I’ve marked my calendar and have my reusable shopping bags ready for the opening of my town’s farmer’s market in a week and a half. Yes, I’m counting down the days! After the harsh, but not too harsh winter and the chilly spring, the farmer’s market is a welcome and familiar sign of summer – like an old friend I’ve been longing to see and catch-up with. Also, one of the new vendors has homemade, flavored iced teas, so I will be there when they open at Noon. I better bring my large travel mug as well.
Later in the summer, while I sip my iced tea and shop at the market, I will be sure to put zucchini in my bag. It is one of my favorite summer vegetables, even though botanically speaking, it is actually a fruit. The dishes that can be made with zucchini, from breakfast to dessert, are as abundant as the vegetable when it’s ready to harvest and seems to multiply at an exponential rate. If you cannot wait for local zucchini, use green squash which is usually available year-round in the grocery store.
I am posting my favorite zucchini recipe below compliments of my Mom (aka Grandma Rita). I did alter the recipe a bit, primarily reducing the oil, because the original recipe was too greasy (Ma agreed). This zucchini “pie” has no crust and is baked in a square pan, but just work with me and let’s call it a pie. Zucchini is a good source of folate, potassium, vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Choose zucchini that is 8 inches or less in length for the best flavor. Zucchini pie can be served warm as a side dish or main course, but is also delicious when enjoyed cold for breakfast. If doubling the recipe, use a 9 x 13 pan.
What is your favorite summer recipe? Do you enjoy visiting your local farmer’s market? Let me know in the comments below and, of course, let me know if you try this recipe. I hope you enjoy it – straight from Grandma’s kitchen.
2 ½ cups zucchini, shredded (2 – 3 med.) *see below
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cups (4 oz.) cheddar cheese, shredded
1 ¼ Cup Bisquick
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ t salt
1/8 t pepper
½ t basil
½ t oregano
1/8 t garlic powder
1 – 2 T parmesan cheese, optional (for sprinkling)
Preheat oven to 350◦ F. Spray 8 x 8 x 2” pan with non-stick spray.
*Scrub and pat dry zucchini. Cut each zucchini in half and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Shred the zucchini using the large holes of a cheese grater or food processor.
Place shredded zucchini in a large bowl and gently press with two or three paper towels to remove some of the moisture.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil and remaining ingredients. Pour egg mixture into the bowl of zucchini and mix until zucchini is evenly coated.
Pour into greased pan and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Bake 35 – 45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers.
There’s nothing like meat and potatoes to warm you up inside. This Shepherd’s Pie recipe is a healthier version than the original. With lean meat and veggies, it will warm you up without filling you up. The potatoes can be made the day before to speed-up prep time. Enjoy this nutritious twist on a traditional favorite!
2 – 3 lbs. baking potatoes, enough to equal 4 cups mashed
1/2 – 1 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tspn. salt
1/8 tspn. pepper
1 1/4 lb. 90% lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. balsalmic vinaigrette dressing
1 tspn. oregano, dried flakes
1 tspn. basil, dried flakes
1/2 tspn. salt
1/8 tspn. pepper
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite, diced tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
1 cup corn, cooked
2 Tbsp. flour
2 1/2 Tbsp. water
Spray 9 X 13 in. casserole dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350.
Wash and peel potatoes and cut into even pieces, approx. 2-3 in. cubes. Place in large pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes or until tender, using a fork to test. Drain water from pot and place pot and potatoes back on low heat and add milk a little at a time, along with cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Beat at medium speed with electric beaters until smooth. Set aside or place in refrigerator if making the rest of the recipe later.
Cook ground beef in large, non-stick skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain fat and set aside ground beef. Wipe drippings from skillet and add olive oil, warming over medium heat. Add carrot, pepper, onion and garlic and saute for 8 minutes. Add ground beef to the vegetables and add dressing, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over med-high and then reduce heat to medium and cover and cook for 25 minutes. While meat mixture is cooking, cook corn (either frozen or canned) and warm-up potatoes. When meat mixture is done, remove from heat and discard bay leaf.
Place flour in small bowl and gradually whisk in water to create a thick, soupy paste. Add to meat mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Spread meat mixture in casserole dish and sprinkle with corn. Spoon potatoes on top and spread to the edges of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly around edges, remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.