By Lisa Shrewsberry
Editor’s note: Recipes, Images and Facts provided by the National Pasta Association, www.pastafits.org
The word “trim” gets a month-long hall pass starting tomorrow, when turkey with all the trimmings and dual tree trimming/cookie noshing override any looming notions about weight loss.
Keeping in mind that resolution time follows closely on the heels of sloppy seasonal habits, it’s a fair bet that pasta will be included among those items on personal naughty lists. Last decade’s low-carb craze, banning all white foods forever, is a somewhat misguided principle, however; most experts agree eliminating any single food group from our diets is not a good idea. Explains registered dietitian for the National Pasta Association, Diane Welland: “It’s a fact — reducing calories, not carbohydrates, helps one lose weight. Studies show (New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association) there are no significant differences in weight loss over the long-term between low-carbohydrate diets and those considered “high” carbohydrate when dieters achieved similar calorie reductions.”
Much of pasta’s guilt by association is due to terrific restaurant-sized servings. Doled out in modest, one-cup measure, pasta can be a very nutritional way to elevate traditional leftovers. And while whole-wheat pasta provides a boost of fiber, it doesn’t always have to be brown to be good for you. According to Welland, a serving of enriched white pasta supplies about 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of folic acid. When paired with folate rich foods like black beans and spinach, a pasta meal could easily supply nearly three-quarters of your daily folic acid requirements, which are linked to not only healthy babies, but to a decreased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers. Data also shows a lower risk of stroke mortality in the U.S. and Canada (where fortification is mandated).
After tomorrow’s fleeting couch-side claims of “never eating again,” take healthy advantage of the taste and easy prep these pasta dishes can bring to the busy days ahead.
Turkey Stroganoff with Mushrooms & Cranberries
9 oz. wide egg noodles
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups/8 oz. finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups/4 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
6 Tbsp./3 oz. dry white wine
6 Tbsp./2 oz. dried cranberries, preferably unsweetened
3 cups/12 oz. shredded cooked white and dark meat turkey
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
12 oz. reduced fat sour cream
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and sauté the onions and mushrooms until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and add the cranberries. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the turkey, Dijon mustard and sour cream. Remove from heat. Adjust seasoning to taste. Divide the noodles between 6 bowls. Top with stroganoff mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 408 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated, 0g trans), 30g protein, 2g fiber, 12g sugars, 148mg sodium, 46g carbohydrates, 124mg cholesterol
Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce, Turkey & Cranberries
1 lb. bowtie or any medium pasta shape, uncooked
1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup sliced scallions, white and green parts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 12-oz. can evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup low-fat milk
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 15-oz. can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 fresh fennel sprigs (optional)
Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add scallions, garlic and fennel seeds; sauté 3 minutes.
Combine milk, flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir into saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat; boil until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in pumpkin, turkey and cranberries until well blended. Reduce heat to medium; cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Drain pasta. Place in large bowl. Add pumpkin sauce and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. (Garnished with sprigs of fresh fennel, if desired.)
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 467 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated, 0g trans), 30g protein, 7g fiber, 24g sugars, 272mg sodium, 74g carbohydrates, 45mg cholesterol
Mediterranean Turkey Casserole
1 lb. penne pasta or any medium pasta shape, uncooked
1 14 1/2-oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 7 1/2-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
9 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare noodles according to package directions; drain. Stir the broth, milk, salt and cornstarch together in a large pot or Dutch oven until the cornstarch is dissolved. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in noodles, turkey, artichoke hearts, red peppers, olives, mozzarella cheese, wine, lemon juice and pepper.
Heat oven to 350-degrees. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon noodle mixture into dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 384 calories, 8g fat (3g saturated, 0g trans), 24g protein, 4g fiber, 4g sugars, 550mg sodium, 53g carbohydrates, 80mg cholesterol
Turkey Pasta Salad
8 oz. ziti, elbow macaroni or other medium pasta shape, uncooked
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
Combine turkey and vegetables in a large bowl. Add pasta. Combine oil, vinegar and seasonings in a jar. Shake until well blended. Pour over pasta and stir well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 405 calories, 11g fat (2g saturated, 0g trans), 25g protein, 4g fiber, 6g sugars, 250mg sodium, 52g carbohydrates, 40mg cholesterol
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