Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs

Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs

Bye bye, bad foods! I’ve consumed more junk than nutrient-dense food in the past two months, and it’s time to switch it back! (Save for the occasional treat. Duh!)

I’ve been off work since December 16th and don’t go back until January 3rd. Save for a few days up in Connecticut, I told myself, “Use this time to do things in the city you normally can’t do on work days. See a movie in the afternoon. See a play. Go to a museum. Find a new restaurant. Go to the gym. Walk through a park!”

In reality, I’ve spent my time either reorganizing my bedroom (…hey, I made four huge bags of clothes and linens to donate!), reading (Where Am I Now” by Mara Wilson is AMAZING, and I’m still contemplating over which “Molly On The Range” recipe to make first), or developing recipes. After my Inspiralized – inspired “get back on the right track!” epiphany the other day, I’ve been playing with lots of veggies and whole foods again. Hell, in the past few days, I’ve felt so much less bloated, which is always a good sign. Amazing what some huge salads, baked chicken, and kombucha will do.

At C-Town on Wednesday morning, I went to buy some ground pork on my grocery run, and accidentally bought ground veal, thinking that the pork had the special $1.10 price tag. A “South Park” fan through and through, this is all I could think of…

funwithveal18

Honestly, I’ve never cooked with veal and was trying to think what the HELL to do. Looking through my pantry, I found a can of crushed tomatoes, some chicken broth, a bunch of spices, and decided that soup would be excellent on that 45°F degree rainy late December afternoon.

Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs

This actually came together quite nicely, which was great since I was just winging it! Though I started with a pound of veal, I only used half. (Hey, I’ve got more veal frozen for my next batch, now!) This soup is more brothy than stewy, but the fat from the veal gives the broth a subtle velvety mouthfeel.

Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs

Overall, this is just a simple, clean, filling soup.

Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs

Gotta end 2016 on a good note so I can start 2017 on a smooth path. ✌️

Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs

Happy New Year, all!

Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

– 1/2 pound ground veal (or ground meat of choice)
– 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
– 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
– 1 medium-sized zucchini, spiral cut
– 1 teaspoon oregano
– 1 tablespoons garlic powder (for soup) plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder (for veal)
– 1/2 crushed red pepper flakes
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 teaspoons salt

Before We Get Started…

– If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a julienne peeler or very carefully julienne cut zucchini into noodle-like strips.

– If making this soup for a meal (or meals) for later in the week, keep zucchini noodles raw and separate from the broth until you eat them. This will prevent them from getting soggy. Heat soup (on the stove until simmering or in the microwave for one minute), add noodles, and allow noodles in sit in soup for approximately 1 – 2 minutes before eating.

Directions:

1.) In a large bowl, combine ground veal, oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes. Roll veal into small meatballs, roughly the size of a marble; I yielded 30 meatballs when crafting this recipe.

2.) In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and stir immediately so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. (NOTE: They WILL stick, to some degree. Don’t be alarmed!) Cook meatballs for approximate 1 – 2 minutes or until all sides are browned; they will still be uncooked in the middle.

3.) Add tomatoes, broth, 1 tablespoon garlic powder to the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow soup and meatballs to simmer for 20 minutes.

4.) While soup is simmering, spiralize your zucchini and trim noodles to noodle length. (i.e.: When spiralizing, many zucchini strands can, indeed, stretch out several feet in length! [Yes, I’ve stretched them out to see. Ha!] Just run a knife through the noodles to get them to proper noodle length.) After soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add zucchini noodles and cook for 1 minute before removing from heat.

5.) Serve soup immediately!

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Pesto Zoodles with Peas & Garlic Dill Yogurt Sauce

It’s been too long since I’ve posted a recipe. I’ve been dying over here! (Strictly figuratively.) If you read my previous post, you’ve surely read about my apartment’s bedbug issues. (The joys of living in Manhattan, truly.) My camera and many of my kitchen gadgets were in quarantine. Well, they are now out of said quarantine, but another problem arose as I went to take some photos of this recipe: My camera was dead and I have no idea where I packed my battery charger.

WOMP WOMP.

My desire to post was much stronger than my desire to look for my charger on a Sunday afternoon, because I was not keen to the idea of rooting through multiple yet – to – be – unpacked contractor bags to find it. I know it’s in there somewhere, but I thought, “Hey. I can take iPhone photos now and re-upload better photos in the future!”

Good attitude, right? 😉

With the true arrival of spring, topped with an 80 degree day this past Saturday, I’m feeling the need for some green. Zucchini, peas, basil, doesn’t matter. Why not just combine them all?

Well…

I have a true passion for my spiral vegetable cutter. Zoodles are the greatest thing since sliced bread, if I may profess a humble opinion. I jumped on the bangwagon last summer with merely a vegetable peeler, and soon, I had a Paderno and Inspiralized was my favorite food blog. As I try to keep my refined carb intake down, zoodles (and other vegetable-based “noodles”) sure provide an excellent and filling alternative for traditional pastas. Have you ever spiral cut a zucchini? All I can say is, “DAMN, son! Where did all of this come from?!” While one technically uses more of the vegetable while it is sliced or diced, the sheer volume created by spiral cutting is rather astounding. One large zucchini can almost always provide enough zoodles for two people, or at least a sizable portion for a second meal the next day.

Zoodles

Pesto Zoodles with Peas & Garlic Dill Yogurt Sauce
(Serves Four)

Ingredients:

– 1 package frozen peas (equates to approximately 9 – 10 oz.; use frozen, not canned!)
– 2 medium-sized zucchinis, unpeeled
– 2 – 3 tablespoons pesto, to taste (store bought is fine, but homemade is always better!)
– 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon dried dill
– 1 teaspoon salt, divided (1/2 teaspoon for zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon for yogurt sauce)

Before We Get Started…

– This recipe can be created and served at room temperature, or the zucchini can be sautéed for a minute before serving. I’ve tried both. Honestly, I prefer the room temperature version as the cooked zoodles; even at just a minute in the pan, the zucchini can release a lot of excess liquid. It tends to lend a somewhat unpleasant soupiness to the dish, even if the liquid is strained out. I won’t stop you from sautéing it, but be forewarned!

– Not everyone has a spiral vegetable cutter, but you can still make zoodles! Options include using a regular vegetable peeler to create thicker ribbon-like strips, a julienne peeler which will create longer, zoodle-esque strips, and you can even julienne cut the zucchini yourself if you have the time and patience! Trust me. It’s worth it.

– I strongly suggest using dried dill in the yogurt sauce, as fresh dill, while wonderful, can overpower the pesto.

Yogurt Sauce

Directions:

1.) Wash zucchinis and cut off the ends. Create zoodles from the zucchinis with your preferred / available method. Place zoodles in colander and toss with salt. Set aside in sink to let excess liquid drain.

2.) Cook frozen peas according to directions on package; drain and rinse cooked peas under cool water. Set aside.

3.) In a large bowl, toss zoodles, peas, and pesto until well combined. Set aside.

3a.) If cooking zoodle mixture, add one tablespoon olive oil to large saucepan. Turn heat to medium. Add zoodle mixture and sauté for one minute. Remove from heat and return to bowl.

4.) In small bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, and salt. Mix until combined.

5.) Divide zoodle mixture into four serving bowls and top with yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with additional dill, if desired.

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