Category Archives: whole wheat

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

Not only is pasta e fagioli hasty and tasty, it’s inexpensive and healthful.  Also known as pasta fazool, this dish provides plenty of protein and fiber because it contains beans, vegetables, and whole wheat pasta. The tomatoes and Italian seasonings give it great flavor. Try this dish for your next meat-free meal.

RECIPE

PASTA E FAGIOLI
Ingredients:

  • 1 14 oz. can chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning spice
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 15½ oz. can cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup frozen seasoning blend (Chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley)
  • ½ cup whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • (Optional: ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn, for garnish)

Directions:
In a 2 quart saucepan, heat the broth over medium heat. Stir in garlic, seasoning blend, Italian spices, tomato sauce and paste. Bring to a low boil.
Add beans, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add macaroni, cover and simmer for 7 additional minutes.
Remove pan from heat, stir, and check macaroni. Should be cooked al dente.
Sprinkle each serving generously with the Parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

Yield: 3 servings

©2011 Cheryl Norman, Recipes for Recovery

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Filed under Basil, beans, Healthful Eating, pasta, Soups & Stews, tomatoes, Vegetables, whole wheat

Creative Leftovers

Those who know me, know I’m all about cooking ahead.  I have at least two meals (often three!) in mind when I cook one.  This is a great creative outlet for me, but it also saves money.  Times are as tight as they’ve been in years and years, so read on even if you don’t like to cook.

Leftovers don’t have to be last night’s dinner warmed in the microwave oven, or what I call cuisine deja vu. 😉 My favorite leftover recipes are burritos.  I don’t limit us to Mexican burritos, either.  (The difference between a burrito and a wrap–as I see it–is hot and cold.  A wrap is like a sandwich rolled in a tortilla; a burrito is like a hot casserole rolled in a tortilla.)  One of my favorite recipes is the Hoppin’ John Burrito.  It’s Cajun, and here’s the sequence.

Meal One: I make a Cajun dinner.  I cook lots of brown rice and black-eyed peas, about twice the number of servings I need for this meal, along with some greens, cornbread, and blackened catfish.  If you don’t mind a little spice, season the catfish with lots of Cajun spices.

Meal Two: I make dinner the next day with green beans, steamed kernel corn, grilled chicken breasts, and Hoppin’ John.  After dinner, stir the leftover corn into the Hoppin’ John and refrigerate.

Meal Three:  Two or three days later–you don’t want to wear out the Cajun cuisine’s welcome by having this meal on the heels of the first two–mix the Hoppin’ John and corn with a cup of salsa (or a can of green chilies and diced tomatoes) in a two-quart saucepan.  Add a cup of diced onion.  Bring all ingredients to a simmer over medium-low heat until heated through.  Meanwhile, warm eight whole wheat tortillas in the microwave oven.  Remove Hoppin’ John mixture from heat.   Divide the mixture into eight equal portions.  Spoon one portion into each of eight whole wheat tortillas, add 1 ounce of shredded Monterrey Jack (or any cheese you like) to each,  fold tortilla over, and serve.

I have many variations of the burrito theme, but let’s move on to another cuisine: Italian-American.

Meal One: Make veal Parmesan with breaded veal cutlets covered with your favorite recipe pasta sauce (I usually make my own) and serve over whole wheat spaghetti cooked al dente. Make at least a cup more of the pasta sauce than you’ll need and refrigerate.

Meal Two: Place four whole wheat tortillas on cookie sheets.  Brush on two ounces of the leftover pasta sauce.  Add toppings of your choice, including shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake in a 400° oven just until cheese melts, approximately ten minutes, depending on the type of pan used.  Voilá!  You have four individual pizzas.

You’ll notice I use whole grains, but that’s my choice. I like the taste of brown rice over white, and whole wheat pasta over semolina, but use whatever you like. Also, don’t forget the more obvious leftover dishes, like stir-fry, stew, and vegetable soup. My husband and I once brought back leftover steak from a restaurant dinner. The next night, I cubed the steak and made fajitas, another dish using the tortilla wraps.

Regardless of who does the “cooking ahead,” use your imagination and develop dishes for leftovers. Your family won’t know, or if they do, they won’t mind!

(originally appeared June 22, 2009, as a post for the Clever Divas)

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Filed under black-eye peas, Burritos, cooking, Healthful Eating, Recipes, salsa, whole wheat

Make Your Own Taco Shells…or Not

We should strive to consume more whole grains in our diet, so I try to choose whole grain products over refined flour products. That’s why I wanted to try those Tortilla bowls. (see previous post)

I wanted to make tacos but with whole wheat taco shells, not the traditional corn taco shells.  As far as I know, whole-wheat taco shells aren’t marketed.  After this experiment, I suspect I know why.

                       

Drape tortillas over the oven rack

 I took whole-wheat tortillas and arranged them in a preheated 400°F oven by draping each one over two of the grids on the baking rack. (See photo)  I baked them for ten minutes, at which time they were crispy and hard.  Success!  I had whole wheat taco shells.

Baked 10 minutes @ 400°

Buoyed with confidence, I proceded to cook my meat filling (ground turkey breast seasoned with chili powder), shred my iceberg lettuce, and dice my tomatoes and sweet onion.  I shredded reduced fat Colby and Monterrey Jack cheese then assembled my tacos as follows: 2-3 ounces ground meat, 1 – 2 ounces cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.  (The Vitamix makes quick work of shredding cheese and chopping onions)

The whole wheat tortillas yielded slightly larger taco shells than the standard shells, so I was generous with my fillings.  My presentation was impressive, and I served them alongside my homemade salsa.

Fill with meat, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cheese

The end result = delicious tacos in crunchy shells . . . crunchy, crumbly shells.  Very messy eating.  But we enjoyed them.  Were they worth the extra effort of baking my own shells?  No way, José!  Next time, I’ll buy already baked corn taco shells.  Or make taco salad.  Or maybe we’ll eat tacos at our local Mexican restaurant.

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Filed under Healthful Eating, Mexican, Recipes, Turkey Recipes, whole wheat

Penne Alfredo Fake-out

In a perfect world, we cook everything from fresh and make our own sauces, etc. But real life often challenges us with unexpected company or a rushed schedule. There’s no need to resort to take-out, not when you can fake out. Take a little help from the store and keep a few cheat items in your pantry and freezer. Here’s a favorite emergency dish I make in twenty minutes. I read labels and shop as wisely as possible to ensure my fake out is as healthful as possible.

RECIPE

Penne Alfredo Fake-out

Ingredients:
• 2 cups whole-wheat penne pasta
• Salt
• 1 jar reduced fat Alfredo sauce
• 1 cup frozen vegetables
• ½ pound medium shrimp, with veins and tails removed
• ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. Cook penne pasta according to package instructions in salted, boiling water.
2. In a 2 quart covered saucepan, gently heat shrimp and vegetables over medium-low heat until shrimp turns pink and sauce is bubbly (approximately 10 minutes)
3. Drain cooked penne and toss with the shrimp sauce mixture.
4. Serve, garnished with chopped parsley and shredded cheese, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Variations: Chill leftovers for a tasty pasta salad.

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Filed under casseroles, Healthful Eating, pasta, Recipes, Shrimp, whole wheat