I bet many of you think I eat completely homemade dinners every night. And for the most part, that’s accurate. We don’t often order out during the week. But, DO use meal delivery services (Get $35 off Sun Basket meals!) a lot of weeks and I DO use cooking shortcuts in many of my own home creations. While “from scratch” is my preferred method of cooking, let’s be real. Who has time for that every day when you have a full time job, a long commute and an infant at home? The common thread of all my recipes this year has been quick and simple. Today’s Pesto Zoodles with Chicken Meatballs, Feta and Tomatoes recipe fits right into this mantra.
So how is this recipe a faster version of a meal? Well, I bought pre-made, pre-cooked chicken meatballs for starters. They cut cooking time in more than half, not to mention they cut out all the prep! I simply just thrown them in a pan to heat through and voila. Use whatever brand your heat desires and honestly, they don’t even need to be chicken. Use tofu meatballs if that’s your fancy. I just personally love Aidells carmelized onion chicken meatballs (NOT an ad, just truly enjoy them!) and I always keep some on hand in the house for last minute meals.
The other short-cut, if you want to take it, is buying pre-spiralized zucchini noodles. All my local grocers now have these in the produce section. But I warn you, you will pay up for this. You’re really just paying for the convenience. On occasion I indulge this cheat. But, when I don’t I use a spiralizer machine (linking the one I have below). It honestly, is pretty quick and easy to use. But, there is cleanup involved.
Either way, this dish is on the table in 30 minutes. Its healthy, herbacious and I love the punch from the feta cheese rather than a traditional parmesan paired with pesto. So don’t feel guilty, take the easy way out when it comes to dinner time every now and then.
…all for the love of the dish
- 2 large zucchinis
- 1 lbs store bought pre-cooked chicken meatballs (I love Aidells)
- 6 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- for the Pesto
- 2 cups basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice from one lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- First make the pesto: Add all ingredients to blender and pulse until smooth. Add more olive oil if you need more liquid and you like a looser texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Next spiralize your zucchini. You want about 4 cups for this dish.
- Heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add tomatoes. saute until the skins have slightly browned and have started to crack (ie. burst) about 5 minutes.
- remove tomatoes and set aside. Add an additional 1 tbsp oil to the pan. Add the chicken meatballs and cook about 5 minutes until just starting to brown. Add in 1/4 cup vegetable broth and turn down heat to medium. Continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add the meatballs to the plate with the tomatoes to be used in a few minutes.
- Wipe the pan and add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. once glistening, add your zucchini noodles. Cook until just softened about 3-5 minutes. Add back the tomatoes and meatballs. Pour in the pesto and toss well to coat everything.
- Top off with your crumbled feta and serve.
… all for the love of the dish