What are Zoodles? I’d tell you, but it would be better if you just tried them!

Hey, didn’t We Eat For Real already feature Corn and Tomato Pizza and Easy Caprese Salad with Grilled Chicken? Yep.  This blog showcases what happens in my kitchen each week.

Read food meal planning takes time.  When I first started planning real food weekly menus, I made a new meal every.single.night.  I quickly realized that was not feasible if I wanted to keep my sanity.  Preparing a new recipe takes more time than a recipe staple.  So, weekly menus in mi casa contain staples and one, maybe two, new recipes.  Hopefully, that doesn’t turn you off.  I’m just keeping it “real” here [pun intended :)]

That being said, a new recipe for me this week was Italian Zoodle Pie. The zoodle (i.e., zucchini noodle) is a game changer for folks looking to reduce or avoid carbs.  Zucchini as a pasta replacement really works.  Does it taste exactly like a noodle? Nope. But, you won’t miss the pasta – promise.  To make this recipe faster, you’ve gotta get a spiralizer or zoodler. There’s really no other sane way to create the zoodles.  I can’t imagine trying to cut zoodles by hand with a knife!

All I’m gonna say about the Corn and Tomato Pizza is…it’s loose your mind good.  The dashes of hot sauce take this to another level.  The Shaved Broccoli Salad is a great summer dish.  This could be a big hit at a summer potluck, office lunch, etc.  My little one said, “no way” to this dish at first.  After her two bite rule, she changed her mind.  Her only complaint: “the bites are too big and crunchy.”  #easyfix #chopsmaller

The Easy Caprese Salad is an all time family favorite.  At it’s most basic state, it’s a four ingredient meal!  You can take it a step further and add additional flavor depth with a drizzling of the balsamic reduction.  However, if don’t have the time, don’t make the reduction.  It will still be fan-freaking-tastic!

The other new recipe this week was Almond Oat Cookies.  The original recipe called for almond flour.  Well, I didn’t have it.  So I used almond meal.  What’s the difference between almond flour and almond meal? Read more here.  I added some vanilla too because all cookies taste better with it (if you ask me).

Hope Something Makes Your Belly Smile…

 Almond Oat Cookies

Adapted from Eat Good 4 Life

Almond Oat Cookies

1 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 c. almond meal (alternative almond flour)
1/3 c. pure maple syrup
1/4 c. coconut oil (softened)
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner (alternative: baking stone).  In a large bowl, add all ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.  Form into balls using a large scooper (or ice cream scoop).  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

Tip: If using almond flour instead of almond meal, cookies may require less baking time (reduce by 5 minutes).

Italian Zoodle Pie & Organic Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Adapted from Weelicious

Italian Zoodle Pie

4 small/medium organic zucchini, zoodled or spiralized (My Spiralizer is a favorite gadget in my kitchen)
2 large organic eggs,
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 c.  organic marinara sauce (check label for sugar, soybean oil, & other fillers)
1 (15 oz.) can organic diced tomatoes, strained to remove excess liquid
10-12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 c. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 t. Trader Joes 21 seasonings salute, divided (alternative: Italian herbs)
1 c. organic mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare the zucchini using a zoodler or Spiralizer.  In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and ¼ c. Parmesan cheese.  Add the zoodles to the egg mixture and toss to evenly coat.  In a deep dish pie pan, add the zoodles.  In the previously used mixing bowl, mix together the ricotta, remaining ¼ c. Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon of dried herbs, and fresh basil.  Evenly spread the ricotta mixture on top of the zoodles.  In that same mixing bowl, combine the marinara, diced tomatoes, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of dried herbs.  Pour an even layer of the tomato mixture on top. Top with the shredded mozzarella.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Organic Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 handfuls of your preferred organic greens

Salad Ideas
¼ c. sliced olives, optional topping
¼ red onion, very thinly sliced, optional topping
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
2 T. ricotta cheese (alternative: goat cheese or other soft cheese)

Balsamic Vinaigrette
¼ c. balsamic vinegar
½ c. olive oil
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. local honey
Sea salt/pepper, freshly ground

Directions:  Add ingredients to a lid with a jar.  Shake and pour over organic greens salad.

Corn and Tomato Pizza

adapted from Bev Cooks

Trader Joe’s premade whole wheat dough, prepared per package directions

Pizza Toppings
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced or chopped
2-3 NON GMO sweet corn ears, shucked (OR 2 c. frozen NON GMO sweet corn)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small pkg. organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 c. organic mozzarella, shredded
2 oz. goat cheese
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
Tabasco style hot sauce, optional topping (recommended if you omit the jalapeno)

Directions: Preheat the oven to required pizza dough temperature. In a medium/large skillet warmed to medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and jalapeno (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the corn and sauté another 5 minutes. The next step happens quickly because you do not want to burn the garlic! Add the garlic, stirring constantly, allow it to cook until for about a minute or until you can really smell it. Immediately squeeze the lemon over the skillet and add the cilantro. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and allow the heat to release their juices (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat. With the dough on the pizza stone or baking sheet, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the corn mixture. Crumble the goat cheese atop the pizza and add the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake according to your pizza crust directions.

This is amazing –  especially with a few drops of hot sauce on each slice!!!

Easy Caprese Salad 

adapted from Savory Sweet Life

2 pints organic cheery or grape tomatoes, halved
16 oz. fresh “mini” mozzarella pearls, halved
6-8 T. olive oil
Big bunch basil leaves (18+ leaves), finely chopped or get fancy and chiffonade
½ -1 t. sea salt
½ – 1 t. freshly ground pepper
Balsamic reduction, optional (easy recipe below)

Directions: In a medium bowl, gently toss the tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a drizzling of balsamic glaze (optional). Serve immediately.

I usually serve this with grilled or pan seared organic chicken breasts.

Balsamic Reduction

1 c. store bought balsamic vinegar
4-5 drops organic stevia drops, optional (alternative 1 T. organic coconut palm sugar)

Directions: In a small sauce pan, add the balsamic vinegar and stevia.  Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until it has reduced by one-half (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally.  It’s done when it is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.

Pan Seared Herb Chicken and Shaved Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad Adapted From Taste Love And Nourish

Shaved Broccoli Salad

1/4 C. organic plain Greek yogurt
2 T. apple cider vinegar
4-5 organic stevia drops (alternative: 1 t. local honey)
3/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Set aside.

Broccoli Salad
3–4 small broccoli heads,
1 small organic red apple, cubed (do not peel)
½ c. organic raisins
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
½ c. sliced almonds (alternative: pine nuts)
½ c. shredded organic cheddar

Directions:  Remove broccoli stalks.  Retain 2” of the floret stems.  Slice florets lengthwise. Cut apples into cubes.  In a large bowl, add all salad ingredients.  Pour the dressing over the salad.  Stir to evenly coat.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat

Tip: The longer it’s refrigerated, the better.  Refrigerate while preparing the chicken and that will do the trick.

Pan Seared Herb Chicken

3-4 organic, free range, chicken breasts
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh herbs of choice, chopped (ideas: basil, oregano, rosemary)
(alternatives: 1 t. dried Italian seasoning, Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
sea salt/pepper, freshly cracked

Directions:  In a small bowl, combine the oil, herbs, and salt/pepper.  Brush chicken with oil mixture.  Grill (or pan sear) on medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and cover with foil until ready to serve.

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