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I made an amazing pasta dish, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Penne, the other night. It was a big hit and screamed comfort food. With super basic ingredients, a rather quick prep and cook time, that “this has got to be sinful” result, and only 292 calories and 3 fat grams it has been immediately put into semi-weekly rotation.

Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Penne

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes      Serves: 2 – 4*

Ingredients: 

  • 4 servings of Whole Wheat Penne (This is a little over 1/2 boxI used Mueller’s brand 100% Whole Wheat)
  • 2 oz. Sun-dried Tomatoes (I used the kind you find at Kroger in the Cheese section.)
  • One large bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 clove garlic (I used Kroger brand minced garlic at equivalent amount.)
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used Pompeian’s “Robust”)
  • 1 cup bouillon or stock (I used 1/2 cube Edward & Sons “Not Chick ‘N’ Natural Bouillon and a cup of water.)

Instructions: 

  1. Trim and clean spinach.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil, slightly salted. Once rolling, put in pasta and cook until done – if the pasta is done before your spinach mixture, drain and set aside.
  3. Put oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic into large skillet on medium heat.
  4. Heat 1 cup water and your bouillon cube in microwave – stir.
  5. Add cup of stock to the skillet.
  6. Add all the spinach leaves to skillet.
  7. Simmer until most of the stock is boiled out and the spinach is cooked down but not slimy.
  8. Add the mixture on top of the Penne and you’re set. My husband recommends some Parmesan on top but… he’s skinny – he can get away with it.

* I say 2-4 servings because honestly, I ate 1.5 servings and my husband ate 2. The calories are calculated for 4 servings so you’ll have to calculate based on how much you eat. 1.5 servings is 438 calories and 4.5 fat grams. 

You can eat both the stem and the leaf of spinach – I don’t like stems most of the time but if you do, make sure you keep the slender and slightly pink ones and chuck the larger ones. Wash well, there is often sand or dirt hidden on leaves.

The sun-dried tomatoes I used were in a bit of oil – I rinsed them off before cutting it up. You don’t have to cut it but it makes it easier to eat if you do.

The spinach will start cooking down really quickly. While you don’t want it to get slimy you really shouldn’t worry to much about this with this recipe. Pay attention to the stock level and that will let you know when it’s done.

Once the stock is mostly gone you’ll be ready to add the mix to your Penne. If you leave a slight amount of broth you’ll have a wetter pasta. I turned the heat off several minutes after this picture was taken.

I sort of made this recipe up based on what I had, what I wanted to use, etc. The basic recipe can be found all over the internet in a number of variations. As long as you use some stock to cook your spinach down I’m certain you could use whatever kind of pasta, tomatoes, and seasonings you wanted.

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On another note – today was my “measurements” day. I ended up gaining 1 lb over the last week. I’m really not surprised – I haven’t exercised at all this week. In addition my husband and I went to a really nice vegetarian restaurant in the city where we splurged and split both an appetizer and a desert in addition to our individual entrees. The rest of the week I’ve been doing great with calories but -without exercise – I expected that my weekly results wouldn’t be as great.

One small step off the path but now I’m taking one large step back on… I went swimming this morning and plan on swimming every day this week while I still can.

On the plus side – I’ve lost another inch in my hip/belly/butt region as well as an 1″ off my upper arms. I think my fat is redistributing itself though because I’ve also gained an inch around my rib cage (crunches perhaps?) and some back in my thigh too… hmmm…

To be more pro-active I planned out our meals for the week and went shopping and bought a ton of fresh veggies and grains. I’m planning on making lentil soup, a nice lentil and potato Dal with some brown rice, veggie pizza on whole wheat pitas, and veggie pot pies made with Filo dough instead of pie crust at the special request of Hubby (who’s being a super supportive guinea pig and deserves some consideration). I’ll post recipes if anything turns out nice, of course…

Re-committed and it feels so good…. (this is accompanied by music in my head.)

This week will be great, I can feel it.

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