Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Do you remember last week when I suggested you grate up a zucchini? This is why – our September recipe of the month is Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins and they are delicious! If you have not yet seen our video on preparing zucchini, check it out for some quick hints on grating a zucchini. You do not even need to peel it first!

I like to make these muffins for my children to eat before heading off to school in the morning and here is why:

  • They are made with whole wheat flour, so the fiber will keep their tummies full and the carbohydrates will give their bodies and brains the energy they need to get going in the morning.
  • They are made with both fruits (banana and applesauce) and a vegetable (zucchini). Split between 12 muffins, it may not be a lot of fruits and vegetables, but at least we are getting the day off to a better start than if we had eaten no fruits and vegetables at all.
  • They freeze well. This means I can make a double batch of muffins when I have the time and then freeze the rest for a day when I do not have much time to prepare breakfast.  Store these muffins in freezer bags for up to three months. Thaw by wrapping a muffin in a damp paper towel and re-heating in the microwave on the defrost setting until heated through.

My children like me to make these muffins because, of course, chocolate chips! There is only ¼ cup chocolate chips in the entire recipe, but it is enough to get my children excited about these muffins.


Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Preparing a Zucchini

This time of year gardeners tend to have an abundance of zucchini. The challenge is to use it before it goes bad. In our newest video, we show how to prepare a zucchini. The different ways of cutting a zucchini are useful for different recipes. Watch the video today and find out how to slice rounds, cut matchsticks, cube, dice, and grate zucchini.

If you have the time and a zucchini, grate one up this weekend so you have it ready to make our September recipe of the month next week.




Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

More Posts - Website

Cheesy Pasta with Summer Veggies

Our yummy Cheesy Pasta with Summer Veggies recipe is filled with vegetables, whole grain, and is low in calories.  Plus it is very versatile, so you can use any vegetable that you have on hand.  In the summer I make it with garden vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, peppers, carrots and fresh tomatoes.  In the winter I use a frozen vegetable mix and drained, canned tomatoes.   If I have some leftover meat or beans in the refrigerator, I add that along with the vegetables.


Notice the pasta we use is whole wheat.   In the past few years the quality of whole grain pastas has increased and is now quite good.  Whole grain pastas take a little longer to cook and the texture is a little different, but the nutritional improvement is definitely worth it.  Check out the great nutritional value you get from the 250 calories in this recipe.

Cheesy Pasta with Summer Veggies

Serves: 6
Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
Per Serving: $1.07


  • 4 cups sliced, assorted vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, peas)
  • 1 cup grape or fresh tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat pasta (rotini, bow tie, penne)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Wash and prepare vegetables.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain water from cooked pasta and save 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet as pasta cooks. Add garlic and onion to skillet. Sauté over medium heat about 1-2 minutes or until soft.
  4. Add any uncooked hard vegetables and cook for 3 minutes. Add soft vegetables and continue to cook. Add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add tomatoes last and cook until warm.
  5. Add cooked drained pasta to the vegetables. Add a little of the water from the pasta if needed.
  6. Add cheeses to mixture. Stir until cheese is mostly melted.
  7. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Pie, one of my summer favorites

I love this Zucchini Pie recipe. Sometimes I double the recipe and eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when zucchini are in season, which in Iowa won’t be long now. The portions are large, but the calories are modest because zucchini is 95% water. One cup of chopped zucchini has only 20 calories, 0 fat, 1 g fiber, almost no sodium, and 35% of the vitamin C you need in a day. If you would like to see Liz making the recipe, tune in to the food prep video on our Spend Smart. Eat Smart. site.

Because summer squash develop very rapidly after pollination and they are hard to see under the plant’s large leaves, they are often picked when they are too large and overmature. They should be harvested when small and tender for best quality. Most elongated varieties are picked when they are 2 inches or less in diameter and 6 to 8 inches long. Patty Pan types are harvested when they are 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

To store summer squash, harvest small squash and place, unwashed in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Wash the squash just before preparation. As with most vegetables, water droplets promote decay during storage. The storage life of summer squash is brief, so use within two to three days.

Zucchini Pie


  • 1 or 2 zucchini, sliced (about 10 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)*
  • 1/4 cup greated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: If you have fresh mushrooms or peppers, you can substitute them for some of the zucchini
    *More cheese tastes great but also adds more calories, fat, and sodium.


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a large casserole or 9×13-inch pan; set aside.
  2. Wash zucchini and discard ends. Cut into slices (about 10 cups). If using large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds before slicing.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion slices and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. In bowl, stir together the eggs, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Add undrained tomatoes, and cheeses. Pour over zucchini mixture and stir to mix.
  5. Pour into casserole. Bake uncovered for 60 minutes. Top will be golden brown.
  6. Cut into squares. Serve.

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