Zucchini Pasta with Sundried Tomato & Mushroom Cream Sauce

I am obesessed with my new spiralizer. photo 5OBSESSED.  The combo of TJ’s organic zucchini at a great price, my general love of sauces, and my fancy new sub-twenty-dollars gadget is just too good to be true. One of my favorite people came over to cook dinner with me the other night and I was craving sundried tomatoes (weird, I know) so we threw a bunch of yummy things in a skillet and ended up with a recipe that is going to be a staple in my kitchen.

BONUS: This dish comes three ways! What?! I’m out of control.

  1. MEATLY: The first time around I roasted a chicken, carved it (ok, Sam carved it cause it still freaks me out), and added the chopped meat to the sauce. We also used chicken broth from the roast.
  2. VEGGIE: The second time I used veggie broth and no meat. It was still incredibly savory, and Sam actually preferred it this way. Or maybe he just wanted to eat the chicken on its own 🙂
  3. VEGAN: I haven’t vetted this version yet, but when I do I’ll update. In general I’ve had amazing success with cashew cream in lieu of heavy cream, and I think this would be another great recipe to use it. I’d substitute nutritional yeast for the parm, but would probably just sprinkle some over the top of each serving for that extra flavor in lieu of mixing it in to the sauce. The parm isn’t necessary for thickening – the tapioca flour is pretty effective in that department!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil, divided
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 c. sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 c. chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 Tsbp. fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. tapicoa flour
  • fresh ground salt & pepper
  • 3 to 4 organic zucchini, spiralized

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Directions

  1. Spiralize your zucchini! So fun!!
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add and heat 1 Tbsp. oil/butter.
  3. Sauté shallots until soft, then add garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms begin to release their juices.
  4. Stir in the sundried tomatoes, cook for 1 min.
  5. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  6. Whisk in the cream, basil, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.
  7. Whisk in the grated parmesan. Keep whisking until it is completely melted into the sauce.
  8. Don’t toss that whisk in the sink yet! Add 1 tsp. of the tapioca flour and whisk until it is mixed in so that it doesn’t clump. If you’d like the sauce to be thicker, add more. Two teaspoons was perfect for me. If you find that you are an overzealous thickener-er, stir in some milk or water 🙂 This may or may not have happened the first time.
  9. Heat another large skillet or pot, add and heat 1 Tbsp. oil, and throw in the zucchini pasta. I cooked it until it was just warmed through so it had an al dente quality – didn’t want it to get too mushy!
  10. Plate a serving of noodles and smother with creamy, savory perfection. Grate a little fresh parm over the top if you’re feeling fancy. Serves 4!

Additional Spiralizer Hints

  • After spiralizing zucchini, put it in a colander and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. This will sweat the zucchini, pulling out a lot of the juice so the final “pasta” isn’t as watery. Let it sit and drain for about 30 minutes, then pat dry between clean kitchen towels.photo 1
  • Don’t cook the zucchini and the sauce together – the zucchini releases a lot of water and your perfectly thickened sauce is all of a sudden a sad watery puddle 😦
  • Here’s a link to the spiralizer I bought off of Amazon. A lot of the negative reviews for various models were from customers who attempted to spiralize really hard foods like carrots. Sounds like it is safest to stick with the softer stuff like zucchini and summer squash as the blades are not super heavy duty.
  • Use a mix of zucchini pasta with spaghetti squash or summer squash for some variety in texture and “noodle” size.

Pork Lettuce Wraps with Sriracha Mayo & Heirloom Tomatoes

An original creation by Sam! I gotta say, one of the best things about eating meat again is that Sam is super motivated to cook all the time, it’s amazing. He came up with these just by rooting around the fridge and throwing some things together with the leftovers from our Fresh Ham Roast. We’ve had them several times since and I haven’t changed a thing, which is rare!

Directions

  1. Thaw some frozen leftovers from the Fresh Ham Roast (or any pork roast) in the fridge overnight.
  2. Cut into small pieces and put in a microwave-safe bowl. If you have saved juices from the roast, pour some of the juice over the pork. Microwave for 30 sec to 1 min, until warmed through but not hot.
  3. Use a piece of romaine, butter lettuce, iceberg, etc. Wash and pat dry, then lay on a plate.
  4. Fill with however much pork you want! Make sure to get plenty of the amazing marinade.01a2dc199d24d63fe1300ad8ea17fb0decd65764b7
  5. Top with sliced red onion and wedges of baby heirloom tomato. Any tomatoes would work fine, but we love the extra flavor of the heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joes.0146a970e4cd083ca0e37da85f9ab1644e8e75d840
  6. In a small bowl, mix 1 part Sriracha with 1 part mayo. We go a little heavy on the Sriracha.
  7. Drizzle the sauce over the wrap and enjoy!0140492f80ec5dde2024528312d73f9de724032a64

Fresh Ham Roast

This was so good that it will be hard to venture out and try a different marinade for the next roast. This was the kind of roast where you walk in the house and your knees buckle a little just from the amazing smell. After the incredible first meal, Sam carved it and we froze it in a few different serving sizes. Between the leftover meat, the juice, and the fat, I think we used this one roast for probably five more recipes! I’m kind of salivating just thinking about it. Might be time to get another one of these going…

Ingredients01dd68c5e21dab7244e57c6a7644add9fb444e7a6a

  • 7-8 lb fresh ham
  • 4 Tbsp dried rubbed sage
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp fennel seed
  • 2 Tbsp asise seed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Combine sage, garlic, fennel, anise, thyme, salt and maple syrup in a blender or mini food processor. Blend until a thick puree forms.
  3. Place ham on a roasting pan and smother all sides with the puree.
  4. Insert a meat thermometer in the deepest part of the meat, but not against the bone.
  5. Place in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.  When the timer goes off, turn the oven down to 300F.  Continue cooking for about 2 more hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°.
  6. Remove from oven and let it rest 5-10 minutes before you cut into it.  Enjoy!

Recipe credit: thepaleomom.com

Two-Bean and Kale Soup

There is something magical about this soup. Maybe it’s that it is so savory – the rosemary and vinegar combination reminds Sam of pork roast. Maybe it’s that it is so creamy – the blended white beans and veggie broth fool you into thinking this could be dairy-based. Maybe it’s that it is one of those mysterious recipes that hands-down tastes even better when it is leftover. Maybe it’s that I’m eating it right now (seriously), on a 111° summer day in Phoenix, and it is still hitting the spot. Whatever it is, all I know for sure is that this is a favorite meal for everyone in my family, and is wildly liked by anyone I make it for. This includes a pair of very skeptical grandparents who still live on their farm in Nebraska!

Two-Bean and Kale Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped (approx 7 cups)
  • 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed – cannellini or northern.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp crushed rosemary

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large sauce pan or dutch oven. Add onion, carrot, and celery, sauté until tender (about 6 min). Stir in 1/4 t salt and garlic, cook 1 min more.
  2. Stir in 4 c veggie broth and all kale. Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat, simmer for 3 min or until kale is crisp-tender. (Note that the liquid will not cover the kale at this point – not to worry!)
  3. Place half of white beans in blender with 1 cup veggie broth and blend until smooth.
  4. Add puree, remaining beans, and pepper to soup. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 min.
  5. Stir in remaining salt, vinegar, and rosemary.

Serves 4. Definitely double if you are serving any more than four. Enjoy hot, and don’t be afraid to make it a day early and let it sit overnight, or to make extra for leftovers. It really does make a difference in the flavor!

Recipe Credit: My mom’s good friend, Gail.