Zucchini - Friend or Foe?Written by Glynis Neves
Living in small town America means summer is filled with the following: night games for children of all ages, lemonade stands where the lemonade is so sweet it could rot your teeth, and gardening. I'll be honest, though. I hate gardening! I have the world's blackest thumb! I'm not kidding; plants die around me, with almost no provocation. My husband, on the other hand, is a master gardener! It seems like all he has to do is smile at a plant and it grows! Every year his garden is a sight to behold. Early on in our marriage we made a deal that he would grow the produce and I would take it fro there. I've learned how to preserve vegetables and fruits in many ways: bottling, juicing, freezing, and dehydrating.
There's one vegetable that consistently gives me problems: the zucchini. The problem is that my children hate it. With a capital H! I shouldn't have been surprised, though, I hated it when I was younger, too. I remember eating zucchini that had been boiled until it was limp, watery and tasteless. Those meals were the worst of the summer! No matter what else Mom made, the zucchini wrecked it!
As a mom, I needed a way to make this veggie appealing to my kids. I mean, it wasn't going anywhere. My husband loves it, so it was always going to be a staple in our gardens. For a while, I tried giving bags of the stuff away, but for every anonymous bag I left on doorsteps in my neighborhood, I'd come home to find similar bags in front of my door. What was a mother of young children to do? I called my mom for advice. Admittedly, this was a risky move, considering the zucchini I remembered from my childhood.
I shouldn't have worried. Mom whipped out a recipe guaranteed to help kids down the dreaded, green vegetable. As she read the recipe, I remembered the casserole, but I didn't remember it containing zucchini. Mom admitted that she came up with the recipe out of desperation. She needed us to eat the veggie without the complaining, and this fit the bill. I've been using the recipe with my own kids, and all but my pickiest eater gives this dish an enthusiastic review.
What have you done to vegetables to get your kids to eat them?
2 medium zucchini, cut into small pieces
1/4 C. sour cream
1 Tbsp. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. minced dried onion
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the squash until tender. Drain and return to warm pan.
In another saucepan, combine the sour cream, cheese, paprika, butter and salt on low heat. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add the onion. Stir until combined. Pour over squash and stir gently to coat. Pour squash mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and more shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until the cheese is bubbly.
Download a PDF version of this recipe here.
Stories have always been a big part of my life. I grew up in a very theatrical family, and learned the art of storytelling early on. I'm grateful to my parents for teaching me how to express myself through story. Now that I have 5 children of my own, I find that I use storytelling every day. I love it when my children say, "Tell me the story about..." or "Tell us about a time when..." These are the times when genuine connections occur, and in this day and age, we need all the connections we can get with our children.
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