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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We all know that pasta is great for you, but can be very fattening depending on what's added. It doesn't have to be such a struggle though. Just follow these steps to get a quick low fat pasta meal.

1 small red onion peeled and finely chopped (for a sweeter sauce, use a larger white onion instead)
1 can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 to 2 cups pasta or about 20 to 30 sticks of spaghetti/angel hair
spices to taste, including salt and pepper

1. Cook your choice of pasta in a large pan of boiling water (add a touch of salt to raise the boiling temperature). Angel hair pasta is especially healthy for you, but be careful - just because it's thin and light doesn't mean that you can eat more.
2. Heat a heavy based pan with your choice of tomato sauce. Don't use pre-made sauces like Ragu, instead buy cans of diced tomatoes or even just tomato sauce. These can also come flavored/spiced like Ragu, but are much healthier and give you more options about what to add.
3. Cook for two minutes, then add the onion and simmer until transparent. Throw in any form of spices that you like, things like paprika, salt, pepper, and anything you want to experiment with (all in moderation). Cook for a further 2-3 minutes, then stir in parsley and pull off the heat.
4. Drain the pasta and serve immediately. Keep separate from the sauce until it's in your plate. You will tend to eat more if they are pre-mixed because you will subconsciously think that the sauce is taking up more room.

Throw in fresh vegetables like broccoli or mushrooms to add extra flavor and not many calories. You can also make a thicker sauce without adding fat by chopping up small red potatoes and cooking them in the tomato sauce until slightly soft.
To add protein, throw in lean ground beef with the tomato sauce and onions and cook until brown, then continue with the spices.
Another way to make it even more fresh is to buy whole tomatoes and blend them. This however makes the sauce very watery, so you will have to be sure to cook it over a lower heat for a longer time so that it evaporates without burning.
Spices can be hard to add without going overboard, so when first starting out, it’s ok to use pre-mixed spices like the “Magic Pizza and Pasta” spice mix you can find in any grocery store. However, if you’re using pre-mixed spices, check the label. Most of them already have salt and pepper in them, so you don’t want to add any more of your own, or it will be overdone.

Look at that guy next to you. He's stuffing 6 fries into his mouth at a time. He's chewing with his mouth open! And he's blowing bubbles in his drink! Don't let that be you.

First off, remember that you are eating fast food. This food is meant to be fast and cheap, not good and nutritious. When eating fast food, know that you have already abolished all rules of service and manners. That said, read on.

Remember those manners your parents taught you? Ok good, that's your basic foundation. You might be the only person there who does, but remember those manners before you go to your local McDonald's or any other fast food restaurant.
Go to a fast-food restaurant, order your food, grab it, and sit down.
Use your tray paper for its purpose: to make less work for the guys who wipe them. Stand your side container upright. Even a little grease can penetrate through that paper that you usually don't even look at (look at it after your meal)
Go ahead and fill your cup with a beverage. Grab a cap and straw also, and construct your liquid-holding vessel.

Inspect Your Food;
You will be eating food prepared by people who may or may not find it important to keep your food free of foreign matter. Inspect all food before eating.
Eat your main course:
If your main course is a sandwich, unfold its wrapping. Lay your burger on the wrapping, and encase 70% of the burger in it. Eat your way through, and gradually fold back the wrapping. Beverage should be drunk in moderation with this main course.
If your main course is a salad, lift the lid off, and fit it (if possible) under the container. Apply dressing first, and then croutons (if applicable). Fork through your meal. If there is a side for the salad, eat that in moderation with the salad, along with the drink.
Grab your side -- only one at a time! Dip it in the condiment.
Drink politely -- no slurping or blowing bubbles.
Throw away your trash. If possible, throw all objects on the tray, one-by-one, into the trash can. Keep the napkins for later.

If with someone else, do not bother them if they are breaking any of these rules. Don't start a fight over food. Just set a good example with your good manners!
The maddening rush hour for the store cannot be silenced. You may have to change your rules during the wait for you food.
If you are paying for your meal with cash, and (as an example) your order rings up $3.02, give them the extra 2 cents along with that $5 or $10 bill. It makes the transaction quicker, and easier for the cashier.
This is only good for a meal of a sandwich/burger/salad with french fries/onion rings and a drink.


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