We all hear about the latest diet fads: No carbs, more carbs, all you can eat bacon, eat like a cave man, no, like a pauper! It's enough to make your head spin. My eating philosophy is simple: eat REAL food. Load up on veggies (especially those greens) and stay away from food that's processed or dyed funny colors. Stick to seasonal produce, ancient grains, and good quality ingredients.
I love pasta, but during warmer weather, I crave something a little lighter. Zucchini noodles are a great option and you can easily transform an ordinary zucchini into delicious noodles using a vegetable spiralizer. If you do not own a spiralizer, you can simply cut thin strips of zucchini. Because zucchini is so mild in taste, you often forget you are eating plain ole squash. Look at you being all healthy and stuff!
Today I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes for Meatballs and Tomato Sauce. These are essential staples in my freezer -- you can use leftover meatballs for sandwiches, pastas, or even crumble them and throw it on top pizzas and soup. Same goes for the tomato sauce, because it's a basic recipe, you can add other ingredients to jazz it up: fresh basil, chopped olives, onions, tomatoes, you get the idea.
Both items freeze well and can be store in you freezer for at least 6 months. This guarantees that you will always have a zesty meatball and some bomb ass sauce to go along with it. Simply reheat in the oven or microwave whenever you need a quick meal for those busy nights.
Plan ahead, and your meals will reward you!
(makes 24-26 meatballs)
- 1 pound pork
- 1 pound beef/lamb
- 1 TB toasted fennel seeds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 c Milk
- 1 cup stale bread cut into pieces or cracker crumbs
- handful parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 tsp chili flake
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 cup canola oil
In a large bowl, place stale bread and milk and soak until softened. Mix in meat, fennel, parsley, pecans, chili flake, egg, salt and pepper. Use your hands and mix thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Oil your hands before rolling the meat into balls. Roll meatballs on a lined baking sheet and set aside. Place canola oil in a large skillet or pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, carefully place the meatballs on the pan. Do not drop the meat in as this will cause oil to splatter.
Sear 2-3 minutes on each side until a brown crust forms. Remove from heat and cook the rest of the way in the oven. About 15-20 minutes.
Serve immediately with tomato sauce and zucchini noodles or cool and freeze for later.
***** The best way to freeze these meatballs and putting them on a line baking sheet and placing them in your freezer for a couple hours or overnight. The next day, drop them in a large ziplock bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. This helps with freezer burn. Frozen meatballs can last in the freezer for up to 6 months and in the fridge for a week. Simply reheat the meatballs in the oven at 350F for 30-40 minutes or in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.
SIMPLE TOMATO SAUCE
(makes about 2 cups)
- 2 TB butter
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, small diced
- 4 roma tomatoes, large diced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- spoonful of tomato paste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Saute garlic and onions until fragrant. Increase heat to medium high and cook until onions are caramelized, about 4-5 minutes. Remember to stir often in between.
Add paste and stock, mix. Add tomatoes and bring to a gentle boil. Add seasonings and water and simmer for 40-45 minutes, uncovered. taste with salt and pepper and add any additional herbs like basil or parsley if desired.
Serve with meatballs or cool and store as needed.
***** The best way to freeze the sauce is in small plastic containers or a mason jar if you have one handy. The sauce can be store in the fridge for up to 10 days and in the freezer for up to 8 months. Simply reheat in the pot or microwave when ready to serve.