Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Zucchini Marinara

If you are anything like me you've got more zucchini than you know what to do with right about now. 

Last year I came up with all sorts of ways to use it up. My freezers were stuffed, and we ate out of our garden all winter long. 

This year, I've been making sauces and soups to fill the freezer once again, the most recent being this amazing Zucchini Marinara I made over the weekend. 


I started with a trip to the garden, where some of the onions and shallots were ready to be picked. You see those tiny red onions? They were on the right side of the garden, that gets less sun and holds water. The white onions were on the left side, the dryer sunnier side. 

Lesson learned for next year.

Anyway, I had two good sized carrots ready to pick as well, they sure were beauties.


I brought out the food processor to do the majority of the work for me. I wanted all the veggies to be fine, to blend together in the sauce. 

This is a great way to sneak extra veggies into your family's diet!  Shhhh....don't tell them!

Anyway, I used a bunch of small onions in here, and a few shallots. I'd say the equivalent of 3 large onions and 3 shallots. 

While I was getting the onions ready, I had my favorite pot aka my best friend heating on low/med with a drizzle of olive oil. 


The onions went into the pot first, followed a few minutes later by the carrots. 


When the onions and carrots were soft, I added about 6 large cloves of garlic, also minced. I made a hole in the center of the veggies, dropped in a pat of butter, and sauteed the garlic until golden and fragrant. 


Next came the zucchini. This was two smaller zucchinis....although our smaller zucchinis are way larger than anything you'll ever find in the supermarket, that's for sure!

I sauteed all the veggies together for a few minutes, then seasoned them with thyme, oregano, and freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. 


At the last minute I decided to chop up a jar of roasted red peppers into the sauce as well for extra flavor. 

And extra veggies. 

Shhhh.....it's our little secret. 


Next came two cans of Tuttaroso canned crushed tomatoes with basil and one large can of tomato sauce. 

Once it started to boil, I lowered the heat to low and put the lid on. 

I stirred the sauce every now and again, and let it simmer for just about an hour. Our chef at work says you shouldn't simmer marinara any longer than an hour, or the tomatoes get bitter. 

His marinara is amazing so I follow his guidelines. 


Can I tell you how amazing my house smelled at this point? I had the chimney cleaners coming that day to do the yearly cleaning, and I think I saw the younger guy actually drool. He came into the kitchen to find out what I was cooking, and said it smelled absolutely amazing. 

He was right!

This was the finished marinara - see the way all the veggies kind of blend together? That's exactly what I wanted. I didn't want big chunks of anything, just a smooth, veggie heavy sauce. 


I got 5 containers out of that recipe, which went right into the freezer. 

I will enjoy that sauce so much in the cold winter months, over a steaming bowl of pasta with some hot crusty bread, while the snow flies outside. 

And I'll remember that it all started with a teeny tiny little seed in my utility room, back in March. 


While I was at it, I made a HUGE pot of soup using up another 3 zucchinis. I didn't document this one, as it just kept growing as I tasted and added to it, and tasted and added some more. 

Eventually I decided this was a Tex-Mex Veggie Soup.  It had a kick to it! I will serve this topped with some shredded cheese, scallions, and a dollop of light sour cream. Yum!

My freezer is already  pretty full and we have a ton more zucchini coming out of the garden!

Good thing my younger daughter is going up to visit my older daughter in her new place soon - I will be sending up some food with her for sure!

Meanwhile, I have my eye on another zucchini recipe that I'm going to try this weekend - my blogging friend AnnMarie over at Musings of a Vintage Junkie posted this recipe for chocolate zucchini cake  that I was seriously drooling over yesterday! 

My sweetie will love that, he's such a huge chocolate fan. Hopefully that will help take his mind off his back, which he's been having major issues with for the last couple of weeks. We're off to the spine specialist in the morning to see if they can finally do something to help. He's in so much pain, my poor sweetie, and just found out yesterday from the MRI he had Friday that it's a herniated disc. Yikes. 

Wish us luck tomorrow. I have a feeling we'll need it. 

43 comments:

  1. You sure manage to get a lot done and work full time! Looks delicious!
    Brenda

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    1. Sometimes I think I take on too much, Brenda! But how could I let all those awesome veggies go to waste?

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  2. I love the idea of a veggie sauce! I did not know about the tomatoes getting bitter when cooking marinara for more than an hour. I usually don't but I will be sure to watch that now. It looks and sounds delicious. I have another kind of zucchini sauce you can try which is just sautéing chunks of zucchini in olive oil with sliced onions, add a can of diced tomatoes, some Italian seasonings and fresh basil and cook it down. It is chunky and heavenly. I put it over pasta or eat it as is. Ah, the joys of zucchini. Thanks for the mention of my blog and recipe!

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    1. You're very welcome, AnnMarie! It's on my weekend to do list! Thanks for the sauce recipe - I can never have too many zucchini recipes at this time of year!

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  3. Such a great idea...the flavor must be amazing...

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    1. It truly is, Linda! Best on a snowy day, to remember those summer days!

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  4. Oh, this looks delish! I'm coming over! :) You must just be filled with energy!
    Thanks for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

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    1. I wish that were the case, Shelia! I push myself to try and get as much done as I can on my days off!

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  5. Oh that tomato sauce with all the flavor from the veggies looks divine!! I wish I could come to dinner at your house, LOL!!

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    1. Well I wish you could also, Carole, you'd be most welcome!

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  6. Yummy! I would pour that sauce over pasta and meatballs... my go-to comfort food meal. My onions didn't grow very big this year either, all because of the shade from our orchard trees. This is the last year I could grow my garden where it has been for a few years because my apricot, peach and cherry trees are finally growing. Good luck with the herniated disc. I know it's not a fun thing to deal with. Have a great day!

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    1. I bet some shredded zucchini in the meatballs would be good, too, Vickie....now you've got me thinking!

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  7. I also drooled just reading about the sauce. Thanks for the tip only to simmer for one hour as I always wondered sometimes why the tomatoes tasted bitter. Good luck with the herniated disc. I have 10 that I know of and really been bothering this year as thyroid replacement also makes it worse and did not help to really land real hard on ice on backside before flipping over backwards for a concussion. But one thing I have learned over the years is epidurals work great to stem off surgery as back surgery is not always the answer depending on where the disc lays. I usually need 2 out of the 3 shots, but I always felt it was worth it. My last epidural was fall of 2003 and only just this year can I tell I really need to get in for another round. Wishing you and your sweetie the best of luck at the spine office.

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    1. He may be having one of those epidurals in a couple of weeks, Margaret, if they can't get him in sooner. It's scary how he was fine one day and the next in so much pain!

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  8. Good luck to your sweetie...hope they can treat him without an invasive procedure. Your sauce looks divine! I can see why the fella was drooling...probably hoping he could stay for dinner. That sauce would be wonderful over zoodles. We have been spiralizing zucchini and sweet potatoes and serving them with sauce. Your daughter will be thrilled with a care package from your kitchen and freezer!

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    1. You reminded me, I bought one of those over the winter at some Amazon sale day, I haven't tried it yet! Any tips for me?

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    2. I cut the veg in shorter pieces, maybe 4-5 inches long. You are smart enough to make sure the suction cups on the feet are secure. Some customers complained that the unit didn't stay in place. Duh...wet the suction cups and press down. I find that mine is easy to clean up too. Experiment a bit...you are a seasoned cook...no pun intended...

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    3. Ha ha, you're funny, Donna!! I think for my first experiment I'll mix the zoodles in with some spaghetti, to just lighten the carbs a bit, rather than a full blown bowl of zoodles. Thanks for the tips, I appreciate it!!

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  9. Hi! You make the most amazing recipes! Can I come visit! LOL My hubby is suffering today from back problems too. Suppose to go out of town this week-end so hope it starts to feeling better soon! Good luck to your sweetie! Nancy

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    1. We had some big plans both this weekend and last that we had to cancel, Nancy - he's truly not capable of sitting for a proper meal, and can only lie on his stomach. Lots of pain meds is all that's getting him through this! Hope your hubby is feeling better by the weekend!

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  10. I'm not growing zucchini in my garden, but I can get some from the farmer's market. I definitely have to make a ton of this sauce and freeze it like you did! I can only imagine how wonderful it'd be in the winter. I think I'll add fresh roasted tomato sauce (which I have in the freezer) in place of one of the cans of tomatoes.

    As far as your sweetie's back...I can totally relate. About 10 years ago, I herniated THREE disks - yes, all at once! The pain for a long time, was excruciating. I tried two different physical therapists and a few chiropractors. Those only helped a little bit and was temporary. Then I turned to acupuncture. That worked pretty well for me. And then I decided to try a yoga class. It took 8 weekly sessions to kick in, but that's what ultimately gave me the best relief from back pain. I tore my knee meniscus last year and had to give up yoga, then I had knee surgery in March. I just now (last week) went back to a yoga class and I really need it again, as I've been suffering with back pain again from not doing regular yoga. I know a lot of men are reluctant to try yoga (or even acupuncture), but it truly does keep you out of the dr's offices and away from pain killers - if you want to pass this info along to him.

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    1. I have been telling him for years to do yoga, that it would help his back. Someone recently told him he should try acupuncture, they swore by it for their herniated discs also! thanks for the tips, I'll pass them along!

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  11. I used to love zucchini, but unfortunately I developed an allergy to it in my thirties. Now I have to just enjoy it through others. xo Laura

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    1. Wow, that's a shame, Laura! That's like me with Bananas, Avocados, and apparently pineapple. Oh, and Lobster which means I have to stay away from all shellfish. Scary!!

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  12. Looks yummy and you will love having these wonderful dishes during the winter months.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. I sure will, Kris, that's why I work so hard on getting the freezer stuffed during the summer months!

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  13. That all looks so good! Praying for your Sweetie with his back. Herniated disks are so painful. I hope they can do something for him.

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    1. He's in a ton of pain, Debbie - thank you. We hope they can help also.

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  14. It all looks delicious, Deb.

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    1. So yummy, Deb! I just finished the small lasagna I made with some of it, you wouldn't even know there were so many hidden veggies in there!

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  15. Great ideas for the zucchini, especially the marinara! I'll have to try zucchini again next year myself. :)

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    1. It's so versatile, Leigh - of course when you're getting 20 out of the garden a day it can get overwhelming! Good thing we have loads of friends willing to take some off our hands!

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  16. Ok I'm gonna hop over and take a look at the chocolate zucchini bread. Hope your sweetie feels better soon. I'm sure you have a recipe to take the edge off his pain. :)
    Lisa

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    1. I wish I did, Lisa. Thankfully he does still have a decent appetite, so I make sure he's stocked up on nice home cooked foods since he can't drive anywhere right now. It's what I do best to help him out right now.

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  17. This looks delicious. My son just made zucchini boats the other day ( just like I did when he was a kid ) but I SWEAR his tasted better than mine.

    LOL I think it was because I didn't have to cook them myself or do the dishes afterwards! :)

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    1. I think you hit the nail right on the head, Deb!! :)

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  18. Mmmm, your food always looks so delicious! I'm always impressed when you make things ahead. We love to do that too. It's such a bonus at the end of a busy day to pull something great out of the freezer.

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    1. I always figure if I'm cooking and making a mess I may as well make enough for a few meals, right Stacey? This way I can have a few weeknights when I'm crazy busy where I have an easy peasy yet completely homemade meal waiting for me!

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  19. I get so hungry when you do food posts! And the colors of all those veggies. We've never grown shallots, are they finicky to grow? So expensive in the stores! Your freezer will be holding a bounty of treasure for the winter.

    Oh I do hope your sweetie's back can heal soon! He must be hating not being able to garden and project with you.

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    1. He's bored, Dewena, that's for sure. The pain is being controlled with meds, but he's bored to tears. Can't drive, so I'm basically 'meals on wheels' these days! The shallots were no more finicky than the onions, I still have many more in the ground. They did better on the sunnier/drier side of the garden than the wetter/shadier side. Too bad - I have a hard time figuring out what to grow on that side! I guess I have to stick to lettuce. Oh well!!

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  20. I love the idea of sneaking in more veggies. Wish there was a taste button on the computer. :) I never knew tomatoes get bitter after an hour of cooking. Great info!

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    1. Ha ha, a taste button would be amazing, wouldn't it? Although I would get really fat since I'm forever looking up and pinning new recipes!

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  21. Oh Debbie! I LOVE your recipes, and this marinara sauce sounds soo delicious! I have about 20 pounds of zucchini sitting on my kitchen table right now, and I need to find ways to use it up, so I will definitely try out this recipe you provided, what a great way to add in veggies! I am so sorry to hear about your sweeties back, oh that is so awful to go through such pain! I will be in prayer for you both! I know it is as hard on the caretaker at times, because you want to help and don't know exactly what to do. I didn't know one of your daughter's moved out... I guess I have missed too many of your posts, I'm sorry, this summer has been soo busy! Hoping it settles down now that fall is here :) Hugs1

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