Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Zu - Zu - Zu- cchini!

Is it just me, or is zucchini an awesome word? Say it out loud a few times and tell me differently. This summer squash cooks up fast and is quite versatile. I've been wanting pasta lately, but often feel like pasta can be a waste of calories. And Chris is back to limiting the amount of carbohydrates in his diet (he vacillates between eating them and not eating them, but notes that he just feels better overall when he avoids most carbs), which can be a bit of a challenge for a vegetarian cook. There's only so many meat and salad dishes I can make without losing interest, since I'm not eating the meat I make for Chris. And I prefer cooking something that we can enjoy together. Right in the nick of time, I saw zucchini noodles mentioned somewhere and couldn't wait to give them a try. Its really just a simple, quick method of preparing zucchini, and the "noodles" make for a healthy bed for a sauce of some sort.

So grab some zucchini and let's go! Two zucchini make a Chris-sized portion, so if you're cooking for a couple of people get three or four. Lop off the ends and use a mandoline slicer, zester, julienne peeler, or a knife to make julienne strips the length of the squash. There's no need to peel the zucchini first, and the variation in color makes the finished dish look nice anyway.

Put the zucchini noodles in a colander over a bowl, sprinkle with salt, toss, and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes. This softens the noodles a bit. Then toss the noodles in boiling water for a minute (that's right, one minute), drain, and serve.

I served these noodles topped with a mushroom chicken bake - pretty much the same as you'll find on the back of a can of Campbell's condensed mushroom soup. Mmm... comfort food. I made it in two pans, one with chicken for Chris and the other with a Quorn Naked Chik'n Fillet for me. If you go the vegetarian route, do not cook it in the oven for a full 30 minutes. The Quorn fillet will be fine, but the sauce will dry up and then you'll look longing over at your husbands bowl with creamy mushroom sauce over a bed of vibrant green zucchini noodles, wondering if it tastes as good as you had hoped it would while said husband declares it is fantastic and praises the invention of the zucchini. Not that that happened, or anything.

Here's the recipe for the chicken version.

Mushroom Chicken Bake
from Campbell's

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves  (about 1 pound)
Lemon pepper seasoning
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained (I used fresh sliced mushrooms)
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed (I used 4 cloves, and my garlic press)
Ground black pepper

1. Season the chicken with the lemon pepper seasoning.  Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet.  Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides.  Place the chicken into a 2-quart baking dish.

2. Stir the soup, mushrooms, milk, cheese and garlic in a small bowl.  Season with the black pepper.  Pour the soup mixture over the chicken.

3. Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Serve the chicken and sauce with pasta, rice, or zucchini noodles!

Psst: Want a chance to win a gorgeous baking pan or pitcher? Then head on over to Cherry on a Cake and enter! I'm partial to the baking pan, myself...

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Lindsay said...

Thank you for the recipe... I have been on the hunt for some new recipes...

A Design Story

Run Lori Run said...

Great! I've been looking for some new vegetarian recipes for Beanie and the chicken version looks yummy too - thanks!