Zucchini “Pasta” with Turkey Sausage Bolognese

I would like to give one very enthusiastic high five to the person who first figured out that you could shred certain vegetables into long skinny “noodles” and serve them as a pasta substitute. One cup of cooked spaghetti noodles is about 200 calories. One cup of cooked zucchini – depending on how you make it – can weigh in at about 60 calories. That’s 70% less calories! Ho-ly cow, my friend. My waistline is forever in your debt!

Using turkey sausage instead of a pork-based sausage also helps save on the fat and calorie content of this dish. There is no butter whatsoever and only 3-4 Tbsp. of olive oil went into sautéing the zucchini pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground Italian Turkey Sausage (hot or mild, your preference)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 small onion (about 1 c chopped)
  • ½ c. white wine
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) of chopped tomatoes with puree
  • Salt and pepper (for seasoning)
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian herbs (any dried Italian herbs that you’ve got on hand – basil, oregano, rosemary, etc. I used the one that I have from the grocery store which is an “Italian herb blend”.
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to garnish. (optional)
  • Crushed red pepper, to garnish. (optional)
  • Zucchini “pasta” (see recipe here)

Directions:

  • Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and cook the sausage until almost completely cooked through. Drain any excess fat (if necessary) and set aside in a bowl.
  • If you have a food processor, roughly chop the carrots, celery, and onion into large chunks.  Add to the food processor and use the “chop” function for about 10 seconds, or until everything has been cut down into tiny bits (the equivalent of a “fine dice”).  If you do not have a food processor, dice the carrots, celery, and onion into small, small, pieces.  Think “minced”.
Zucchini Pasta with Turkey Sausage Bolognese, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Zucchini Pasta with Turkey Sausage Bolognese, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • In the same sauté pan that you prepared the sausage, reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until they begin to soften (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the 1/2 c. of white wine to the pan. Quickly, begin to scrape the bottom of the pan, loosening any of the brown bits that have begun for form on the bottom. (This process of adding a bit of liquid to a hot pan and scraping the brown bits from the bottom is called “deglazing the pan”. The brown bits are where much of the tasty flavor comes from and so it’s important to scrape them from the bottom of the pan so they can be incorporated into the dish!)
  • Add the garlic to the pan and stir to incorporate. After about 30 seconds, add the cooked Italian sausage back to the pan and immediately add the can of crushed tomatoes and the Italian herbs to the pan as well. Stir everything and reduce the heat so that you being the sauce to a very slow simmer.
Zucchini Pasta with Turkey Sausage Bolognese, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Zucchini Pasta with Turkey Sausage Bolognese, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Simmer for at least 15 minutes before serving. I let mine simmer for over an hour (while I watched some Netflix) so the flavors could really meld.
  • While the sauce is simmering, go ahead and prepare your zucchini pasta. It cooks quickly so if you’ve already cut your zucchini ribbons you’ll only need about 5 minutes to cook it.
  • Plate your zucchini pasta in a bowl, ladle the Bolognese sauce on top, and garnish with some grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and crushed red pepper.
Zucchini Pasta with Turkey Sausage Bolognese, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Zucchini Pasta with Turkey Sausage Bolognese, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Advertisements

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

With swimsuit season fast approaching, the beau and I have decided to take dieting a little more seriously.   Portions will be smaller and pasta, potatoes, and rice will be taking a backseat to heaping helpings of veggies. That also means “Wing Wednesday” will be on hiatus for a while.

In case you haven’t already heard of “Meatless Monday”, it’s not something I invented.  “Meatless Monday” is a movement geared towards encouraging people to forego at least one meat-centered meal a week.  It’s by no means meant to convert anyone to vegetarianism, rather, it’s to expose people to the health and global benefits of a diet more evenly balanced between meat and plants.  See the video below to learn a little more about it or visit the Meatless Monday website:

I’ve taken the Meatless Monday pledge and will be consciously planning one or two meals a week that don’t involve meat.  And because I believe in the movement, I’ve decided to spread the word and feature Meatless Monday meal options from now on.  This week’s featured dish: Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo.  The recipe is featured in the May 2014 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Cooking Light magazine, May 2014

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Cooking Light magazine, May 2014

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour *
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 large eggs *
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs *
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano *
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or shredded *
  • 1 15 oz. can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes *
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

* I took liberties with the original recipe.  See original recipe here.

Preparation

  • Arrange oven rack 10 inches below broiler element. Preheat broiler to high.
  • Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and return to pan. Add parsley, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss.
  • While orzo cooks, cut top and bottom off eggplant. Partially peel eggplant lengthwise with a vegetable peeler, leaving long purple stripes. Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place flour in a shallow dish. Combine 1 teaspoon water and eggs in another shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Combine panko, oregano, and Parmigiano-Reggiano in another shallow dish.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Dredge eggplant in flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in panko mixture, gently pressing mixture to adhere. Arrange on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of eggplant slices with cooking spray.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Broil 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned and tender but firm. Top evenly with diced tomatoes and mozzarella; broil 1 minute or until cheese melts and begins to browns.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Arrange 1/2 cup orzo mixture on each plates; top each serving with 2-3 eggplant slices. Sprinkle evenly with pepper.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

 

If you’re wondering how I managed to get the cheese to melt in a perfect little circle on each slice of eggplant: I bought sliced mozzarella cheese from the grocery store and used a large circular cookie cutter to cut out circles of cheese. I figured it’d be more aesthetically pleasing that way. It’s still got nothing on the perfection photographed by the Cooking Light professionals, though. So to do the dish justice I made sure to include the photo from the magazine.  Bon appétit!

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”

Image

Week 2: Still going strong. I adore my trainer and he is still kicking my butt at exactly the level I am capable of keeping up with.  Also, my office roomie joined the gym this week so her and I went for a lunch hour workout on Thursday.  I’m thrilled to have a new workout partner and our lunch hour sessions will be a much-needed mental break during the workday!

My birthday is in two weeks, at which point I will have been working out for exactly one month.  I daydream about celebrating the big 2-8 in a gorgeous party dress and looking like a million bucks.  I’m hoping my body plans on cooperating with me to make this a dream come true.  They say it takes a few weeks before you see any results when you start working out so I’m hoping to see at least a hint of change by then.  So far I can’t see any progress but I can definitely feel it.  I feel amazing! I’m energetic. I’m happy. And every new training session I feel like I am kicking butt just a little harder than the session before.  My trainer has been throwing in some of the exercises that we attempted during my very first session (you know, the one where I almost threw up twice and couldn’t actually finish the whole thing…) and I can actually do them! Whoop, whoop! 🙂

Anyhow, on to my favorite part of all of this: awesome new recipes! Once again, all the glory goes to Cooking Light magazine.  Here are the new meals I made this week:

Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts

Image

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark beer (such as porter)
  • 8 (1.1-ounce) slices rye bread
  • 4 (3/4-ounce) slices reduced-fat provolone cheese

Preparation

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Shape beef into 4 (4-inch) patties. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.
  2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, salt, pepper, and mushrooms; sauté 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer; cook 30 seconds or until thick. Remove from heat; keep warm.
  3. When patties are done, remove from large skillet. Wipe pan clean; heat over medium-high heat. Coat 1 side of each bread slice with cooking spray. Place 4 bread slices, coated sides down, in pan. Top each with 1 patty, 1 cheese slice, and one-fourth of mushroom mixture. Top with remaining bread slices; coat with cooking spray. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 416
  • Fat: 17.1g
  • Saturated fat: 6.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 7.7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbohydrate: 34.3g
  • Fiber: 4.1g
  • Cholesterol: 42mg
  • Iron: 3.9mg
  • Sodium: 708mg
  • Calcium: 232mg

White Wine-Marinated Steaks

Image

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces steak and 1 tablespoon sauce)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound chuck eye steaks, trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth

Preparation

  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Add steaks, and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Remove steaks from marinade; reserve marinade. Sprinkle steaks evenly with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steaks to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks from pan; keep warm. Add shallot to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add reserved marinade and broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Spoon sauce over steaks.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 227
  • Fat: 14.4g
  • Saturated fat: 4.8g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1g
  • Protein: 21.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 1.4g
  • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Cholesterol: 71mg
  • Iron: 2.6mg
  • Sodium: 273mg
  • Calcium: 10mg

Chicken with Lemon-Leek Linguine

Image

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 1 cup pasta mixture)

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; keep warm.
  2. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to an even thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in flour, shaking to remove excess.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
  4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, leek, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; sauté 4 minutes. Add broth and juice; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add pasta to leek mixture; toss well to combine. Serve chicken over pasta mixture; sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 474
  • Fat: 11.5g
  • Saturated fat: 6.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g
  • Protein: 46.8g
  • Carbohydrate: 44g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Cholesterol: 121mg
  • Iron: 3.8mg
  • Sodium: 592mg
  • Calcium: 57mg

Mushroom and Sausage Ragu with Polenta

Image

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup polenta and 1 cup ragù)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked polenta
  • 4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preparation

  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Remove sausage from casings. Add sausage to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in sausage, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium; simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  3. Bring broth and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add polenta, stirring well. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 20 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, cheese, and butter. Serve with sausage mixture.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 428
  • Fat: 18.7g
  • Saturated fat: 8.4g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 8.5g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
  • Protein: 18.2g
  • Carbohydrate: 46g
  • Fiber: 4.6g
  • Cholesterol: 53mg
  • Iron: 3.3mg
  • Sodium: 821mg
  • Calcium: 74mg

Eggplant Bolognese

Image

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup sauce, about 3/4 cup pasta, and 2 teaspoons basil)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups chopped onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 pound ground sirloin
  • 8 cups chopped eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 10 ounce uncooked whole-wheat fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves

Preparation

  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and beef; cook 10 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble beef. Add eggplant, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 20 minutes or until eggplant is very tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes as necessary. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and red wine vinegar.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding 1 tablespoon kosher salt to cooking water. Drain. Toss pasta with sauce; sprinkle with basil leaves.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 323
  • Fat: 7.3g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.1g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g
  • Protein: 17.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 53.1g
  • Fiber: 12.3g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg
  • Iron: 3.9mg
  • Sodium: 553mg
  • Calcium: 92mg

The only variation that I make from these recipes is that I don’t skimp on the salt.  I know that different people have different feelings about salt so this may or may not be something you are comfortable with.  All I know is that one of the biggest lessons I learned in culinary school is that salt is magic.  Not only does it add flavor to your food but it opens your tastebuds.  Things just taste better with the proper amount of salt. I don’t have high blood pressure or any other health issues that would warrant me having to avoid it so while I can, I’m going to season my food with it.  I’m open to any suggestions you might have about alternative seasonings but I can’t tell you how many meals have gone from good to GREAT just by adding another pinch or two of salt to the pot.  SO – that is the only deviation I have made from these recipes.  Try it or don’t.  It’s up to you!

And there you have it.  That’s all, folks. 🙂