Remember when I wrote a post on my food photography tips for newbies? Remember how I said props (pretty plates, napkins, placemats) didn’t work for me? Well I was wrong. But, thankfully, I didn’t claim to be an expert.

I’ve been obsessing over my food photos lately. I was scrolling through my Instagram feed (obvs) and Pinterest recipe board (of course) and thought everything looked soooo boring. Yes I love my white background (or as of late my wood floor) and I still like to keep things simple but my photos need a little more life. So I’ve been working on it and trying to ignite a passion for food photography – I loveeeee looking at gorgeous food photos but now I’m learning to love creating, styling and figuring out how to take them.

Thankfully Les has been guiding me through it because I am clueless. She taught me that adding a few things here and there actually helps to make a photo much more interesting. Um duh. She rummaged through our basement and found things for me to use that I would have never thought of! A piece of wood, a blanket, a box. She suggested a different angle to snap the pics at and helped me think about what looks good and where. I’m still using my iPhone (I want a camera now) but I am loving the improvement. Another reason why my sister is awesome.

Veggie Noodles and Sauce2

Food photography is an art – one that I have not really taken the time to learn. Sure I have done a few things differently, figured out the whole natural light thing and gotten a bit better, but I haven’t studied it. I wasn’t into it.

But now, after nearly a year of taking pics of my food, I actually like it and think I can be okay at it – many thanks to my awesome teacher. Better late then never right? So now I naturally want to re-take photos for all.of.my.recipes. Am I insane? Possibly and I don’t have time for that but when I make a previous recipe I will re-shoot it (okay I might have spent too much time on my day off doing this and buying food props rather than studying). Oops. And as my dad so eloquently put it: “Your photos show progression and it’s a journey right?” Yes, dad, yes it is :)

Anyways, onto these amazingly simple recipes – yes, plural because there are three! Get excited.

So, newsflash: I actually like beef. Woah. I do feel badly eating it (I’m sorry cows) but I feel better knowing that they are properly raised and not injected with crap. Grass-fed ground beef is super budget-friendly, easy to make, nutritious, and wait for it… delicious. I have been loving it with a simple tomato sauce, which turns into a pretty yummy meat sauce (1st recipe).

Meat Sauce and Veggie Noodles

But wait. I know meat isn’t everyone’s thing (remember: it wasn’t my thing) so you can totally omit the meat here and still have a delicious sauce (2nd recipe).

Tomato Sauce and Veggie Noodles2

And you can serve all of this goodness with wonderful veggie noodles (3rd recipe). You know I love my spiralizer. Have you bought one yet?! Come on guys! Okay fine, if you don’t want to shell out the cash (totally understand) bake up a spaghetti squash. Thanks to the amazingness of spiralized veggies and the wonderfulness of spaghetti squash, I don’t ever need to eat pasta again – not that I even want to.

Veggie Noodles

So this is a 3-in-1 recipe post that really caters to anyone – unless you hate tomato sauce. Just because I put {paleo} in pretty brackets or {vegetarian} in those same pretty brackets doesn’t mean anything. It’s just for silly SEO stuff so people can find me :) So let’s all be friends k?

Tomato and Meat Sauce

Meat Sauce {paleo}

Ingredients (Makes 2-4 servings)

  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef (or whatever ground meat you like)
  • 1 handful of organic baby spinach (optional)
  • 1 jar (700 ml) organic pureed tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

 

Instructions

1. In a medium sauce-pan over medium-high heat, combine tomato puree, garlic, basil, oregano, chilli powder salt and pepper.

2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. While the sauce is simmering, heat a large skillet over medium heat.

4. When hot, add your ground beef to the skillet and cook until completely browned (about 8-10 minutes).

5. When the sauce has simmered for 10 minutes, turn off heat and carefully stir in spinach until wilted.

6. When the meat is cooked, use a slotted spoon (to drain the excess fat) and add the meat to the sauce; stir to combine.

7. Serve with veggie noodles (see instructions below).

Meat Sauce and Veggie Noodles

Tomato Sauce {vegetarian}

Ingredients (Makes 2 cups of sauce)

  • 1 jar (700 ml) organic pureed tomatoes
  • 1 handful of organic baby spinach (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

 

Instructions

1. In a medium sauce-pan over medium-high heat, combine tomato puree, garlic, basil, oregano, chilli powder salt and pepper.

2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Turn off heat and carefully stir in spinach until wilted.

4. Serve with veggie noodles (see instructions below).

Tomato Sauce and Veggie Noodles3

Veggie Noodles

I use this spiralizer. 

Sweet potato: Use a spiralizer to spiralize your sweet potato (see directions here). Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and melt 1/2 tbsp. of coconut oil. Once the coconut oil is melted, add the spiralized sweet potato and cook for 5-6 minutes or until noodles have softened. The noodles will turn bright orange when they are cooked. Serve with meat sauce or tomato sauce and enjoy!

Zucchini: Use a spiralizer to spiralize your zucchini (see directions here). Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and melt 1/2 tbsp. of coconut oil. Once the coconut oil is melted, add the spiralized zucchini and cook for 3-4 minutes or until noodles have softened. Serve with meat sauce or tomato sauce and enjoy! *Tip* Before cooking, lay the zucchini noodles on a paper towel and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Use another paper towel to gently press down on the zucchini noodles to release some of the water. Cook as normal. 

Spaghetti squash: Cut spaghetti squash in half and take out the goop and seeds. Put about 2-inches of water in a pyrex and place the spaghetti squash cut side down. Bake in the oven at 400F for about 45 minutes (until the outer skin is soft to the touch). Allow to cool and use a fork to scrape out the “noodles.” Serve with meat sauce or tomato sauce and enjoy!

Notes: I use approximately one medium sweet potato, one zucchini and a few cups of spaghetti squash per serving – or I mix them all together! 

Veggie Noodles and Sauce

 

Questions of the day… 

When did you realize your sibling was awesome? 

What’s up for the weekend? 

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28 thoughts on “Meat Sauce OR Tomato Sauce & Veggie Noodles {paleo} OR {vegetarian}

  1. Tara Newman

    GREAT job on the pictures!! Can’t wait to see how you develop your passion for food photography. My sister is a publicity director for a publishing house, has a blog, and does freelance writing. When she has the time she will edit some of my writing and I learn SO much. The weekend? Taking advantage of the nice weather! Yay!

    Reply

  2. Kim @ BusyBod

    Look at you and all your pretty photos! I love the one with just the sauces, so pretty. <3 The veggie version looks delicious, I need that spiralizer!!

    I should probably learn something (anything) about SEO… when you mentioned it I was like ohhhhh right, that.

    Reply

  3. Becky@TheSavedRunner

    I wish I was a better food photographer! Your tips are great, I just need to take the time to keep learning, practice, and take better pictures. I haven’t fallen in love with food photography yet. :) But your tomato sauce looks delicious!

    Reply

  4. Amy @ Long Drive Journey

    I will have to try the meat sauce!

    I was AMAZED by what food props could do when used properly. I think your pictures look great, but I was also AMAZED (AMAZED) by what a difference I saw when I just moved from using my iPhone to using my point and shoot in manual mode. It was literally like night and day.

    I actually really love taking pictures of food, but I don’t love coming up with recipes. So there goes my career as a food blogger. Oh well!

    Reply

  5. Jan @ Sprouts n Squats

    Your not crazy at all I want to go back and rephotograph my recipes too as I have some good recipes that have absolutely crappy photos :)

    My sister is great at drawing and art and talking to people she’s never met!

    Love both versions of this recipe they look yum! Have a great weekend lady.

    Reply

  6. Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon

    Alright, I’m on my way over for this meal. You convinced me with the spiralized veggies when you drenched them in meat sauce! Yum! And your photos are great- don’t stress about it. I always think it’s fun to reshoot and repost a recipe though if you feel like it was previously overlooked because of lesser quality photos. I haven’t done that yet but have been thinking about it!

    Reply

  7. gabiwalter

    Okay so Amy..so much is going through my head right now. This recipe looks PHENOMENAL…not to mention you are taking photos with your iPhone. I have recently realized how great out technology is these days. You couldn’t get that quality and absolute beautifulness from a taking a photo on your phone years ago–cheers to our iPhones because all of my pictures come off of that too. In fact, I think it is the iPhone that inspired me to love taking pictures. As for your styling, its fabulous..I have to admit…I just want to eat the computer screen sometimes when scrolling through your meals on Instafood or specifically… this one. Yes, I am one of the many I’m sure, that STILL needs to get the spiralizer..it’s on my list! Swear! But my new Garmin watch for running was a little more important last month :/ P.S. I freaked when I saw you reference your dad..does he tell you life is all about the journey? Mine does :) I’ll have to send you the link to the post where I write about him telling me that. Sorry for the long reply–Happy Friday!

    Reply

    1. Amy Post author

      Haha yes he does too! I think it’s a dad thing :) hope you have an amazing weekend too and save up for the spiralizer… so worth it!

      Reply

  8. Abby

    This is a great post! I love how you give options for all your readers, no matter what kind of diet they follow. :) Also, I love any recipe that lets me use my spiralizer (hehe) so this is just lovely! I’ll have to give it a whirl this weekend! Photos are lookin’ fabulous! :D

    Reply

  9. Nut Butter Runner (@NutButterRunner)

    I am seriously contemplating taking a photography class. Your photos have drastically improved my friend! Your sister definitely knows what she’s talking about! Can she teach me, too? Ha! The recipe is similar to the sauce I typically make, so it definitely looks delicious to me! Have a great weekend love!

    Reply

  10. Megan (The Lyons' Share)

    The photos are SOOO pretty!!! I just can’t get myself to spend more than 5 minutes on a picture while knowing that I have so much else to do. I think that’s code for “I’m not that good at it, and as much as I know it’s important, I just don’t ACTUALLY enjoy working on my food photography.” Hopefully I will find my passion hiding somewhere deep inside!!!

    Reply

  11. Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen

    I really want to improve my food photos too. That’s awesome you have your sister to help you out – these look great!

    And guess what? I finally bought some zucchini so I can actually use my spiralizer and get my money’s worth out of it!

    Reply

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