Friday, January 13, 2012

A Healthier Dinner

As many of you know, my life has been very busy lately - especially over the last month.  My daughter (who does much of the cooking) had surgery the week before Christmas and she didn't bounce back as quickly as we expected.  My father-in-law has also had some complications related to kidney failure.  With all that going on as well as being sick for awhile myself (oh yeah, and during that time was Christmas and our anniversary), lets just say we have eaten out far too often and I've cooked far too little over the last month.  Obviously, this isn't good for our health OR our bank account :).

On one recent crazy night, I stopped at Walmart to grab lasagna and a salad and saw a spinach salad kit.  I grabbed it with concern over the fact that my family really doesn't care for spinach.  It had spinach, sliced almonds, crumbled bleu cheese, dried cherries, and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  Much to my surprise, the only complaint was from my son who didn't like the bleu cheese.  The whole bag was finished by the time everyone had eaten.  Woo Hoo!

Now it was time to figure out how to make our own.  Here's what we came up with:
Ingredients:
Spinach (ours was Dole with red lettuce that came in a 5 oz. clamshell) - we used a little over 1/2 of the clamshell.
Slivered almonds (not sure how many Elise put in - put in enough to suit your taste)
Dried Cranberries (My husband didn't really like the cherries.  Again, use enough to suit your taste)
Crumbled Bleu cheese (I used low fat) - to taste
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (Next time we will try the raspberry vinaigrette)

Mix together, adding dressing just before serving.  Delicious, but of course, that wasn't enough for dinner.  This is what came next...

Now before you SCREAM too loudly that alfredo isn't that healthy, the title says "healthier" and not "healthy".  I'm actually pretty proud of the improvements made to reduce the fat and calories in this dish.  Several years ago, I got a recipe for fettuccine alfredo watching Martha Stewart.  It was delicious, but used quite a bit of butter.  At some point, I added either grilled or broiled chicken breast to the recipe to make it into a complete meal.  Besides being loaded in fat and calories, the butter would separate from the rest of the sauce when the leftovers were heated over.  In November, Daniel and I ate at a little Irish place that served "Bangers and Bowtie Alfredo".  It was delicious and tasted lighter.  (Now for those of you who don't know - bangers is a type of sausage.)  Thus began the quest to change our recipe.  Finding turkey kielbasa completed the missing link to make this a bit healthier while still being creamy and delicious. Here's what I came up with:

Ingredients:
1 box of bowtie pasta (16 ounces)
1/2 package of turkey kielbasa sliced (This is the package that is 1 long curved link.  I believe it was about 16 ounces and I used 1/2.)
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese (I use actual grated cheese, but the "canned" can also be used if needed)
3 TBS of butter

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While the pasta is cooking, slice and heat kielbasa.  When hot, add the butter and melt.  Add cream and heat through.  Add Parmesan cheese and heat until cheese is melted.  Drain pasta.  Add sauce/ kielbasa mixture to the pasta and mix thoroughly.  Serve hot.

We added some crusty bread and had a delicious (and healthier) dinner.

1 comment:

Deborah O. said...

That salad sounds amazing!! I'm trying that one next time I shop! I never would think of putting sausages in an Alfredo dish... Interesting! Have you tried those new chicken sausages? I think they are made by johnsonville??? They are pretty good. I'm not sure what the difference would be in fat compared to the turkey. I think I'm going to have to try this ;)! Have you heard of "Hungry Girl" ? She has a recipe that's WAY less in fat and calories for Alfredo sauce.... She uses Laughing Cow cheese to make the sauce! I think I tried it once... I don't remember what it was like though ;)! I'll have to look it up again and try it! Thanks for "sharing" your meal with us! I l love hearing people's ideas for dinner! Always need some extra inspiration ;) <3