10 ways to use up all that zucchini

Here are ten ways my family has eaten zucchini in the past three weeks. All kid-tested, Owlhaven approved. Let’s do it Letterman-style, saving the best til last.

10. Pasta salad (something like this) except with tri-color pasta, cubed cheese and cubed raw zucchini. Perfect for a picnic.

9. Cubed raw zucchini all on its own, served with salad dressing. Easy and yummy. It is OK to use a big zucchini for this, but scrape away all seeds and soft insides, and just use the firm outer flesh.

8. Korean hamburger zucchini stir-fry

7. Omelets with minced zucchini, mushrooms, and cheese.

6. Zucchini cakes ala Pioneer Woman’s friend Ryan

5. Zucchini bread

4. Grilled beef, zucchini, carrots and potatoes (like this) I boil the carrots and potatoes for just a few minutes before putting them on the grill pan with the zucchini. Cook the meat on a separate grill pan until cooked through. Then combine with veggies. This recipe disappears like lightening!

3. Pasta with zucchini ala Pioneer Woman.

2.Chocolate zucchini cake. This recipe is excellent.

1. Our very favorite way to eat zucchini is simple. Dip in egg, then coat in flour, salt lightly, and fry in hot oil. Yum! I am planning on trying this oven-baked version soon, as I feel a trifle guilty at the fat content of my version.

I’d love to hear what you do with excess zucchini. This week we decided to start feeding the biggest zucchinis to our cow– that way we can eventually convert zucchini to beef!

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Hearty Beef Dumpling Stew

Here’s another of the meals that I featured on my Frugal Cooking Carnival

Beef Dumpling Stew

Beef stew with dumplings

Serves 8

Stew

2 lbs hamburger or sausage
2 T. oil (olive or vegetable)
2 c. sliced carrots
2 c. minced onion
4 T. flour
8 c. beef broth (make this with beef bouillon if you don’t have beef broth on hand)
4 c. pureed tomatoes (or 3 c. tomato sauce and 1 c. water)
1/2 c. milk
1 c. corn
1 c. slivered cabbage
3 c. potatoes, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste

Dumplings
3 c. flour
2 T. baking powder
1-1/2 t. salt
1 T. paprika
1-1/2 c. milk
2 T. butter

Soup: Sautee hamburger or sausage in a deep heavy pot until browned. Remove from pan and pour rendered fat in a small bowl. Sautee carrots and onion in olive oil in same pot. Once the onion is translucent, mix in flour. Cook for a few minutes, then add beef broth. Scrape the pan to get any bits off the bottom of the pan. Add milk, water, tomato, cubed potatoes, cabbage, and meat. Let come to a simmer and cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Dumplings:
Mix flour, baking powder, paprika, and salt. Warm milk and butter in microwave. Pour the warm mixture over the flour and stir together.

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Now spoon the dumpling mixture on top of the soup in little blobs (about 2 T. per dumpling). Cover with a lid, and let the dumplings simmer on medium-low for 7-8 minutes. Break a dumpling apart with a fork to make sure dumplings are cooked through. Serve.

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Frugal Cooking Carnival (updated)

Welcome to the Frugal Cooking Carnival! I hope you’re all set to share three days worth of menus, costs, pictures, and recipes. Guidelines can be found here. But even the recipes from one or two meals will be helpful, so please participate at whatever level you feel able. Before I share my own three days worth of food, I want to get Mr. Linky up so that those of you who are raring to share can get your own link posted first. Once you’ve signed in with the EXACT link to your post, you can scroll on down and see how the three days of cooking went at my house. And just a note– you have to actually CLICK on the Mr. Linky to see the links that people have posted.

(Update: Here are the actual links of the people who participated, since it seems Mr. Linkie is not showing up in some browsers)

1. Keren ($20 Menu, Shopping List, and Recipes)
2. Untraditional home
3. Linds
4. Anne (vegetarian)
5. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home
6. daycare girl
7. Amy@Experience Imagination
8. Joanne
9. Tina
10. Carrien@She Laughs at the Days
11. Melissa Darling (A Darling Life)
12. Shana
13. Sonya
14. Another Oatmeal Idea
15. Ali BG (vegetarian)

(Lynn, diane, and Suzyq: Please resubmit your links– they didn’t show up on Mr. Linkie)

3 Days of Food
This first picture shows most of what I bought to use over the three days. A few odds and ends are missing, and there are a few things there that I didn’t end up using. But the picture gives you a pretty decent idea of what I used over those days. I will be adding recipes in the next day or two. This post has taken a ridiculous amount of time to write– I want to thank all of you who decided to join me in this effort, because it really has been a lot of work.

Breakfast on day one was migas, toast, orange juice and coffee. I used 18 eggs, but since I found eggs for $1.50 a dozen, it wasn’t too expensive. I only give the kids coffee once a week or so, in tiny Ethiopian cups, and when I do, they really enjoy the treat. The whole meal with juice and toast cost about $6.50, which came out to about $0.65/person. This is a favorite breakfast at our house.

Beef stew with dumplings
Tuesday for lunch we had a nice vegetable beef stew with dumplings. The stew was very hearty– I could have used a bit more liquid, I think. It contained hamburger, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions, and canned tomatoes. The thing the kids liked best was the big dumplings on top.Next time I’ll make more stew, since the stew ran out while there were still plenty of dumplings. I served this with orange halves and a slice of banana bread for dessert. This meal came out to about $6.00 or $0.55 per person.

Peanut chicken and rice

Tuesday’s dinner was another favorite. West African Peanut Chicken is a dish that we discovered a year or so ago, and now make a couple times a month. I used the meat from 3 chicken breasts that I’d bought for $0.98/lb, so this also was a fairly affordable dish. I made the sauce with plenty of homegrown pureed tomato and pureed onion (the kids like onions just fine when I puree them) and served it over rice with fresh broccoli and orange slices. Total cost for the meal was $6.25, which came to about $0.57/person.

cold cereal
Wednesday’s breakfast was as easy as you can get– cereal, milk, juice and fruit. I generally don’t pay more than $1.50 a box for cereal, but Albertsons had a great deal a few weeks ago. A sale combined with ‘preferred customer rewards’, store coupons and manufacturers coupons brought the cereal down to $0.60 a box. I bought 10 boxes. With half a gallon of milk, half a gallon of juice, and a couple pounds of bananas, the total cost of the breakfast was about $4.60, which is about $0.42/person.

Fried rice and egg rolls
This lunch was particularly yummy: fried rice, egg rolls, apples, and peanut butter cookies for dessert. I made the fried rice using leftover rice from yesterday’s dinner and leftover migas from yesterday’s breakfast. I also added a bit of chopped-up pepperoni, onion, garlic and carrot. I fried it all in a few tablespoons of sesame/canola oil. Near the end of cooking, I added about 1/4 cup of soy sauce. The egg rolls were filled with cabbage, grated carrot, fresh ginger, minced onion and garlic, then fried in oil– ya know, you can’t beat deep fried food for taste! With that fat content it was a good thing the meal was practically vegetarian! We rounded out the meal with apple slices and homemade peanut butter cookies for dessert. Total estimated cost for this meal was $7.50, or about $0.68/person.

Beef Stroganoff
Wednesday’s dinner was an old standby at our house: beef stroganoff. Usually I make it with egg noodles, but tonight I just had macaroni and that was fine. I served it with mushrooms on the side since many of the kids aren’t thrilled with mushrooms. For side dishes we did some frozen corn from last year’s garden, fresh broccoli with salad dressing, and a cookie for dessert. (Cookies don’t last long at our house!) This meal cost about $7.50, which was about $0.68/person.

Oatmeal and ice cream
Thursday morning’s breakfast idea came from some friends of ours. Oatmeal is the ultimate in affordable breakfasts, but it can be a little dull taste-wise. Unless you top it with ice cream, that is. Even kids who aren’t in love with oatmeal will eat it happily if you top it with a scoop of strawberry ripple ice cream. One other tip: we cook our oatmeal in our rice cooker, which totally avoids the ol’ boil-over problem we always used to have with oatmeal. It requires absolutely no watching, which is a plus on busy mornings. Just pop in your regular amount of oats along with twice that amount of water, turn the cooker on, and walk away. The rice cooker turns off automatically, and keeps it warm til you get to the table. We served this breakfast with a link of sausage, toast, and orange juice, for a cost of about $6.00 altogether, or $0.55/person.

Our third lunch was another easy meal: leftovers from previous days. At least once a week we have a leftovers meal at our house, which consists of pulling everything from the last few days out of the fridge and letting kids go through picking what they want then microwaving it. This time around we have leftover peanut chicken, dumplings from the beef stew, and fried rice. Since I already added the costs of those items into the previous meals, the only ‘new’ costs were for the oranges and carrot sticks we served on the side, which cost about $1.25.

Chicken enchiladasOur final meal for the three days was chicken enchilada casserole. While I was making one casserole, I went ahead and doubled the amounts so I could have another casserole to stick in the freezer for a different day. Along with the enchiladas, we had a green salad made with swiss chard from my husband’s greenhouse, and the last bit of cabbage. The younger kids turned their noses up at the chard– it does have a slightly sharp taste– but I really liked it, and so did most of the bigger kids. The enchiladas turned out great and were met with rave reviews. I’m really glad I made two! For dessert we had more cookies– I’m afraid this batch is almost gone. The total on this meal was a little higher than some: meat AND cheese, you know! It was around $11.50 for everything, which comes out to about $1.05/person, and we even had some leftovers for my husband to pack next time he goes to work.

The grand total, for 9 meals for 11 people? $57.10. That’s 99 meals for about 58 cents a meal.

I am so glad I’m done with this post. I am now going to bed as my hubby is literally tugging me by the hand. I’ll be back with more recipes tomorrow, people! So come back, OK? Welcome to the people visiting after seeing the mention here and then on CNN this morning. If you look in my sidebar under ‘Techie Stuff’ you’ll see several different ways to subscribe to this blog. I hope you’ll all be back and please feel free to leave a comment!

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