Make Your Own Pasta Sauce


Making your own pasta sauce as opposed to buying canned sauce in the store can save you from ingesting some unnecessary sodium and preservatives.  I tried this recipe over the weekend.  Give it a shot, or make some traditional marinara sauce with some of this summer's deliciously juicy tomatoes!

1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed of tough ends and halved crosswise
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
8 ounces of dried pasta

Bring 2 pots of water to a rolling boil, one large for the pasta and one medium sized for the asparagus.  While the water is heating, put the pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove pine nuts from pan and set aside. You will use 3/4 cup of the pine nuts for the pesto paste and 1/4 cup to mix in whole.  Salt the asparagus water and drop the spears into the pan. Cook for only 2 or 3 minutes, until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Drain under cool water to stop the cooking. Cut the tips off, and set aside, several of the asparagus (diagonal cut about an inch from the end) to use for garnish.  Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and 3/4 cup of the pine nuts to a food processor or blender. Purée and, with the motor running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice and salt, taste and adjust seasoning.  Cook the pasta until just tender. Check the directions on the pasta package.  Drain and toss immediately with 1 cup of the asparagus pesto.  Serve sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, a dusting of Parmesan, and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Simply Recipes

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

Keep Your Holiday Baking Light


Replace the sugar and fat with healthier, low calorie options, such as the substitutions in this recipe:

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies:

·         Cooking spray
·         ½ cup Splenda brown sugar
·         ½ cup canola oil
·         1 egg
·         1 teaspoon vanilla
·         2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
·         1 cup whole wheat flour
·         2 cups old fashioned, rolled oats
·         ¼ cup milled flax seed
·         1½ teaspoons cinnamon
·         ½ teaspoon baking soda
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         ½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar and oil.  Add egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth.  Add bananas and beat well.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, flax seed, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in egg mixture.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until batter is incorporated.  Stir in cranberries.  Scoop cookies into heaping 2-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden on bottom.

American Diabetes Association

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

Add Flavor, Not Fat


Try seasoning your Thanksgiving turkey with fresh herbs, spices, and garlic instead of rubbing the bird with butter.  Additionally, plant oils such as olive oil or canola oil are healthier options than butter and still give the bird lots of flavor.  The recipe below is one that I found and tried over the weekend, and it was delicious! 

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Makes enough for a 6-8 pound turkey.  Mix all ingredients together and brush under the turkey skin before cooking.

Food Network

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.