Hello again! I’m back here instead of studying, but this time with something a bit more personal.
I have a confession to make.
Even though baked goods are absolutely finger-licking sexy, eating them all the time will not have the same effect on your body. It is attractive food, show-off food, easy-to-please-the-crowd food, so it is usually what I give out to friends. However, weighing in at 110 lbs, those sexy motherfuckers are not at all representative of my real diet. This dish that I’m showing you today, on the other hand, is really what I eat for lunch. Simple, healthy, under 30-minute one-pot dish. She might not be the bombshell that makes you jizz in your pants when you pass her on the street like a Nutella cookie, but she’s real keeper who cooks you breakfast in the morning and ultimately makes you a better person <3.
First things first, let’s go over a bit of a cultural kink with this dish. Yes, this is a pasta dish. Yes, the sauce is tomato based. This kind of tomato sauce specifically:
KETCHUP? Yes, ketchup. Let me channel my Asianness for a bit: Spaghetti Napolitan is an iconic Japanese-style Western dish (a.k.a. yoshoku). Basically, a kind of fusion cuisine that puts a Japanese twist on Western classics. Real tomato sauce is very hard to get hold of in Japan and Asia in general, but ketchup is a common grocery item. Growing up, most of my pasta dishes were cooked with ketchup. I know, I know, the thought is still taking it’s time to sink in, but just trust me, I’m a doctor. Okay maybe not yet, but I know how to cook. Traditionally (a weird word to use here), Spaghetti Napolitan is cooked with hot dog franks and bell peppers, but I put my own twist on it by using Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and chicken.
(Warning: the following is a lot of annoying health talk, so if you’re not about this life you can scroll to the recipe. However, I think this is pretty important stuff.)
A second issue that has been pissing me off for a while is how much people have demonized pasta in all of this health craze recently. I. LOVE. PASTA (+ other flour-based products in noodle form). I eat it for 90% of my meals at least. It’s a fast, easy one-pot meal that I can make time to cook fresh every day because I dread left overs. It contains B vitamins and fiber that are essential to our diet. Most importantly, it’s cheap, which is an utmost concern for college students like me. However, through my own experience, there are two important factors to make your pasta part of a healthy diet.
First, portioning. I cannot stress this enough. A standard serving of pasta is 2 ounces or 56 grams, which yields one cup cooked. The portion sizes in American restaurants are so big that you are probably used to seeing two, three, or even four servings of pasta on a plate. If you are serious about portion control, I highly recommend buying a kitchen scale, which you can find on Amazon for less than $12. I usually measure out my pasta before cooking. Your kitchen scale can be used to portion all your foods, from meats to veggies to snacks, and it also makes measuring so much easier if you bake as much as I do.
Of course, I know not everyone is as crazy about food as I am and probably don’t own a scale. A good estimate for a serving of spaghetti is that a 2 oz bundle should have the diameter similar to a penny. Yes, I know, it’s not a lot, which is exactly the point I’m trying to make. Pasta itself is not evil, it’s how much you eat and what you eat it with.
This brings me to my second point, which is what you put with your pasta. This is really just common sense. Of course if you put a shit load of oil and cheese in there it’s going to be fatty. My plate of pasta is loaded with vegetables, and I use lean meats like chicken for protein. The same rule of thumb goes for everything else you eat.
Okay, that has been way too much health yapping. Time for the recipe.
Makes 1 serving for a 5’4″ Asian girl, adjust amounts for your appetite obviously
Cooking time: 20 minutes (30 if you really don’t know your way around the kitchen)
- 2 oz spaghetti
- 3 oz chicken breast (I prefer tenderloin)*
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts*
- 1 cup mushrooms*
- 1/4 of an onion
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1/2 tsp cornstarch (optional; see step 2)
*You can really use any type of veggies and meat you prefer. Like I mentioned, hot dog franks and bell peppers is the classic combo. I have also found broccoli, carrots, and peas to work really well. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time appropriately (i.e. carrots take a bit longer to cook, etc.)
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, cut up your veggies and chicken to bite size pieces.
- Marinate your chicken pieces in soy sauce and cornstarch. This is completely optional, but it really does give the lean meat more flavor and makes it more tender. Alternatively, you can just use some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- When the water boils, salt the water and cook your spaghetti. This usually takes about 9-11 minutes so set a timer.
- After the spaghetti has been cooking for about 2-3 minutes, put oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drop in the onion and garlic and stir-fry for about 2 minutes.
- Add in the rest of the veggies and stir-fry for 2 more minutes.
- Add in chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Add in ketchup, black pepper and about 1/2 cup of the pasta water from your pot. The ketchup plus the salted pasta water should already be salty enough, but you can add more salt to taste if you wish (but tbh I really don’t think you should). Mix well. Cover and let it cook on medium heat.
- When your pasta is done, drain and then toss the pasta in the skillet with the sauce for a minute.
- Get a plate and serve. You’re fucking done. Now don’t complain to me that you have no time to cook.
Healthy eating is really simple and delicious. 20 minutes and under 500 calories and beautiful as fuck. Now I’m just going to proceed to eat this sexy lunch in front of my laptop alone to study for my quiz, because life is a constant struggle on every front and I’m still an overworked premed and single as fuck. But it’s okay, pasta I know you will always be there for me. This is true love <3.