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Masters of Disguise

Vegetables are good for you.

Duh

Obviously, one of the best ways to get a nice big helping of veggies is to nice, big salad.  But not everyone loves salad- we get that.  So what are all the non-salad lovers to do?

Disguise their salad in the form of something else…

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Something like pasta!

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Zucchini-noodle pasta, to be precise.  With diced tomatoes and pesto sauce.  And delicious turkey meatballs, of course!

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This is basically summer on a plate, people!  Because if you’re like us, you have a garden bursting with zucchini and tomatoes.  If not, you probably have a neighbour who would be happy to give you some.  At the very least, you most likely have a farmer’s market or grocery store near by that would be practically paying you to take them if they sold them for any cheaper!

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It really is amazing how noodle-like zucchini becomes when you slice it extra-thinly.  Whoever came up with the idea originally (because we are definitely not reinventing the wheel, here!) is a genius, and our hat goes off to him (or her!).

This is also a great dish for people who are trying to cut back on their carb consumption.  Of course, it also tastes really great with a crusty, multigrain loaf of bread on the side, too- which is obviously what we did.  (What can we say?  We are girls who love our carbs!)

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It is also a snap to prepare.  You can make the pesto up to a day or two beforehand if you wish, and you can cook the meatballs while you slice the zucchini.  Once each element is ready, its just a matter of throwing everything together!  Simple as that.

So is it pasta, or is it salad?  You could call it whatever you want- we’re going to call it delicious 😉

Zucchini Pesto Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

For the Pesto:

1 c. basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tbsp parmesan or nutritional yeast (optional)

For the Meatballs:

2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp onion flakes
black pepper

For the Pasta:

3 large zucchini
3 tomatoes

Directions:

For the Pesto:

Lightly toast the walnuts and set aside to cool.  Mince the garlic and add it to a blender or food processor along with the basil, lemon juice, salt and cheese (if using).  Add the walnuts and begin blending.  When the walnuts have been ground up, start slowly adding the oil, with the motor running, until you have a smooth consistency that is neither too thick nor overly runny.  You may have to stop the motor to scrape down the sides once or twice.  Store in an air-tight container in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

For the Meatballs:

Using your hands, mash up the turkey so that you can form it into clumps that stick together.  Roughly chop the basil leaves and add them to the turkey mixture along with the other ingredients.  Taking about 1.5-2 tbsp of the mixture at a time, form the turkey into small balls.  Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Add the meatballs and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning them so that they brown on all sides.  Place a lid over the pan and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until they are cooked all the way through.

For the Pasta:

Using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler, slice or peel the zucchini length-wise into wide, very thin strips, stopping when you get to the center where all the seeds are.  Dice the tomatoes into small pieces.  Pour the pesto into the zucchini noodles and toss to coat all the strips evenly.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

When everything is ready, divide the zucchini evenly among 6 plates.  Top with diced tomatoes and meatballs, and serve.

(You can have the meatballs heated up or served cold, it is up to your own personal preference)

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried zucchini noodles?  What creative ways do you like to make sure you’re eating enough vegetables?

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Simple Sunday: Stir Fry

It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve done a Simple Sunday post, but we’re back, and today we have quite possibly one of the easiest dinners you could make!

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Because in our opinion there is no simpler a meal than a stir-fry! But simple does not mean boring or bland- all you need is a few ingredients to give it a pop of flavour.

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All you need is one pan, a handful of veggies, a source of protein and a little seasoning and you’re in business, people!

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Ok, so you actually need two pans, one for the stir fry and one to cook your noodles or rice or whatever you decide to serve it over.  But the pot you cook your grain in hardly gets dirty at all so in our minds it doesn’t really count 🙂

So what went into our stir fry this time around?  Carrots, bok choy, onions, mushrooms and salmon. Only a few ingredients but we assure you our family ate it right up!

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We feel as though the stir-fry has been shoved under the rug.  Its a meal that many cooks turn there noses up at, one that is considered “too simple” or “commonplace”.  Stir-frys are under appreciated in our opinions, so today we’d like to give them the spotlight.  Let them take back the credit that is rightfully theirs.

So grab your frying pans and join us in a deliciously simple stir-fry-making extravaganza!

Simple Salmon Stir Fry

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

450 g. salmon filets
1 tbsp olive, grape seed or coconut oil
ground black pepper
Garlic salt or powder
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches of bok choy
2 large carrots
1 c. sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the salmon filets with black pepper and garlic salt or powder.  Place in the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side.  Put the lid on the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.  Remove the filets and set aside.

Add the minced garlic and diced onion to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes, until the onions soften and become translucent.  Julienne the carrots (aka- cut them into thin match-stick pieces) and add them to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Slice the bok choy and mushrooms and add them to the pan.  Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.  Add all other ingredients and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender yet still crisp.

Serves over rice or noodles, is desired.

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite veggies to put in a stir-fry?

Simple Sunday: Noodle Dilemma

Is it just us, but are we the only ones who no matter what we do, we can never seem to cook the right amount of pasta? It’s not the short noodles (go ahead, have your laugh) that are the problem- you know, the penne, rigatoni, farfalle- they’re easy because all you have to do is measure the amount you want.  But stuff like spaghetti, fettuccine, vermicelli- they don’t make measuring cups for those!

Inevitably we always end up cooking more than we need, and are left with an awkward amount left over that’s not quite enough for a serving- so what are we to do?  Save it, cook more and have pasta again the next night?  While that seems logical, what would most likely end up happening is we’d end up cooking too much again, and then we’d just have to eat pasta every night for the rest of our lives! Ok, that may be a little melodramatic, but you get the idea.

But necessity is the mother invention, and we have come up with a solution to our pasta dilemma!

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You know those crispy noodles that you always get when you get a salad at Wendy’s?  Well these are kind of like them, only healthier!

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And, if you don’t count salt and pepper (because they don’t really count, do they?) than these only have two ingredients!  Gotta love that, right?

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So what do you do with this bowl of crispy, crunchy noodles? Well, as we mentioned already, they make fantastic salad-toppers!

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But that’s not all they’re good for!  In fact, you might just find yourself reaching for these when you’ve got the munchies- they’re surprisingly addictive!  And they keep well, too- we’ve had ours in the pantry for about a week and-a-half now and they’re just as crispy as if they were fresh out of the oven!

Hey, you never know- you might end up liking these so much that you cook extra pasta on purpose! 😉

Noodle Crisps

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Prep: 5 min
Cook: 10-20 min

Ingredients:

Leftover [whole wheat] pasta noodles (however much you have)
Olive Oil- 1 tsp for every 1/2 cup of noodles
Salt- 1/8 tsp for every 1/2 cup of noodles
pepper- to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Toss the cooked and chilled pasta noodles in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy (some of them may be quite dark).  If they are not crispy enough, continue baking them for 5 minutes at a time or until they are done.

Eat as a snack, use as a crunchy salad-topper, or come up with your own fun uses for them!

~twosaucysisters

What do you do when you have leftover pasta noodles?