Basil Chicken Eggplant Boat
Do you ever order from the kids menu at restaurants? In my opinion, the lamest restaurants only serve kids meals to children under 10. It's the most frustrating when because I thought for once my baby face would give me the edge for once and the waitress goes nah-uh you definitely don't need to be carded. From my experience, kids meal in Japan are practically unbeatable because it's essentially a bit of everything on the adult menu. My favourites are omelette rice, tomato sauce spaghetti and the octopus shaped weiner sausage (sometimes even with a face!)
Another kids food that I love is food-in-food-bowls, like pineapple fried rice in pineapple or orange sherbet in orange skin or baked coconut rice in a coconut shell. They're just so awesome to look at and makes you feel like a cool kid. Food-in-food-bowls is something I rediscovered since Whole30, this eggplant boat is my recent favourite. It's easy, delicious and filling. So perfect for weeknight dinners, right?!
A while back I got this super cute compartmentalized plate from a thrift store. The citrus coloured double rim brightens up the worst of days and every time I use it I'm giddy like a little kid. Plus it's great for portion control which not my forte. Anyway, moral of the story is kids food + kids plate = really awesome dinner!
Basil Chicken Eggplant Boat
Serves 2 as a main and 4 as a starter
1 large eggplant (choose one that's round and fat)
1 pound ground chicken
½ onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
to serve: balsamic vinegar, small basil leaves, micro herbs
other add-ins: roasted red pepper, diced carrots, etc
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, carefully hollow out each half and roughly chop the removed flesh into ½" cubes.
- In a large frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the chopped eggplant and mushrooms and stir for a couple minutes before sprinkling on the minced garlic. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the eggplant is tender, about 7-8 minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- Using the same pan, add another tablespoon of oil and add the ground chicken, thyme, salt and pepper. Break apart with a wooden spatula and cook until the chicken is barely pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in the eggplant mix, basil, and other add-ins. Remove from heat.
- Place the eggplant halves in a lined baking dish and carefully spoon in the chicken mixture. Depending on the size of your eggplant you may have some extra, but they're great with fried rice or lettuce wrap. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and bake for 30-35 minutes until tender.
- When ready, serve with balsamic vinegar and garnish with extra basil leaves or micro herbs.