Friday, August 21, 2009

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Another great way to use those prolific squash.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
2 cups grated zucchini
4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
chopped nuts (optional)
Prepare two loaf pans by greasing them with shortening. Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan and grease the paper also. Place flour in each pan, coating all sides and the bottom. Tap out excess flour.
Grate zucchini, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another bowl combine zucchini, oil, milk and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips (and nuts, if desired).
Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 75 minutes. Cool on rack 10 minutes, remove from pan and let cool completely.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stuffed* Zucchini

Maybe where you live zucchini is sparse, but here you'll have a carload of it if you leave your doors unlocked at church. Anyway, here's a great way to put this yummy squash to use.

Here's what you'll need:
1 cup rice (cook according to package directions)
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef
2-8 oz cans tomato sauce (or 1-15 oz can)
1 clove garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 large zucchini squash
grated cheddar cheese (or cheese slices)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start with 2 large zucchini squash and halve them lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds to make a "boat." Place on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Next, take one pound of ground beef, 1 chopped onion and 1 clove minced garlic. Brown them and drain off excess fat.
Stir in tomato sauce, salt and pepper and oregano. Mix well.

Stir in the cooked rice. Then scoop the meat mixture into the squash boats. Add hot water to the bottom of the baking sheet and cover squash with foil. Bake at 350 degrees until zucchini is tender, about 45-60 minutes. (I usually check it after about 30 minutes and go from there.) Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated cheddar. Return to oven just until cheese is melted.

I apologize that I have to picture of the final, we were really, really hungry here that night. Just imagine the above picture with a more translucent squash and covered in melted cheese. Enjoy!
*As an alternative to stuffing the larger, more mature zucchini, I've also done this stovetop style. Use 2-3 young zucchini and slice them into 1/2" half moons. Cook beef in a large, deep skillet and add zucchini during that stage. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer until heated through. Top with cheese and cover with lid until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dump Cake

Over the weekend we had some company...lots of company. I made a huge pot of spaghetti and several loaves of garlic bread to "feed the masses." After dinner though I was seriously craving something sweet. My husband's cousins suggested they could make a "dump cake." (I'll not expound on my first impression, given the name.) Anyway, they said it would satisfy my sweet tooth.

They used crushed pineapple, applie pie filling, a yellow cake mix, butter and English walnuts. It was great! Last night I had a houseful again and a few different ingredients. Here's what I did.

I took one large can of mandarin oranges and partially drained them. I dumped them into a 9x13 baking dish. Then I dumped in 1 quart of homemade cherry pie filling, a large can of store-bought pie fillng would work just as well. I cut 1/2 cup of butter in to a yellow cake mix and dumped it on top of the cherries and oranges. I dumped a few slivered almonds on the top. (Now I see where is gets its name.) I placed it in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes and it was delicious! I would post a picture but we were on vacation last week and the camera still has not been unpacked...that or I lost it. Anyway, trust me, it was yummy!