make PASTA your healthiest meal

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healthy SFG pasta

Dear Diary,

I am a pasta fanatic… I have it for dinner at least twice a week, if not more, and I’m not ashamed! That’s because my pasta is always healthy, full of greens and protein, and completely satisfying.  In my opinion, pasta has a horrible rep– it’s always associated with buttery sauces and tons of unnecessary carbs, but it doesn’t have to be.  Here are some tips to make pasta your favorite, and healthiest meal of the week!

SFG DIARY pasta made healthy

1.  Choose the Right Pasta

I use Jovial Organic 100% whole wheat pasta– Jovial is minimally processed, has few ingredients, and is full of protein but low in carbs.  It doesn’t get better than that people!  It’s also all about moderation… pay attention to the serving amount on the box, and stick to it.  (Okay, to be honest, sticking to the serving amount is tough for me… but I’m working on it ;))

2.  Make your own Sauce

By making the sauce yourself, you’re able to have more control over the ingredients you put into it… the fresher the ingredients, the better it is for you.  My sauces are always EVOO based; EVOO has healthy fats that are good for the body and great for the skin… so less butter, and more olive oil will lead to a healthier sauce, guaranteed– add in sauteed garlic or some lemon juice to instantly brighten the flavor of any EVOO sauce base.

3.  Add on the veggies and protein

Any pasta dish can be interesting, delicious and inventive depending on the veggies and proteins you have around.  Chop up some greens, add in some local produce, and viola, you’ve gotten your vegetable servings in!– just add seasoning!  Also, FUN FACT:  did you know that vegetables are richer in nutrient value when they are sauteed or steamed vs. when they are eaten raw?!  … I know, mind blowing!

Switch up the protein– cheese, almond cheese, fish, tofu, poultry, meat… so many options for protein, but add it in there!  It will keep you fuller longer, and lead to a healthier and leaner you… guaranteed!

4.  Experiment with flavors and textures!

Don’t forget to season!  Salt and pepper is sometimes all you need to finish a pasta dish, but other times you need to add some heat (cayenne pepper for instance), or some deep Italian Oregano leaves to make a dish complete.  I often add sweet vinegar to the pasta when serving, it provides a great sweet acidity that I love, especially for my pesto!  I also like to add ground flax seeds to my pasta dishes… I know it sounds crazy, LOL, but I love the texture, it keeps me fuller longer, and flax seeds are full of some extra protein… can’t hurt!  :)

SFG Diary healthy pasta

Tonight I made my famous Pesto– spinach, basil, EVOO, garlic, and pine nuts… on top, sliced baby tomatoes and almond cheese!  Looks good enough to eat, right?!  Well go!  Make it!  It’s healthy and SFG approved!

So there are some tips on how to make Pasta your healthiest meal… Enjoy SFGs!

 

Craving Pizza? Try this recipe instead…!

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Dear Diary,

After visiting my family in Chicago last week, I’m feeling homesick. Times like these, I like to cook something and eat my way to happiness…kidding, well kinda:) Of course, being a Chicagoan, I always crave something with cheese and bread involved. But, as my form fitting wedding dress stares at me from the closet, I’m thinking deep dish pizza is out of the question.

So I opted to make foe pizza bites. My sister shared the recipe and it is a winner. I’ll admit nothing can ever really replace the taste of pizza, but these definitely helped satisfy my craving. Pesto Beefsteak tomatoes, yeah you heard me! Beefsteak tomatoes are were it’s at; these reds definitely live up to their name.

Here’s what you need:

* 4 Beefsteak Tomatoes

* Pesto Sauce (check out Jackie’s post to make your own)

* Parmesan Cheese

* Oregano

* Olive Oil

* Pepper

* Salt

 

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 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the beefsteak tomatoes in thick slices, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a healthy dose of oregano, salt and pepper all over the slices.

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Place in the oven for 5 minutes…Remove from the oven and spread the pesto sauce on each tomato – about a tablespoon or however much it takes to coat the slice. Then sprinkle a healthy dose of parmesan cheese on top.

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Place back in the oven for 5 minutes, remove and serve pippin’ hot!

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lauren2

Healthier Pesto, Healthier YOU

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Dear Diary,

My go-to comfort food has always been anything Italian… but sometimes it’s not even worth it if I feel like there is no nutritional value… now Italian (made right) is actually some of the simplest and healthiest food a gal could eat… and this easy Pesto recipe is DELICIOUS and HEALTH inspired… FULL of some extra lean greens that you wouldn’t usually see in a pesto!  Simply put, this Pesto is a  taste of Italy that you can feel good about.  So how do you fit this bouquet of greens in with a pasta dish??  Here’s how…

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You need:

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2 cups of spinach & 2 cups of Basil

1 container of PROTEIN PLUS PASTA (found at any supermarket)

1 clove of garlic

1/3 cup of pine nuts

teaspoon of salt & pepper

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MIX in a food processor (Italian made easy)– and drizzle in olive oil until smooth

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Ditch the heavy Parmesan cheese that usually goes into Pesto recipes… and instead add some tomato and fresh mozzarella to finish the plate!

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After a long day of work… there’s nothing better than to satisfy my craving of Pesto pasta… It’s quick, tasty, and won’t undo my whole day!

Enjoy SFG’s!

Bring Italy home… and party!

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Dear Diary,

I’m not a big party girl… If I ever have to make a choice between a night on the town or a small get-together at home… it is no contest. I absolutely love entertaining!– cooking a big feast, listening to some great tunes, and just having some drinks with good friends.

Thursday night my boyfriend and I decided to have a little partaaaay… not only was I intimidated by the menu I was attempting to create, but I was a little nervous about the guest list as well…  We’re lucky to have a very diverse group of friends: actors, writers, agents, musicians, and engineers… a little random, no? ha… trust me, get them all in one room and the differences are obvious…  well despite my initial fears, I’m happy to report that the night was a huge success in every way!  We all had so much fun and with everyone in a great mood, the night was filled with laughter, booze and lots and lots of Italian food.

Italy holds a special place in my heart… I lived in Florence for six months while studying abroad in college, where I developed a keen interest in the Italian language and culture.  I was also lucky enough to grow-up with authentic Italian food!  Living in NY, finding great Italian food is as easy as snappin your fingers!  And even though I’m only 1/8 Italian, my house was always filled with the sweet aroma of Italian cooking.  My parents were fortunate enough to spend a majority of their twenties living abroad in Rome…  thus authentic Italian food was a consistent treat.

Thursday was not my first time cooking Italian food, but it my first timing cooking such an abundant amount of it!

For the antipasti I made a caprese salad which is simply mozzarella (find at a local Italian market for the freshest and creamiest,) tomato, and basil– drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I also baked home-made pizza with melted ricotta and mozzarella, and jalapenos for some kick!

For the main course I whipped together a fettuccine pesto dish, and homemade gnocchi!  Yes HOME MADE– it might seem intimidating but it really isn’t!  All you need are boiled russet potatoes, flour and egg!  1)  Roll out the dough into long lines and chop into small balls, 2)  then roll them with your fork to create little crevices for sauce and cheese to set in!  To create your own simple, tomato sauce all you need are onions, garlic, olive oil, basil, nutmeg, oregano, and of course tomatoes!

Making Italian food is very simple… you just want to make sure you use correct, authentic ingredients!

Try it yourself for your next dinner party! :) … and don’t forget NUTELLA the decadent Italian, chocolate-hazelnut spread– lather fruit or bread with Nutella for an easy and delicious dessert!

–  SFG Jackie

Skinny Fat Girl Diary