Every family has their secrets, and My Mom's Creamed Zucchini is a Denny family secret, with an ingredient you probably wouldn't ever guess!
(For Friday Flashbacks I feature past recipes that have been my favorites, and Mom's Creamed Zucchini is a recipe I've been making for years and years. And since tomorrow is a big Denny Family Reunion, it seemed like the perfect time to feature this favorite Denny recipe for Friday Flashbacks. If this idea sounds weird to you, be open minded; everyone in my huge extended family loves this dish.)
Every family has their secrets, don't they? My family is actually amazingly wholesome, but we do have this secret recipe for Mom's Creamed Zucchini, using an ingredient that's maybe slightly embarrassing for those of us who try to be healthy eaters. If you're concerned with not using processed foods, you might turn up your nose at our favorite zucchini recipe, featuring a humble ingredient like powdered coffee creamer. But I can tell you, everyone I've ever made this for has loved it! And it says a lot about the recipe that in a family where there are very few coffee drinkers, every one of my siblings has a bottle of Coffee-Mate in the cupboard during the summer just to make this recipe.
And although powdered coffee creamer could hardly be considered a healthy food, when you make this you're eating mostly zucchini and the small amount of creamer that sticks to the squash. (And if you check the nutritional information, you may be surprised to see how little fat and carbs the coffee creamer actually contains.) Most of the liquid containing the dissolved creamer stays in the pan or on your plate.
This is best when made with small zucchini that aren't more than 10-12 inches long, and you must have fresh from the garden or farmer's market zucchini for this to really taste great, so if you only have mid-winter zucchini from the store, pick another recipe. So that's my family secret recipe for creamed zucchini; give it a try if you're feeling adventurous!
(Mom's Creamed Zucchini was updated with better photos and more complete instructions, August 2012.)
Cook the squash in salted water for 8-10 minutes, or until it's soft when pierced with a fork. (Better to have it a little under-done than overdone at this point, because you're cooking it more.
Drain squash well in a colander placed in the sink.
After it's pretty well drained, put the squash back into the pan you cooked it in. Add the butter and roughly mash the squash a few times with a potato masher. Stir in the coffee creamer until it liquifies; then simmer until most of the liquid is cooked off. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.
And just for fun, here is the original photo from back in 2006. You can bet my family has made this hundreds of times since then!
My Mom's Creamed Zucchini
(recipe originally from my sister's mother-in-law, 3-4 servings)
8 cups fresh zucchini, yellow squash, or scallop squash diced in 2" pieces
(I like a mixture of zucchini, yellow summer squash, and scallop squash)
1/4 cup powdered coffee creamer (Coffee-Mate brand preferred, not low fat or fat free)
1/4 stick butter (more or less to taste)
salt or Veg-sal to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Put diced zucchini in large pan and cover with water with about 1/2 tsp. salt added. Bring to a low boil and cook until zucchini is very fork-tender, but not mushy, about 8-10 minutes.
Drain zucchini in colander for 3-4 minutes, then put back in pan you cooked it in. Add butter, then mash zucchini a few times with a potato masher (just enough to release water and break it into chunks, but not enough to get a completely mashed consistency).
Put in coffee creamer and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper, stir a few times, then turn heat back on and cook zucchini about 3 minutes more, until all coffee creamer is dissolved and dish is piping hot. Serve immediately.
South Beach Suggestions:
If you make this with 1/4 stick of butter, this would have to be a "once in a while" treat for the South Beach Diet. However, made without butter, or with less butter or a butter substitute like my favorite yogurt spread, you could enjoy this more often. It's even very tasty made with no butter at all. Admittedly, the CoffeeMate is not exactly a healthy ingredient, but if you check the nutritional information, you may be surprised to see how little fat and carbs it actually contains.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Creamy or Cheesy Ideas with Zucchini:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Cream Cheesy Cubed Zucchini with Lemon and Oregano from Food Wishes
Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake from Kalyn's Kitchen
Creamy Penne Pasta Bake with Zucchini from Gluten Free Goddess
Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Boats from Eat at Home
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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