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Mouth-Watering Meatballs.

Spicy Beef Meatballs With Linguine, Eggplant & Baby Zucchini

Serves ~5.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz linguine pasta (I used Trader Joe’s garlic & black pepper linguine)
  • lean ground beef (~1 lb)
  • 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2.5 cups store-bought marinara sauce
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 1 cup baby zucchini, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce
  • garlic salt
  • hot red pepper flakes

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, basil, egg, Sriracha, garlic salt, corn meal and bread crumbs. Mix well and form into small palm-sized balls and put onto a non-stick baking sheet. Cook the meatballs in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan on the stove on medium heat and add the diced eggplant. Cook the eggplant for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the zucchini and cook for an additional 10 minutes or so. Season with a dash of garlic salt.

Add your marinara sauce and diced tomatoes into a large pot on the stove and heat.  Add a dash of garlic salt and hot red pepper flakes. After the meatballs are done baking, add them to the sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Cook your pasta as directed and drain all excess water. Plate the pasta and add a spoonful of the eggplant and zucchini and then top with meatballs and sauce.

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Must-Have Mongolian Beef.

Sweet & Spicy Mongolian Beef With Sesame & Green Onion Udon Noodles

I recently had a major Chinese food craving, but didn’t want to eat greasy, unhealthy Chinese food, so I decided to make my own version of Mongolian beef with lots of fresh veggies. It turned out great! And I didn’t have to feel nearly as guilty!

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

  • ~1 lb lean sirloin beef, cut into smaller strips
  • 3 cups broccolini
  • 2 large colored peppers (any colors you prefer), sliced  
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil (1 tbsp for noodles, 3 tbsp for beef)
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 8.5oz udon noodles
  • 1/2 cup green onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic (1 tbsp for noodles, 2 tbsp for beef)
  • 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Begin by making the sauce. In a mixing bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, Sriratcha and corn starch and stir well to combine. Using a whisk will help get out any lumps from the corn starch.

Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add in the beef strips and cook until they are lightly browned. Remove the beef, and then heat the remaining tbsp of vegetable oil and add in the peppers and broccolini. Cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes until they’ve softened and browned, and then add in the beef and water chestnuts.  Pour the sauce into the pan and allow it to heat up and simmer, this will thicken the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, and then simmer for about 5-7 more minutes.

While the beef is simmering, cook your Udon noodles as directed on the package. Drain all excess water and rinse with cold water.  In the same pot, heat 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil along with 1 tbsp minced garlic. After this has heated, add the Udon noodles and green onion into the pot and stir quickly to heat and combine the ingredients.

Olive Lover’s Pizza.

Whole-Wheat Pizza with Basil, Cerignola Olives, Prosciutto & Fresh Mozzarella

Pizza is not something I eat often, so when I decided to make one as a special treat, I wanted to use my favorite fresh and flavorful ingredients. As you may have gathered by now, I love all things salty. Cerignola olives (my favorite type of olive) have a subtle tangy and salty flavor, so I wanted to feature them on this delicious whole-wheat pizza along with other scrumptious ingredients. This pizza was heaven!

Serves 2-4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made whole-wheat pizza crust
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup pitted Cerignola olives
  • 3 oz prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded Italian-blend cheese
  • garlic salt/black pepper

Begin by doing a rough chop of the olives and basil in the food processor (as shown below.) Take the chopped basil and olives and spread it onto the pizza crust, as you would do with a sauce. Layer on the prosciutto and the fresh mozzarella and then top with the shredded Italian-blend cheese. Season lightly with fresh-ground black pepper. Bake in the oven on 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until the cheese is melted. To brown the cheese, you can turn the oven to broil for about 5 minutes at the end.