Monday, October 12, 2015

Meatless Monday - Crispy Orange Chicken and the BEST Healthy Pasta

I don't know why I gained weight last year - I ate a HEALTH bar EVERY day?!

I'm finding the fruit smoothies are helping with my "sugar fix" daily though I'll have a single piece of chocolate (about 50 calories, a couple of times a week) and I have 2-4 VISI brand protein chews every day (20 calories, four grams of protein and less than 1 gram of sugar per cloudberry flavored chew)
Breakfast was Dave's Killer bread toasted spread with a generous tablespoon of  almond butter with an apple.

A mid-morning snack was a smoothie made with red grapes/pear/baby kale and a pinch of ginger added to the cup of water and ice.
SO refreshing. I have to say - after five days of having a a large  fruit and vegetable smoothie (about 4 cups when all fluffed up from blending) in place of a meal with a little leftover for a snack later, I'm down a half a pound even without really counting calories.

Lunch was from my favorite "veggie" protein line Gardein. Their products have ingredient lists that are surprisingly short when compared to other "veggie" meats and do not require a chemistry degree to understand. They rely on wheat, ancient grains veggies, soy proteins and real herbs and spices and the results are delicious.
Garden Crispy Chicken with orange sauce.  Giving up the Orange Chicken at Panda Express was a lot easier when I found this product as far as satisfying that craving.  I love PE's orange chicken but if I ate it every week, you'd find my plump self wearing a black and white outfit and munching on bamboo shoots out in the forest with the rest of the pandas.

It just takes a few minutes to crisp them up in a sauce pan with a couple teaspoons of olive or coconut oil.  Rather than pour the sauce over the top, I have it on the side to dip my pieces of chicken in to save some calories.. A  single serving, with  big salad with a low cal dressing and two tablespoons of the orange sauce is less than 250 calories for your meal. A single serving of Panda Express orange chicken without anything else is almost 500 calories, and four TIMES the fat of the Gardein orange chicken.
Dinner was a meat free pasta dish  for two (there was enough for a small lunch from the leftovers) with the rest of the salad from lunch. I have to admit - this was REALLY good and my husband ate a big bowl of it and asked that I write down my recipe so I could make it again.

Pasta with Spinach and Beans

Serves 2-3 (and easily doubles)

4 ounces bowtie pasta
1/2 large onion chopped
a  handful of mushrooms or a small jar
2 teaspoons olive oil
3  cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1/2 cup vegetable stock  or vegetarian "chicken" stock.
2 teaspoons minced jarred garlic
1/4  teaspoon Janes Krazy Mixed Up Salt Blend (a salt/herb blend that has less than half of the sodium of salt, so if using real salt, decrease the amount slightly)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
(note - I don't measure spices when I'm free-range cooking, this is an estimate but should be close)
1/2 of a 14 (or 15) ounce can of white beans (drained and rinsed)
3 Tablespoons fresh Parmesan cheese. (Use soy cheese for a vegan dish)
Heat water for pasta. While that comes to a boil, saute onion on medium low in olive oil until softened. When water comes to a boil, add pasta, set timer and add mushroom  and garlic to the onion, raising heat to high and stirring constantly so that the onion will caramelize, adding 1/4 cup of the stock in while you stir.
A couple of minutes before pasta is done, add spinach to onion mixture and stir until wilted.  Add in remaining stock and beans and heat through as you drain the pasta. .

Combine pasta and sauce and serve in bowls (so you get the goodness of a little broth at the bottom of the bowl mixed in with the melty cheese),  Top  with a little fresh Parmesan and extra crushed red pepper if you desire.


  1. Hari Om
    Definitely got to try out those Gardein products when I get over yonder... sattvic diet has no onion/garlic/mushrooms... that's okay, I'd use celery as the onion replacer and use extra spinach.... yummooooooo..
    Eyes-on... YAM xx


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