Monday, July 28, 2008

Five-Way Zucchini

By Nichole Giles

One of my favorite things about summer is growing our own vegetables. Every spring, we take a trip to our local gardening center and stock up on more plants than we have room to grow. And every year, I give up flower-growing space to vegetable plants. Not because I don’t love flowers—seriously, I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t have a certain soft spot for beautiful blooms—but because there is nothing more satisfying than cooking food you’ve planted, nurtured, and grown in your backyard garden.

As much as I love growing (and cooking) those veggies, when a single zucchini plant starts spitting out club-sized veggies every other day—it’s possible to run out of new and interesting ways to cook them. So, in the interest of saving your neighbors from receiving boxes of squash on their front porch three times a week, I’m going to share five of my family’s favorite recipes. Enjoy!


Appetizer:

Grilled Zucchini Dippers

You’ll need:
One large zucchini, or two small, sliced in strips three inches long and ¾ inch around (approximately.)
¼ cup low fat Italian salad dressing
1 Tbs Salad Supreme
1 Tbs Parmesan cheese


In a shallow bowl or baking dish, drizzle zucchini with dressing. Add Salad Supreme and Parmesan cheese and toss gently. Cook on top rack of pre-heated barbeque grill for 8-10 minutes or until only slightly crunchy. Serve with a side of ranch dressing for dipping.

Main Course:

Zucchini Casserole
This recipe was passed to me by the late Carol Giles, who got it from her aunt, Vee Harper. Thanks Aunt Vee!

You’ll need:
3 cups zucchini, sliced
2 cups grated carrots
½ cup chopped onions
1 lb country style ground sausage
2 Tbs butter or margarine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
2 pkgs Stove Top Stuffing Mix
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté onions in a large skillet with butter until transparent. Add zucchini, carrots, and a little water. Cover and continue to cook until vegetables are tender. Brown sausage and drain off fat. Make stuffing as directed on package. Mix dressing with sausage until well blended. Pat ¾ of mix into a lightly greased casserole. Add soup and sour cream to vegetables (fold in carefully). Spread on top of stuffing. Top with remaining stuffing mix. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and lightly browned. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top during the last few minutes of cooking.


Stuffed Zucchini

You’ll need:
1 large zucchini, or two smaller sized zucchini
½ lb ground sausage of your choice
½ box Stove Top Stuffing—prepared
¼ cup diced onions
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup-1 cup Parmesan cheese

Shells:
Slice the zucchini in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard, then scoop out the meat of the zucchini and set aside. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and place hollow
zucchini shells inside. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Filling:
Chop the zucchini meat into bite sized pieces, set aside. Brown the sausage, drain, and then add to prepared stuffing. In sausage drippings (no more than a tablespoon) sauté zucchini meat and onions. Drain leftover fat. Mix ½ can of soup with vegetables, and then add mixture to stuffing.

Stuffing the shells:
Spoon filling into zucchini shells until you can’t fit any more inside or on top. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


Side Dish:

Baked Zucchini Bites

You’ll need:
1 medium zucchini chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbs olive oil
1 dash each of dried oregano, basil, and thyme
3 dashes of Salad Supreme
3 dashes powdered Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
(Any of your favorite spices could be used on this!)

In a medium sized mixing bowl, drizzle oil over zucchini and toss lightly. Sprinkle spices, Salad Supreme, and cheese liberally and mix until zucchini is well coated. Spread evenly on un-greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until fork tender.


Desert:

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
(From Carol Giles)

You’ll need:
½ cup margarine
¼ cup oil
1 ¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups zucchini (no seeds or peelings)
¼ cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vinegar
½ cup milk
4 Tbs cocoa
½ cups chopped nuts (optional for those of us who don’t like nuts!)

Cream margarine, oil and sugar. Add eggs and beat. Sift all dry ingredients. Add vinegar to milk. Add to creamed mixture alternately with dry ingredients. Makes two loaves. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and add nuts if desired. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.



5 comments:

Cindy Beck said...

Nichole,
Ooo, the recipes sound yummy! Thanks for posting them.

And thanks, too, for commenting on the book review and interview with author, Shirley Bahlmann. Loved your comment about making a feather boa from duck feathers! :)

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks Cindy, I loved your interview, you and Shirley sure crack me up.

As for the recipes, well, they are yummy. Glad to share!

Nichole

Tristi Pinkston said...

Do I have your final word count for the BIAM?

Kim Thompson said...

Your recipes sound delish! I can't wait to try them.

Janice LeFevre said...

Yum!!! Can't wait to try them. I have a recipe similar to the one with Stove Top Stuffing and it is SOOO delicious!!