Food and Dining
1:30 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Delivering Calorie Counted, Portion Controlled Meals

01/23/14 - 1:30 Syndicated food columnist Linda Gassenheimer, Special wine correspondent Fred Tasker and WLRN hosts Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman interview Scott Harris, CEO of DeliverLean, a diet meal delivery service.  It's mid-January and many of us are still trying to drop the Holiday pounds – DeliverLean delivers calorie counted, portion controlled meals in many categories. 

~~Dinner in Minutes~~

Italian Sausage Minestrone for these cooler nights.

Here is a simple mid-week recipe for minestrone with a refreshing blend of flavors. Minestra is Italian for soup.   The vegetables and sausage combine with the perfume of fresh basil and the crunchy texture of the pecans to make this hearty soup a complete meal.   This one-dish dinner can be made in 20 minutes. 

Italian Sausage Minestrone
Italian Sausage Minestrone
Credit www.dinnerinminutes.com/recipe.php

Acini pepe is a very small soup pasta. Any type of left over pasta, broken into small pieces or orzo (rice shaped pasta) can be used. 

Fresh trimmed green beans and diced celery are available in the produce section of  most markets.   These make prep time a breeze. Or, slice the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a medium slicing blade. 

 

Helpful Hints:

  • Buy good quality Parmesan cheese and ask the market to grate it for you or chop it in the food processor. Freeze extra for quick use. You can quickly spoon out what you need and leave the rest frozen.

Countdown:

  • Make soup.
  • While soup simmers, boil pasta.
  • Prepare ingredients.

 

ENTREE: ITALIAN SAUSAGE MINESTRONE

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 pound low-fat turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup frozen diced onion
1 cup trimmed green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium tomato, diced, (1 cup)
2 cups fat-free, low salt chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 cup packed fresh washed, ready-to-eat spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup acini pepe pasta
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.   Add the sausage, onion and green beans.   Sauté for 5 minutes.   Do not brown the vegetables.  

Add the tomato and broth.   The broth should cover the vegetables.   Add water, if needed.   Bring to a simmer and partially cover with a lid, leaving space for steam to escape.   Simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.   Remove from heat. Stir in the spinach and basil.   Let stand 1 minute. 

While soup cooks, bring a large pot filled with 2 to 3 quarts water to a boil.   Add the acini pepe pasta and boil 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Drain. 
Spoon pasta into bowls and ladle soup on top. Sprinkle each bowl with Parmesan cheese and pecans. 

SHOPPING LIST

Here are the ingredients you'll need for tonight's Dinner in Minutes:

To buy:

  • 1 small package acini pepe pasta
  • 1/2 pound low-fat turkey sausage
  • 1 package trimmed green beans
  • 1 small package washed ready-to-eat spinach
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil
  • 1 small piece Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small package broken pecans

Staples:

  • onion
  • fat-free, low-salt chicken broth
  • salt
  • black peppercorns
  • Olive oil

Check out all of Linda's recipes and podcasts at: http://wlrn.org/people/linda-gassenheimer

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