I know I'm not the only one who has an abundance of zucchini and yellow squash coming out of the garden right now....after all, 'tis the season!
I've been trying out some new recipes lately for all that zucchini goodness....and so far, each and every recipe has been an overwhelming success!
First off, I made a variation on my favorite Grilled Veggie Sandwich.
Easy peasy, I've made things like this many times in the past.
It's basically layers of grilled veggies heaped on toasted garlic bread with slices of good feta and some fresh basil.
I seasoned the zucchini and yellow squash before grilling, with a drizzle of olive oil and an Italian seasoning blend. Roasted red peppers, grilled tomatoes and grilled onions rounded out the veggies, although eggplant would be a nice addition as well.
This sandwich works well with goat cheese and a smear of good pesto on a nice crusty bread also, topped with a tiny drizzle of balsamic.
May I just say.....YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!
You already saw my Summer Garden Bolognese in a recent post - that was a super tasty way to use up some of the zucchini, and to preserve it in a different way for the months ahead.
Next up were two soup experiments.
Because, this happened:
Between our two gardens, this is a daily harvest now. Yikes!
It's amazing....and I am so blessed. And it also keeps me busy as can be!
Of course, we are giving some to friends as well, but that still leaves plenty to be creative with!
The soups always start out the same way, in My Best Friend, with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped onion.
The first soup I tried with the zucchini was a Zucchini Corn Chowder.
After the onions, in went some chopped carrots....
...and chopped celery. Classic Mirepoix. Once they softened a bit, I made a hole in the center for a pat of butter and sauteed about 8 garlic cloves, minced.
When the garlic was fragrant, I sprinkled about 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, and 1/4 tsp dried basil over the veggies.
Next came the chicken stock - I used Swanson's Low Fat Reduced Sodium stock, 2 containers (8 cups total.)
I added 5 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks. They simmered with the stock and veggies and herbs, making the whole kitchen smell like heaven.
When the potatoes were fork tender, I added in a large zucchini, scrubbed and cubed.
I simmered the zucchini for about 15 minutes or so, and then in went some corn kernels, cut off some leftover grilled corn on the cob. And some frozen corn kernels as well. I love corn.
Last but not least, about 1/2 cup of cooked, chopped bacon.
While the chowder was simmering on the stove, I whipped up a loaf of Zucchini Cheddar Chive Buttermilk Quick Bread....which was amazing, and super simple to make. A keeper recipe, for sure.
Dinner was a bowl of chowder with warm freshly baked bread.
While a storm raged outside, and the candles flickered around my little house.
It was a very, very good meal.
To top it off, this recipe made 4 additional quarts of soup for the freezer - woo hoo!
Last night, I made a Cream of Zucchini Soup, and we finished off the rest of that yummy bread.
This time, I started the soup with three large onions, chopped, and a head of garlic, minced. No carrots or celery for this soup.
Next came about 1/4 tsp of dried thyme, and some freshly ground pepper.
I used the same Swanson broth, two containers (8 cups total) and added a large zucchini, scrubbed and cubed.
This all simmered with the lid on for about 20 minutes or so, until the zucchini was very tender.
Then it went for a whirl with my handy dandy immersion blender. I've had this one for about ten years, I'd say, and it makes pureeing a soup or sauce so simple. A MUST HAVE for anyone who makes soups!
I seasoned the soup at this point with some more freshly ground pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon of Vermont Country Seasoning, one of my all time favorite seasoning blends.
To make it a little more creamy, I added about 1/2 cup of organic half and half.
And cheese. Oh yes, glorious cheese! I used about a cup of parmesan and a cup of shredded Sargento Italian Cheese Blend.
I tasted for seasoning, and knew just what would finish this soup off perfectly.
I headed out to the herb garden to grab some fresh chives and basil. A rough, chop, and into the soup they went.
One more spin around with the immersion blender, and perfection was achieved at last!
The flavor of this soup was just out of this world! The absolute only thing I would change for next time is to add a little more zucchini so it would be thicker when I puree it.
Other than that? Pure heaven.
The best part? Three containers in the freezer for the winter. And lots more zucchini in the basket to make multiple batches of this incredible soup!
Yup, this is in my dining room at the moment, waiting for me!
So, there you have it - 5 ways I have experimented with using up and putting up zucchini for the winter.
Every one of these experiments was a resounding success, and I would highly encourage you to try them all!
And when you do, let me know what you think!