Meal Planning Monday ~ Veggie Spaghetti

This week’s post is by Christine Luken.

As summer gives way to fall, I naturally start thinking about adding heartier dishes to my Meal Plan.  When it’s sweltering hot outside, rarely use the oven and depend on my grill, crockpot, and steamer.  So, as sad as I am about summer’s inevitable departure, I’m looking forward to giving my oven a good workout this fall and winter.  In fact, I’m baking a double-batch of yummy pumpkin bread as we speak!

Pasta is one of my all-time favorite meals, and I have quite a few variations I can choose from for my meal plan.  The only downfall of pasta is all those pesky carbs!  So, I was intrigued when I saw a review for the Super Swizz Spiral Slicer, or as I like to call it the “Veggie Pasta Maker”.

This handy little tool cuts zucchini and other veggies into thin spaghetti-like strips so you can sub them in for your carb-laden noodles.  I decided to try it and do half gluten free pasta and half veggie “noodles” with a nice hearty chicken and mushroom marinara sauce.  It was delicious!  Once you make your noodles, pour hot water over them to cover and let sit for 10 minutes.  Drain and serve like regular spaghetti!

As the weather cools down, I love making hot sandwiches with a nice cup of soup as a filling meal that chases the chill away.  I’m a big fan of the Hungry Girl website for healthy makeovers of my favorite restaurant dishes.  Nick and I both loved these Turkey & Artichoke Panini sandwiches!

I made the recipe even simpler by using the Laughing Cow cheese variety with the garlic and herbs already mixed in it. Nick’s not a fan of pepper and onions, so I used a thin slice of one of our garden fresh tomatoes instead.  Then I melted a little bit of butter and mixed in the rosemary to coat the outside of the sandwich before cooking.  Pair these sandwiches with a cup of soup for a bistro-worthy lunch or quick and easy supper!

For a great snack or as a part of your healthy breakfast, try some Blueberry Chia Pudding.  I found this great little recipe in First For Women magazine.  Take 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of quick oats, and ½ cup of almond (or coconut milk) and combine.  Put in the fridge for ten minutes, and then mix in ¼ cup of fresh blueberries.  Chia seeds are rich in fiber and protein, which means they really fill you up!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can change up your add-ins and make it however you want.  You could add cinnamon, chopped apples, and pecans.  Or raisins, walnuts, and a dash of vanilla extract.  As the weather gets cooler, I’m going to try this as a hot cereal and heat up my almond milk on the stove before combining it with my oatmeal and chia seeds.

Nutritional Info:  Calories – 170; Carbs – 21; Fiber – 9; Protein – 5 grams

 

What are your favorite cool weather recipes?