Over the years, one of the most-requested suggestions I get is to include nutritional information with recipes.
It's easier to do that now than a decade ago, when those numbers typically weren't listed.
In order to figure nutritional content, cookbook authors, restaurants and food companies need experts and test kitchens to come up with the amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol, sodium, etc., in recipes. So food editors rely on them for that information.
I sometimes waffle about whether or not to run a recipe when the nutritional count isn't available. When I do, it's because I think the quality of the recipe outweighs the lack of information.
And, I still use sources, such as community cookbooks and reader recipes, that don't have the listings.
Plus, let's face it, while it's fun to look through a recipe for a delicious cheesecake, reading the calorie/fat count at the end sort of diminshes the desire to make it, let alone eating a slice!
Evidence of that is this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens; it's a good example of how nutritional information can make you change your mind and choose something else on a restaurant menu. Order Pasta Carbonara from the Cheesecake Factory and you'll consume 2,130 calories and 81 grams fat. Make this taste-alike and you've cut the numbers to 479 calories and 14 grams of fat.
8 ounces dried multigrain spaghetti
1 pound broccolini, chopped (about 5 cups)*
1 cup frozen peas
4 slices turkey bacon
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 ounces evaporated low-fat milk
2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, optional
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Coarsely ground black pepper
Cook spaghetti according to package directions, adding broccolini and frozen peas for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving the cooking water; set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet cook turkey bacon according to package directions. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Cool bacon; break bacon into bite-size pieces.
For sauce, in a small saucepan melt butter. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and the flour. Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in turkey bacon pieces.
Place spaghetti-vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Pour sauce and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water over top. Toss gently to combine. Thin to desired consistency with more of the reserved cooking water.
If desired, top with snipped parsley and additional grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
*If you can't find broccolini or don't want to spend the extra money on it, substitute chopped broccoli.
Makes 4 servings, each 1 1/2 cups with 479 calories, 14 grams fat, 49 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, 63 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber, 6 grams sugar, 25 grams protein.
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