then sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly throughout.

 

The Veggetti – “As seen on TV!”

If you looked in my kitchen drawers and cabinets you would not think that I would be lacking in any kind of device to shred, stir, zest, mix, whip, core, peel, whisk, or chop food. I own more cutting boards, knives, pans, rolling pins, sheet pans, cake, bread, pie and tart pans than the average cook needs. Everything is perfectly organized, compartmentalized and neat. I can lay my hands on whatever I want in a flash.

Even though I didn’t think there was one more thing I needed, I stumbled across the “Veggetti”, a gadget that we’ve used almost every night for the past month – or at least ever since we started harvesting this season’s zucchini.

Imagine the zucchini or carrot is a pencil, and the Veggetti is a manual, hand-held plastic pencil sharpener. You twist the vegetable into one end of this nifty tool, and out come long, wavy strands of veggie on the side, like the pencil shavings. I would almost go so far as to say vegetables even taste better this way, but I know there is no merit to this notion.

Usually I sauté the strands in a little olive oil and add a light handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a sprinkling of salt. The other day I actually cooked some linguini and combined it with the zucchini strands and it was delicous. (Bottom picture)

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, which will show one of my all time favorite recipes, modified to include these long, wavy ribbons of fresh zucchini.

"The safest grater in the world" still works like a champ. My vintage Mouli grater is well constructed and doesn’t twist and bend the way the plastic ones behave. It’s also still nice and sharp!

Side note — my husband was grating cheese as I was taking pictures. I kept telling him to continue grating and I was snapping away. Before we knew it, we had more cheese on that tostada than Napoleon Dynamite had on his plate of nachos.

Yesterday I baked chocolate cake. Lots of chocolate cake. There was the two layer chocolate cake and then a multitude of cupcakes – all received with rave reviews!

The cake is super moist, but dense and chocolaty. The frosting is rich and smooth.

Truly guys, if you’re looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe with the perfect chocolate frosting, it’s right here on this blog. If you didn’t see the posts a couple of years ago when they first appeared, I encourage you go there now and visit them.