As anyone who has ever planted a garden will tell you, summer is the season for vine-ripened tomatoes, sweet corn, blackberries and summer squash. Lots and lots of summer squash, in fact. This year, I planted 2 summer squash plants and have already harvested more than 15 squash from them! I love summer squash, but I have to ask myself, what do I do with all of that squash? Freeze it? I have done that. Give it away to friends and family? I have done that too. Throw it on the compost pile? Not even an option. Why go to all of the work of planting, nurturing and harvesting just to throw it away? (Besides, summer squash is one of life’s simple pleasures.) My solution? Get creative in the kitchen.
I would like to share several recipes that bring the cooking of summer squash to a higher level. These recipes are tried and true and are somewhat surprising in their creativeness. By the way, zucchini is really a type of summer squash so both are interchangeable in most recipes.
Beat together: 1 1/2 c. oil, 2 c. sugar and 4 eggs. Sift together: 2 t. baking soda, 2 t. cinnamon, 1 t. salt, 4 tbl. cocoa and 2 c. flour. Add: 3 c. shredded zucchini, 1 t. vanilla and 1 c. nuts. Mix all together and spread on a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. You can frost this if you desire. (This recipe is sooo scrumptious that my brownie-loving husband couldn’t tell there was any summer squash in it until he found a small piece of skin!)
2 lb. ground beef 4 c. grated zucchini 1 c. cream of mushroom soup 1 1/2-2 c. milk
salt pepper seasoned salt (like Lawry’s) toasted bread crumbs cheese (like Velveeta)
Brown ground beef. Cook zucchini in a little water until soft. Mix everything together except bread crumbs and cheese and bake in a 9 x 13 inch pan at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Add cheese and bread crumbs and return to oven until cheese is melted. Serves 10. Yummy!
Orange Zucchini Cupcakes
6 eggs 2 2/3 c. sugar 1 c. vegetable oil 1 c. orange juice concentrate
2 tsp. almond extract 4 tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. salt 5 c. flour
3 c. finely shredded zucchini, packed
Beat together eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice, almond extract, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour and mix well. Stir in zucchini. Fill cupcake papers 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees until they test done with a toothpick. Ice with white icing after cooling. Yield: 3 dozen cupcakes. These cupcakes have a soft, fluffy texture. Perfect for your next summer picnic!
My thanks to Naomi Mast, author of The Farm House Kitchen cookbook and Mrs. Monroe (Ida) Hershberger, organizer of Our Kitchen Keepsake (Volume II) cookbook for sharing the above recipes with the public. Both cookbooks are compilations of recipes from generations of Amish community cooks. If you ever have a chance to purchase an Amish cookbook, don’t hesitate for a minute. They are usually filled with fabulous recipes and tips for living well. Always worth the price of the cookbook!
I would love to hear from anyone who has any other zucchini or summer squash recipes they love. Feel free to leave a comment or 2 below to share. Together, we can celebrate one of life’s simple (summertime) pleasures.