Is it really September? I think I’ve turned the page on the calendar too soon, but I know that’s not true. Harvesting veggies from the garden is in full force and has been for the past few weeks. There is one veggie that, one day it’s not ready to pick and the next day, you’d better pick it before it’s almost overgrown. If you’re a gardener, you know what it is. Zucchini of course. How much to use in a recipe? Four medium zucs weight about 1-1/2 pounds and thinly sliced will give you about five cups. Two medium size will give you two cups shredded. One pound of zucs will serve four people generously, generally speaking.
ZUCCHINI AND BEEF CASSEROLE 1 lb. ground beef 1 medium onion, diced (3/4 c.) 1/2 t. oregano 1/4 t. salt 1 c. raw Minute Rice 2 c. unpeeled zucchini, thinly sliced 2 c. cottage cheese 1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
In a large skillet, brown beef with onion; drain well. Add oregano, salt and rice; mix well. In a greased 9x9-inch casserole or baking dish, spread zuc slices evenly over bottom of pan. Pour the meat and race mixture over the zucchini slices spread cottage cheese on top. Spoon soup over cottage cheese, spreading evenly. Sprinkle cheese over all. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until bubbly and rice is tender. Makes six servings.
LOTS’A CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE 1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened 1/2 c. canola or vegetable oil 1-3/4 c. sugar 2 eggs 1 t. vanilla 1/2 c. buttermilk 1/4 c. cocoa 1/2 t. baking powder 1 t. baking soda 1/2 t. salt 2 c. shredded zucchini 2/3 c. milk-chocolate chips 1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional 2 T. butter or margarine 2 t. light corn syrup 2-1/2 squares (2-1/2 oz.) semi sweet chocolate, shaved or cut in small pieces
In a large mixing bowl, cream together first five ingredients. Blend in buttermilk and add dry ingredients; add zucchini, mixing well. Turn into a lightly greased and floured 9x13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips and nuts. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat together butter and curn syrup, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate, blending until chocolate has melted. Drizzle over top of slightly cooled cake. Serve after drizzle has set up. Makes 12-15 servings. Note: For buttermilk, put 1/2 t. vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup; add enough milk to make 1/2 c. Let sit five minutes. Also, I have used baking spray to grease and flour baking pans. Works great with no greasy fingers.
ZUCCHINI/CARROT CUPCAKES 1 c. flour 1/4 c. whole wheat flour 1 t. each, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon 1/2 t. salt 3/4 c. sugar 2 eggs 1/2 c. canola oil 1-1/2 t. vanilla 1 c. shredded zucchini 1 c. shredded carrots 1/4 c. chopped walnuts, optional
In a medium bowl, combine first six ingredients; set aside. In a large bowl, beat together next four ingredients for one minute. Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture, beating together by hand until no traces of flour remain. Stir in zucchini, carrots and nuts. Spoon batter into 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched with your finger. Cool on wire rack. Frost with cream cheese, buttercream or chocolate frosting. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Thought for the Day: I don’t ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun on a misty morning. There they are, and they are beautiful.