Rigatoni to the Table in Under 20 Minutes

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Who doesn’t like pasta? My family loves it, but I don’t make it very often, especially when I’m trying to be good and eat moderate amounts of carbs at night. But, when the weather is as cold as it is (for so many of us), there’s really nothing better. This recipe is so wonderful for so many reasons. It’s quick, it’s a one-dish meal, it has great flavor and it’s really not too bad if you’re watching your weight. Not to mention, it’s 8 ingredients and can be prepared in under 20 minutes. What else can I say?

 

Quick and Easy Skillet Rigatoni

Prep: 4 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

8 ounces uncooked rigatoni

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 pound lean ground round

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup dry white wine or low-sodium chicken or beef broth

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce  with garlic, basil and oregano (I used Hunts)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

1. Cook rigatoni according to package directions.

2. While pasta cooks, cook onion, ground round and mushrooms in a large lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 6 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is evaporated. Stir in pasta, tomato sauce, basil and red pepper flakes, if desired; cover and simmer 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.

New Year’s Resolution: Low Calorie, Low-Fat, Low-Carb Beef Empanadas

How about a low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb appetizer to start the New Year? Is it really possible? Yes, it is… With bowl games going on and the Superbowl on its way in a few weeks, I thought I would share this appetizer recipe I developed recently for Laura’s Lean Beef Company. Each Empanada only has 85 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 8 carbs, so you can indulge without breaking your New Year’s resolution. Using wonton wrappers and baking them in the oven is the key to their ease and delicious success.


Beef Empanandas

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 20 servings

Ingredients

1/2 pound lean ground round

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup canned low-salt yellow corn, drained

1/3 cup salsa

1 tablespoon tomato paste

20 wonton wrappers

Cooking spray

Salsa, low-fat sour cream (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Cook ground beef, onion and next 3 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet 5 minutes or until beef is browned; drain. Add corn and next 2 ingredients and cook until heated through. Remove and let cool.

3. Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, spoon 1 tablespoon beef mixture into center of each wrapper. Bring 2 opposite corners together and pinch the points to seal, forming a triangle. Place wrappers on a wire rack and repeat procedure with remaining wrappers and beef mixture.

4. Place empanadas on lightly greased baking sheets and coat lightly with cooking spray. Bake 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning once or until golden. Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.