Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baked Penne Pasta

I want to start by patting myself on the back for getting in a bonus run this week. It was such a beautiful and warm day here today, I wanted to take full advantage of it, and I'm so happy that I did. I got a 3 mile run in today at a 9:05 pace. I felt like it had been so long since I had run. Since last weekend was so busy and rainy, I only got to run on Friday. I will hopefully be able to get a workout in tomorrow during lunch because I definitely won't get one it tomorrow evening...

Ok, now for the food...Wow! 13 points for a dinner. Is that still WW-friendly? This is an example of when I made a recipe, then went back and plugged in all of the ingredients to see how many points were in it. I know this is pretty high in points. I mean, come on, that’s half of my daily points right there. Needless to say, I did a lot of scrimping on my other foods today in order to save enough for dinner. But let me tell you, it was worth it. This meal was so good! Usually, when I make a baked pasta meal, I have to put a ton of cheese in it in order to make it creamy and delicious. But I didn’t have to add all of those extra points of cheese to this one. The Philly Cooking Crème did that for me. The way it blended with the other ingredients was just perfect! I had seen these cooking crèmes last year when they first came out and bought one in every flavor. Once again, though, I didn’t check the points in them and of course, they ended up being higher in points than I was willing to sacrifice. So a couple of weeks ago when I saw that they had come out with reduced fat versions of a couple of them, I was completely on board. Count me in and sign me up! It was a good day when I found these on shelf at my grocery store. Here’s the recipe:

Adapted from Plain Chicken
Servings: 4
Points+: 13

4 c. cooked penne pasta
½ lb. extra lean ground beef
½ c. onion, chopped
½ c. green pepper, chopped
2 c. spaghetti sauce
¾ c. Reduced Fat Italian Cheese & Herbs Philadelphia Cooking Crème
1 c. reduced fat mozzarella cheese

In a large non-stick skillet, brown ground beef. Add onion and green pepper and cook until vegetables are tender. Stir in spaghetti sauce, cooking crème and ½ c. mozzarella cheese. Stir until combined and cheese is melted. Transfer to a 2 ½ qt. baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

There are so many different ways that this could be tweaked according to your personal preference. You could use turkey instead of the ground beef. You could add mushrooms to it. You could use any shape pasta that you wanted to. This is definitely a recipe that I will make again, it just might have a few changes.

This stuff was so good! The portions were pretty big, too. So I guess the 13 pts.+ per serving isn't unreasonable. Pair this up with a nice tossed salad on the side and you've got a delicious and filling dinner.

So long for today...

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