Friday, July 30, 2010

Carb loading

Sometimes on the night before a race I'll go out to an Italian restaurant and have pasta that is delicious and professionally made by someone other than myself. I have had some scrumptious pasta dinners in places like Bellingham, Portland, Sacramento, Olympia, and even Tukwila.

But one of my complaints about restaurant pasta is that there is so much PASTA. And usually so little other stuff, namely vegetables. I like my pasta dishes chunky, so much so that the veggies and other ingredients equal or outweigh the pasta.

Hence my "Empty the Fridge" veggie pasta. I make it with leftover roasted, sauteed, or steamed vegetables. Plus, I admit, I may cook up other stuff to add to what I've got (as I did tonight).

Here's the melange from tonight.

Chopped onion
Sliced mushrooms
Minced garlic
Ground turkey (I got about 5 oz out of the freezer)
28 oz can Cento organic chunky-style crushed tomatoes in puree
Can of white beans (cannellini)
2 red bell peppers, cut into wedges and roasted in the oven
2 zucchini, cut into strips and roasted in oven (it did get a little soft cooking this way)
Leftover roasted eggplant
Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper
Red pepper flakes
Fresh parsley and basil from the garden
Olive oil
Chunky pasta (penne or rotini) (I used about 3 servings worth) (cook pasta while you're preparing the sauce)

Sautee onion in cooking spray until it starts to soften, add mushrooms. After the onions and mushrooms are partly cooked, add ground turkey (breaking up into chunks) and garlic. Cook until turkey is no longer pink. Add the can of tomatoes. Put some water into the empty tomato can and add as needed if too much liquid evaporates while cooking. Once the tomatoes are heated, season with Italian seasoning to taste and salt and pepper. Drain the beans and stir them in as well. Add any cold leftover vegetables so they can heat up as well. Once everything is heated and has simmered together a little bit, stir in any hot vegetables plus the pasta. Check seasonings and add some red pepper flakes if you like a little heat. I stirred in about a tablespoon of olive oil to add a little richness. Add fresh herbs (I snip with scissors) and serve, possibly on a bed of spinach, if you like that (I do). Top with a mountain of micro-plane grated Parmesan!

Number of servings depends on how much pasta and vegetables you use. I had a large serving (actually two small) and there's probably 2-3 servings of leftovers remaining.

Note: I also had broccoli in the fridge but opted not to use it, as I ate broccoli for lunch and didn't want to ask for GI problems. But I'll probably put the broccoli in the leftovers.

Other vegetables I might use: broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, roasted brussels sprouts, parsnips or carrots, corn (sodium-free canned work great), sweet potatoes or new potatoes, kale, spinach or other greens (either already cooked or cooked down in the sauce), yellow squash or winter squash. Other kinds of canned beans would work too: kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans. I would always try to include either eggplant or mushrooms in the mix, though, because they add a meaty texture whether or not you use actual meat!

Finally, of course you can eliminate pasta for a very low carb dish, or use spaghetti squash, which is great!

1 comment:

lifestudent said...

I tend to be the opposite of you, I'm a minimalist with my pasta. Just noodles and marinara ;) Especially before a race or long run, I dont like to test my stomach on any sort of item mix!

Hope all went well with the race!