Spinach Yogurt Pesto Pasta with Chicken

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Thanks so much for your comments in my blogiversary post! It seems like quite a few of you would love more ideas for healthier dinners, and I’m happy to oblige! I’ve been meaning to get back into meal planning, and so here’s the start of more savory dishes on this blog. :-)

This recipe is part of a virtual cooking party that Jessica of My Baking Heart is hosting, along with the folks at Stonyfield Yogurt. Ever since I started my weight loss journey, I’ve been slowly, but surely paying more attention to what I’m eating. One of my biggest struggles is with snacking, so I try to keep our fridge full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is actually one of the easiest snacks for me, since I can just grab a container and go to town. Some fruits are grab and eat, too, but I find that greek yogurt is filling (seriously, check out how much protein is in greek yogurt!) and takes care of my sweet tooth. I recently noticed that Stonyfield has a greek yogurt line, and gave it a try. It was absolutely tasty, and a bonus–it’s organic!

I’ve recently become more aware of organic foods, and one thing that I found interesting is the difference between “natural” and “organic” on food labels (this is with the exception of meats). I always thought natural was a good thing, but not necessarily. For example, foods that may contain pesticides, growth hormones or GMO can still be labeled as “natural”, but it cannot be labeled as “organic”. It’s really interesting — here’s an infographic about it.

Besides just grabbing a container of yogurt to have as a snack, I really like using greek yogurt in my cooking and baking. Personally, I really don’t like mayonnaise. If a recipe calls for mayonnaise, I usually can replace it with plain greek yogurt (hello, chicken salad!). I also use it in baking, and I’ve noticed it works especially well in quick breads/muffins. This recipe uses greek yogurt to make pesto into a creamy sauce, and it works beautifully. The greek yogurt addition to the spinach pesto makes it seem more like a pesto alfredo sauce (without the added cream/butter). I decided to add some grilled chicken to the pasta, and it made for the perfect weeknight dinner. If you wanted, you could even make the spinach yogurt pesto sauce in advance (up to 3 days), and all you would need to do is grill the chicken and boil the pasta. Easy peasy!

Spinach Yogurt Pesto Pasta with Chicken
Source: adapted from My Baking Heart

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. organic Italian dressing
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain Stonyfield Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. organic whole wheat pasta

Directions:

  1. Marinate the chicken in the Italian dressing for 2-4 hours.
  2. Once the chicken has marinated, sprinkle Cajun seasoning over both sides of the chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place 1 tbsp. canola oil in a cast iron skillet or grill pan, and wipe the oil with a paper towel to evenly distribute the oil over the surface of the pan. Preheat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat, until hot. Gently place the chicken on the cast iron skillet, and sear the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side. Using oven mitts, place foil over the cast iron pan and then place the pan in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
  4. While the chicken is cooking in the oven, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is coming to temperature, make the spinach yogurt pesto sauce. Place the garlic, spinach, basil, pine nuts, lemon juice & zest in the bowl of a food processor or blender and chop the mixture until everything is finely chopped. You may have to stop to scrape down the bowl a couple of times. Once the mixture is finely chopped, allow the processor or blender to run on low, and slowly add in the olive oil. Pour the mixture into a small bowl, and add in the Parmesan cheese and yogurt. Season the pesto with salt and pepper. Cover the pesto with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  5. By now, the pot of water should be boiling. Add in your pasta, and cook the pasta until al dente (following the directions on the box for your specific pasta). Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Then, drain the pasta and return the pasta to the pot, tossing in the pesto sauce. If the pasta appears to be too dry, add in the reserved pasta water, 1 tbsp. at a time.
  6. To serve, place some pesto pasta on a plate, slice up 1/2 of a chicken breast and place that on top. Garnish the dish with either some lemon zest or Parmesan cheese. (Serves 6.)

Since this is a virtual cooking party, there are 5 other bloggers who made this dish as well, putting their own unique spins on the recipe. Don’t they all sound delicious?

My Baking Heart – Garlicky Shrimp & Pasta with Spinach Yogurt Pesto
Kasey’s Kitchen – Spinach Yogurt Pesto Pasta over Chicken Milanese
Apple a Day – Penne with Spinach Yogurt Pesto, White Beans & Tomatoes
Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate – Spinach Yogurt Pesto Pasta with Sausages
Sunny Side Up – Chicken and Spinach Yogurt Pesto Pasta

Also, it wouldn’t be much of a party without something fun for you guys, right?

The generous folks at Stonyfield want to offer one lucky reader of The Nifty Foodie a case of their yogurt and a cookbook!

It’s a giveaway prize that would definitely get me excited about cooking with yogurt (or hey, I wouldn’t blame you if you want the yogurt to snack on…have you seen the new Cafe Latte flavor? I feel like I NEED to find it in my store to try it!)

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: This giveaway is sponsored by Stonyfield and is open to readers in the continental US only. Entries will be accepted until February 4th at 12:00am (central standard time). Winner will be emailed (make sure you leave an email address in the form), and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

DISCLOSURE: Stonyfield supplied me with free products in exchange for a post in the Virtual Cooking Party, as well as the prize being offered in the giveaway. All opinions are 100% my own.

Crawfish Fettuccine

Crawfish Fettuccine

My husband is not a big pasta person. He could eat rice for days, but pasta? He has to be in the mood for it. I’m the opposite. If you told me I had to eat pasta every day for the rest of my life, I would think I died and went to heaven. I LOVE pasta. I’m all about it. So, when crawfish went on sale on weekend, instead of making the usual etouffee, I hoped that my husband would be in a pasta-loving mood that day, because crawfish fettuccine was on my mind. :-)

Well, as you can see, we had crawfish fettuccine that evening. :-P And it was every bit as delicious as I had hoped. We ended up halving the recipe, since the original recipe would make way too much food for just my husband and I.

I do want to note that this recipe does contain Velveeta. If you aren’t OK with using processed foods, you may be able to substitute freshly grated cheese, since this recipe’s directions reminded me a lot of making a bechamel sauce. However, I personally didn’t try that to tell you if it works out the same way.

Crawfish Fettuccine
Source: adapted from Holly Clegg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. fettuccine
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 lb. light Velveeta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 lb. crawfish tails (make sure they are cleaned)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the fettuccine in boiling water until al dente. Do not add oil or salt to the pot. Drain the pasta, wash in cool water to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together as it sits, and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt the butter and saute the onions, green bell peppers, and garlic until translucent and tender. Add the flour and stir well until everything is mixed.
  3. Gradually add the milk, stirring at the same time, until the mixture is smooth. Add the cheese cubes, stirring the sauce until all of the cheese has melted.
  4. Add in the crawfish tails, parsley, green onions, worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper and mix everything together gently.
  5. Add in the pasta, and using tongs, toss everything together until well-combined. Heat the fettuccine well and serve.

Top 10 Recipes of 2011

Am I the only person who is shocked that Christmas just passed? I can’t believe it. Neighbors are taking down lights, and our tree looks SO empty without gifts under it. My favorite holiday is over, and crazy enough, it’s time for a new year. 2012.

Time to take the shrink wrap off of the new planner and get used to writing “2012” on papers/emails/etc. This is just crazy.

Also crazy…sometime in 2012, my 4 year blogiversary is happening and my 3 year wedding anniversary is happening too. WHAT?

It’s a lot to look forward to, but before everyone rings in the new year, I just wanted to share with y’all the top 10 posts of 2011. :-)

Yellow Cupcakes w/ Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

10. Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream – This was my first time making SMBC, and I swear, if you haven’t tried SMBC before, just do it. Please?

Pecan Pie Macarons

9. Pecan Pie Macarons – Gotta love macarons. These were really a huge favorite for Thanksgiving, and the star shape (which was a happy accident) made them super cute and festive!

Queso Blanco

8. Restaurant Style Queso Blanco – This is it. The ultimate queso blanco. If you’re as addicted to queso as me, you’d understand how wonderful it is to FINALLY have a recipe for this!

Strawberry Cream Cake

7. Strawberry Cream Cake – I’m actually glad I compiled this top 10, because I sort of forgot about this cake. Since it’s currently strawberry season in Louisiana, I think I MUST make this cake again. Yum!

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles

6. Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles – This is the recipe that made my year, basically. I still can’t believe I won that recipe contest, and I’ve been told by a few friends who made this that these little truffles were a hit at their holiday parties! So happy to hear that!

Banana Nutella "Ice Cream"

5. Banana Nutella “Ice Cream” – Two ingredient “ice cream”. It’s basically awesome and couldn’t be any easier. Your food processor does all the work!

Corn Grits

4. Grilled Corn Grits – I can’t be from the South, and not have a post about grits. I promise you if you make this, your hips may never be the same again, but your taste buds will tell you it’s completely worth it!

3. Easy Pasta Salad – My first (and so far, only) vlog. I might get the courage to make one again, since you guys seemed to like it so much!

Diet Cupcakes

2. Cooking For Kids – The infamous post. Yup, who’da thought that a soda cupcake would get so much response from you guys (both good and bad)…yikes!

Homemade S'mores

1. S’mores for a Shower – Nutella S’mores. I can see why you guys loved this one so much. I’m sort of craving s’mores right now, actually. :-P

I hope you have a wonderful New Year with your family and friends, and thank you so much for reading The Nifty Foodie! See y’all in 2012!

Light Chicken Parmesan

Light Chicken Parm

It’s very rare that we go out for Italian food. While I absolutely LOVE Italian cuisine, the hubs isn’t a really huge fan and totally has to be in the right mood for it. When I was thinking of a new recipe to try in the house, I thought, well, why not make the hubs’ favorite dish: chicken parmesan?

However, I really despise frying. Everytime I try to fry something, I can’t quite control the oil and it either ends up undercooked or burnt. Plus, I end up burnt too from the oil splatters..it’s a crappy situation. Oh yeah, and since I’m trying to lose weight, well, frying isn’t in my vocabulary for the moment.

So, I found a Cooks Illustrated recipe, which really has never steered me wrong when it comes to baking food dishes that are traditionally fried, and I tried this. It really didn’t take that long to throw together, and the hubs really enjoyed it. Yay!

Lighter Chicken Parmesan
Source: Cooks Illustrated 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets
  • 2 cups tomato sauce , warmed (see below)
  • 3 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
  • Table salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth, about ten 1-second pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.
  2. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.
  3. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.
  5. Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

Foodbuzz 24×24: The Best Things We Ever Ate

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Summer officially started last Monday. However, being in Louisiana, we’ve been feeling summer-like weather since May. With the heat index hitting 110 degrees sometimes, we wanted to throw a summer party that was most definitely indoors!

I watch entirely too much Food Network. If it wasn’t for Food Network and reading food blogs, I’m fairly certain my husband and I would be living off of Hamburger Helper and take-out. One of my favorite shows lately has been The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Every show has a theme, and it features the cooks/hosts on Food Network and their favorite eats in that theme. So, when Foodbuzz emailed about this month’s 24×24 proposals, I figured it would be a fun party to feature the best things our families have eaten! Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this party! :)

To come up with the menu, I sent out an email to our families asking for their favorites in each category.

  • On the Grill (recipes that are done on the BBQ)
  • Dangerously Cheesy (major cheese in a dish)
  • No Utensils (finger foods/apps)
  • Keep it Comfy (comfort food)
  • Frozen Treats (any dessert from the freezer)
  • Mix it Up (a food that requires using a mixer—doesn’t have to be a sweet)
  • Louisiana’s Best (Louisiana food)
  • Cold and Colorful (like a salad or cold app with lots of veggies or fruit)
  • Under the Sea (favorite seafood dish)
  • Classic American (with 4th of July approaching, tell me a dish that screams American)

After getting many responses, here is the menu we came up with:

Drinks:
Strawberry Lemonade
Strawberry Daiquiris

Appetizers:
Cheese Fondue with Vegetables/Bread*
Bruschetta*
Boudin Balls

Entrees:
Steak Skewers with Chimichurri, Onion Cheese Sauce and Compound Butter*
Spicy BBQ Shrimp Skewers*

Sides:
Crawfish Fettuccine
Macaroni and Cheese
Vegetable Skewers*
Grilled Corn
Lettuce Greens with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Desserts:
Strawberry Cake*
Assorted Cupcakes
Cinnamon Crumb Apple Pie
Fresh Berries with Ice Cream

* recipes will be featured in the blog in future posts

I will admit, I’m still getting the hang of entertaining for a large number of people. Despite doing a lot of prep, I felt fairly stressed in the last hour. Since the party was for family, though, I had loads of help at the last minute. :) Whew!

The fondue was an absolute hit. I was nervous to make this myself, but this recipe came together beautifully! I served the fondue with day old po’boy bread, carrots and broccoli.

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We purchased the boudin balls at a local joint, since they are pretty much my husband’s favorite. The bruschetta was a lighter alternative to the other appetizers. I was super excited to use basil from our garden for this dish!

Appetizers

I need to thank the hubs for braving the sweltering disgusting heat to cook up this magic on the grill. The steak, especially was a real winner to family!

kabobs

We made 3 sauces available for people to dip/cover their skewers in: a chimichurri, onion blue cheese (not pictured) and a worchestershire chive butter. The chimichurri ended up being a huge hit (and I used parsley from the garden for it)!

Steak Butter/Chimichurri

Here is some lovely grilled corn that survived a few flare-ups on the grill. :)

Grilled Corn

Here is a semi-decent picture of the crawfish fettuccine before everyone digged in. The hubs’ parents made this dish and it was delicious. Perfect flavor with a little Louisiana kick!

Crawfish Fettucine

This is some macaroni and cheese that is my mother-in-law’s favorite. It was definitely pretty tasty (not to mention, cheesy). :)

Mac and Cheese

After enjoying some serious eats, we waited a good while before putting out desserts and just chatted, watched TV and played some games.

I will say the desserts were absolutely amazing.

Fresh berries (and ice cream, not pictured)

berries

Strawberry Cake (inspired by a local bakery). I would have just purchased one, but I had no idea an 8″ cake was over $30. What the heck?! I guess I’m just used to baking my own cakes to realize how expensive cakes have gotten!

Strawberry Cake

This was a welcomed surprise. A local cupcake bakery occasionally has giveaways on Twitter, and I won some cupcakes! They were seriously delish! Thank you Sweet Wishes Cafe!

Cupcakes

Here is the cinnamon crumb apple pie. This is one of those frozen pies you can find in the grocery store, but has quickly become a favorite with my hubs’ family.

apple pie

Of course, our puppy was very excited to get all of the attention she got at the party, and thanks to my mom, she tried a piece of steak for the first time. I think she enjoyed it. :)

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And of course, it wouldn’t be a party without family! Here are some pictures of our family.

Mom and Sis

family

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It was a great time to be had by everyone, especially in the milder indoors. Thank you so much to Foodbuzz again for the party! Everyone had a blast! :)

Spaghetti and (Turkey) Meatballs

spaghetti

I love meatballs and spaghetti. It’s one of my childhood favorites, but it’s not a regular on the dinner menu since I’m a huge pasta lover and it’s not exactly diet friendly. I was thawing ground turkey with absolutely NO idea on what to make. I wasn’t in the mood for burgers or tacos, so my husband brought up meatballs and spaghetti. Since he’s not much of a pasta fan, this was a surprise to me, but man, hearing that brought on a huge craving. I had to make it!

I’m all about shortcuts on a weeknight, so I bought canned marinara. I mixed Classico’s Cabernet Marinara with Target brand’s Three Cheese and just spiced it from there.  For the pasta, we used Ronzoni’s Smart Taste pasta.

As far as meatballs go, here is my recipe, which is a definite winner…even my husband loved them! I adapted it from a recipe I found on Aimee’s Adventures, which is a W/W friendly recipe website, and it came out wonderful!

Turkey Meatballs
adapted from Aimee’s Adventures

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Form into appx. 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until fully cooked.

The Skinny - per meatball, Makes 22-24 meatballs (calculated at 22 meatballs)

Calories: 50.2
Fat:  2.6 g
Fiber: 0.1 g

Smothered Chicken with Rice

chickenrice

This is one of those dishes that is a simple, weeknight hit in our house. I’ve already blogged about it here and here (post with a recipe), but I figured another time shouldn’t hurt.

This is a great W/W dish to cook up in your home, so definitely give this one a try!

Chicken Pasta in Garlic Wine Sauce

chickenpasta

I’m always looking for new, healthy options to cook for dinner. I came upon this recipe from Cooking Light, and got really excited because my husband and I are huge garlic nuts!

I will say that this recipe was fairly good and very easy (great weeknight meal to make), but the sauce definitely needs more spices than what is mentioned in the recipe. However, I’m from Louisiana, so take that with a grain of salt if you aren’t used to spice, but I had to sprinkle some serious Tony Chachere’s on this. I probably will make this again with heavy adaptations, since it’s a good, healthy base sauce for pasta.

Chicken Pasta in Garlic Wine Sauce
Source: Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 4  ounces  uncooked medium egg noodles
  • 1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil, divided
  • 1  tablespoon  bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried tarragon (you can use any dried herb, like basil or parsley as well)
  • 1  (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
  • 1/2  cup  dry white wine
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4  cup  grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place chicken breast halves in a shallow dish. Combine 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring well with a whisk. Sprinkle flour mixture over chicken; toss to coat.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add garlic, tarragon, and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken. Add white wine to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently.
  4. Return chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer 2 minutes. Uncover; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. Stir in noodles; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Place about 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

The Skinny - per serving, Serves 4

Note: I loaded up on more mushrooms than chicken to make my meal stretch further calorie wise. That is not reflected, however, in the nutritional facts. 

Mushrooms are 15 calories/cup and barely any fat, so load up if you want! :)

Calories: 350
Fat: 11.1 g
Fiber: 1.2 g 

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole

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After a pretty full day, I wanted to make the hubs and I something easy and enjoyable. I’ve seen this recipe from Campbell’s for quite some time and was hoping that it would be a great recipe. I will say it had some really great flavor, but this recipe had some issues that I will take note of for next time.

First off, some of the rice ended up extra soft and some was still crunchy. I’ll have to be sure to stir occassionally while it’s in the oven to ensure that the rice is evenly cooked for next time.

Also, the recipe states that it needs to be covered the whole time it’s in the oven. However, after 50 minutes, it was still very watery. I had to keep it in the oven uncovered for a while after to let it evaporate, but it was still slightly watery even after that. Next time, I’ll uncover it when it’s halfway done to make sure it evaporates enough to make a thicker sauce for the chicken and rice.

I ended up omitting the vegetables called for in the recipe, since the hubs isn’t a fan of mixed vegetables. So, as you can see, dinner was pretty carb-y with the addition of some yummy garlic bread!

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole
Source: Campbell’s Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cup frozen mixed vegetables (we omitted this)
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast half  (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F.  Stir the soup, water, rice, onion powder, black pepper and vegetables in a 2-quart shallow baking dish.
  2. Top with the chicken. Cover the baking dish.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. Top with the cheese. Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes. Stir the rice before serving.

The Skinny – per serving, serves 4

Calories 408.4
Fat 10 g
Fiber 0.7g

Spicy Meatballs & Spaghetti

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Here’s another recipe from Ellie Krieger, out of the book, The Food You Crave. This was REALLY good. We ended up saving the leftover meatballs and sauce to make whole wheat meatball poboys another night. In fact, I found the sauce to be way better as leftovers, since the flavors developed more!

Spicy Meatballs and Spaghetti
Source: Ellie Krieger

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, liquid included
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced canned chipotle chiles en adobo and sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

For the meatballs:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound ground turkey meat
  • 1 slice fresh whole-wheat bread, crusts removed, pulsed into crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 box (16 ounces) whole-wheat spaghetti

Directions

  • Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil for pasta.

For the sauce:

  • In a 4-quart saucepan heat the oil over medium heat.
  • Saute the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Add tomato paste, tomatoes, chipotles, oregano, rosemary, and salt. Bring all the ingredients to a low boil, reduce heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until liquid has evaporated slightly.
    Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • While sauce is cooking, make meatballs.

Meatball Directions:

  • Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the turkey with all other ingredients in a large work bowl.
  • Form into 2 1/2 -inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes, or until browned and almost entirely cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, remove rosemary sprig from sauce and add fresh basil. Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and cook additional 10 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened and meatballs have
    absorbed some of the sauce.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, cook the
    whole-wheat spaghetti according to package directions.
  • Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and meatballs, toss and heat through over medium heat. Divide evenly among 4 pasta bowls and garnish with parsley and 1 tablespoon grated
    Parmesan.

Yield: 6 servings (1 serving equals about 1 1/3 cups pasta and sauce, plus 2 meatballs

POINTS*: 7