Three Months On: America Cooks Contestant Kathy Partak | America Cooks With Chefs | Demonstrating the Benefits of Healthy Cooking

Three Months On: America Cooks Contestant Kathy Partak

Published on: May 12, 2015

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We asked each of our contestants to give us an update on their healthy eating plans since the final cook-off and winner announcement in January. Here’s Kathy Partak on the perfect summer tomato recipe:

Thank You Barilla Pasta!!

This is a little bonus post, you all know I had a blast being a part of America Cooks with Chefs back in December and January, right? Well, a few weeks back I got a BIG box in the mail and it was chock full of all kinds of fun pasta stuff. Check it out, a Calphalon pasta pot, lots of Barilla pasta including some of their special collections, a lovely pasta serving bowl, wooden utensils, a pasta tin, a cheese grater and a spoon rest. Oh, and lest I forget, a years supply of Barilla pasta! Yes, 52 free boxes of pasta! That’s alotta pasta.

Some of the things I learned through my time with America Cooks and Barilla is that pasta will not make you fat, excess calories will. Pasta is a good complex carb food. When you pair pasta with high fiber vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats, you get a healthy, filling meal.

Pasta is good for you and the planet. Plant-based foods including pasta have a lower environmental impact. Barilla pasta is non-GMO, I know this is important to many people.

As soon as I opened my box, I immediately decided we were having my favorite pasta recipe for dinner, Mason’s Funky spaghetti but I make it a little differently than he does. We used the bucatini which is like a thicker spaghetti noodle and it has a hole in the middle, yes, it’s hollow!

The recipe is super simple, lots of color cherry tomatoes, olive oil (just a splash), fresh chopped garlic, basil, salt and pepper. In Mason’s version, he crushes all of this together with his hands. My preference is to give it a few whirls in my food processor, I don’t like it puree’d, but a more fine, consistent chop. I add my hot al dente pasta right from the water into my tomatoes and mix it all up with a bit of the pasta water – it’s SO good! I eat it for dinner hot and then I dream about having lunch the next day and eating it cold.


Finally, our little family of three does not need all this wonderful food so we gave some of the coupons for free pasta to our local food bank and we put together a lovely Barilla Pasta basket for Mason’s fifth grade class at what else, his schools annual spaghetti feed fundraiser! The basket brought in almost $80! Thank you Barilla and America Cooks with Chefs! I am just 7 lbs away from my weight loss goal with Weight Watchers and I love that I don’t have to eliminate pasta to get there, I do however have to keep my portions in check. It’s a small price to pay to be able to eat my favorite comfort food.

You can learn more about America Cooks with Chefs and Barilla Pasta by just clicking on the links. What is your favorite pasta recipe, I would love to know!

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