pasta and beans

Check out this super easy meal I whipped up using a few ingredients I almost always have on hand.   Basically pasta covered with a “sauce” of tomato puree, peas, corn and kidney beans, this vegetarian meal is high in protein, low in fat and calories, and takes less than 20 minutes to make.

I came up with the idea about a week ago when I was trying to make dinner without having to go shopping or defrost anything.  Since I was pleasantly surprised with how tasty it was, I re-created it tonight.

You pretty much just throw everything together and voila.  But I’ll break it down step by step just for fun:

Ingredients:

  • pasta
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can corn (i happened to have frozen peas/corn combo available tonight, but i used a can of corn last week)
  • 1 oz. lowfat cream cheese  (or neufchatel)
  • EVOO
  • salt, pepper, powdered garlic, oregano – whatever you like to season with

Boil some pasta.  I happen to like Barilla whole grain rotini.

whole grain pasta

Combine the tomato puree, kidney beans, peas, and corn in another pan.   Stir occasionally while it gets hot and bubbly.  Give it a little splash of EVOO, and then toss in whatever seasonings you like.  I used a teensy bit of sea salt, fresh ground pepper, some garlic powder and oregano.

Once its hot, add in a dab of cream cheese (technically, i used “neufchatel cheese” – its the lowfat equivalent of cream cheese).  Use a fork to help blend the cheese into the sauce.

add in the cream cheese once its getting hot n bubbly in there

finished sauce

The reason I put cream cheese into this sauce is to help mellow out the acidity of the tomato puree.   The canned puree has a pretty harsh tart and just a small amount of cream cheese is a really fast and easy way to smooth out that tinny acid flavor.

the ingredients i used tonight

And that’s it!  Serve the sauce over a small amount of pasta.  Because of the beans, its REALLY hearty and you need less pasta to fill you up than you’d think.

tiny pasta portion is all you need

looks pretty, tastes yummy!

Nutrition info:

I cooked half a box of the pasta and that’s plenty to go with the amount of sauce this recipe yields.  I didn’t have any canned corn or peas, but I had some Green Giant “just for one” frozen peas and corn – and I used 2 servings of those (the veggies are pre-packaged as single servings; not very green because of all the packaging, but super convenient when you live alone).   FYI: The nutrition info I calculated is based off the specific/exact ingredients I used tonight.

PER SERVING: 298 calories/3.05 g fat/11.8 g protein *this is based on making 5 servings out of the whole batch, reasonable portion sizes for me

If you were to make 4 servings out of the total you’d get: 372.5 cals/3.81 g fat/14.75 g protein per serving.

TOTAL for the entire batch: 1490 cals/15.25 g fat/59 g protein

Here’s how much I had leftover after I ate my bowl tonight:

lots of leftovers!

There’s easily 4 more servings in here for me.  See what I mean?

yummy!!

ENJOY!!!!  And if you actually try this and make any modifications or changes, let me know how it comes out!

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