My name for this dish is probably a misnomer. It is not spring, nor is the sauce a traditionally light or cream primavera sauce. Regardless, the focus of this dish is the multitude of textures and flavors that the vegetables provide. Call it whatever you want. I’ll call it delicious.
Sauce: (this sauce is very vegetably! Use less if you don’t like that, or if you have picky eaters)
About half a stalk of celery, diced
4 mushrooms, sliced
About a cup of carrot “chips” (carrots cut to look like coins)
1 small to medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
About 1 cup of diced tomatoes (packaged or fresh)
About 2 cups of tomato sauce
4 Tbsp tomato paste
About 1/4 lb ground beef (or other meat of choice)
Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, pepper, ground onion, ground garlic, sea salt
Fat of choice (optional depending on fat content of your meat)
If using an additional cooking fat (you have a super lean meat), heat your fat in a large pan or pot. Add prepped vegetables.
Sauté. Add meat. If you were not using an extra cooking fat, cook meat with vegetables all at once.
Season liberally. Add diced tomatoes and proceed to add the tomato sauce and tomato paste.
Mix well and season as you go on.
Allow sauce to simmer while you move on.
2 large zucchini
A julienne peeler
Take your peeler to your zucchini. Very simple. If you don’t have a julienne peeler, just use your vegetable peeler. The noodles will look more like elegant little ribbons than spaghetti.
Optional step: heat up zucchini in pan with a little fat. I prefer my zucchini raw, now. It has a more al dente texture.
Wrap it up:
Pour your simmering sauce over your zucchini noodles!
To call my day lazy would be a misnomer. I woke woke up at 5:30am, caught the 6:50 am train, got to campus, set up for the class I TA for, went through the class, ran errands, made copies, figured out section, then got on the bus to LA Union Station. For whatever reason, it seemed like everyone and their mother was eating pretzels from the pretzel place in Union Station. It was like they were all mocking me. I would have to say that I’ve been really strong and nothing has tempted me, but every now and then the idea of bread, cheese or cheese covered bread almost makes me cheat. So while everyone was tempting me with their pretzels and cheese dipping sauce, I find solace in hoping that maybe, just maybe, I was making them feel guilty about their choices as I indulged in my crisp salad with leftover rotisserie chicken and homemade vinaigrette.
Once I got home, I argued with myself for about an hour about going to Crossfit. I haven’t been since Monday since my schedule doesn’t allow me to make it on Tuesday, and I will have to start going to the 6am class on Wednesday (I apologize to Ivan and Mando in advance). The wod seemed really hard and relaxing sounded so much better. Regardless, I got ready and made it to the 5:30pm class. So glad I ended up making it. I got through the workout and felt so much better after I did it.
Once I got home, it was time for my next challenge. Dinner. What to make? What to make?
This is a super quick and easy dish for those days when you’re feeling lazy. It’s delicious and versatile. Enjoy.
Zucchini Pasta (mine made 2-4 servings)
2 large zucchinis
Tiny bit of your cooking fat of choice
This couldn’t be any simpler. All you do is wash your zucchini and cut the weird little ends off. Then, using your Titan Peeler or other julienne peeler (what?? you don’t have one yet??!!), just work at making your zucchini look like beautiful ribbons of linguine. Salt the zucchini and pat with a paper towel to get off as much of the excess moisture as you can.
Just before serving, heat a wok or skillet with a little fat. Toss in the zucchini, just until it’s warm, then remove from the heat (so it doesn’t overcook and get soggy). If you just heat the zucchini to get it a little warm, it will have a nice little bite, almost reminiscent of al dente pasta. Almost. Toss with your sauce just before serving.
A jar of your favorite paleo marinara sauce (I used White Linen Collection Gourmet Pasta Sauce by Victoria’s All Natural Marinara Sauce. If my memory serves me well, it’s available at Costco. The ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, onions, basil, garlic, sea salt and spices). If you don’t have a sauce you like, just refer back to my eggplant recipe for my sauce.
Seasonings to taste: Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, pepper
Tomato sauce and/or tomato paste to adjust the consistency (optional)
My mother never served anything out of a can or jar without doing something to it. I believe I’ve inherited that tradition. Saute your mushrooms with some seasonings. Once they’ve sweated a bit, add your jar of marinara sauce and the other ingredients if you choose. Let this simmer in the background until your zucchini is done. Then, just toss with your zucchini and this dish is done!
If you’re serving this on the side of some protein, I would leave meat out of the sauce. If this dish is your main dish, add some meat to your sauce to make it a little heartier. I served this with an herb-crusted pan seared chicken.
This is very simple, and is often a recipe I fall back on. For variations, just change the sauce. Tired of marinara? Try a coconut milk “alfredo” sauce (I can post that recipe another day).
So for the weekend–I foresee less chicken recipes (you guys are probably sick of them… but they’re soooo easy, so expect many Monday-Friday), and an experimental and hopefully delicious recipe for your slow-cooker.