Five or six years ago, my husband asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day.

“A garden,” I told him.

At the time, I think he would’ve preferred if I asked for a tricked-out sports car.

He reminded me, sweetly, of his aversion to gardening, harkening back to a youth spent helping tend to the three football field-sized gardens planted by his grandfather. The work he put in did sound intense, so I understood his reluctance. After I assured him I only wanted something small, he agreed to my request.

And then he researched.

Once he puts his mind to it, my husband is an absolute ace at figuring out the best way to do something. Perhaps it’s inherent in his profession (he’s a lawyer), but he will check into all angles of something and plot it out to completion before moving forward.

He decided a raised bed would be the best way to go.

Oh, was he right!

The garden produced a respectable amount of veggies that first year, and we have since gradually expanded by several more wooden-framed raised beds.

Several years ago, in hopes of expanding quicker, I purchased a large fabric bed. The photos online looked wonderful – bountiful crops sprouted out of it, and I thought it would be a quick way to get more space.

It was; however, I didn’t exactly get the bounty that I’d expected.

Pepper plants didn’t seem to like it. Tomatoes were definitely unhappy. Kale took off there, but since we rotate where we plants things, that was only helpful for one summer.

This year, we hit upon the perfect use for it: squash.

The bed has eight large pockets, half containing yellow squash, half containing zucchini.

As of Sunday, I’ve picked more than two dozen.

If things keep going as they are, I’m going to have to start leaving anonymous “gifts” on neighbors’ porches. I don’t think we’ll be able to eat them quickly enough.

But if nothing else, the zucchini and squash are excellent for a quick lunch – especially if you take a lunch to work and don’t have anything made.

Because they cook quickly, you can leave them raw, and they’ll cook when you heat them at work. A jar of sauce and a couple of frozen, precooked meatballs make for a healthier alternative to take out – and fewer carbs than traditional pasta.

It’s a versatile way to cook because you can make the noodles into any variety of meal you’d like. I’ve tossed them with teriyaki sauce, frozen Asian-style veggies and a veggie burger (leftover meat or shrimp could also be used) or with bottled Chimichurri sauce, diced tomatoes and shrimp.

The possibilities for this quick lunch are only limited to your imagination.

Quick Zu-ghetti

and Meatballs

1-2 small zucchini or yellow squash

1 jar of spaghetti sauce

4-5 frozen meatballs

Make strips out of the squash with a vegetable peeler (or noodles with a Zoodler) and load them into a lunch bowl. Top with sauce and frozen meatballs.

To heat it, partially cover and warm through in a microwave for about 2-3 minutes, stirring several times. The “noodles” will be cooked but still be a bit crunchy.


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