Cookbook offers the skinny on healthy eating

Book: “Schedule Me Skinny: Plan to Lose Weight and Keep it Off in Just 30 Minutes a Week” by Sarah-Jane Bedwell RND, LDN. 256 pages, $15. Published by New American Library, 2013.

What you get: The official “Eat Like Me” food blogger for SELF Magazine, Bedwell has put together a 14-day meal plan supported by recipes designed to help you slim down. Each recipe comes with nutritional information, including calorie count and carb counts. Bedwell also provides grocery shopping lists, money-saving tips and strategies for dining out.

In her own words: “This book will change the way you think about healthy eating. You’ll find that following my balanced meal pattern will increase your energy levels, improve your appearance and allow you to shed one to two pounds of fat each week. You’ll lose weight while eating delicious, fresh foods and enjoying a daily treat of your choice, not by depriving yourself.” — Sarah-Jane Bedwell RND, LDN

What we made:

PASTA WITH SAUTEED SPINACH, ROASTED PINE NUTS AND CHICKEN (Page 179)

Makes 2 servings

1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup frozen diced yellow onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons seasoned sun-dried tomatoes (such as Bella Sun Luci with Greek oregano, basil and garlic)

1 6-ounce can diced chicken breast

1 1/2 cup spinach, thawed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper to taste

2 teaspoons Parmesan (optional)

Per serving: 450 calories.

Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over low heat. Add pine nuts and toast until golden brown. (Watch carefully, as they brown fairly quickly.) Remove nuts from pan and set aside. Heat olive oil in the skillet. Add onion, garlic, sund-dried tomatoes and chicken to the skillet and cook until the onion begins to soften and chicken is warmed through, about 5-7 minutes. Drain pasta and add it to the skillet. Squeeze spinach to remove excess water and add it to the skillet. Stir until the spinach beings to soften. Toss in the pine nuts and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired, and serve.

Our assessment: This recipe takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare, and all the ingredients it requires can easily be found at the grocery store. I prepared this dish the night before and took it into work for a carry-in. It heated up easily and was easy to serve. Although the dish sat among all sorts of luscious and high-calorie offerings (mac and cheese, tons of chili and barbecued meatballs in crock pots, pulled pork sandwiches, cheesy potato casseroles, fudge brownies, pies, etc.), my taste testers thought it was still visually appealing and delicious. Don’t skimp on the toasted pine nuts — along with the sun-dried tomatoes, they do a great job of rounding out the flavor.

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