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Low-calorie Italian

12/31/2008 04:00PM ● Published by Super Admin

If you’re looking to trim down in 2009, then fill up with these tasty, light alternatives to classic Italian favorites. They are low-calorie but full of flavor and wellness-enhancing vitamins! Who says you can’t eat spaghetti when you’re on a diet?

Easy Minestrone Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/4 small head of cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 can (14.5-ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can each (19-ounces) kidney and garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounces elbow or rotini pasta (multi-grain)
6 cups chicken broth
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

To Prepare:
In a large soup pot, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and garlic; cook while stirring, about four minutes. Stir in zucchini, cabbage and seasoning, and cook while stirring for two minutes. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender and soup is thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in pasta and beans and cook until pasta is done, about 10 minutes. Add a little water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

Light Chicken Parmesan
This is a quick and nutritious meal and also makes a refreshing salad to take to any party; it sparkles with red tomatoes and green scallions.

2 slices whole wheat bread
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 egg whites
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 can (28-ounces) peeled tomatoes in puree
Small jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 garlic clove, minced

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil. Add tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and minced garlic to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. In a food processor, place bread, Parmesan, oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Pulse until coarse crumbs form; transfer to a shallow bowl. Place flour in a second shallow bowl or pie plate; season with salt and pepper.

Separate egg whites and beat them in another pie plate. To tenderize, pound the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap with the back of your chef’s knife or rolling pin. Dip the chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg whites, then in breadcrumbs, pressing them into chicken. Transfer to a baking pan. Bake until breadcrumbs are crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with mozzarella and continue baking until chicken is done through to the center, about 5-10 more minutes. Serve chicken with sauce over top, along side whole grain spaghetti or spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic
Low calorie, packed with vitamins and fiber.
2 spaghetti squash
2 garlic cloves, minced

To Prepare:
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. With a fork, prick two spaghetti squash, each in several places. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until soft to the touch, about one hour.

When cool enough to handle, halve squash crosswise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Scrape flesh into strands.

In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons olive oil over low heat. Add two minced garlic cloves; cook about five minutes. Add squash, season with salt and pepper. Sauté tossing frequently until squash is hot, about five minutes. Serve topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and/or spaghetti sauce.

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