Late summer is a great time to get a hold of Zucchini.  If you have some in your garden, awesome.  If you are like me and don’t have a garden (yet!), then ask coworkers, neighbors, etc.  They will most likely already be trying to get rid of excess this time of year.  This last week I was gifted two very LARGE zucchini.  Onur laughed at my glee.  Silly man, I will make you eat all of the summer squash now.

This week I will share recipes for:
– Old-fashioned Oatmeal with apples, rasins, and honey-toasted walnuts
– Zucchini “Pasta”
– Minestrone Soup
– Carrot & Zucchini Bars or Cupcakes

Old-fashioned Oatmeal with apples, rasins, and honey-toasted walnuts

One of the easiest and healthiest breakfasts ever is oatmeal.  It keeps me full for half the day and on cold mornings there is nothing better than a hot breakfast.  I buy rolled oats in bulk for about $1.08/lb, which will make something ridiculous like 14 servings.  (approx. $0.07 per serving).  After searching for some oatmeal recipes this week, I found this one and can vouch for the deliciousness.

Old-fashioned Oatmeal with apples, rasins and honey-toasted walnuts (adapted from Epicurious): serves 4
– 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
– 2 cups old-fashioned oats
– 1 Tbsp honey
– 3 cups water
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 small apple, chopped
– 1/4 cup rasins
– brown sugar to taste
– cinnamon to taste
– coconut (or soy, almond or dairy) milk to taste

1.   Stir chopped walnuts in small nonstick skillet over medium heat until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Drizzle honey over and stir until honey thickens and coats nuts, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Stir to loosen nuts from skillet and cool.
2.   Bring 3 cups water to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Add oats and salt and stir over medium heat until oats are softened and very thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in chopped apple, brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until apples are tender, about 5 minutes.
3.   Divide cereal among 4 bowls. Top with your choice of milk, add honey-toasted walnuts and serve.

Total cost of mine was $0.91 for four servings.

Zucchini “pasta”

I really like making faux pasta out of vegetables with my julienne peeler.  Oversized zucchinis work great, as do carrots, cucumbers, and summer squash.  So for an easy lunch we mixed zucchini and crookneck squash “noodles” with some garlic, mushrooms and leftover tomato sauce.  It was fresh and seriously delicious.

Zucchini “pasta”: serves 2
– 1 or 2 cups Zucchini strips from julienne peeler
– 1/4 cup additional veggie strips from julienne peeler (get creative here)
– 1 clove of garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1/3 cup mushrooms, sliced
– 1 cup tomato sauce
– any other veggies you feel like

1.  Slice out your veggie “noodles” and chop other veggies.
2.  Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat, add garlic and saute for a minute.
3.  Add all vegetables, stir occasionally and cook until tender. About 5 minutes.
4.  Add tomato sauce, and any spices if you desire.  Heat for 2 minutes, then serve.

Total cost was: $0.40? The veggies were leftovers, and the zucchini was free. 1 cup tomato sauce was about 40 cents.

Minestrone Soup

Okay, so I have to admit – minestrone soup is one of the easiest things in the world to cook.  It’s super flexible in terms of ingredients, and takes only a few minutes to make.  It is different every time based on what is in my freezer, pantry or fridge.   Serve with a salad or some french bread and you have a satisfying meal.  This week we are busy using up zucchini, so of course that goes in, as well as some of those kidney beans we cooked up last week, plus some crookneck squash from a neighbor and leftover ground beef from earlier in the week.

Minestrone Soup (adapted from Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook): serves 4-6
– 1 teaspoon olive oil
– 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
– 2 cups uncooked pasta of your choice (spiral noodles, macaroni, penne, etc. get creative.)
– dried basil and oregano to taste
– 1 can of diced tomatos, undrained
– 2 cups any veggies you want (I highly recommend zucchini, corn, and mushrooms)
– 1 can kidney beans, drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans)
– 1 cup water

1.   Heat oil in medium saucepan on medium heat. Saute the garlic, zucchini, basil and oregano and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
2.   Add any remaining vegetables, beans, can of tomatos and water.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
3.   While the soup warms, cook the pasta in a small saucepan of boiling water for 7 to 9 minutes. Drain, and add pasta to soup.
4.   Remove soup from heat, season with salt to taste and serve.

Total cost for mine was $2.03 for four servings.

Carrot-zucchini bars with lemon cream cheese frosting

And for dessert this week, we have carrot & zucchini cupcakes or bars.  Having made these twice in two weeks, I can vouch that they are delicious either way.  I am allergic to dairy, so my cream cheese frosting was made using a dairy-free alternative.

Carrot-zucchini bars with lemon cream cheese frosting (From Real Mom Kitchen): Serves 36

Carrot and Zucchini Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 pkg reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, honey, and vanilla.  Don’t worry about clumps of the brown sugar, those will dissolve as it sits while you prepare the remaining ingredients.  Then fold in the carrot, zucchini, and walnuts
  2. In another bowl combine add the flour, baking powder, ginger, and baking soda.  Whisk to blend together.
  3. Add to flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir just until combined. Spread batter into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  4. Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  5. Once the cake is cooled prepare the frosting.   In a medium mixing bowl, beat the fosting ingredients with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.  Spread or pipe the frosting over the cooled bars.  Makes 36 bars or 30 cupcakes.

The total cost for me was $4.19 for 30 cupcakes, but mine are more expensive due to my special cream cheese.  If you use regular dairy cream cheese it should be a total of about $2.50.