My husband knows that when I want to make a dietary change (like when I decided to cut way back on red meat last year), the whole family is going to be in on it with me. Hey, I am no short order cook, and I am confident that whatever healthy meals I serve will be fine for all. When I told him about Eat. Live. Be. For a Better 2011, he was right on board with eating healthier. (Color me lucky, right?)
So, Shawn did a little reading up and discovered Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals, a handy little cookbook all about low-calorie, high-taste meals. Of course, he ran right out and bought it. Like that day.
This cookbook is super visual, pitting the healthy meals that are roughly 350-calories or so each (the book says this one was 390 calories, but since I used low-fat milk, it was slightly higher) against high-calorie restaurant meals. It’s really interesting to see how the meals are slimmed and how many calories are saved. Eye-opening really.
At my suggestion, Shawn made us this Red Pepper Alfredo for dinner from the book. He cooks breakfast often, but dinner rarely — mostly because I like to do it. But I am warming to sharing the responsibility again a bit. A little, little bit.
So, anyway, the alfredo. Oh. My. Goodness. If I didn’t know that it was low-calorie, I would never ever guess it. The rich, slightly sweet, creamy sauce is amazing. Actually decadent is a better way to describe it. I swear, we all nearly licked our bowls. Loved it.
We’re really liking this cookbook and cannot wait to try something else from it. What’s your favorite healthy cookbook?
Red Pepper Alfredo
recipe adapted ever-so-slightly from Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals
10 oz dried fettuccine
1 1/2 tbsp salted butter
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
salt and black pepper, to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
While the pasta water is coming to a boil, melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for a minute. Pour in the milk and half and half a little at a time, whisking as you add it. Stir in the roasted red peppers and garlic. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to the pan and whisk in the Romano cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain well. Then toss with the sauce. Divide evenly among four bowls and let sit for a few minutes (the sauce will thicken as it cools).
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.