Peas and Pancetta Pasta Topper

Sometimes I get really tired of red sauce.  I always have to wear shirts that I’m okay with getting spots on because I tend to slurp.  I usually end up fixing any red sauce that comes out of a bottle since public demand requires things to be a bit on the bland side in order to please the bulk of the customers.  And after 28 years of eating that same bowl of pasta and sauce, I just need something different once in a while.

Luckily, pasta is a food that can easily take on flavors other than marinara.  That’s why you can find a lot of different dishes at good Italian food places that don’t involve red sauce!  I’ve already given you  fantastic recipes for my alfredo sauce and meat sauce (also called a “ragu”).  I’ve also shared other toppings for pasta – a veggie saute and a sundried tomato, asparagus and feta combo.  All four of these are amazing, but I think that this newest one is my favorite thus far!

Peas and Pancetta Pasta Topper
Servings: 3
PointsPlus Per Serving: 5 PP


  • 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh green peas, 4 PP
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced cooked ham, 1 PP
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, 2 PP
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, 2 PP
  • 2 tbsp Smart Balance light buttery spread, 4 PP

1. Get out a large non-stick skillet and place in your bacon. Turn it to medium heat and cook up that bacon until it’s fully cooked, but not crispy. Take out the bacon to cool, but leave the drippings in the pan.

2. Take your garlic and diced onion and put that right into the bacon drippings. Let it cook for a few minutes and then toss in the ham and peas. Cook for another five minutes or so until everything is warmed. Add the buttery spread and balsamic vinegar and stir until the spread is melted.

3. Put a lid over it all and let it simmer for a few more minutes. Once it’s done, divide over your favorite noodle, top with one tbsp of that parmesan cheese (unless you’re keeping it dairy-free) and enjoy.

After making this a few times, I think that this tastes best over gnocchi! There’s just something about those supple potato dumplings that makes all these flavors blend perfectly. I bought Archer Farms regular potato gnocchi, which is 16 PP for 3 cups. That would make each serving 10 PP…. not bad for 1 cup of filling gnocchi and about 1/2 cup of topping. A wonderful ratio of noodle to topping. YUM! You could also just put it over any other noodle or even rice. Or just do like I do and eat it over the stove with nothing but a spoon because it’s so damn tasty.

One last note… don’t think I’m going to skip out on all the wedding details.  They’re coming soon!  I know you all want to see some pictures and hear about it all :)

Ricotta Chard Pasta Sauce

This weekend, Jess had a taste of what it might feel like to be pregnant… backwards. Confusing? Well, let me explain.

Jess took this lovely photo of me cheesing it up right before we biked back home with all our farmers market purchases!

For some God-forsaken reason, my body woke up at 5:26 am on Saturday morning. Then Max got up and then Jess woke up because everyone left her. What do you do that early on a Saturday? You bike to the local cafe for a cup of iced coffee and then you bike over to the Farmers Market and get your pick of the beautiful produce, that’s what!!

We picked up 1.5 pounds of green beans, 1 lb of yellow squash, 1 ginormous zucchini, 1 bouquet of flowers, 1 lb of lettuce, 1 quart each of yellow peaches and fingerling potatoes and one 7 lb watermelon. It didn’t matter that we only had bikes to get back home; we wanted that watermelon. So, Jess put it in her backpack and strapped it on. The first thing she said was, “I feel like I’m pregnant, but backwards.” Hah! True true. And then we biked home. She could feel it in her back and her knees, but she got it home! I faithfully rode behind her to make sure she was okay (although it could be because she’s just faster than me in general) and luckily we arrived home without incident, but definitely with a little extra sweat!

Today she enjoyed a huge bowl of it all to herself, which she thoroughly earned! Thank you, my love, for a great effort and tasty reward :)

And now I give you a new recipe that I made up for the weekly CSA newsletter I contribute to! This highlights the swiss chard, garlic and herbs that they’ll be receiving in their baskets. Jess and I have made numerous versions of pasta sauces and this combines the best of the veggies with just the right kind of creamy cheesiness. If you don’t have swiss chard, you can substitute spinach and it’ll taste just as good!

Semi-Homemade Ricotta Chard Pasta Sauce
Servings: 8
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3

I think her bike likes my bike. Good thing too because the feeling is mutual :)


  • 1 jar roasted garlic pasta sauce, any brand (preferably Meijer Organic), 8 PP
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided, 4 PP
  • 3-4 handfuls fresh swiss chard
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini/squash finely diced
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, 3 PP
  • 2 tbsp light butter (optional), 4 PP
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice

1. Warm up 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add minced garlic, onion, basil, parsley and red chili flakes and cook until fragrant (around 2 minutes). Then, add swiss chard and cook down for about 4-6 minutes. Once it’s cooked down and onions are translucent, transfer to a food processor and chop it all up until almost pureed, but not quite to a smoothie texture. You still want some texture!

2. Now, get out a big sauce pot and warm up the last tsp of olive oil and the butter (if you’re using it) and put the finely diced zucchini in. Add the dried oregano and a pinch of the salt and pepper you’re using just to flavor it up a little. Cook for about 3 minutes and then pour in both the jar and can of tomato sauces. Add the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice and stir until well blended.

3. Once it’s warm (around 5-8 minutes or so), add the chard/onion puree and stir well. Cook for about 8 minutes on medium low heat, test it and then add salt/pepper according to taste, and then lower heat and let simmer for around 10-20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the better the flavor!

4. Serving size is around 1/2 cup. Pour over your favorite noodle, use in a lasagna or on a meatball sub, put on steamed veggies or even straight over lettuce or sprouts! It might be good enough that you’ll want to eat it with a spoon :)

Italian Spinach and Tomato Egg White Frittata and a New Endeavor

Spinach growing at Dienger Gardens in Cinci, OH

I have awesome cousins. See, I come from a very LARGE Irish/Italian/German liberal Catholic family. I have 27 first-cousins; they’ve survived leukemia, marathons and mudathalons, political protests, backpacking through 6 different continents, stints in the Finnish Army, lots of college and lots of crazy family get-togethers. How could I not think they are amazing?

Some of these awesome cousins started a CSA. That’s “community supported agriculture”. My cousin, Stephen, decided he wanted to be an organic farmer, got some apprenticeships on farms and the rest is history. Well, actually, it’s just starting so it’s not history yet! Here’s a link to more information. He did it last year and my parents took part. They were absolutely thrilled! His produce is BEAUTIFUL. I’ve never seen swiss chard so vibrant. The pumpkins were bright and full of flavor. I love it! Here’s his garden’s FB page if you want to check out pictures and more recipes!

This year, Steve and two of his sisters, Amy and Ellen, decided to do a newsletter for all those who are participating in the CSA. And since I’m their awesome chef-to-be cousin, they asked me to write up a recipe each week highlighting some of the produce that will be given out that week! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of this. I’m even participating in another local CSA this year (splitting a basket with a friend since our full basket last year was too much) so that I can get some seasonal produce to be inspired by.

This first recipe highlights spinach. It’s a stealthy, sneaky leafy-green that gives you large amounts of calcium and iron (even some fiber!) without you even noticing. It cooks quickly and tastes amazing. Mix it with some tomato, cheese, egg and italian spices and you’ll be in heaven (especially since it’s only 3 points per portion, so go ahead and have two!)

My cousin, Steve, is on the right and the other guy is Jules. They both have their own farms and together they are “Our Harvest Coop”.

Italian Spinach and Tomato Egg White Frittata
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3


  • 6 large egg whites (or 5 extra-large), 2 PP
  • 4 oz crumbled light feta cheese, 7 PP
  • 3 handfuls of rinsed and drained spinach
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder or red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1. Turn oven on to 350. Then heat up an OVEN-PROOF skillet (small or medium sized) to medium heat.

2. Cut up the onion and tomato if you haven’t already. Spray the skillet with Pam and put in the onion. Saute for about 2 minutes and then add tomato and spinach. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Drain some of the excess juices from the pan and return it to the stove.

3. While your fillings are cooking, mix your cheese into your eggs whites (shred it first if you need to) and add the spices. Pour egg mixture over fillings. Put away all your utensils now! Leave it be until it browns slightly around the edges.

4. Once it’s slightly browned, stick the whole skillet onto the top rack of the oven and let it finish cooking for about 10-12 minutes. This will finish baking it and let it get nice and bubbly on top. Once the timer goes off, check to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. If it is, there should be no excess liquid on top and it should be able to slide right out of the skillet once you loosen the edge. Slice into fours and enjoy!

If you want to check out some other frittata recipes, try my Havarti Ham and Veggies Frittata or this Bacon Tomato Cheese Frittata that I highlighted from Closet Cooking!

Inside Out Stuffed Pepper Meatballs

Holy sh*t balls, people. I’ve created a lick-the-plate-clean-twice-give-me-thirds-om-nom-nom recipe. Best part? I can’t find a SINGLE recipe like it on the internets! It’s completely original and totally going on the menu of ANY cafe/bistro that I open up.  It’s so good that I had to swear at the beginning of this paragraph.

My girlfriend, who isn’t a fan of peppers and onions or goat cheese (for the most part), cleaned the bowl with her finger and whined when she discovered there was no more noodles left. Then she ate another meatball and made me promise to cook up more noodles. She’s the kind of person that leaves at LEAST two bites of food/drink on the plate/cup every time. She’s also the kind of person that doesn’t really care about the sauce as long as the noodle is great.  That’s how amazing these meatballs are.

It all started with a pound of ground beef that was staring at me in the fridge. It said, “Make me into something new and delicious, Angela, and do it tonight.” How could I say no to that? I asked my Facebook fans what I should do (did I mention that I started an official Reluctant WW Foodie facebook page!?!?!) and they gave me some great ideas. I have to give mad props to my girl, Chandra, who suggested stuffed red peppers with goat cheese, beef and couscous. Her comment got me thinking about how much I’d been enjoying my bag of mini sweet peppers… and how I still had goat cheese in the fridge… and I started concocting.

This dish is delicate, yet rich with flavor. Sweet, yet saucy. Complex, yet simple. It took me about 40 minutes from start to finish (including cutting up the peppers) and I had to focus really hard on not inhaling it in 90 seconds or less once it was done. MAKE THIS. You can thank me afterwards!

Inside Out Stuffed Pepper Meatballs
Servings: 24 (each individual meatball)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1


  • 1 lb 93/7 ground beef, 15 PP
  • 1 egg, 2 PP
  • 6 tbsp goat cheese, 3 PP
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil, 2 PP
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 2/3 cup diced mini sweet peppers
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups of your spaghetti sauce of choice (not included in points, but it’s usually around 2 PP per 1/2 cup)

1. First, preheat the oven to 400. Then dice up your onion and peppers and set aside. Next, get a small pan heated up with the olive oil. While it warms up, put the rest of the ingredients (except the sauce) into a big mixing bowl.

2. Saute your onions and peppers for about 3-5 minutes and then put them into the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix it up with your hands because it’s fun that way.

3. Get out a 9×13 glass baking dish. Pour the spaghetti sauce in and spread around evenly. Take the meatball mixture and form 24 meatballs (around 1-2 inch diameter each) and set them in the sauce.

4. Put the dish of meatballs on the top rack of the oven for about 22 minutes. Take out and serve on top of your pasta of choice. Sprinkle with a little parmesan and enjoy the taste of heaven in your mouth.

5. Comment on this blog post on how delicious they were because you love me :)

Not only is this good over noodles, but I have no doubts that it would be fantastic over some spaghetti squash or broccoli slaw or even just plain LETTUCE (especially if you’re Jen from PriorFatGirl).  It would also be DELICIOUS nuzzled in the middle of a whole wheat hoagie.  Or just eat it without anything else…. maybe a salad on the side.  JUST EAT IT!  I’ve been on a culinary high since 7pm yesterday because of these damn meatballs.  It took me HOURS to get to sleep!!  They were so good!!  And I am so proud of myself for coming up with the recipe :D

Chobani Giveaway Winner and a Delicious New Recipe!

WOW! I received 45 entries for the Chobani giveaway and the lucky winner was…

Congratulation, Melissa!  She had six entries, so she was bound and determined!  Melissa, please send me an email with your contact information so that I can get that case of Chobani to you!

In true fashion, it chose the number 13, which was actually pretty perfect since I became the Featured Blogger on the 13th day of the month!  Kewl.  Thank you to everyone else for participating and don’t be disheartened!  I’m having a Popchips giveaway soon!

Now, I was going to post a recipe for the tzatziki sauce that I made, but it still needs a little perfecting, so that will be done later this week.  But I’m not leaving you with NOTHING!

My girlfriend and I have made a few big purchases in the last month, so we’ve been budgeting like crazy, thanks to You Need a Budget.  It’s this awesome software that’s keeping us in line and on track.  Needless to say, buying meat isn’t a priority right now, lol.  We have so many vegetables from our awesome CSA that vegetarian dishes are working their way into our weekly menus.  I’ve actually enjoyed the challenge.  I’m definitely one of those people who could never be a full-time vegetarian.  I like my meat!  I like the texture and the protein and the flavor… so, I’ve had to be creative.

This recipe was inspired by Budget Bytes.  She made zucchini pizza boats and they looked so appealing that I took it and ran with it!  I wanted to do it with more of an Italian style, so that’s what I did.  What happened next… was pure deliciousness.  I didn’t miss the meat and my girlfriend said she didn’t even miss the noodles; if you know ANYTHING about my girlfriend, it’s that she loooooooves her noodles!  Noodles are a weekly occurrence in our home, so that statement is a true testament to how exquisite this dish was!  Plus, it’s made with stuff that you probably have in your kitchen right now.


Italian Stuffed Zucchini
Servings: 2 (or 4 if you are serving sides)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (or 4 if you have 4 portions)


  • 1 ginormous zucchini (a 3-5 lb one will do!)
  • 1 cup reduced fat spaghetti sauce, 3 PP
  • 1 oz parmesan cheese (fresh if you have it), 3 PP
  • 1 oz feta cheese (i used full fat cheeses), 2 PP
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (any kind will do), 5 PP
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet/yellow onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning (parsley, basil, oregano)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Slice zucchini in half and scoop out the insides, leaving about 1 cm – 1/2 inch all the way round. Put insides in a bowl and set aside.

3. Lightly spray the bottom of a roasting pan with Pam and place 2 zucchini halves in, insides up.

4. Heat up tsp oil in a small non-stick pan and saute onion. Once sauteed, put into bowl and set aside.

5. Get out a chopping board and roughly chop up insides of zucchini and then place back in the bowl. Add spaghetti sauce, onions, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, italian seasoning, bread crumbs, cheese and a little salt and pepper if you’d like. Mix together.

6. Spoon mixture into zucchini halves until evenly distributed. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over top and place in oven.

7. Cook for 35-50 minutes depending on how firm you want your zucchini to be. Serve and enjoy!

Now, make sure not to cut off the ends of the zucchini. In my picture, I have one side cut off because I used part of it for a different recipe a few days before. The zucchini was that big.  You can use smaller zucchinis if you want.  Maybe two normal-large ones.  The wider the better, too!  You want your zucchini to be like a little boat so that none of the insides drip out. Seriously, this dish is AMAZING. You won’t want any little bits dripping out!

Angela’s Alfredo Sauce

Yum doesn’t even begin to describe this.

I am a proud Italian (amongst other things). I love our history of food and family, of sauce and noodles, of loud fights that include lots of hands in faces intense expressions of emotion and the like. I am NOT proud of the fact that it wasn’t until the age of 25 that I ever attempted making my own alfredo sauce.

All the pastas and sauces I’ve made and eaten and still I couldn’t have even told you what it consisted of!?! Bad Italian, bad.  Unacceptable.  So, when a non-Italian friend made some for me and I realized how easy it was, (and how much better I could make it taste) I decided to give it a whirl. Well, first, I smacked myself in the face for not making it sooner and then I gave it a whirl. And let me tell you…. I nailed it. I TOTALLY nailed it.

I used heavy whipping cream, a LOT of butter and fresh parmesan cheese.  Every time I made it, people went crazy with delight… and then they had stinky gas later (a bit too much dairy and garlic?)  Okay, I’m usually the one who has the gas, especially when I’ve eaten two servings of garlic, buttery, creamy, cheesy goodness.  Lordy lord.  But this alfredo sauce was WORTH it.  That’s saying something.

Needless to say, I haven’t made full-fat alfredo sauce since I started WW.  In fact, the average alfredo sauce is 9 PP per 1/3 cup!  YIKES!  I can only imagine how many points I was eating in one sitting.  So, I made it a mission this past month to perfect a skinny-fied version.  The first attempt wasn’t right because I didn’t stir it enough and let it boil and bubble and it ruined the texture.  The second attempt was great texture-wise, but it was too spicy for my girlfriend (I swear the red pepper flakes jumped into the pot all on their own).  But this last attempt was perfect!  I nailed it again.  It had the perfect texture, just the right amount of spice and it was soooo tasty!  I poured it over veggie spiral noodles, chicken and broccoli and enjoyed every last bite.   And I promise you will too!

Veggie spirals, chicken, broccoli and my alfredo sauce. Perfection!

Angela’s Alfredo Sauce
Servings: 4 (1/3 cup per serving)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3 (a helluva lot better than 9!)


  • 2 tbsp light butter, 4 PP
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% or 2% milk, 5 PP
  • 1/2 cup grated reduced-fat parmesan cheese, 4 PP
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with a little water

1. Get out a sauce pan and turn onto medium-low heat (around a 4 of 10) and put butter in pan to start melting. After it’s melted a little bit, put in garlic, basil, oregano, parsley and red pepper flakes. Mix around and let simmer for about a minute or so. (This helps the flavor of the herbs and garlic to be released.)

2. Pour in the milk. Grab a whisk (your main tool for this sauce) and mix in the parmesan cheese. Let all the flavors blend and then after a few minutes, mix in the cornstarch.

3. The key to the perfect texture is to keep whisking it. Don’t let it boil, otherwise the milk with start to curdle and you’ll end up with a grainy texture to your sauce. Keep whisking and after about five minutes, the alfredo will start to thicken. Continue whisking. Taste test it and adjust to your liking.

4. Pour over any noodle or vegetable and enjoy!

I’ve recently read about people enjoying red sauce over broccoli slaw.  I can’t say that idea excites me, but I can DEFINITELY say that I would eat this alfredo sauce over broccoli slaw!  Shit, I’d eat it over corn on the cob it’s that good.  So, try it over some of those steamed veggies or spaghetti squash or broccoli slaw.  You really can’t go wrong with cheesy anything over veggies.

Oh, and I reclaimed my “Italian” card :)

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Veggie Saute over Pasta

One nice thing about vegetables is that they are relatively cheap. You can get a lot for a little bit of money, but you have to make sure you use them up quickly or they’ll go bad!  They’re also great at soaking up flavor, so you can get them to be a perfect compliment to almost any dish.

Here’s a great recipe that I whipped up on a long, cold winter night when I was craving something savory and satisfying, but I didn’t have any meat thawed. I knew that pasta would be a great option, but I’d eaten pasta with red sauce earlier in the week and I really just wanted to use some veggies. I went to the grocery store and picked up my weekly veggies and I was excited to find organic zucchini, so I knew I wanted to use it!

This dish was wonderful and very inexpensive (non-organic equals less money spent too). All it required was one zucchini, a cup of broken up broccoli, some garlic, oil, butter, milk, spices and whatever noodle I wanted to use. I ended up using one of my favorites, these tiny organic veggie shells that I got from our local Food Co-op. All together, this dish would only cost you a few dollars from the noodles, zucchini and broccoli. It’s yummy, satisfying, good for you and won’t take a chunk out of your pocket!  I’d estimate about $1.75 per serving including your noodles.

Veggie Saute for Pasta
Servings: 2
PointsPlus Per Serving: 4


  • 1 large zucchini, skin on, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, broken into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 1/2 tbsp light butter, 1 PP
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk, 1 PP
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat parmesan cheese, 1 PP


1. Heat up oil in pan. Put in garlic, red pepper flakes and herbs first and let them become fragrant.

2. Put in zucchini and broccoli. Mix and cook for about 5 minutes.

3. Put in butter, salt and pepper and let it melt as you stir. Once melted, pour in milk and cheese.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 more minutes.

6. Put on top of your favorite noodle. Enjoy!

This was fantastic on top of our noodles. It would probably be best with a penne, shell or other non-spaghetti type noodle just because it’s a chunky veggie saute. My girlfriend loooooved it. She had been craving pizza that night and this made her forget all about pizza. We topped it with a little extra parmesan cheese and enjoyed every bite. I hope you enjoy it too!

Mighty Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

There are two kinds of Italians – those that are all about “the noodle” and those that are all about “the sauce”.  My girlfriend and I are opposites.  She’s all about the noodle and I’m all about the sauce!  She could make up a bowl of penne or capellini, melt a little butter, salt and parmesan on top and be a happy camper (such a carb-a-holic!).  But a saucy girl needs her sauce!

I grew up with a mom that could make spaghetti sauce so good that we’d just put it in a bowl and eat it like stew.  Maybe we’d throw in a little parmesan or scoop it out with tortilla chips or a hunk of bread, but the sauce was the main attraction.  It was warm, filling and it ALWAYS hit the spot.  It’s been passed down generation to generation and I’m sorry to say that you will NOT be getting that family secret!  I got enough grief for giving out the ravioli recipe!

Do not fret, though!  I have a healthy, semi-homemade meat sauce for you that’s almost as good as Mom’s secret recipe.  It’s sure to not disappoint.  In fact, I made it twice over Thanksgiving while in Ohio and it (along with the raviolis) was a humongous hit with my girlfriend’s family!  Even the picky eaters loved it enough to have seconds and thirds :)  It’s rich and filling and it was perfect with leftover Thanksgiving rolls.

All simmered and ready to be devoured

Mighty Meaty Spaghetti Sauce
Servings: 7-8 (1/2 cup servings)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3



  • Jennie-O Extra Lean Ground Turkey 1/2 lb, 7 PP
  • Olive Oil 1 tbsp, 4 PP
  • Pam
  • 3 Garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dried parsley

Spaghetti Sauce

  • Prego Roasted Garlic Parmesan Italian Sauce (whole can), 7 PP
  • 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp light butter, 1 PP
  • 1 tsp allspice (optional)


1. Get out medium sized sauce pan, put it on medium high heat and put the olive oil in to warm up.  Add the garlic to cook up just a minute before you put in the turkey

All the spices on the meat, ready to be mixed in

2. Put in your ground turkey, spray the top with a little pam and pour on all the spices listed for the meat.  Mix and chop it up as it cooks until you’re left with nicely cooked and chopped up turkey!  This takes about 15-20 minutes.

3. Drain the turkey meat to get rid of the excess water and grease.  Return to sauce pan.

4. Put your heat down to medium-low and pour in your can of spaghetti sauce.  Mix around so the turkey isn’t just resting on the bottom of the pan anymore.

5. Mix in all the spices (not the butter just yet) and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Make sure to put a lid on because thick, beautiful sauce has a tendency to bubble and explode and it’ll get all over you and the counter.

Two of my favorite sauces to use!

6. Once sauce is nice and hot, put in butter and stir around.  Let simmer for another five minutes or so before you taste test.  Season to taste.

7. Eat alone or over your favorite noodle!

You can really use any type of sauce you have around for the base.  Cheese sauces are good, mushroom sauces are good (my girlfriend hates mushrooms, so I don’t cook with them often, even though I love them!).  I just love the flavor of a great roasted garlic sauce.  It has a little extra something in it that makes it special.  Just remember to check the points value by using the Weight Watchers Wiki, although it will be out of date now….  I’ll have to find a new updated one!  And don’t forget that everything should be seasoned to taste.  You might not like as much garlic, but you love the basil; so change it up!

I hope you enjoy this healthy meaty marinara sauce.  It’s wonderful!  And here’s one last picture to show you my raviolis with this sauce.  It’s a great way to serve them – layer sauce, then ravs, sauce, ravs, sauce, ravs, etc. until you reach the top!


Spaghetti Sauce on Foodista

Raviolis Running Wild!

Last year’s freezer. 166 dozen!

What do you do when you have 33 dozen homemade, carb-o-licious raviolis in your fridge and no clue what their point value is?  Shit if I know!  Let me try this again….

What do you do when you have 33 dozen homemade, carb-o-licious raviolis in your fridge and no clue what their point value is?  Give them all away!  HAH.  Not happening.  I made them with my own two hands, suffered through massive flour attacks, intense meat/cheese ball rolling and dangerous 3 ft long sheets of noodle flying over my head.  I am NOT giving them all away.  Let’s try this one more time….

What do you do when you have 33 dozen homemade, carb-o-licious raviolis in your fridge and no clue what their point value is?  Bring 1/3 to my girlfriend’s family Thanksgiving, give 1/3 away as Christmas presents and figure out the point value per rav so I can keep 1/3 of my hard work (and totally worth it) and enjoy them!

On my mom’s side of the family, our traditional “Ravioli Day” feels a bit like Jesus’ day in the park with the loaves and fishes.  Only we don’t do it by God-magic.  We do it the Italian way – loud, messy and with lots of wine (although we never run out of wine…. maybe there is a little god-magic a foot!).  This year, we beat our record of 166 dozen in one day by two dozen.  168 raviolis from scratch!  It’s slightly ridiculous, but oh so worth it.  They taste so good.  I’ve never even bothered to figure out their nutrition facts, though, only how many I could eat in one sitting (almost two dozen, for the record).  But times have changed and so have my food choices, so it’s time to sit down and figure out the point value.

After hours of my own personal effort, I give you the recipe (and points value!) for a long kept family secret.  I’m also going to list healthier suggestions for when you make your own ravs.  I hereby baptize you as  Ravioli disciples!  (Get the reference?  Hehe.)

Homemade Beef & Spinach Raviolis
Serves: 10-15 people
PointsPlus per Ravioli: 16 per dozen (this does not include whatever you top it with)

Dough (13 dozen ravs, 8 PP per dozen)

  • 6 cups flour, 69 PP
  • 6 eggs, 12 PP
  • 1 cup warm water (must be warm)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, 28 PP
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. Pour all the flour into a big bowl and form a big hole in the middle. Pour all the eggs into the hole. Slowly mix the flour into the eggs.

2. Mix in the water and olive oil until the dough is nicely formed into a ball. Put back into the bowl, take some more olive oil and rub the top of it.

3. Put a towel over the bowl and set aside to rise for an hour.

Filling (13 dozen ravs, 8 PP per dozen)

  • 1 lb ground chuck, cooked and crumbled, 21 PP
  • 1 loaf italian bread (no crusts!) broken into marble-sized pieces, 25 PP
  • 1 lb fresh spinach
  • 1 bunch parsley (i go for 1 cup fresh chopped)
  • 10 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, 28 PP
  • 2 cans chicken stock, 1 PP
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese, 11 PP
  • 1 cup grated fresh romano cheese, 13 PP

1. Take stems off spinach (if you don’t have a food processor).

2. Heat oil in pan. Saute spinach, garlic, parsley and worcestershire together. At this point, my family would put it in a food processor and chop it all up, so chop it up somehow so that the spinach is in small pieces.

3. Mix spinach and ground beef together in a big bowl. Add the other spices (not the cheese, bread or broth) in and season to taste, which means you eat a little bit and see if it needs a little something extra. The spicier the better! At least that’s what’s written on my Noni’s recipe card, lol.

4. Add in the cheese. Mix thoroughly.

5. Take 1 1/2 cups of hot chicken broth and put it in a separate bowl. Add pieces of the bread in a little at a time to soak up the broth. Once all the bread is soaked, add it to the meat mixture until it’s about the consistency of meatloaf. If it’s too wet, put in some more cheese. If it’s too dry, add a little milk. Keep checking it for taste until it’s perfect for you!

Ravioli Making Time!
1. Make sure you have a lot of flour in front of you so that you can flour the table, the ravioli molds (if you have them) and the dough. You’ll also need either a dough press or a rolling pin. The dough press is totally worth the money, especially when you’re making so many! Also, you’ll need cookie sheets with wax paper sprinkled with flour to put the ravs on so that you can stack them until they are frozen enough to put into gallon ziploc bags.

2. Put some flour on the table and spread it out. Prep your ravioli molds by taking out the plastic part, flipping over the metal mold and rubbing it in the flour. This keeps the dough from sticking to the mold.

3. Grab a handful of the nicely risen dough and pat on some flour. Thin it out a bit and start putting it through the dough press. We start at #6 a couple times, then go all the way to about #2-3. Careful not to make it too thin and make sure to keep flouring it. I think the best length to shoot for is a little over 2 ft long for each sheet of dough. This is because whether you’re using one or two molds, it will be a perfect length. It’ll either be a top and bottom for one mold, or the bottom OR top of two molds!

4. Once you have your dough properly pressed and floured, lay it right over the mold, making sure to cover each edge completely and press down the plastic top to form the little pockets. Then, just fill each one with a nice cherry tomato-sized meatball! Too big and the rav will explode while being cooked; too small and you’ll feel gypped on the meaty goodness.

Me and my peeps filling ravs.

5. Put another sheet of dough down (or fold over the other foot) over top, flour your rolling pin and roll over the whole mold so that the edges are pressed together and the excess dough can be easily pulled away!

6. Flip ravs onto prepped cookie sheet. Once you have a full sheet, put into the freezer for a bit until they’re hard enough to successfully transfer into ziploc bags! If you’re using gallon-sized bags, you can store two dozen in each and just fold and stack the bags.

7. Rinse and repeat :) You can reuse the excess dough and just keep up until all the filling is gone!

This is just one of many ways that you can make ravs. I’ll put up the recipe for different ones as the weeks go on. You can also make up your own filling! The possibilities are endless. In fact, raviolis are all based on a tradition of using up leftovers before they went bad. They’d just take leftovers from the night before, mix them together with some spice, whip up some dough and VOILA!

Oh, and when you’re ready to eat them, just get a pot of water boiling, drop the frozen ravs in one by one and once they float to the surface (around 2 mins), they’re ready to be devoured! Easy-peasy.

Healthy substitutions? Use ground turkey instead of beef. Or use a half and half mixture. We’ve even made venison ravs before. Turkey tastes almost exactly the same as the beef, probably even a little better. I think it soaks up the flavor better and that’s always a plus in my book! Use 1/4 cup olive oil and some Pam when sauteing the spinach so that you don’t have to use so much. Use reduced-fat and sodium bread and chicken broth.

If you use low-fat cheeses (not fat-free), 1/4 cup less olive oil, turkey and reduced fat/sodium bread and broth, the points will be brought down to 1 pts per dozen! Schweeeet :). The oil and bread makes the biggest difference. You could still use the beef and full fat cheeses and the points would only be 12 per dozen. The dough will be 8 pts per dozen no matter what because of the flour, eggs and oil, but the rest of the points depend on what you’re filling it with. But no matter what, make sure you enjoy the fruits of your labor! Homemade raviolis are amazing. Just a little sauce, pesto or grated romano sprinkled on top or even pan frying them (after being boiled) with some pam, a bit of light butter and garlic…. Now that’s a piece of heaven; a bit-o-magic, a Jesus miracle, whatever you want to call it! As a foodie, I call it TASTAY and TOTALLY WORTH THE EFFORT!

Now, bring on the wine!