Jul 18

Let’s start with a bit of an introduction. This dish falls under a number of categories, it’s a great side dish, served either warm or cold, depending on the main course and time of year. It’s perfect for those on a diet, as the calorie count for this entire recipe is about 800 calories. It’s frugal and will let you use up the zucchini from your garden or a friend that brought you a basket of it.  Zucchini high season is toward the end of the summer so we wanted to get this posted before it was harvest time. Last, it freezes well, so fits nicely with the other recipes we’ve done targeted for the “cooking ahead” strategy.

By the way, if Ratatouille sounds too fancy, just call it “veggie stew,” which reminds me, serve this to your vegetarian friends and they’ll know you really care. Now, let’s get cooking.

4 lbs zucchini
3 red peppers
2 Vidalia (or sweet) onions
2 28oz cans tomatoes (I use one whole and one crushed)
1 tbl crushed garlic

First, fry the garlic with a little olive oil, for a few minutes, then add the onions and cook over a low heat. You want the onions to soften and it’s ok if they caramelize a bit. (Note, this is an 8 qt pot. If your pots are smaller, you might need to cut the recipe in half)

Cut up the zucchini into big chunks, as shown. I cut off the ends and washed the zucchini, but not peeled it. No need to.

This is when the food photographers get my admiration. Five shots and this was the best I could do. You get the idea, though. Once those onions are done, you’re going to put in the zucchini and peppers, and both cans of tomatoes. Cook for about two hours covered, on low heat and be sure to stir every twenty minutes or so.

You can take the lid off once the zucchini has softened and cook till it’s the thickness you prefer. It can be served over rice or noodles, or by itself. You notice I didn’t mention any seasoning at all? If I have fresh basil, I put in a dozen leaves or so, chopped fine. You can add oregano, if you like, about a table spoon or so. After you make it the first time, try whatever variation you wish. You can add eggplant, carrots, turnip, whatever. I know some people will add salt to everything they cook. Not us. Try this dish once and we’re sure you’ll find that you make it again and again. Let us know what changes you make to it by leaving a comment. We love to hear from our readers.

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May 18

My next “cooking for the week” offering.

Few cloves garlic
1 lb sweet sausage
1 lb hot sausage (substitute 1 1/2 lbs boiled chicken for sausage, if you’d like)
2 lbs zucchini
1 large onion
1 red or green pepper
2 cans (15oz) chicken broth
2 cans (15oz) tomato sauce (or one 32oz can whole or crushed tomatoes)
1 tbl basil
1 tbl oregano
1 tbl parsley

Brown garlic & sausage (drain), add everything else, simmer till zucchini falls apart. This recipe can be changed to suit your diet, change from pork sausage to turkey sausage if you wish. This can be served as you would any soup, or you can serve it on a bed of rice or pasta to make it into a full meal. It freezes very well, and as we discussed last week, this is another great way to prepare ahead. Next time I make this, I’ll add pictures to this post. Last, note that chicken and sausage both go on sale on a regular basis, so I tend to buy those, and freeze them, and when zucchini is in season, it’s time to make this soup. A bit of planning can be pretty rewarding.

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