Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Frozen Zucchini Question Answered…


After my last blog post I got a comment from Michelle asking about zucchini… 


How do you freeze zucchini? Do you grate it or keep it whole? Do you have any recipes on your website on using Zucchini? 


I freeze my zucchini by grating it first and then putting it into zip type baggies, label, date and freeze.  I put two cups of grated zucchini in each bag because that is typically how much is called for in most recipes.  If a recipe calls for more (like 3 cups) I will often just do the two cups and have not had a problem with that.   


You could also cube it up and freeze it and use it in soups.  It gets mushy and watery after freezing so you can’t eat it like you do when it is fresh.  But it works great in baked goods and soups.  


Here are some recipes that can use frozen zucchini: 


Zucchini Muffins: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/zucchinimuffins.htm  


Zucchini Bread: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/zucchinibread1.htm 


Zucchini Coffee Cake: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/zucchinicoffeecake.htm 


Zucchini Cake: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/zucchinicake.htm 


I have other recipes on my site using zucchini but they tend to work better with fresh zucchini. 


 


 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Updates from the Homestead

 
Sunday Dinner  

I typically stick with soups and casseroles for most nights.  I save meals like pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches for the nights my hubby is home from work.  Today however I was in the mood for an old fashioned Sunday dinner.  I made oven roasted herbed chicken, red potatoes, salad and baked a zucchini cake for dessert.  I had the zucchini in my freezer from my garden last summer.  The meal was yummy.  My kids had all been gone for the day doing their own things and were so pleased to come home in the evening to this meal.  Plus having the house to myself (childless that is as hubby was home) I was basking in the peace and quiet as I worked in the kitchen!    


Here is the recipe and picture for the chicken: 


Oven Roasted Herbed Chicken 




1 whole chicken 4 to 5 lbs
2 T olive oil
1t sea salt
½ t season salt
1t dried minced onion
½ t oregano
½ t basil
½ t tarragon
½ t rosemary
½ t parsley 


Wash chicken and remove giblets.  Rub olive oil all over chicken surface.  In a small bowl combine salt and herbs.  Rub this mixture over chicken.  Set in 9x13 pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for about one hour or until temperature of the meat reaches 190 degrees.  Remove from oven and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.   


Optional:  Cut potatoes into halves or quarters (depending on the size of the potatoes) and arrange around chicken before baking. If you do add the potatoes you may want to bake this in an 11x15 size pan. The potatoes and chicken will be done at the same time making for an easy dinner!   


And the recipe for the Zucchini Cake: 


Zucchini Cake  



2 cups Sucanat
3 eggs
1 cup olive oil
2 cups peeled and grated zucchini
1 T vanilla
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
½ t baking powder
1 T cinnamon 


Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray.   With a mixer beat eggs until foamy.  Add oil and Sucanat, zucchini and vanilla.  Blend well. Add flour, soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.  Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour.  


While still warm spread a powdered sugar glaze over the top. 


Powdered Sugar Glaze


2T butter, melted
2 c powdered sugar
1t vanilla
2 to 3T milk 


Combine melted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla with a mixer.  Add milk 1T at a time until you have a thin glaze.  


An interesting side note about frozen zucchini…  There was a discussion on my message board awhile back and some ladies said that they drained their frozen zucchini before using it.  You know when you freeze zucchini and then defrost it there is a lot of water.  Well my theory has always been that the moisture was already in the zucchini when it was fresh.  That is why zucchini is so good for baking, it adds moisture to the baked goods.  So I never drain my zucchini, I just put all the zucchini and water in the recipe.  The result has always been the same as when I use it fresh..  just thought I would share this tidbit since this recipe is using frozen zucchini.  


 


Now onto the garden…  Finally we have had a couple of fairly dry and warmer days; which has been sooo nice. So I went down to my garden to check and see how my little spring garden was doing.  I planted seeds a couple of weeks ago and since that time it has rained almost non stop and got very cold (we even had snow flurries).  I was not sure if my plants had survived.  Well, I had a few peas up, no spinach was up however so I don’t know if that will happen soon.  Maybe if we have a couple of weeks of drier and warmer weather they may still make it.  I was encouraged to see that my swiss chard and lettuce was up!  So who knows, I may be able to start harvesting a few veggies about the time my main garden is planted! 


Updates on my seed starts:  I am happy to report that my little starts are doing amazingly well!  I have not had luck with this in the past but this year my sweet hubby built a little box that has plastic in the front and lights hanging in it.  I started my seeds in those little Jiffy Peat Pots and a couple weeks later I had to transplant them into bigger pots.  I am very encouraged by their progress.  I have 3 types of tomatoes, 2 types of cucumbers and impatients growing.   


This is my tray of tomatoes: 



And here are my cukes and flowers:


 


I’ll keep you updated on the progress of my little plants.  I still have another month or so to go before it is warm enough to plant them in the garden. 


That is all the latest from the homestead!  Hope you all have had a great weekend and are ready for a fresh new week ahead! 


 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!!

He is risen!!


May you all have a blessed day!!  


*********************************


I wanted to leave you with a picture I took this evening..  I colored Easter eggs using natural type dyes and my daughter Sierra saw them and called them vintage eggs.. I was calling them antique eggs.. but they looked different and I like it!  I used blackberries for the purple eggs, tea for the green ones and carrots and onion skins for the yellow ones.. the brown ones are ala natural from the chicken!