Pasta Much?

Before I started Weight Watchers, I tried the South Beach diet, and South Beach is not the most carb-friendly of diets. As a result, I cut back on my pasta consumption.

But now I’ve learned that pasta isn’t really the problem, it’s the portion size. Did you know that a true serving size of pasta is two ounces uncooked or one cup cooked? That was certainly eye-opening when I read that this week.

After reading this, I decided to give pasta another chance. But I could see myself easily getting into a rut by doing the usual ground meat-, sausage- or meatball-and-sauce combo, so I decided to branch out. Here’s what I came up with.

Oh, and with the exception of the lasagna, I used whole wheat pasta for the recipes.

Without further ado…

Penne Pasta With Spinach and Pepperoni: This is scaled to one serving size, as I had some cooked penne on hand.

  • 1 cup cooked penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup sauteed spinach (this came from a larger batch I made, sauteeing the spinach in olive oil and garlic)
  • 17 slices of turkey pepperoni (17 slices is one serving!)
  • 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce

Basically you’re just mixing everything together. I also mixed in 1/4 of a cup of mozzarella cheese. (roughly 1/4 of a cup, or 1 oz., is a serving of shredded cheese.)

Mexican Penne Pasta: Also scaled to one serving.

  • 3 oz Mexican-spiced ground meat (Ground turkey cooked it in the microwave with canola oil, a touch of salt, chili powder, garlic, minced onion, cumin, oregano, hot sauce, and a little lime juice added in. I made a larger batch of the meat that we used for burritos that week.)
  • 1 cup penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • cilantro to taste
  • red onion (optional)

Curry Spaghetti: I’m going to make this one tomorrow. I plan on making a big batch, because I know my husband will eat it, too.

Here’s the recipe I used:

  • 2/3 of a box of cooked spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 lb. Ground turkey
  • 3/4 of a medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic
  • Curry powder… I didn’t measure, but I usually use a lot. Don’t think I’d be exaggerating to say half a cup. But do to your taste.
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 of a container of sour cream
  • Cilantro, to taste
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2/3 cup peas

Brown the onions, garlic and ground turkey in the canola oil. Add the curry powder, chicken stock, sour cream, chickpeas and peas. Mix in the spaghetti. Add the cilantro at the end.
The last pasta recipe I’m going to post is not new, but is my post-Weight Watchers version of lasagna. A teensy bit lighter, plus veggies, and also fast to make!

  • 1 package of turkey meatballs (should be 12-16 of them; can’t remember.)
  • Spaghetti sauce (I usually use a 28-oz jar plus maybe another cup or so. Use as much as you like.)
  • Frozen spinach (at least half of one of the small boxes), cooked
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • Small container of fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 8-oz bag of low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella
  • reduced fat parmesan cheese
  • Italian spices
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  1. Dice the meatballs. Mix the meatballs, spinach and spaghetti sauce together, reserving some spaghetti sauce to pour on the bottom of your baking dish.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the entire container of ricotta cheese, half the mozzarella and the spices. I usually also mix in some milk to thin out the mixture a bit and make it easier to spread when the time comes.
  3. Pour enough spaghetti sauce in a 13″x9″ baking pan to cover the bottom.
  4. Add 3 lasagna noodles.
  5. Top with meatball mixture.
  6. Top meatball mixture with cheese mixture.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 two more times.
  8. On top of the final layer of cheese mixture, add the final 3 noodles. Top with any of the meatball mixture that’s remaining, or just plain spaghetti sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
  9. Bake pan, covered with foil, in a 350-degree oven until the noodles are cooked. Uncover the lasagna toward the end of the cooking time.



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