March 17

Zucchini Nachos

If I could eat nachos every day, I would.

I wish someone invented a speedy nacho delivery business. They’d make bank, especially in college towns.

Nachos are awesome. Plain and simple. The crappy overpriced spicy cheese sauce and extra salty chips you buy at the movie theaters, or the cheap version you can get at almost any gas station; the kind you make at home with a bag of Tostitos, a block of cheese, and a bunch of random fixins; or the kind I talk about here, where you fry your own chips and do everything the right way. However, thanks in large part to my “diet”, I have limited my meals to serving sizes, and in the case of taco chips, a serving size is anywhere from 8 to 12 chips, depending on which brand we have on hand. Some more, some less. How does one rectify this problem? I mean, 9 taco chips is hardly a meal, even with all the delicious other food you stack up on them. It’s really difficult to be “good” when nachos are involved. At least for me.

On my way home on this evening, I decided I really wanted nachos. But I was starving. I was so hungry I knew a serving size wouldn’t cut it. I needed to come up with a solution.

Knowing we had copious amounts of zucchini in the crisper drawer, I got home and went to work. I love my mandolin something fierce. It is such a great kitchen tool and it made chopping the zucchini uniformly a breeze. I still freak out a little when I get close to the end nub of a vegetable (or whatever I’m slicing) that I’m going to take a fingertip off. I’ve done stupider things, so it’s not that far-fetched. Still, I take the end nice and slow.

After slicing the zucchini, I tossed them in a bit of olive oil to aid in cooking them ever-so-slightly. I had high hopes that they would crisp to a point that they would resemble a chip, and maybe they would have gotten to that point had I let them cook longer. Perhaps if I tossed them in the oil first and pre-baked them before adding the toppings, they might have a chance to actually crisp. Something to try for next time!

Normally, when I make nachos, I toss the taco chips on a baking sheet and they just sorta sit there, not really overlapping or anything. I try to spread out the ingredients so each chip has a bit of everything. It’s silly and a given, but there’s nothing worse than having those few chips without any toppings. They feel so left out.

With the zucchini, I made sure I overlapped them. It probably wasn’t necessary, but it made for a pretty picture ;)

The nice thing about this type of nacho compilation is that just about everything is healthy. I’m sure there are healthier cheese options, but dairy is still good for ‘ya, right? Right!

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Zucchini Nachos

Ingredients

2 medium zucchinis, sliced
1/2 pound chicken
1 15 ounce can sweet corn
1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded cheese
olive oil to toss zucchini in

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (for easy clean up!).

2. Cook chicken per your favorite method. I enjoy heating olive oil in a skillet and cooking the tenderloins that way. Chopping the chicken or shredding it is super easy and makes for a delicious addition to the nachos.

3.Toss the zucchini slices in a bit of olive oil.

4. Arrange the zucchini on the baking sheet and cover the slices with anything you want. Chicken, beans, corn, cheese all over the place!

5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted. The zucchini ends up slightly soft but with still a nice firmness so it’s not a sloppy mess.

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