Meatballs and Zucchini!

Piping hot meatballs and tomato sauce poured over zucchini spaghetti

This lighter version of spaghetti and meatballs tastes AMAZING! I was actually thinking about this meal in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. I used my spiralizer to make these zucchini noodles and the video can be seen here.

You really can get creative with meatballs as they can be made in so many ways. Below is an Asian inspired meatball recipe that I like. It is baked instead of fried in oil. For a more traditional meatball recipe, I would encourage you to add what you like/omit what you don’t like to it.

Favorite Meatball Recipe

  • Servings: ?
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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Ingredients:
1 lb of ground beef, chicken, or pork
2 tsp soy sauce (adds moisture, flavor and helps bind everything together)
1/2 c. panko
salt and pepper to taste
Handful of chopped scallions
Optional: bunch of chopped cilantro and 1 tbsp chopped ginger

Directions:
Mix together all of the ingredients and form round meatballs the size of golfballs placing them on an oiled baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425 and bake for 10 minutes until cooked through.
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Zucchini Spiralizer!

Low carb zucchini noodles replace any kind of noodle in your pasta recipes!

I am so excited about this kitchen gadget that I had to make not only it’s own post but a video, to boot! You know what I’m going to be eating for the rest of the summer!

When I first got this spiralizer I was about ready to throw it into the garbage or at least return it. But then I figured out how to use it. For some reason, I thought it was electric because it had 3 buttons. It turns out that these buttons manually adjust the blades so you can make spaghetti, fettucini or ribbon noodles. I like the spaghetti noodles best. I think they’re actually more like linguini noodles :).

If you’re not pouring something hot on top of them like meatballs and spaghetti sauce, I recommend that you place them in a collander in a sink and pour boiling water over the zucchini noodles so they become “al dente” like pasta.

Definitely recommend this tool for the kitchen. Do you know the possibilities here, folks? Endless possibilities!

Summer Farro Bowl

Add lime and cilantro for a healthy and satisfying meal

Okay, this summer farro bowl is SO good! It tastes even better than it looks from the picture. I never knew how delicious roasted chick peas were! Oops, I forgot the cilantro. Let me run to the garden and get some…

even better but it was still good without it. I also wanted to add lime but I didn’t have one on hand (oh, the possibilities if I could only grow a lime tree in my backyard).

I think the lime juice would have brought in all the flavors together along with the avocado. I’ll have to try that next time. I think I’ll have seconds.

Summer Farro Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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Ingredients:
1 red onion, sliced
1 zucchini squash, chopped
1 can chickpeas
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (I used seasoned salt)
lime wedges
cilantro
Avocado (optional)
1 cup farro prepared according to package directions
1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon

Directions:
Drain the chickpeas and empty can onto the baking sheet. Cut onions and zucchini placing them onto the baking sheet. Add Olive Oil and seasoned salt and mix. Preheat oven to 425 and bake for 25 minutes until browned flipping vegetables once midway through the cooking time.
Add 1 1/2 tsp bouillon to the 1 1/2 cups of water used to make the farro.
When vegetables are browned, make individual plates of farro, vegetables, topped with lime, avocado and cilantro. Oh, so delicious and so satisfying.
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Beef Bulgogi Meatballs from Hello Fresh

Every once in awhile I will purchase Hello Fresh’s trial offers in order to connect with my youngest son as he likes to cook. The ingredients are all premeasured and prepared for you and it’s delivered right to your door. Although it costs more money than I would like to spend, I find that’s it’s money well spent because I get to hang out with my son and do something we both enjoy. By the way, this meal was absolutely delicious. So delicious, I had it the next morning, too, for breakfast with a side of spinach.

Left overs from last night’s Hello Fresh meal (Beef Bulgogi Meatballs paired with spinach. Yum!

Salmon and Fries!

What I love most about this dish is that it combines heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon with fun-loving steak fries! To make the fries a little healthier, I coated them with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper instead of frying them. Delicious! Oh, and some brussel sprouts, not my favorite, but I was cleaning out the freezer and didn’t want to waste them.

Salmon

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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Ingredients:
8 oz. Salmon
1 tsp garlic
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Coat the salmon with half the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper (I let it sit this way in a plastic bag overnight). Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake on a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for 15 minutes turning the salmon over, removing the skin and applying the other half of the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika to the other side half way through baking it. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!

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Blueberry Cake

What I love about this cake is that it’s not a big cake with layers or frosting; it’s just a single layer and is more like a side that goes with or just after your meal

I wanted to bring a healthy dessert to my friend Sue’s house for our bi-weekly (that’s every 2 weeks 🙂 time together with our girlfriends from church. So I saw this recipe in the June 2020 issue of Real Simple Magazine and adapted it, changing a few of the ingredients. I replaced sour cream for the butter and Swerve for the sugar.

I think it came out pretty good, not too sweet but satisfying, especially with a cup of Bigelow Vanilla Caramel Tea. To follow-up, one of my friends in the group called it “refreshing.” That is EXACTLY how to describe this recipe. She even had another piece.

Blueberry cake

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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Ingredients:
1 1/2 flour
1/2 c granular Swerve plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling on top
2 eggs (yolks separated from whites)
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 c milk (I used lactose-free)
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c blueberries (I used frozen)

Directions:
Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Blend together egg yolks, milk, sour cream, vanilla and Half of the granular Swerve. Leave 1 Add flour, baking powder, salt and blend again. Whip egg whites with the other HALF of the Swerve until peaks form. Stir the whites into the rest of the mixture and fold in the blueberries. Sprinkle the top with the 1 tbsp of granular Swerve. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the top gets golden brown.

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Chili con Carne

FYI, I only took a few swigs of the Diet Coke but it goes so well with chili!

Chili is such a diverse meal. In other words, there are so many different ways you can make it. Sometimes when I make chili I add a jar of salsa to ground beef, beans and chili powder and it turns out delicious! Other times I add corn, etc. You get the idea. This recipe worked out really well using extra seasoned taco meat left in the pan that my son had for lunch, red beans and fresh cilantro from my garden. It turned out delicious!

Chili con carne

  • Servings: depends
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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1 cup cooked ground beef (I used beef with taco seasoning in it)
1/4 c chopped onion (I used red onion)
1 tbsp green pepper
drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 c tomato sauce
3/4 c canned red beans
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Directions:
Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and stir until garlic is just browned. Add the tomato sauce, cooked ground beef, onion, green pepper, red beans and chili powder into a sauce pan until simmering. Put in bowls and add shredded cheddar cheese on top.
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Stromboli

My middle son likes me to make him stromboli every so often and it’s super easy to make with refrigerated pizza dough. All you do is stetch out the dough so it forms a long rectangle. Place it on a baking sheet covered with Parchment paper.

I sprinkle the dough with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, spread a thin layer of jarred tomato sauce over the top (about 1/3 cup) and spread shredded 4 cheese or mozzarella cheese on top. I added pepperoni slices to half of it for those of us who like it that way. Then just roll it in thirds.

A pizza cutter works well to make slices

I had mine the next day for brunch with a salad! It was really good.

Garlic Knots!

Family Favorite!

This recipe for garlic knots is so EASY! All you need is some refrigerated pizza dough, garlic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Basil, tomato sauce and a little creativity. My family asks for this regularly and would eat it with every meal if they could.

Garlic Knots

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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1 frozen pizza dough, defrosted
1 tbsp flour for counter
1 tbsp minced garlic (fresh or from a jar)
1/4c-1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
Jarred tomato sauce

Spread out the dough with your hands on a floured countertop. Form a rectangle with the dough. With a pizza cutter, cut down the middle and cut 8 strips across the dough making a total of 16 strips. Tie each one in a knot. In a bowl mix the olive oil, garlic, and basil. Dunk each of the knots into the oil until completely covered. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes flipping them half way through until golden brown. Pour jarred tomato sauce in a dipping bowl. Enjoy!
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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies

These are delicious!

I came home from a 4th of July BBQ at my sister-in-law’s house last week and my neice, Brielle, was making oatmeal cookies and boy-oh-boy did they look DELICIOUS. She made them WITH sugar so I didn’t eat any at the party but when I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I even started doing some computer work and STILL couldn’t stop thinking about them. Obsessive, yes, I know.

So you know what I did? You guessed it, I made my own. As I was mixing the ingredients I realized I had no raisins (so much fruit sugar in them to keep in the house) and I even ran out to my local Acme to pick some up. But I only added 1/4 c of the raisins in the recipe so for 12 cookies at 29 grams of fruit sugar total that’s just about 2 grams of sugar per cookie. Not bad. The batter is so good plain and because there’s no eggs in it you can even lick the bowl and beaters!

Favorite Chocolate Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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Ingredients:
1/2 c. King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 c. old fashioned oats
I stick butter (1/2 c) softened
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 c. Swerve granulated sugar
1/4 c. sugar-free dark chocolate baking chips (I used 365 Brand from Wholefoods)
1/4 c. raisins
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Combine butter, applesauce, vanilla and Swerve together in a mixing bowl. Add flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Continue blending until dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the raisins and chocolate chips. Let sit for 15 minutes (this will soften the oats!) Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. These cookies are large hence the extra baking time.
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