WeightWatchers: 10 points
I admit right here and now that I am not a vegetable lover. My husband is, and I envy him. I wish my palate liked the taste of steamed vegetables, but it doesn't--I gag or wretch or any of those other unpleasant things. I just can't enjoy them at all. So I (and my "personal chef" husband) have to get creative on how I get my vegetables into my daily diet for good nutrition.
I had a brainstorm last night that I consider real inspiration from above. Here's the basic idea... I love pasta. I love marinara meat sauces. I also love vegetables in marinara meat sauces. So my idea was for him to chop up zucchini, mushrooms, and onions to be incorporated into a meat sauce that would be put over whole wheat pasta. I figured that I would get my complex carbs, my protein, AND my veggies all in one delicious shot.
I presented the idea to my husband and he concurred that it sounded like a great idea. So this evening after my husband made his weekly trip to the market, we embarked on the adventure of seeing if my idea was as great as it sounded. It was!
We are big fans of Trader Joe's (I apologize profusely to any readers that are not fortunate enough to have one in your area). Their foods are free of hydrogenated fats, tend to be organic, and are usually low in calories and fat (some are great for fiber). So my husband procurred the Trader Joe's marinara sauce to be used as the base for the sauce with canned tomato sauce to be added later to reduce the richness of the marinara. He also procurred nice fresh veggies from Trader Joe's. The whole wheat pasta came from Trader Joe's as well. The only ingredient that didn't was the 91% extra lean ground beef from Sam's Club.
After dicing up all the vegetables, my husband sauted them in about a tablespoon of olive oil (good stuff) and then added 4 oz. of extra lean ground beef. The ground beef and vegetables sauted together infuses the meat with the juices and flavors of the veggies (particularly the yummy onions). He then added the jar of marinara sauce and a can of tomato sauce and reduced the heat to let everything simmer and get super-yummy.
The pasta went on to boil at that point. When the pasta was nice and aldente, he drained it and divided the portions on the plates. The sauce was done simmering by that time so he ladelled the sauce over the top pasta on the serving plates and Voile! Although the portions were quite generous the total WeightWatchers points for the whole plate were only 10 points!
What did it taste like, you ask? The whole wheat pasta has a wonderful hearty and nutty flavor that I don't get when I eat just regular pasta. I love pasta aldente and the whole wheat pasta gave it a wonderful feel in my mouth. The sauce was rich but not too dark in flavor. It had a brightness that only fresh veggies can give a sauce without the pieces of veggies being slimy or surprising my mouth with punches of veggie flavors that I don't like. The flavors all married so beautifully. The ground beef was fresh and flavorful after having been sauted with the vegetables. It was a very filling meal that hit the spot and keep my tummy full for hours.
And the best part? There's leftover sauce for lunches this next week! All I have to do is boil the pasta!