Financial Friday: 4 Ways to Use Zucchini

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One thing I love about late summer is the abundance of fresh produce everywhere, whether you have your own garden or not. One key variable to saving money on food is to buy it in season (or to accept free vegetables whenever they happen to come your way). And, as I’m assuming is the case with most of you, one free vegetable that always seems to be coming your way is zucchini.

You’ve heard the jokes—don’t leave your car unlocked during late summer, not because people might break in and steal, but because they might leave you a huge pile of overgrown green zucchinis on your front seat. You’ve seen the signs on front lawns offering piles of the stuff, at absolutely no cost. For anyone who actually has a zucchini plant, it is a constant battle to try and stay on top of the production (while at the same time leaving enough room in your freezer for things like ice cream and hash browns).

While I can’t promise that these recipes will solve all your plethora-of-zucchini problems, I can promise you that they have been tested and deemed delicious not only be me, but also by my husband (who is MUCH more picky about vegetables in general than I am, especially the ones of the squash variety).

Without further talk, here are 4 main-dish selections that all feature zucchini:

1. Chicken & Veggie Roast

I wish I could take credit for this delicious (and totally) simple recipe, but I can’t—I got it from the minimalist blog Slow Your Home, which I’ll direct you to for the recipe. We just tried this one out yesterday, and the blend of fresh basil, roasted sweet potatoes, and zucchini really make for a meal that’s as scrumptious as it is easy. (Plus it meets ALL of the rules for my clean eating challenge!)

Note: Even though the recipe only calls for one zucchini, you could easily slice up a second (or even third, if you were cutting out the mushrooms or the sweet potatoes).

2. Zucchini Enchiladas

I have this friend who I admire greatly for her eating habits. Since she was eleven, Ruth hasn’t touched a single drop of processed sugar in any form, and she’s been eating as a vegetarian for years. She is basically the poster child for clean eating, and she’s become quite the sensational cook while she’s at it. In fact, she’s even creating her own cookbook, which this recipe is taken from:

one small zucchini, grated
1 ½ cups grated cheese of choice (use mozzarella or Monterrey jack for a more mild flavor, or cheddar for a stronger flavor)
1/3 cup cream cheese
Dash of garlic powder (optional)
1-12 oz bottle green enchilada sauce
8-10 tortillas (depending on size and how much you like them stuffed)
1 avocado, chopped
Beans of choice and sour cream (on the side; optional)
1.      Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray an 8 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
2.    Mix grated zucchini and cream cheese in a large bowl, then add the grated cheese and about half the bottle of salsa. Add garlic if desired. Mix all ingredients thoroughly together.
3. Warm tortillas so they don’t crack or break.  Spoon cheese and zucchini mixture into tortillas, roll them up, and place them seam side down in the pan.  Pour salsa on top of enchiladas.
4.    Bake 25 min.  Enjoy with avocados and/or beans, sour cream, and more salsa.
Photo via Tea & Cookies

3. Zucchini Quesadillas

If you want the easiest, quickest zucchini recipe of all time (that will become your new go-to meal staple), then look no further than these zucchini quesadillas from the Tea & Cookies blog (click here for the recipe). Seriously, these quesadillas take all of ten minutes to make, and they’re completely addictive.

Note: I like to add half of a jalapeno pepper to mine to add a little zip. Or any kind of peppers, really.

4. Zucchini Breakfast Burritos

Finally, a recipe I can (semi) take credit for. Basically, while I was making the zucchini quesadillas mentioned above, I decided to add several different kinds of peppers, a fresh tomato, and 3 eggs. What did I have? Breakfast burritos!

In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept of breakfast burritos, you basically take the hash mentioned above, stuff it inside a tortilla, add salsa and sour cream to the top, and enjoy!

Hopefully these recipes give you some fresh inspiration for those eight zucchinis taking up residence on your counter (without resigning them all to zucchini-bread status).

What are your go-to recipes for zucchini?

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