Delectable Summer Pasta for those Hot Weather Nights

By Andrea Riggs Food and Fitness Writer | 8/2/2013, 6 a.m.
Summer creates a perfect time to prepare cooler entrees and beat hot weather nights. So plan a change to your ...

Summer creates a perfect time to prepare cooler entrees and beat hot weather nights. So plan a change to your menu this summer and experience fresh pasta noodles with tangy vegetables, an array of spices and your favorite chilled seafood.

Best of all, pasta, the beloved comfort food from Italy, only takes a few minutes to prepare en route to a hearty filling lunch or dinner. Plus, the “good for you” carbs in pastas are essential energy sources for your body.

So don’t be scared of pasta and the carbohydrates! They are not inherently bad for you. It’s all in the type of sauce~ higher fat (white) or moderate fat and the amount of pasta you eat~ portion control. The key to not over indulging and enjoying your pasta is adjusting your daily calorie intake according to your activity levels and health goals.

Whether you begin with a garden flavor penne rigate or whole grain linguine, the variety of flavors, shapes and textures to choose from will ensure a tasty summer creation. As you select your pasta tie-ins, always choose fresh over frozen; this will cost you a bit more, but better ingredients are worth the taste.

A few tips on making your pasta lighter:

Select a lower carb or higher fiber pasta.

Add an extra cup of spinach to your recipe for added nutrition.

Slice up black olives for great color and flavor.

Begin with a mixed green vinaigrette salad.

The Ingredients

3 cups uncooked pasta

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray

12 ounces scallops or medium shrimp

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach

1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup minced red onion

2 tablespoons chopped capers

Be sure to read the specific package directions for pasta boiling times (may vary) and omit the use of salt and added oils to trim down on unwanted calories and saturated fat.

The Preparation

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat pan with cooking spray. Add peeled shrimp or scallop to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until done. Rinse in ice cold water and chill during pasta preparation.

Next, cook pasta, drain and rinse with cold water. Then, in a mixing bowl, combine chilled meat, pasta, lemon juice, mustard, and garlic, stirring lightly with a wooden spoon. Gradually add oil, salt and pepper. Stir in spinach, tomatoes, red onion, and 2 tablespoons capers.

The Nutrition:

A single serving provides more than two servings of lean protein, fresh vegetables and healthy whole grains. In order to avoid, a high fat dish, heavy cream and butter are replaced with olive oil and lemon juice.

Andrea’s Tips:

Carbohydrates should comprise 40 – 50% of a healthy and well-rounded meal plan.

Nutrient-dense options made with whole grains and vegetables best supply your body with essential vitamins and minerals.

Andrea Riggs, President of Get Body Beautiful, is a national fitness expert, TV Trainer, event speaker and radio host. Her nutrition products and signature book “Get Body Beautiful – A 30 Day Body Toning Plan, are available at www.GetBodyBeautiful.com