Zucchini Squash "Pasta" - Get In Mah Belly*

At this point I think everyone's heard about zucchini or squash "pasta," where you spiralize your preferred veggie(s) and pretend you're getting your carb on. As big as the hype has been, I honestly figured it was all the health kick weirdos lying about the taste to let everyone know they're eating "clean." 

Luckily, I'm your no-bullshit friend that typically eats the opposite of clean, and I'm here to tell you: I can fuck with some zucchini/squash noodles. Now I'm not working with a spiralizer, or even peeling that shit myself; I grabbed a pre-cut zucchini/squash combo at Wegman's and it was the best $4 I ever spent (for 2 servings worth). That, a jar of vodka-cream sauce and some shredded parm made one of the best dinners I've had in a long time.

So here you go friends: the ultimate fast way to indulge in cheese and sauce without missing out on flavor. Fuck yes.

Serves: 4

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons basting oil, or olive oil with 1 minced clove of garlic
  • 4 large peeled or spiralized zucchini, or 1 family pack at a grocery store
  • 1 jar of tomato sauce - I went wild and bought Sugo Rosa on sale for a fancy treat
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder, red pepper flakes and basil (fresh is fine but we're not Ina Garten here so I know what you're up to)
  • Sprinkle salt and black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese, and extra to taste

 

 

Instructions

  1. Set a large nonstick skillet to medium-high, with basting oil or olive oil and minced garlic
  2. Once pan is hot, add 3/4 of veggies, along with salt, pepper, garlic basil and pepper flakes. Cook for 4 minutes, moving every few minutes with a nonstick spatula.
  3. Once veggies in the pan have lost some of their crunch and start to release moisture and stick to each other, add the remaining group. I came upon this by accident not making enough since everything cooks down, but the addition of some that were only lightly cooked added awesome bite that balanced everything out. Cook for 1 more minute on medium high.
  4. Turn heat to medium-low and remove pan to a cool burner. Add sauce slowly, keeping in mind the veggies will absorb some! I did about 3 tablespoons per serving. Add in cheese and return to warm burned, stirring until well coated and slightly bubbly, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add extra cheese and dig in!

Roasted tomatoes are a great add on, so would some homemade sauce with meatballs or sausage. Enjoy cuties!

 

* - "Get In My Belly"

Change Your Life Zucchini Pizza Bites

This. Shit. Is. Gold.

Looking back, maybe not the most appetizing phrase, but it was the first thing I thought of to explain how amazing this snack is.

Now that you've had some time to perfect your tomato sauce with my previous recipe, I wanted to give you something to put it on other than gluten free pasta. Actually, you could put it on anything, or even make it a main - add a little milk and spice for tomato basil soup with grilled cheese(!) - but today, I want to go as simple as possible.

Last week I read about zucchini pizza bites - taking zucchini slices and throwing them in the oven with sauce and cheese and whatever other toppings you like. Seems too good to be true, but I wanted to make the zucchini a little more pizza-like ( crunchy) before tossing it in to cook. None of the recipes I looked at Seemed to agree, so I did a little playing around and ended up with a delicious pizza alternative. Unfortunately, I made these when no one else was home, so I had a whole zucchini's worth of pizza (read: a non-literal shitload of pizza bites). That meant that even though this was a "healthy" lunch, I still managed to feel as full and satisfied as I do after eating a whole basket of chips at a Mexican restaurant. Minus the bloated-from-salt fingers, thank god.

The final process: pan sear zucchini slices, drain excess oil, add sauce, cheese and other faves and broil. Voila! An amazing lunch/dinner/app is ready to go. And with my favorite sauce, you'll have a slightly spicy, sweet rich base that cannot be outdone.

Serves: 8-10 as app, 4 as part of a meal

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 large zucchini, washed, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (thick enough that they'll hold toppings, but thin enough that they'll be crunchy after searing) and patted completely dry

  • 1-1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar (I know it's not the recommended pizza cheese, but goddamn does it go well with this sauce, and Sharp cheddar gives it a nice bite with the veggies!)

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to pan over medium-high heat. 

  2. Once pan is hot and oil is evenly distributed, add zucchini without overlapping slices. Batches are recommended, especially if you don't have a large pan or wok! Cook 2-3 minutes, or until each slice has a little brown sear, then use tongs to flip. Cook another 2 or so minutes (eyeballing is key depending on the thickness of your slices).

  3. Set oven to broil, making sure you leave the oven door slightly ajar. Drain excess oil (maybe even leave slices on paper towels for a minute) then place slices on two foil-lined cookie sheets. Use a spoon to evenly distribute sauce, then sprinkle cheese and any other toppings (some people slice tiny pepperoni slices, if I liked pepperoni I'd be all about that life so do yo thang, honey).

  4. Broil bites and watch like a hawk! As soon as those puppies start to bubble, pull out of the oven and serve hot.