In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Zucchini Brownies

Tonight I made my favorite zucchini recipe.  Zucchini brownies are a chocolaty treat that are super moist from what else, but zucchini!  It would be wonderful if these were healthy, just because they have a vegetable in them. That's not the case though, so these are definitely a treat that I only make once in awhile.  

started making these brownies a few years ago.  This recipe has been a keeper in my home ever since.  I originally found the recipe here from The Pioneer Cookbook.  The only thing I do differently from the original recipe is that I do not add nuts.  Neither my husband or myself like nuts in our baked goods. I think these are best when they are served warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (sugar free and low fat if I'm eating it) and some fresh raspberries on top.  Mmm Mmm Good! 

1 zucchini, pealed and shredded (about two cups)
1 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/3 tsp. salt
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 c.  butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. chocolate chips (i prefer milk chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl and set a side.  In a food processor, process the shredded zucchini and set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla.  Stir in Zucchini.  Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips and mix well.  Bake in a greased 9x9 pan for 40-50 minutes or until center pokes clean.

Mom's Zucchini Bread

Last night, I made my first loaf of zucchini bread of the season.  With an abundance of zucchini in the garden, I'm sure there will be plenty more loaves to come in the upcoming weeks. Some will be eaten fresh from the oven.  Others will be gifted or put in the freezer for a later time.  

This zucchini bread recipe is the recipe my mother used.  It's the recipe I grew up on.  I loved zucchini bread as a kid.  I remember having it often during late summer and early fall, and nibbling on it anytime of day.  My favorite way to eat it as a child was warm, with a little butter spread on top.  I still like it that way, but these days I find it best enjoyed with a cup of coffee.

I've shared this recipe on the blog before, but it has been awhile.  This particular recipe is more dense than other zucchini breads I've tried.  It's definitely moist from the zucchini, but the texture is not not light and airy, rather it is dense and filling.  

One batch can make one large loaf, or it could be split into two small pans to make two loaves, making it convenient for gifting. 

2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. cinnamon
2 c. zucchini, peeled and shredded (or about one medium zucchini)
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. oil
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 tbs. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, oil and sugar.  Add brown sugar and vanilla.  Mix in shredded zucchini.  Slowly add dry mixture until well combined.  Pour batter in a greased bread pan and bake for one hour or until bread pokes clean in the middle.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Simple Sauteed Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Other than grilled zucchini, simple sauteed zucchini is probably my favorite way to eat zucchini.  Because it is so simple, it is the way I commonly prepare zucchini for a meal.  You can find a side of zucchini and squash, cooked on the stove top with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, served anytime of year at my house.  I often serve this with fish, for a light and healthy supper.  Of course you could add onions, garlic or fresh herbs, but keeping it simple taste just fine.

one medium zucchini
one medium yellow squash
2 tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

On medium high heat, warm up olive oil in pan.  Chop vegetables and saute until tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Parmesan Zucchini

Sharing another use for zucchini today.  This simple recipe is a favorite in our house.  Baked Parmesan zucchini is a simple delicious side that goes great with any Italian dish.  I try to watch my carbs, and have found that these make a great substitute for bread sticks that would traditionally be served with pizza or pasta.

I originally found this recipe through Pinterest, and it has been a quick and easy go-to side dish ever since.  The original recipe calls for four zucchini, but I find that two is a good amount for my family.  When using my garden zucchini, I often only need one zucchini, as garden zucchini tend to be bigger than store-bought zucchini.

2 medium zucchini
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Cut zucchini into strips.  Place zucchini on a baking pan lined with foil.  Drizzle oil over zucchini. Sprinkle zucchini with cheese mixture.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Broil the last two minutes to get the tops crispy and brown.

** I like to brush the olive oil on the zucchini to make sure it is evenly coated.  I also like to dip the zucchini strips in the cheese mixture to make sure the cheese is evenly coated.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Asian Style Zucchini

A few weeks ago, I was in search of new ways to use up zucchini.  I found a few recipes that took an Asian spin on sauteed zucchini.  I decided to take some of those ingredients, all of which I already had in the house, and I came up with my own version of an Asian zucchini side dish.

This recipe was easy and took minimal ingredients.  It's also very versatile.  If you don't have sesame oil, you could just use olive oil.  I think the sesame oil gives good flavor.  Ginger is also optional.  Not everyone likes ginger, but I think it brings out more of an Asian flavor to the dish.  

This dish ended up being a good use of  my garden zucchini and was a simple side to an Asian meal I had planned for a weeknight supper. It will definitely served for supper again in the near future. 

2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin slices
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. sesame oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 to 2 tbs. low sodium soy sauce
1 tbs. sesame seeds

On medium to medium/high heat warm up olive oil and sesame oil.  Add garlic, ginger and soy sauce.  Give a few stirs, then saute zucchini until zucchini is tender.  Top with sesame seeds and serve over a bed of rice.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Raspberry Cupcakes

I enjoy using zucchini when baking, as zucchini always gives a moist texture to baked goods. A couple of months ago, I tried this zucchini raspberry cucake recoipe from All Recipes.  

I made these cupcake for a date night with my husband, a picnic in the park towards the end of spring.  I love chocolate in my desserts, and he loves fruit in his desserts.  This was a win-win for the both of us.  We both really enjoyed this recipe.

2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. buttermilk 
2 c. shredded zucchini
1 1/4 c. fresh raspberries
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and set aside.  Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamed.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix in vanilla.  Pour in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until just incorporated.  Fold in zucchini, raspberries and chocolate chips until just combined.  Spoon batter into greased or lined muffin tins 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until center pokes clean.  Let cool before frosting.  Garnish with a raspberry and sprig of mint.

I used my cream cheese frosting recipe (8 oz softened cream cheese, 4 tbs. butter, 1-2 c. powdered sugar, tbs. vanilla). A chocolate or raspberry whipped frosting would also be good with these cupcakes, making the frosting light and airy.  Also, when I pipe frosting on a cupcake, I usually just use a zip-lock freezer bag that I cut the corner off of to create a tip.

***  These cupcakes are a little on the dense side.  Still very good, but I might try a little less flour next time I make them.

Zucchini Boats

If you're like me, you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden this time of year, which means you're always looking for ways to use up your zucchini.  I love to make zucchini boats for a quick and easy supper, because they are fool-proof and easy to make, filling enough for my husband to eat and are also a great use of leftover ingredients from previous meals.

Zucchini boats are a great way to use up zucchini from the garden and leftover ingredients from a week's worth of food.  These are perfect to make at the end of the week when I have leftover onion, mushrooms and cheese from various recipes.  These are also extremely versatile, as there really is no exact ingredients or measurement of ingredients that have to be used for this recipe. I originally found this recipe for stuffed zucchini, but have since take the similar ingredients and adjusted the recipe to my liking. 

4 medium zucchini
half of a diced yellow onion
1 - 2 c. finely chopped mushrooms
1 tbs. minced garlic
1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut zucchini in half and scoop out some of the fleshy middle, creating a boat-like shape and set aside. Chop the scooped zucchini and set aside. On medium heat, warm olive oil in a pan.  Saute onion, chopped zucchini, mushrooms and garlic for about five to ten minutes, or until mushrooms soften.  Take off the heat and mix in cheeses, balsamic vinegar and bread crumbs.  Scoop mixture evenly into the zucchini boats and bake on a baking sheet lined with foil at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until zucchini is tender.