the food bitch

people call me a food bitch. not because of any gourmet tendencies (i go on a weekly fridge-sniff to see what needs to be thrown away), but due to my healthy lifestyle know-how and big mouth. i have a big mouth when it comes to food.

part healthy living, part recipe showcase, part food review - i do a little bit of everything.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Made it Meatless!

Me, I don't like meat. I'll eat chicken, I'll eat turkey, I even ate a piece of pig on Christmas. But I don't touch the red meat. It's been over two years since I gave it up, and I don't miss it at all.

But I also like a good casserole. They make me feel so... Midwestern. I'm not really sure what that means, I've been to Chicago once, and that didn't make me feel very Midwestern. But throwing ingredients in a pan, topping it with cheese and baking it just makes me feel all homey.

Trouble is, sometimes casseroles call for ground beef. Sure, I could substitute chicken, but why? Why, when there's a wonderful veggie meat called Gimme Lean out there. I make meatballs and burgers with this stuff, why not a casserole?

Why not!

Tonight for dinner, I made another Cooking Light recipe. One that I was a little wary of, because all of the reviews seemed to point towards it being rather flavorless. I'm not quite sure what these people were doing wrong, but I thought there was tons of flavor. I think I tossed a little too much nutmeg in the sauce, but that just warmed it up even more. And my fake ground beef was spectacular.

"Beef", Cheese, and Noodle Bake
Serves: 4
WW Points: 4

4oz. uncooked whole wheat noodles
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 garlic clove, minced
8oz. Lightlife gimme lean, ground beef style, crumbled
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tbsp all purpose flour
dash of nutmeg
3oz. Cabot 75% fat free cheddar cheese, shredded, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Lightly coat pasta with cooking spray.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add onion and carrot; saute 4 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add "meat", cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato sauce, 1/4 tsp salt, and black pepper. Cook 2 minutes, or until most of the liquid evaporates.

Remove from heat and add in pasta, stirring to combine. Spread into an 8 x 8" baking pan coated with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, place milk, flour, nutmeg, and a 1/4 tsp salt. Stir with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until thickened. Add 2/3 of the cheese, stir until melted. Pour over the pasta mixuture, spreading it evenly over the top. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Makes me want to talk all Fargo-like, I tell you.

I also had a really nice post-shopping lunch at Panera today. If you get past all the sandwiches that are dripping with cheese and bacon fat, they really have some smart choices. I had half of the roast turkey sandwich on sourdough (mmm), a cup of low fat chicken noodle soup and an apple, all for 8 points. I like it when you can pick fruit with your meal without having to make a special request. It was a mighty fine apple, too.

Shopping consisted of Kohls and Michaels. I didn't go crazy like I usually do in Kohls. I got a new pair of pants for work, a pair of pants for the gym, a cute $5 shirt, two pairs of tights, and two pairs of boots. One pair is pink and fuzzy and you know the type. The fuzzy fake Ugg style usually makes my calves look like those huge turkey legs you get at Disney World, but these actually look good. And... I got a pair of mid-calf black and white and red plaid rain boots. Oh my! I love them. I was walking around in them while I was cooking just because they looked so cute. You never know when it's going to rain.


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