I used to think that meatballs were really only good for one thing: spaghetti, but that was naive. My single-minded thinking led me on a path of limited dinner options, obviously resulting in a downward spiral of despair. The typical veggie lasagna and spinach tortellini just weren’t enough for me anymore. I needed more.
And so, I decided to make meatballs-solo. Well, almost solo. They are smothered in freshly grated mozzarella cheese and paired with sautéed zucchini, but you get the point. My tastebuds almost burst at the first bite and not from the lack of cooling my food before I ate.
If you’re like me and only enjoy these tasty balls of meaty flavor with noodles, boy are you missing out. I urge you to stop whatever it is you are doing and make them. At work? Go home sick. At school? Bail! On a date? Watch Chelsea Handler’s new Netflix show, then use Gotta Go.
Meatball and Zucchini Skillet
1 Jar tomato basil marinara sauce
1 cup freshly shredded Mozzarella
1 tablespoon fresh basil (optional)
4-6 zucchini squash
6 ounces white mushrooms
1 pound grass-fed, lean ground beef
5 garlic cloves, divided
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan, divided
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, 3 minced garlic cloves, egg, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan and seasoning/spices. Mix well with your hands and form into balls. The size really depends on how big you want them, mine were about the size of golf balls.
Cut up the zucchini and mushrooms to their desired size and and smash two garlic cloves with the side of a knife. In a medium skillet, sauté the zucchini, mushrooms and garlic over medium heat with a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large skillet, brown the meatballs on all sides in olive oil, about 5-8 minutes. You do not need to cook the meatballs completely through in this step. Remove from the skillet, add in the marinara and warm the sauce over medium heat. Add the meatballs back into the skillet, rolling them around so they are completely coated in sauce. Cover and let simmer 5 minutes.
Add the zucchini to the meatballs and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reach at least 165º.
Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining parmesan on top of the meatballs and vegetables. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted.
Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!