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Zucchini Houdini

Brenda Stanley - August 03, 2011

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Aaah, zucchini. A classic home garden vegetable. But what do you do when you're overcome with the stuff? Incorporate it into food wherever you can. These recipes help you do that deliciously.

What a wonderful thing zucchini is, but rare is the gardener who grows zucchini and doesn’t end up with too many! I set out on an adventure to find ways to use the prolific fruit, regardless of its size. I spent years compiling recipes, stories and trivia about zucchini, and eventually it all came together in my book The Zucchini Houdini.  The following are just a few of the many recipes I love!  Enjoy!

(Click here for LDS Living staff's experiences and reactions to cooking four of these recipes (marked with plus sign).)

+Easy Cream Cheese Zucchini Soup
So easy, but this soup is a favorite with kids.

Serves 6

4 cups sliced zucchini
5 cups water
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (light cream cheese can be substituted)
1 envelope onion soup mix or vegetable soup mix

Cook zucchini in water until tender. Pour into blender. Add cream cheese and soup mix. Blend until smooth. Return to pot and heat through.


+Parmesan Sausage Zucchini Boats
These are so rich and flavorful, and the presentation is perfect!

Serves 8

4 medium zucchini
1 pound bulk sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
⅔ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten (or ¼ cup egg substitute)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup water

Cut zucchini lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard them. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a ¼-inch shell. Chop the pulp. In a large skillet, brown the sausage. Add the onion, garlic, and chopped zucchini pulp. Sauté for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add breadcrumbs, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, and egg. Mix well. Sprinkle salt in each zucchini shell. Fill evenly with meat and zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Place shells in ungreased baking dishes. Pour ½ cup of water into the bottom of each dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until zucchini is tender.


+Artichoke Zucchini Quiche
This crustless quiche is perfect for a potluck. The artichokes give it a distinct flavor.

Serves 6-8

4 eggs, beaten (or 1 cup egg substitute)
½ cup oil
3 cups grated zucchini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup biscuit mix
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon oregano

Mix together eggs, oil, zucchini, garlic and artichoke hearts. In a separate bowl mix together cheese, biscuit mix and spices. Add to zucchini mixture and blend well. Pour into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Serve warm.


Zucchini Avocado Salad
No need for a heavy dressing on this smooth and rich summertime salad.

Serves 4

2 cups cubed zucchini
1 Haas avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed.
¼ cup oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon salt

Steam the zucchini for about 4 minutes or until tender. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Serve well chilled.


Zucchini Orange Bread

A moist and sunny bread that is great for breakfast

Makes 2 loaves

4 eggs, well beaten (or 1 cup egg substitute)
1½ cups sugar
¾ cup oil
⅔ cup orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
2 cups grated zucchini
3¼ cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons orange juice

Beat eggs. Add sugar, oil, juice, zest, and zucchini. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to zucchini mixture. Mix well. Place in two greased 8x4 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. In a bowl, stir together powdered sugar and just enough orange juice to make a glaze. Drizzle over bread when cool.


+Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies are soft and cake like. The chocolate and cinnamon is a tasty combination.

About 3 dozen

¾ cup shortening
1 cup sugar (or baking sugar substitute)
1 egg (or ¼ cup egg substitute)
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ cups grated zucchini
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together the shortening, sugar, egg, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add this to the creamed mixture. Add zucchini and chocolate chips. Drop from a teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.


Chocolate Buttermilk Zucchini Cake
This cake is super moist, and the chocolate chips make the perfect frosting.

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter or stick margarine
½ cup sugar
½ cup oil
3 eggs (or ¾ cup egg substitute)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 tablelspoons cocoa
2 cups grated zucchini

In a large bowl, cream together brown sugar, butter, sugar, and oil. Mix in eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and cocoa. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in zucchini. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and let cake cool inside. The cake will be very moist. Serve with whipped topping.


Zucchini Relish
Great over fish or pork chops.

Makes 6 pints

5 large zucchini, peeled and chopped
5 large onions, chopped
3 green peppers, seeded and chopped
3 red peppers, seeded and chopped
½ cup salt
1 tablespoon alum
Ice cubes (about 25)
5 cups vinegar
5 cups sugar
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoons turmeric

Mix vegetables together in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and alum. Cover with ice cubes. Let it sit for one hour. Drain. In a large saucepan, mix the vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard seed, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, add vegetables and cook until clear. Ladle into clean, pint jars leaving ½-inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process jars in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Start timing after water boils.

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The Zucchini Houdini is available in bookstores around the country and online.

Brenda Stanley is not only a best-selling author, but she is a former television news anchor, investigative reporter, and award winning journalist. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah, and the University of Utah.  Brenda, her husband, Dave, and their five children live on a small ranch near the Snake River.

© LDS Living, July/August 2011.
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