Healthy Beaver Bag: Zucchini Bread

When I worked at a soup kitchen we didn’t talk about fall we joked about zucchini season. Once the garden bounty of late summer sparked the generosity of the community we had abundant zucchini for weeks. We made zucchini soup, cold lightly dressed vinegar salad, roasted it in the oven, cooked it in eggs and most popular of all made it into soft and rich zucchini bread.

This quick bread smells like fall to me. A little bit vegetal with a mix of cinnamon. Quick bread is a funny term for a process that still takes an hour (or more!) but is fair in that using baking soda, a chemical leavener, eliminates the need for rise time and proofing required for yeast based doughs.  Quick breads like banana bread, carrot bread, apple bread or ABC bread (apple, banana, carrot) rely on a basic formula of fat, flour, sugar, and sometimes egg + a mix-in.

With a basic formula that can be modified for ingredients on hand, a quick bread recipe is a useful part of your meal planning options. It can be produced easily and split into several calorie dense portions to bring with you on the go and can also be frozen for later. In my thinking about planning my food week, a quick bread can take the place of granola bars.

A Basic Quick Bread Formula:

1 pan = 1 cup flour, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt, ¼ -1/2 cup oil or butter, and ¼-1/2 cup sugar or brown sugar, 1 egg + [1-1 ½ cups of a shredded or mashed fruit or veggie]

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, then combine. Bake at 350F till a test poke comes out clean.

Tips: Banana bread can have less oil and sugar easily because the banana adds moisture and sugar. The zucchini bread has a little more because it has less moisture and sugar.

Use oil if you don’t have butter, works equally well if not better 

If you double the recipe the bread will fill a pan, but it is more challenging to bake and make sure the middle is cooked.

You can see in these variations that the amount of the cooking fat and sugar can vary. Judging this might take a little practice. Vegetables and butter can vary in water content as well so your results will vary each time a little.

Banana bread: 1 cup flour, 2 bananas, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup oil or butter, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp baking soda,½ tsp vanilla extract

ABC Bread (Apple Banana Carrot): 1 cup flour, 1 small very ripe banana, ¼ cup shredded carrot, ¼ cup shredded apple, ⅓ cup sugar, ⅓ cup oil or butter, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp cinnamon

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread with Orange Zest


1 zucchini medium sized
1 cup flour all purpose, white whole wheat flour, or a mix of all purpose flour & whole wheat
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg

Optional: 1 Orange for Zest *see notes on how to zest, Honey to serve.


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  2. Prepare pan by spraying with cooking spray or rubbing the inside with a small amount of oil or butter.
  3. Peel zucchini, chop off the ends. Shred/chop the zucchini into thin and small pieces. You need about 1 loose cup. There are a few ways to do this. All these ways work well. Once shredded set aside.
    • Use a grater to shred the zucchini. 
    • Use a vegetable peeler to make the whole peeled zucchini into long peeled shreds and then chop the pieces with a knife and cutting board. 
    • Slice the zucchini on a cutting board into very thin slices, then dice the slices into a very small pieces
    • Use a food processor to shred the peeled zucchini
  4. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda and salt, with cinnamon.
  5. In another bowl combine the brown sugar, butter, and egg. Mix until uniform consistency is achieved.
  6. Mix zucchini into wet ingredients. If using orange zest or nuts add it here.
  7. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix till all of the flour is moistened. Don’t over mix or knead the batter though – the texture will become tough. Spread this thick batter into the pan evenly.
  8. Bake on a middle rack for 25-30 minutes. It took 27 minutes in my oven. You can tell it is done by pressing the center slightly if it bounces back it is done. Poking the middle with a toothpick, wooden skewer or fork or knife to see if the batter is raw still and sticks is a good way too.
  9. Allow to cool a little before slicing.

Storage: After cooling completely, wrap in plastic wrap or store in a sealed container – bread will keep 4 days on the counter. If you wrap pieces and freeze it, you can pull slices out for a month.

*How to Zest an orange: Zesting citrus means scrapping just the outside top layer of the peel of the fruit off and collecting this layer to be used in a recipe. This can be done using a zester, or microplane or side of some box graters. I like to use the side of a knife. Hold the fruit firmly in one hand keeping fingers tucked back away. Use a knife in a motion away from you to gently scratch the surface and remove the top layer, letting it fall on a plate or collecting it from the side of the knife. You don’t want the white area under the peel, it is bitter. You don’t need a lot of zest to make a big impact. Don’t throw away the fruit after, but do use it soon because breaking the peel is much like cutting it and it will spoil.  In the picture below, you can see what the orange looks like as the peel is zested.

Orange with peel partially zested

Roast Whole Chicken Recipe

Roast Lemon Thyme Chicken

Cooked Roasted chicken with carrots

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30minutes

– 1 Whole Chicken (about 4 pounds)
– 1/2 cup butter or margarine
– 1 small lemon, or 1/2 large lemon
– 3 tablespoons thyme
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 1 teaspoon black pepper
– Any vegetables you would like to roast

Important Temperatures:
– Preheat Oven to 375°F
– Final Temperature of breast: 165°F
– Final Temperature of thigh: 180°F


Step 1:
Carefully remove the chicken from its packaging and place it stomach side down into a ovenproof baking dish. If you want to roast vegetables with the chicken, a 9 inch x 13 inch pan works well. It can be difficult to remove the chicken from its packaging, but grabbing both of the legs in one hand and using the other to remove the bag does a good job of keeping the chicken together.

Remove chicken from its packaging by holding both legs in one hand and removing the bag with the other.
Chicken on its stomach in baking dish

Step 2:
Squeeze the juice from 1 small lemon, or 1/2 of a large lemon onto the chicken, making sure to get some on all exposed skin. Double check that there is nothing in the hole at the base of the chicken, then put the squeezed lemon into the hole. Be sure to wash your hands well after touching the raw chicken.

Soapy Hands

Step 3:
Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of dried Thyme onto the outside of the chicken, until it is well covered.

Raw chicken covered in thyme

Step 4:
Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper onto the outside of the chicken, until it is well covered.

Raw chicken covered in thyme and pepper

Step 5:
Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of salt onto the outside of the chicken, until it is well covered.

Raw chicken covered in thyme, pepper, and salt

Step 6:
Carefully pour the remaining Thyme, Pepper, and Salt into the hole in the base of the chicken. Be sure to wash your hands well after touching the raw chicken.

Thyme being poured into the cavity in a raw chicken
The cavity of a chicken filled with lemon, thyme, pepper, and salt

Step 7:
Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter or margarine in the microwave using 10 second bursts until it is fully liquid. Pour over the top of the chicken.

Butter being poured over a raw, seasoned chicken

Step 8:
Preheat the oven to 375°F, then put the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes.

Chicken sitting in an oven

Step 9:
Use tongs to flip the chicken onto its back. If you have vegetables that take longer to cook, such as potatoes, they should go into the pan now. Put the pan back in the oven for another 45 minutes. Faster cooking vegetables like carrots and onions should go in 15-25 minutes after you’ve flipped the chicken.

A person flipping a chicken over using tongs

Step 10:
Use a meat thermometer to take the temperature of the chicken in the thickest part of the breast and thigh. The breast should reach 165°F, and the thigh should reach 180°F. Put back in the oven if below those temperatures. Wait at least 5 minutes to serve once completely cooked. Enjoy!

Cooked chicken and carrots

Recipe Spotlight: Easy Applesauce Muffins

by Linh Ho, HSRC Intern

This super easy recipe for applesauce muffins has less than ten ingredients, many of which can be found either in the HSRC Food Pantry, or in your pantry at home! The stars of this recipe are the pre-made baking mix that can be found in our Food Pantry at Avery Lodge, as well as some unsweetened applesauce that we also have an abundance of.

The baking mix, supplied by the Oregon Food Bank, is very versatile and can be used to make pancakes, biscuits, and even muffins like we are doing today! The unsweetened applesauce also adds some natural sweetness and additional moisture to the muffins. Applesauce can also be used to replace eggs in many recipes. Check out this website for tips!

Onto the recipe, which can be either a sweet treat or even an easy on the go breakfast item!

The ingredients you will need for the muffins:

  • 2 cups of baking mix
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 generous teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 serving container of unsweetened applesauce (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of oil

For the cinnamon sugar topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine baking mix, sugar, and cinnamon into a bowl.

  • Stir in applesauce, egg, milk, oil.








  • Add other mix-ins if desired. I added about a third of a small chopped granny smith apple to half the batter.

  • Fill greased muffin tins with batter, about 2/3 full. Using cupcake liners saves some mess and clean up time!


  • Bake the muffins for about 10-12 minutes. They are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  • Combine the remaining cinnamon and sugar in a shallow dish or bowl. Melt the butter in bowl — be careful with this: remember to cover the bowl with plastic wrap and only heat for about 15 seconds.

  • Gently dip the tops of the muffins into the melted butter and quickly roll into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Enjoy your muffins!

Recipe spotlight: Egg Fried Rice

Here is a quick fried rice recipe that uses leftovers and pantry staples to create a delicious snack or meal!

Serving size: 4-6 people as a main dish, 6-8 people as a side dish

Ingredients for Egg Fried Rice

  • 4 cups cooked rice – day old is best
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups vegetables chopped (fresh, frozen, or canned are fine – just drain excess liquid)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons soy sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 4 eggs (1-2 eggs per person)
  • ½-1 Tablespoon of garlic powder(more or less to taste)
  • ½-1 Tablespoon of black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • ½-1 Tablespoon of chicken bouillon powder (more or less to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp optional seasoning/toppings

Notes from the author:
I used brown rice, half of a large onion, two carrots, and four butter pats repurposed from various event leftovers. The dry seasonings are optional and could be replaced or combined with cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, mushroom powder, or omitted as desired.  If you want to add meat, fish, or vegetarian protein substitutes, factor in about half to one cup of protein. Note that if you add raw meat or fish, you should chop, cook, and season with salt and pepper before you add the vegetables, rice, etc. Finally, I used sweet chili sauce as an optional topping, but chopped green onions or toasted sesame seeds are also tasty options. 

Instructions for Egg Fried Rice

  • Preheat a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add oil of choice.
  • Chop vegetables as needed

chopped onions and carrots

  • Note that you can save vegetable scraps and make vegetable broth
  • Add veggies and dry seasonings to the pan and cook until tender

chopped vegetables in skillet

  • Push the vegetables to the side, and crack the eggs onto the other side.

scramble eggs on one side of skillet

  • Scramble the eggs and then mix eggs and veggies together
  • Add the rice to the veggie and egg mixture 2 cups at a time.

add rice in portions

  • Pour the soy sauce on top.

add soy sauce slowly to fried rice

  • Stir and mix rice until warm
  • Serve with desired toppings

serve fried rice and enjoy warm


If you have any leftovers, they’ll last about 1-2 days in the fridge, depending on the age of the leftover rice

Article by Bion Hawkmorr, HSRC Events & Programming Coordinator 2017-2018

Photo credit: Bion Hawkmorr 2018

Breakfast with a tinge of color

We wanted to bring to you some delicious, quick and simple recipes that can be made with little cost. A bonus is that many of the ingredients used for these recipes can be found at the Oregon State University, Human Service Resource Center food pantry. We decided to play with color and make blue cornbread and vegetable scrambled eggs

To make our cornbread, we chose to use blue cornmeal. This ingredient, one of the lesser grabbed items at the food pantry, served to give our cornbread an interesting blue tinge! To pair with the cornbread, we decided to make some scrambled eggs. As students we usually have a hectic morning, rushing to make a quick breakfast of just eggs. Scrambled eggs with veggies, is a                delicious and healthier alternative to your regular plain ol’ scramble.  

We began with making cornbread, the ingredients included:

Download a PDF of this recipe:  Blue Corn Cornbread – Fifteen Spatulas

  • ¾ cup of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 regular eggs
  • 1.5 cups milk                                           
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of blue corn meal
  • 4.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

As you prepare your ingredients, preheat the oven to 400℉.

To prepare the ingredients you will need 3 bowls.

In the first bowl  mix together butter and sugar. Do not worry if you didn’t have enough time to let your butter melt to room temperature. We decided to heat it in the microwave until partially melted.

In the second bowl mix together your eggs and milk.

In the third bowl sift together your flour, blue cornmeal, baking soda and salt.

Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the sugar/butter mix in the first bowl, then add ½ of the egg/milk mixture. Mix this until all ingredients are absorbed.


Repeat this step until the remaining flour mixture and egg/milk mixture are added into the first bowl.

* We did not have an electric mixer, however a fork or whisk were able to serve the same purpose. We do recommend using an electric mixer, as it was quite exhausting trying to mix the ingredients with a fork.

Grease the pan with butter, or pam (if you already have it).

Once mixed, pour the cornbread mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Or any large pan you have available.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. To check that it is cooked stick a toothpick or fork through the middle. If the fork comes out clean, then it is cooked all the way through

Once it’s ready, let it cool off.  We couldn’t wait to eat it, and found out that while still hot it could be quite crumbly.

-This recipe was adapted from Blue Corn Cornbread by Joanne Ozuq at

We then prepared the egg recipe: 

Download a PDF of this recipe: Colorful Scrambled Eggs

  • 8 regular eggs
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil

Start by cubing your tomatoes, onions and green pepper. Then mix in a bowl.


Break the eggs in a separate bowl and add 1 cup of milk.


*We later found out that 1 cup was too much and recommend using ½ a cup.

Mix the eggs and milk, then pour the mixture into the vegetable bowl.

Add salt and pepper to taste into the mixture.

Heat a large pan and add vegetable oil.

*We did not have a specific temperature to heat it to, so we started on low and gradually increased it.

Once hot, add mixture and scramble with a spatula until ready.



Here’s a picture of the delicious, complete product!



Final thoughts from Fatuma and Nikita, two Spring 2018 volunteers:

Volunteering with the food pantry started as a great way to earn service learning hours for a class, but it turned into an eye opening experience. We were able to learn how the food pantry functions, and the great ways it has impacted food insecurity in our community. We were excited for this blogging opportunity to not only expand our knowledge about how the food pantry items may be used, but also share our experience making some interesting recipes. In the future, we look forward to opportunities to experiment with food products we might have overlooked in the past and encourage others to experiment themselves!



Recipe spotlight: Mashed Potato Flakes

A multi-purpose pantry & recipe ingredient – try mashed potato flakes today!

Mashed potato flakes are one of the few food items that get passed by on food pantry days. Here are some recipes and suggestions about how to use mashed potato flakes beyond just making average mashed potatoes.

Here are two simple ways to use mashed potato flakes in their fresh-out-of-the-bag state.

    • Cornstarch, tapioca starch, or xanthan gum replacement.

Use 1 tablespoon of mashed potato flakes per 1 cup of liquid. You can add it directly to your soup or gravy without the need of a slurry (mixing it with water is a necessary step for cornstarch or flour). Stir, let thicken, add more as needed.

      • Breading.
        Pour ½ cup to 1 cup of mashed potato flakes onto a plate. Add salt, pepper, and seasonings to taste. Press fish (or other food items) into flakes on both sides. Bake, deep fry, or pan fry as desired.

The following recipes involve using mashed potatoes. Prepare mashed potato flakes with water, milk, butter, etc. to mimic desired mashed potatoes used in the recipe.

Click the links below for the recipes. (photos are from the linked recipes)

      • Croquettes.
        An easily made snack consisting of egg, mashed potato, and whatever fillings you might desire. 

      • Gnocchi.
        Tasty Italian potato pasta. A nice change from instant ramen. 
      • Aligot.
        Creamy cheese-filled mashed potatoes, French-style. 

Mashed potato flakes are part of the grains section of the food pantry. If you’re tired of rice, pasta, or cereal, consider trying mashed potato flakes instead!


Article by Bion Hawkmorr, HSRC Events & Programming Coordinator 2017-2018