Thursday, May 24, 2012

Low Carb Zucchini Fries and Yellow Squash Fries Too

Big Green Monsters, Fluffy Little Tails and Sneakin Around in the Dark...

Zucchini and Yellow Squash the bunnies of
the garden!
You’ve all heard about the Easter Bunny, right?

I lived the life of a Texas Transplant for a few years in my misspent 20-somethings. Living in the wilds of Denver, Colorado, just 6 blocks from Washington Park in an old neighborhood called Old South Gaylord, truly felt like a whole other life.

Old South Gaylord was a picturesque little neighborhood, filled with incredible people, and soooo different from Texas - my beloved state to thee I sing.

What are the odds, but I met another Texas Transplant only 3 doors down? What a fun time in our life! We’d sit out on the front porch every night and would all yell over at all the neighbors sitting on their porches.

And oh my, the crazy Front-Porch-Martini-Parties we’d throw! FUN! This would go on all summer long. I
think maybe cuz winters are so harsh in Colorado and you get cabin fever, that once warm weather comes, you're ready to live outside on your front porch with all your other neighbors. Or maybe it's just cuz few had AC back then? It was cooler on the porch!?

Well, the first summer I tried veggie gardening, I had a hot-streak we Texans like to call ‘beginner’s luck’. I had one zucchini plant and that plant fed a neighborhood! Every night after work and weedin’ – oh, hehe, and sunset . Dark was good - don't forget sunset. I’d take a basket of zucchini and make the rounds in the neighborhood. I’d plonk a big, fat zucchini down, smack on peoples’ porches right in front of their door where they couldn’t miss it.

Sure this picture is inappropriate here, but
Dang, these Zucchini Fries are
makin me hungry!

It dang near got so that all the neighbors were talkin’ and seems like many people started fearin’ sundown and the dark. Like there was somethin’ out there just waitin’…waitin’…waitin’. Can you believe that? People were askeered of an itty bitty Zucchini Bunny who came callin' in the still of the night, hidin’ zucchini 'eggs' in plain sight. Right there on their front porch!
No one knew it was I. Me. Me-I. The infamous Zucchini Bunny. Heh!

Heck, from that one plant, I had zucchini comin’ from every cupboard, ice box and freezer. I had years of zucchini stored away for a rainy or snowy day. I couldn’t see lettin’ em go to waste, might as well spread a little zucchini love with the neighbors!

Well finally one day, someone saw me and spilled the beans. They shared my identity with everyone and the jig was up. Suddenly no one believed in the Zucchini Bunny anymore. It became a tragedy – that loss of innocence!

Then one morning I went out to grab the paper and low and behold…on my front porch? Yep, a bucket of okra! A whole bucket! I was thrilled. The neighborhood had another mysterious case of the Veggie Bunnies – this time okra. Well, heck, I took those babies inside with me and just ‘shet plumb up!’ (That’s Texan for I-told-no-one!) I didn’t want to risk losing a great source of fresh picked okra, the best kind!

My lascivious little Texas heart went to work Bubba Gumpin’ okra. In Colorado, okra was a commodity. Seems Coloradoans do not understand the value of the humble okra pod and they are in short supply!

All I can say is, “Live on Okra Bunny! I believe!” (Psst! I’m waitin’ for my first basket of the year!)

Such a great summer, and such a fun learning experience with the growin’ and the eatin’ o’ the zucchini and okra! I became very inventive with cooking zucchini. My favorites back then were ratatouille and also deep fried zucchini chips.

Back in the old days, I would use traditional all-purpose flour and a bit of corn meal and fry the zucchini after dipping in egg wash and rolling in this carbacious nonsense. It took forever! I had indigestion from the fried food for days! And I may still-to-this-day be wearin' the lard on my behonkus where I strapped it after eating one too many of the old carb-monkey version.

Baked Zucchini Fries are gluten free
and low carb street legal.
Tastes better than the carb monkey version.
So man! Yep, 25 years later, and I’m full circle in the little town I grew up in, Houston, Texas. Older & a tiny bit wiser, with more than a few battle scars. Some pretty recent.

I've learned a few pretty powerful lessons, complete with learning curves and I'm convinced that for me, personally, eating this way - making small changes to the way I cook and treat ingredients and ditchin' a few offenders (wheat and other high glycemic stuff) will keep me in tall cotton. (That's Texan for eatin' "like a queen."

Maybe it took havin' breast cancer to convince me of the necessity of being at my fightin' weight and finally getting my priorities figured out in relationship with fattening foods I hate to love?

I'll have you know it took that whole 25 years for me to figure out how hard I’d made life for myself, and every other person I asked if those zucchini fries made my backside look fat?!

LC GF "Panko" breaded zucchini fries ready to pop
in your mouth - golden and delicious!

No zucchini growin' this year, but I buy local from the farmers' market and call it a day. It sure doesn't stop me from making these down home Southern Comforts, the humble and fantastic oven fried LC GF Zucchini Fries & Yellow Squash Fries, too!

We are equal opportunity squash eaters in our house, I don't care what our little sock monkeys say!

Little did I know that all I had to do was make a quick mix of my pork rind crumbs and parmesan coating I call LC GF "Panko".
Oven-fried zucchini and yellow squash
with Homemade Ranch Dip - that's Texas.
I dip the squash sticks in a bit of frothy egg white. Coat those glorious little sticks in the LC GF Panko and pop 'em in the oven to roast at 450° for about 25-30 minutes! Turn ‘em once and poof! Better than French Fries, Low Carb Oven Fried Zucchini. (Oh and don't forget! It works great with yellow squash, too!) 

Hope you like this recipe. This Memorial Weekend would be a perfect time to try ‘em. They work great with grill outs of all varieties from sandwiches to flank steak!

Ditch the French Fries. Support your local Zucchini Bunny!

Eat more zucchini!

(Disclaimer - Fat cells on my booty were harmed as a result of making this dish. Millions of them cried out in pain and the agony of their starvation as a result of the unabated low carb onslaught I render on them daily. Get it? Render? Fat cells? On my aspirin bottle?)  
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Oven Fried Zucchini & Yellow Squash
Serves – 4
Prep Time – 15 Minutes
Cook Time – 30 Minutes
Difficulty – Are you allowed to use sharp objects?

LC GF Zucchini Fries are oven-fried and are more than
a Homemade Ranch Dip delivery system. They're awesome!
G-bye French Fries, there's a new sheriff in town!

1 Large Zucchini
1 Large Yellow Squash
½ c. Egg Whites
1c Pork Rind/Parmesan Mix (Recipe to Follow)
Granulated Garlic Powder
Black Pepper, freshly ground
Kosher Salt
Olive Oil Spray
1 recipe Homemade Ranch Dip

Preheat oven to 450°. Line baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil. If you don’t have access to this Reynold’s Non-Stick Aluminum, use regular aluminum foil and spray with olive oil spray. You may even want to use an oven rack. (I’ve done it both ways, and I think I like just placing them directly on the non-stick foil.)

Wash and dry zucchini and yellow squash.

Cut each squash in half so you have a shorter length to work with - you may not be ready for the big leagues where you cut them lengthwise as a whole squash. Then cut each half squash lengthwise into ¼” thick planks of squash. You get about 3-4 planks per squash half.

They're slippery old coots. Don’t cut yourself!

Cut each squash plank lengthwise into ¼ to ½ inch thick sticks. You get about 3-4 strips out of each plank.

Beat egg whites until frothy.

On a plate or separate baking sheet, sprinkle the well-mixed, breading mix. You only need a thin coating on the plate or baking sheet.

Dip squash stick into egg white and place on the plate sprinkled with breading mix. When you have a batch of sticks dipped in egg, sprinkle all with breading mix. Pat the breading onto the squash sticks. Turn the squash over and sprinkle more breading mix. The goal is to lightly coat with the breading mix – it doesn’t have to be thick!

Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and turn Squash Fries with a spatula. You only need to turn them once!

Cook another 15 minutes or until Zucchini and Yellow Squash Fries are crisp and golden brown!

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce! We like Homemade Ranch Dressing, but heck-fire.

We’re from Texas baybee!

Nutritional Information
LC GF Oven-Fried Zucchini & Yellow Squash Fries – Full Recipe

LC GF Oven-Fried Zucchini & Yellow Squash Fries – Single Serving

Low Carb, Gluten Free “Panko” Breading Mix
Serves – 1 cup of Breading
Prep Time – 5 Minutes
Cooking Time – None
Difficulty – Easy with a food processor

(Note - This is an inexact recipe. It’s inexact because you can own it. That’s right another “own it” recipe! If you like a more tender, cheesier breading, add more parmesan. If you like a heavier, tougher, more porcine breading, go more pork rind crumb on it. Adjust the spices to your preference.

Don’t add salt here because the PR and the parmesan are both salty.

I make a double recipe up and store it in a large, empty Tone’s Spice Jar with the shaker lid. You can also keep it in an old parmesan cheese can. Store in the fridge and use for many different breadings. Having it ready to go makes oven-frying quick and easy! Grab ‘n’ Go!)

LC GF "Panko" makes a great coating on veggies and meats!

2/3 c Pork Rind Flour (12 Tbsp.)
1/3 c Parmesan Cheese (Green Can works. Needs to be a powder and not a shredded parm.)
½ tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Parsley Flakes
¼ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp. Thyme, dried
½ tsp. Paprika
½ tsp. Black Pepper

(Note – If you are gluten intolerant or sensitive, please be SURE to use certified gluten free spices and parmesan cheese for this recipe.)

Grind up an entire bag of original flavor pork rinds. I use Bakenets or the HEB brand. Crumbs should be similar in texture to Panko crumbs. It’s Pork Rind Flour at this point. Store the unused portion in an air tight bag in the fridge or freezer.

Measure out 2/3 cup of PR Flour and add all other ingredients.

Pour mix into a shaker container and close lid. Shake well!

Use LC “Panko” Breading Mix as need for any Fluffy Chix oven-fried recipes.

Nutritional Information

LC GF “Panko” Breading Mix – Full Recipe

LC GF “Panko” Breading Mix – Single Serving  
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Homemade Ranch Dip
Serves – 1 – 1/8 cup Dip
Prep Time – 5 Minutes
Cook Time – None, it’s a dip!
Difficulty – 2 year old level

Homemade Ranch Dip has zero high fructose corn syrup,
zero high glycemic anything in its ingredient list!
So easy. So healthy. It's been
skinnied-up a bit with yogurt and buttermilk.

½ c. Greek Yogurt, plain (Regular Yogurt works fine here.)
¼ c. Sour Cream
¼ c. Buttermilk, Full Fat preferred
1/8 c. Mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip, homemade preferred)
1 tsp. Lemon, juiced from fresh
2 Tbsp. Parsley Flakes, dried
½ tsp. Granulated Garlic Powder
¼ tsp. Mustard Powder, dry
¼ tsp. Onion Powder
1/8 tsp. Thyme, dried
1 pinch Dill Weed, dried
1/8 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground
1/8 tsp. Kosher Salt

Mix everything together and store in an air tight container in the fridge. Adjust thickness with buttermilk. If it’s too thick, add a splash more buttermilk or simply add water.

Nutritional Information

Homemade Ranch Dip – Full Recipe

Homemade Ranch Dip – Single Serving

SusieT’s Notes –
Whhhooooooo doggy! I only thought Ugly Green Beans were my favorite low carb, gluten free French Fry go-to. But I ‘were’ wrong! Yep, it’s been known to happen a time or two. Sometimes the stars cross and planets align and I’m flat wrong. And I'll tell ya, too!

Zucchini Fries went perfectly with grilled
flank steak. And cheap as chips, too!

These LC GF Oven-Fried Zucchini and Yellow Squash are the bomb. I simply do not miss French Fries any more. Seriously. Fresh and hot, they are spicy, crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside.

The only thing they cry out for is Ranch Dip (or low carb ketchup – but that’s another recipe for another day! No. Don't you do it! Don't you ask me about our Texas Creamy Jalapeno Ranch! Cuz that's gonna take two chapters and countless rolls of paper towels. You'll drool worse than a 9 month old cuttin' molars.)

Make the Zucchini Fries this weekend, folks. You will become a Craving Slayer! Or Craving Killer! We’ll call you CK for short. Maybe we'll just call ya Shorty. That's how we roll in Texas.

It’s a true story…

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  1. I've got some Zucchini just waiting for me to cook 'em. Thanks for the recipe! P.S. Just found your site and I love it. I'm a Texas girl too!

    1. I'm so glad you like it here! Hope you stick around and play with us! Wooohoooo! Fellow Texan! Where abouts are ya? Houston here. Tell all your friends and hope you enjoy the ZFries!

  2. Susie, these look amazing!
    Going to buy my some squash and get to baking!

    1. Janet I think you will really like them. They are easy and quick and delicious. Eat em right out of the oven as hot as you can stand em. And if you want something different, marinara sauce is great with em!!!

  3. Oh my, these were delicious! Made the ranch as well. Will definetly make these again. Thanks so much!!!!

    1. Oh I'm so happy to here you liked them! Wasn't the Ranch very close to the original recipe?

  4. Read this today and have already went to the store and gotten the ingredients. It's on the menu tonight. :)

    1. Monique, sorry I missed replying to you!! How did you like them? Hope you loved 'em!

  5. Cooking these babies up right as I type. Or as you'd say in Texas cookin'! I can't wait, they look amazing!

    Thanks so much for your great recipes! xo

    1. IvO how'd they turn out? Did ya love 'em? :) Can't wait to hear!

  6. i'm gonna make them for the first day of football tomorrow- can't wait - can you grind the porkrinds in a regular blender? i don't have a processor - i think i could put ranch on everything i eat - love it!

    1. Hi Mav,

      I think you should be able to grind them in a blender? Do it in small batches, though. A Ninja or Vitamix type would have no problem with it!

      Good luck. Hope you like them!

  7. Just wanted to thank you for this. We love it, and it's made life so much more fun on hamburger night! We also do pork chops and chicken--bake it on a rack and don't turn it for the full time. I usually do the meat first, throw it in the oven, then get the veggies in. Then they're done at the same time.

    Also, we've done eggplant, onion rings, and green tomatoes. All great!

    1. Kelli, you should totally try it with mushrooms, split into halves for the big ones as well as okra! We love oven frying this way! I haven't done pork chops yet, but we do the chicken fingers and CFS (chicken fried steak fingers) and fish all the time and love it. It's seriously easy!

      You should go try the Monster Claw recipe with the Spicy Apricot Mustard Dipping Sauce! It's so good, I swear you'll wanna go call the neighbors in to try it. That breading works awesome on chicken, fish, seafood and pork.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Hi! What if you do not eat pork, what should I substitute for the pork rind?

  9. Susie!!!

    I realize you said not to ask...... but I've just gotta!

    Texas Creamy Jalapeno Ranch

    Would love to hear the story on this! Sounds DELISH!! I have a brand new 12-pack of paper towels from Sam's Club so think it would be ok!!

    Alice B.

    P.S. Thank you!

    P.S.2. Can you tell I like exclamation points?! Can't 'talk' without them!

  10. I don't like pork all. Is there a substitute? Or maybe you don't taste them the same this way...?

    1. Well I don't make a habit of smelling them while I process them. They don't smell awesome. So I breathe through my mouth. Once processed and stored in a jar, they are ok. I still mouth-breathe to work with them. But as part of this breading they lose that funky town smell and the flavor is really tops. You should try it.

      Barring that, you can sub out almond or any nut flour and maybe some coconut flour like 1:1 for the pork rinds. You'll have to adjust the carb count which will be significantly higher. The breading is no longer Induction level, it's OWL friendly at that point. Good luck!

  11. These are baking as I type...even though I am full of Southern fried cabbage, I am gonna eat me some FRIES!!!!

  12. Just made these tonight........absolutely awesome! Thank you for such.a great creative recipe!


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