Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tortellini Toss

BEFORE:
I often ate out and only cooked once or twice a week.

NOW:
I am trying to get healthy, drop a few pounds and be a better person, which means no eating out and cooking more than once or twice a week.

BEFORE:
I would go to the grocery store only to buy whatever it was that I was planning to blog about that week paying no mind to an eating plan for the week. Why would I? I could always eat out at one of the bazillion restaurants in my neighborhood.

NOW:
I realize I can plan to be successful or not plan and fail miserably. I have to have some kind of menu plan each week otherwise one of the following will happen:

1. I will not have enough food to get through the week making it more likely that I will buy a frozen pizza (or two) from the little convenience store across the street and eat the entire thing. After eating said pizza I will decide that it's just too hard thus giving up on my "I want to be healthier, lighter and an all-around better person" goal because I am an unorganized person who can't control her frozen pizza cravings.

2. I will buy too much food and it will go to waste. After realizing I have wasted perfectly good food I will give up on the whole "I want to be healthier, lighter and an all-around better person" goal because I am an unorganized person who forgets she is only cooking for one, which will lead me to eat frozen pizza because  someone told me once that's what single people are supposed eat.

BEFORE:
I would buy a package of tortellini and eat the whole thing by myself.

Wow. I can't believe I just admitted that.

NOW:
I make tortellini and throw in some mushrooms, spinach, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese (left over from pizza night) and eat only ONE CUP as a serving. Adding in the mushrooms and spinach definitely makes it more filling thus eliminating the "eating the whole package in one sitting" problem. Planning to use spinach and mushrooms in at least two to three recipes for the week eliminates the whole "food might go to waste" issue.

Makes me feel like an all-around better person who's feeling healthier and lighter.

And it's only day 3.



Tortellini Toss
Makes approximately 3 cups

1 package four cheese whole wheat tortellini
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Some mushrooms
Some spinach
1/2 cup tomato sauce


Cook the tortellini according to package directions. While the tortellini is cooking heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add in the mushrooms and spinach and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms start to brown and the spinach wilts. Add in the tomato sauce and stir to combine.

Drain the tortellini, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add the tortellini to the mushrooms and spinach sauce, along with the pasta water, and toss it all together.

Scoop one cup of the pasta into a bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and serve.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lighter Aspirations

Where has the summer gone?

I don't know about you, but my summer has gone straight to my waist and thighs. Literally.

After many weeks of enjoying ice cold beers whiling away hot summer nights, hot dogs at baseball games and one too many Grande Mocha Frappucino's from Starbucks I've now realized there is too much of a good thing.

I've certainly enjoyed the journey, but not the excess baggage that has slowly accumulated along the ride.

After a recent shopping trip for new jeans and other key fall transitional items I discovered that the normal sizes I wear weren't quite as well-fitting as they used to be-- a little tighter. Okay, a lot tighter.

I'm afraid of the word "diet", so instead I am embarking on a portion control experiment. I want to see if I can still enjoy a lot of my favorite things - butter and bacon and cream, oh my! - but do so in a manner that employs some moderation and more awareness of the amount of ingredients I am using.

I'm hoping this little experiment will help reverse the damage of too many bacon wrapped hot dogs.

I'm not claiming to be a nutritionist or health food expert and I don't plan to post nutritional information with the recipes that I will be posting. I'm just hoping to share what I learn and deliver up some tasty, healthful dishes. Nutrition aside, I'm more interested to see how long I can keep this going... so stay tuned.




Spinach, Mushroom & Bacon Pizza
Serves 2

In the time it normally takes to order pizza from my neighborhood pizzeria for carry out I threw together this simple pizza. I piled it high with mushrooms and spinach, but didn't sacrifice one of my most favorite things-- bacon. I made this the first night of my experiment and I didn't miss my old pizza take-out. The only trick with this one is to only eat two slices as a serving, although with all the spinach and mushrooms it is really filling.

1 Mini Boboli Pizza Crust
1/2 cup marinara sauce
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove to paper towels to drain. Chop into pieces.

Remove all of the bacon fat from the pan. Add in the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add in the mushrooms and cook for a couple minutes. Add in the spinach and continue cooking until the spinach starts to wilt. Add the chopped bacon in and stir all the ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for another 3-4 minutes and then remove from the pan and allow to cool.

Spread the marinara sauce on the pizza crust. Top with the mushroom and spinach mixture. Top with the cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pizza is cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes before slicing.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs


Ah, summer. Lemonade, baseball games and bacon wrapped hot dogs.

I hesitated posting about bacon wrapped hot dogs because they seem more like something I should make under the cloak of darkness and never mention to anyone. Some things are best kept secret. Making them for dinner is kind of like eating ice cream straight out of the carton for dinner while watching a New York Housewives marathon on Bravo. Not that I ever do that. 

 I had my first bacon wrapped hot dog at a baseball game recently and was so inspired I went to the grocery store the next day and bought all the makings for my own home version.

Hot dogs, a favorite of mine, are something I've never out grown. I like to think I have a somewhat sophisticated palate, but not so sophisticated that I can't enjoy a hot dog every once in a while. Especially one that's wrapped with one of my other favorite things, bacon.


 My favorite way to cook hot dogs is on the stove top in a saute pan. Normally, I cooked them in a little butter, turning them frequently until they are heated through and crispy on the outside. Since I wrapped them in bacon (securing it with toothpicks) this time I skipped the butter since the bacon fat promotes the same crispy result. 

I also toasted the bun and then melted some pepper jack cheese before adding the hot dog and just simple mayo and Dijon mustard.

A little over the top...
Not so healthy...
Very, very delicious.

Everything in moderation.

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