Friday, June 15, 2012

Date Night Dinner: Sausage, Pepper, & Onion Pasta

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Even though I’ve let John plan much of each week’s menu, the fact of the matter is, he only gets to choose from my “healthy recipe binder” and I know that sometimes he really craves his old food.  Lets face it.  It’s not easy getting thin, staying thin, or taking care of yourself.  Being in NY with me then is both a blessing and a curse for him; I know he wants to lose the weight but he is human and he craves that delicious greasy food.  Also, who can blame him, I crave it too!  And I count on both of us keeping each other on track. 

Two weeks ago, we went to the food store without a list.  This is like my first cardinal rule:  NEVER go to the food store without a list; but we were already out and I had forgotten it.  And, of course, we passed the aisle of sausages.  The sale sticker caught my eye and I saw it was on the new chicken sausages from Johnsonville.  I let John choose the flavor, while I sorted out what to do with them.

To make the recipe at least somewhat health-friendly.  I used reserved pasta water (rather than a white wine or chicken stock) and lots of peppers and onions.  By the time we were done, my calorie counter estimated that the meal was approximately 520 calories per serving.  I served it with a large salad and it was a filling and satisfying meal.  Best of all?  John admitted the sausage tasted just like the real thing.  Looks like sausage (chicken, that is) can be added to our healthy recipe binder after all!
Chicken Sausage, Pepper, & Onion Pasta (adapted from Rachael Ray)
Serves: 4
4 links of chicken sausage (we used Johnsonville Red Bell Pepper)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, sliced thin
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
8 ounces pasta (1/2 box) (we used Barilla Farfalle)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons basil leaves, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Bake the chicken sausages in a small amount of water, turning once, for 10 minutes, until fully cooked through.  Slice into coins and set aside.  In a skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook about 1 minute, until fragrant.  Then, add green pepper.  Turn the heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are all wilted.  Turn to low and add sausage coins.  Stir occasionally.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add pasta.  Cook according to box directions.  When the pasta is ready, drain all but 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Add the vegetables and sausage from the skillet into the pasta.  Mix to combine.  Add parmesan cheese and basil leaves, stirring well.  Serve immediately.

*NEW BIG NEWS:  I have been using MyFitness Pal for the last 3-ish months in a bid to make my lifestyle healthier.  Even if you don't adhere strictly to their calorie limits EVERY day, it's always helpful to know how much you are eating.  The first month I was shocked at how my portions controlled my calories and how much I actually ate.  On the website, you have the option of making your own recipes and then others can find them on a database.  Starting with THIS recipe, you can search "The Growing Foodie" and my recipes will come up.  The ingredients, directions, and servings are all the same as on here (it stinks that the current website doesn't share others recipes with you, but if you're already there, try some of my recipes for your meal tonight!*  I will try to go back and add my previous posts (all 300+ of them) over time.  But all new recipes will also be located on MyFitness Pal!

Nutrition Info Per Serving From MyFitness Pal:
Calories:  520
Carbs:  53 grams
Fat:  24 grams
Protein:  26 grams

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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