Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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Happy Wednesday! Only a weekend away from the weekend! Does that make it sound better or worse???

You'll have to pardon my caffeine supported lack of sleep, since for our Senior Services rotation this morning started at 3:30 for me. I still qualify that as night if you ask me. On the bright side, my work day ended at 11 this MORNING. Who's work day ends in the morning? **This gal!**

My last grocery shopping led me to the discount veggie rack which is usually my first stop when I get there. This goes under the list of "You Know Your a Dietitian When..."

You practically run over everyone in the grocery store to get first dibs on bruised fruit and questionably fuzzy vegetables.

That's me, point blank. From my frugally nutritious  POV this is a must for your shopping trip. Yes, it may not be pretty, but I promise you the discounted produce has just as much nutrients and flavor as the regular guys for a fraction of the price. Here me out for my oh-so-proud hull of:

1 Eggplant: $0.51
3 Heads of Broccoli: $0.39 each
1 pkg Mushrooms: $0.49

That's worth it to me. This always inspires me for that night's dinner. Since it is a good rule of thumb to use the discount produce in the next few days since you bought it, I try to find recipes that use these ingredients first before i go to the ones I have planned. This is my form of "being spontaneous" I know, I'm an animal. Since the eggplant was in the worse shape of all the second string veggies, I used those along with the mushrooms for this tasty and cheap pasta dish!

Whole Wheat Veggie Pasta
serves 2

1 1/2 cups whole wheat penne, dry
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 eggplant, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup kale, chopped
2 T tomato paste
1/2 cup pasta water
1 tsp italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste

Start by boiling a pot of water, and cooking the pasta according to the directions. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high and spray with cooking spray. Add eggplant, mushrooms, and garlic, cooking until they begin to become tender ~5 minutes.

Add tomato paste, water, kale, and seasonings, and cook until veggies are tender ~6-7 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Add the pasta and stir to combine. Add additional pasta water if mixture becomes to thick. Serve and top with a healthy shake of parm cheese.

I ended up using tomato paste to make a tomato sauce since I forgot to buy some on my trip, which made this dish even cheaper! Now both eggplant and mushrooms are very low in calories but high in the good stuff, as well as the kale which I had to use up from the fridge. This dish turned out to be about 300 calories per serving with 13 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber! I'd say that's a nutrition and budget bargain! Feel free to substitute for any leafy green such as spinach or swiss chard. I of course used the veggies I found on "clearance" so get creative with what you find in the little known treasure chest of the produce department. Who knows what you'll end up taking home!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

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