The cheapest option for produce is probably going to be the free basket of zucchini your neighbor leaves on your porch this summer. It’s on your porch because you’re on to them. You know their schedule and you’re avoiding them like the plague because what in the world are you going to do with 7 more zucchini. I’ll tell you what, and I’ll also tell you why I’m talking abundant zucchini in the middle of winter.

THE WHAT:  If you had greatfully accepted and carefully processed those lovely zucchini in their prime last summer, you just might have some in the freezer right now waiting to be tucked into a sweet, yummy zucchini bread or a savory zucchini appetizer. Two classic recipes that I grew up with.

Zucchini Bread (makes 2 loaves)

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups zucchini, shredded

1 cup cooking oil

2 tsp. vanilla

3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. cloves

½ cup chopped nuts, ½ cup raisins (optional)

Prepare bread pans by greasing bottoms only and preheat oven to 325.

Beat your eggs and stir in sugar, zucchini, oil and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into pans and bake for 60-80 minutes.

Cool until you can handle it, remove from pans, and continue to cool.

Wrap and freeze a loaf for later, or remember that friend who gave you the zucchini???

Zucchini Appetizer

3 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini

1 cup Original Bisquick® mix

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, slightly beaten

2 Tbsp chopped, fresh parlsey

½ tsp salt, dash pepper

½ tsp dried oregano leaves

Preheat oven to 350. Great 9 x 13 pan, bottom and sides. I use glass baking dish.

Mix all ingredients and spread in pan.

Bake around 25 mins. Top will start to turn golden.

Cut into squares. Decorate with mini pepperoni or pepper rings for more pizzazz.

Great warm or cold.

THE WHY:  Planning. It’s all in the planning. It might be January, but it’s garden planning time in my neck of the woods. Those seed catalogs are rolling in. Have a garden? Want one? Walk out into your yard, your porch or patio, or gaze out a sunny window and dream. What kind of veg would you like to have on your table this year? Join me tomorrow for some insight. I grew up with a huge garden. My dad had and still has the hugest garden in the neighborhood. Mine will be tiny compared to his, but he will share his zucchini, so no worries.