It’s that time of year again! My zucchini plants are yielding those long green vegetables, and as always, the first ones always taste so wonderful. I cook them in one of my two favorite ways: Cut the zucchini up in bite-sized chunks, cover with water, and boil until tender.

Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste.or Slice the zucchini up into thin slices. Fry in a pan with butter or oil. Flip with a spatula continually so the top slices get browned.

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Just before they are fully browned, coat them with Parmesan cheese and allow the heat from the pan to melt the cheese. I like to flip over the top-coated slices and let the pan crisp the cheese up. Serve hot.

After weeks 2 and 3 of enjoying my usual recipes with zucchini, then I begin using it in other ways: I like to make lasagna with it, using zucchini slices instead of lasagna noodles. Despite being a bit more watery than regular lasagna, it usually turns out quite tasty.

Then there is always Moist Zucchini Bread:

Moist Zucchini Bread

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice.

Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.

*courtesy The Food Network*

Once I’ve exhausted those favorites, then the search for yearly unique zucchini recipes is on. Here are this years current findings:

Zucchini Pancakes:

Zucchini Pancakes

1/3 cup of Biscuit mix
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups of shredded zucchini
2 tbsp of butter

In a bowl, combine the biscuit mix, Parmesan cheese, pepper and eggs. Add zucchini, mix well. In a large skillet, melt butter.

Drop batter by about 1/3 cupfuls into skillet. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes to each side. Yield is five pancakes.

Zucchini fries:

Zucchini fries

1 Medium zucchini
1/2 cup of flour
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vegetable oil
4 cups Corn Chex, crushed
Oil for deep-fat frying.

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut each half lengthwise into eight pieces. Set aside.
Combine flour, onion salt, oregano, and garlic powder.
Combine egg, milk, and oil. Stir into the dry ingredients, until just blended.
Dip wedges into batter, then roll in crushed cereal.
Fry in an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, until golden brown.

Zucchini Tomato Casserole:

Zucchini Tomato Casserole

6 medium zucchini, diced (about 6 cups)
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cubed process cheese (Velveeta)
1 cup soft bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
In a large skillet, saute zucchini in 2 tablespoons butter until crisp-tender; drain well. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Stir in the zucchini and remaining butter. Transfer to an ungreased 2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.

*The preceding three recipes are courtesy Taste of Home*

Zucchini brownies:

Zucchini brownies

INGREDIENTS (Nutrition)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.

To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Enjoy your summer zucchini cooking!

Pic of the Day: Dessert tray I made

Dessert tray I made