Jennifer Zumbach had a few moments over the winter while her four kids were falling off to sleep to drop me a note and share some family favorite recipes she discovered. With a bumper crop of zucchini, she was looking for new ways to use up the produce. The jam is a true hit. She then ran across a raspberry pepper jam to use up extra jalapeno and green peppers she traded out with a neighbor for tomatoes. She froze the amount of each in bags, then dug them out later and used raspberries that she buys in 48-ounce bags from the store. In a few quick steps, she had jam to serve at Thanksgiving with crackers or pretzels and topped with cream cheese. It was such a hit with the family that she made up another batch for Christmas gifts. Wrapping up her recipes is the county fair dessert winner. It has all my favorite parts – chocolate, raspberries and cream cheese. Thanks for sharing your stories and recipes with us, Jennifer. What new recipes have you discovered this summer? I would love to try them.

Apricot-zucchini jam
6 cups peeled and shredded zucchini
6 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
20-ounce can crushed pineapple
2 small packages of apricot Jell-O
    Bring zucchini and sugar to a boil. Then, on medium heat, cook for 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and pineapple and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Jell-O until dissolved. Pour into jars and boil in a hot water bath for 10 minutes for pints. Very refreshing.

Jalapeno raspberry jam
1 cup jalapeno peppers, diced finely
1 cup green pepper, diced finely
3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 package Sure-Jell
6 cups sugar
    Combine peppers, raspberries and cider vinegar. Stir in Sure-Jell. Bring to rolling boil. Quickly stir in sugar. Return to rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and place hot lids and bands on. Hot water bath for 10 minutes (adjusted for altitude).

Zucchini pizza casserole
4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage (can top with browned bacon)
1/2 cup chopped onion
15 ounces Italian tomato sauce
1 medium green or sweet red pepper, chopped
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place zucchini in colander; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture. Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into a greased 9- by 13-inch or 3-quart baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add red pepper. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes longer.

Chocolate raspberry cheesecake bars
1 box brownie mix made per box instructions, cooled) or the following ingredients:
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 cups raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 ounces whipped cream
1 cup mini chocolate chips
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- by 13-inch pan. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat in cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
    Combine all raspberry sauce ingredients in saucepan. Heat until boiling, reduce heat and simmer until thinker. Pour over cooled brownie.
    Beat cream cheese and sugar until light. Fold in vanilla and whipped cream. Add chocolate chips. Pour on top of raspberry filling. Refrigerate for four hours. Can serve with chocolate syrup drizzle.
    Natalie, Mark and his brother, Al, Schmitt farm together near Rice, Minn. They milk 100 registered Holsteins under the RALMA prefix. Their four children are great help around the farm and are pushing Natalie out of several jobs. Therefore she is thankful to have something else to do. For questions or comments please e-mail Natalie at