As I write this post, I have just finished devouring this delicious meal of Zoodles and Meatballs Marinara. It’s a busy Monday evening, my oldest daughter has a First Communion class, and my one year old is roaming the kitchen in her Joovy Spoon walker, gobbling up strands of zucchini noodles and smearing her face with marinara sauce. (You can check out her adorable-ness ((yes, that is a word, at least in my book,)) on her Instagram, Lala’s Tutu. Anyways, I’ve decided that since Monday nights seem to be particularly stressful with all of the events we have going on in our family, and I think it is fair to assume that many of you are probably experiencing a similar situation of having too many things going on at once, (like ahem, dance classes, Nutcracker rehearsals, etc.,) and dinner is just one more thing on the to-do list. Being a hardcore advocate of healthy-eating (specifically, Primal eating for myself and my two daughters,) fast-food options and dinner out of a box is just not an option in my house.
Despite the fact that I have to make every meal from scratch, I am always striving to find meals that are both simple yet healthy and above all else, QUICK, so that I am not spending an hour chopping and sautéing when I need to be getting hungry children fed and out the door by a certain time period. For these reasons I have decided that sharing my go-to quick “Monday Night Meals” would be something that many other families, dancers in particular, may benefit from.
I must forewarn you though, most, if not ALL of my recipes are Primal based, meaning they are whole foods recipes focusing on protein, healthy fats, and easily absorbed carbohydrates in the form of fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit. Very rarely will I show recipes involving something out of a box or a can, but if I do, they are more than likely going to be Paleo and/or Vegan friendly options that help to cut prep and cutting time but still allow me to work within the confines of my chosen lifestyle.
However, the best part is that my recipes are usually very general in terms of quantities and ingredient choices, meaning you are free to swap one thing out for another or add a little more or a little less of this and that. So feel free to experiment, play around, and do whatever works for you. By no means are my recipes set in stone, unless it is a baking item which typically requires more exact measurements, but even then sometimes the ingredients can be swapped with other things based on your preferences, and I will usually give you several choices on what would work within a give recipe. So without further ado, here is one of my family’s all time favs: Zoodles and Meatballs Marinara!
Prep Time: Approx. 20-25 min
Cook Time: 10 min
For the Meatballs:
- 1 lb ground organic, grass fed beef, pork, chicken, or turkey
- sea-salt and pepper to taste
- garlic powder, to taste
- favorite Italian herbs, I like to use Basil and Parsley, again – to your preferences of how much you want! I am usually pretty generous with herbs because they lend more flavor without added calories
Mix all the ingredients by hand til well blended in a stainless steel bowl. I do not use flour or egg in my meatballs, again because they are Paleo, and they always turn out delicious and taste just like regular meatballs. This also cuts down on the carbs.
Heat a deep, stainless steel skillet pan with organic, cold-pressed olive oil on medium-high heat. Form mini-medium sized meatballs, 1 lb of meat will make about 20-25 mini meatballs. Lightly fry til golden brown on all sides, about 6-7 minutes.
For the “Zoodles”:
You will need about 4-6 large zucchinis, and a zucchini spiralizer, I use this one.
- When the meatballs are done, remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Slice the ends of the zucchini after washing, and twist them through the zucchini spiralizer on the THICK end over the pan of olive oil left over from the meatballs.
- Toss in olive oil
- Pour your favorite jar or can of pasta sauce over the “zoodles,” or feel free to make it homemade if you have the time. This is a good brand
- Cover the lid and let simmer til the zoodles are a bit softer but still firm and hold its shape, about 3-4 min on medium-high simmering heat.
Spoon the zoodles into a big bowl, top with meatballs and your favorite cheese if desired. That’s it! Altogether this meal should take about 20-25 minutes to make and cook. Feel free to comment and let me know if you make this recipe! I’d love to hear your feedback!