I haven’t been in the mood for cooking lately. Too hot. Too tired. So, when my cooking article was coming up, I called my youngest sister to see what she was cooking. She has been trying to find new ways to use up her zucchini. If you have one plant, you’ll have more than you can eat. She found a clever way to move her excess zucchini. She pawned them off on people as they were leaving her husband’s class reunion as a door prize. One of the classmates was excited because they had a great recipe for brownies with peanut butter frosting. Here are the recipes my sister Amy is whipping up in her kitchen to stay ahead of her zucchini plant.
    I have to admit, I’m not a fan of zucchini. In fact, I don’t even plant it, but I enjoy visiting Amy when she grills up zucchini as a side dish with burgers or chops. A perfect summer meal.

Zucchini brownies
2 cups grated zucchini, firmly packed
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips and/or nuts

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
Melt chips in microwave and stir in peanut butter. Frost brownies when cooled.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13 pan. Mix together the zucchini, sugar, applesauce, eggs and vanilla. Stir together the remaining ingredients and add to the wet ingredients, stirring until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and/or nuts if desired. Bake for 55 minutes. Frost if desired.

Zucchini bread
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini, firmly packed
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired
    Beat eggs. Add sugar, oil and vanilla and mix together. Add grated zucchini. Stir together remaining ingredients and add to the wet ingredients, stirring until combined. Add nuts if desired. Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. For an added variation, add 1 can (8.25 ounces) of crushed pineapple (well drained) with the zucchini.

Grilled or roasted zucchini
    Slice an 8- to 10-inch zucchini lengthwise in 1/4 inch strips. Drizzle olive oil on the zucchini and toss to coat. Sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan cheese to taste. Place directly on grill or roast in a jelly roll pan in a 400-degree oven for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through.    
    As their four children pursue dairy careers off the family farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota.