Fresh Tomato Bolognese


by

With 50 or so fresh picked tomatoes from the garden quickly ripening in my sunroom, I decided it was time to make some sauces.

IMG 2950   Fresh Tomato Bolognese

Tomatoes galore

This is the bolognese (meat sauce) recipe I concocted using garden and farmer’s-market supplies, along with some ground beef from an Amish market.
Once again I (healthily) thickened a recipe by adding shredded zucchini.  I love vegetables, so this sauce wouldn’t have been as exciting to me otherwise. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • TOMATOES!  (lots, I don’t know, maybe 8? 10? depends on how much you want to make)
    Diced–with pulp removed (puree a few if you can)
  • 1 shredded zucchini
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • minced leek (to taste)
  • Minced spicy / mixed peppers
  • Fresh oregano and basil
  • Salt, pepper
  • ~1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • splash of red wine (optional) or balsamic

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a pan and add the ground beef.  Cook until just browned.    Add a couple tablespoons of corn starch to the pan to create a thicker sauce from the beef fat.  If the beef was really fatty, you might want to drain some off first.  If you used lean beef, you might not need to do that.

IMG 3130 225x300   Fresh Tomato Bolognese

Grating zucchini

Remove the pulp from the tomatoes as you dice them.  I used a food processor after removing the pulp, and just pulsed it a few times to leave different-sized chunks of tomato for the sauce.  On one batch in the food processor (it took several), I pureed them completely, so the sauce would have some body as well.

Add garlic, leek, and peppers and saute for a minute.  Add diced tomatoes and wine or balsamic.  Allow the sauce to cook for 10+ minutes or longer, if you prefer to slow cook your sauce.  I’m impatient.

IMG 3156 300x225   Fresh Tomato Bolognese

Tomatoes, beef, and zucchini

Add fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes or so.

IMG 3161 300x225   Fresh Tomato Bolognese

Bolognese sauce cooking

Make your pasta (I prefer to use a peeler to create long “linguine pasta ” ribbons out of squash or zucchini, and then saute or blanch those for a couple of minutes.  This is an excellent gluten-free and guilt-free healthy pasta alternative).

IMG 3169 300x225   Fresh Tomato Bolognese

Squash "pasta" noodles

Serve sauce over pasta, and top with cheese if you wish.  Enjoy!

IMG 3172 300x225   Fresh Tomato Bolognese

Fresh Tomato Bolognese over squash noodle pasta with pesto-stuffed roasted tomato

 

August 16, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Healthy Seafood ‘Alfredo’ with Vegetable Noodles


by


I’m not a huge fan of pasta or alfredo sauce
, but I know more than a few people who are.

To me, pasta is filler–lots of carbs with very little nutritional value. I end up uncomfortably full after most pasta dishes, and wishing there were more substance to the meal. Alfredo sauce is painfully unhealthy, with so much cheese, cream, and butter, I wonder why I’m not just eating a whole pan of brownies.

IMG 2201 300x225   Healthy Seafood Alfredo with Vegetable Noodles

Healthy seafood alfredo with vegetable noodles

This dish suits those who love OR hate pasta and Alfredo sauce. There are multiple takes on how to make it, but the basic concept is the same. It’s delicious AND healthy, and I personally rank this seafood ‘pasta’ dinner in my top five meals

ever made.

Pasta:
The ‘pasta’ in this dish is made up of squash and zucchini.

2-4 squash or zucchini (or some of each, preferably large)
Large Carrots (optional–adds color and tastes good, but is a bit tougher than squash and zucchini)

Peel the squash/zucchini/carrots with a peeler, and if the skin is tough you can discard the outer layer, but this isn’t totally necessary. Use a peeler to create wide, long, ‘noodles’ from the vegetables. These noodles will only need to be sauteed for a couple minutes at the end of the cooking process. Set aside.

IMG 2186 300x225   Healthy Seafood Alfredo with Vegetable Noodles

Peeling zucchini and squash to make noodles

IMG 2193 300x225   Healthy Seafood Alfredo with Vegetable Noodles

squash, zucchini, and carrot noodles

Sauce:

In this case, the sauce was made from cauliflower and white beans, boiled and pureed and combined with a chicken or vegetable broth, and a little almond milk (or milk of your choice).

See recipe for the healthy white sauce alternative.

IMG 2177 300x225   Healthy Seafood Alfredo with Vegetable Noodles

white beans for sauce

To turn this pasta and sauce recipe into a seafood/vegetable dish, here’s what I did:

IMG 2185 300x225   Healthy Seafood Alfredo with Vegetable Noodles

Zucchini, Asparagus, Mushrooms

Other Ingredients:

Basil
Zucchini
Asparagus
Mushrooms
Garlic
Leek

Combine all the above ingredients (chopped) in a frying pan and saute until tender in a little oil or butter, with garlic, leek, basil, salt and pepper for seasoning.

IMG 2196 300x225   Healthy Seafood Alfredo with Vegetable Noodles

Sauteed veggies: zucchini, basil, asparagus, mushrooms

Seafood:

1 tilapia filet, crumbled (did this on its own..)
Scallops
1/2 C White wine
Butter
Garlic
Leek
Basil

In a separate pan, sear scallops in butter with garlic and leek.  Add tilapia.  Add white wine, salt, pepper, and basil, and cook for another 5 or so minutes.

IMG 2200 300x225   Healthy Seafood Alfredo with Vegetable Noodles

Scallops and tilapia in white wine, garlic, leek, and basil

Combine:

Add vegetable ‘noodles’ to the veggies (mushrooms/asparagus/whatever you made) in the fry pan and cook for 2-4 minutes to heat through.

IMG 2199 300x231   Healthy Seafood Alfredo with Vegetable Noodles

Vegetable noodles in the pan

Serve noodles and veggies in a bowl, topped with seafood and white wine, and as much ‘alfredo’ sauce as desired.  Garnish with fresh basil.  DELICIOUS!

IMG 2203 300x225   Healthy Seafood Alfredo with Vegetable Noodles

Healthy seafood alfredo with vegetable noodles!

July 7, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Spinach Mac and Cheese and Chicken Sausage meatballs


by

If there is a staple item that I loved as a picky little kid but have never grown out of even as my tastes have matured, it is mac and cheese. But with the high fat/low nutritional content ratio, it is usually not a good thing to make. I found this recipe on Rachael Rays cooking show- Meals in 30mins or less then added some tweeks of my own
Ingredients:
-One package of fresh or frozen spinach
-Cup or so of parmesan cheese
-Milk (I used regular but suppose you could subsititute)
-Bit of butter
-Pasta for the mac and cheese (I used veggie shells)
-Ground chicken or turkey can be subsituted
-Herbs for meatballs- rosemary, tarragon, thyme
-Onion or leek, chopped
-Bread crumbs- I used italian style but you can use regular and add your own herbs
-Two eggs
First, make the sauce. Saute a small pad of butter then add milk, you can use a dash of half and half or cream but of course that adds to fat content. Slowly pour in the parmesan cheese stirring on medium heat until it melts making a creamy sauce. The key to any good alfredo/cheese sauce is adding the cheese slowly. Once you have a good amount of sauce, add in the spinach. While fresh is best, I love frozen spinach because they pack sooo much into a little package so you are eating tons of greens. Stir the spinach into the sauce. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. I used multicolored shells that are veggie based.

The meatballs:
I use ground chicken because it is leaner and healthier than ground beef. With the right combo of herbs it tastes just like sausage, you won’t know the difference but is lower in fat and cholesterol. Also, by adding in bread crumbs etc you are making the meat (and your money) stretch.
Mix together herbs (onion, rosemary, thyme and fennel see are key to making it taste like sausage), a little parmesan cheese if you have some left, bread crumbs, two eggs and ground meat. Make into decent size balls then place in 350 degree preheated oven for ab out 15mins or until meat is brown, not pink.
Serve over mac and cheese and voila!- a grown up healthier veggie and protein packed version of your childhood fav!
chops bobblehead etc 011 300x225   Spinach Mac and Cheese and Chicken Sausage meatballs

April 29, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Vegetable noodle “pasta”


by

wpid 2011 03 10 21 02 12 785   Vegetable noodle pasta

Noodles made from peeled parsnip, carrot,  and yellow squash, tossed with sauteed garlic, leek, mushrooms, red pepper, kale,  and squash, in a part-red sauce, part-almond  paste sauce.

March 10, 2011
Food