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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Squash Those Rumors — Everyone Loves Zucchini, Right?

By Sherrie Norris

It’s been a “running” joke for years, that people get tired of zucchini long before their growing season ends. And the best way to get rid of them is to place them in a bag, drop them off on your neighbor’s porch, ring the doorbell and then quickly disappear!

While we do need to share our garden bounty with our neighbors, we likely don’t need to go to such extremes. In fact, there are many ways to prepare, preserve and actually serve those often misunderstood little gourds and their crookneck cousins. 

Keep reading for new and simple ways to put them to good use.

Roasted Zucchini

2 medium sized zucchini, cut into ½- inch thick rounds

½  cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. olive oil

¾  tsp. sea salt

½  tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini with olive oil salt, pepper and garlic powder. Arrange on a lightly greased/sprayed baking sheet, top with grated parmesan cheese and bake on center rack for 5 minutes. Broil the zucchini for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

A great low-carb snack or side dish.

Zucchini Cookies 

½ cup unsalted butter softened

½ cup light brown sugar packed

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 cup zucchini, finely grated

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

Cream butter, brown sugar and sugar with a mixer on medium low speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Add egg and zucchini just until combined.

Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little bit at a time, just until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or longer, even the next day, if needed.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease or line a pan/baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Scoop about 1 ½ Tbsp. cookie dough onto prepared pan, about 2 inches apart.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Let stand for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Summer Pasta Dish 

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

8 large tomatoes, chopped

2 medium zucchini, cut into ½ -inch pieces

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

Hot cooked pasta (your choice)

In a large saucepan, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, cook and stir until tender, 5-7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until zucchini is tender and sauce reaches desired consistency. Serve with pasta.

Zucchini Nut Bread

 2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

2 cups shredded zucchini 

¾ cup vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 ½ cups walnuts chopped

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease and flour two 8×4-inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add zucchini, oil and vanilla; mix together. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Add walnuts and mix until just combined.

Divide evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, remove from the pan, and cool on a wire rack.

Crispy Zucchini Sticks

5 small zucchini

2 cups herb-flavored stuffing mix

2 eggs

2 cups vegetable oil

¾ tsp. seasoned salt or ¼ cup grated Romano cheese

Rinse zucchini and pat dry. Cut tips of each end, then cut length-wise into halves. Slice each half into 3 long strips. Place stuffing mix in a blender or food processor and pulse several times until crumbs are fine. Pour them into a shallow bowl or pie plate. Break eggs into another pie plate and whip with a fork. Dip zucchini in the eggs and then in the crumbs, turning to coat all sides. Heat 1-inch oil in a large frying pan until hot. Fry zucchini in several batches until golden brown and crispy, about 1 ½  minutes per batch. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with seasoned salt or cheese and serve hot.

Best Zucchini Appetizer

3 cups sliced zucchini

1 cup all-purpose baking mix (like Bisquick)

½ cup chopped onion

½ teaspoon salt

4 eggs, beaten

½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

½ cup vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 9×13- inch-baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix zucchini, all-purpose baking mix, onion, salt, eggs, Cheddar cheese, vegetable oil and garlic. Spread zucchini mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven 25 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Cut into bite-sized pieces or squares to serve.