Tag Archives: pasta

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan (and other ways with Roasted Veggies!)

Say no to Eggplant Parmesan at restaurants!

I was talking to one of my friends recently, about how she LOVES Eggplant Parmesan, but always feels guilty eating it because it’s loaded with fat & calories. For those of you who don’t know, Olive Garden’s Eggplant Parm has 850 calories and 35g of fat! That is just way too much for one meal. I was watching Food Network, and I was totally inspired by Robin Miller’s Eggplant Parmesan Recipe. I’ve come up with a way to make it even healthier, and you can use this method to make a bunch of different meals. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • Eggplant Slices
  • Olive oil spray
  • Your favorite marinara sauce
  • Fresh, shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Chopped fresh basil (1/4 cup)
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking sheet, spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray, sprinkle them with salt & pepper, and bake for 15-20 min until slightly crispy.
  2. Remove from oven. Top each eggplant slice with 1-2 Tbsp sauce and 1 Tbsp shredded Parmesan Cheese. Bake 8-10 min until cheese is bubbly. Top with basil before serving.
  3. You can also serve the eggplant with 1/2 cup cooked whole wheat pasta for a complete meal. Enjoy!

Note: Each eggplant slice shouldn’t have more than 50 calories, so you could have 4 huge eggplant slices topped with cheese for only 200 calories! Add the pasta, and it’s still only about a 400-500 calorie meal depending on how much pasta you eat. And it’s full of healthy fiber, and still tastes great!

Now the fun part ūüôā Use this same method to make a bunch of different, healthy meals!

1) Mexican: Replace the eggplant with zucchini and other squashes to roast in the oven. Once out of the oven, top with a shredded four cheese Mexican blend and broil in the oven for 5 min until the cheese is bubbly. Top with salsa, guacamole, fat free sour cream, and serve with stewed black beans and brown rice. Yum!

2) Mediterranean: Replace the eggplant with tomatoes to roast in the oven. Once out of the oven, top with fat free feta cheese and broil for just a few min until the feta is slightly melted. You can serve the tomatoes on top of a Greek salad (romaine, cucumber, red onion, etc.), or you can put the tomatoes in a pita with hummus and romaine, or you can put the tomatoes on a bagel and eat it for breakfast! The possibilities are endless ūüôā

3) American: Replace the eggplant with sliced new potatoes and sweet potatoes to roast in the oven (note the potatoes might have to roast longer in order to cook fully through). Once out of the oven, top with your favorite cheese (cheddar would be my pick), steamed cut broccoli, fat free sour cream, and any other veggies/toppings you like!

If you have any other ideas on how to customize this recipe, feel free to add them as a comment!

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Whole Wheat Penne with Walnut Sage Pesto, Spinach and Zucchini!

Last night I made a very healthy, light, scrumptious pasta – using this pesto recipe from CookingLight.com. The lemon and sage in the pesto really brought a springtime/summery flavor to a cold winter evening – felt like we were transported to April or May! The spinach and zucchini pack a powerful antioxidant punch, and the whole wheat penne ensures you get your fiber and whole grains for the evening. Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • 1 10 oz bag baby spinach
  • 4 zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 4 cups cooked whole wheat penne
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2¬† cup¬† fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 1/2¬† tablespoons¬† chopped walnuts
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† fresh sage leaves
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† fresh lemon juice
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† extravirgin olive oil
  • 3¬† garlic cloves (use 1 for the pesto, mince 2 cloves for the spinach/zucchini mixture)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese per serving

Directions

  1. Cook penne according to package directions, cool and set aside.
  2. Spray a pan with cooking spray, heat over medium heat. Add zucchini and garlic and stir fry lightly (for about 5 min max). Add spinach, garlic salt and oregano and cook through until spinach is wilted. Set aside.
  3. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, parsley, and next 5 ingredients (through 1 clove garlic) in a food processor; process until finely chopped, scraping sides.
  4. With processor on, slowly pour broth through food chute, processing until well blended.
  5. Combine penne and pesto in a pot on low heat until combined and heated through. Add pepper and mix well. Add in vegetables and serve warm, top with 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese per serving.

Nutritional Information

  • Yields 4-5 servings
  • Calories: ~325 per serving
  • Fat: 11g
  • Fiber: 6-10g
  • Protein: 9g

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Healthy Pasta Salad Recipe!

I love pasta salad – but I always avoid it at restaurants because it’s usually LOADED with fat and calories, and has very low nutritional value! I was looking for healthier versions of pasta salad to take to a potluck – and I came across this recipe from EatingWell.com. It looks great and I’m looking forward to making it this weekend! The whole grains, low fat dressing and tons of veggies really increase the health value of this recipe. Add a little parmesean cheese or flavored/baked tofu for protein, and it’s a one dish meal!

Garden Pasta Salad Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole-wheat rotini, (6 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I’ll probably try using only 1 tbsp to start)
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, or lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I might add 2 more cloves of garlic because I really like garlic!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup diced yellow or red bell pepper, (1 small)
  • 1 cup grated carrots, (2-4 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions, (4 scallions)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives (I’m not a huge fan of olives so I’d probably cut this down to 1/4 cup)
  • I think I’ll probably also add baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/3 cup slivered fresh basil

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
  2. Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, oil, vinegar (or lemon juice), garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, carrots, scallions, olives and basil; toss to coat well.

Nutritional Info (6 servings, 1 cup each)

Calories: 205; 9 g fat 

Protein: 6 g

Fiber: 4 g

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Super Healthy Mac & Cheese!

I LOVE Macaroni and Cheese. But I very rarely ate it because it’s always full of fat and unnecessary calories. And then there’s the boxed Kraft version which is probably worse than eating the full-fat version made from scratch!

So I was very excited when I found this recipe on EatingWell.com. I made a few slight modifications, and it turned out great – super cheesy and flavorful!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles, (2 cups)
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli
  • I also added 1 10 oz bag of spinach
  • 1 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (I used black pepper and it was fine)
  • 3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (If you don’t like the flavor of Dijon use 1/2 tsp-1tsp depending on your taste)

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 4 minutes. Add frozen broccoli and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and broccoli are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 cups milk in another large pot over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; return to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and whisk in Cheddar, Parmesan and mustard until the cheese is melted.

4. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the cheese sauce. Add in the spinach. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat, until heated through, and spinach is wilted.

5. Sprinkle pepper on top when serving (to taste).

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Serving size: 1 and 1/4 cups

412 Calories

13 g Fat; 7 g Sat

22 g Protein

7 g Fiber

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Easy, Healthy Recipe: Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli

Last night I was super busy (as usual) and I needed a quick and healthy recipe to get my dinner started! I turned to one of my favorite staples – ricotta and spinach ravioli from Trader Joe’s. It’s pretty healthy for pre-made ravioli, and they taste great! Not rubbery like most store bought ravioli. Here’s a picture of the product:

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Ingredients

  • Depending on how many servings you need, 1-2 packages of Trader Joe’s Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Any healthy, non-sugary marinara sauce (I like Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara)
  • Dried oregano, basil, garlic salt to taste

Directions

1. Cook the ravioli according to the package directions (should only take 3-4 min max). Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

3. Take 5-6 ravioli (depending on how many will fit in your pan), and pan fry them on either side for a few minutes, until the outside becomes lightly golden brown and firm. (I love this step because it adds an extra special flavor and texture to the ravioli that makes it feel like it’s homemade – rather than store bought!)

Ravioli cooked in the pan

Ravioli cooked in the pan

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4. Repeat with remaining ravioli until done.

5. In a separate pot, heat the marinara sauce over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer. Add dried oregano, basil, garlic salt to taste and simmer for 5 min until flavors are combined.

6. Plate ravioli and top with sauce – enjoy!

Finished cooking, plated ravioli

Finished cooking, plated ravioli

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Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

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The nutritionals are pretty good too:

10 ravioli per packet, 2.5 servings
4 ravioli
250 calories, 60 calories from fat
2g fiber
62.5 calories per ravioli
375 calories for 6 – 3g fiber
sauce – 50 calories max – 425 total

– Each package has 10 ravioli, which amounts to 2.5 servings (so one serving is 4 ravioli)

– Each serving has 250 calories, 60 calories from fat and 2g fiber

– That amounts to: 62.5 calories per ravioli

– I usually have 6 ravioli for dinner (with sauce) which makes for a pretty filling meal! That amounts to: 375 calories and 6g fiber.

– With Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce – add 50 calories – you end up with probably about 425-450 calories max for the entire meal!

Tip: For extra fiber, serve with a spinach, red onion and cherry tomato salad! Tastes great ūüôā

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Quick, Easy, Healthy Veggie Pasta Recipe

Tonight was one of those days when I didn’t feel like making an elaborate meal, but I still wanted something healthy and satisfying. So I just turned to my fridge and pantry – and came up with a quick, healthy, tasty pasta dish! It didn’t take longer than 30 min to make – and tasted great at the end!

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dried oregano (to taste)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Whole wheat pasta (I use either penne or rotini) – make sure the pasta has at least 5-6g fiber per serving! That’s how you know it’s really whole wheat.
  • Jar of pasta sauce (I like Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce!) – the key here is to avoid any pasta sauces with added sugar, preservatives etc. You want an all natural sauce made with real tomatoes and is low in calories! (~50 calories per serving is a good number to look for)
  • Shredded fresh parmesean or shredded mozarella (Trader Joe’s has a great 4 cheese blend that I like to use)
Red Onion, Red Pepper, Garlic

Red Onion, Red Pepper, Garlic

Trader Joe's Organic Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

Trader Joe's Organic Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

Trader Joe's 4 Cheese Blend

Trader Joe's 4 Cheese Blend

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Directions

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, add salt to taste. Drain and set aside

2. Add 2 tsp olive oil to a pot over medium heat

3. Add garlic, red pepper and red onions, saute for 5 min

4. Add pasta sauce to the pot (so your sauce will become more chunky because of the fresh veggies) and bring to a simmer

5. Add dried oregano to taste and stir, simmer for 5 min

6. Take 1 cup pasta and 1/2 cup sauce and put on a plate. Top with 2 Tbsp cheese. Enjoy!

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Sauce after it's done

Sauce after it's done

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

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Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Feta

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I tried this dish a while back based off a recipe I found at myrecipes.com¬†and it turned out great! I made it a lot healthier with a few quick substitutions – which I’ve included it below. It’s very fast/easy to make, super flavorful – the feta with the sundried tomatoes gives the pasta a great, sharp taste. Let me know how you like it!

 

Yield 

4 servings (1 cup = 1 serving)

Ingredients 

  • 1¬† (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh linguine (Substitute whole wheat linguine or penne for this – gives you a big boost of fiber and great flavor!)
  • 3/4¬† cup¬† oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained (I patted the sun-dried tomato halves as well to cut down a bit on the oil)
  • 1/4¬† cup¬† loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† slivered almonds
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† preshredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1¬† tablespoon¬† bottled minced garlic (I used fresh garlic just because I like to err on the side of fresh foods whenever possible!)
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† salt
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† black pepper
  • 1/2¬† cup¬† (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese¬†(I used low fat/fat-free feta cheese crumbles. Trader Joes has a great tasting fat-free feta!)

 

Directions

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan.

While pasta cooks, place tomatoes and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper) in a food processor; process until finely chopped.

Combine tomato mixture and the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid, stirring with a whisk. Add to pasta; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with feta.

Nutritional Info 

Calories: 300 (30% from fat)

Protein: 12g

Fiber: 4g if you use white pasta, up to 10g if you use whole wheat!


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