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Monday, February 13, 2012

Lighter Carbonara

Had a craving for fettucine carbonara ... but heavy cream, parmesesan and bacon are not exactly diet-friendly.  However, I have found a way to prepare this meal and still make it tasty *and* low-fat. 

Lighter Carbonara - Serves Appx 6

6 oz. Whole Wheat Fusilli (or any other pasta)
8 slices Center-Cut Bacon, sliced thinly
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (I used a microplane for a fine grate)
1 Whole Egg
1/2 C Fat Free Half & Half
1 C Frozen Peas
2 Cloves Garlic, finely diced
1/2 C Finely Diced Onion (or 1 med-sized yellow onion - it's close enough)
1 C water (I reserved 1 C of the pasta water)

Chop bacon and fry in a deep frying pan or a dutch oven.  Set aside, reserving bacon grease (unless there's a lot, then remove some, only saving enough to cook the onion and garlic).

In a separate pan, boil pasta according to manufacturer's directions.  Drain and set aside (reserving 1 C of the pasta water in case your carbonara sauce is too thick).

Back in the frying pan, saute onion and cook until translucent (appx 5 minutes).  Add garlic and cook until softened.  Add peas and cook for a few minutes until they're no longer frozen.  Turn off heat.

In a bowl, combine parmesean cheese, egg and half & half. 

When the pasta is done, combine everything in the frying pan and heat through until the sauce is warmed and at the desired consistency.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                   172                        Calories from Fat          73.0
Total Fat                  8.11 g
    Saturated Fat       3.83 g
Cholesterol              53.38 mg
Sodium                    205.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate  13.2g
     Dietary Fiber       2.13g
     Sugars                 2.13g
Protein                     11.62g

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Making the Switch

Well, after one year of Weight Watchers (and losing nearly 30 lbs), I'm bored with point counting - and honestly, I "get" portion sizes - so I thought calorie counting would work better for me.  There are many online and smart-phone programs which are free and easy to use. 

I am currently beta testing and My Fitness Pal.  I am leaning towards Livestrong, but that's mostly due to the recipes posted on their site and the recipe builder.  Whichever one I decide on for the next stage of loss & maintenance, I am happy with the additional 4 lbs lost since making the switch.  I'll be posting more recipes now that I've discovered the calorie counter on the Livestrong Recipe Builder section.  :-)

Here's my light version of PF Chang's Lettuce Wrap   

Makes 12 wraps, serves 3 (4 full wraps per person)                  

10 oz ground or finely chopped chicken breast
1/2 C onion
1 carrot, grated
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1" piece of raw ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 t sesame oil
2 1/2 T soy sauce
1 T water
1/2 T honey
1 T rice vinegar
2 t Sriracha Sauce
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 C cabbage (or spinach, or arugula, etc) finely chopped
8 oz water chestnuts, finely chopped
salt & pepper
12 lettuce leaves
1/4 C peanuts, roughly chopped (optional - I leave it out to save calories)

1. Heat a large, non-stick skillet on high. Add chicken, onion, salt & pepper, and cook until chicken is nearly done, stirring often to break up the meat. Add in minced garlic and ginger, and continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink.

2. Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, water, peanut butter, honey, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce and pepper. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir until smooth. Add into the skillet and stir to combine. 

3 Add green onion, carrot, cabbage and water chestnuts into the skillet then cook for 1-2 minutes until the onions are soft and everything is heated through. 

4. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts (optional), and serve with cold lettuce leaves

Nutrition Facts (without peanuts)

Serving Size:                 4 wraps

Amount per Serving:     Calories 249
                                    Calories from Fat 60.5
                                                             % Daily Value *
Total Fat 6.72g                                    10%
Saturated Fat 0.93g                               4%
Cholesterol 61.11mg                           20%
Sodium 1057.79mg                              44%
Total Carbohydrate 23.03g                7%
Dietary Fiber 4.66g                            18%
Sugars 8.13g
Protein 5.94g                                       51%

Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat                                                      98%
Carbs                                                  37%
Protein                                                41%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.