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Friday, September 21, 2012

Thurs. Sept 20th

Beef & Veggie Bolognese

Daily Tidbit:   Parmesan is a magical ingredient, it can make a dish both  deliciously cheesy & salty at the same time for very few calories!  In a 1 tbsp serving there are only 20 Calories and 2g of Protein.  Using 2 tbsp can feel decadent and that is still only 40 Calories, and so worth it!  I used Parmesan Cheese today in my Beef & Veggie Bolognese (pictured above) and in my Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese at Dinner.  

Here are a couple other ideas for how to use some Parmesan to add a little more zip to your Dinner:,1 



Frosted Mini-Wheats with Walnuts

Breakfast: Mini-Wheats
1 cup Frosted Shredded Mini-Wheats
1 cup Fat Free Milk
2 tbsp Plain chopped Walnuts
5 oz OJ
Regular Coffee, black



Snack: 5 Plain Almonds


Beef & Veggie Bolognese

Lunch: Beef & Veggie "Bolognese"
3 cups Beef & Veggie Bolognese (recipe below)
Regular Coffee, black


Snack: 1/4 Trader Joe's 72% Dark Cacao Chocolate Bar (.412 oz), Water with Lime


Colorful Girls Night Out Potluck Dinner!

Dinner: Girls Night Out Potluck!
Marinated Grilled Chicken
Green Salad with Bacon, Gorgonzola & Almonds with Ken's Steakhouse Honey Balsamic Dressing
Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese (recipe below)
Quinoa Salad (my friend made this yummy salad with: Beets (hence the reddish color), Scallions, Chick Peas, Feta, Tomatoes & Carrots with Trader Joe's Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette)
Ciabatta Bread & Butter 
White Wine

I enjoyed every delicious bite on my plate and then went back and had another slice of Grilled Chicken and a few more bites of Bacon out of the Green Salad - YUM!  I really wanted another slice of bread, but I knew dessert was coming....


Dessert:   1 Brownie & 2 Delicious Chocolate Chip cookies (it took all my energy and focus to resist a 3rd Cookie!)




Amy's Beef & Veggie Bolognese Recipe:
So this is my version of Bolognese, a hearty Tomato based sauce traditionally made with Ground Beef and Carrots (among other things) and served over pasta.  My recipe keeps it simple and easy and fast (and still yummy!)  Instead of serving it with pasta I simply add more veggies:

1 tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup Mushrooms, chopped
1 cup Zucchini, diced
1-2 cups Ground Beef & Onion (in this case I had it already cooked/ browned and ready to go)
1 clove Garlic, thinly sliced 
1/2-1 cup grated Carrots
1 cup Organic No Salt Added Marinara Sauce
Arugula, 1 large handful
Parmesan Cheese

In a hot pan add EVOO and swirl.  Add chopped Mushrooms and Zucchini, stir and then allow to sit and brown in pan 3-4 minutes.  Then add Ground Beef & Onion mixture and Garlic and Carrots to pan.  Stir for a minute or two and then add Marinara and cover.  Once everything is hot turn off the heat and remove lid and throw Arugula on top to wilt for a minute or two.  Once Arugula is wilted, it is ready to serve!  Plate and top with 1-2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese.

Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese Recipe: 

So I was in charge of bringing the Side Dish for the Girls Night Potluck and decided to try something I had been wanting to make for a long time:  Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese.  I have read about this multiple times and decided to just go for it.  I found the above link to Rachael Ray's Recipe from the Food Network and used it as my guide, but made several healthy 'tweaks' to it.  This is how I made it:

In hot pan add 1 tbsp EVOO & 1 1tbsp Butter.  Once melted I added finely diced White Onions (about 1/3 of a large onion).  After a couple minutes I added 3 tbsp of White Flour and mixed in and cooked for another couple minutes.    I whisked in 1 cup of Low Sodium Chicken Broth and cooked for a couple more minutes, then added a thawed  out frozen block of Butternut Squash.  Once warm I added 4 oz. of Neufchatel and mixed that completely in before adding 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese and 1/4 cup Shredded Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese.  I did the figure 8 method that Rachael recommends in her recipe, though I'm not sure if that makes a difference.  Then I added cooked Ditalini Pasta which had about a cup of Sweet Peas cooked and mixed with it.  A couple shakes of Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper and the smallest shake of Ground Nutmeg and it was ready to go!

So - to decrease the amount of saturated fat I used less Butter, less Cheddar Cheese, and substituted Neufchatel Cheese for the Half and Half.  And I didn't use Thyme, simply because I didn't have it in the kitchen.  It got rave reviews from my son, my husband and my friends, so I guess I'll be making it again!


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