Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs



Today I’m sharing with you my new favorite dinner-in-a-hurry recipe: Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs in Homemade Marinara Sauce. Baked in the oven, and finished off with a homemade marinara sauce.  This recipe is: Quick , Easy , Healthy and sure to please.

I got the original recipe from a close friend of mine.  She got it from her mother in law.  The original recipe called for ground beef but I decided to make mine with lean ground turkey for a healthier alternative.  To add some moisture back into the meatballs, I added grated zucchini.  This is a basic meatball recipe you can easily alter to your taste. Feel free to use chopped spinach or kale if you don’t have zucchini.  For extra spice, chili powder. The possibilities are endless!

You can eat these meatballs on their own, add some crusty bread, place them over a bed of spaghetti, top them with cheese, etc. The ways to enjoy are endless.  I baked mine in advance then added them to my slow cooker on warm with some homemade marinara till we were ready to eat.  Perfect!





Serving Size: 3 meatballs

Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

10 minPrep Time:

20 minCook Time:

30 minTotal Time:

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  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup grated zucchini, drained of excess liquid
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 well beaten eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly with your hands.
  3. Roll into about 20 meatballs and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes or until cooked through and not pink in the middle.


To drain the zucchini, measure it first, then transfer it to a piece of cheesecloth or a clean and lint free dishtowel. You’ll want to let the zucchini rest a few minutes so it can begin releasing liquid then squeeze as much of the liquid out of the shredded zucchini as possible.


Healthy Shrimp Scampi over Zucchini Noodles



I am going to give you all fair warning now.  Zucchini season is upon us and it is one of my favorite vegetables.  Be prepared for numerous an abundance of zucchini recipes to start being featured!  It is such a versatile vegetable!  It can be used for and in anything!  I will however, try not to throw them all at you at once.  I will spread them out for the rest of the summer. Maybe…

Tonight’s dinner is one of my favorite ways to use zucchini.  Noodles!  Every once in a while a person needs a low carb healthy alternative to a comfort food.  This is the way to go!  So easy and quick but it looks so fancy.  I use a spiralizer to make my noodles but you could always use a mandoline to julienne the noodles as well.  Olive oil replaces butter, zucchini replaces the pasta and chicken broth replaces the wine.  Well, in some ones it can. Totally doesn’t in mine because well, I said so.  Wines gotta stay.  But that’s why we are working out, right?

Shrimp, garlic, lemon, wine, tomatoes and zucchini to the rescue for garden fresh dinner in less than 30 minutes!






Yield: 4 servings

Healthy Shrimp Scampi over Zucchini Noodles

15 minPrep Time:

10 minCook Time:

25 minTotal Time:

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  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into noodles (see note)
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)


  1. In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, heat olive oil for 1 minute.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the shrimp to the pan stirring as needed, until they are cooked throughout and pink on all sides, about 3 minutes.
  4. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl.
  5. Increase the heat to medium.
  6. Add the white wine and lemon juice to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the zucchini noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
  8. Return the shrimp along with tomatoes to the pan and toss to combine.
  9. Garish with parsley and Parmesan and serve.


To cut zucchini into noodles, use a mandoline on julienne cut or a spiralizer.






Turkey Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad



I am a big fan of pasta salads in the summer.  Non mayo salads of course.  Remember, I have a strong hatred for the gelatinous stuff.  Pasta salads are great quick and easy dinners for when we are running around to karate and soccer and other various places.  I can make them in the morning and they are ready to go for dinner!  And the leftovers the next day aren’t too shabby either!

For this pasta salad, I started by chopping my tomatoes and adding them to a large bowl.  I then add some finely minced red onion, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper and basil and mixed it all together and stuck it in the fridge to “meld” together the flavors.


While I tomatoes are chilling, I get moving on the bacon.  Unless, I am in a hurry, I don’t cook my bacon in a skillet.  I take the easy way out and bake it. Myself and my clothes don’t get splattered in grease and the clean up is much easier.  I used turkey bacon for this recipe so technically there wasn’t any grease to splatter, but I had other things to do so I didn’t want to stand over the skillet and watch it.  All you do is line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Place the desired numbers of slices on the sheet and put it in the cold oven.  Turn the oven to 375* and let it cook for 12-16 minutes or desired crispiness!

While the bacon is doing its thing in the oven, I get the pasta boiling.  For this I used whole grain cellentani.  Feel free to use whatever fun shape you want.  When the bacon is done, transfer them to a paper towel lined plate to cool for a minute.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.  Add the pasta to the tomato mixture and stir.  Diced avocados and add to the bowl as well, stirring to combine.  Crumble or chop the bacon and sprinkle it on top.  Grate some fresh Parmesan over the top and serve!  Viola!



Yield: 6 Servings

Turkey Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad

Fresh tomatoes, avocado and crispy bacon come together to create this delicious salad!

10 minPrep Time:

10 minCook Time:

20 minTotal Time:

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  • 4 small tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces whole grain pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 6 slices of cooked turkey bacon, diced
  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Put it in the fridge to chill.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well and rinse with cold water.
  4. Combined pasta to the tomato mixture and stir.
  5. Add in diced avocado and sprinkle the chopped bacon on top.
  6. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan.


If not serving right away, do not add avocado. Wait till you are about it serve so it does not brown.



Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats


The savory taste of Lasagna, without all the carbs!

As I have said before, Italian food is my comfort food.  ESPECIALLY lasagna.  I have loved lasagna since I was a little girl.  Every birthday, that is what I requested.  Homemade lasagna with rich cottage cheese or ricotta, ripe tomato sauce and gooey cheese dripping from every bite.  YUM!  I am drooling as I write this.  Now, my family likes to say I requested this every birthday because my older brother hates cottage/ricotta cheese and I enjoyed making him suffer.  That’s only half true 🙂   Though I did enjoy torturing him, I also really love lasagna!  It is my go to comfort food that I usually order whenever we go out for Italian.

I would love to say that lasagna is one of those foods that you can eat whenever you want and not gain any weight and it is healthy. Unfortunately we all know that would be a lie.  So I had to come up with a different way to enjoy my favorite comfort food without killing my diet.  I had swapped out shredded potatoes for the squash numerous times in hash brown casserole with awesome results.  I had not tried actually substituting the squash for the substance it was named after.  I knew it would be way to different a taste then regular pasta and just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

A few months ago, as I was trolling through Pinterest, I came across a recipe for baked spaghetti squash with cheese and spinach that looked absolutely fabulous.  I quickly pinned it and added the ingredients to my grocery list.   A couple days later, my best friend and her two kids came over for a play date.  Instead of ordering lunch from the local bakery like we normally do, I ask if she would be interested in trying the spaghetti squash recipe.  She agreed and I quickly put everything together to make it.  Of course, it was as good as the picture made it look but it also got me thinking.  It tasted a lot like vegetable lasagna so why couldn’t I do normal lasagna ingredients just like I did the other?

So I did.

I started by roasting the lightly oiled and seasoned spaghetti squash face down in the oven.  I have done it in the microwave before but I like the taste of the squash roasted much better. When it was done, I flipped them over and used a fork to “fluff” up the squash into strands.


 I then added 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to both halves of the squash.  You could use ricotta cheese if you prefer that.  I was using what I had on hand.  I then added 1/2 cup of my homemade vegetable marinara, then topped it all with 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.


Broil on high till the cheese is bubbly and golden and there you have it!  Low carb spaghetti squash lasagna boats!

Serving Size: 1 Boat

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

10 minPrep Time:

35 minCook Time:

45 minTotal Time:

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  • For the roasted spaghetti squash:
  • 2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups homemade marinara or your other favorite sauce
  • For the lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash:
  • 2 cup low fat cottage cheese or ricotta
  • 1 cup partially skim mozzarella, shredded


  1. Brush the inner flesh of the spaghetti squash with oil, season with salt and pepper and roast, skin side up, in a preheated 400F oven until tender, about 35 minutes.
  2. Fluff up some of the inside of each spaghetti squash half, divide the mixture of the cottage cheese between the squash followed by the sauce and the cheese.
  3. Broil in the oven until the cheese has melted and turned a light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Homemade Vegetable Marinara with Ripe Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs and Garlic

The ultimate comfort food with a healthy twist!


When you think of comfort food, what is the first thing that pops into your head?  For me, it’s Italian.  Thick, rich savory sauce, over a pile of spaghetti, freshly grated parmesan cheese and some nice crusty bread. Nom Nom Nom…my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

BUT, let’s face it, spaghetti consumed on a daily basis (yes, I crave it daily), isn’t healthy. Carb overload!

Since upstate New York has been getting so much rain lately, the dark gloomy days put me in the mood for comfort food.  I knew my favorite sauce recipe didn’t jive with my current eating plan so I decided to come up with my own healthy version.  Cue, Vegetable Marinara.

newspagAll fresh ingredients that simmer all afternoon.  The smell was intoxicating!  I couldn’t wait to try it.  Fresh tomatoes, lots of vegetables, fresh herbs, olive oil, a tiny bit of stevia, garlic and my secret ingredient; worcestershire sauce! Yum!

For this recipe, you’ll start with 4 pounds of ripe tomatoes.  Yes, you read that right.  Roma tomatoes are my favorite to use in sauces because I think they are meatier.  I also do not blanch or peel them first.  I’m way to lazy to do that.  If you prefer no skins in your sauce, feel free to go ahead and do that.

First, I chopped the tomatoes in large chunks then I squeeze them with my hands to break them up a bit more into a bowl.  You can also use a food processor.   After I sauteed the chopped vegetables and garlic in olive oil in my Le Crueset dutch oven, I added the tomatoes with juices and fresh herbs, covered the pot and let it simmer down for about 30 minutes. Once it was nice and thick, I added the final ingredients and let it simmer about 20 more minutes.  Viola!  Quick, easy, healthy marinara sauce!

I served the sauce over whole grain pasta for the boys but the husband and I had it over sauteed zucchini noodles!  Enjoy!

Homemade Vegetable Marinara with Ripe Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs and Garlic (Yields approx. 1 quart)


  • 4 pounds ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon good Olive Oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup mushrooms chopped
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of fresh herbs including basil, thyme, parsley and oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt*
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (if using stevia 1 teaspoon)*
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce


  1. Using your hands, squeeze tomatoes into smaller bits over a large bowl.  Include juices.  (or pulse a few times in a food processor). Set aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium low heat.  Add carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, green pepper, onion and garlic and saute till until vegetables are softened and garlic is fragrant.  Add tomatoes and juice to the pot along with the fresh herbs and bring to a simmer, stirring on occasion.  Reduce the heat to low. cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Again, stirring occasionally.
  3. When sauce has thickened, stir in sea salt, sugar and worcestershire sauce. Continue to simmer on low for another 15-20 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in a jar.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Sauce can also be frozen.

*The amount of sugar and salt, required will depend on the sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes you choose to use. Start with the directed amounts  and add more as needed.