Today let’s discuss pasta.
I should warn you and say that, in general, I am not a fan.
Except the noodle I am about to review. Skinni Spaghetti by Dixie Carb Counters. My friend Pam sent it to me and for months it sat in the back of the pantry, untouched (the divas aren’t that big on noodles either). But the other day I made a sauce that actually made me want a noodle. Usually in these situations, I default to my zucchini noodles but this recipe needed something thinner. So I looked to the noodles my good friend sent me.
First, the sauce recipe. This was a serendipitous moment for me. It happened purely by accident. I am a big fan of using both lean meat and Italian sausage in spaghetti sauce and I usually have Italian sausage in my freezer. When I went to make my sauce, I found I did not! But I did have some…chorizo. So the wheels in my brain got to turning. This was the result.
Nik’s Mexican Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb. lean ground turkey (you could do beef…I don’t because me and beef have beef with each other)
1 log (about 8 oz.) of Mexican-style chorizo sausage (I used the kind from Aldi)
1 cup of diced onions and green peppers (I used the frozen bagged kind)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional if you like the heat..we do)
2 tbsp Neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese), softened
In a pan sprayed with non-stick, sautee onions and peppers until softened. Add garlic and sautee for an additional 3 minutes or so.
Add ground turkey and chorizo to the pan and brown through. Drain mixture of excess fat and return to pan.
Add spaghetti sauce and stir until fully incorporated. Add spices and simmer about 10 minutes on low heat.
Add cream cheese to sauce and allow it to melt, stirring to fully incorporate it.
The reaction from the divas? “This tastes kind of like chili, but kind of like spaghetti sauce. It’s good. But my mouth is confused.”
That situation might be worrisome to some, but to me the bottom line was this: clean bowls. End of story.
Now back to the pasta. I only made a portion of the skinny spaghetti for myself and opted to give the girls whole wheat spaghetti.
The “skinni” stuff has pretty good stats. For 2 oz. of spaghetti (which is way more than I’d actually try to eat) is 143 calories, 3g fat, 14g carbs, 11g fiber and 26g protein (holy spaghetti, Batman!). That was not necessarily a proclamation of joy peeps. That fact alone raises a LOT of red flags from a flavor perspective.
So anyway, the package says very clearly to add the pasta to boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes and warns “do not overcook.” Well, there’s an ominous premonition if I’ve ever read one. But I carried on.
After cooking it for two minutes, it was still not what I’d call al dente, so I decided to let it go another two minutes. After THAT two minutes it still hadn’t softened that much and so I accepted that this was the inevitable caveat of this food item and ladled it out into a bowl.
For the sake of this review, I tried a tiny noodle by itself. I can’t exactly describe the texture, but it is not “of the noodle variety.” It’s more like a noodle shaped cracker. VERY starchy. When photographing it, it looks like your standard noodle, but sadly it is not. The noodles were also noticeably absent of that slickness that freshly cooked noodles have. In fact, they were downright dry right out of the pot! (despite the fact that I did add oil to the cooking water)
I could tell I would not be able to eat much of this as my pouch grumbled at just that noodle. But I decided to pack half the two ounce portion (who was I kidding making that much?) with my lunch. But first I tossed it in a bit of olive oil to try to preserve any moisture that might be present.
At lunch I warmed this up with a wet paper towel over my bowl (more moisture preservation) and that helped a little…but not much. I did manage the whole portion (to see if it bothered my tummy…surprisingly it did not). In the end, the texture kind of bugged and while I could eat it…I probably will not…ever again…
So it all boils down to this…if I were inclined to eat pasta (which I am not), I’d probably go with a good whole wheat variety (or Pam’s beloved Dreamfields) and eat a responsible portion of it. This stuff? Is probably going to continue to sit in my pantry and a thousand years from now archaelogists will find it and use it as an artifact from the low carb movement.
Verdict: Diva says DECLINE!
Skip the pasta, make the sauce, top with cheese and have at it!