Zucchini Pizza Pie

Since our summer months are usually inundated with zucchini, I try to prepare it in a wide variety of ways.  Most of my family agreed that this recipe is a keeper.  Once the crust in established, the rest of the dish is very flexible, so it’s a great option when trying to use what you already have on-hand.

4 c. grated zucchini
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
2 c. grated mozzarella or provolone
1 c. grated cheddar
1 lb. ground beef or pork sausage or chorizo, or whatever
1 onion, chopped
2 c. marinara sauce of your choice
1 c. bell pepper, chopped (or mushrooms, black olives, more zucchini, tomatoes, etc.)

Preheat oven to 400.

Put grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with the salt.  Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture.

Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.  Press into greased 3-qt. baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes.

In large saucepan, cook ground meat and onion over medium heat until done.  Add marinara sauce.

Spoon sauce/meat mixture over baked zucchini crust.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with veggies of your choice.  Bake another 20 or so minutes, or until heated through.

NOTE:  This casserole freezes really well.

Stuffed Zucchini

About this time every year, I am looking for new ways to use zucchini.  This recipe is easy and tasty, and it uses another veggie that I have plenty of right now–Swiss chard.  If you don’t have Swiss chard, feel free to use spinach.

6 smallish zucchini, halved lengthwise
4-5 c. Swiss chard, sliced and packed
1/2 c. onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. oil
1 T. fresh basil (or 1 t. Italian seasoning blend)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 T. dry bread crumbs (or cracker crumbs)
4 T. grated parmesan, divided
2 T. butter

Scoop out the pulp of the raw zucchini halves.  Chop the pulp coarsely.

Cook the Swiss chard, then drain and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil until soft.  Add the spinach, zucchini pulp, herbs, salt, pepper, bread crumbs and half of the cheese.  Mix well.

Place the zucchini shells in a baking dish and stuff with spinach mixture.  Melt the butter and drizzle over the top.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

NOTE:  These can be completely cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper, then placed in a freezer bag for freezing.

Zucchini, Tomato and Basil Gratin

This is sooooooo yummy!  Dave and I thought it would be even better on crusty bread or even on pizza crust.  The recipe comes from “Squash:  A Country Garden Cookbook” by Regina Schrambling.

2 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/4″ slices
6 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced in 1/4″ slices
6 large fresh basil leaves, stacked and cut into thin ribbons
1 large clove of garlic, halved
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  (NOTE:  I did this all on the stovetop in a covered skillet because I thought it was too hot to turn on the oven.)

Rub the cut side of the garlic clove over the bottom of a shallow 10″ glass or ceramic baking dish (a pie plate would work).  Grease with 1 tsp. of the oil.  Arrange the zucchini and tomato slices in a single layer in the dish, overlappying them slightly.  Season well with salt and peper.  Scattered the basil strips evenly over the top, then drizzle with the remaining 2 tsp. oil.  Finally, sprinkle parmesan over the top.  Bake 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Using Summer Squash

Zucchini is a summer squash, just as yellow squash, patty pan squash and crookneck are all summer squash.  In our house, we cook them all the same.

They are yummy when grilled, roasted or sauteed.  You can stuff them, grate them or use them fresh in salads.

They are good when tossed with cooking oil and sprinkled with a variety of seasonings–cajun, Italian, Jamaican Jerk or even just a little bit of salt and pepper.

They can be grated and frozen for winter use in breads, fritters, casseroles, meatloaves and whatever else sounds good.

If the skin is tough, feel free to peel. it.  If the seeds are big, scoop them out and feed them to your chickens or put them in your compost pile.

Summer squash, in all of its varieties, is a fun, easy way to work healthy veggies into your summer diet.

Zucchini Quesadillas

I will admit that these sounded not particularly appetizing to me when my sister first brought them to my attention.  However, the recipe was found in a Taste of Home magazine, and my sister is a pretty good judge of what tastes good, so I gave them a try.  Very yummy!  I followed the recipe pretty closely the first time I made them, but I doubt that I’ve made them the same way twice since then.  Over the years, I have shared this recipe a dozen times, and I have consistently gotten good feedback.  These quesadillas make a lovely supper on a summer night–especially with fresh tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and corn on the cob.  My brother recommended to me last week that I share this specific recipe on my blog, so here it is.  Enjoy!

1 onion, chopped
1/2 c. red pepper, chopped OR shredded carrot (or both)
2 c. zucchini, shredded
2 T. taco seasoning (or just season to taste with garlic powder, cumin and chili powder)
1 t. salt
2 c. shredded cheese
6-8 flour tortillas

sour cream, salsa, avocado, hot sauce, etc., if desired

Saute veggies in a little bit of oil for a few minutes.

Add seasonings and stir, sauteeing a little while longer.

On hot griddle, lay out tortillas (as many as will fit at a time) and cover half of each tortilla with filling; top with cheese.  Fold over and brown on both sides until cheese is melted.

Zucchini -Sausage Italiano

This is what we’re having for supper tonight, because, well, I have no other plan in place.  It’s a perfect quick meal for us this time of year, because we have almost everything on-hand.  I am using pork sausage tonight, but you could certainly use ground beef or ground pork or a mixture of the two.  Or, you could increase the amount of zucchini and go totally meatless. You can also used cooked pasta instead of cooked rice.  And, instead of stirring in the rice or pasta, you could just serve the zucchini mixture over the rice or pasta for a more filling meal.  On a hot, sticky summer evening, I prefer to cook it on the stovetop instead of heating up the kitchen with the oven; it’s kind of like a lazy skillet lasagna.

4 c. zucchini, thinly sliced
1 lb. ground meat
1/2 c. onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. cooked rice
1 c. tomato sauce (or leftover spaghetti sauce
1 T. fresh oregano (or 1 t. dried)
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1 c. cheddar or mozzarella cheese, shredded

In large skillet, cook beef, zucchini, onion and garlic until meat is browned and onion is tender.

Stir in rice, tomato sauce and seasonings.

Combine egg and cottage cheese.

In 2-quart baking dish, put half of meat mixture on bottom, then top with cottage cheese mixture.  Spread remaining sauce over creamy layer.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until bubbly.

Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for additional 10 minutes.

Super Simple Zucchini

zucchiniAnother recipe from my precious friend, Tif, who is an excellent cook and fabulous dancer.  I wish I could share with you the picture of she and I doing what we affectionately called a “clam dance plie” as we headed back to the car after digging razorback clams on an Alaskan beach near Homer.  But, alas, I cannot.  I don’t have a scanner, and Tif would probably kill me.  (She’s stronger than she looks.)  Anyway, this recipe has nothing do with clams, and you don’t have to be a good dancer to enjoy your zucchini (or any summer squash) prepared this way.

Oh, and here’s what Tif has to say about this recipe:  This is one of my favorites and one of the easiest zucchini side dishes ever. This is also good as a filler for an omelet.

Olive Oil
Chopped garlic (about 3 or 4 cloves per small zucchini)
sliced zucchini (use small ones for tenderness)
fresh basil or parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Saute the chopped garlic in the olive oil until it starts to turn tan, then add zucchini to skillet and cook until almost finished.

Add chopped fresh basil and/or parsley and toss a few times. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve warm.