zucchini noodles and shrimp with garlic-horseradish yogurt sauce

Nine days stuck indoors with sick kids makes you do some funny things. Not the least of which includes totally abandoning healthy eating resolutions/Whole 30, because when you are trying to survive it is not a good idea to give up pie.
Temporarily abandoning blogging is another one of those survival things.
And cooking real food. Pjb? Cereal? Pancakes? Fruit basket? All reasonable meals come day nine with four small sick children and no escape.
Anyway. I’m back.
Hi.
And I’m eating pie. Whatever.

But I’m also eating this: Zucchini noodles and shrimp with garlic-horseradish yogurt sauce.
Tasty? Check.
Good for you? Check.
Pretty? Check.
All the requirements met.

Enjoy and stay healthy out there!

ZUCCHINI NOODLES AND SHRIMP WITH GARLIC-HORSERADISH YOGURT SAUCE

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5 small green and/or yellow zucchini (Spirilized into noodles or cut in thin rounds)
1 lb peeled shrimp
3 tablespoons clarified butter
1 tablespoon diced garlic
2 tablespoons horseradish
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauté pan, melt clarified butter, and simmer garlic and horseradish. Add lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Continue simmering and toss pealed, tail-free shrimp into the pan. Cover and allow to simmer for a few more minutes. Then throw zucchini noodles (or rounds, halved) into the pan. Toss to coat with butter sauce and cover until the zucchini is more noodle-like than vegetable-like. —About 8 minutes.

Remove the zucchini and shrimp from the pan but retain as much of the cooking liquid as possible. I even go so far as to use a strainer/colander with a plate underneath, draining the zucchini and shrimp, and then adding the liquid from the plate back into the pan.

Turn the heat off the liquid and allow it to cool a bit. You’ll add the yogurt and mayo to this liquid and if it’s too hot it will separate.
Once cooled (20 minutes or so) add ½ cup homemade mayo and 1 cup honey yogurt. I like a creamy greek yogurt for this—so tasty! Whisk until the yogurt and mayo are well incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Spoon over plated zucchini noodles and shrimp. Serve hot.

Homemade Mac & Cheese

I’m a strong believer in comfort food. And most of the time I’m good at making healthy comfort food choices. Chicken noodle soup with bean thread noodles instead of egg noodles? Yah! Pasta with zucchini noodles rather than the standard fetachinni? Sure! Carrot and rutabaga mash instead of potatoes? You bet! But when it comes to good-‘ole Mac-N-Cheese, nothing beats the real thing. Especially when it’s made from scratch. And with three out of my four Littles down with colds, today was the perfect day to whip up a batch. Welcome to Sunday at my house, where comfort food cures what ails ya.

SUNDAY MAC-N-CHEESE

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1/2 package of standard noodles—shape of your choice
1/2 cup butter
1 cup whole milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
bread crumbs (optional)

In a standard quart pan, boil noodles of your choice. (1/2 a standard box makes 4 good-size servings). I always go with medium shells because they are just the right size and weight to hold up under the hearty cheese sauce. Boil noodles until al dente and drain. Set aside.
Return quart sauce pan to burner (no sense in dirtying a second pan!) and melt 1/2 cup of butter. Add 1 cup whole milk and 2 cups grated cheddar cheese. The stronger the cheese the better. Heat over medium heat until cheese melts and thickens—stirring with a whisk continuously. Heat until melted but do not boil. The sauce will separate and get kind of granular in texture if you boil it. (There’s nothing wrong with it if this happens, it’s just not as smooth to the pallet). Add drained noodles and stir mixture until well-combined.
My kids like everything smooth and soft so I didn’t proceed with the final step, but if you or your tribe are good with a kind of ‘crust’ on your pasta, spoon the mac-n-cheese into a greased baking pan, top with bread crumbs and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees until top is browned and lightly crisp.
Enjoy!

salt & pepper chicken thighs with yogurt sauce

Dinner is an ongoing thing at my house. I am still trying to figure this out. WHY MUST THEY EAT EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? The struggle is real.
Trying to find something healthy that everyone will eat is an even greater struggle. Chicken is a fairly safe bet, most of the time. As long as I can serve it one way for some of my family and another way for the rest of my family. This recipe does just that.
For those with a more developed palate, serve the chicken on a bed of zucchini (spiraled or sliced in rounds and sautéed). The tangy yogurt sauce adds just the right amount of flair without overpowering the dish. Think of it as a fresh spin on chicken Alfredo. But if some of your people aren’t really into that and resolutely turn up noses, serve their chicken with a banana and a healthy side of Ketchup. Boom. Everyone wins. Enjoy!

SALT AND PEPPER CHICKEN THIGHS WITH YOGURT SAUCE

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6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4-5 small zucchini (Or roughly 4-5 cups)
Plain organic greek yogurt
2 tablespoons butter
salt
pepper

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, melt butter and coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken thighs and salt and pepper generously. Cover and cook until browned, then flip and repeat until the other side is browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Slice rounds or spiralized zucchini and toss into the same pan using the chicken juices to cook the zucchini. Salt and pepper lightly and cook until no longer crunchy but still firm. remove from pan being carful to retain all of the juices. I ran my cooked zucchini through a pasta colander and then returned the extra juice back to the pan. It will serve as the base for the yogurt sauce.

Once the zucchini is removed from the pan and set aside, add greek yogurt to the juice, 1/2 cup at a time until it is the desired consistency. Anywhere from 1-2 cups total, depending on how your preference and the quality of liquids you have from the chicken and zucchini. Use a whisk to incorporate the yogurt but keep the pan on very low heat so as not to separate the yogurt from overheating.

Serve chicken on a bed of zucchini with yogurt sauce spooned generously overtop.

Sun-dried tomato and pesto pasta skillet with baked eggs

Sometimes dinner is about what you have in the fridge right now. Because everyoneisstarvingandmightdieiftheydonteatthissecond. So making a meal becomes a thing of urgency. And also odd creativity. Obviously. And out of such circumstances, this meal was born. Bonus, it serves as either dinner or breakfast!
I’m all about eggs these days. Funny, because I’ve never been an egg person. Probably because eggs are breakfast food and I am not a breakfast person. I’m a coffee person. Anyway.
Eggs. For dinner. Magic.
And so, for your urgent dinner needs:

SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND PESTO PASTA SKILLET WITH BAKED EGGS

14388870944451 lb angelhair pasta cooked el dente
3 tablespoons pesto
1 tablesoon sun-dried tomatoes (in oil so they are more of a sauce rather than a dried fruit)
1/2 fresh Parmesan (or to desired taste).
6 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
optional: bacon crumbles

Prepare pasta per package directions, drain and return to pot. Add pesto, sun dried tomatoes, and part. Stir in the warm pot until cheese is melty and the sauces are well combined with the pasta. Spoon mixture into a well-oiled (olive oil) cast iron skillet. Smooth out until settled and even in the pan. Using a spoon, create small “nests” in the pasta and crack one egg into each nest. Slide the whole skillet into a 375 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked to desired preference. I like mine over-easy. Top with more parm or with bacon crumbles. Serve up to your ravenous Loves.
Enjoy!

Savory Summer Squash and Angel Hair pasta

Summer is the season of garden glut. Gorgeous, true. But glut just the same. We have the season of strawberries and then beans. Followed by the gorge of cucumbers and  tomatoes. And then of course, summer squash. And if you garden, chances are your summer is awash is all the produce. Never fear. I’m here to help. And by ‘help’ I mean I will assist you in eating. Because I’m good at eating. It’s my talent. I am particularly good at eating pasta.

And so. Here’s a recipe that brings the gorgeous glut of summer squash together with that steadfast fail-safe: pasta dinner.

SAVORY SUMMER SQUASH AND ANGEL HAIR PASTA

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1 lb. Angel Hair Pasta (or other pasta shape of your choosing)
1 Tablespoon diced garlic.
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 Cup raisins (golden or brown)
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
2-3 cups of zucchini
Parmesan to top

Prepare pasta as per package directions (or you can substitute whatever pasta you prefer.)
In a large stir-fry pan, brown garlic in avocado oil, or whatever oil you prefer.
Add raisins and chopped walnuts. (Even if you’re not a walnut fan—personally, I’m not—add them anyway. Their taste sweetens as they cook and they add the loveliest texture to this dish!)
Slice summer squash in half-moons and toss with the raisin mixture until just tender—you don’t want them mushy.
Heap over pasta and top with grated parmesan. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of chilled white wine.