Zucchini Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Leek-y Meatballs

I’m going to be honest.  I’m a terrible meatball maker.  I’m also a terrible meatball namer.  They taste great, but generally look horrible and leek-y? I couldn’t come up with something better?

I don’t know how people get their meatballs to be round and beautiful.  Mine end up a little bit like patties, but they taste awesome.

Because they taste awesome, I really can’t complain.  So let me tell you about these (slightly ugly but delicious) meatballs.

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What I love about these meatballs is that the vegetables are still a little bit crunchy, so they have a great texture.  But what I REALLY love is the peanut sauce that went with it.  I intended to make Italian flavored meatballs with added leeks, but then I tried them and they reminded me of potsticker filling, so I decided to go for an Asian twist.  And thus peanut sauce was necessary.  Peanut Sauce is the perfect addition.  I’m totally into it.    

 

The other magical part of this meal is that it’s almost paleo and 100% healthy.  The paleo part doesn’t really matter to me, but the healthy part does.  I’m always looking for great-tasting healthy recipes, that’s why I’m such a big fan of this.  That said, if the paleo part matters to you, use almond butter or sunflower butter in place of peanut butter and it’s 100% paleo! ZucchiniPeanutNoodles4

Zucchini Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Leek-y Meatballs

6 zucchinis, spiralized or julienned
1 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 leek (white part only), finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp olive oil

For Peanut Sauce:

1/4 cup coconut aminos (or low sodium soy sauce, if paleo doesn’t matter to you)
1-4 tbsp water*
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or sunflower seed butter or almond butter if you want to make it paleo)
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 small knob of fresh ginger (about 1 inch, about 1 tbsp)
1 tsp sriracha, or more to taste (optional)

 

Make meat balls.  Combine turkey, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, leeks, egg, salt and pepper using your hands.  Roll into 25-30 small balls (a little larger than a walnut).  Heat olive oil in a pan.  Cook meat balls about 10 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked through.  Alternatively, you can bake them at 450F on a parchment paper lined sheet for about 25-30 minutes.  (Note: I made these another time but I caramelized the onions and leeks first and it was awesome.  Just saying… in case you want to try that)

 

Next make peanut sauce.  Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Blend until well combined. *I’ve made the sauce with 4 tbsp of water, it’s a bit runny, which I like, but if you want it thicker, use less.  You might need to adjust the coconut aminos to make sure it’s not too salty.

 

Toss zucchini noodles with sauce (reserve some extra peanut sauce for drizzling), plate noodles, top with meat balls and drizzle with extra peanut sauce.   Garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts if you’d like.  If not, just serve and devour.   I’m having a really hard time deciding the serving size for this recipe because I eat massive amounts of vegetables.  This recipe will serve about 4 people, but I got 3 meals out of it with left over meatballs (because I tend to eat more vegetables than meat).

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I’ve made this twice now and loved it both times.  It’s pretty quick and easy, but seriously tasty.  I recommend it, if you’re looking for a tasty meal to add to your healthy dinner rotation.

 

Do you have any awesome meatball-making tips?

Zucchini Pasta with Avocado-Pepita Pesto

These days I pretty much only want to talk about vegetables.  As I mentioned last time, I’ve been over doing it with desserts/sweets recently so I’m going to get super excited about vegetables and tell you about my most recent vegetable-filled discovery: Zucchini Pasta.

I’m not the biggest fan of pasta and I’m partially convinced that I’ve talked myself into not liking it, because I just don’t feel like it’s amazing enough for the calories.  Bread, on the other hand, I’m happy to eat tons of bread, regardless of calories.  Pasta… I’m meh about pasta.  That said, I’m a huge fan of eating things in the shape of long stringy pasta.  I love spaghetti squash and when my co-worker gave me an extra spiralizer that she had, I was ecstatic.

Since then my brain has been churning with awesome zucchini noodle ideas.

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The inspiration for this recipe came from a raw, vegan cooking demonstration I went to a few weeks ago.  They served us zucchini noodles with pesto. So from there, I decided to make my own version with ingredients I had on-hand at home.  It was a complete success. zucchinipasta1

Zucchini Pasta with Avocado-Pepita Pesto

5 small zucchini squash, spiralized or julienned
1 small avocado
1/4 cup pepitas
1 cup fresh basil
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tomato, diced

Place avocado, pepitas, basil, lemon juice in food processor (or vitamix).  Pulse.  Stream in olive oil and water and continue to blend until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Toss zucchini noodles with some of the pesto, you can add more or less to your liking.

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Please note, this recipe will make more than enough pesto for 5 zucchini.  You can refrigerate the rest for another day (it’ll start to turn brown after 2-3 days). zucchinipasta3

 

What I loved about this dish was:
1. how easy it is to make.
2. how well it tastes the next day and
3. the fact that it doesn’t require you to turn on the stove or oven, with our recent heat wave and summer just around the corner, that was essential.

I’ll definitely be making this again.   I’m consistently surprised at how much I like raw zucchini.  It’s definitely an underrated vegetable.

 Do you have a spiralizer?  Any ideas on what I should try to spiralize next?

 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Peanut Butter and Co. Bee’s Knees Giveaway to win two free jars of Peanut Butter!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

What’s your go-to blog for recipes?  We all have them, because these days… it’s so much easier to Google than to search through an array of cookbooks.

Me and half of America have Smitten Kitchen as our go-to blog for recipes.  I haven’t made too many things, because most of the time I like inventing things but I’ve made a few and every one is great.

This past week I was dogsitting…

and had a massive zucchini from the garden to use.  First I made an zucchini mozzarella bake, which I will tell you about soon, but there I still had about 1/3 of the zucchini left.  I’m telling you this thing was the size of a small animal (probably roughly the size of the two pugs above). I wish I had taken a picture of it.

So with 1/3 of an enormous zucchini sitting on the counter as two pugs stared at me, naturally, I turned to Smitten Kitchen for direction.  Now, I have to tell you… I’m a terrible person.  I never actually read her blog posts.  I only ever look at the pictures and recipes.   Does anyone else do that?

We all have different motivations for following blogs, right? For me, Smitten Kitchen is all about pictures and recipes.

So back to Zucchini.  I made zucchini bread, because I was feeling traditional.

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I usually never do this, but I actually followed this recipe pretty much to the T (but omited the nuts and added chocolate chips).  I chose to add chocolate chips because for some reason chocolate and zucchini sounds like a natural combination.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

from Smitten Kitchen

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

*Note: I didn’t measure the zucchini so I actually think I added more like 3 cups

Line two loaf pans with parchment paper.  Pre-heat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, beat together eggs, oil and sugar.  Once combined, add zucchini and vanilla extract.  Stir to combine.  Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.  Stir until just combined.  Pour batter into two loaf pans.

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Bake about an hour (mine took about an hour and 10 minutes, remember all ovens are different).

Allow to cool completely.  Then remove from pan (parchment paper makes it super easy to pull out of the pan).  Slice and serve.zucchinibread3

I took these two loaves to work and they were gone in a day.  That’s probably because I ate half of it on my own.  It was pretty delicious. The loaves are sort of dense, but super moist, which is always appreciated.

Normally I hate chocolate chips in quick breads, but this was fantastic.  If you ever put chocolate chips in my banana bread or pancakes, we won’t be friends anymore, but in zucchini bread… bring it on!

So there you have it.  Sometimes you need a go-to blog for a recipe.

What’s your go-to blog for recipes?  Are there any blogs you read solely for pictures and recipes?

Some Meal Inspiration… or What You Should Be Making ASAP

Hi Guys.  I’m moving again.

So while I try to eat the entire contents of my shelf in the fridge and cupboard, I need to live vicariously through you.

I just ate celery and a hunk of cheese for dinner.  I’m considering supplementing it with some tortillas and… peanut butter.  Hmm maybe not the best combo.

Really, I’d like to be eating this Zucchini Goat Cheese Omelet.

Breakfast is totally appropriate at all times of the day.  Make it.  Tell me how it is.

Oh wait, I know how it is.  Absolutely delicious.  Just make it.  I’m already jealous.

Oh yeah, and I’d serve it with a slice of this Challah the side.

Don’t be shy.  It’s less complicated than it seems but just as tasty as it looks.

If I were in my new place, I’m make Bananas Foster Creme Brulee for dessert.

Wouldn’t you?  Yeah, you should probably head to the kitchen now.  I know I would if I could.

Be back soon with more new recipes from my own kitchen!

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

Let’s take a break from the usual sweets I present to you on this blog.  Instead, I’ll show you some real food.  As in a real meal.  Are you pumped?

Thought so.

This weekend, I met my neighbors for the first time when I went across the street to ask if they could spare a wood pallet.  They could, more on that later…  But in addition to giving me a wood pallet, my neighbor showed me her vegetable garden and gave me two huge bags filled with tomatoes and an assortment of squash.

If you know me, you could only imagine how excited I was, especially after being cooped up in the vegetable desert that is my parents’ house.

So my first creation with these delightful vegetables:

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
4 good sized zucchinis
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
5 tomatoes, diced
3 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
few ounces of queso fresco or queso cotija

In a sauce pan, combine quinoa and broth.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and cook until translucent.  Add red pepper and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.  Continue to cook until tomatoes have cooked down.  Then add the quinoa, turn off the heat and stir together.

If you choose to stop here, you can have a wonderfully delicious and healthy quinoa side dish that I’m guessing would be amazing served over some sauteed kale.

Or you can continue.  Slice the zucchinis in half, length-wise and spoon out the center (I actually diced up the stuff I spooned out and added it to the quinoa mixture.  No waste!).

Fill the zucchini with quinoa mixture and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes (depending on the size of your zucchini times may differ). I used the toaster oven, because it’s hot and who wants to turn the oven on when it’s 90F degrees out?

Take the zucchini out of the oven, sprinkle with cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Serve and enjoy!

Oh but wait! One last thing… If you decide to put whipped cream on yesterday’s Lemon Blueberry Tartlets

It is divine.