Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Menu Plan, and Some Primal / Paleo - Friendly Pasta Sauces

A bit late this week to my usual menu plan. I didn't make it to Giant until today after yet another preschool snow delay -- until that point we were limping along with leftovers here and there, letting eggs and omelettes bridge the gap.

Now that my daughters are in bed tonight, I'll be making a batch of eggplant lasagna. It's one of those recipes that I always do a little bit differently, depending on my mood and what ingredients I have on hand. The core of recipe requires a bit of time - you slice the eggplant thinly, salt it and let it "weep" bitter juices for about half an hour, then pan-fry both sides of the slices in butter, and layer them with cheese and your favorite tomato sauce and bake. While it's a terrific recipe fresh out of the oven, not much is lost in eating it reheated, and it's so much less intense for me to tackle it without little ones also demanding my attention. So, we'll all enjoy it tomorrow for dinner!

By the way, now that Italian is on the brain, I thought that I'd describe the three pasta sauces that I currently have in rotation:
  • Gia Russa vodka sauce, which I found at the Super Wal-Mart about 15 minutes away from our house (6 g. carbs per half cup, see link for my pics of the ingredient list).

  • Trader Joe's Organic Vodka pasta sauce. 12 g. total carbs per 1/2 c. serving. Ingredients:

    Organic tomatoes, organic tomato puree, organic heavy cream (milk), organic sweet whey, organic onions, salt, organic parmesan cheese (milk, salt, cheese cultures, enzymes [microbial]), organic extra virgin olive oil, organic garlic puree, organic lemon juice concentrate, organic basil, organic vodka (potato), organic oregano.

    A word of advice: Not all Trader Joe's pasta sauces are this compatible with primal and paleo-style eating; in fact many have soybean oil and other less desirable ingredients. If you're shopping TJ's for pasta sauce, just be sure to read every label's ingredient section!

  • Victoria pasta sauces. These are my go-to. They're available at Giant, they're low carb, they have the simplest ingredient lists of any pasta sauces I've ever seen, and right now all Victoria varieties are on sale for $3.99 for a HUGE 24 oz. jar - through March 3. If you're near Giant or its sister store Stop & Shop, check out your pasta sauce section and see if there are any available.

    Hrm, suspiciously similar
    label compared with
    Tomato Basil Sauce! ;)

    Maybe there's just more basil...?
    Most Victoria sauces have exceedingly short and pure ingredient lists, but always check your labels; for example, their vodka sauce ingredient lists are surprisingly complicated. But here are two of my favorites - the basic marinara, and the tomato basil sauce, both just 4 g. carbs per half cup, the lowest carb count of any commercially produced pasta sauces I've ever seen!

    Victoria is what I'll be using tonight.

I can't be the only one out there waiting until "after hours" to do up some of my favorite recipes undistracted.

ETA 7/17/2011: I've also blogged about having fallen in love with Giant's in-house Simply Enjoy pasta sauce. It's nearly identical to Victoria, down to the ingredients, and about half the cost at $4 for a 28 oz. (very large) jar.

What recipes do you like waiting to cook until you can devote full attention to them?

Feel free to link to those recipes in the comments.

Meanwhile, here's my menu and workout plan for the rest of the week:

Breakfast - Omelettes, Clementines for the girls
Lunch - Leftover stewed beef, baby carrots
Dinner - Eggplant lasagna, rewarmed in the oven. Yum!
Workout - Kettlebell swinging

Breakfast - Bacon, fried eggs
Lunch - Leftover eggplant lasagna, if there is any. :) Otherwise: Lamb.
Dinner - Crock pot whole chicken with cabbage in a garlic ginger broth
Workout - "Rest" day, though I may be cleaning and doing laundry like a maniac

Breakfast - Smoothies! Mine will be high fat, high protein, lowish carb
Lunch - Leftover chicken and cabbage, served up in its broth as a soup
Dinner - Since we'll have company the next day and I'd like to keep the kitchen relatively clean, might grab a bunless cheeseburger from our local burger joint
Workout - Kettlebell swinging

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