Leftover Ingredient Ideas & the 411 on Multicolored Pasta!

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Hi Hungry Girl,

I love single-serving recipes, but sometimes I don't know what to do with the leftover ingredients -- things like an open can of pure pumpkin, 3/4ths of an avocado, or half a bag of broccoli cole slaw. Any ideas?

Left with Leftovers

Hi Left with Leftovers,

I'm all for not wasting food (especially delicious, guilt-free food!), and I've got some great ideas for the specific leftovers you mentioned. I've also got some general tips for any future leftovers you might have. Check 'em out...

Canned Pure Pumpkin - One of my favorite uses for leftover pumpkin is as an oatmeal add-in. It adds nice creamy flavor and fiber too. I also like to mix it with fat-free cottage cheese or fat-free yogurt (regular or Greek), and then season it all up with pumpkin pie spice, a little no-calorie sweetener, and vanilla extract -- awesome and packed with fiber!

Avocado - It's delicious and good for you, but you definitely don't want to go overboard with it, since it is high in fat. It's good to weigh your portions so you know exactly what you're getting into. Try adding an ounce or two to salads, scrambles, and sandwiches. You can also make a filling snack by pairing it with turkey slices or hard-boiled egg whites. BTW, each ounce of avocado has about 45 calories and 4 grams of fat (PointsPlus® value 1*).

Broccoli Cole Slaw
- You don't need a recipe to put extra slaw to good use. Just toss it with your favorite low-calorie dressing for a quick and simple snack. It's also great for fast and easy omelettes when you don't feel like hacking up a bunch of vegetables. But my favorite thing to do with leftover slaw? Stir-fry it up with some low-fat marinara sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder -- then sprinkle with reduced-fat Parm-style grated topping for a spaghetti fix!

If you're ever looking for other HG-friendly uses for a leftover ingredient, type it into the search bar at the top right of our homepage (above the SIGN UP NOW button). If the ingredient has more than one word -- like "egg substitute" -- put it in quotes. It will search every single daily email, and you'll have lots of recipes to choose from. Click here to see search results for "broccoli cole slaw." Other great places to look? The index at the back of each HG cookbook as well as the recipe pages themselves, which often direct you to recipes in the book with common ingredients. And DEFINITELY check out the soon-to-be-released book Hungry Girl Supermarket Survival: Aisle by Aisle, HG-Style! This perfectly sized market guide has TONS of ideas for almost every ingredient imaginable. (It hits shelves October 11th, but you can pre-order it right now!) Now you've got a bunch of ideas for putting those leftovers to good use. Start searching and get cooking!

Hey HG,

Can you help me decode colorful pastas? You know -- the pastas made with things like spinach, carrots, and tomatoes? Are these actually healthier alternatives to regular pasta?

Rainbow-Bowl Rebecca

Hi Rebecca,

Great question! Although that pasta looks pretty, it's not necessarily better for you than regular pasta. The first thing you need to know is that the noodles are typically made with just a small amount of vegetable powder. Look at the ingredients list, and you'll usually see the powdered form of these veggies toward the bottom (where the ingredients with the smallest amounts are listed). Ronzoni has a new colorful pasta line, Garden Delight, that boasts "a full serving of veggies in every bowl." But that's only if your bowl has a double serving of pasta (4 oz. dry/uncooked). Totally deceptive... What's much more important than the color of your pasta is the amount of fiber in it. Think of it this way: Most veggies are PACKED with fiber. So if your colorful pasta pick doesn't have much fiber, how much of those good-for-you veggies could it really have? Look for pasta that has at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. Fiber helps fill you up -- which is a good thing. Another important thing to remember with pasta -- if you're going for the real deal, don't eat a HUGE bowl. One cup is perfect. (Bulk it up and add fiber with a whole bunch of steamed veggies!) A couple of brands that fit the fiber bill? Barilla PLUS (which has other added goodies) and Ronzoni Smart Taste. (Ronzoni's Garden Delight and Healthy Harvest types also make the cut.) But my ultimate pick is FiberGourmet Light Pasta. Each serving is way lower in calories than regular pasta and has a whopping 18 grams of fiber! There's even a boxed mac 'n cheese variety. The only downside? The pasta is not the easiest to find... you'll most likely have to order online. So worth it, though! And if you're now craving pasta (who wouldn't be?), click here for tons of HG pasta recipes, swaps, and other noodle essentials!

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