Eat pasta -- lose weight! Sounds good to me!
I love the comfort foods made with pasta -- but what about those New Year's resolutions to lose weight?
Make pasta part of a healthy weight loss program by keeping these tips in mind:
* Keep portions under control -- really the hardest part. Measuring helps,
* Choose whole grain pasta for a tasty filling dish that helps you lose weight. Whole grain pasta is fiber-rich. Fiber has no calories, but fills you up, while it helps your body handle the carbs in a normal way. Amazingly, you may find that whole grain pasta helps maintain your weight, or even lose. Besides, if you fill up on high fiber foods, it crowds out less healthy options. Yes, fiber is your friend,
* Add lean protein and vegetables on the side, and
* Remember the Italian way is "al dente" -- cooked but not overly soft. Overly processed grains (instantized, for example) make your pancreas and liver work harder to control blood glucose.
For a supper that is quick and nutritious, try this pasta comfort food from my kitchen.
Pasta Supper with Quick and Tasty Meat Sauce
* 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti, bow ties, or other pasta,
* Optional vegetable mix with one large sliced onion, one large diced carrot and two diced stalks celery,
* 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil,
* 1 pound lean (90 percent or leaner) ground beef,
* 1 (24-ounce) jar salsa,
* 4 teaspoons jarred garlic or four cloves minced garlic,
* 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning,
* A handful of dried basil,
* Salt/Mrs. Dash to taste, and
* Grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.
* Heat a large pot of water while preparing sauce,
* Chop vegetables, if desired, and cook in olive oil until onion is soft, stirring occasionally about 5-8 minutes,
* Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until gray -- not brown, 3-5 minutes. Increase heat to high. Stir in salsa and basil. Cook until thickened and flavors blended, 10-30 minutes. Season to taste,
* About 10 minutes to serving time, add whole wheat pasta to boiling water, and cook until done but not overly soft. Drain, and
* Serve the sauce over the pasta, sprinkled with cheese, with steamed broccoli and sourdough garlic bread.
The recipe makes enough for eight servings (one cup pasta and three-fourths cup sauce). If you're serving only four for dinner, cook 8-ounces of spaghetti and freeze the leftover sauce. You may make ahead and refrigerate for up to three days, or freeze in an airtight container up to three months.
Total time: 30 minutes. Calories: About 400 per serving.