I got distracted, but I haven't stopped cooking...! So what have I been up to all this time? Well, in January I got fed up with having gained a rather large amount of weight and decided to do something about it. I was inspired by two things: The Hacker's Diet, and the fact that I was very near to having to shop for clothing in the "larger women" section. I like food too much to even consider anything like sugar substitutes and eggbeaters, so I started adjusting favorite recipes to reduce the amount of calories per serving. And I spent a lot of time searching for low calorie recipes I thought might satisfy my (not so) inner over eater. And that's all I did. Just count calories like a fiend and weigh myself daily.
Now that I've gotten used to a new way of eating (and a skinnier body, too!) I thoght I'd share some of the recipes that made living with a calorie deficit bearable. So with no further ado, I present:
My Take on Rachel Ray's Spaghetti with Pancetta, Escarole and Garlic Chips
The great thing about this recipe is that the escarole really bulks it up and makes you feel as if you have eaten a huge amount of food. Lots of volume, few calories.
(2 plus servings--we always have enough left for one of us to have for lunch the next day)
1/3 pound dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound thickly sliced pancetta, chopped (or 3 slices bacon) optional
6 to 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large heads escarole, washed and drained, roughly chopped
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Clean the heads of escarole by soaking in a sink filled with water. Spin dry.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the skillet with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside. Turn the heat on the pan back to low then add the sliced garlic and cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the garlic chips from the pan to drain alongside the crispy pancetta, reserve.
Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil and salt the water. Add the pasta and cook to al dente, with a bite to it.
Roughly chop the cleaned and dried escarole. Set aside.
In garlic pan, turn the heat up to medium again, add the crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the roughly chopped escarole, tossing to wilt it in the flavored oil and wilting it into the pan in stages. Once all the escarole has fit into the pan, add the chicken stock, lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
Drain the hot pasta well and add it to the escarole pan. Add lemon zest and toss to distribute. Turn the heat off and add the butter and cheese, toss to melt. Put pasta in serving bowl and top with the crispy pancetta and garlic chips.
Per serving: Calories 416; Fat 20.5g; Protein 22g; Carb 28.75; Fiber 10.5g
When I double this recipe I add a third head of romaine and use 1/2 lb of pasta, but leave all of the other ingredients the same.