Zucchini Chips

Probably like you, I had an overabundance of zucchini this past summer, and I was on an endless quest to find different ways to cook the little (sometimes not so little) courgettes.

Zucchini gone wild

Uh-Oh. Big zucchini – BIG ZUCCHINI! This one was apparently hiding from me for a few days!

Zucchini muffins, zucchini bread, deep fried zucchini, roasted zucchini with parmesan, zucchini lasagna…

Yeah… you get the picture.

I actually read somewhere on a gardening blog that you should only plant ONE zucchini for every two people, lest you have too many to store.  I planted two.  I just couldn’t live without zucchini, and after I lost all my zucchini plants to squash mosaic virus a few years ago, I have planted at least two zucchini every year since then, one as a back-up for just in case.

Um-Hmm.  Then this happened…

homemade zucchini chips

The plants grew lush and full, and I was soon harvesting that many (above) zucchini almost every other day!  It reminded me of the great zucchini invasion of 2014…

too much zucchini

Then I saw a recipe for oven dehydrated zucchini chips.

“Seriously?” I said to myself, “is this the holy grail of good tasting, good for you snack foods?”

Almost.  On further reading, I saw that olive oil was involved.  Don’t get me wrong… I adore olive oil!  I just wanted to see if I could make a chip without oil and save a few calories.

If you know me, you know I absolutely adore experimenting in the kitchen, and my dear hubby is the best guinea pig ever!  So I dove in.

First, I used my handy-dandy mandolin to slice up the pretty green squash.  Easy enough.  Except, I will say, as my experiment with zucchini chips progressed, I found that the fresher the zucchini, the harder it was to get perfectly Sun Oven dehydrated zucchini chipseven slices.  The zucchini that had already spent a day in the refrigerator didn’t tend to crack or chip off as easily. Strange, but true.  However, you don’t want to wait more than a day or so from harvest to slicing, or the zucchini can get limp, and that makes slicing with a mandolin harder, if not dangerous!

I started out slicing the zucchini on the thin setting because I figured this would make the crunchiest chips. Well, at least I thought it would.

The sliced squash was laid in a single layer on parchment and sprinkled with my dry homemade taco seasoning (I got the recipe HERE), then placed into my SunOven.  I left the glass door of the Sun Oven slightly ajar so that the moisture could easily escape, and directed the oven just slightly off of direct sunlight.  Why?  I wanted to dehydrate the chips, not cook them!

Dehydrated zucchini chips

Zucchini chips just placed into the oven. You can see the temp gauge is right at 150, which is where it stayed most of the time.

They were done in about 2 hours, and they were good!  Not the best chip I had had in my life, but they were good and didn’t taste at all like zucchini.  The taco seasoning pretty much stuck to the chip, I assume because I sprinkled it on the chips as soon as I sliced them, so they were still pretty wet.  Aha!  See… no oil is needed!

Just a bit too thin. And the thinner they were, the faster they cooked…almost too fast!

But they were just too thin.  They were crunchy, but only the first bite into the chip was crunchy.  You see, first I got the crunch, but then I got a melt-in-your-mouth when you don’t really want melt-in-your-mouth kind of feeling. Harrumph! Besides, there was no way this chip would hold up to even the thinnest dip.

But the flavor was great!

One thing I noticed, also, was that the thinner chips dehydrated A LOT FASTER than the thicker chips.  Yeah, I know, Duh… but what I mean to say is that it dried exponentially faster!

So, I sliced some more zucchini on the medium setting this time, and with this batch I sprinkled on some Lawry’s Roasted Garlic Salt (my new favorite seasoning).

Yes, yes!  So Good!  Perfectly crunchy, and thick enough to use a light dip. And again…no oil!  I also tried a batch using just sea salt and then another batch with salt and black pepper.  Meh.  The truth is, the zucchini has such a mild flavor that you need stronger seasoning on the chips. So far, my favorite zucchini chip flavor is the Lawry’s Roasted Garlic Salt.

But, now I have a new quest… I need to find more flavors for my chips! I will spend some time this winter gathering recipes for chip flavors (please help), and then experiment again next summer when I have another over-abundance of zucchini. No oil zucchini chips

I would like to find a recipe for a homemade dry powdered ranch dressing mix to try as a flavoring for these chips.  I saw a recipe for this a few years ago, using powdered milk and other spices, but alas I did not save it and can’t find it anymore.

Sea salt and black pepper chips.

I wonder if it’s possible to make a nacho chip with homemade ingredients, or even sour cream and onion? Maybe barbeque? Perhaps you have a good homemade recipe for one of these flavors or maybe you have another suggestion?

 

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Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini

Okay folks, this is getting serious.  I am pleased that the plants are still producing more zucchini and yellow summer squash, but we haven’t even eaten a fraction of the zucchini we have harvested already this year.   😉

too much zucchini

The zucchini is literally spilling of our fridge! 🙂

The vegetable crisper is full of zucchini and yellow summer squash, and so is the meat drawer!  Then I have a few more in a basket on the bottom shelf!

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE zucchini and yellow squash!  It’s just that I wish I could get a few each week – not every day!

So far I have made zucchini muffins (see recipe here), zucchini boats (zucchini hollowed out with pizza sauce, ground hamburger then cheese, then bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly), zucchini bread, zucchini lasagna (substitute 1/4 inch slices for some of the lasagna noodles, alternating noodles and zucchini) and this new yummy recipe, Sautéed Garlic and Parmesan Squash.  It has become a family favorite!  I adapted this recipe from several others that I have seen online here and there.  Here is my version:

Garlic and Parmesan Squash

Julienne two medium-sized squash. You can use either zucchini or yellow summer squash, or both!  Whatever makes you grin!  🙂

julienned squash

Melt in a saucepan about 2 tablespoons of butter and about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or granulated garlic. About 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper once the butter and garlic are melted together.  One of the original recipes called for olive oil instead of butter.  I have tried both and I like it either way, but my son was over tonight and he likes the butter version.  Also, almost all of the original recipes called for adding salt.  I don’t.  There is enough salt in the Parmesan/Romano/Asiago cheese already, and sometimes also in the butter.  Prevent high blood pressure and skip the salt in this one.

cooking zucchini and yellow squash with garlic

Then just saute the julienned zucchini strips on medium heat until desired doneness.  I like mine to be a little al dente, if you can say that for squash.  Then take the pan off the heat and sprinkle some (however much floats your boat – I use about 1/4 cup) Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese on top (or live it up and use all three together!), place a lid on top for a minute or two to let the cheese melt, and there you have it!  Done!  Yummmmm………

I wanted to show a picture of what it looked like after it was all cooked, but I didn’t get it in time………..

Oops - not fast enough to get a picture!

Oops – not fast enough to get a picture!

The other thing I have been doing  with the excess zucchini is to shred and then freeze one or two cups at a time in my sucky machine (aka Food Saver)

Food Saver Frozen Zucchini

Here is two cups of shredded, frozen zucchini in the vacuum sealed freezer bag.

I decided to freeze the shredded squash in one or two cup amounts because that is perfect for making either zucchini bread or zucchini muffins!  Now I can have the goodness of summer in the winter!

Next I want to try making dehydrated zucchini chips!  I hear they are wonderful – but that’s another post to come!

If you have any more recipes using summer squash, please let me know!  While my poor plants are dying from the squash mosaic virus, they are nonetheless pumping out more and more squash!

 

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Squash Mosaic Virus

Oh no.  I think I have a virus – squash mosaic virus!  I went out to the garden a couple of days ago and found the squash on the left hand side of the picture below.

Squash Mosaic Virus
Nuts! It looks like the squash on the left has squash mosaic virus, which is supposed to be fatal for the plant. But, the two squash on the right were harvested two days later and look okay! Does anybody know what is going on?

They are supposed to be a yellow squash, but had all these weird green markings on them.  So I quickly decided to do a little research on the internet and what I found was very disheartening.  Apparently I have squash mosaic virus, which can be transferred by squash bugs or aphids, or it can apparently be in the seed.  Since I know there were a few aphids on the plants when they were young, I am betting that they were the culprit!  According to several of the articles I read on the internet, a plant cannot heal from the virus and will eventually die.  Boy, was I sad to read this.  But this morning when I went out to see if there was any squash to harvest, I found the ones on the right.  These look fine!  Go figure.  If I do have squash mosaic virus and it does kill the squash plants apparently it won’t be any time soon.  Besides, I already have a drawer full of them in my refrigerator.

The squash plants are getting huge and are still producing tons of squash, but I have noticed the leaves getting a bit off color and the edges getting kind of crinkled or even ruffled this past few days.  I sure hope it isn't the beginning of the end of my squash.  It isn't even officially summer yet!

The squash plants are getting huge and are still producing tons of squash, but I have noticed the leaves getting a bit off color and the edges getting kind of crinkled or even ruffled this past few days. I sure hope it isn’t the beginning of the end of my squash. It isn’t even officially summer yet!

The zucchini looks like it may be infected also, but those plants are also still producing like crazy!  In this picture you can see that the new leaves on the squash (zucchini on the left, yellow squash on the right) are looking a bit strange – a bit crinkled.  You might even call it ruffled.  However, take a look at one of the monsters that must have been hiding from me the last few days!  Without exaggeration I can tell you that from squash blossom to harvest time is only about four days!  If anyone knows more about the squash mosaic virus or has had this happen to their squash, please leave me some advice in the comment section below.

Zucchini gone wild

Uh-Oh. Big zucchini – BIG ZUCCHINI! This one was apparently hiding from me the last few days! “Zucchini gone wild” Oh well, it will still be good in muffins! See recipe below – it’s a good one.

I would like to know if that is definitely what is happening to my plants and, if so, if this virus can be overcome. I’m hoping that my plants are healthy enough to withstand the virus for at least another month!  Or, should I just bit the bullet, pull them out, and plant new ones that are resistant to the virus?  I think poor hubby is already a tad bit tired of squash, so I have been looking for new ways to fix it and came across a recipe for zucchini squash muffins!  I have already made them a couple of times and have tweaked the recipe a little bit.  Here is my version:

SHREDDED ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

1-1/2 cups of flour (I used 1 cup all purpose and 1/2 cup whole wheat)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt (sea salt is best)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (we love cinnamon, so I used 1 tsp)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (again, adjust to your taste)

In a bowl sift all these dry ingredients together.  Start heating your oven to 375 degrees.  Now, in another bowl, mix together:

2 eggs (beat them a bit first)

1-1/2 cups grated zucchini

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup olive oil (original recipe called for canola oil, but I stay away from that now)

Once all wet ingredients are mixed together, add the dry ingredients and gently stir together, just until moistened.  Careful!  If you stir muffins too much, they can become too rubbery!  Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until they are golden brown on the top.  You can eat as is, with butter, or with cream cheese frosting.  Yum!

shredded zucchini muffins

These muffins are absolutely fantastic! You can adjust the recipe a bit to suit your own taste. They are moist but not too dense and are really good straight out of the oven with a pat or two (or three) of butter.

The next recipe to try is a lasagna that uses zucchini squash sliced thinly lengthwise instead of pasta!  I also found a recipe for zucchini chips!  In the meantime, I am shredding my zucchini and freezing it in one cup bunches.  I am using my sucky machine (that’s what I call my Food Saver 🙂  lol) so that the frozen shredded zucchini will last longer without an off odor or freezer burn.  I will be able to make these muffins along with zucchini bread or even the zucchini lasagna (I will have to freeze some slices of zucchini) in the winter!  I know that frozen zucchini can sometimes be mushy when it thaws, but if you are baking it anyway – who cares!?  If anyone else has another great recipe for zucchini, please pass it along!  My hubby would be ever so grateful!

 

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