June 27, 2016

Zucchini Time

Ah, summer. The season of warm, sunny days, chasing June bugs, camping outside, and ... zucchini. Lots and lots of zucchini.

I count on having zucchini available from mid-June through August, and we usually eat it 3-4 nights each week. The easy go-to recipe is to slice it and sauté it until fork-tender with a little butter and garlic salt. But, in hopes of not boring my little eaters, I've been searching out some new-to-us recipes.

Zucchini for breakfast? Sure, why not! This zucchini muffin recipe incorporates three of my favorite ingredients: basil, zucchini and cheese. Zucchini bread is always a hit, but that recipe is saved for days when the temperature outside won't reach 95. Paula Deen's zucchini bread recipe is my favorite. You can't go wrong with someone who loves butter that much!

Zucchini as an appetizer? Last week, I used a corn fritter recipe but substituted the 2 1/2 cups corn with 2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, and added a little shredded mozerella and about 2 teaspoons dried basil. Six out of seven Sleichter's approved. Parmesan zucchini strips are also amazing and easy, but you want to make sure they are plenty tender before you take them out of the oven. Think cheese sticks without the cheese. And, while you have that deep fryer out for the corn fritters, you can always make a quick tempura batter and coat-and-fry sliced zucchini.

Zucchini as a side dish? If I'm grilling, I will simply slice the zucchini into about 1/2 inch slices, put them on skewers, lightly salt and pepper them, and grill for 8-10 minutes, flipping half-way through. Zucchini pancakes are another easy side dish that the kids like, just because it includes the word "pancake".

Zucchini as the main entrée? Zucchini boats aka stuffed zucchini are the way to go with that, although I'll admit most of the time, my kids scrape out the insides of the boats and eat it separately, which makes this pretty much meatballs and cooked zucchini.

And, of course, zucchini as dessert? Zucchini cookies are delicious! This recipe converts well to gluten-free, but substituting the flour with gluten free flour mix with xantham gum. Freshly shredded zucchini carries enough moisture to compensate for the lack of gluten and allow the cookie dough to bind well, which helps make the cookies rise well.

Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable and takes on whatever flavors you pair with it, which is why it is so easy to eat it multiple times each week.


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