Zucchini Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Zucchini Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs - Candy Coated Culinista

Zucchini Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs – Candy Coated Culinista

My love of photography and Toronto has rewarded me. I love my city and I am constantly exploring it no matter the time or weather conditions. One very early morning on the way to work it must have been -27 this December morning and I saw a gingerbread “Toronto scape” presented by KitchenAid Canada. It was gingerbread pieces made by local bakery The Rolling Pin to resemble Toronto buildings. I took the picture, because that’s what I do and I used the hashtag made from gingerbread not knowing I had entered myself into a contest of sorts. Cut to me receiving a DM that I won a Professional 5 Series Mixer & Spiralizer and after answer a skill-testing question correctly these babies where shipped to me. I can’t wait to give my new mixer a try as this one is bigger than my other KitchenAid Custom series mixer and I will not have to bake in batches anymore; which will save me time or I can start making multi flavoured layered cakes and mix at the same time. I was over the moon with excitement when I found out I won this awesome prize and I have many more recipes in mind for my new toys and also a request for apple pie using my gadgets.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: about 15 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Inspired from Williams & Sonoma

Ingredients
Tomato Sauce

• 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 red onion, diced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp fresh thyme
• 1 tsp fresh parsley
• 1 tsp fresh dill
• 1 tsp fresh oregano
• 1 tsp fresh rosemary
• ¼ green pepper, finely diced
• ¼ red pepper, finely diced
• 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
• 2 cups tomato sauce
Meatballs
• 500g ground turkey
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tsp fresh thyme
• 1 tsp fresh parsley
• 1 tsp fresh dill
• 1 tsp fresh oregano
• 1 tsp fresh rosemary
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ½ tsp paprika
• ½ tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ small red onion, diced
• 1 cup panko bread crumbs
• 2 eggs
• 1 large zucchini, trimmed and spiralized
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Eggplant Ragu
• 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 red onion, diced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp fresh thyme
• 1 tsp fresh parsley
• 1 tsp fresh dill
• 1 tsp fresh oregano
• 1 tsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp dried basil
• ¼ green pepper, finely diced
• ¼ red pepper, finely diced
• 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
• 2 cups tomato sauce
• 1 eggplant, cut into cubes

Assembly
Tomato Sauce

1. In a medium size saucepan over medium heat warm olive oil.
2. Add onion and cloves and sauté until translucent.
3. Season with herbs and spices.
4. Add green, red peppers, balsamic vinegar and add tomato sauce.
5. Let flavours merry and turn temperature to low heat to simmer.
Meatballs
1. Place ground turkey in a large bowl and add garlic, herbs, spices, Worcestershire sauce, red onion, bread crumbs, eggs and spiralized zucchini.
2. Combined and form into meatballs.
3. In a frying pan over medium-high heat warm extra virgin olive oil.
4. Sear meatballs on all sides in batches; about 1 minute per side.
5. Transfer meatballs to tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add zucchini to pan and cook for no more than 4 minutes.
7. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.
Eggplant Ragu (Vegan Option)
1. In a medium size saucepan over medium heat warm extra virgin olive oil.
2. Add onion and cloves and sauté until translucent.
3. Season with herbs and spices.
4. Add green, red peppers, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce and eggplant.
5. Let flavours merry and turn temperature to low heat.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I was beyond excited to use my spiralizer and it couldn’t be any easier to use. The zucchini was spiraled and crunchy and it makes a wonderful substitute if you don’t want to have carbohydrates. The turkey zucchini meatballs were so lovely that I think this will be a new way for me to enjoy meatballs. I will still make my Italian style meatballs; but this is now a healthier alternative for me. The eggplant ragu came about when I thought to take this recipe one step further and make a meatless vegan recipe. I have always been of the mindset that if I could prepare tasty and flavourful vegetarian and vegan recipes I could increase my meatless days to about three days a week and if I can make recipes like this it would be a no brainer. Also if you have an audience that you think would question the whole zucchini spaghetti, then serve the turkey meatballs with spaghetti pasta instead. These few recipes can be combined in different ways and it’s still just as memorable.

Zucchini Spaghetti and Eggplant Ragu - Candy Coated Culinista

Zucchini Spaghetti and Eggplant Ragu – Candy Coated Culinista

KitchenAid Gingerbread Scape - Candy Coated Culinista

KitchenAid Gingerbread Scape – Candy Coated Culinista

Mixer & Spiralizer - Candy Coated Culinista

Mixer & Spiralizer – Candy Coated Culinista

Lemony Kale

Lemony Kale - Candy Coated Culinista

Lemony Kale – Candy Coated Culinista

So good it doesn’t even need to be a side. This dish stands alone.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Canadian Living

Ingredients
• 1 ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 ½ garlic cloves, sliced
• 3 cups torn and stemmed kale
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• ½ pinch of kosher salt
• ½ pinch of ground black pepper

Assembly
1. Over medium-high heat using a cast iron skillet cook garlic for about one minute.
2. Add in the kale and cook until wilted and dark green, for about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the lemon juice, salt & pepper and serve.

Tips

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have made this recipe twice already and even had the intention of sharing this; but I just couldn’t bring myself to save any. The citrusy-garlicky dressing was a beautiful accompaniment to the kale. I ate it just by itself and loved every bite.

Pomegranate Glazed Carrot Medley

Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Carrots - Candy Coated Culinista

Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Carrots – Candy Coated Culinista

If I can find a way to use pomegranate I will. I have always loved pomegranates and even though they are a mess to eat I enjoy cracking into it. I remember as a child when my mom gave me a pomegranate I would run upstairs to change into an old t-shirt and then have at it while sitting in front of the TV, enjoying my cartoons. This is still my routine to this day; but I also love finding different ways to incorporate pomegranate into dishes.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 35 – 40 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 150 ml pomegranate juice
• 2 tbsp pure fancy molasses
• 4 medium sized carrots
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Pinch, sea salt
• Pinch black pepper
• ¼ cup cashews
• ¼ cup dried blueberries
• 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat; let pomegranate juice reduce (10 – 15 minutes) and then stir in the molasses.
3. Peel carrots and cut on the bias and place to the roasting pan and coat the carrots.
4. Bake for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
5. Drizzle glaze over and bake for another 10 minutes.
6. Add in the blueberries and cashews and bake for another 5 minutes.
7. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Tips
• You can make the glaze in advance if necessary.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The taste of this dish was great. I loved the addition of it as a glaze and this is a great and healthy vegan dish. This would be a great side for Thanksgiving or Christmas and I will be adding this to my Holiday menu.

Avocado Buns ….. What in the world!

Avocado Bun  - Candy Coated Culinista

Avocado Bun – Candy Coated Culinista

Has the mighty avocado just jumped the shark? I saw the weirdest thing the other day which is all the buzz and the latest fad. Avocados are now being used as a substitute for a bun; hmmm, now I love avocado and can have one every day but as a bun? This is a great gluten free option; but lets get real here it is not a burger bun. It looks visually striking and interesting but this can only be just a fad right? I did a few food experiments to see if this is a viable option.
Here are some of my test recipes.

Smoked Salmon on a Sesame seeds Avocado Bun

Ingredients
• Avocado, cut in half and skinned peeled away also slice a piece off the bottom bun so it won’t tip
• Tomato slice
• Spinach
• Smoked salmon
• Red onion, sliced
• Sesame seeds, sprinkled on top of avocado
• Olives, top of the avocado bun
• Sweet pickles, top of the avocado bun

Assembly
1. Top ingredients on to avocado and serve.

Bacon & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients
• Avocado, cut in half and skinned peeled away also slice a piece off the bottom bun so it won’t tip
• Sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
• Green bell pepper, sliced
• Bacon
• Fried, slightly runny
• Poppy seeds, sprinkled on top of avocado

Assembly
1. Top ingredients on to avocado and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Both these were delicious; but to me nothing beats eating an avocado with a little salt and lemon cut in half and using the shell as a bowl. Sometimes simplicity is the best and honestly you can’t eat this like a true burger with an avocado bun; unless you’re used to eating your burgers with a knife and fork regularly. I may secretly enjoy this at home deconstructed or when I just don’t want a bun; but to truly use the avocado like a bun is near impossible. It’s still delicious but very impractical as a bun and calling this a bun is an enormous stretch to say the least.

Avocado Bun  - Candy Coated Culinista

Avocado Bun – Candy Coated Culinista

E is for … Sweet Soy Asian Eggplant

E is for … Sweet Soy Asian Eggplant - Candy Coated Culinista

E is for … Sweet Soy Asian Eggplant – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 5-10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Sauce
• 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• ½ tbsp granulated sugar
• 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
• ¼ cup water
• Black pepper, to taste
• Tamarind spice, to taste
Eggplant
• 2 tbsp sesame oil
• 4 Asian eggplants, sliced into thick strips
• 5 cloves garlic, minced
• Green onion, as garnish optional

Assembly
1. Mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, water, salt and black pepper together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. In a cast iron skillet heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat.
3. When oil is hot add the eggplant, but don’t overcrowd and let brown turning over to ensure all side are golden and tender.
4. When the eggplants are almost browned add garlic.
5. Add in the sauce and reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer and reduce down until the eggplant has absorbed some of the sauce.
6. Plate the eggplants and pour the remaining sauce over top and serve.
7. Garnish with green onion if desired.

Tips
• Replace tamarind spice with red chilli flakes if unavailable.
• Serve with jasmine rice to make a completed vegetarian dish.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Honestly I always find eggplant to be mushy but even though in some areas like this; the flavours from the eggplants far outweighed my displeasure for mushy eggplant. This was so vibrant and flavourful I couldn’t resist.

Green Beans with Mustard Seeds

Green Beans with Mustard Seeds - Candy Coated Culinista

Green Beans with Mustard Seeds – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 4
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Seven Spoons

Ingredients
• Sea salt
• 255g green beans, trimmed
• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 ½ tsp mustard seeds
• 1 small onion, minced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• A couple handfuls of baby kale or spinach leaves

Assembly
1. Set aside a large bowl with ice and very cold water.
2. Boil a large pot of water and generously salt.
3. Blanch green beans and transfer to ice water bath.
4. Using a large frying pan over medium-high heat; heat oil and fry mustard seeds.
5. Add in the onion once the mustard seeds start to pop and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
6. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds.
7. Drain the green beans and add to frying pan and cook for 2 to 5 minutes.
8. Add in the spinach at the last moment and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe could have used more mustard for me. I think I’d add some Dijon mustard also for some extra mustard punch. This is a simple vegetarian side that can be made in a matter of minutes.

Broccoli Rabe with Vegetarian Bagna Cauda

Brocolli Rabe with Vegetarian Bagna Cauda - Candy Coated Culinista

Brocolli Rabe with Vegetarian Bagna Cauda – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Seven Spoons

Ingredients
• 455g broccoli rabe, trimmed of tough stems
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzle
• Sea salt
• Black pepper
• 1 or 2 anchovy fillets, chopped
• 5 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 small onion, diced
• 2 tbsp unsalted vegetable margarine, cold
• Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
2. Toss broccoli rabe with olive oil on a baking sheet.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast until tender for 7 to 10 minutes and turn once at the halfway point.
5. In a small saucepan warm olive oil, garlic and onions over low heat until melted and well combined.
6. Whisk in margarine and balsamic vinegar and spoon dressing over broccoli rabe and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The original recipe called to use anchovies, but I wanted to make this a vegan dish. I was making this recipe and started adding onion for some reason, so I just added them to the recipe. I find Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) to be very bitter and the sweetness of the raspberry vinegar helped to cut some of the bitterness but not that much. I will eat this again I just have to teach my taste buds to love rapini more.

Skillet Penne Pasta Dinner

Skillet Penne Pasta Dinner - Candy Coated Culinista

Skillet Penne Pasta Dinner – Candy Coated Culinista

When I was a child pasta night was always Friday and my mom would make her tried and true pasta dish. I have been reminiscing and thinking about my mom more than usual lately and I decided to pay homage and make my version of her dish.

Yield/Serving: 8
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 cups Penne Rigate
• 2 lbs lean ground beef
• 1 tsp Sea salt
• ½ tsp Black pepper
• 1 tsp Paprika
• ½ tsp Season salt
• 1 tsp Onion powder
• ½ tsp Garlic powder
• 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
• ½ cup white mushrooms, chopped
• half of one small white onion
• ½ cup of grape tomatoes, halved
• 2 cups marinara sauce
• Generous handful of Italian parsley
• ½ cup of mozzarella cheese
• ½ cup of cheddar cheese
• ¼ cup of parmesan cheese

Assembly
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water cook penne until al dente.
2. Drain in a colander once cooked.
3. Using a 12” cast iron skillet brown the ground beef and add the salt, pepper, paprika, season salt, onion powder and garlic powder.
4. After 5 minutes stir in the diced garlic along with the mushrooms, onion and grape tomatoes and let cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
6. Stir in the marinara sauce to the meat mixture and add parsley and cook at a simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
7. Pour pasta into the skillet and incorporate into the meat mixture.
8. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes to allow cheese to melt.
9. Serve.

Tips
• Freeze some to bake at a later time.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I was so happy with how this tasted and turned out and it was true to my mom’s dish. My mom used a stovetop skillet; but since I have a nice cast iron skillet I decided to take it to the oven and bake it in the dish. I just wish the thing was a little lighter is all.

Roasted Rosemary Rutabaga & Veggies

Roasted Rosemary Rutabaga & Veggies - Candy Coated Culinista

Roasted Rosemary Rutabaga & Veggies – Candy Coated Culinista

When Thanksgiving and the autumn season rolls around I always want to incorporate rutabaga into something and this simple side dish fits the bill.

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into a thick julienned
• 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
• Green beans, generous handful
• Fresh rosemary, off the stem and chopped a little
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.
3. Place vegetables on roasting pan and sprinkle with rosemary and toss.
4. Bake for 1 hour.
5. Plate and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Roasting veggies couldn’t be easier. Once I finished peeling the rutabaga all I did was coat the vegetables and tossed them in the oven. The green beans and rutabaga were still crunchy and I could taste the rosemary. This is a great no fuss side dish.

Roasted Rutabagas, Green Beans & Carrots - Candy Coated Culinista

Roasted Rutabagas, Green Beans & Carrots – Candy Coated Culinista

Homemade Tomato Sauce II

Homemade Tomato Sauce II - Candy Coated Culinista

Homemade Tomato Sauce II – Candy Coated Culinista

I was in an experimental mood and decided to revamp my Homemade Tomato Sauce recipe.

Yield/Serving: almost 1 litre
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 3 carrots, rough chop
• 8 Roma tomatoes, rough chop
• 1 bulb plus 7 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 small onion, rough chop
• 6 stalks of celery, rough chop
• 2 small red pepper, rough chop
• 2 small orange pepper, rough chop
• 2 small yellow pepper, rough chop
• 227g whole mushrooms, rough chopped
• 1 cup wine vinegar
• ¾ cup tomato paste
• 2 tbsp basil
• 2 tbsp sea salt
• 2 tbsp ground black pepper
• 796ml canned tomatoes

Assembly
1. Put olive oil into a pot and let heat up on medium high heat.
2. Add the carrots and let the cook until they are lightly browned.
3. Now add all the other vegetables along with the wine vinegar and tomato paste and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4. Puree the vegetables with the immersion blender.
5. Add the basil, salt, black pepper, canned tomato and let cook for 30 minutes.
6. Stir frequently as it will bubble.

Tips
• Freeze remaining in some Mason Jars. Remember to leave some space for expansion. (use mason jars or any thicker walled glass jar that can take the freezer temperatures
• You will need an immersion blender.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe had an earthier taste to it. The mushrooms and the garlic attributed to this and it has a lot more vegetables than a store-bought tomato sauce, which always makes me happy.

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