Sunday, November 18, 2012

Paula Deen's Lean: Pumpkin Baked Penne

It's that time of the year where we love our kitchens to be full of the wonderful aroma of pumpkin pies and breads baking. Well, how about a little PUMPKIN BAKED PENNE instead?

Paula Deen has a fabulous recipe for PUMPKIN BAKED ZITI that looks incredible. It is simple, different and very easy to make lean. Here is the Cookin' Lean version of Paula's dish. Try it out early this week for an simple, healthy meal that will allow you to take it easy before the really serious Thanksgiving cookin starts!



FAT FREE cooking spray (for prepping the dish)

1 pound mild or hot chicken Italian sausage

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 (15-ounces) can pumpkin puree

1 cup FAT FREE chicken broth

1 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup FAT FREE Half-n-Half

1 pound WHOLE WHEAT Penne pasta, cooked

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/4 cup freshly grated REDUCED-FAT Parmesan  


 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray baking dish with cooking spray. 

Cook chicken sausage in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.

Remove from skillet and drain fat on paper towels and set aside. Discard any and all fat from the skillet. Place the sausage in a separate bowl and set aside.

Add onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and oil to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until soft; about 3 minutes.

 Stir in pumpkin puree and FAT FREE chicken broth. Mix together and add salt.

 Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in half-n-half and sausage. Simmer until the sauce comes together and is thickened slightly.

Add cooked penne pasta and parsley to the skillet and gently toss all the ingredients together to coat. 
Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.

 Bake for 35 minutes until the topping is golden brown.


NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):

BEFORE~ 472.5 calories /  21.1g fat / 49.25g carbohydrate / 19.75g protein / 2.9g fiber

AFTER~ 248 calories / 4g fat / 38.9g carbohydrate / 17.3g protein / 5.4g fiber

SAVES~ 224.5 calories / 17.1g fat / 10.4g carbohydrate
ADDS~ 2.5g fiber

I always think it's fun to try foods out of their typicall use. For example, when chocolate is worked into a main course or in this case, when pumpkin is used in something other than breads, pies or cookies! The pumpkin puree works! It is a great way to sneak in nutrients; creating a dish that seems very rich yet isn't. The little bit of fat-free half-n-half creates a thick sauce without all of the cheese and butter you would assume would be in a dish like this. Overall, it was fabulous! And in case you are wondering, it makes great left-overs too (if you are lucky to have any).

Paula's original recipe suggests baking this recipe in 8 individual ramekins, which is a very cute idea for a dinner party. Either way, the bake time and temp stays the same.

Enjoy and let us know what you think!!

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