This week’s blog post is by Christine Luken.
Finally, the tomatoes in our garden have decided to turn red! In less than a week, we went from not enough tomatoes to too many. Of course friends and family are more than happy to take some of my husband’s always-delicious tomatoes off of our hands.
Our zucchini plants are producing like gang-busters, too! I now have to go and check the garden at least every three days for ready-to-pick tomatoes and zucchini. I made the mistake of not checking for a week and found five enormous zucchini – one the size of a bowling pin! Just so you know I’m not exaggerating, here’s a picture of them, below, with a spoon next to them for size reference. As you might have guessed, I’m going to share my favorite tomato and zucchini recipes with you, just in case you also need some creative ways to use up your garden’s bounty.
• Chicken Bruschetta ~ My grilled chicken bruschetta (pictured at the top) is delicious and super-easy! Marinade boneless chicken breasts in balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Chop fresh tomatoes and basil and mix in enough dressing to coat. Grill the chicken over medium heat. When you flip the chicken, add the tomato topping. Remove from the grill when chicken is cooked through. Top with feta or shredded Italian blend cheese.
• Mushroom “Pizzas” ~ My mushrooms, pictured above with the chicken bruschetta, are awesome! Remove stems, wash, and pat the mushrooms dry. Spread a small amount of pesto on the underside of each mushroom. Top with fresh chopped tomatoes and feta cheese. Cook on the grill over low heat until the topping starts to bubble.
• More Ideas ~ There are SO many ways to enjoy your fresh tomatoes! Put slices on ham or turkey sandwiches, BLT’s, hamburgers, or grilled chicken sandwiches. Add chopped tomatoes to omelets, salads, salsa, pasta dishes, appetizers and dips. My favorite appetizer with fresh tomatoes is Kraft’s Warm Italiano Spread.
• Garlic Roasted ~ Toss zucchini slices in a bit of olive oil with a few minced cloves of fresh garlic. Roast in the oven at 425 until zucchini starts to turn golden on the edges. Remove from oven and top with a generous sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Yum!
• Marinaded & Grilled ~ This recipe is perfect for those super-sized zucchini! Wash and trim off the ends, then slice lengthwise. Marinade the slices for 30 minutes in Italian dressing. Grill over low medium heat 3 to 5 minutes per side to desired doneness.
• Bread & Muffins ~ Who doesn’t love a warm slice of fresh baked zucchini bread with a dab of creamy butter? I’ve tried tons of recipes over the years and I’m always looking for the perfect one for zucchini bread. My mom recently made some that was awesome, called Lemon Zucchini Bread. Of course, I’m always tinkering with recipes, so I couldn’t help myself from doing that with this one. I used Domino Light instead of sugar, whole wheat flour instead of white, swapped coconut oil for vegetable oil, and added chopped pecans and mini chocolate chips. One serving comes in under 200 calories with 3 grams each of fiber and protein, which makes it both healthy and delicious! (In fact, I’m enjoying a slice with my coffee as I write this.) My only regret is that I didn’t make two loaves – one to eat now and one for the freezer. My version with nutritional information is below.
• More Ideas ~ Your imagination is the limit when it comes to ways to enjoy fresh zucchini! Sometimes I will pick zucchini when they are small and cut them up in sticks to add to a fresh veggie tray. They’re also great sautéed in a bit of butter with onions. I think my husband will like these Fiery Zucchini Fries, which are baked not fried. I also like them as a part of this recipe, Foil Packets on the Grill.
Lemon Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread (Modified from Original Recipe on AllRecipes.com)
• 1 ½ cups of shredded zucchini
• ¼ cup + 2 Tbs. of Domino Light (or ¾ cup of regular sugar)
• 1 egg
• ½ cup of coconut oil
• 1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
• ½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. baking soda
• ¼ tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 2 tsp. lemon zest
• ¼ cup chopped pecans
• ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.
2. In a bowl, beat together the zucchini, Domino Light, egg, and oil. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; stir in the cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture just until blended, adding in the pecans and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake 40-45 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from heat, and cool about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12 servings. Nutritional Info per Serving: Calories – 193; Carbs – 21 grams; Protein – 3 grams; Fiber – 3 grams