Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick, Fresh and Delish - Easy Healthy Pasta Dish

I have a confession. I love pasta. My inner Italian yearns for it on a weekly basis. When I joined WW I knew that pasta was going to continue to be a part of my life, but I had to find a way to control myself around it. Meet pasta nests - these pre-portioned fast and easy to cook nests make portion sizing easy! For me 2 small frozen pasta nests = 1 cup of pasta at a 5 pp value, that cooked in 3 minutes!  Have dinner on the table in 10 minutes - with this simple, fast and delicious pasta dinner.
What you'll need:
2 Cup of Linguine (serves 2) - I used 4 fresh-frozen pasta nests (but you can find them in the dry goods at the grocery store).
1 cup of fresh tomatoes cut into bite size pieces
1 cup of zucchini
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 (about a cup and 1/2) of artichoke hearts (cut them in half if they are full)
capers (to your liking)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/2 slice of lemon (a small squeeze at the end)

What to Do:
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add salt to pot (pasta water should be as salty as the ocean) drop pasta and set a timer for 2/3 min (so you don't over cook it). In a small pan, place the olive oil in the pan on low heat.  Simmer sliced garlic in the pan, as it becomes fragrant add your tomatoes,  zucchini, and capers to taste. As your pasta timer goes off turn your heat off on both pan/pot and grab some tongs.  Pull pasta straight from the boiling water and into the pan. The small amount of extra starchy pasta water clinging to the noodles will add to the sauce of your dish and will help you use less oil. Lightly toss pasta in your olive oil mixture until its coated evenly, and add in your artichoke hearts. Plate your pasta and squeeze a little fresh lemon over the top.  Viola! An easy-guilt free -fast -filling pasta dinner. enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gluten Free Savory Buckwheat Breakfast Muffins

Breakfast time! Recently I have been experimenting with different kinds of flours to give myself a boost of protein and a change in my carb routine. Try these easy make ahead - gluten free breakfast muffins. They are high in protein and give you a chance to change up your blah breakfast routine.

yeild - 1 dozen muffins
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

What you need:
  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup brown-rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cups of milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/3 cup of non-fat yogurt or non-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, (about 1 bunch)
  • 3/4 cup diced Canadian bacon, (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 of grated Zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of chopped toasted almonds to top

What to do
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Combine buckwheat flour, brown-rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk eggs, milk, yogurt (or sour cream) oil and butter in a medium bowl. Fold in scallions, bacon, cheese and bell pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (the cups will be very full). Sprinkle Almonds to the tops each muffin.
  4. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Calories Per muffin: 217 calories; 9 g fat ( 3 g sat , 4 g mono ); 50 mg carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 14 g. 5PP per muffin.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Summer (or anytime) Veggie Tian

Recently I hosted a small dinner party for a group of friends. Being the ever health-conscious host I wanted a dish that looked impressive but feed my low cal veggie soul. Enter the veggie tian. Its low in calories, full of flavor, not to mention color and brings out oohs and ahhs from guest and guilt free conscious. This dish is also a lovely "fridge clearer" getting lots of veggies out of your fridge that maybe at the end of their lives. Enjoy!

What you'll need: 
  • 2 similarly sized Squash or Zucchini (i used yellow and green) cut in to 1/4″ slices
  • 1 Large Tomato of simular width (about 1lb); cut in to 1/4″ slices
  • 1 Fennel Bulb sliced into 1/4 slices
  • 1 lb sweet potatoe; cut in to 1/4″ slices
  • 4 cloves Garlic; finely minced
  • 1 Onion; halved and thinly sliced (about 1/2 a cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan Romano Cheese
  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt (to taste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh Herbs - whatever you like (finely cut - i used rosemary)  
  • Some sort of casserole or pie pan (i used a pie pan)
What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Assemble sliced veggies and onions in a casserole dish, layering them in an alternating pattern if desired, or tossing them in helter-skelter style
  • Sprinkle veggies evenly with minced garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, salt and pepper
  • Cover casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender
  • Remove foil, and sprinkle with romano cheese
  • Place Tian under broiler until cheese is browned