Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats

FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE!!! 
We went to the Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech football game on Monday (GO HOKIES), and ate lots of scrumptions, but not-so-healthy tailgate food.  So I wanted to make a healthy dinner for the Pro Football kick-off last night.  (Unfortunately my Giants did not win, but my fantasy football team is doing OK so far, so we'll call it a draw I guess). 

Anyway, I found this idea on skinnytaste.com and loved it.  We're always trying to find new ways to make our favorite dishes healthier, of course, and these zucchini boats looked awesome!  Plus, we still had a giant zucchini left over from our seemingly never-ending supply from the garden, so that made me even more excited. (Yes, I know I get excited over weird things.)

I changed a few things in the recipe from Skinnytaste.com, and thought it would be easier to throw a number of the ingredients in the slow-cooker rather than poaching the chicken in boiling water, which seemed boring last night.  So here is the adapted recipe that I used:


Ingredients:

For the Zucchini Boat Filling:
Cooking spray
1 package chicken breasts (3-4 breasts), trimmed and cut in half
4 medium to large zucchini
1 white onion: 1/2 diced and 1/2 thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1 jalapeno, diced 
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste

For the enchilada sauce:
Cooking spray
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 tbsp chipotle chile in adobo sauce, more if you like it spicy
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2/3 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

For the Topping: (if desired)
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese  (feel free to use cheddar or pepper jack cheese if you prefer)

Chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish





Directions:

Spray the bowl of the slow cooker with cooking spray, turn it on high, and add the chicken breasts.  Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, 1 cup fat free chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and using a small spoon, scoop out the flesh of each zucchini boat, leaving about 1/4" thick walls.  If the scooped-out flesh is very firm, chop the zucchini into small pieces and add to the slow-cooker.  If it's soft and falling apart, just add it directly to the slow-cooker and it will break apart on it's own.

Cook for about 2 hours in the slow-cooker, stirring occassionally, until the chicken is firm to the touch.  (It is OK if the chicken is slightly under-done at this point, you don't want to over-cook it.)  Remove the pieces of chicken from the slow-cooker and shred the chicken into small pieces using 2 forks.  Return the chicken to the slow-cooker and continue cooking while you make the enchilada sauce.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.

 For the enchilada sauce: In a medium saucepan, spray oil and saut√© garlic. Add chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Place 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up. Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini
with the chicken mixture, pressing firmly.  Top each with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce, and 1 1/2 tablespoons each of shredded cheese. 
Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.

Top with scallions and cilantro for garnish and serve with low fat sour cream if desired.