Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara

Yes, I’m still alive over here! Tired, but alive, and even cooking a little bit 🙂 Tonight’s dinner is a minorly (is that a word!?) tweaked recipe from Rachel Ray’s magazine. It was easy and delish, but not exactly low cal (oh well!). Bacon is one of our favorite foods in this house and I loved that there were green beans in the dish to help salvage the nutritional value 🙂 I’ll make this one again!

Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara

Source: Adapted from Rachel Ray Magazine
Yield: 6 servings

1 lb. spaghetti
1 lb. green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1) Cook pasta according to package directions, adding beans halfway through cooking time; drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.

2) Brown bacon in large skillet over medium heat; add onion and sautee until soft; deglaze with reserved cooking water. (or if you’re like me and forget to reserve it, regular tap water will be ok!)

3) Whisk eggs with cheese. Off heat, add pasta, beans, eggs and cheese to skillet and toss; season with salt and pepper.

Meatless Monday – Very Veggie Fettucine Alfredo

Are you new to Meatless Monday? Check out this post for more details…

I have been having so much fun with Meatless Monday. I’m really having to stretch outside of my normal kitchen comfort zone to find meatless meals that will be satisfying for this carnivorous family of mine. This recipe is a combination of several recipes I had been wanting to try for a while. You’re going to look at it and think ‘wow, that’s a lot of stuff’, but I promise you, it took no more than 45 minutes from first chop to on the table. You can work on several things at once and when it all comes together in the end, you will be glad you took the chance!

I will say that this dish does use a lot of pans, and for that, I apologize. The reason I cook so much is that I hate washing dishes. You see, whoever cooks dinner, the other spouse washes dishes, sooooooooo….


Very Veggie Fettucine Alfredo

Serves Four

8 ounces uncooked fettucine

Vegetables:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup carrots, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 cup red pepper, diced
1 (8oz) package sliced mushrooms
1/2 c finely chopped green onion (use the whites and green part)
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounces fresh spinach, washed, stems removed and torn into pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Alfredo Sauce
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp flour
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
pinch of nutmeg (optional)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1) Prepare fettucine according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain remaining water and set pasta aside.

2) Prepare the sauce: Heat butter over medium heat in a large saucepan (until it foams). Whisk in flour until the mixture is smooth and golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, heavy cream, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Bring to a simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

3) Prepare the vegetables: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute carrots and red peppers for 4-5 minutes until beginning to soften. Stir in garlic; saute 1 minute. Add mushrooms and onions, stirring until mushrooms are tender (3-4 minutes). Pile spinach into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the spinach is wilted and excess liquid is mostly evaporated. Season with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

4) Time to assemble! Pour the cooked pasta into the vegetable mix and give it a stir. Next, whisk 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water into the alfredo sauce to help thin it out. I ended up using about 3/4 of a cup, but you can use the whole 1 cup if the mix is dryer than you’d like it. Start small, though – it’s easier to add than take away! Pour the alfredo sauce over the pasta and vegetables and sprinkle in the fresh basil. Stir to combine well (a good pair of kitchen tongs work wonders right about now!) If you’re feeling adventurous, you can top your dish with more freshly grated Parmesan.  Enjoy!

Another favorite – Chicken Tetrazzini

This recipe is another one that I make all the time. I love it with all my heart and I recommend it to anyone who will listen!! Just like the stuffed shells, it makes 2 dishes. I love that because I can make one for a friend who’s been sick or just had a baby and I can keep the other for us to eat! This also freezes beautifully, so you can freeze one and eat the other right away!

PS: I have made just half a recipe before and that worked out fine (but really, you might as well make 2!)
PPS: Amy’s opera note – it’s named after opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini!


Chicken Tetrazzini

Yield: 2 casseroles, 6 servings each (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, March 2003

1 tablespoon butter
cooking spray
1 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 (8-ounce) packages pre-sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry sherry
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 (14.5 oz) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 1/4 cups (9 oz) grated fresh parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup (4 oz) 1/3-less fat cream cheese
7 cups hot cooked vermicelli (about 1 lb uncooked pasta)
4 cups chopped cooked chicken (about 1.5 lbs)
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread (Amy’s note: I used canned breadcrumbs, just estimated the amt.)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Melt butter in large stockpot coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, pepper, salt, and mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add sherry; cook 1 minute.

3. Lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup; level with a knife. Gradually add flour to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly (mixture will be thick) with a whisk. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

4. Add 1 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese and cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until cream cheese melts. Add the pasta and chicken, and stir until blended. Divide the pasta mixture between 2 (8-inch square) baking dishes coated with cooking spray.

5. Place bread in food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form. Combine breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove casserole from oven; let stand 15 minutes.

* To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare through step 5. Cool completely in refrigerator. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

* To Prepare Frozen Unbaked Casserole: Thaw casserole completely in refrigerator (about 24 hrs). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover casserole with reserved foil; bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 1 hour or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:
Calories – 380 (29% from fat); fat 12.2 g (sat 6.6, mono 3.4, poly .7); protein 33 g; carb 32.7g; fiber 2g; cholesterol 66 mg; iron 2.8 mg; sodium 964 mg; calcium 319 mg.

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Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

Well, I have been MIA this week for 2 reasons. First, I didn’t cook AT ALL this week. I made food on Sunday and we’ve been eating off of it all week! Secondly (and more importantly), we didn’t have internet all week! SOB! I was lost! Our wireless router/modem took a dive on Monday and we finally got a new one from our friends at Bell South, so we’re back in business! YES!

I want to share this recipe with you. It doesn’t get a number because it’s not new. It’s one of the few recipes I’ve made quite a few times. I’m going to post my abridged version of it (mainly that I don’t make my own sauce), but if you’d like to see the original, click here. These shells are easy to put together and only mildly time consuming to stuff. The recipe makes 2 pans, so you can do like I did and give one away (hi Molly!) or put one in the freezer! I love recipes like this!


Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

Source: Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe
Yield: 2 casseroles, 5 servings per dish (about 4 shells, and 1/2 C marinara)

This dish goes straight from the freezer to oven – no thawing required. You can also easily vary the filling by adding basil or oregano and a different cheese. (We tried fontina instead of mozzarella and threw in some arugula for a peppery bite.) Make some garlic bread and a green salad and dinner’s on.

1 pound jumbo shell pasta (40 shells)
Cooking spray
1 (12-ounce) carton 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1 (15-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 cups prepared marinara sauce
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Coat 2 (13 x 9-inch) baking dishes with cooking spray; set aside.

Place cottage cheese and ricotta cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cottage cheese mixture, Asiago, and next 6 ingredients (Asiago through spinach).

Spoon or pipe 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into each shell. Arrange half of stuffed shells, seam sides up, in one prepared dish. Pour 3 cups Smoky Marinara over stuffed shells. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat procedure with remaining stuffed shells, marinara, and mozzarella in remaining prepared dish.

Cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare through Step 5. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

To prepare frozen unbaked casserole: Preheat oven to 375º. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover frozen casserole with reserved foil; bake at 375º for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the shells are thoroughly heated.

CALORIES 470 (30% from fat); FAT 15.7g (sat 8.8g,mono 4.7g,poly 0.9g); IRON 3.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 47mg; CALCIUM 508mg; CARBOHYDRATE 52.7g; SODIUM 916mg; PROTEIN 28.3g; FIBER 5.3g

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(49) Pasta Carbonara with Asparagus

As I mentioned before, I have zero sense of taste/smell right now. I wish I could give an accurate review of this recipe, but I can’t! So I’m recording this for posterity sake and going to have to revisit this one at a later date! If anybody makes this, please let me know what you think! (sorry for such a worthless opener!)



Pasta Carbonara with Asparagus

Source: Cooking Light, MAY 1997
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

2 1/2 cups (1-inch) diagonally sliced trimmed asparagus
6 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
2 bacon slices
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped chives (optional)

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add asparagus. Cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; set aside.

Combine 2 tablespoons cheese, milk, egg substitute, 2 tablespoons chives, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well; set aside.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add onion and garlic to bacon drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in asparagus and bacon.

Combine pasta, milk mixture, and asparagus in a large bowl; toss well. Divide evenly among 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese. Sprinkle with pepper; top with chives, if desired.

CALORIES 321 (17% from fat); FAT 6.2g (sat 2.8g,mono 2g,poly 0.8g); IRON 3.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 10mg; CALCIUM 188mg; CARBOHYDRATE 50.8g; SODIUM 437mg; PROTEIN 15.8g; FIBER 3.8g

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