Dinner: Baked Eggplant Cutlets w/ Meat sauce & Carba-Nada

This was one of the delicious dinners I pulled together using the baked eggplant cutlets (see here) and the meat sauce (see here) I had made.  I wanted to enjoy the taste of the fresh eggplant without loading it up with a bunch of sauce and cheese.  I planned on making eggplant parmesan with some of the leftovers – but with it fresh out of the oven, simplicity was the best route.
I cooked up a 1 ½ cup serving of Carba-nada pasta and tossed it with ¼ cup meat sauce when done.  I then served that with my 3 slices of baked eggplant cutlets and topped it with ¼ cup meat sauce.  It was a perfect combination and a delicious meal. Filling, yet light.
The entire plate shown was only 8 points plus values!  Not bad for a take at a classic Italian meal at home.

Meat Sauce

One thing I really enjoy making is homemade sauce.  It’s pretty simple, it comes together on its own and I’m able to control what I put in it, which in turn controls the overall points plus value when the sauce is complete. I do make a few variations (meat, no meat, vegetables, etc.) but this is my staple “go-to” when it comes to meat sauce.  I find I can have an entire pot of sauce cooked and ready to roll in under 1 hour or I can let it simmer for a few hours.  Plus, the great thing with sauce is that it truly tastes better as it marinates in the refrigerator.
When I make sauce I make a huge batch (because why else make sauce?) and usually have folks over for dinner.  I always use some of it towards dinner, the remainder is used in other dishes during the week or I end up freezing it to take out whenever I need it.
Serves 24. ½ cup serving.  2 Points Plus Values.
Ingredients:
          1 1/8 93% ground beef
          1 medium onion, diced
          1 heaping tbsp minced garlic
          2 (29 oz.) cans Contadina Crushed Tomatoes
          1 (14 oz.) can Contadina Tomato Sauce with Italian Herbs
          1 (14 oz.) Hunts Fire Roasted, Diced Tomatoes, slightly drained
          1 (14 oz.) Hunts Diced Basil, Garlic & Oregano Tomatoes, slightly drained
          1 (6 oz.) Cento Tomato Paste
          1/3 cup Reduced Fat Parmesan
          2 tbsp brown sugar
          Salt, pinch
          Black Pepper, pinch
          Red Pepper Flakes, pinch
          2 tsp garlic powder
          1 1/2 tbsp Oregano
In a large non-stick sauce pan, over medium-high heat, add ground beef and onion – season with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture breaking up the ground beef as finely as possible. Make sure to stir frequently so beef cooks evenly.  When half cooked, add in minced garlic.
When the beef has browned and cooked through, begin adding in your sauce. Crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes.  Stir to combine.
Add in parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Stir until well combined.
Allow mixture to come to a slow simmer either covered or uncovered.  After roughly 20 minutes of simmering, slowly blend in the tomato paste. Make sure to blend the tomato paste in well to avoid large clumps.
Sprinkle brown into the sauce, and stir. As sauce thickens, taste and adjust seasonings. Typically I have to add more oregano, garlic powder, and salt.
Sauce can be simmered for 20 more minutes or up to 1 hour.

Fettuccine Bolognese with Turkey Sausage

This is a meal I thought up and whipped together last week.  We had ground turkey in the refrigerator and I really wanted a meat sauce along with some new turkey sausages we picked up at the store, so that’s what I made!
I admit I made two variations of this dish – the only difference being pasta sauce and regular pasta.  I had 1 cup of Light Ragu in the refrigerator for myself to use, so I opened a bottle of Francesco Rinaldi to mix with the meat for my boyfriends dish.  Whereas I had 2 servings of Carba-Nada remaining so I made those for myself, and made regular Barilla pasta for my boyfriend.  I do eat “regular” white or whole grain pasta, but since I’ve lost 2 daily points over the last month I’ve been trying to find ways to get in volume without eating unnecessary points.
This was delicious, filling, meaty and just packed with flavor.  I whipped up 2 servings to have a dinner to put in the fridge for the next day.  Here’s how I made it:
I removed 4 ounces of cooked 93% turkey and turkey pepperoni mixture that I had cooked down with onion.  I added in a few tablespoons of drained diced canned tomatoes, my 1 cup of Light Ragu pasta sauce and stirred it together to combine.  I then added in my cooked Carba-Nada pasta and tossed then evenly divided the pasta amongst two dishes.
I added Francesco Rinaldi sauce to the remaining meat mixture, and then combined with the cooked Barilla pasta.  I made about 7 servings of pasta in my boyfriends since he typically eats 4 ounces of pasta at dinner and I made my mother two plates to have for herself.
As a side, I cooked up some turkey sausage I had picked up to try out and I have to say it was THE best turkey sausage I have ever eaten. It reminded me of true run of the mill pork sausage. It was mind blowing on my taste buds.
Overall the entire plate was only 8 points plus!