Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dinner off the cuff

I left the Y tonight knowing that I had already picked the last bit of meat off the chicken I roasted on Sunday. What to have for dinner? I really wanted to fix something without having to stop at the store to shop.

I decided to defrost a link of Aidell's Organic chicken sausage, 140 calories for the spinach and feta flavor (and they have many other flavors as well). Then I stopped at the store to buy some mushrooms. Okay, the plan wasn't perfect. But I really wanted the mushrooms.

I was originally going to put the sausage and mushrooms on a salad (my default meal), but I had a spark of inspiration when a small spaghetti squash caught my eye. I threw the squash in the microwave to cook it (I'd rather boil it but the microwave is much faster) and chopped up some onion and red bell pepper.

I cut the sausage into small pieces and browned it, then scooped it aside to saute the onions, peppers and mushrooms. Then I threw the sausage back in the pan.

I needed a sauce. So I opened a jar of tomatoes my secretary had canned. They were gussied up with garlic and onions but I'm sure regular canned tomatoes would be fine. I seasoned it up with a liberal dose of dried Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.

Instead of serving it on top of the spaghetti squash, which would work fine, I scraped some of the squash into the pan of vegetables. It didn't get as stringy-spaghetti-like as I've experienced in the past; I don't know if that's because it was small or because I may have overcooked it in the microwave. I just chunked it up a bit.

Finally, because I can't stray too far from a salad, I dumped it onto a pile of spinach, which wilted nicely. I topped it off with fat free feta cheese (pairing with the sausage, remember?).

It was quite delicious, including and especially the sausage. But this could also be made without the sausage, using plenty of mushrooms for quasi-meatiness (with many fewer calories) and generous seasonings (possibly some salt also) to add flavor.

I must admit that this admirably healthy dinner was just a counterpoint to the cookies and chocolates I have been eating rather freely during the day. A six-mile run doesn't create a license to gorge myself. Okay, gorge is an exaggeration (thank goodness). But I have been more self-indulgent than I should be. Spaghetti squash instead of pasta is at least one small step in the right direction.


Terri said...

You have a lot of self control if you could do all of that after coming home from the gym. To be able to buy just mushrooms and not a ton of other stuff, well let's )

Database Diva said...

I eat healthy during the day so I can stuff myself with chocolate at night. Oddly enough, if I eat enough healthy stuff during the day, I don't always want the chocolate. It helps that I work from home, so I can have fresh fruit and vegetables all day long. And many cups of tea!