Meat

Juicy Turkey Meatballs on Zoodle Nests

6 zoodle nests with turkey meatballs topped with basil oil dressing

 

Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned, giant meatball on top of their pasta?!  Something about a softball sized meatball just makes my heart happy and feel like a kid again.  But since I don’t have my adolescent metabolism anymore, and still want that big ol’ meatball feel good meal, I had to make some adjustments.

Lo and behold this wonderfully satisfying juicy turkey meatball recipe, atop a nest of ZOODLES.  That’s right people, a perfectly crafted pedestal of zucchini noodles to prop up the most beautiful turkey meatball!

 

4 turkey meatballs on zucchini noodle nest topped with basil oil dressing

 

This meal is the real MVP because it tricks your brain into thinking you’re eating spaghetti and meatballs, when you’re actually just eating a bunch of lean protein and vitamins.  This meal is very low carb, high in fiber, and packed with vitamins.  Gluten free, keto, paleo, and whole30 approved… that’s called a win-win-win in my book!

This meal is simple to make and looks so beautiful when serving!  Let’s break it down…

Start by prepping your zoodle nests.  This can be done the night before or at the start of cooking.  Using a spiralizer, slice two large zucchinis and set aside.  If making ahead of time, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

What type of spiralizer should I use?

At the start of making your meal, begin by forming your zoodle nests.

 

3 zucchini noodle nests on parchment paper

 

How to make zucchini noodle nests:

Take a handful of zucchini noodles and pull up off the counter.  Cut the long strands with kitchen scissors, and lay off to the side in a pile.  Using a fork, begin to twirl the pile of noodles at the center.  Using the palm of your opposite hand, twirl the noodles against your palm to form a tight nest.

 

3 zoodle nests topped with oil and salt and pepper

 

Once your zoodle nest is formed, gently transfer to a parchment lined, or greased, baking sheet.  I transfer mine by scooping up the bottom with a fork and cupping the outside with my hand.  Form 6 zoodle nests with the noodles from 2 large zucchinis.  

Once transferred to baking sheet, spray the tops with olive oil or avocado oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Set aside to bake at the same time as the turkey meatballs.

 

individual turkey meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl

 

Now onto our juicy turkey meatballs!  Take all turkey meatball ingredients and add to a large mixing bowl.  Using both your hands, mix together all ingredients by squeezing and massaging the ground turkey mixture (if you have kids, this is always a fun step for them to participate in!).

 

pre cooked turkey meatballs on a skillet

 

Once all ingredients are incorporated, separate into 6 chunks, and using both hands, roll into a large ball.  Place in a greased skillet or frying pan and brown tops and bottoms over medium heat. This shouldn’t take longer than 1-2 min each side.

 

browned juicy turkey meatballs
browned turkey meatballs before baking

 

Take both your zoodle nests and meatballs, and transfer to a 350 degree oven and bake for 25 min (zoodles) and 20 min (turkey meatballs).  Once finished baking, transfer zoodle nests to a plate, top with one meatball and drizzle with Basil Oil Dressing .  

 

turkey meatballs on a black skillet with zoodle nests on a baking pan

 

Serve warm and enjoy!

 

6 zoodle nests topped with turkey meatballs on parchment paper
Turkey meatballs on zoodle nests

 

turkey meatball in a zoodle nest on a decorative plate

Juicy Turkey Meatballs on Zoodle Nests

Juicy turkey meatballs in a zucchini noodle (zoodle) nest, drizzled with basil oil dressing. Healthy ingredients, keto, paleo, whole30, and gluten free!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dressing, healthy, meatball, noodle, turkey, zucchini
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground turkey room temp
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup purple onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil

Zoodle Nests

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  While oven is preheating, prep zucchini noodles and meatballs.

Zoodle Nests

  • Using a spiralizer, spiralize zucchini into long noodle like strands.  Once you have both zucchinis cut into noodles, begin to form into "zoodle" nests.  
  • To form a nest, grab a handful of zoodles off the counter and cut the extra long strands with kitchen scissors.  Stick a fork in the middle of your zoodle pile and twirl against the inside of your other hand.  Keep twirling until a nest is formed.
  • Use the fork to scoop the bottom of your zoodle nest and rest it on a greased baking pan or a baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Continue until all zoodles are gone.
  • Spray tops of zoodles with cooking spray, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Turkey Meatballs

  • Heat a skillet or frying pan with oil over medium heat.  You will know its ready when the oil runs thin.
  • Take all ingredients for the turkey meatballs and dump into a large mixing bowl.  Make sure turkey has warmed up close to room temperature so not to freeze the coconut oil.
  • Using both hands, mix ingredients together in bowl to form a large ball.  Divide into 6 pieces and roll into balls for larger meatballs,  or pull out smaller golf ball size pieces to roll into smaller meatballs. 
  • Once balls are formed, gently place on stovetop pan and begin browning.  Cook on 2 sides for about 1-2 minutes each.  When both sides are slightly browned, remove from stove stop.
  • Transfer to baking safe dish, or use skillet and bake in oven for 20 min.
  • Put your zoodle nests in oven for 25 min.  To save time, bake both zoodles and meatballs in the oven at the same time.
  • When both are finished baking, transfer zoodles to a plate, top with a meatball, and drizzle basil oil dressing on top.
Holiday, Meat

Valentine’s Day Dinner: Putting it All Together

seasoned ribeye, mac and cheese, and asparagus

 

So now you have each of the individual recipes for this dinner, but how the heck do you coordinate all of these dishes without setting fire to the house?!  Do not fear my friends, find all the answers you need on timing and prep in this here blog post 🙂

[Prep Steak]

 

seasoned ribeye in a skillet, with sides of mac and cheese and asparagus

 

First place to start, is the steak marinade.  Either the night before, or a coupe hours before dinner you’re going to want to put the marinade on your steak.  This will take all of 5-10 min, and when you’re finished, just wrap it tightly and set it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. 

Depending on your time or how you want to set up dinner, the side dishes can be made right before serving, or prepared ahead of time, and then baked in the oven 30 minutes before serving.

[Prep Side Dishes]

mac and cheese and asparagus before being baked

 

Let’s start with the seasoned asparagus first!  Prep work for this is very minimal, and really just requires assembly.  Make sure to rinse your asparagus spears, trim the bottoms off and then lay in a greased baking dish.  Drizzle with oil and season with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning, cover with foil, and set aside.  If being prepped more than an hour before baking, store in the fridge.

 

close up of mac and cheese and asparagus in two skillets on a white table

 

Next is the mac and cheese!  Make sure to cook your noodles before starting the cheese, that way you can stir them in as soon as the cheese is ready!  If you let the cheese sit for too long it will start to harden, and then you have to go through the process of heating it up again, which is just a pain!  Once you add the panko crust topping, cover with foil and set aside, or store in fridge if prepped more than an hour before baking.

A tip to save you time…cook your noodles the night before and store in a air tight zip lock bag in the fridge.

[Bake side dishes]

45 min before the estimated dinner time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  When the preheat is finished, pop the side dishes in and bake for 30 min.  Cover both with foil for first 20 min, then remove for last 10.

While side dishes are baking, pour yourself a nice glass of wine to sip on, because you’re dinner is almost done!  Last step…cooking the ribeyes!

 

macaroni and cheese and asparagus in skillets with a bottle of wine

 

[Sear Steak]

Remove your ribeyes from the fridge and set on the counter.  Take a large frying pan or skillet and add butter.  Set to medium-high heat.  Once the butter is melted, begin searing your ribeyes.  This will take anywhere from 7-15 min.

 

two ribeyes in a skillet with a side of mac and cheese and asparagus

 

By the time your steaks are done, your side dishes will be finishing up in the oven!  Serve however you like and enjoy!

 

ribeyes in skillet with side of mac and cheese and asparagus

Ribeye Steak Marinade

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dinner, marinade, ribeye, steak
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 ribeyes bone-in, or no bone
  • 4 tbsp grass-fed butter

Steak Marinade

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning enough to cover both surfaces of ribeye

Instructions

  • Prepare steak marinade by mixing together oil and garlic paste in a small bowl.  Brush over both sides of each ribeye.
  • Cover both sides of ribeyes with Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Wrap tightly and let marinate in fridge for a couple hours or overnight.
  • Begin cooking right before serving.  Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat on stovetop.  Add butter and let melt.
  • Once butter has melted, add ribeyes and sear 1 minute on one side, and then flip and sear 1 minute on the opposite side.  Repeat process until desired temperature is met.  This will take anywhere from 7-15 minutes depending on desired temp.  As a reference point, for a medium steak cook for 10 min.
  • During periods of searing, take a spoon and scoop melted butter and fat drippings over top of ribeyes.
  • Serve after cooking.

 

Seasoned Asparagus

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: asparagus, baked, everything but the bagel, healthy, seasoned, simple, trader joes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bundle fresh asparagus
  • 2 tbsp EVOO or avocado oil
  • Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Trader Joe's

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a small baking dish.
  • Take bundle of asparagus and cut an inch off the bottom stem.
  • Rinse asparagus, then lay in baking dish.  Drizzle oil overtop and season with Everything But The Bagel.  Add as much seasoning as you'd like, or enough to cover surface of asparagus.
  • Bake for 30 min.

 

THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: creamy, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, nutmeg
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 pint half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 block velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 block sharp white cheddar cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg ground
  • 1 1 lb box rotini pasta cooked
  • 1/2 cup panko

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay out all of your ingredients ahead of time, as the sauce will need to be stirred while cooking to prevent hardening or burning.
  • Prep the cheeses by cutting them into thin slices (that way they melt in the saucepan quicker).  Allow cream to get close to room temp, to avoid curdling.
  • Once ingredients are laid out, add butter to saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to melt and then whisk in flour.
  • Slowly pour cream into saucepan in stages, while continuously stirring.  This will thicken and create the roux for your cheese sauce.
  • Once you have added all the cream and created your roux, start to add the cheeses and continually stir.  Add cheese in stages (a handful of velveeta and cheddar at one time).  Stir in cheese until it melts, then add another handful until everything is blended together. 
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.
  • Add most of your cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir (I leave out a handful of noodles so it's extra creamy!).
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and stir in 1/2 cup panko.  Take panko mixture and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil on top for first 20 min.

Notes

  • I use Vermont Sharp White Cheddar by Cracker Barrel for my choice of cheddar.
  • Rotini pasta is my favorite to use with mac and cheese, because I find that its shape is best for grabbing the sauce.

 

Meat

Buffalo Chicken Boats

sweet potatoes stuffed with buffalo chicken and topped with scallions, celery, feta, and avocado

 

I don’t think there is anything more satisfying to a mid-westerner than a big ‘ole plate with some form of BUFFALO CHICKEN on it.  I may be east coast born and raised, but butter my buns and call me a biscuit, because the mid west is doin something right with this buffalo chicken lifestyle and I am down with the get down.

Make it a dip, eat it with chips, fry it up between two buns, slap it on a pizza, cook it up healthy…wait whaaaaaaat?  Buffalo chicken can be HEALTHY?!

Pay attention people, because this means you can eat buffalo chicken without the subsequent guilt trip…so who’s with me?!

 

shredded buffalo chicken in baked sweet potato with Frank's red hot bottle

 

Not only do you get buffalo chicken for dinner, but you get it in a sweet potato boat to boot!  This is probably the closest one gets to heaven on earth…with a side of lean protein, healthy carbs, and good fats!  

Cooking the chicken and sweet potato take some time, but assembly is very very quick and simple, which means you have time to catch up on other things while dinner is cooking!  

Like catching up of your Modern Family episodes, or re-watching season 5 of Friends when Monica and Chandler are in the throws of a seriously heated, yet secretive relationship, and nobody knows but Joey who hates keeping secrets, and then Phoebe finds out because Ross buys naked guy’s apartment, and…well, you’ll just have to re-watch it because this dinner is SO DARN EASY to make that you’ll have extra time!

 

baked sweet potato with middle scooped out, stuffed with shredded buffalo chicken and topped with scallions, celery, and avocado

 

Start by taking chicken breasts and placing them in a slow cooker.  Add Frank’s Red Hot, ghee (or grass-fed butter), garlic, broth, and let it cook on high for 3 hours or low for 7-8 while at work.  Once you’re chicken is done cooking, you’ll shred it directly in the slow cooker and then fork it out into your sweet potato boats before chowing down!

Sweet potato prep just requires the spud to be cut in half, drizzled with oil, and baked in tin foil for 60 min.  Once finished cooking, scoop out the middle of your potato, leaving some of the edges for maximum yum-factor.  I took my extra sweet potato that was scooped out and made BBQ Sweet Potato Hummus with it!

 

shredded buffalo chicken inside baked sweet potato, topped with scallions, celery, avocado, and feta cheese

 

Transfer your desired amount of shredded buffalo chicken into your sweet potato boat, and top with all the fixings!  I’m a huge fan of capsizing my boat with extra sauce from the slow cooker, because more red hot = better life.

 

shredded buffalo chicken inside baked sweet potato, topped with scallions, celery, avocado, and feta cheese 

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Buffalo Chicken Boats

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: buffalo chicken, gluten free, healthy, red hot, slow cooker, sweet potato
Servings: 4 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

  • 1-1.5 lbs organic chicken breast
  • 2 cloves garlic whole
  • 1/2 cup chicken bone broth
  • 1 cup Frank's Red Hot
  • 2 tbsp ghee or grass-fed butter

Sweet Potato Boats

  • 2 whole sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp avocado oi
  • 1/2 cup scallions chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup feta cheese

Instructions

  • In your slow cooker, add chicken, garlic, bone broth, red hot and ghee.  Cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 7-8 hours.  When finished cooking, take two forks and shred chicken directly in slow cooker.  Stir and cover with lid to keep warm before serving.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Take sweet potatoes and cut in half, long ways.  Drizzle oil over all sides of sweet potato and wrap in foil.  Place foil wrapped potatoes on a baking pan in case there is any dripping.
  • Bake for 60 min.
  • Remove potatoes from oven and let sit in foil for 10 min in order to steam.
  • While potatoes steam, prep toppings.  Chop scallions, scoop out flesh of avocado and cut into thin pieces, and chop celery.
  • After sweet potato is finished steaming, scoop out the inside flesh (leaving skin and a thin layer of flesh on the outside).  You can either use a spoon to remove flesh, or take a sharp knife and cut around the inside edge of the potato. Proceed cutting down the length, then across the width of the potato to create cubes. Pull out cubes with a fork.
  • Fill sweet potato boats with shredded buffalo chicken, top with scallions, celery, avocado, and feta cheese.