Healthy body, healthy spirit, healthy mothering. This is the journey I have set out on with my two amazing children.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pizza Casserole

I spent a little time browsing on Pinterest today.  After the kids and I spent 2 hours weeding and watering our little garden.  And I saw that one of my friends had pinned a recipe for a pizza casserole.  A casserole that was filled with three types of meat and two different cheeses.  It looked delicious.  It looked gooey.  It also looked so very unhealthy.

So I quickly headed to My Fitness Pal and entered the recipe exactly as it was given.  You will never guess how many calories are in one serving of this recipe.

Go ahead.

Take a guess.

You don't have to say it out loud.

1647 calories.  In ONE serving.  That is wrong.  So very wrong.

But by this point I was really craving a pizza casserole so I decided to make my own, healthier, veggie filled version.  It turned out pretty good.  By that, I mean, I liked it, the kids ate it with no complaining about the veggies (other than Kel searching for hidden mushrooms).  

  • 1 box Ronzoni's Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Penne 
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (I used Naturally Preferred Organic Italian Herb)
  • Pineapple (I used frozen-thawed in microwave but fresh or canned would work)
  • 1/2 package Uncured Italian Dry Salami (I thought I had pepperoni but this tasted great!)
  • 1 small onion, minced (my daughter won't eat it if she sees it so I mince, feel free to chop)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Frozen spinach, thawed and drained (fresh would work too)
  • 3/4 C cheddar cheese, grated

Cook the pasta until it's almost done (otherwise it gets squishy).  Meanwhile put a little sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  At this point I started chopping the onions and garlic.  I thawed the pineapple, salami and spinach in the microwave.  Once the pasta is done, drain it really well so your dish doesn't get too watery; between the pineapple and the thawed spinach you are already fighting against water so don't make it worse.  Be sure you drain these as best as you can.  I put the spinach into a towel (yes it stains) and squeeze it out but whatever method works best for you.  Add the onion, garlic and spinach to the sauce (it hides it better from the kids).  I was planning on straight up lying and telling them the green stuff was herbs from the sauce but they never asked.  I even left the jar on the counter so they could see that it had no spinach or mushrooms or onions in it.

Ready for kid inspection.

The rest is simple.  Layer sauce, then pasta, then meat and pineapple and then some cheese.  I used 1/2 the package of salami which isn't a lot so I ripped the meat into smaller pieces which makes it go so much further.  Repeat until you are out of ingredients.  Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes at 350.  

Ready to go in the oven.

My kids ate this with some corn on the cob that we had leftover while I had some tossed baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.   And the best part of this recipe?  I was able to cut the calories down to 565.  That is still high, but it is loaded with veggies (green, yellow, white and red if you follow the eat the rainbow theory) and it is quite filling.  

Just enough melty cheese to satisfy but not so much as to cause a heart attack.  :)

So good.  Paper plates = no dishes.  Even better.  

Plus, if you are weeding (squatting, constantly moving up and down, pulling, using the hoe etc...) you can burn up to 500 calories per hour.  Now, as long as I don't go back for seconds later on tonight I will still be 255 calories under my max goal (set by my nutritionist).          

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