Zucchini Jammin’

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Zucchini Jammin’! Someone once told me that zucchini is like a chameleon; it can literally change a recipe into anything you want it to be. When I came across this old prairie cookbook, I was intrigued enough to put zucchini to the test. The results were astounding! Hint: The jam has a refreshing pineapple-orange finish and tastes wonderful on yogurt!

ZUCCHINI JAMMIN’

Ingredients:

3 cups zucchini, raw, peeled, and shredded

3 cups sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice

3 ounce package orange gelatin

Instructions:

Boil zucchini in enough water to keep covered for 6 minutes. Drain. Add sugar, lemon juice, and crushed pineapple with juice. Boil 6 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Seal hot in jars.

Zucchini-Orange-Walnut Loaf

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Zucchini-Orange-Walnut Loaf! Do you have zucchini coming out of your ears? Take care. This relative of the squash family has fewer calories than a baked potato and more potassium than a banana. Plus, its versatility is a bonus. Zucchini is probably the most bland vegetable you can find. But that works to its advantage. You can pair it with just about anything. I promise you this, if I hadn’t told you there was shredded zucchini in this luscious loaf of quick-bread, you’d never know it from the taste. Nutrition is your friend. The moist, delicious orange and walnut combination make it seem as though you’re eating cake.

ZUCCHINI-ORANGE-WALNUT LOAF

Instructions:

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup orange juice

1 cup zucchini, shredded

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon orange rind, zested

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1-2 tablespoons orange juice

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour the bottom of a loaf pan. Set aside. In a food processor, beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Add vegetable oil, orange juice, and shredded zucchini. Pulse to mix. Slowly add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, orange rind, cinnamon, and cloves. Scrape down sides, as needed. Fold in chopped walnuts. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. In a small bowl, blend powdered sugar, butter, and orange juice. Spread over warm loaf. Cool completely and slice.

ZZ “Zucchini” Topped Potatoes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: ZZ “Zucchini” Topped Potatoes! This recipe is going to be rock music to your ears. (If you pre-bake several potatoes on the weekend, it’ll eliminate one step during the week.) Create a fast meal by loading baked potatoes with yummy ingredients. Then top them off with sautéed zucchini, sweet onions, and hickory-smoked bacon. Can you feel the beat? Put this toe-tapping favorite in your recipe box…….and Rock On!

ZZ “ZUCCHINI” TOPPED POTATOES

Ingredients:

4 large potatoes, baked

Sea Salt

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup milk

2 green onions, snipped

1/4 cup butter

1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Wash potatoes, pat dry. Pierce each one on top. Spray with nonstick oil and sprinkle sea salt on skins. Bake for one hour. When done, let cool for ten minutes. Meanwhile, cook bacon. Drain on paper towels and crumble. Sauté onions and zucchini in olive oil. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Remove the flesh into a bowl leaving enough skin to form a shell. Place skins in a shallow baking dish. To the flesh, add yogurt, milk, green onions, butter, and 1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Blend until creamy. Spoon the filling into the potato skins. Top with remaining cheese, sautéed zucchini, onions, and crumbled bacon. Bake 15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter N

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Normandy Vegetable Soup! Take a stroll down a country lane where small-scale growers of local gardens nourish a family farm with adventurous dishes. Simple vegetable consumption combined with milk, butter, and cheese appeals to the taste buds. Perhaps it’s a throwback to our childhood where nothing went to waste. Or maybe it’s the fact that classic veggies are always a good idea. Normandy Vegetable Soup. Put a twist on your next meal-in-a-bowl.

NORMANDY VEGETABLE SOUP

Ingredients:

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups light cream

2 cups chicken broth

16-ounce bag Normandy vegetables, thawed*

4-6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions:

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add chopped sweet onion, herbs de Provence, and olive oil. Sauté 5 minutes or until soft. Set aside. In a 2-quart pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Do not scorch. Add flour, sea salt, and pepper. Stir for 2-3 minutes to make a roux. Slowly add light cream, stirring often to remove lumps. Bring to a slow boil. Carefully add chicken broth, onions, Normandy vegetables. Bring mixture back to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in sharp cheddar cheese until cheese is melted. Ladle into bowls. Serve hot.

*Normandy vegetables are broccoli and cauliflower florets, sliced carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash. Some varieties include a few red pepper bits, green beans, and lima beans.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Y

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: You Are What You Eat! I’ve been hearing this phrase my entire life, and it wasn’t until recently I actually began paying attention to it again. Oh sure, I knew moderation was key, exercise important, and water essential. I tried to maintain a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, meats, and even fats because it made a difference in how well I felt. Plus it reflected in my energy level as well. So, as I was collecting all this produce, it seemed like a no-brainer to share the snapshot with everyone. Bon Appétit.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Ingredients:

Tomatoes

Green Beans

Assorted Peppers

Corn on the Cob

Zucchini

Onion

Garlic

Squash

Instructions:

Wash the vegetables. Eat them raw, cooked, puréed, chopped, minced, buttered, grilled, roasted, par-boiled, or baked.

“Make food simple

and let things taste

of what they are.”

~ Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland)

French Writer (1872-1956)

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter S

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: Shish Kabobs! It’s dinner-on-a-stick! Each skewer provides a vibrant color wheel of your favorite edible combinations. Warm or cool, dark or light. All you need to do is assemble a combination that will have your family singing your praises! Grab the apron, fire up the grill, and let the serious eating begin.

SHISH KABOBS

Ingredients:

1-pound smoked sausage, cut up into 8 pieces

2 ears corn, cut into thirds

2 red potatoes, quartered

1 Vidalia onion, cut into wedges

1 green pepper, cut up and seeds removed

1 zucchini, sliced 1/2″ thick with skin on

Seasoned salt to taste

Cracked blacked pepper to taste

Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb seasoning to taste

Instructions:

Wash, cut-up, and prepare meat and vegetables. Thread pieces of smoked sausage, corn, potatoes, onion, green pepper, and zucchini onto metal skewers alternating color for variation and eye-appeal. Repeat until all ingredients are skewered. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly spray each skewer of meat and vegetables with non-stick oil. Sprinkle with seasonings. Grill 5-6 minutes per side. The natural flavors will burst forth with a touch of smokiness. The edges of the sausage will char. Avoid excess charring. Keep turning for even grilling. Watch for slight blistering to indicate when done.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Z

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Zucchini Cornbread! Jazz up the breadbasket with homemade cornbread that has been enhanced with garden-fresh chopped zucchini and jalapeño peppers. Mix it together in a blend of cornmeal and cheddar cheese before popping it in the oven. Thirty minutes later the aromas rev up your appetite. Can you say “Yum”? Zucchini Cornbread goes especially well with grilled barbecue meats and seafood. Now this is how we kick off the summertime months. 
ZUCCHINI CORNBREAD 
Ingredients:

1 zucchini, chopped

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal 

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/4 cup skim milk

2-3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

For garnish, reserve a few zucchini slices, jalapeño pepper slices, and shredded cheese for topping
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a nonstick ovenproof dish or iron skillet with nonstick oil. Mix together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Set aside. Blend beaten eggs, vegetable oil, and skim milk. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Sir just until blended. Fold in chopped zucchini, chopped jalapeño peppers, red pepper flakes, and cheddar cheese. Pour into prepared iron skillet. If you prefer a garnish, place a couple zucchini slices and jalapeño pepper slices on top. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes until center is set and edges are crusty. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Z

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Zucchini Boats! Now before you roll your eyes and take the day off, promise me you’ll be open-minded. After all, you have to take the veggies along with the cake. My husband does, and he was pleasantly surprised. (Love him!❤️)
ZUCCHINI BOATS
Ingredients:

4 mini zucchini, cut lengthwise 

1/2 pound Mexican chorizo, mild

2 tablespoons onion, chopped 

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/8 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 

Dash of sea salt

1/2 cup black beans, rinsed

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 tablespoon diced pimento

1 green onion, cut up

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 cup pepper jack or white cheddar cheese

Fresh cilantro to taste
Instructions:

Scoop out seeds and flesh from center of zucchini, leaving a shell to hold filling. Discard flesh and seeds. Absorb moisture with paper towel. Place boats in a casserole dish. Divide half the cheese into the bottom of the boats. Set aside. In a medium skillet, fry chorizo, onion, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook until done, stirring frequently. In a small bowl, combine corn, black beans, pimento, cilantro leaves, and green onion. Squeeze lime juice over all. Top cheese-filled zucchini boats with chorizo mixture. Add a teaspoon of corn/bean salsa on top of meat. Cover with remaining cheese. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Serve with extra corn salsa on the side. Add more cilantro to taste. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter Z

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Zucchini Spirals over Meatballs! I am intrigued by the Spiralizer. Perhaps because it can take an ordinary vegetable and turn it into a gourmet attraction. And food that looks appealing is that much closer to an instant craving, in my opinion. By taking a shortcut with store bought meatballs and marinara sauce, this meal can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. Boom!
ZUCCHINI SPIRALS OVER MEATBALLS 
Ingredients:

1-2 zucchini, spiralized 

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

1 tablespoon capers

1 pound home style meatballs, precooked

1 jar spaghetti sauce, any flavor
Instructions: 

Spiralize zucchini into a bowl. They will appear like pasta noodles. Discard spiral stems. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Reduce heat and toss zucchini spirals to coat. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Fold in capers. Heat no longer than 2-3 minutes. They should be slightly crunchy. In a large microwave-safe dish, combine meatballs and spaghetti sauce. Heat thoroughly. To serve, top meatballs and sauce with zucchini spirals.