Thursday, March 6, 2014

RECIPE: Zucchini with Meat Sauce

OMG, you guys! Today is the last day of the Whole Life Challenge! I can’t believe it. The time has seriously flown by and it really hasn’t been all that challenging. Well, okay, that’s a lie. There have been quite a few challenges—but most of them have had to do with the amount of grocery shopping, food prep and dishes involved. The great thing about all that shopping and food prep is that I’ve discovered—and even created—all sorts of delicious, advanced level recipes, and now I’m going to share the big winner as far as my family is concerned: Zucchini with Meat Sauce.

I’m telling you, the picture doesn't do it justice. This is quite possibly the most delicious meal I’ve ever made. At first, I was just baking the zucchini in the oven, which is extremely tasty, but over the weekend I finally got a Spiralizer (actually, I got what I believe to be a cheap imitation—next time I will get the Spiralizer) and made noodles out of the zucchini. I swear, the texture added an entirely different dimension to this dish. Like I said, the contraption itself is kind of flimsy, and not super easy to use, but the results are so awesome that I think I’ll just deal with the downsides (and, you know, get a better model next time). I mean, seriously, how gorgeous are these?

Please note that if you’re making this recipe to be Whole Life Challenge compliant at the advanced level, you’ll need to make sure you get the right marinara sauce. I use (and love) this one from Trader Joe’s:

So here, without further ado, is the most amazing (and okay, kind of high in fat and calories—although truth told the sauce actually serves more like 6) recipe ever:

Zucchini with Meat Sauce
Serves 4
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large (10 oz.) onion, diced
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 lb. organic, grass-fed ground beef (I use 85% lean from Trader Joe’s)
28 oz. can marinara sauce
1.5 lbs (about four medium) zucchini
Salt, pepper, and additional seasonings, to taste

1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot, add onion and sauté until just softened, about 5 minutes, then turn off heat.
2. Combine the 6 seasonings in a small bowl.
3. Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 10 minutes, sprinkling with seasonings as the meat cooks.
4. Add the seasoned meat and marinara sauce to the pot of onions and simmer for about 30 minutes.
5. While meat is simmering, spiralize zucchini. Or, if you don’t have a spiralizer, prepare zucchini however you like. (I usually split them lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes.)
6. If you spiralized the zucchini, boil it in a large pot of water for approximately 5 minutes, then drain and rinse, and season with a small amount of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. If you baked the zucchini, cut into chunks or simply leave in long pieces—whatever makes you happy!
7. Place zucchini in a shallow bowl, top with meat sauce and serve.
467 calories; 27.8 g fat (8.1 g saturated); 675 mg cholesterol; 888 mg sodium; 619 mg potassium; 26.3 g carbohydrates; 7.5 g fiber; 13 g sugar; 28.9 g protein; Vitamin A 46%; Vitamin C 132%; Calcium 4%; Iron 27%

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