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Skinnier Spinach Alfredo With Salmon

Last week while wandering through the library I saw a copy of The Most Decadent Diet Ever! which piqued my interest. I often find meal ideas in cook books and then use it as a base to make something my own.

Personally, “diet” books usually induce eye rolling in me, but sometimes you can get good recipes and ideas so I took a copy home. If you just ignore the diet part of the book all is good – the recipes themselves are well done and modern.

I based the dinner off of Fettu-Skinny Alfredo on page 104. Though by the time I got done it was my recipe. I am notorious for changing items to make it lower calorie/fat if I can. The thing that bugged me about the recipe was how the sauce was made – it has you mixing the flour into the dairy, then adding to thicken. That doesn’t cook the flour though! It had 3 Tablespoons of lower fat butter (yuck to Frankenstein products!) added at the end – so why not instead use 1 Tablespoon of quality olive oil and make a roux sauce instead? (A white sauce in other words). Flour gets cooked nicely, you have a little fat, but not too much.

I also dumped the fat free half and half called for and just used 1% organic airy milk. I just do not like fat free half and half – it often has undesirable ingredients added to it. Again, no thanks on Frankenstein food if I can help it. I added in spinach to give it bulk and color and served it alongside roasted wild salmon.

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Skinnier Spinach Alfredo

Ingredients:

8-ounces rigatoni pasta

1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp good quality olive oil

1 cup + 2 Tbsp 1% organic dairy milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp diced dried garlic or 4 minced cloves

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 Tbsp fresh or dried parsley, minced

Salt to taste, if desired

1 6-ounce bag fresh spinach

12-ounces wild salmon, fully defrosted if frozen

Directions:

Heat oven to 350*. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the salmon on it. I dusted mine with fresh ground black pepper, season as one desires. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes – it will depend on the thickness of your salmon. You want it to flake when done.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta for time on package. Place the spinach in a colander. Pour the cooked pasta over the spinach.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan place the oil and garlic in it. Heat over medium heat till warm. Add in the flour and whisk till smooth. Lower heat to just below medium and let cook for a couple minutes, whisking often. Slowly add in the milk, whisking to combine. Let cook for 5 to 7 minutes till the sauce is thickening. Whisk in the cheese and seasonings. Turn off the heat and let sit till everything is ready.

Return the pasta and spinach to its pot, add in the sauce and toss to combine. Divide the salmon up between the plates then add the pasta next to it.

Serves 3 smaller appetites.

The nutritional counts per serving are approximately: 630 calories / 20 grams fat / 3.3 grams fiber / 42 grams protein. The majority of the fat comes from the salmon, so a lower fat fish could be used instead if desired.

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~Sarah

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