Zoodles and Eggs

Zoodles with eggs 2014This is my comfort food. There is something incredibly soul-satisfying about a bowl of simple noodles, or in this case, zoodles. They are perfect for any time of day – even if you think you don’t have enough time. Trust me! It’s remarkable just how quickly these come together. In fact, I make them all the time for breakfast, but they’re delicious and wonderful at any time. They even make a great snack! If you have more than ten minutes, it’s great to let the salted zucchini noodles sweat out some of their moisture, but if you only have five minutes, don’t let that stop you from making these. There will be a little extra moisture to cook off, but they’ll still taste great! These are incredibly versatile too – add a dollop of pesto, throw in some chopped herbs, add sliced sundried tomatoes…lots of options. I’ll get around to trying a bunch of variations one day, but for now, I just keep making these. Simple.

Zoodles and Eggs

1 zucchini

salt

2 tsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 eggs

pepper

Directions

1) Julienne a zucchini either with a spiral slicer (like this) or a julienne peeler. Place the zoodles in a colander and salt generously, a teaspoon or two. Let rest for as long as you have, but even 5 minutes will help draw out some moisture.

2) Preheat a sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil, red pepper flakes, and crushed garlic. Allow to sizzle for a minute and become fragrant but not brown.

3) Rinse zucchini noodles thoroughly and add to the pan. Toss with the seasoned oil for about 3-5 minutes. When nearly done to your liking, they should still have a bit of bite to them, push them to the side and crack two eggs into the pan. Allow to cook a minute or two, crack some pepper over the eggs and zucchini, and begin to scramble the eggs in their half of the pan. When they are close to done, mix them thoroughly with the zucchini noodles and finish cooking.

4) Pour onto a plate or in a bowl, slice some avocado on the side, taste to adjust seasoning, and take a break from your busy day with these simple noodles.

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Spaghetti Squash Soup

Spaghetti Squash SoupWhen you love to cook like I do and a friend mentions anything that even remotely sounds like a request, it is often the beginning of a mission. The other day, a dear friend of mine was talking about how busy she’s been and how nice if would be to come home some days to something warm that doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. On top of that, while it may not feel like it some days, soup season is starting to wind down and that makes me a little sad. I happen to love soups and stews year round, but my family doesn’t feel the same way about sitting down to a piping hot curry or chili in the middle of July, so I need to get my soup fix in fast.

This soup does take a little prep, but you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, I don’t even recommend it. Something I have started doing over the weekend is roasting a spaghetti squash. It takes a little while to roast and it’s easier to string it once it’s cool, so I just do the entire process when I’m not planning on using it. The whole batch gets put in a container in the fridge for whenever I need it, just like this soup.

This soup is a twist on a big bowl of spaghetti. The spaghetti squash will be a bit crunchier than traditional noodles, but it still gives you that same fun feeling. It would be beautiful topped with some fresh basil or parsley or you could sprinkle some parmesan on the top if you’re into cheese. I found it just perfect with some fresh cracked pepper and a great big spoon!

Spaghetti Squash Soup

2 tsp. coconut oil

1/2 large onion, chopped about 1 c.

1 lb. ground beef

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. fennel seed

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

2 c. beef stock

2 c. water

14 oz. canned tomato sauce

2 c. cooked spaghetti squash

Directions

1) Melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onions for about 4-5 minutes, until translucent. Add the beef and garlic and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.

2) Add all the spices, beef stock, water, and tomato sauce, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes.

3) Add the spaghetti squash, simmer for about 10 minutes more to bring all the flavors together, add additional salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.

Serves 2-4

Simple Cauliflower Rice

Cilantro Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is the little black dress of the Paleo world. It can be dressed up or down and goes with just about anything. Plus, it’s pretty much essential to have it in your cooking arsenal. When you have something saucy that needs a base, when you want a veggie of some description on the side, when you don’t know what else to serve, cauliflower rice can come to the rescue. I’ve made it a dozen different ways and will post more of them as time goes by, but sometimes simple is exactly what you need.

This cauliflower rice is just the basics. I added a bunch of cilantro because I like it, but you could do parsley or even skip it altogether. What really works in this recipe is the cauliflower, ghee, and salt. It is extremely comforting. If you’ve ever spent some time with a bowl of buttered rice, then let this be your new comfort in a bowl. It’s just as satisfying and a whole lot better for you! Don’t skimp on the salt either (unless you’re doctor told you to) because it really brings it all together.

And no matter which version of cauliflower rice you make, you just have to deal with the mess. It’s like those little Styrofoam peanuts…it gets everywhere.

Simple Cauliflower Rice

1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped into florets

1/2 a large onion, chopped

4 tsp. ghee

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. cilantro, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1) Place the roughly chopped cauliflower florets into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade and pulse about 10 times until your cauliflower looks like rice. This may take 2 -3 batches depending on the size of your cauliflower, but don’t do too much at a time or it will turn to mush.

2) Melt ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté onions for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add riced cauliflower and garlic and sauté an additional 3 minutes.

3) Mix in about 1/2 tsp. of salt, put a lid on the skillet, and let everything steam for about 6 minutes, until just tender.

4) Remove from the heat, add the minced cilantro (or other herbs of your choice), additional salt and pepper, maybe even a smidge of extra ghee if you feel like it!

Serves 3-4

Squash Noodles with Cilantro Pesto

Zoodles with Cilantro PestoMany of you know how much I love my Paderno Spiral Slicer. Since purchasing it, I haven’t missed noodles because I have them all. the. time. It is immensely satisfying to slurp up some delicious noodles with a variety of sauces. In this case, I was looking for a side dish to accompany some sausages and pesto is remarkably easy. There are so many different ways you can make pesto too – it’s not just for basil and pine nuts. In this case, I made a cilantro pesto because I love the fresh citrusy burst against the squash noodles. It makes my taste buds dance.

My husband loved this and my 8 year old gave it not quite a thumbs down. In my house, that translates to insanely good because if it’s green, it already has a hit against it, and if it’s zucchini, it’s a double hit. So I’d say this is a winner! I happen to find the combination of yellow and green noodles particularly attractive, but it’s totally unnecessary. You can use either color, but if you have company coming over, definitely use both. It’s beautiful.

Squash Noodles with Cilantro Pesto

2 zucchini

2 yellow squash

2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted, divided

1 bunch cilantro

1/4 tsp. lemon zest (from 1/2 a lemon)

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

3 Tbps. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

Directions

1) Julienne or spiral-slice your squash. Place in a colander, sprinkle with 2 tsp. salt, and let sweat for about 20 minutes.

2) While your squash is sweating, prepare the sauce. Cut off most of the cilantro ends and place the cilantro in a food processor. Add lemon juice and zest, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts. Begin processing and add olive oil through the tube. Process until smooth and taste to adjust seasonings, adding more olive oil or lemon as needed. Set aside.

3) Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rinse squash well and shake. Add to hot pan with the water that clings to it and sauté for 3 minutes or until it is just tender to your liking.

4) Stir in about 1/4 c. pesto, or more if you like. (I saved the rest to add to my eggs the next day!)  Sprinkle with pine nuts, pepper to taste, and serve.

Serves 2 (but you can easily double the squash and use all the pesto)