Friday, September 24, 2010

A week of experimenting

This week I conducted a few experiments...

I played with some brown rice pasta

and cut dairy out.

Why? Well, brown rice pasta looked like fun. I like pasta, I like brown rice...duh. The dairy was more of a let's see if my stomach feels better without dairy thing. Happy to report both were successful experiments!

Brown Rice Penne with Sausage Peppers and Onions
1/2 bag brown rice penne, cooked according to package
2 links cooked chicken/turkey sweet basil pesto sausages, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/3 c cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute onions until they begin to soften. Add sausage and cook for 4-5 minutes or until sausage starts to brown. Add white wine and scrape up brown bits. Add peppers, tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in pasta and cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately.

I kinda love the brown rice pasta, aside from the shape (package said penne, clearly not penne). Reheating the next day for lunch made the noodles a little softer and they had the texture of rice noodles in asian dishes. I LOVE that texture...sort of gelatinous but still firm.

The only downsides:
  1. It doesn't pack that much fiber.
  2. It's pricy compared to regular pasta.
Ok, onto the dairy. My belly hasn't been too happy with me lately and I couldn't figure out why. Jamie convinced me to conduct a little experiment where I avoid all dairy products for the week. It was surprisingly easy. I jotted down everything I ate for the week and how I felt during the day and during runs. The only bad belly experience involved SALAD and white bean hummus. Go figure. Two things I love.

Since my experiment ended today, I celebrated by cooking dinner and topped it with some sheep's milk feta. Duh.

Sausage-y Harvest Blend Filled Squash
1 acorn squash, halved and roasted
1 1/4 c Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blend
2 links cooked mango chicken sausage, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 c spinach, chopped
1/2 c cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine
3 tbsp currants
1 tbsp tarragon
1 3/4 c water
2 tbsp feta, crumbled

Heat olive oil in a pot and brown sausage (about 3 minutes) before stirring in onions. Cook for 2 minutes or until onions become translucent. Add white wine and scrape up brown bits from sausage. Add currants and tarragon; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until it begins to wilt. Add grains and stir well. Pour in water, add tomatoes and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Scoop into acorn squash halves and top with feta. Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.

I really enjoyed this meal. Usually I don't like raisins, craisins or anything like that in my savory dishes, but I've been trying to be open minded. Currants = awesome in my book. They're small enough that you only get a tiny hint of sweetness in each bite. It went well with the slight sweetness of the sausage too! Very excited about leftovers :)

I know this was a really quick post, but I'm off to bed...last long run (not including next weekend's 12k race) before Chicago! Happy weekend, everyone!

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