Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This will make you younger!

OK, not really. But it's really healthy. And pretty good. And really healthy. Wait, did I already say that?

Out of curiosity I picked up a book about this new trend that I've been hearing about - calorie restriction as a way to live longer and healthier.

They pack highly nutritious meals into low calorie packages. And eat less. And supposedly it helps you live longer. Sounds good to me. Not that I would ever be able to eat a low calorie diet, let alone count my calories. But I do like the idea of packing more nutrients into my meals. And eating less calories. Just not losing a large chunk of my body fat (a little would be nice but we all know if I lost too much body fat I'd be concave. You know where.) So anyways, back to the nutrition part. There are recipes in the back of the book that don't sound too bad so here is the first. Sydney AND Tim both gave it 2 thumbs up. Sam, well... do I even need to give you a hint? I didn't think so. Sigh. She ate cheese.

This is enough for 8 people. I made it thinking that it would be enough for 4 people since it's supposed to be for calorie restriction, but apparently they eat big dinners and tiny meals the rest of the day because I had plenty left over to freeze for another night!

Manicotti (from the Anti-Aging Plan)

1 large sweet potato, cooked and peeled
8 oz. low fat or nonfat ricotta cheese
3 scallions, whites only, chopped (I used a diced sauted leek)
2 tblsp. Fresh parsley, chopped
Olive or canola oil cooking spray
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1 can (25 oz) peeled tomatoes, drained
1 can (24 oz) tomato sauce
8 oz. ground turkey or firm tofu, minced (I don't put either)
Half of a six ounce can tomato paste
3 sheets (8 x 5) nori - broken up and crumbled in
1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
8 oz. fresh shitake mushroom (I used portabellas) chopped
2 tbsp. wheat germ
1 oz. bran flakes
2 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ lbs. manicotti or lasagne noodles
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a large nonstick skillet with oil. Over medium heat, stir 3 cloves of garlic until it begins to brown. Add the onion, celery, carrots,. Add ¼ cup of the peeled tomatoes. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are barely soft. Remove from the heat and save in large pot.

Return the skillet to the stove and brown the remaining 2 cloves of garlic. Reduce the heat and add the turkey or tofu. Stir while the turkey browns, breaking up the clumps. Mix the turkey/tofu in with the vegetables, along with the remaining tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and nori.
Spray the skillet with more oil and return to heat. Add the soy sauce and mushrooms and stir fry until the mushrooms are soft and chewy. Add to the vegetable and sauce and heat over medium heat until barely boiling.

Add the wheat germ, bran flakes, herbs, and salt and pepper to the sauce. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, then rinse under cold water.
Mash the sweet potato in a food processor. Add the ricotta cheese and blend until velvety smooth. Mix in the scallions (or sauted leek) and parsley. Set aside.

Spray a large baking dish with canola oil. Spread a large spoonful of sauce over the bottom of the pan. If you are using manicotti noodles, stuff each noodle with the filling and arrange in the baking dish. Pour sauce over all. If you are using lasagne noodles, layer half of the noodles, all of the filling, then the remaining noodles, and spread the sauce evenly over all. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

Calories per serving (with turkey): 623. Percent of calories from fat: 13%, protein: 20%, carbs: 66%, 35 mg. cholesterol.
Nutritional profile (% of RDA) per serving: Vit. A: 220/ Vit. C: 328/ Vit. D: 30/ Vit. E: 46/ Vit. K: 425/ Thiamine: 69/ Riboflavin: 53/ Niacin: 53/ Vit. B6: 121/ Folacin: 61/ Vit. B12: 64/ Pantothenic Acid: 83/ Biotin: 16/ Calcium: 28/ Phosphorus: 61/ Magnesium: 59/ Potassium: 137/ Sodium: 24/ Iron: 58/ Copper: 17/ Manganese: 28/ Zinc: 81/ Selenium: 105/ Chromium: 95


Snedigar Family said...

I finally had a chance to try this and thought it was pretty tasty! Might have overdone the nori slightly, because that flavor was a little overpowering, but otherwise pretty impressive that it is as flavorful and healthy as it is. I doubled the ricotta and had enough for about three nights of manicotti plus as additional lasagna for the freezer! Bonus! Thanks for the inspiration!

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