Friday, July 09, 2004

My recipe was published !!!

A few months ago, Light & Tasty Magazine, a magazine dedicated to healthy, reduced-fat and reduced-calorie cooking, had a contest. The challenge was to present a pasta recipe that you have modified to make it healthier. This was the perfect opportunity to showcase one of my favorite dishes: baked pasta casserole.

My family has been making baked pasta casserole for many years. Some may recognize it as 'baked ziti', although I use rotini instead of ziti. The family recipe included ground beef (either in its cooked, shredded form or in mini meatballs), ricotta cheese, mozzarella, spices, sauce and so on.

I modified it slightly by adding spinach and mushrooms, using reduced-fat cheeses, and ground turkey instead of ground beef. As an added twist, I put some turkey pepperoni on top. Pizza-style. Everyone I've served it to has enjoyed it, so I figured I would submit it.

Well, I WON A RUNNER-UP PRIZE in the contest !!! I was published in the Light & Tasty magazine, as well as their 2004 cookbook. I submitted the press release that the magazine sent me to our local newspaper, and the reporter came to my house, interviewed me, took my picture and did a story. I was honored.

They did change the recipe slightly. I guess the amount of spices and seasonings I use are a little much for the general American public, but that's fine. When people come to my house, they get the full experience.

They also changed the name from Pasta al Forno (baked pasta) to Pepperoni Ziti Casserole. Whatever floats their boat. :)

Want the recipe ? See below. If you can't read it off the web page, right click on the picture and select "Save As". Save it to your hard drive and load it up on your computer. I had to shrink the image size on this page to fit with the template format. :)

Buon Appetito !

The recipe in text format :)

Pepperoni Ziti Casserole

1 package (1 pound) ziti or small tube pasta
1/2 pound lean ground turkey (substitute w/1 can beans for vegetarian version)
2 cans (one 29 ounces, one 8 ounces) tomato sauce, divided
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 can (8 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the 29-ounce can of tomato sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, spinach, ricotta cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and pepper.

Drain pasta; fold into turkey mixture. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the water and remaining tomato sauce; pour over pasta mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella cheese. Top with pepperoni. Cover and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover; bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 10 servings

Nutritional analysis: One serving (1 cup) equals 306 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 795 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 20 g protein.

Diabetic exchanges: 2-1/2 starch, 2 lean meat, 1 vegetable.

Weight Watchers: 6 points.
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