Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Italian Dinner Boosted.

I'm always on the look out for a new idea, and on Friday night I found one.  We were eating dinner at my favorite restaurant where I love to order the Tuscan Kale Salad followed by the Spaghetti Squash Casserole (tackling that next week).  But, my fiancee ordered something even better- Ricotta Ravioli served in KALE Pesto Sauce!  What a great idea, so  I took my beloved Weight Watcher Pesto Sauce recipe and "boosted" it by shorting the basil leaves and adding in kale leaves.  I can't taste the difference, but my body should notice a difference.  Kale is one of the best foods you can eat, and the more the better.  For dinner tonight I made my delicious Shrimp Pesto Stir Fry and served it with a side of Eggplant Unparmesan, so delicious!  Here are the recipes for all three:

Kale Pesto Sauce

1 medium bunch of washed basil leaves (about 3 cups, I find the best at Trader Joe's)
2 cups kale leaves (washed, with mid ribs removed)
3 tbsp. pine nuts
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. water
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:  place all ingredients except for the cheese, and pulse until well blended.  Add in cheese and puree.  3 tbsp. are worth 2 points plus.  Store in an air tight container, with a piece of saran wrap laid right on top of sauce.  Limiting the air contact will keep it from browning.  Can also be stored in the freezer.  I use this sauce for several different meals- as a sauce for pasta, as pizza sauce (with sliced roma tomato, sundried tomato, mushroom, goat cheese and mozzarella) as a spread for a grilled vegetable sandwich and more. 

Shrimp Pesto Stir Fry

1 lb. raw shrimp, washed, peeled, and deveined with tails removed.
2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (bella or button)
1 roma tomato, chopped
3 tbsp. Pesto Sauce
2 tbsp. chicken stock or white wine
1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, saute the mushrooms in the olive oil for three minutes uncovered.  Then add shrimp and cook for another three minutes.  Add pesto sauce, chicken broth (or wine) and add tomatoes last.  Cook until all shrimp are pink and thoroughly cooked (about 2 minutes.)  Turn heat off and finish with the sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese.  Makes two large servings.  I built my serving by measuring and weighing the cooking shrimp in my serving bowl (6 oz, 3 points) and half of the veggies, sauce and cheese- another point for the olive oil, 2 for the pesto and Parmesan.  5 points total.  Serve by itself, or over noodles.

Who doesn't love Eggplant Parmesan?  I sure do, but the way it's usually cooked- breaded and fried, is so unhealthy and loaded in calories- and you really can't taste the eggplant.  I found this recipe in one of my weekly guides from Weight Watchers a couple of years ago and have made it often ever since.  Once you try it I bet it will be one or your favorites too.

Eggplant UNParmesan

1 whole eggplant, sliced into about 16 slices (this will make four nice "stacks")
healthy cooking oil spray
garlic salt
1 cup marinara sauce (I prefer Trader Joe's organic marinara)
8 large basil leaves, julienned
1/2 cup low fat mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat brolier.  Place a sheet of foil on a cookie sheet, and spray with healthy cooking oil spray.  Place the eggplant slices on the sprayed foil, and spray them with oil too.  Sprinkle garlic salt over all, and broil for about 2-3 minutes.  When very golden brown, pull from broiler, and turn each slice.  Broil other side for 2-3 minutes, but don't spray or salt.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8 inch square glass pan with healthy oil spray and spread 2 tbsp. of marinara across the bottom.  Take the four largest slices of broiled eggplant and place in pan.  Top each with 1 tbsp. of marinara and half of the basil leaves.  Stack next four largest eggplant slices and top each with 1 tbsp. of marinara and 1 tbsp. of low fat mozzarella.  Stack next four largest eggplant slices and top with 1 tbsp of marinara and the rest of the basil leaves.  Stack last four slices and top with remaining marinara and top each with 1 tbsp of low fat mozzarella.  Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.  Each stack is only 2 points, and so delicious!  Have one stack as a side to a protein, or two stacks as a meal served with salad.  You won't miss the old eggplant parmesan anymore, trust me!

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