Carb control is essential in maintaining health even if you are not a diabetic or watching your weight. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely cut out noodles. There are many pasta salads, soups, and traditional spaghetti's that can be made healthy and will satisfy your cravings for the comfort food of pastas without weighing you down. In the next few week we will feature some of my favorites.
Chicken, Macaroni, and Cheese
I really have never cared for traditional macaroni and cheese- too cheesy- ha! however, for many only good old mac and cheese will do as a comfort food. I happen to like this healthier version using reduced-fat cheese, lean chicken, and nutrient-rich veggies for a guilt-free indulgence.
Nonstick cooking spray
12 oz skinless, boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 6 1/2 - oz pkg light semisoft cheese w/ garlic & herb
1 2/3 cups fat-free milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
2 cups packaged fresh baby spinach
1 cup chopped, seeded tomatoes
In a medium saucepan, cook macaroni according to package directions, except do not add any salt to the water; drain.
Meanwhile, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion to skillet. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and onion is tender, stirring frequently. If onion browns too quickly, reduce heat to medium. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in semisoft cheese until melted.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Add all at once to chicken mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Add cooked macaroni; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Stir in spinach and tomatoes. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 369 cal., 12 g total fat (7 g sat. fat), 85 mg chol., 393 mg sodium, 33 g carb. (4 g fiber, 6 g sugars), 33 g pro.Diabetic Exchanges Lean Meat (d.e): 3.5; Starch (d.e): 2; Vegetables (d.e): 0.5; Fat (d.e): 1;
Scallops and Pasta with Lemon-Caper Cream Sauce
A favorite when I was some seafood and pasta. Seared scallops and a tangy pasta sauce are the stars of this distinctive Italian recipe, adding big flavor while keeping the dish low in carbs. You can use shrimp, it is just as tasty.
4 ounces dried multigrain or whole grain penne or rotini pasta
3 cups trimmed, coarsely shredded Swiss chard or kale
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and bias-sliced crosswise
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fat-free milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary or thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme, crushed
2 tablespoons capers, drained
Thaw scallops, if frozen. Rinse scallops; pat dry with paper towels and set aside. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions, adding chard and zucchini for the last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain and keep warm.
Meanwhile, lightly coat an unheated large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray. Preheat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Add scallops to hot skillet; cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until scallops are opaque, turning once. Remove scallops from skillet; keep warm.
Add oil to hot skillet; reduce heat to medium. Add leeks and garlic; cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch until smooth. Add to leek mixture along with lemon peel, rosemary, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Add to pasta mixture, tossing to coat.
Divide pasta mixture among six serving plates. Top with scallops and capers.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 247 cal., 3 g total fat 39 mg chol., 525 mg sodium, 28 g carb. (3 g fiber, 6 g sugars), 26 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Vegetables (d.e): 1; Starch (d.e): 1.5; Lean Meat (d.e): 2.5;