Guilt-Free Alfredo Sauce

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Once in a meeting at work, we were talking about eating healthy. (Okay, this has happened more than once – but I’m writing about one particular instance.) My coworker, Miranda, referenced her then-fiance-now-husband, Henry. “When I met him,” she said, “He thought fettuccine alfredo was healthy if it had broccoli in it.”

For whatever reason, this exchange stuck with me. I’m trained in health education, so I’m intrigued by what people do and don’t know about health (and, ultimately, helping them to better understand how to be and stay healthy).

In this case, Henry was acting on what he knew: broccoli is healthy, broccoli is in my fettuccine alfredo, therefore fettuccine alfredo is healthy. Also, fettuccine alfredo is creamy and delicious – why avoid it? For all you Henrys out there, here’s a heads up: alfredo sauce is usually made with loads of butter, heavy cream, and cheese, leading it to be pretty high in fat. That’s why it tastes so good. You’d need to eat a LOT of broccoli to balance that out.

Or, you could find a way to have your fettuccine alfredo and eat it too – without all the calories. I’ve always liked to live in a world where the tastiest, most delicious foods can be good for you too. Enter this recipe for a guilt-free alfredo sauce (inspired by Gimme Some Oven).

So what would Henry have done had he not met Miranda? Hopefully started reading nutrition labels. A serving of Bertolli Alfredo Sauce is 110 calories per quarter cup – this recipe is just 68. Enjoy!

Guilt-Free Alfredo Sauce

Yield: 10 servings. Serving size: ¼ cup. Per Serving: $0.31, 68 calories, 5g fat, 3g carbs, 4g protein.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat in a large saute pan. Make sure not to burn the butter or your sauce will end up an unappetizing brown/gray color – I learned this the hard way! Add 1 garlic clove, minced and cook for about 1 minute until garlic becomes fragrant. (Again, be careful not to burn it!) Whisk in 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in 1 cup of chicken broth. Let the mixture come to a low simmer. Add 1 cup of low fat milk when it starts to bubble at the sides. Continue to whisk and stir, letting the sauce come to a consistency you like. Add ½ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese to finish.

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To serve as pictured, slice cherry tomatoes in half and saute over high heat in a non stick pan until charred. Chop the broccoli and coat with olive oil, salt, and pper and saute over high heat in non stick pan until charred. Peel shrimp, coat with olive oil, salt and papper, and saute over high heat until pink. Toss with pasta and sauce and serve warm.

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Summer Recipe Round-up

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all had a chance to relax this long weekend while enjoying some nice weather. The weather was a little unpredictable in Boston but I still had a chance to soak up some rays in between passing showers. I haven’t quite had much time to cook this weekend, but hey, sometimes that’s relaxing too!

In honor of the first official day of summer, I put together a round-up of summer recipes you can enjoy as the weather gets even nicer and backyard barbeques start popping up. Today is the start of everyone’s favorite season (come on, admit it) and there is lot of fun and good weather to look forward to. I’m looking forward to competing in a few races, taking weekend trips around New England with my friends, and the start of my farm share in a few weeks. What are you looking forward to this summer?

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Shrimp, Watermelon & Cucumber SaladCrisp, fresh and very refreshing. Best enjoyed outdoors with a wine spritzer. Per Serving: $6.36, 257 calories, 6g fat, 25g carbs, 29g protein.

Grilled Romaine Lettuce – Yes, warm lettuce is good. Per Serving: $1.93, 80 calories, 7g fat, 3.5g carbs, 2g protein.

Summer Corn GuacamoleBecause who doesn’t love guac and fresh corn off the cob? Per Serving: $0.81, 88 calories, 7g fat, 7g carbs, 1.5g protein.

Broccoli ColeslawPrefect for your next potluck barbeque. Per Serving: $2.01, 71 calories, 1.5g fat, 12.5g carbs, 3g protein.

Cheers to summer 2014!

Shrimp, Watermelon & Cucumber Salad

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In the elevator on my way to work last week, one of my coworkers asked me what recipes were coming up on CLK. I started describing this salad, which I made for dinner the night before and packed for lunch that day. When I got to the shrimp and watermelon part, he gave me a look (in a bad way). “I’m sure it’s good,” he said, “But I never thought of that combination.” Another male coworker in the elevator agreed – this sounded like a weird recipe.

I was a little taken aback and went on to explain that many other people before me had combined shrimp and watermelon. If I hadn’t already thoroughly enjoyed the salad for dinner, I may have been alarmed by our elevator interaction. The story was entirely different when lunch rolled around and I found myself enjoying this salad with a few female coworkers. They loved it and couldn’t wait to see it here on CLK.

It may just be that this one is for the ladies. What do you think?

Shrimp, Watermelon & Cucumber Salad

Spray a small saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Season ½ pound of shrimp with ½ teaspoon creole seasoning. If you don’t have creole seasoning, try using a seasoning mix with a little kick – or, stick with traditional salt and pepper.

When the saucepan is warm, add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until pink. Meanwhile, cut 1.5 cups watermelon into bite-sized (about 1 inch) pieces. I used a melon-baller, which makes the whole process much easier and cleaner, especially when cutting watermelon on the rind. Cut 1 medium cucumber in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Keeping the skin on, cut into bite sized pieces about the same size as the watermelon.

For the dressing, mix the juice of 1 lemon, 2 teaspoons agave nectar (or honey if you don’t have it), and 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Toss the cucumber and watermelon with 3 cups mixed greens and 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese. Divide onto two plates (or Tupperware – keep reading for storage tips), top with shrimp, drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

To pack this salad for lunch, put the watermelon on the bottom of your container. It will release some water over the day, so it’s best to keep it on the bottom rather than on top of the greens. On top of the watermelon, add the cucumbers, then the greens, and top it off with the feta. Carry the dressing separately, or get these amazing containers that my roommate brought home!

Yield: 2 servings. Per Serving: $6.36, 257 calories, 6g fat, 25g carbs, 29g protein.