Spinach and Portabello Ravioli

Today marked day 6 of my journey, and the first day that has truly frightened me: Saturday! Weekends are always the most difficult part of staying healthy for me. After a full week of work, it’s really easy to stay lazy and make poor decisions about food. I not only managed to stay healthy with every meal, but I also accomplished two milestones that I am pretty proud of! The first is directly related to my weight loss goal and efforts toward a healthier lifestyle, and the other is making myself a bigger priority, and doing things that I love!

One of the things that is always a struggle to me with healthy eating or dieting is the water intake. This time, determined both to transition a bit less painfully, and also to adopt lasting lifestyle changes versus a quick-fix fad diet, I have not been forcing myself to chug water all day long. I started out kind of rough on day one, only drinking 2 16 oz. glasses of water. Today, I reached my daily goal for the first time: 8 16 oz. glasses of water! The real achievement here though: I find myself liking it more and more, and naturally choosing that over things I would more typically choose (Monster Rehab, Diet Dr. Pepper, etc.) It definitely feels good to have reached a goal that was previously such a struggle so quickly, and now my new goal is staying consistent in this new habit!

The second achievement of the day includes successfully completing a recipe and cooking adventure that I have been talking about trying for over a year now: homemade pasta! Now, Alex is the world’s pickiest eater, and to make matters even more frustrating, most of his picky habits don’t make any sense. He likes pasta, but not any of the long pastas (spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, etc.) He will typically only eat ziti/rigatoni, shells, elbows, or lasagna noodles, and even then only when they are absolutely covered in cheese.

Pasta night in our house usually consists of one of the aforementioned pastas mixed with a whole container of ricotta cheese, and about 4 cups of shredded cheese (both mixed in and covering the top.) He also won’t eat most pre-made sauces since he refuses to eat anything with chunks of vegetables, so I’ve taken to buying the plain old Hunt’s Tomato Sauce and doctoring it up with spices.

Tonight’s dinner was a complete 180: fresh, well-balanced, healthy* and delicious!

*Alex’s wasn’t quite as well-balanced and healthy since I omitted all spinach and mushrooms for his, but it was still healthier than our pasta dinners of old!

Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli with Meat Sauce

For pasta:

1 cup of flour

2 eggs

For filling:

1 cup ricotta cheese (I used skim)

2 cups raw spinach

1 cup baby portabello mushrooms, diced

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (also used skim)

For sauce:

1 lb 93% lean ground beef

24 oz. Hunt’s Tomato Sauce

2 cloves fresh garlic

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 pad of butter (this is a really small amount, but adds a great final note to the sauce believe it or not!)

Preparation:

Begin by preparing your pasta dough, because this will need to rest for 30 minutes or so, and you can do a lot of other prep work while you’re waiting.

Pour flour into mound on a wooden cutting board, and hollow out a well in the center of the flour mountain.

Crack your eggs into the well, and gently scramble, slowly incorporating the flower into the egg.

Once you have a sticky dough forming, use your hands to work in remaining flour, and knead until thoroughly worked. You may need to sprinkle some additional flour into the mix or on the board, the dough should be smooth when finished, not sticky.

Place dough ball in gallon sized Ziplock bag, and allow to rest on the counter for a minimum of 20-30 minutes*. (*My dough felt kind of firm when I placed it into the bag, but it really softened up and felt like pasta after letter it rest. This part is really essential to getting a nice, light pasta!)

While the dough is resting:

Prepare your filling by sauteing mushrooms and spinach with a drizzle of olive oil or a pad of butter. Mix with ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese, set aside.

Prepare your sauce by sauteing 2 fresh cloves of garlic with 1 pad of butter in a medium to large frying pan. Add one pound of ground beef and cook over medium heat until brown. Add tomato sauce, fresh basil, and salt and pepper to taste and let simmer on low until ready to serve.

Assemble the pasta:

Lightly sprinkle cutting board with flour and roll out dough as thinly as possible. The pasta will puff up during cooking, and you really do need it thinner than you think (mine turned out just a little too thick.) Once the dough is rolled out, I found it easiest to use a round cookie cutter to cut individual ravioli sized pieces, but some people make them a sheet at a time. I’m not Mario Batali over here.

I spooned a healthy portion of the filling onto each ravioli round, and gently pinched a piece of pasta over the top, forming perfect little pillows of love. The pasta needs about 5-6 minutes to cook in salted*, boiling water. (*Salting the water is vital as the dough itself has no salt added!)

Once cooked I drained the pasta in a colander, and plated up with a hearty spoonful of the meat sauce, with a little grated parmesan cheese on top! Served along side a Caesar salad for me, and garlic bread for Alex, the whole meal was filling, incredibly fresh and flavorful, and came in just under 500 calories for four large raviolis and including the sauce!

Serving size: 4 ravioli, recipe makes about 16 raviolis. With sauce: 489 calories, 37g carbs, 17g fat, 44g protein.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Perky Poppy Seed
    Oct 28, 2012 @ 12:02:58

    Good for you and liking water more:) I think that is great!!!!

    Reply

  2. The Perky Poppy Seed
    Oct 28, 2012 @ 12:05:06

    ps you could always make your water more fun… I store my carrots peeled in a pitcher of water in the refrigerator.. the water takes on a lovely flavor and the carrots are ready to eat as soon as I take them out.. great way to have healthy ready instantly .. 🙂

    Reply

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