Lemony Oregano Chicken and ‘Zoodles’

By Corinne

We’ve had a pretty warm summer here and in a house with no AC, I try not to make it any hotter inside than necessary, which means we do a lot of cooking on the BBQ.  As much as I enjoy a burger or a smokey, it’s easy to let things get monotonous when defaulting to the BBQ due to heat!

While this serves 2, it is easy to scale up. While I usually want leftovers for lunches, we were going out of town and I wanted to clear out the fridge. To be honest, I usually don’t blog things that I don’t absolutely love, and this probably wasn’t my favourite.  I found the dressing a smidge sweet for my taste(felt like I should have used regular red wine vinegar), and I prefer my zoodles hot. But my husband absolutely loved it, and fellow foodie TL insisted I blog it after she tried the leftovers the next day. This would also work with a generous helping of romaine lettuce to make it more a salad rather than the zoodles if you prefer.

You will need:

For the marinade and chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 shallot minced- or about 1 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Dressing

  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp mint
  • few grinds of pepper
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar – I used lambrusco red wine vinegar, which is quite a bit sweeter than regular red wine vinegar

Salad and add ins

  • 1 roasted red pepper cut into strips
  • 6 pepperoncini peppers
  • 1 cup mini pearl bocconcini
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 smallish zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 tsp salt
  • other add ins that would have been welcome – feta instead of bocconcini, cucumber, red onion, olives.

Whisk together all ingredients for marinade. Add chicken breasts and allow to marinate in fridge for at least two hours, or up to over night.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside – avoid adding salt the the dressing as the zucchini will be a bit salty.

Spiralize zucchini. Place in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with 1-2 tsp of salt. Give it a good stir around and allow to drain over colander. Allow zucchini to sit and drain for around 30 min. In this time it will release quite a bit of moisture, and end up with a still crisp but almost cooked texture.

Prepare add ins. I made my own roasted red pepper on the bbq because I didn’t happen to have any in the fridge – jarred ones will work just fine 🙂 To roast a pepper on the bbq, halve, remove seeds and brush with canola oil. BBQ over direct heat on high for a few minutes on each side until skin is bubbled and blackened. Remove from heat, and when cool, remove skin. Slice up pepperoncinis, cherry tomatoes and any other add ins you are using.

Remove chicken from marinade, and BBQ over medium direct heat for about 7 minutes on each side, keeping the lid closed as much as possible. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken breast.

When chicken is finished set aside to cool for a minute while you assemble plates. Put zoodles on the bottom, then arrange all other add ins on top. Slice chicken breasts and place on top. Give dressing a whisk and divide between plates. Yum! A healthy supper that didn’t require the oven 🙂

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Bocconcini Stuffed Meatballs with “Zoodles”

By Corinne

I feel somehow like cheesy stuffed meatballs get a pass here, since you’re not using “real” noodles, I mean really, it’s at least a serving of vegetables, right?

This is a wonderful summer meal. I love making a double batch of the meatballs and freezing them before they are cooked for a quick meal on another night.

You can of course use regular noodles rather than the zucchini ones, but I do really like them in this.

Serves: 4

Time: 30 min-1 hour -> depending on if you make your own sauce or not 🙂

Oven: 400F

You will need:

For meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 medium italian sausages (bump it up to hot if you like the heat!)
  • 20 bocconcini cheese balls 🙂

For the sauce – I always use my favourite drunken red sauce, but feel free to use your favourite marinara.

For the sauce:

  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 thai chili pepper – or other small hot pepper, finely minced
  • 1/2 a bottle of red wine – I like to use a cabernet sauvignon
  • 1 can of diced or whole tomatoes *you will be blending them up, so it doesn’t really matter
  • 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pat of butter for sautéing the vegetables

For the noodles:

  • 4 medium/largish  zucchini- spiralized
  • 1tsp salt
  • or your favourite pasta noodles 🙂

Make your favourite red sauce or follow these instructions for mine 🙂

Sauce

Add onion, celery and pat of butter to a thick bottomed pan you are making your sauce in. Cook onion and celery on medium low for at least 10-15 min. If you have the time to let your onion caramelize rather than just soften, it will only make your sauce better.

Add garlic and chili pepper to the onion and celery just before you add the wine. Give them a good stir around, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add a little bit less than half a bottle of the delicious wine you are using for this recipe. If you really feel like the need to measure here, that should be about 1 1/4 cup of wine, but I’ve never actually measured. You end up using half a 750mL bottle of wine. If you add all the wine here and then reduce, that totally works.  I usually reserve about 1/4 cup to add to the sauce later.  Let this bubble away for a while until it is reduced by a bit more than half. Add the can of tomatoes. Let this simmer away for 20 minutes, or as long as you like if you’ve got all day (in which case you will need to add some extra liquid to replace that lost in a long simmer).

Use an immersion blender to smooth out your sauce. Add remaining 1/4 cup of red wine (if you managed to reserve it) and 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste.

Meatballs

For meatballs, mix together ground beef and sausage. If you are using a good flavourful sausage, no other seasoning will be needed. Roll a smallish golf ball sized ball, then push an indent into it with the bocconcini, pull the meat around the cheese, give it a good roll and move on to the next one.

When you are finished rolling your meatballs, pop them in the 400F oven for about 25 minutes. Depending on the colour/seasoning of the sausage used, they may still look ‘pink’ but remember there’s really not that much meat wrapped around the ball of cheese!

Noodles

Spiralize your noodles (or prepare your favourite pasta). It will look like far more than you can possibly need, but they will shrink! Put zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, mixing noodles around to distribute salt. Let them sit for 10-15 min. They will let out quite a lot of moisture in this time.

Just before your meatballs are finished, pop the zucchini in a bowl and then into the microwave. This time will depend on your microwave a bit- in mine (the smallest, cheapest microwave I could buy!) it takes about 5-6 minutes, but in my friend’s super power microwave it only takes about 2.5 min. You really just need them hot, don’t overcook them or they will lose their noodle like texture and turn to mush.

Plate noodles and top with sauce and a few meatballs.

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