Zucchini Chips

20160715_145616

Do you have an overabundance of zucchini in your garden right now? Are your friends and neighbors starting to avoid you because they can’t accept any more of your extra zucchini “gifts?” Well, this recipe will help you to easily preserve your harvest without using up any freezer storage space (or annoying your friends). When you pull out these raw zucchini chips on a cold winter night people will gobble them down like they’ve never seen zucchini before in their life.

20160714_181921     20160714_182618

When you have a large bowl of sliced raw zucchini it’s time to make the marinade. (You may have to make several batches of marinade in order to coat all the slices).

Ingredients:

1 TBS. olive oil

2 TBS. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 TBS nutritional yeast (for cheesy flavor)

Extra nutritional yeast to sprinkle on top

Pour the marinade over the chips and gently toss them to coat. Make sure that each slice is coated. It helps to slide a coated slice over an uncoated one, front and back, to get the flavor onto each chip. Make more marinade as needed and repeat the process until all slices are coated.

20160714_184341

Arrange the coated slices in a single layer on the mesh dehydrator trays making sure that they do not touch each other. Lightly sprinkle more nutritional yeast on top of each slice. In order to maintain a raw chip dehydrate at only 110 degrees for 10 – 12 hours. I usually dehydrate overnight and then check them in the morning. Add more time if necessary. They are done when all the chips are dry and crisp.

Allow the finished chips to cool in the dehydrator before storing them in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. These will stay crisp and tasty for months stored this way, and you can enjoy your fresh garden produce any time of the year. Zucchini chips are great for parties and healthy lunchbox treats, too!

20160712_121700

Fresh, green veggies… enjoy zucchini all year long!

 

Zucchini and Cherry Tomato Pasta

Zucchini Tomato Pasta

So, it’s August and every gardener has more zucchini than recipes and more cherry tomatoes than any salad can hold. Here is a simple meal that only takes 15 – 20 minutes to prepare using all your garden abundance. Strikingly beautiful on the plate, I served it as a warm salad on a plate of fresh arugala for even more color and vitamins, but I think any dark leafy greens would work as well.

While you are preparing the vegetables, cook 2 cups small pasta according to package directions (shells, elbow macaroni, or spirals work well). Drain well. Add a few drops of olive oil, and toss to keep pasta from sticking together

. Ingredients:

1 medium size zucchini, cubed

2 cups cherry tomatoes, whole (they will soften as they cook and pop when you chew them — I like that)

2 TBS. Olive oil

1 TBS. Minced garlic (fresh or bottled)

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. dry Italian seasoning

Herbamare (seasoned salt) or Himalayan pink salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 – 5 TBS. Marinara sauce

Feta cheese, or cheese substitute for topping (optional)*

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and garlic; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Season with Herbamare and pepper. Add red pepper flakes and dry Italian seasoning. When vegetables are tender add the marinara sauce and heat through. Add the cooked pasta to the vegetables in your skillet and mix gently. Serve warm on a bed of greens.

*If desired, top with feta cheese or feta substitute (There is good recipe for vegan feta,”Betta Feta,” in The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, by Jo Stepaniak; Book Publishing Company, Green Press Initiative, 2003).

Hearty “Chicken” Garden Soup

This soup is a melange of colorful garden vegetables and comfort food flavor with just a hint of hot cayenne pepper to spice it up.  As healthy as it is beautiful, this recipe will make the most of summer’s bounty all in one pot — sure to be a keeper!

In a large pot:

Lightly saute 1/2 cup chopped onion in 1 Tbsp oil (or 1/4 cup water for low fat)

Add:

4 cups water and 1 (32 0z) container Imagine brand “No Chicken Broth,” and bring to a boil.

All at once add remaining ingredients:

3 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, cut into chunks

2 large orange bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium zucchini (10 – 12 inches), cut in half lengthwise then cut into 1/4″ slices

1 large bunch kale, stalks removed and leaves chopped

1 Tbsp. whole fennel seeds

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp. turmeric

1 – 2 tsp. gray Celtic sea salt (or to taste)

Simmer all ingredients together for 15 – 20 minutes.  Add 1 package chopped Light Life brand  “Chicken” Strips during the final 5 minutes of cooking (just to heat thoroughly).

Serve hot.  (Makes about 8 generous servings)

Steamed Vegetable Casserole

This recipe is only a guideline.  You can use whatever vegetables are cluttering your refrigerator.  I usually make it when I have an overabundance of produce and just need more frig. space.  You can also substitute pasta for the brown rice, and it will be just as delicious.

Ingredients for the sauce:

6 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Whisk the sauce and put it aside.

Ingredients for casserole:

Whatever vegetables you desire.  Fresh broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower work well.  I’ve also added sweet red peppers, zucchini, green beans, or yellow summer squash to the mix — whatever you have on hand. Cut vegetable into one inch chunks (slice carrot chunks in half), do not chop.

2 cups cooked brown rice or pasta

1 – 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

8 oz. grated veggie cheddar cheese

1 – 2 Tbsp. veggie parmesan cheese

Method:

Using a steamer pot, bring water to a boil over high heat.  Put the veggies in the steamer basket, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, gently turning the veggies two or three times.  You want them to be crisp-tender, not wilted (the green veggies should be still bright green); if you see them start to wilt or change color remove the pot from the heat — they are done.

In the bottom of a PAM sprayed oblong glass casserole dish, place the cooked brown rice (or pasta).  Sprinkle half the veggie cheddar cheese over rice.  Spread the steamed vegetables over that and sprinkle reserved sauce over the veggies.   Dust with Old Bay Seasoning, to taste.   Top with remaining cheddar cheese and veggie parmesan cheese.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil, and put in 350 degree oven for just 10 minutes (to melt the cheese).

Beautiful colors — healthy and delicious!


Zucchini “Applesauce”*

The inspiration for this recipe came from http://www.allrecipes.com where you can find several variations of zucchini “applesauce.” I wasn’t quite satisfied with the one I tried, so I added some spices and a few real apples for texture.  (I just didn’t think the texture was authentic without the apples).  I also think you could use stevia as a sweetener if you wanted to avoid the sugar.  (1/2 tsp. stevia equals 1 cup sugar, so add gradually and adjust according to your taste).  This recipe is a surprising way to use up those last few zucchini now that apple season is upon us.

IMG_0219

Ingredients:

2 large zucchini, peeled and chopped.  (If the seeds are large and starting to get hard discard them and use only the fleshy parts)

3 lg. peeled apples (I used Granny Smith), cut into chunks

1/3  c. apple cider vinegar

1 – 2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. sugar

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. allspice

Method:

Put all ingredients into a large pot. There is no need to add water because there is a lot of water in the zucchini already.  Heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and cook for 30 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Cooking time depends on the zucchini.)

When the mixture has cooled then you want to blend it until mushy like applesauce.  I used a Foley Mill to do this (the old fashioned way).  You could also puree the cooled mixture in a blender or food processor.

*One of our favorite ways to eat any kind of applesauce is to pair it with a peanut butter sandwich for a very kid-friendly lunch 🙂

Zucchini Casserole #2

Here is another great zucchini casserole; easy to make comfort food:)

Ingredients:

2 lbs cubed zucchini

1 c.chopped onion

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

4 Tbsp. organic butter

1 c. whole wheat saltine crackers, crumbled

1/2 c. plain organic soy milk

1 c. Vegan Gourmet cheddar cheese, by Follow Your Heart – shredded

1/2 c. pecans – finely chopped (or buttered bread crumbs)

Method:

In a large non-stick saucepan saute the zucchini, onion, salt, and pepper. (Zucchini is very moist, so no water is necessary). Cook over medium heat until zucchini is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the butter, and gently stir until butter melts.

Stir the crumbled crackers into the zucchini mixture, and add the soy milk.

Spray a glass baking dish with vegetable oil (PAM), and spread half the zucchini mixture in the dish. Sprinkle half the veggie cheese, cover with remaining zucchini mixture, then the rest of the “cheese.”

Top with the chopped pecans or bread crumbs.

Bake @ 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot with a big salad, and you have a complete dinner that is as satisfying as mac ‘n cheese, but a whole lot healthier.  (4 – 6 servings)

Zucchini, Zucchini, and More Zucchini!!!

IMG_0141By mid July most home gardeners find themselves drowning in zucchini. We loved planting those seeds a couple of months ago and the almost instant gratification when we saw the sturdy green sprouts poke through the soil. But by now we are asking why we ever planted so much zucchini (face it, you really only need one plant and you’ll have all the zucchini you need for the summer). You know it’s bad when friends start to avoid you because they’re afraid you’ll try to “bless” them with more of your zucchini harvest!
Well, did you know that you can freeze fresh shredded zucchini , and it’s so easy to do? Simply wash the zucchini. Don’t peel it, but cut off the stem and the blossom end. Shred the whole zucchini. Zucchini is very moist, so you will want to get most of the water out. An easy way to do that is to put the shredded zucchini in a colander or large strainer; salt and toss it so that the salt is evenly distributed. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then squeeze out the moisture — you will be surprised how much comes out. You can freeze the drained shredded zucchini in one cup portions, and then it will be ready to use it in your favorite recipes all winter.
Hiding this shredded zucchini in whatever you cook (soups, stews, “meat” loaves) is a great way to get more green veggies into your kids’ diets. Hint: to make it even more inconspicuous, peel the zucchini before shredding and they will never suspect a thing:)

Recipe: ZUCCHINI SOUP

Okay, here is another good zucchini recipe for your bumper crop. This is a creamy soup with a beautiful green color — it even looks healthy! It can be eaten hot or cold and can be frozen if you want to double the recipe and save some for another time.   IMG_0155

Ingredients:

1 qt. cubed zucchini (do not peel)

1 1/2 c. water

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 vegetable bouillon cubes OR 2 packets G. Washington’s Golden Seasoning and Broth

1 tsp. dry dill weed

1/2 c. chopped onion

2 Tbsp. margarine or organic butter (I substitute olive oil for this)

Method:

Combine all ingredients (except onions and butter) and cook until fork tender, about 7 – 10 minutes. Cool.

Meanwhile, Saute the onions in butter (or olive oil). Cool.

When everything has cooled to room temperature put it all in a blender and puree until creamy and no chunks remain. Or, if you have a submersible stick blender you don’t even have to wait for the soup to cool. You can just blend it in the pot while it’s still hot.

Recipe: Zucchini Casserole

It is summer, and if your garden is anything like mine you have enough zucchini to feed an army. If not, the farmers markets have them in abundance, and they’re very inexpensive right now.

This recipe was originally given to me by my niece and has been used by our family for years. It is the one all the kids ask for when they leave home and start cooking for themselves. I have made a few adjustments to make it even more vegetarian (healthy). In our house it is the main course and always served with cranberry sauce.
IMG_0127
Ingredients:

3 c. cubed zucchini (do not peel)

3 lg. carrots, shredded

1/2 c. chopped onion

1 can cream of mushroom or celery soup

1 c. Sour Supreme imitation sour cream

1/4 – 1/2 c. margarine or organic butter (you decide which you think is the healthier choice)

1/2 bag Pepperidge Farms Herb Flavored Stuffing Mix (The original recipe calls for 1 box of Stove Top Stuffing Mix, but they all contain chicken broth, so I don’t use it)

LIGHTLIFE Chick’n Style Strips, 1/2 package,  chopped (optional)*

Method:

Stir fry the zucchini, carrots, and onion until just tender (do not add water as zucchini is very moist). Set aside.

In a bowl mix together the soup and imitation sour cream.*If you are using the optional Chick’n Strips add those to the bowl now and gently stir. (It’s good with or without them).

In a pot melt the margarine (or butter), remove from heat, and add stuffing mix.  Toss to coat.
IMG_0130
In a glass casserole dish layer:

1/2 stuffing mixture

the zucchini stir-fry mixture

the soup/ imitation sour cream mixture

the remaining 1/2 stuffing mixture

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes

This recipe may be doubled for a crowd — just bake it a little longer.