Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Squash and Zucchini Recipes

So I really enjoyed our garden while it lasted.  Don't get me wrong, I'm ready for a little break in the hoeing and picking department, and even though we gave away tons of food our freezer is stuffed to the max.  I will say that new fertilizer/boost product that Gary trial ran this year really seriously worked wonders.  He's hoping that he can get on some where selling fertilizers and chemicals again, and he wants to add this product, since it's not been used down here before.  But, anyway, I digress.  I loved the garden, but when you are eating zucchini every night for about 2 months straight, you have to start getting a little more inventive with the way you cook it.  So I thought I might share some of our favorites...

4-10, Dinner with Oven Fried chicken, Eggplant Casserole,
and Zucchini Fries, with a Hummingbird cake for dessert.
We like fried foods in this house.  I know they are really bad for you and we are going to die.  But who doesn't enjoy a little fried zucchini and squash?  They go perfectly together.  The zucchini has that slight tanginess (Gary would say bitter) taste, and the squash has a sweet and very mellow (I would say bland) taste.  We have learned that the kids won't eat it when we fry it in the normal disk shape, so we started cutting them up like french fries and wa-la!

Zucchini Fries - Cut your zucchini ends off, then cut it in two halves.  Stand each end up and cut in strips, keep together, and turn then cut again.  Now you have lots of long fries.  Through them in milk or buttermilk, then roll in a half flour/half italian breadcrumb mix.  Drop them in the greese, fry, then eat.

However, our new favorite way to eat squash and zucchini is cooked on the grill in a cast iron skillet.  It's even better than fried!  The open flame, the cast iron, it just works together so wonderfully!  Gary just piddled around till he came up with this and it couldn't be better.  It's even simple enough, that I can get it started for him.

Cast Iron Grilled Squash and Zucchini - Melt a little butter over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet.  Cut up squash and zucchini as desired, then put in the skillet.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and onion powder. Saute around 5 mins.  Serve.

4-27, Dinner with Steak, Stewed Squash and Zucchini,
Half-Baked Squash, and Green Beans.

I grew up eating squash and zucchini stewed together.  It's not my favorite way to eat it, I think it's a little two mushy, but it is very simple to do.  We also tried doing baked squash where you split your squash down the middle in half and bake them inside down on the pan.  Gary thought it was a little two sweet that way, I LOVED it.  The skin is a little crispy, but not bad either.

Stewed Squash and Zucchini - Cut your squash and zucchini ends off, then cut it in the usual disk.  Dump it all in a pot, cover with water, add a little salt, bring to a boil.  Drop the tempature and then let it sit till you get everything else ready.  Put a little butter on it when you are ready to serve.

Baked Squash - Cut it into 2 symetrical pieces down the middle.  Place on a sprayed cookie sheet and bake on 375 for 50 mins.  (I found this to be too long for little squash though, because the necks will burn, so we adjusted it down to about 35 for them.)  When you pull them out, and flip them, spread them with butter.  There were a few variations at this point, you could sprinkle cinnamon over them (what I want to try) you could pour a little syrup over them, or you could just add a parmigiana cheese (what we actually tried).  Pop back in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese or cook the syrup/spices/etc. about 3-5 mins.  

5-7, Dinner with Kraft's new Fresh Take baked Chicken,
Fried Okra, Mashed Potatoes, and Stuffed Zucchini.
My next culinary experiment was with Stuffed Zucchini.  I thought it was a good recipe but, it needs a little tweaking, just not quite sure with what.  Joan and Lilli had supper with us that night, and Joan thought maybe adding a ranch seasoning packet to the meat when cooking might be good.  Gary wasn't that impressed with it.  He liked the stuffing though it doesn't have a kick to it. He thought the outside wasn't soft enough, you might cook in the oven a little longer, or boil a little longer than this recipe calls for if you have really big, thick zucchini like me.  This is the most labor intensive of these recipes.  Aka, I won't make it very often.

Stuffed Zucchini - First you have to cut the ends off, and boil the zucchini about three to five minutes,  depending on size.  Add them after the water is boiling.  Then you take them out split them longways down the middle, and then scoop out and save the mushy interior for latter.  Now separately cook a half lb of sausage or ground beef, (I used sausage).  Drain, set aside.  Now cut up, and seed some tomatoes.  (I have to confess, I never drain/seed tomatoes, it's too much work, I just cut them up and go with it.)  Add that to the zucchini guts.  :)  You want about 1/3 tomatoes, to 2/3 zucchini, mix it all up.  (You'll need to drain some liquid off if you are lazy like me and didn't de-seed your tomatoes.)  Next stir in your beef/sausage and stuff into your zucchini shell.  Cook in the oven on 375 for 1 hour.  After that you pull it out, sprinkle some cheese across the top, and pop it back in just long enough to melt the cheese.  Eat!

Finally, you can even have Zucchini Bread as a bread or a desert.  We've done it both ways.  The recipe I have been using allows you to substitute applesauce for the shreaded zucchini and have an apple cake.  I usually double the recipe and that way, I can make up some bread for Church, or to share, or for me and Gary, and I pour the rest in muffin tins for the kids for breakfast.  I take the nuts out when I make theirs because for some very weird reason, Britt won't eat nuts?

Zucchini Bread - Add 1 and 1/2 c. of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teas. of baking soda, 1/4 teas. of baking powder, 1/2 teas. of salt, 1 c. sugar, 1 teas. of cinnamon, 1/4 teas. of nutmeg to a mixing bowl.  Add one beaten egg, 1/4 c. of oil, and 1 cup of shreaded zucchini.  Shread it however you like, but remember the bigger and chunker it is, the more you are going to notice it in the bread.  I like it pretty fine and mushy, and I pack it pretty good in a measuring cup.  It still has the zucchini taste in it, without having all the stringy bits getting stuck in your teeth.  After you mix it all up, then you add 1/2 c. of nuts (we prefer pecans, but walnuts will work too).  Then you pour it all in a loaf pan and back at 350 for 40 to 50 mins.  When I double the recipe I will do 2 pans between 50 mins and 1 hour.  When I do muffins I cook them around 30 to 35 mins.  As always, use the tooth pick test, when it comes out clean, they are done.  This bread is kinda dark, so if it doesn't look burnt until it's REALLY burnt.  Enjoy!

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