Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Weight Watchers recipes are good for everyone

This shows the orecchiette the second night. Note the addition of the mushrooms.

My wife decided to lose a little weight and so she joined Weight Watchers. My doctors told me I had to lose a little weight and so I ate the Weight Watchers meals prepared by my wife and I did so without complaint. And not because I'm a saint but because the WW meals were excellent with lots of nutrition but not lots of calories.

The other night my wife made lemony one-pan orecchiette with sausage and broccoli. Orecchiette is a type of pasta shaped like little shells. The name comes from the Italian word orecchia meaning ear. It is said to resemble small ears, hence the name. But I don't see it. I'll stick with little shells. I find it more appetizing.

For my wife's take on the WW recipe we used the following:

  • 8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage (meat removed from casings)
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large, minced garlic cloves
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Paese Mio bruchetta calabrese (may be difficult to find)
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces orecchiette pasta
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 Tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

Over medium-high heat my wife lightly fried the Italian sausage in a little, possibly a teaspoon, of olive oil. When half cooked, I removed the meat from the skillet and chopped it into smaller pieces on a plastic chopping board. When nicely crumbled, I returned the meat to the skillet where my wife cooked it until well-browned. When almost done, I stepped in an mixed a teaspoon of Paese Mio bruchetta calabrese with the meat. This was my idea. I wanted the sausage to have a lot of zip. When done, my wife removed the sausage to a bowl and set aside.

In the now empty fry pan, my wife cooked the onion until soft and translucent. She stirred the onion often and added the half teaspoon of salt.

When done, she added the garlic and red pepper flakes. She stirred the mix for a minute and then added the reduced sodium chicken broth. The chicken broth is the clue that this is a one-pan pasta recipe.

She turned the heat to high and when the broth began to boil she added the pasta. The pasta was done in about eight minutes with frequent stirring. At the five minute mark, she added the broccoli pieces. When the pasta was al dente, she stirred in the cooked sausage, 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, tomatoes and basil. She sprinkled on the remaining Parmesan at the table.

This made enough for four dinners but we found ourselves still hungry. We grumbled but stuck to the a serving size. Truth be told, WW claims this is will serve six. Admittedly, we had made a change in the amount of sausage used. We cut the sausage from 16 ounces to 8.

The next night, it was time for leftovers. We chopped up eight, large mushrooms and saut├ęd them in a little olive oil with some finely diced garlic. As the mushrooms fried, water from the mushrooms gathered and began to boil at the bottom of the pot. Before the mushroom juices could boil away, we added the leftover pasta from the night before. The pasta absorbed the liquid and became moist and delicious. The big chunks of mushroom added appetite filling bulk without upping the calorie count. The next time we make this, we will add four, chopped mushrooms to the original recipe and then add four more the next night.

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