Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's Time to Eat!

There are those that may disagree but I do believe that we live in a world, particularly a country, where it is far easier and economical to eat poorly than it is to eat well and remain health conscious. I eat vegetables, I don't eat red meat, I can keep a safe distance from chocolate 27 days out of the month and I've managed to avoid the trap that most mommies of toddlers fall into, the notorious waist-line killer that is "Momma's Two Dinners." What saved me from the latter was knowing that a 2 year old doesn't require the same portion as a 22 year old but I won't get started on portion sizes in the United States- there isn't a soap box big enough.

With all of that being said, I still have weaknesses in my diet that cause me to have a few extra pounds that I'd rather not have. 
And my weakness lies in the five letter goodness known as CARBS. I love them. I love pasta, I love rice (preferably with tandoori chicken & vegetables) and I love them early and often. 

All of the healthy living guru's tell you not to deprive yourself and instead try and make what you like healthier and so I did just that. It was delicious and I'm about to share the fruits of my labor with you.

One of my favorite pasta recipes is one with a creamy pesto sauce, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes with sauteed garlic and onions. The creamy part of the pesto sauce is achieved by combining pesto sauce (I used to use the pre-jarred Kroger brand) with sour cream. It tastes wonderful but it's not winning any awards for healthy cooking.

Here's the recipe for my made-from-scratch pesto sauce:
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups of fresh basil
3 tablespoons of pine nuts
a dash of salt & pepper
1/2 a cup of olive oil
1/2 a cup of parmesan cheese

there's not much prep aside from peeling the garlic. I use the quicky method of a food processor to make the pesto sauce. Add the garlic to the food processor and mince. Then add the basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Next slowly drizzle the olive oil in everything is pureed. Lastly, add the parmesean cheese.

Here's the recipe for the whole dish:
Mince garlic & onions and saute them (I use lemon juice for this particular recipe).
Substitute the sour cream for plain greek yogurt and add another splash of lemon juice. 
Add the artichoke hearts & sun dried tomatoes.
Slowly add the pesto sauce and then let simmer over low heat.
Pour over al dente whole grain rotini or penne noodles.
Add a bit of parmesean cheese and enjoy.

As you can tell, the second recipe is not an exact science- I'm a big fan of eyeball cooking for things like that. The simple substitution of greek yogurt for sour cream and whole grain for white pasta is definitely more nutritious and the change in taste is negligible, if noticeable at all. 

for anyone that has a weakness in their diet, I am now an advocate of making what you love and making it healthier, rather than not making it at all.


  1. I always use half and half for alfredo sauce. I never heard of using sour cream or greek yogurt. veeeery suspicious. If you made it though, I would eat it.

  2. I can't remember where I read it but some natural foods chef wrote that greek yogurt + lemon juice was a substitute for either sour cream or heavy whipping cream in most dishes. I'm going to try making hashbrown casserole with the greek yogurt + dash of lemon juice combo instead of sour cream but I don't know how that will turn out.

  3. Yum yum yum.
    And now I'm craving pasta!
    Good philosophy on making what you love healthier, it's a great motto!


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