Oodles of Noodles

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I am trying to get back on track with my Weight Watchers lifestyle.  Yes, that’s right: It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.  In that spirit, I am going to work on compiling and posting my soon-to-be famous Cajun Shrimp and Andouille Fettuccine that is only 7 WW Points!

I worked from this original recipe Cajun Shrimp and Andouille Fettuccine on Recipe Zaar.  According to my Weight Watchers calculator, one serving of that recipe contains 925 calories, 60 fat grams, and 3.2 grams of dietary fiber. That’s 23 points for ONE serving!  I’m allowed 25 points per day, plus 35 weekly points on the flex plan, so that would be my food for the day!

My inspiration for this project was a recipe from the Hungry Girl for low calorie fettuccine usind the lovely House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles.  Now, I have the Hungry Girl cookbook, and have tried her original Hungry Girl-Fredo and the Shrimp-Tastic Hungry Girl-fredo. There are other recipes: go to this entry.

Those recipes use the Tofu Shirataki Fettuccine noodles and Laughing Cow Light Wedge Cheese and a LOT of tossing and melting. The recipe that I was thinking of and found above uses good old Velveeta cheese, of which there is a low-fat version – it’s really kind of the same sort of processed cheese food.  Shrimp is naturally low in fat, and I did extensive research to find a turkey or chicken version of andouille sausage that would be acceptable.

I found a turkey andouille sausage from Wellshire Farms that was not bad. Here are the nutritional stats for a 2 oz serving.  There are four links in the 12 oz. package.  I found it at Whole Foods – which is where I also got the shrimp and the noodles.  They don’t sell Velveeta there.  Nor do they sell low-fat parmesan. I got some fat-free sour cream and the other ingredients at another grocery store.

Let’s see if I can write it in recipe form:

Celeste’s Phenomenal Fettuccine with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage

Ingredients

* 1 lb. medium raw shrimp
* 2 (12 ounce) packages Tofu Shirataki Fettuccine Noodles
* 3 links Wellshire Farms turkey andouille sausage, chopped
* Pam or butter spray
* 1 cup onion, chopped
* 1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
* 1 cup chopped celery
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 1 (or more) tablespoon corn starch
* 1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole seasoning
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 1/4 cup dry sherry
* 1 or 2 tablespoons light or fat-free sour cream
* 6 ounces 2% low-fat Velveeta cheese, cubed
* 1/3 cup grated low-fat parmesan cheese
* 3/4 cup chopped green onion
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Peel and devein shrimp; set aside the shrimp meat. Save the shells.

2. Place the shrimp shells in a small saucepan, and pour the cup of chicken broth over them. Bring broth to a boil, then let the shells simmer in it on the lowest heat to absorb the flavor.  Before using, strain out the shrimp peels from the broth. Keep the broth handy – it will be used to replace the butter for cooking.

3. Spray large saute pan with cooking spray (butter flavored, if available). Cook sausage over medium heat until browned. Add some broth, if needed, to retard scorching.  Remove the sausage from the pan and set it aside.

4. Pour some of the broth into the saute pan.  Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to pan; stir/saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.  Add some of the Cajun seasoning to the mixture and toss.

5. Drain and rinse the Shirataki Tofu fettuccine noodles well. Dry noodles thoroughly (use paper towels to soak up as much moisture as possible), and then use a knife or kitchen shears to slice them up a bit.

6. Strain the cooked vegetables, saving the liquids to add back to the pan of broth.

7. Put the noodles and the cooked vegetables and the sausage into a container together.  This allows the noodles to soak up the flavors of the other ingredients.  Toss everything together and set the container aside.

8. Now it is time to saute the shrimp.  You may use some of the cooking spray in the pan, and add the shrimp.  Then, add the sherry and some of the broth and let the shrimp simmer, stirring constantly.  Don’t overcook the shrimp. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon, leaving the broth in the pan.  You may add the shrimp to the noodle mixture.

9. Now, to make the sauce: add the cheese cubes to the broth left in the pan. Add the sour cream and flour and allow the ingredients to melt into a sauce.  Add a little more broth or sour cream if necessary, but do not make the sauce too thin.

10. Stir 2 tablespoons parsley, 1/2 cup green onions and all of the parmesan cheese into the sauce. Reserve some parsley and green onions for garnish.

(If you want to thicken the sauce even more, add the cornstarch to some of the reserved and cooled broth.  After the corn starch has dissolved, add the mixture to the sauce and allow to thicken.)

11.  The final step is to mix the cheese sauce with the other ingredients.  Take the noodles, vegetables, sausage, and shrimp and strain the mixture one more time.  Don’t worry, you will have plenty of moisture.  Pour the noodle mixture in the pan and stir it all into the cheese sauce.  Toss until everything is covered with cheese sauce.  Adjust spices and flavors to taste.

To serve, divide up the pasta mixture into 6 pasta bowls or onto 6 plates. Garnish with remaining parsley and green onions.

Okay, that’s how I remember it right now.  I will have to re-enter the ingredients into the Weight Watchers calculator, but it came out earlier as 7 WW Points for 1/6th the recipe.

I will try to make it so that the noodles are added separately next time.  I was following some of the Hungry Girl guidelines for cooking the noodles, which calls for tossing them with the other ingredients.  There are some drawbacks to using the Shirataki Tofu Noodles: they need to be as dry as possible, or they will water down the sauce.  I also like to soak them with other ingredients because they take on more flavor.  The biggest drawback is that you CANNOT freeze them.  So DO NOT attempt to freeze the leftovers for this recipe.

I am sure I will be back to tweak this entry and this recipe.  I also want to take on Elaine’s Crawfish Fettuccine from The Louisiana Crawfish Cookbook by Paul Prudhomme. It has a similar make-up, but must be stupendously caloric – it has 3 sticks of butter, 3 lbs. of crawfish tails, 1 quart of half and half, and one pound of Velveeta.  It serves 12.  Ouch!

Hey, does anyone know if you can cook with “fat-free Half and Half”?  I saw it at the grocery store.  It is definitely an oxymoron!

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