Trying new things: to some it is scary, to others it is exciting. I usually have a mixture of the two feelings when I am about to try something new, but once I do it, I am so glad I did.
I have done a lot of new things in the last year, and I am so glad I have! In doing so, I have met many new friends and wonderful people. One new thing I started doing in this last year is writing this column!
Can you believe it has been a full year since I have started writing to you, my dear readers? You guys are so lucky! I kid, but I have really enjoyed writing the column and sharing my cooking and baking experiences. I also enjoy hearing from you and what you think of the recipes.
Another new thing I did recently was take my horse out to Medora for the first time, to go camping and riding with a couple of dear friends of mine. This new adventure will be something I will never forget. It was a wonderful experience to be able to spend three days riding through some beautiful scenery – even my horse Annie was in love with it.
Now let’s talk about trying some new foods. Something that is keeping me busy lately is my zucchini. Last year was the first year I had zucchini in my garden, and I got to try a few recipes out. This year, there are three plants out in my garden, and they are producing zucchini quite nicely and somewhat rapidly.
I have gotten to try quite a few new recipes out this year, so I am going to share a couple with you.
The first recipe is for zucchini pizza casserole. This casserole is easy to make and is very good – believe me, you will go through the leftovers quickly (if you even have any after you make it).
The second recipe is for zucchini chocolate chip cookies. I have used both semi-sweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips, and they both work well in these cookies. Believe me when I say this: these are some of the best cookies I have had, and they are quite addicting. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.
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Zucchini Pizza Casserole
4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini, 1⁄2 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided 1 pound ground beef, 1 can (15 ounces) Italian tomato sauce.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place zucchini in strainer; sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze out moisture. Combine zucchini with the eggs, parmesan and half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake 20 minutes longer or until heated through.
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies
1 cup butter, softened, 2 cups sugar 2 eggs, beaten 4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, 2 small zucchini, grated (you want it to measure approximately 2 cups of grated zucchini), 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 1⁄2 to 2 cups walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Cream your butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into the butter mixture gradually; mix well.
Stir in the zucchini. Fold in your walnuts (optional), and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonful with 2 inches between each cookie onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Do not over bake or you will not enjoy your cookies. Let stand to cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove and place on wire racks to allow to cool completely.