Healthy Spaghetti and Not So Cheesy Bread

You will remember that I am still trucking with the affirmation of eating healthier, and so far it’s been working out well. I’ve found some things I prefer in the healthier variety (e.g. almond milk in my hot chocolate, it’s SOOO GOOD, try it), I’ve been making better choices when I am out and about, and I’ve been cooking at home more, which brings us to this gem:

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Healthy Spaghetti With Not So Cheesy Bread
Pro Tip on Pasta: Healthier Spaghetti Starts With Healthier Pasta. So check out your local grocery store pastas. I have found that I prefer whole wheat pasta, it tastes so much better to me that I’ve never looked back and get sad when I go to a restaurant that doesn’t have it (unless they instead serve freshly made pasta by hand, but we will discuss this at a later date…). I tend to get whole wheat that’s fortified with omega-3’s but it won’t kill you either way. If you are gluten sensitive, get rice pasta. Oh, and did I mention that the 2nd best part of whole wheat pasta (behind taste) is that it cooks in under 10 mins? It’s practically instant. šŸ™‚

Pro Tip On Quick and Dirty Sauce: Then, let’s talk sauce. You’re busy, I’m busy, let’s just use a base sauce because that is easy, and then we will add veggies to it to make sure you’re getting a vitamin packed meal, k? I have recently discovered this fabulous pasta that’s HEB Central Market branded, it’s got Champignon and Porcini mushrooms in it. Not only do I love mushrooms, but these are great earthy flavored wild mushrooms and the pasta sauce is certified organic so you know it’s not pumped full of stuff you can’t pronounce, let alone guess what it does. Compared to other pasta sauces, it’s got less sodium, less sugar, more protein, more fiber, and a wonderful earthy flavor. If you are around an HEB, check it out. Otherwise, comparison shop and come up with your best option for what you want. I also suggest if you want a bright flavor, check out anything with San Marzano tomatoes. My fave one of those is an Orti di Calabria spicy red sauce that’s fantastic with lobster.

Ingredients:
1 box of your favorite healthy pasta (I say spaghetti here because that’s what I used, use whatever you want)
1 bottle of your favorite healthy pasta sauce
1 zucchini or squash, chopped to desired consistency
1/2 package baby bella mushrooms, chopped to desired consistency
1 small red onion, chopped to desired consistency
1 medium clove of garlic, peeled and chopped to desired consistency (you can also use diced garlic from a jar)
1 bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, or even green), chopped to desired consistency
1 loaf of your favorite healthy bread
1 TBS cottage cheese for each piece of bread you want to eat
Italian Seasoning(s) of Choice (great options: oregano, rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, black pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic flakes)
Optional: Grilled chicken breast or pepperoni for the sauce, feta or Parmesan topping for the pasta

Preparation:
1) Put your onions and a little of your garlic in a skillet at medium to medium high heat and cook until the onions are beginning to become translucent (usually around 3 mins)
2) Add the squash, bell pepper, and mushrooms to the mix, stirring occasionally. You may add a little water to keep the veggies from sticking as needed, seriously it works the same as butter but doesn’t inflict calories. Cook for 5-10 mins or until veggies are done. If you like al dente, more towards the 5 mins.
3) Slap your cottage cheese and a little garlic on your bread pieces, and toss them in the toaster oven or oven to cook.
4) Put a pot of water on to boil to make your pasta in.
5) Pour your sauce over the veggies and drop heat to low or medium low. Stir to mix. Season sauce to taste.
6) If you will be adding your meat, do so now, if not skip to 7.
7) Toss your desired amount of pasta in your now boiling water and wait the ascribed amount of time.
8) Check on your not so cheesy bread, it should be about done.
9) Pull your pasta, strain it in a colander.
10) Plate pasta, toss the sauce on top, bread on the side, top pasta with Parmesan or feta as desired, and enjoy with a fork.

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