A Farmer’s Market Staple: Zucchini

Zucchini Pie

IMG_20160602_184209718

A Toasty Casserole – Get it Before it’s Gone!

 

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.

 

Zucchini Pie

Ingredients:

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 350F. 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.


Slow Cooker Vegetarian Tomato Sauce with Eggplant

Chunky Eggplant Tomato Sauce

Chunky Eggplant Tomato Sauce

Spring has finally arrived and I just want to be outside to enjoy it. Whether it’s gardening, walking the dog or just sitting and knitting on the porch, the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time indoors cooking. That’s where the crock pot comes in handy – it’s not just for hearty, winter-time fare. This eggplant tomato sauce is as warm and delicious as any cold-weather comfort food, but it’s also light and healthy, brimming with vegetables. This is an easy vegetarian dish, perfect for meatless Monday, or any day of the week when you want to let the slow cooker do the work while you are outdoors enjoying a lovely spring day. Enjoy!

What are your favorite eggplant recipes? Click on the title of this post and scroll down to leave a comment.

Eggplant Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) petite diced tomatos, undrained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup mild or medium salsa
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbspn. balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic sliced thin
1 tspn. oregano
1/4 tspn. salt, plus extra for preparing the eggplant
2 cups jar tomato sauce

Prepare the eggplant by sprinkling salt on both sides of each slice and placing it in a colander for 1/2 hour to 1 hour. Set the colander over a plate to catch the liquid. When the time is up, use paper towels to wipe off the salt and absorb any excess moisture from the eggplant slices. Use a knife to cut away the peel from the outer edge of each slice. Then chop the slices into 1/2-inch pieces.

Mix the chopped eggplant, tomatoes with juice, onion, pepper, salsa, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano and salt in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 7 – 8 hours on low, until vegetables are soft. Do not lift the lid or stir while cooking.

At the end of the cooking time, add your favorite tomato sauce and stir. Replace lid and allow to cook another 5 – 10 minutes until sauce is hot and ready to serve.

Enjoy over cous cous, rice or pasta.


Zucchini Pie for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!

Is it correct to call something a “pie” if it is crustless and baked in a square pan?  Well, that’s what we have always called this wonderful recipe that I have enjoyed since I was a kid.  Back then, my eighty-five year-old grandfather lived with us and tended a large garden in our backyard.  He took such good care of the garden, there was never a weed to be found.  Sometimes he would yell at us in Italian if we had to run in and retrieve a ball.  I remember him stringing-up his old pair of long underwear to scare away the birds, but that only lasted a day until my mom made him take it down.  She must have had this recipe memorized during July and August when the zucchini harvest was in full swing! 

Enjoy this time-tested recipe by clicking on the “Recipe Rescue” page (**Note: this recipe has been removed at this time to make room for another recipe rescue**).  The oil in the recipe has been cut in half from the original – it simply was not necessary to have so much oil.  Although I cut the fat by reducing the oil, I increased the amount of cheese from the original recipe.  To lighten things up, use less cheese or 50% low-fat cheeses.  Or, try just 1/4 cup of grated parmesan – the strong flavor goes a long way.  And hey, there’s no crust, so that saves a ton of fat right there.  This zucchini pie can be enjoyed as a side dish or a light lunch or dinner.  I have been known to eat it cold for breakfast as well – enjoy!


Ham and Cheese Calzone

This calzone is made using Pillsbury Hot Roll mix again!  This is such a versatile mix and it’s easy to use.  We call this “Big Ham Loaf”, as my friend’s son, Jack, aptly named it when he was a toddler.  Despite the name, you can fill it with whatever you like.  I make half chicken and half ham to keep my family happy.  I’ve always wanted to try spinach and ricotta, so let me know if you try that combination.  Whatever you use for a filling, this is a hearty and satisfying meal that can be prepared in a little over an hour.  This calzone recipe is worth a try!

Click on the Dinner 911 page for the recipe (Note: this recipe has been removed at this time to make way for another Dinner 911 recipe.  Don’t worry, it will return for a comeback!)

 It really is a big ham loaf!

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,446 other followers