Monday, April 11, 2011

Crispy Zucchini Sticks

In spite of the fact that I do my very best to keep the Foodie children healthy, I will confess that they are not big fans of the humble vegetable.  The Big Three–corn, peas, and raw carrots–they both eat without complaint.  Mr. Picky loves cauliflower, of all things, although The Girl won’t touch it.  She loves potatoes, which Mr. Picky will only eat in the form of French fries.  They’ll both tolerate broccoli, when they have to.

Zucchini has never been a favorite of either Foodie child, although The Hubs and I love it.  When the kids were small, The Hubs grated zucchini and carrots into their pancake batter and called them Daddy’s Colorful Pancakes.  (Covered with maple syrup and baked into vanilla-flavored pancake batter, who would know the difference between vegetables and colorful jimmies?)  As they’ve grown older and wiser, though, I’ve had to think of more creative ways to get them to try something other than The Big Three.  Zucchini Bread is easy, of course, but it’s better suited for snacks or breakfast than dinner.  Stuffed Zucchini was a hit, but that’s more of a main dish offering than a side.  Tonight I was grilling hamburgers and wanted to serve zucchini in a way that matched the spirit of the meal.

Enter:  Crispy Zucchini Sticks.

I described these to Mr. Picky as “like French fries, but with zucchini instead of potato inside.”  He wasn’t convinced that this was a good idea at all, but he managed to eat four zucchini sticks anyway.  I offered The Girl the option of dipping hers in ranch dressing, which is one of her favorite condiments. (Dipping sauces are a great option for kids who are hesitant to try new veggies, since the familiar taste of the sauce helps them get past the unfamiliar taste or texture of the vegetable.)  Because of the Italian seasoning, these zucchini sticks would be great with marinara sauce, too.

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Crispy Zucchini Sticks

Ingredients:

3 medium zucchini, washed, ends trimmed off
2 eggs
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dry basil
1 tsp. dry oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder

Directions:

Slice each of the zucchini in half lengthwise, then crosswise. Cut each of these quarters half, giving you 24 zucchini sticks.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it lightly with cooking spray.

While the oven is pre-heating, lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the panko crumbs, Parmesan, basil, oregano, and garlic. Stir to combine the dry ingredients thoroughly.

Dip each zucchini stick in the beaten egg, turning to coat completely. Place each zucchini stick in the bowl of bread crumbs and coat thoroughly. Transfer the coated zucchini sticks to the prepared baking sheet. (I find it works well to have a "wet hand" and a "dry hand"--I used my left hand to turn the zucchini in the egg, and my right hand to sprinkle bread crumbs and place the sticks on the baking sheet.) Lightly spray the entire tray of zucchini sticks with cooking spray.

Bake zucchini sticks for 20 minutes, until the coating is crispy and brown.

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5 Responses to “Crispy Zucchini Sticks”

  1. 1

    Cara R. — April 11, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

    Welcome to the blog clan. Those look yummy! I *love* fried zucchini, especially if the squash is fresh from the garden. Mmmm Mmmm!

  2. 2

    T Jones — April 11, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    Hi, Pam, Theresa here from the blogging buddy's group. I LOVE zucchini! Any way you make it, I love it. We are beginning to plant our garden right now and I told hubby that we have to have zucchini this year! So, we have starts for 6 plants! Now I have a new recipe to try once they come up and we get overwhelmed by zucchini. LOL!

  3. 3

    Pam — April 11, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

    SIX zucchini plants, Theresa? You're a brave woman! I was buried in zucchini one summer (my dad tried to warn me, but I wouldn't listen) and, as a result, accumulated dozens of zucchini recipes. You'll see many of them here, including Stuffed Zucchini and, of course, Zucchini Bread. Use the search function to find those two, and keep an eye out for more!

  4. 4

    Chronic Mom Says.... — April 14, 2011 @ 2:17 am

    Something about this post reminds me of Calvin Trillin. Maybe it's the reference to The Big Three. I like the little story preambles before the recipes.

  5. 5

    Pam — April 14, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    I'm glad to hear that, Chronic Mom. The stories make it harder for search engines to find my blog, since I'm not sticking strictly to key words–but half the point of writing this blog is to tell the story of one family's food odyssey. So I'm not giving them up, and The Family Foodie will just have to grow via word of mouth. Which is kind of fitting, when you think about it. ;)

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