Monday, January 6, 2014

Spaghetti Western with Lemony Veggies

Happy New Year!

As with each New Year, we create resolutions.  Even though I try to keep the recipes I post for you on the scaled-down side, when you “contest” and test recipes, even those of us who try to get healthy can pack on the pounds.  That was the case with me.  Egggh.  Plus, I didn’t work out much over the holidays.

But now I am back on track…

I decided to join Weight Watchers ®.  I attended my first meeting on Saturday morning.  I have to say, I am very impressed with the new Simple Start program.  For the first two weeks, you don’t have to count points; you simply eat “power foods.”  Any splurges are counted by points.  Then you have the option of strictly counting points, or if you prefer, you can now continue on the “power foods” path with only counting your points for non power food options, or you can do a combination.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes.

As I’ve been reading over the materials given to me, it made me realize that some of the dishes I thought were “healthy” maybe weren’t as healthy as they could have been.  But rather than beat myself up over the past, I decided to move forward.  I started to think about how many times in my life I’ve had to re-adjust my eating habits based on various factors (how busy I was – what else was going on in my life, health concerns, etc).  Your life is a journey and so should be your quest to find what makes you healthier and happier at all stages.  That is why you will note the new subtitle, “A Foodie's Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle.”

Will I ever reach the “Mt. Everest” of food and health enlightenment?  I don’t know.  But the journey is the fun part.  But hey, twelve years ago, I could only make a few things well and look at me now – winning and placing in cooking contests and hosting a food blog.   You just never know how much you can accomplish until you really try.

I’m not endorsing Weight Watchers.  You have to find a weight loss program that works for you.  But this year, I thought I’d not only give the blog a fresh new look, but I also decided to add WW points to some of my recipes (as I did here tonight).  I’m also going to tag some of my recipes (new and previous) with a Power Foods tag, so if you’re doing any kind of a healthy diet, you’ll be able to find the recipes you want to make.  I figured if I’m reinventing my philosophy and it’s working for me, I should pay it forward and help others. 

And, oh, yeah, the recipe:

My recipe from last night is a spaghetti dish.  I ran it through the WW recipe calculator on their e-tools site and it came in at 12 points including the side dish.  A little high if you want to have dessert, but considering it’s spaghetti with meat sauce (buffalo meat), that’s not really that bad.  You want to eat this dish; you will just likely have to skip the late night nibbles.

Over time, I will learn to scale down the recipes to keep them less than 10 points; but I think you are going to enjoy this recipe even if you’re not on a diet. 

BTW - First time I ever used buffalo meat.  It was very tasty.  You can substitute ground beef, turkey or even ground chicken for this dish.

4 servings - 12 Points (including side dish)


Butter flavored cooking spray

12 ounces lean ground buffalo

1 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper

1 tbs. light olive oil and canola oil blend

3 oz. diced Portobello mushroom (gills scraped away before chopping)

1 tbs. minced Jalapeño pepper

1 tbs. minced garlic

1/4 cup low sodium beef broth

15 ounces organic tomato sauce

Pinch of sea salt (optional)

8 ounces whole grain pasta (cooked by package directions)

1/8 cup fat free feta cheese

Fresh torn mint for garnish

4 ounces fresh string beans

1/8 cup mini bell pepper rings (assorted colors)

1 tbs. lemon juice

Spray cooking spray into medium skillet.  Add ground meat and onion powder and pepper.  Brown the meat to your liking, about five minutes.  Remove meat from pan and keep warm.

Add the oil, the mushroom and the Jalapeño.  Sauté about four minutes until the mushroom begins to turn golden brown.  Add in the garlic.
Deglaze the pan with the beef broth, scraping the browned bits from the bottom.

Add the tomato sauce and the salt.  Simmer for about five minutes.
Serve over cooked pasta.  Top with feta cheese and mint.

For the side dish, simply microwave the beans and peppers in two tablespoons of water, covered.  Toss in lemon juice.
I hope you’ll join me in 2014 as I lose weight, get healthier, and share new recipes with you.

I’ll see you soon!
Not an endorsement for the weight loss program mentioned in this blog.

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