Monday, March 10, 2014

Zucchini Linguine + Meatballs

We're all guilty of over-indulging on the weekends and because of that, I always like to start our weeks off on a healthy note. This weekend was gorgeous here in Charlotte and we enjoyed crisp, cold beers on our screened in porch, two delicious grilled meals and a few extra scoops of ice cream to top off the days. After a couple of days like this, it's like my body craves healthy foods. 

Mondays are my favorite nights to keep it light and simple, without sacrificing big flavor, of course! If spaghetti squash isn't your thing, give zucchini noodles a try! I use my mandolin to slice them, saute for a few minutes to soften (you don't even need olive oil!) and top them with whatever you like. If you don't have a mandolin or a spiralizer, get creative! A vegetable peeler works grate and results in more of a zucchini ribbon. You can't go wrong with whatever you do. I cannot wait for the produce stands and farmers to open up as the weather continues to get nicer and zucchini is really in season. I foresee a lot of meals like this in the Spring and Summer. This time, it was a simple marinara and some basic meatballs. A healthy, yet comforting weeknight dinner you can feel good about!

Zucchini Linguine + Meatballs

for the zucchini linguine-
2 small-medium zucchinis, sliced into noodles
One 13.5 oz. box or can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. good olive oil
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
salt + pepper to taste

1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey, or a mixture of both
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated parmesan
handful fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt + pepper to your liking

In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic, and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and turn heat to low. Stir in oregano and salt and pepper, and let simmer. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix meat, egg, parmesan, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, spoon out meatball mixture and form into balls and line onto baking sheet, evenly spread. Bake for 15 minutes, or until meatballs and browned and cooked through. 

Plate zucchini noodles with a little sauce, meatballs and top with more sauce and a sprinkle of fresh parmesan.

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