Friday, March 4, 2011

Easy Feta & Spinach Chicken Pasta

I'm not rich. I don't have a personal chef. I also don't have a huge kitchen, and I am the resident dishwasher. You'll find that I prefer simple, easy-to-cook, and fairly inexpensive meals. I also like cooking foods that don't require a ton of dishes, bowls, or pots and pans during the preparation.
I grew up in humble surroundings, so I like humble food. If you're a caviar eater, or prefer only the absolute finest should probably take your 'foodie' self to another blog. :)

I present to you:

Easy Feta & Spinach Chicken Pasta
Points per serving: 8 or 10, your choice

I prefer SmarTaste pasta, in the purple box. Yes, it has a point more per serving than whole wheat pasta, but for me, it doesn't matter; it still has the same taste and texture of white pasta.
Well, nix that. It tastes a little different, but I love it. And I'm not a fan of wheat pasta. I've tried it, and I'll eat it if I have to, but for me it's worth the extra point to have this. Plus, it is loaded with fiber, calcium, and all sorts of goodies. So at least there's that.

Here I'm making two servings. You can adjust it for one or's quite easy to figure out.

I prefer using Hunt's No Sugar Added spaghetti sauce. First, most canned sauce is way too sweet. Second, you can have up to a whole CUP of this sauce for only one point!

To begin:
Boil water. Use a pinch of salt or a small splash of olive oil if preferred in your pot, for taste or less sticky pasta. I didn't use any, but you can if you wish.
While the water is boiling, start slicing up your meat: for this, I used all natural Al Fresco brand Feta & Spinach Chicken Sausages. They're delicious, big, and loaded! Now, here is where you can choose if this meal is 8 or 10 points. Each sausage is 4 points, which makes for a nice easy number to work with. If you want a 10 point meal, use one sausage per serving. For 8 points, use 1/2 sausage per serving.
Slice the sausage(s) how you can cut it into large chunks, tiny pieces by slicing it lengthwise, then again, and chopping it horizontally. The smaller you slice it, the more feta & spinach is released into the sauce.
Toss the sliced sausages into a pan (or pot; I just used the pot I would make the sauce in) and warm or brown them to your desired outcome. You can simply warm them up, or make them crisp. If planning on browning them, I would spray the pan with fat free cooking spray first, since there's not much fat or grease for the sausage to cook in. (This is a good thing!!)
Stir almost constantly.
When the water is boiling, toss in your pasta. For two servings, use 1/2 box. For one, 1/4 of the box. Use your judgement. Cook the pasta as you normally would, to taste. (I prefer al dente...yum!)
Open your can of pasta sauce. Pour a little more than half the can into a pot for two servings. For one serving, I would measure out a full cup. Add the sausages if you cooked them in a pan. With the heat on low to a low-medium, stir the sausages and sauce together. Now here's where you can be creative! Add fresh or powdered garlic, parsley, more spinach, or ANY vegetables or seasonings, as long as they have a 0 point value! (Not familiar with points? Don't worry about it...just don't add cheese for "seasoning.")
Stir occasionally, and don't forget about stirring your pasta! I didn't put in cooking times because this isn't really one you want to walk away from, unless you want spattered sauce on your stove.

Once everything is all set, drain your pasta.
MEASURE one cup of pasta per serving. It's a lot more than you'd think!
If you made more than one serving, use a 1 Cup measuring cup to serve yourself sauce.
Feel like pasta's just not pasta without a sprinkling of cheese on top? Me neither! I use Galaxy Nutritional Foods brand Grated Veggie Topping. It's about $5 per container, it lasts a LONG time, and you find it in near the grated parmesan. Best part? It's 0 Points for 2 tsp (this seems like a lot more when atop your pasta!)

Want more food? Think this isn't enough? Then go NUTS and make yourself as much BROCCOLI as you can eat. Really. Feel free to get your 5 servings of vegetables in right now...cook up a whole 5-serving bag of frozen broccoli. But be prepared: you probably won't finish it all.

I love this dish. It's quick, affordable, and easy. Good for a meal for yourself, will keep your husband happy, and your kids shouldn't complain either. You don't even need to tell anyone you used chicken sausage: just tell them you made a sausage sauce. They probably won't know the difference.

(Too wordy? Print this:
1. Boil water. Add salt or olive oil, just a pinch, if desired.
2. Use 1/2-1 Al Fresco Feta & Spinach Chicken Sausage per serving. 2p for 1/2, 4p for 1. Brown in pan or warm in pot.
3. Add 1/4 box of SmarTaste spaghetti per serving to boiling water.
4. Add 1 Cup of Hunt's No Sugar Added spaghetti sauce to sausage. Season to taste with veggies and spices.
5. Serve 1 CUP pasta and 1 CUP sauce per person. Serves well with broccoli.)


Hello and welcome to my new blog!
I have had much success in weight loss, losing nearly 30 pounds in just two months.
I've got a long way to go, though. So whether you're looking to join me on a long-haul weight loss journey, lose a few pounds, or simply eat healthier, I welcome you!
Remember, nobody got to where weight loss was necessary overnight, so don't expect the weight to fall off overnight.

What will I be posting here? Recipes, food finds, tips, tricks, etc. This isn't a fitness blog, so unless I find something really easy, fun, or effective, I won't be posting exercise. This is all about something we hold dear to our hearts: food.

I use Weight Watchers PointsPlus as a guideline for my food choices.
I write down everything I eat in a journal. Some days I forget to, but I never purposely or "conveniently forget" to count a food I've eaten, even if I feel like I've "cheated."

So grab a seat, take a Clementine (or three), and join me on this ride!