December 21, 2007

Healthy Meal: Minestrone alla Genovese and Panini con Rucola e Prosciutto

Tonight’s dinner I was kind of concerned about. It’s a two-part dinner, and I checked out the calories before I made it. The soup alone was 690, and I was sure that the grilled ham and cheese would add a ton! However, I was really hungry, and decided to make both anyway.

I tried to take the pictures with no flash, but I think they came out worse than with the flash. Our living room just isn’t bright enough for photography, unfortunately. But see how I got all artistic and put dots of pesto on the sandwich plate? 🙂
Recipe notes for the soup:
I used one tablespoon of olive oil, and once that burned off, added a bit of water for the rest of the “sauteeing”. My thinking is, if it’s soup, it’s all going to get kind of mushy anyway, so there’s no need to add tons of extra calories via oil. As usual, I used about half chicken broth and half water, in order to cut down on the sodium. I subbed french cut frozen green beans instead of the shorter ones just because those are the kind I had in my freezer, which made the soup a little trickier to eat (long beans everywhere!), but also made it look prettier. Finally, I used vermicelli because I only had the extra wide egg noodles.
A side note: I recently discovered Herb Ox Very Low Sodium Bouillon. I found it on DailyPlate when I went looking for low sodium broths, and the Hormel website (link above) actually has a store finder so you can see what stores near you carry it. It’s almost sodium free: only 5 mg per serving, compared to 570 mg per serving for Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth, which is actually 33% less than their standard. The downside is Herb Ox has no protein, whereas Swanson has 2g per serving. However, I get way too much protein anyway, so that’s okay with me. I bought the Herb Ox but was still trying to use up my leftover Swanson, so in few days I’ll try it and then post a full review of taste and whatnot. If it’s good, I plan to not cut broth in my recipes anymore b/c there’s no need.
Recipe notes for the panini:
My version is really not following the recipe at all. I used Mestemacher three grain bread because I wanted to use up the last of it. Unfortunately I only had one piece, so I kept it as an open faced sandwich and popped it in the toaster (and subsequently burned the ham a bit) instead of grilling it. I used Boursin Gournay cheese instead of ricotta, because I like it and because it was already in my fridge. And I used baby spinach instead of arugula.
Recipe notes for the pesto:
I used Wegman’s Fat Free Grated Topping (it’s basically like Kraft Parmesan, but not that bad for you), and a little bit more of the chicken broth instead of olive oil. That makes the nuts really the only source of fat, so it’s not too bad. And it was delicious!
Nutritional info:
390 calories for the soup and pesto (recipe here)
270 calories for the sandwich (recipe also here)
Review: 3/5
The soup somehow was very… French-tasting (odd, because it’s supposed to be an Italian recipe). But French-tasting like in a bland way? I don’t know if that makes any sense, because French food is awesome, but it just didn’t quite do it for me. However, I made four servings, so I’ll keep trying it and I think it will get better. Also, I should add that when I first calculated the calories, it was supposed to be like 690 for just the soup. However, after the meal when I put in all the ingredients with the substitutions and everything (I usually try to figure that out when I first calculate it, but I often make switches in the process of cooking), it came out to be a lot less. That makes me like it more 🙂 The sandwich was just decent, but it didn’t really follow the recipe, so maybe the recipe version is awesome. The pesto was INCREDIBLE, and added a lot to the soup – I’d make more next time to give the soup more flavor. Yes, I did say next time – I could see myself making this again if I were in the mood for something kind of simple.
Update: I put way more pesto in my lunchtime edition, and it was much better. 4/5

3 thoughts on “Healthy Meal: Minestrone alla Genovese and Panini con Rucola e Prosciutto”

  1. Hi – Glad to help a fellow runner and foodie! The Emerald Nuts run is a lot of fun! People wear costumes (not compulsory) and hang out at the party beforehand, then go out for the fun run. No chip – no pressure. Just have fun. Champagne is provided, along with water, at the water station on the 102nd Street Transverse. There are probably a couple of thousand people out there, so it’s not overly crowded. You’ll be too busy watching the fireworks to worry about a fast start. Have fun!! Happy New Year!!

  2. I’ve been looking at some of your recipes today and couldn’t help but notice your neat dishes. I love the square shapes. I bought some nice (cheap) dark blue square dishes at IKEA recently that I plan to use for lunches when I have people over. I bought 4 each of two sizes and I have a nice blue floral tablecloth to use on my cozy round table. Should look pretty. I love dishes. I wishes I had more space so that I could buy more.

  3. Mine are from Crate and Barrell, but I actually bought them from some woman on Craigslist who was redecorating her kitchen and wanted new dishes to match! We got a set of 8 which included two different bowls, three different plates, and two different glasses. She also threw in some dishtowels and placemats that matched, as well as a string of Chinese lanterns that we put around the pass-through part of our kitchen. All for $50! I was thrilled.

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