When trying to feed different diet restrictions or tastes, the task of creating an easy weekday meal can be daunting to say the least. The good news is, it does not have to be that way. Sometimes when things seem super complicated, the best thing to do is to go simple. A few simple alterations can make basically the same meal into the perfect fit for two totally different diets.
Here is a vegetarian delight that can be changed to easily to satisfy someone with no carb restrictions and someone who does. Plus, add a grilled chicken breast or some shrimp to this dish and it will satisfy even the pickiest carnivore. However, try it first without the meat, most people won’t even miss it.
Now is the time that fresh herbs abound so while this recipe calls for dried basil, fresh basil can easily be substituted. Bell peppers are also plentiful right now, many grocery stores have been selling them for about one dollar a piece, which is a great deal. In addition to being economical, the nutrients are brimming from all of the fresh veggies and herbs. Adding some part-skim Ricotta ups the protein, calcium, and flavor quotients.
The dish on the left in the picture is made with multi-grain, high fiber pasta and garlic bread, while the dish on the right is served with Pasta Slim Spinach Fettuccini noodles. Pasta Slim is made from tofu and has between 20 and 25 calories per serving and is extremely low carb; it is about 2 dollars a package and can be found at HyVee in the organic dairy case as well as many other supermarkets and health food stores. This meal is healthy, easy to make, and will nicely fit into a tight budget. Enjoy.
Pepper and Pea Pasta
1 T coconut oil
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 garlic clove, pressed or chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp basil (or 1/4 cup torn leaves)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp each sea salt, ground pepper, and red pepper flake (optional)
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
1 cup cooked egg noodles
1 cup spinach fettuccini pasta slim (pasta can be changed according to taste)
Start water for noodles. Follow package directions for both.
In a medium skillet heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add peppers, peas, and garlic into skillet. Stir frequently until veggies are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add in olive oil and the rest of the herbs and spices.
Drain noodles. Place noodles on plates and top with equal amounts of veggies. Top each plate 1/4 cup of Ricotta. Serve immediately.