low calorie dinner

Homemade Sauce

One of the things Michael and I kind of miss from our “old life” was how we used to cook together. We’d find a recipe and open a bottle of wine and hang out in the kitchen talking and listening to music while we cooked dinner. I loved that part of our relationship. This year things have changed, obviously.

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These days it’s a lot of tag-team action. When the Witching Hour arrives, I feed Logan and get him to bed while Michael starts cooking dinner for us. It’s worked well so far, for sure, but hasn’t been fun.

So we decided to try and re-create a recipe that my brother made when he visited us in April.

It’s funny. We talked about making Andy’s spaghetti sauce for about a week but something always came up. Then the other day I was out for a walk with Logan and I stopped by the store to get the tomatoes that Andy said were a must for the sauce, and when Michael got home later that day he had also picked up tomatoes!

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So now we have tons of cans of tomatoes for this spaghetti sauce!

Per my brother: “The key is to get San Marzano tomatos, they are pricey but worth it (about $4-5 here in Philly for a 28oz can) (http://www.cento.com/sanmarzano/sanmarzano.html). I have tried a lot of different tomatoes and those Cento ones have the best flavor and texture.” So FYI.

I got Mr. Fussy-Pants-who’s-teething-and-cranky to bed:

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And Michael started on dinner. He doubled Andy’s recipe (and I froze the leftovers for later). It was a lot of garlic to mince and onions to chop!

I poured the wine for us, and for the recipe:

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We put on some music, drank some wine and talked like adults while we waited for the sauce to cook and the spaghetti squash to bake.

Sooo I have a complaint about people who cook–and don’t follow recipes. It’s so HARD to recreate what they did! My aunt Sheila is like that. She’s an amazing cook and the food is always amazing but she’s one of those “throw it all in a pan” chefs and you can never do what she did. She gave me a bunch of her recipes like 15 years ago and they never turn out as good as if she made them. My brother Andy is like that. He just kinds of wings it and it’s always delicious.

Andy's Pasta Sauce

Category: baby, Dinner, Family, food, Food update, Low Calorie Recipes, recipes, Recommendations, wine

Ingredients

  • A couple shallots, small dice (sometimes I will go with half a sweet onion if I dont have shallots)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Oregano and Basil (fresh or dried)
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional, for a little zip)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Red Wine (optional, use a lighter or heavier wine to give it a more delicate or robust character depending on what it is being served with)
  • 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, pureed (you could slice or dice them if you like chunky sauce)
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat a large stock pot (heavy bottomed) over med-high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan (maybe a 1/4 cup or so). Heat the oil, then add your shallots and cook until softened, then add garlic and cook for about a minute.
  2. If you have Mushrooms, Olives, or other things to add to the sauce, do it now and cook until they soften.
  3. If using DRY herbs, toss them in.
  4. Add the wine and let it reduce.
  5. Add the pureed tomatoes and bring to a soft boil then reduce heat and simmer until you have a consistency you like (30-60 minutes depending on how moist the tomatoes were).
  6. Throw in some S+P at the end and if you use FRESH herbs, add them last.
  7. Serve over pasta and whatever else you like to put red sauce on. Garnish with grated cheese and enjoy!
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The final product:

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Both Michael and I went to the store to get the special tomatoes for the recipe on the same day without talking to each other, and yet neither of us thought to pick up a loaf of garlic bread. FAIL. So we had the not quite classy gluten-free toast with butter and garlic. 😉

The sauce was decent but not the same as when my brother made it. We followed his recipe and added kalamata olives to it. It was definitely spicy! So that was good. I froze the leftover sauce and when we defrost it we’re going to add some cooked ground beef to the recipe and I think that will make the sauce even more flavorful.

I’m glad Michael doubled the recipe because it takes a long time to make it. So now we’ll have an easy dinner later on. It’s also low in calories–especially if you use spaghetti squash instead of pasta!

QUESTION: What’s your favorite homemade pasta sauce recipe?

So So Good

Spaghetti squash is one of my new favorite meals in our rotation. We had it a few years ago in place of spaghetti noodles and then for some reason, didn’t eat it again for a long time. The last 6 months or so we’ve been having spaghetti squash on a regular basis. At least twice a month.

The traditional method we’ve been doing was using it in place of noodles and having marinara sauce and meatballs. It’s been a tasty, filling meal for not a lot of calories. Recently I wanted to try a new recipe I found and I had a spaghetti squash already so I gave it a try. Here is the recipe:

Garlicky Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Category: broccoli, calories, Dinner, Easy meals, food, Food update, Losing weight, Low Calorie Recipes, recipes, Recommendations, weight loss

Servings: 3-4 servings

From: http://theseasalt.com/2013/11/05/garlicky-broccoli-and-spaghetti-squash/

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 head broccoli, washed at cut into medium florets
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • EVOO
  • 1 cup stock (veg or chicken)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or parmesan)

Instructions

  1. To cook squash:
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Cut squash in to quarters (lengthwise and then width)
  4. Place in large pan filled with 1/2 inch water, cut side up (don’t want domes)
  5. Cook 35-40 mins
  6. Let rest until it is cool enough to handle, then shred in to a large bowl.
  7. Season with S&P and drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Top with your choice of cheese, and mix in so that cheese begins to melt (If squash isn’t hot anymore, just give it all a good turn in the microwave).
  9. To cook Broccoli
  10. Meanwhile, in a large pan coated with olive oil, saute garlic over medium-high heat for about 1 min stirring continuously.
  11. Add broccoli and saute for 3 mins stirring constantly, making sure not to burn garlic.
  12. Add 1 cup stock and continue to saute over medium heat until broccoli is tender and most of liquid is absorbed. (About 10-12 more mins)
  13. Season broccoli with S&P.
  14. Serve broccoli over a bowl of the spaghetti squash and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Garlicky Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories Around 250 calories
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

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

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It sounded amazing to me. I love garlic. The more the better. This was a new method of cooking broccoli for me and I really enjoyed it. I did change the recipe a tad because I though the garlic would burn if I cooked it first. Instead I cooked the broccoli first, then added the garlic, then the chicken broth. I cooked it down while the squash was baking.

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I loved this broccoli! It was SO good! The garlic was perfect and everything tasted so great. I baked the squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the no-salt Costco seasoning. Because of this I didn’t need to add salt and pepper to the broccoli.

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Michael baked two chicken breasts (just seasoned with salt and pepper) to go with the squash and that was a good call because the dinner is super low in calories. I chopped up the baked chicken and tossed the “noodles” with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Really, the calories in this dish come from the cheese I think. We split a chicken breast.

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The dinner itself is less than 400 calories total. It’s a super low calorie, super healthy dinner and I felt satisfied and full. I didn’t feel like I was deprived because it was low in calories. This is one of my favorite new recipes we’ve tried lately and I will be making this dish on a regular basis. It can be vegetarian, or with chicken and I think shrimp would also work really well with this recipe. I can’t wait to make it again!