My garden has been very productive this year. I’m quite proud of myself as each year I have learned something new that has led to this year’s success. I’m picking 1-3 dozen cherry tomatoes every day. I’ve had eggplants, zucchini, lots of jalapenos, and plenty of crookneck squash. This has led to some very delicious meals! And mostly free 🙂
This was two weeks ago…it’s even fuller now!
While I’m still waiting for cucumbers and bell peppers to emerge, I’m enjoying the literal fruits of my labor. Most of the time, I’m throwing a bunch of fresh veggies into my breakfast, but not the other night. Two large zucchini, a ton of cherry tomatoes, and a stalk of basil, all from the garden, were sitting on the counter calling to me. So I listened. And ate them up.
As a cheesemonger, nothing makes a meal better than adding cheese. In this case, it was goat cheese. I love the depth of flavor that goat cheese adds to dishes. The Russian and I ate the entire thing between the two of us. So fast, and of course my other two favorite dinner adjectives, cheap and easy, make this one a keeper and one worthy enough of blogging. After all, it’s been over 6 months since my last post! Obviously, life has gotten busy and with summer almost over here in Georgia, I’m ready to have time to start dedicating to this space. Can’t wait! Although it’s bittersweet…the increase of available time to dedicate comes with the fact that Sugar Bee is off to kindergarten in 2 1/2 short weeks. Time flies.
Before I get to the recipe details, short as they are, I need to give proper credit to the term “zasta” that I’m using. The daughter of friends of mine had the same thinking as me and didn’t care for the term “zoodles” so she came up with “zasta.” I love it and will forever refer to zucchini noodles as zasta. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did!
Zasta with tomatoes and goat cheese
Super fast and easy with very little cost, especially if you have a rockin’ garden this year, this vegetarian meal will be a keeper!
1-2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 dozen or more cherry tomatoes, halved
1 roasted red pepper, diced small (jarred okay)
2 zucchini, spiralized into noodles
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, 1-2 Tbsp chopped
Heat EVOO in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute or two until fragrant.
Add tomatoes and cook 3 minutes or until skins start to wrinkle. Add red pepper and simmer 2 more minutes.
Add zucchini, salt, pepper, and a bit more EVOO, tossing to coat evenly. Don’t cook too long or all the water will release from the zucchini. You want a little bit of juicy, saucy goodness, but not soup! (See last picture below. We loved the sauce!)
Add almost all of the goat cheese (reserve 1-2 Tbsp for topping when serving) and stir to toss completely and melt the cheese.
Divide between two plates and top with basil and remaining goat cheese. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
How I came up with this recipe is twofold. It was partially due to what I was craving and knew I had in the house, and the rest was inspired by a recipe used for the photo on this box of pasta. I had found myself scoping out the egg pastas as I was craving some egg noodles, hoping to find some gluten-free ones so that Sugar Bee would be able to eat whatever I ended up making. All of the ones at the particular store I was at contained wheat. This was my very first time trying this brand (whether egg or plain pasta) and the success from this meal was the reason I ended up using this brand for my Eggplant Ragout one night. My thoughts that I shared in that post about choosing the spaghetti are identical to when I first picked this box up. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this was my first experience with Jovial pasta, but egg pasta IS different from regular (as regular as GF can be), so I think those thoughts are still valid here. I took one look at the box and between the “100% organic” and “Product of Italy” on the label, I was sold. Italians know what they are doing with pasta, glutened or not.
Upon further inspection of the recipe on the box, I realized I had most of the ingredients at home and I could make a dish like this with minimal investment during this trip to the store. I was getting close to payday, so of course I was short on funds and looking to maximize my spending. This was so cheap, fast, and easy…just how I like my weeknight meals to be.
I took a large zucchini and julienned it, giving me about 3 cups of shredded zucchini. Then I sliced a sweet onion into pieces that mimicked the shreds. That was the extent of my prep work.
I melted 3 tablespoons of Kerrygold butter in a pan over medium heat. I threw in the onion and about 2 teaspoons of minced garlic from a jar, and sauteed for about 2 minutes. I threw in the zucchini shreds and about a cup and a half of matchstick organic carrots from a bag (no prep!), tossing everything in the butter to coat. After adding some sea salt and fresh ground pepper, I let this all cook for about three minutes until the veggies started to soften a little, but kept their bright colors. I removed the veggie mixture from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving behind any leftover butter drippings.
I cooked the pasta according to the directions on the box and then returned the saute pan to the stove over low heat. I added 3/4 cup of regular whipping cream and a cup and a half of grated Parmesan-Pecorino cheese, stirring until the cheese had melted. I then returned the veggies to the pan, tossing to coat them well in the creamy cheese sauce.
After cooking and draining the pasta, I returned the noodles to the pot and poured the creamy veggie sauce over them, combining well to plate a perfect summer pasta dish.
The absolute best part? This dish reheated PERFECTLY, unlike a typical Alfredo or cream sauce that you would make for a pasta dish. Bonus!
Creamy Veggie Tagliatelle
A jazzed-up version of a recipe on a box of pasta, with extra cheese, added garlic, and lighter cream. I would think you could serve this over spaghetti squash, too, in case you are living completely grain free.
3 Tbsp butter or ghee
1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 tsp minced garlic (I used jarred)
1 large zucchini, julienned (about 3 cups)
1.5 cups matchstick carrots (bagged is perfect)
3/4 cup whipping cream (heavy cream not necessary)
1.5 cups grated Parmesan-Pecorino cheese
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, cooking for 2 minutes.
Add the zucchini, carrots, salt, and pepper, and toss well to combine and coat in butter. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Cook the GF tagliatelle according to package directions. When finished, drain and return to pot.
While the pasta is cooking, return the saute pan to stove over low heat. Add the cream and grated cheese. Heat until the cheese is melted. Return the veggie mixture to the pan and toss to coat in the sauce, heating until warmed through.
Pour creamy veggie sauce over the cooked pasta and stir to combine well. Serve and enjoy! (Even leftover!)
My creation for dinner Saturday night. A bag of frozen cooked shrimp, a few zucchini, some fresh herbs, and items that are always in the house gave birth to deliciousness.
As I mentioned in my post for Creamy Zucchini Noodles, I love my spiral slicer. We love zucchini noodles and they are a healthy alternative to pasta for whole food and grain-free diets. So I made some noodles.
I took this next picture to share with you another of my favorite kitchen tools, the Microplane grater. I zested the whole lemon before squeezing all the juice, using both for the sauce.
Aside from making the noodles and handling the lemon, the only prep that was needed was getting the garlic ready for the mincer. My favorite kind of meals are ones that are fast, cheap, and easy. This one checks all of those boxes.
As usual, I tossed the noodles in olive oil that was preheated in a skillet over medium heat. I shook some salt and fresh ground pepper over it and cooked them for about 5 minutes until they softened, but were still a little firm. I removed the pan from the burner and set it aside.
Then it was time for the sauce. I melted 4 tablespoons of butter (I use Kerrygold) over medium-low heat and then added 6 cloves of freshly minced garlic, cooking for about 2 minutes. Then I added 1/4 cup of white wine, the lemon juice, and zest, bringing it to a boil.
After about a minute or two of boiling, I added the thawed shrimp. I heated the shrimp in the sauce over medium until they were heated through. (You can tell when they are heated enough when they have shrunk a little and the sauce starts to boil again.) I removed the shrimp from the pan with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Then I added a tablespoon of gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill), whisking constantly to combine. I also added a little salt and fresh pepper after the flour.
Once the sauce had thickened, I returned the shrimp to the pan and coated them in the buttery lemon sauce.
I threw in about 2 tablespoons each of freshly chopped parsley and basil from the garden, tossing well to coat the shrimp.
I divided the zucchini noodles into our bowls and topped them with the Lemony Shrimp Scampi. Oh. my. It was so good that this is the fastest turnaround for a recipe post from me. Ever.
Lemony Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Scampi
The amount of shrimp should probably be for three servings, but I only had two servings of noodles (portion size is not something the Russian and I do well), so I would suggest that you add another zucchini to the noodles if you don’t want to eat 6 ounces of shrimp in one meal. Another thought that I had was it may not be easy to find a 12 ounce package of shrimp, so if you can only find a 16 ounce one, use two additional zucchini and increase all the sauce ingredients slightly. If you are friend of mine, you can probably eat the portions that this recipe makes – perfect for two!
2 medium zucchini, cut into noodles with a spiral slicer (or julienne peeler)
1-2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp butter or ghee
6 cloves of garlic, freshly minced
1/4 c white wine, preferably on the dry side
Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon (about 2 1/2 Tbsp)
Zest of one lemon (about 1 tsp)
12 ounce package of frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and drained
1 Tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp chopped basil
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Heat EVOO in a skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, salt, and pepper to pan and toss to coat. Cook for 5 minutes until noodles have softened, but are still firm and bright green. Remove from heat and set aside.
Melt butter in another skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook for about two minutes until garlic is soft and fragrant, but not browned. Add wine, lemon juice, and zest. Bring to a boil and cook for about 1 minute.
Turn heat to medium and add the shrimp, tossing to coat. Cook until heated through (when visibly shrinking and liquid starts to boil again). Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add flour, salt and pepper (to taste) to the lemon butter sauce and whisk constantly until flour dissolves and sauce thickens.
Return shrimp to pan, add fresh herbs, and toss to coat.
Serve zucchini noddles topped with shrimp, drizzling extra sauce over the top. Enjoy!
This recipe is a huge favorite with the Russian and I. After I made it once to try it out, I added it into my regular rotation of dishes. It’s fast, cheap, and easy, all very important characteristics with everything I’m juggling these days, and his eyes light up whenever I mention making it again. There is little doubt that once Sugar Bee* gets over her “it has skins” phase about everything put in front of her that she will be chowing down on this one, too. She still loves avocado (her first food) and is a total veggie-head. Don’t be fooled by the word “creamy” in the title. This dish is non-dairy, gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo-friendly, you name it and it probably fits, like nearly every recipe I will ever post.
The recipe originates from the blog of Empowered Sustenance. Her original recipe can be found here. She is an amazing resource and I have really enjoyed her posts. You should follow her blog, too!
First, I have to mention (brag) that the zucchini used for this blog was successfully grown in my own container garden. This is only my second year taking a crack at growing my own food and I’m quite impressed with myself. If I actually had time, I would research a lot about how to successfully grow each individual crop and spend a lot more time tending to the plants. I’m sure I would probably have actual garden beds, a greenhouse, and compost everything, but containers are about all I can handle at this point in my life. Just take a look at this beauty!!
Now let me focus your attention on one of the best things ever invented, next to the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I LOVE this thing! You can spiral fruits and vegetables into noodles or chips in minutes. It’s so easy to use and clean. If you don’t have one, go buy it. Now. Amazon usually has the best price. Look, I’ve even given you a place to click and get one here. If you are a clean eater, paleo, or GFer and you still don’t have one, I’m not sure we can talk anymore. You should have had this yesterday. But if you don’t have one, you can use a julienne peeler like this one to make the noodles.
Another nifty item to have is an avocado saver. There are those rare occasions where we actually have half an avocado left in our house and this thing actually works. You do have to pull it real tight to make sure air can’t get to the flesh, and there might still be a little discoloration when you get to it, but it’s a very thin layer that scrapes off very easily.
This was after two days in the saver in the fridge. I think that’s pretty darn good! The lighting in this picture stinks, but as you will see in the picture down below in this post after it’s been scraped into the bowl, it was still nice and green. The only thing was that those little stripes appeared. TWO DAYS. Here it is on Amazon, but I bought mine in Publix. My mom found one for herself up in NY at Stop N Shop, so I’m sure you can get one anywhere. Do it.
To make the zucchini noodles, trim the ends off the zucchini, position it in the slicer, and turn the handle. Yep, this is really hard stuff here.
I like to make my noodles on the short side. When I first started making this, I would make them too long, making cooking, mixing, and even eating them a little difficult. I break them off after a few turns and drop them in the bowl. Then I turn and make some more. One of the easiest things going on in my world of cooking prep.
When you are done making the zucchini noodles, it’s time to cook them. Heat the EVOO in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini noodles, some Italian seasoning and garlic powder, and turn the noodles around in the pan to coat them in the oil and spices.
While the zucchini is cooking, get the sauce ready. Scoop the avocado into a medium-sized bowl with juice from half a lemon, a giant tablespoon of mayo (you could use yogurt, if tolerable), salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Mash the ingredients together with a fork until it looks like a creamy guacamole.
When the zucchini has finished cooking, it should still have a nice green color and be soft, but not mushy. Remove it from the heat and let it stand a minute or two. Don’t let it cool too long as the warmth from the zucchini helps the creamy avocado sauce to coat the noodles.
After it has cooled for a few minutes, add it to the bowl of creamy sauce and stir to combine. I try to drain some of the oil off of the noodles before placing them in the bowl or the sauce can get too runny. Serve immediately and enjoy!
* Sugar Bee is what I call my three-year-old daughter. I actually call her My Sweet Sugar Bee, but this shortened version will work fine for my blog.
Creamy Zucchini Noodles
These quantities make two servings if made as a side dish, one if you eat it all by yourself as a meal…which you might want to do after the first time you make it. This is easily doubled and since I have found that it does last until the next day, I usually make a double batch. I have also sauteed fresh garlic in the oil before adding the zucchini for extra flavor (then omitting the garlic powder). We love garlic! Happy cooking!
1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (or the oil/fat of your choice)
Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder, tossing to coat. Saute for 3-5 minutes until noodles have softened, but not mushy and are still bright green.
While noodles are cooking, mash avocado with the remaining ingredients in a bowl with a fork until it has the consistency of a creamy guacamole.
When zucchini is finished cooking, remove from heat and let cool for 1-3 minutes. Add to the bowl with the avocado mixture, allowing some of the oil to drain off. Stir to coat noodles and serve. Enjoy!