Surviving Christmas + A Mostly Healthy Manicotti Recipe

All I want for Christmas……is to escape it without feeling broke or fat! So far, I’d say I get a C+ for effort. I told myself that I didn’t have to count points on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, but then I let myself slack on Christmas Eve, too and (of course) went way more overboard that I expected. Oh well. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I probably won’t lose any more weight during the holiday season, but as long as I don’t gain, I’m happy.

My long-distance boyfriend got in late on Christmas day, and he’s staying until the 9th! I could not be more excited. This is the first time out of many attempts that I’ve told him about my weight loss effort and he has been nothing but supportive. We vowed to eat better and spend less while he’s here instead of our usual free-for-all mentality. We’ve got two things we’re trying to stick to:

  1. Cook at home more.
  2. Follow a budget.

Novel, right? So far, we’re off to a good start. But, it’s only been a day, so I won’t strain myself trying to pat myself on the back quite yet!

I’ve been wanting a bread machine for a long time, and I finally got one this year! Sort of ironic now that I have to try to fit delicious homemade bread into my diet (which I’ve been trying to avoid in general). We put it to work last night, and the results were awesome.

We made stuffed manicotti and rustic sun-dried tomato bread for dinner last night. When we were done, my kitchen looked like this:

Messy Kitchen!

And after about an hour my first loaf of crusty bread looked like this:

Sun-Dried Tomato Bread

And now you can see why I rarely use my own pictures! The manicotti recipe (below) was taken from a Weight Watchers magazine. Trust me, you’d  never know it by how good it tastes.

Manicotti Florentine

Manicotti Florentine

Ingredients:
1 8oz package of uncooked manicotti shells
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
2 10 oz packages of frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups 2% low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup chopped green onions (about 6)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 15 oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
3 large egg whites
1 26 oz jar of pasta sauce
Chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
  3. while pasta cooks, combine 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, spinach and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Drain pasta, and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking. Spoon mixture evently into pasta shells (we had about half a cup left over)
  4. Spoon 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells over sauce in dish; top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese and parsley. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes or until heated through.

Enjoy!

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