Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Veggie Sauce

I've been trying to incorporate more vegetables into my life every day. I know my Italian grandmother did not get sauce from a jar or a can. She made her own sauces and foods from scratch. Whether it was buying fish and mixing it up to make fish cakes to the ever present pan of sauce on the stove, her kitchen always smelled good and the end result always tasted wonderful.

I've been trying to wean my family from jarred sauce for a year with mixed success. They don't quite get how easy it is and last night I wanted to again remind them it doesn't take that long. Whole Foods had a nice Italian style chicken sausage with garlic on sale the other day so I picked up a pound. I had some sunrise slaw in the fridge along with onion and red pepper. In the pantry was diced tomatoes... all I needed for sauce.

I put the pot on the stove to get the water boiling. I then Sliced up the sausage, cooking it up in a deep frying pan with a few sprays of olive oil - which took all of a couple minutes. Because it's chicken sausage, I wanted to make sure it was cooked through. I tossed in the diced onions and peppers and let them soften a bit and tossed in about half the bag of sunrise slaw, the can of diced tomatoes and some white wine. I seasoned it all up with some Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and let it simmer while I waited for water to boil and then the whole wheat pasta to cook.

When the pasta was done and drained, I poured the sauce over it and gave everything a good mix. In the end, it took as long as to make a healthy veggie sauce that was tasty as it did to open a jar of blah and heat it up. Overall, it was 24 points plus for the sauce - most of it being the sausage. When you figure it's 6-8 servings total, then you end up around 4 points plus a serving over the pasta. This would also work over couscous, rice or some other grain.

I wish I had taken a photo of dinner, but the truth is, I wanted to dig in. Yum.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple Honey Maple Chicken Thighs

Just a reminder that today is still the lose-a-palooza through Weight Watchers. I'm hoping to be a part of the $75k being raised for organizations like Share Our Strength.

This is a fall favorite around here. I take a cup of applesauce, a couple of tablespoons honey and maple syrup, a couple of tablespoons of ketchup and mustard and a shake of ginger and cinnamon, some salt and pepper to taste and whatever herbs and spices happen to be lying around. Tonight I used Dr. Gonzo's Beaver Rub. Just mix it all up and toss it all in the crockpot for 4-6 hours at high or 6-12 hours at high. (About 5 points plus a serving)

I also bought a Kabosha squash, similar to a sugar pumpkin, and roasted it at 375* for about 45 minutes or so until it was soft. First I scooped the seeds out and brushed it with a little olive oil. When it was soft, I scooped it out of the shell and pureed it with a shake of cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of brown sugar. Add a little brown rice and you have a nice healthy fall meal with little effort.

Sausage Ragout with Polenta

I held off posting until this morning because today is Lose-a-palooza as part of Weight Watchers "Lose for good" campaign. For every mention of the campaign - where Weight Watchers will donate $225k for every 1 million pounds lost - Weight Watchers will donate another dollar, up to 75k today. Since one of the two charities is one I support, No Kid Hungry campaign that's part of Share our Strength.

I will also post whatever I throw in the crock pot tonight later. Two posts in one day! Woo Hoo!

I don't like buying jarred sauce anymore because it's so easy to make sauce in general. In this case a basic ragout. I picked up a pound of chicken sausage today and removed it from the casing and sauteed it until brown. Then I tossed in diced onion, celery, carrot and pepper until soft. Finally, I added some sliced mushrooms, a 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes and a half glass of white wine and simmered for about 20 minutes or so.

I had a roll of polenta in the fridge and sliced up half a dozen or so 1/2 slices and just fried them up. In the end, a bit of ragout on top of the polenta disks and voila! Dinner.

The ragout ends up being about 4-6 points plus a serving - a lot of it depends on the serving size (like everything, your mileage may vary). It really was quite yummy and it's something that my husband is hoping I make again. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lunch Edition

I started back at school this week and need to remember to pack my lunch again. So today was the time to break in my new Bento box. Bento boxes are Japanese compartmental lunch boxes and it's a point of pride to pack a beautiful lunch for your child or spouse in Japan. Because I overslept, I kept it simple this morning:

Turkey cranberry roulade roll up (3 points+)
salad with raspberry vinaigrette (2 points+)
veggie chips (2 points+)
365 mixed fruit bar
chobani raspberry yogurt
honey crisp apple

The roulade was simple, take a small tortilla and spread half a wedge of laughing cow cheese and then spread a teaspoon of Massachusetts Rubies from Deborah's Kitchen and a 1 oz piece of turkey breast. Roll it up and slice it into little pinwheels. Do the same for a second tortilla and you have a nice little set of roll ups for a total of 3 points plus. Add 1/2 an oz of veggie chips and a salad with couple of teaspoons of raspberry vinaigrette. Now that honey crisp apples are coming into season, I'm super psyched. I picked this one up at the farmer's market the other day. It's a lovely little lunch.

For snack I had my yogurt and fruit bar after a light breakfast. It took all of 5 minutes to throw everything together and get out the door.

I'm a big advocate of things like Bentos because it turns out that the average student generates over 40 pounds of garbage with single use bags, packaging and other materials. A reusable Bento reduces significant amounts of solid waste. Soon I'll have photos of more traditional packages with rice and little shaped vegetables and such.

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