Inside Out Sauerkraut Pierogi Pasta (Take 2)

I have made a variation of this before using egg noodles, but I decided to remake it using egg fettuccine Carba-nada noodles. I love Carba-nada noodles because they taste just like regular fettuccine pasta although I’m able to have a 1 ½ cup serving for only 3 points plus values.
On this particular night I was craving sauerkraut, so I whipped up a batch (well, two one for dinner and one for lunch the next day). My mother always cooked our sauerkraut with onion and butter, so that’s how I make mine … although I do skip on the butter and use spray butter just to get a buttery flavor in the mix without all the added fat. After all, I’m looking for a sauerkraut and onion flavor, not a greasy buttery flavor.
I found the sheer volume of food on my plate was wowing. Especially since it was only 3 points plus values worth!
Serves 1. 3 Points Plus Values.
          1 ½ cups Carba-Nada, Egg Fettuccine
          1 can sauerkraut, drained and squeezed
          1 small onion, sliced
          Salt, to taste
          Pepper, to taste
          Spray butter
          2 tbsp water
Bring a small pan of salted water up to boil.
In a non-stick skillet begin to sauté onion. Cook until onion begins to brown and cook.  Add in 2 tbsp of water and stir, fold in drained sauerkraut and break apart with spoon.  Season with black pepper and salt.
Pressing sauerkraut into the pan to warm through, spritz with spray butter to give the dish a buttery flavor. Continue to fold and cook for roughly 2 minutes before removing from the heat.
When pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pan. Add in ½ the sauerkraut mixture and stir to combine.
Plate up and enjoy!

Al Dente Carba-Nada Egg Fettuccine Noodles Haul


Ever since I tried the Al Dente Carba-Nada Noodles I have been hooked.  I purchased the Egg Fettuccine and Garlic noodles from my local meat market and have incorporated them into my meal planning (for myself) because for 1 ½ cups its 3 points plus values. I admit when I purchased them in store I paid upwards to $5 a bag, which is pricy, especially when a box of pasta typically runs $1-1.50/box.
These noodles themselves taste like pasta and with red sauce or alfredo sauce on them you truly don’t notice a difference between the Carba-Nada and normal run of the mill fettuccine.  I’m especially a fan of the serving size because since I am a volume eater having 1 ½ cups is definitely something I enjoy, especially without the added guilt.
I searched on Amazon for the Carba-nada noodles and I found the Egg Fettuccine Noodles for sale in a 6-pack case for a pretty decent price.  The case cost me $20.53 which came out to be $3.42/bag.  Ideally I do have more pasta on my hands, but I saved about 1/3 so I’ll gladly store it away and use it up.  I will note if you’d like to try the brand check out the Al Dente website, find a store that sells it in your local area and then call that store before going in. There are stores that carry the Al Dente brand but not the Carba-Nada line.  If you do end up liking them I’d strongly suggest comparing your store prices to the Amazon prices.  A penny saved, is a penny earned, right?
QUESTION:
Have you tried the Al Dente Carba-Nada line?

Carba-Nada Pasta with Sauce & Turkey Meatballs

Who says dinner cannot be on the table in 20 minutes or less? Certainly not this girl!  That’s even with making TWO different types of pasta (Carba-nada for myself and regular Barilla pasta for the boyfriend).
We didn’t quite have dinner plans in place.  Trying to refrain from ordering take out I scanned the cabinets and decided pasta with turkey meatballs would suffice.  Quick, easy, filling and it would allow me to use up the leftover roasted peppers and onions from dinner the night before.
Putting two separate pans of water on to boil, we retrieved the turkey meatballs from the freezer, spritzed a little non-stick cooking spray into the pan, tossed in the meatballs and into the oven they went.  I had purchased these Lean Turkey Meatballs from Target a while back (Market Pantry brand) while they were on clearance.  I paid under $4 for the bag and I have to say they are pretty good tasting meatballs!  I’m not a big fan of frozen meatballs (I love homemade – nothing beats a homemade meatball) but these are delicious.  I’ve served these up alongside some homemade sauce (because I didn’t want to eat sausage) and my family all tried some (since I cooked extras) and everyone thought they were good.
Once my water was boiled, I added in my last remaining 1 ½ cup serving of Carba-nada Roasted Garlic noodles into the water, tossed ½ a  box of pasta in the other pan and let them cook until done.  When the noodles were done, I added in the roasted peppers and onions into each pot and simply measured out a ½ cup serving of Francesco Rinaldi Tomato, Garlic & Onion pasta sauce into my dish. The noodles are 3 points, the sauce was 2 – making the whole plate of pasta only 5 points plus!  Amazing, right?
Once the turkey meatballs were done, we took them out of the oven.  A serving (6 meatballs) is 4 points plus, but after calculating 1 ½ servings, I found it was only 1 point more … so since I was quite hungry, I decided to have 5 points plus worth of meatballs.  Delicious and only 10 points plus!
QUESTION:
What is your “go to” quick and easy meal when dinner plans weren’t quite thought through?

Carba-Nada Broccoli Alfredo with Breaded Chicken Tenders


I found out about the Al Dente brand Carba-Nada noodles thanks to a fellow Weight Watchers member whom I follow on Instagram.  After seeing a few dishes she made with the noodles, I decided to go on the hunt.  And by hunt, I meant stalk.  I checked a few of my local stores pasta sections but continued to come up empty handed – so I went to the Al Dente website and did a search for my local area to see what stores sold the brand.  The only downfall is the search gives you stores that sell the brand not the particular type of pasta you are looking for.  There were only 2 local stores (one that I knew and the other I didn’t) that sold the brand – so I called the store closest to me, that I was familiar with and had a customer service rep take a peak in the pasta aisle to see if they sold Carba-Nada.  To my surprise she said they did in the original flavor and the roasted garlic flavor.  So I ran to the store and picked up a bag of each (they were around $5 a bag) but I do know if you cannot find it in your area you can purchase on Amazon – granted it’s a little more expensive, but they are available.
So what is so great about this pasta?  1 ½ cups (dry) is ONLY 3 points plus values!  That is AMAZING!
Enough of my bragging aside – onto the meal I created.  I went ahead and boiled myself off 1 ½ cups of roasted garlic Carba-nada pasta.  When done, I mixed in some steamed broccoli I had cooked (about 1 cup), a little salt, black pepper and ½ cup Ragu Light Parmesan Alfredo (3 points plus – 2 servings).  I mixed together so all ingredients were combined and plated it up.  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see how MUCH was on my plate for only 6 points! Usually with regular pasta, I get 1 cup and the sauce of my choice depends (whether homemade or bottled).  Carba-nada noodles definitely help me get my “moneys worth” on my plate!
For a protein I baked off some Purdue Simply Smart Lightly Breaded Chicken Tenders in the oven.  Since I stumbled upon these frozen chicken tenders (as well as the little nuggets) I have been obsessed.  They’re white meat chicken, delicious and very low in points.  My boyfriend really enjoys them, which is a double positive.  What’s plated is 3 ounces (a serving) is only 3 points plus.  Delicious.
9 points plus for all on my dinner plate and it was fabulous.  There was so much I ended up eating half, and finishing the rest of it later on that night.
QUESTION:

Is there any dish you’ve wanted to lighten up lately?

Pizza in a Pan

After trying a cheeseburger casserole last week I got to thinking what could I do with the remaining pasta I had leftover to make a delicious, simple dish.  Well, pizza is my utmost favorite food so that sent my mind into over drive.  Typically when ordering pizza I like to get a loaded veggie pizza – but my boyfriend only eats pepperoni pizza so we typically settle for pepperoni pizza so we don’t have to buy TWO pizzas, which is craziness.
I pulled up my handy dandy Weight Watchers recipe builder and started adding ingredients I’d want in this dish and was surprised to see how point friendly it was.  I jotted down the 2 ingredients I didn’t have at home to pick up at the market and off and running I went.  The great thing about this dish is you can really prepare the meat sauce beforehand – whether it be the day before or even a few hours before whipping together.  Remember the longer a sauce sits, the more flavorful it becomes!
The great thing about this dish is you get the dough action from the pasta, you get the cheesiness and you get a ton of meat and a nice blend of vegetables to make it a healthy and hearty meal.

Serves: 10
Points Plus Values (w/ cheese): 6 Points Plus
Points Plus Values (w/o cheese): 5 Points Plus
Serving size: 1 Cup
Ingredients:
– 1 1/8 pounds 93% lean ground beef
– 1 large onion (or 2 mediums), diced
– 2 small red peppers, diced
– 2 tablespoons minced garlic
– 4 ounce Hormel turkey pepperoni, quartered
– 8 oz uncooked Rotini pasta
– 2 tablespoons tomato paste
– 1 Jar Light Ragu – Tomato & Basil
– 1 can diced tomatoes (drained of almost all liquid)
– 1 cup Reduced Fat Sargento 4-Cheese Mexican (you can use mozzarella but I had this leftover from a previous recipe)
  Italian seasoning (to taste)
 Garlic powder (to taste)
 Black pepper (to taste)
 Sea salt (to taste)
Instructions:
Cook hamburger with onion and garlic in a non-stick skillet until cooked through. Break up hamburger as finely as possible while cooking.
Place red peppers in a baking dish, spritzed with Pam and bake at 350*F for about 10 minutes, until peppers are softer.
Add red peppers, quartered pepperoni, canned tomatoes and jar of Light Ragu sauce to the pan and stir to combine.  Season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper and sea salt to taste.  I tend to not measure my dry seasonings so I eyeball … but if I had to guestimate I’d taste 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper.
Add in tomato paste and stir to combine, let simmer for approximately 2 minutes.
Set a pan of water onto boil, seasoned with a little bit of salt (to prevent sticking).  Once boiling add in 8 ounces of pasta and cooked until your liking.  I tend to go with al dente which is usually done in 10 minutes (I use Barilla pasta so it takes a little longer to cook).
Drain pasta and combine with cooked sauce.  Stir to combine.
Transfer contents to a large baking dish, sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese.  Place pan into a 350 degree oven and bake for roughly 10 minutes until cheese is cooked through.

All that’s left to do is enjoy!
 meat sauce
 Pasta w/o cheese
 w/ cheese

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt – Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

I purchased this Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells in Marinara Sauce up at Trader Joe’s a few weeks back and had it stashed in my freezer for a go-to meal – whether on the go, or for a meal because my boyfriend and I didn’t have a solid dinner plan.  I ended up making this for because I did not want to eat regular pasta – plus I was in the mood for cheesy goodness.
I have to say this was quite delicious!  The most important thing was Trader Joe’s did NOT skimp on the cheese in this dish.  It was a cheesy, pasta, marina sauce goodness. Sure, you only got 2 stuffed shells in the dish, but it was very filling.  The pasta is stuffed with a cheese and spinach mixture, which is topped with the marinara and a nice helping of mozzarella.  Purely delicious I tell ya, purely delicious.
This was 7 points plus and was totally worth it.  So if you’re in the mood for a new pasta dish and you’re near a Trader Joe’s I suggest picking this up.
QUESTION:
Do you like frozen pasta dishes?

Deconstructed Pierogi Pasta

A number of weeks back I was really in the mood for pierogi’s.  My mother and aunt make homemade pierogi’s from scratch usually every Christmas – but this year they didn’t make them.  I could have just thrown a box of frozen in some boiling water and called it a day but I was feeling adventurous and while grocery shopping I spotted egg noodles and decided to try out a new recipe.
I boiled some water seasoned with a little bit of salt and when boiling I added in the egg noodles to cook through to al dente.  In a separate pan I added 2 tablespoons of margarine and added in 2 sliced up medium onions.  I let those start to cook and brown together before adding in a splash of water (to keep it from sticking) and added in my squeezed canned sauerkraut.  Since I LOVE sauerkraut I used two cans (which you want to make sure you ring pretty ‘dry’) the two cans was just enough for the whole bag of egg noodles.  I seasoned the sauerkraut and onion mixture with a pinch of black pepper and a pinch of salt.
I boiled the turkey kielbasa in water just to heat it through (you can even throw it in the same pot as the boiling pasta if you’d like since it’s already cooked).  When the noodles were done I drained and added into the pan of sauerkraut and mixed until combined.
I had 1/6th of the pan of pasta and it was 7 points plus values and I paired it with 2 ounces of Jennie-O turkey kielbasa – along side a helping of spicy brown mustard.  Delicious meal!
QUESTION:
Have you ever had deconstructed pierogi pasta before?

Dinner: Homemade Meatballs & Sauce on fettuccine

 I ended up making a large family-style dinner a couple weeks ago.  I had originally planned to make this meal on Sunday – but my brother, sister-in-law, niece & nephew came down on Saturday so I decided to make this then.  I’ve made sauce a number of times in the past but never made my own meatballs.  I’ve always helped my mother make her meatballs when I was younger so I had a general idea of what I needed.  Because I’m a Weight Watchers member I measured my ingredients out and converted them into PointsPlus Values so I’d know how many points my dinner would be.  Overall – I’d say the meatballs came out quite well.  Next time I’d add a little more garlic and a hair more parsley.  How about my sauce? Perfect!

Here’s my recipe:

1 ¼ pound lean (93%) ground beef
1 ¼ pound lean ground pork
½ cup wheat Italian breadcrumbs
2 large eggs (beaten)
3/4 cup reduced-fat parmesan cheese (1/2 cup into the meatballs, the other half goes in the sauce)
Small handful fresh Parsley
~4 tablespoons minced garlic (2 tablespoons in sauce, the other half in the meatballs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup skim milk
3 large cans crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes (with garlic) – Drained
Large onion (cut in half)
Dried Italian seasoning
Black pepper
Sea Salt
Crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic powder

Instructions:

Mix the ground beef, pork, eggs, parsley, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, milk together in a bowl.  Season with some black pepper, salt, Italian seasoning (I added extra even though the breadcrumbs were already seasoned). Season appropriately to obtain the smell you’d want.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Cooking time varies based on your oven – my oven cooks very quickly.  Make sure to shake the pan halfway through to turn the meatballs.

In a large sauce pan, add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat through.  Add garlic and halved onion.  Let the flavors marinate then add in cans of crushed tomatoes, can of diced tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes.  Let simmer.

When meatballs are done cooking – add to the sauce. Cover and let simmer for 1-2 hours on medium-low.

A serving of 3-meatballs with sauce was 6 PointsPlus values.  I ate this with 1 cup of whole grain fettuccine making it an 11 PointsPlus dinner.