Love At First Sight – Cheese and Zucchini

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Diane Ruyack

You are invited to a marriage!  Love at first sight, Cheese and zucchini go together like…..

All squashes, including zucchini, originated in the Americas. Archaeologists have found evidence of zucchini in Mexico as early as 7000 BC. Ancient Central Americans ate a diet rich in corn, beans and squash, a combination known today as “the three sisters.” When European explorers conquered the region in the 1500s, they brought back exotic foods from the New World, including zucchini.

Zucchini is one of the very low calorie vegetables that is used during weight reduction and cholesterol control programs. Zucchinis provide only 17 calories per 100 g. and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers. They are also  a moderate source of folate and a good source of potassium, vitamins and antioxidants.

Many people grow zucchini and the plants are very prolific!  Many of us are begging for people to take zucchini off of our hands.  And believe me, you have to watch them so they do not become as big as clubs!  The 6-8 inch long ones are great to slice, sauté or bake with cheese on top.  The larger one are better grated and used in mixtures

Putting zucchini in many recipes that have cheese give an added boost of nutrition. Add zucchini to scrambled eggs, cheese quesadillas, casseroles, or quiche. They add color and fiber. Another recipe that could take the place of French fries is zucchini fries.  Make zucchini fries by cutting the vegetable into sticks,  coat with beaten egg, then in Italian bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese. Place on greased baking sheet.  Bake 425 for 10-15 minutes. This is very simple, low calorie and good for you. Try different kinds of cheese with zucchini. Ie feta, bleu, asiago. Add cheese and tomatoes to sautéed zucchini for an excellent side dish.

Store zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer four to five days and do not wash until just before you are ready to use it. At the first sign of wilting, use immediately. Softness is a sign of deterioration. Cooked zucchini should be covered and refrigerated up to two days. To freeze, slice zucchini into rounds, blanch for two minutes, plunge into cold water, drain, and seal in airtight containers or baggies. Frozen zucchini can be kept for ten to twelve months.

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