Saturday, June 4, 2011

Semi {Healthy} Comfort Meal

I really wanted some comfort food tonight...and I was about to cave and get takeout from my neighboring restaurants here in Little Italy, I really really was. I restrained myself to keep a hold on my calories as well as my wallet and went to the freezer where I have been building my stores :)

I realized I had some frozen whole wheat tortellini, reduced fat pesto and Italian sausage. Perfect! However, just because something is whole grain and "reduced fat" does not mean the calorie content is low or it is necessarily "good" for you. You still need to keep your portions in check and not go overboard. I made a few modifications (mainly the portions) and was still left satisfied with a comforting choice.

Here's what I used:
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat tortellini, cheese filled, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 Italian sausage link, sliced into about 1/4-1/2 inch rounds
  • 1T reduced-fat pesto (such as Buitoni)
Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat, spray with nonstick spray and add sausage rounds. Cook until done tossing occasionally. Add in cooked tortellini and pesto and mix. Heat through. 

This amount is filling, tasty and provides you with only 443 calories. If you were to use the "serving size" listed on the package of pasta (1 full cup) and pesto (1/4 cup) you would add on an additional 289 calories. If you were to use a full serving of regular pesto you would add 225 calories (on top of the 115 calories from the extra pasta)! All you need is a small spoonful to get that full basil-garlic-olive oil flavor! Pair this smaller version with a nice green salad and a drizzle of your favorite dressing and you have a better-for-you comfort meal. For an even better version you could swap the sausage for Jennie-O turkey sausage or a chicken breast (this will cut out another 100 calories).

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