The other day my hubby came home, gave me a big hug and said, “I have something for you in the kitchen.” I thought: flowers? candy? love note? pizza, so I didn’t have to cook dinner?
I went out to see his surprise and said, “Zucchini? You brought me a zucchini.” He nodded, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and laughed as he went to watch TV.
I quickly noticed that this was no ordinary zucchini. It was massive. My hubby’s pal gave him this beast, which was about the size of three grocery store zucchinis put together.
Here’s the thing, I’m not a fan of zucchini. I never make it, and when we go somewhere out to eat I usually push the stuff under my mash potatoes. Still, I knew a challenge when I saw one. I was going to make so much zucchini my husband wouldn’t know what hit him.
As it turned out, it was a busy week. I was doing specs for a new client and had no time to make that beast of a vegetable. Still, I was impressed that for almost a week it stayed fresh, just sitting on our counter. When I finally decided to make it, I chopped up a few pieces into matchbook size chunks and fried it in some olive oil with salt and pepper. It was okay, but I’m a freak when it comes to veggie texture. I had cooked the zucchini a bit too long for my taste, so I made a note of it. Then, I looked for some more recipes.
A few days later, I made Zucchini chips. I liked the fact that they were baked and so easy to make. They were good, but a little soggy. Again, it’s that texture thing. If I were to make these again I would try to do it in a drip pan that raised the zucchini off the surface.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
The thing about zucchini in a cake is I always find it so heavy. So I found this recipe taken from Cooking Light magazine and it was great. I did not use the glaze that is supposed to go on top, however. Instead I just sprinkled powdered sugar to finish. I liked that the recipe uses egg whites and two leavening agents to give it some lift. It was still moist but didn’t sit in your stomach like a rock afterward. We had a piece for dessert and then I sent the entire thing to my hubby’s place of work the next day.
Chicken and Zucchini Skillet
Last night I made this chicken and zucchini skillet dish. It was FABULOUS. I made a couple changes to the recipe, all very slight. I used penne pasta, skipped the fresh tomato and used half a cup of canned diced tomatoes instead. I also used a green pepper (because I had it) and instead of roasting it first I cut it up and placed it in the pan after browning the chicken. I also doubled the breading ingredients, and dumped the whole thing (breading and chicken) in the pan to brown. When the chicken was browned, I kept the remaining breading in the pan to mix with the pepper. Then, when it was time to add the Alfredo sauce it took on a nuttier taste. It was great. I added the zucchini right at the end to keep it from getting too mushy. The chicken comes out very moist, and the lemon and tomato add a nice bit of tang that keeps the whole thing from getting too sweet. However, if you have someone in your family that hates tomatoes, you can skip them altogether and you won’t miss them. This also makes a ton of food, so you’ll have a lot left over for lunches.
Sweet Zucchini Vegetable Saute
As the word this week in our house was zucchini, it was a kick to see Melissa d’Arabian make a zucchini dish on her show this week. I love that Food Network has put the shows from all the Next Food Network Star winners on Sunday morning. It makes them easy to find, and I really enjoy taping them and watching them later Sunday afternoon. The funny thing about Melissa d’Arabian is that I wasn’t initially rooting for her during the Next Food Network Star (sorry!), but once her show came on, I saw her fabulousness and have been a loyal viewer ever since. Her recipes are really, really great. This weekend she made a zucchini skillet dish that used Herbs de Provence, so she had my attention right there. I love that flavor combo, and even created a Chicken Riesling Stew recipe so I could use them. I’m making the zucchini and onion dish tonite with pork chops that have a Dijon mustard sauce. I think the Dijon and Herbs de Provence will be a good flavor combo.
All in all, I’ve been very happy with how long this zucchini has lasted and also how many different dishes we’ve been able to use it in. Since people tend to grow zucchinis in their vegetable garden, they also make an inexpensive item for a meal.