Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Breakfast: An Oldie but a goodie

When my husband first visited me back in Rimouski, Canada, I didn't want to admit that I couldn't cook anything. So, I pretended to know what I was doing. One thing I could do fairly safely is boiling eggs. So for breakfast I proudly served him a version of this.

I just recently rediscovered my super breakfast and reworked it a little. I like to have this with an orange as "dessert". Here's what it looks like:

"Mushed-up egg" half sandwich
2 servings, 5P+/serving

2 soft boiled eggs*
2 slices, Canadian bacon, chopped up
2 light english muffins, halved
salt & pepper

Mash the egg in a bowl, add the chopped (the smaller pieces the better) Canadian bacon to the egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread 1/4 of the mixture over each half English muffin.

You could easily mince vegetables in there, leftover cooked veggies, whatever you want to add. It's also good with a little cumin, or curry powder even. Have fun!

*Bring the water to a boil, carefully add egg, boil for about 6 minutes. The white should be all cooked, but the yolk still very mushy. I would not cook soft boiled egg too far ahead of time, though hard boiled eggs last for days.

Not all meals you eat have to be fuffy and complicated!

Be good n stuff!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pineapple Guava Bread

Last year my friend gave me a few Pineapple Guavas to taste and I thought they were great, so this year when she offered to give me some I jumped at the chance. Well, I got a lot of them! 

 This is what I had leftover fruits after my cooking attack today!

After a few minutes of "what on earth am I gonna do with this?" I looked online for ideas. In a forum somebody mentioned using this in a bread instead of bananas. Now I had been meaning to make my banana bread for a while, so here we go! Now the original recipe is from Cooking Light (November 2007 I believe) but I thought that version was still a little too fatty, so I played with the butter vs apple juice content and the spices until I got it to where I wanted it. So I believe I changed it around enough to where it's mine... that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

This time around, I changed the fruit, I doubled the recipe, and I added chopped up crystallized ginger. I was alone at home when I made this, so my hands were too dirty to take pictures of the process, but the sun was hitting my kitchen this afternoon so I'm purty proud of my "after" pictures! Here's the recipe!

This is Bread #1 right out of the oven 

Pineapple Guava Bread
Makes 2 Bread
Per Bread: 8 servings*, 4 pts/serving

1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup bron sugar
1/4 Cup butter
6 TBSP Apple Sauce unsweetened
1 cup egg beater
3 cup, white flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
2 cup pineapple Guava, chopped
2 TBSP crystallized ginger, chopped small
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking spray
Nutmeg (whole for grating)

1- Preheat over at 350F

2- Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until well mixed, add apple sauce and beat a little more. Add eggs beater slowly while mixing well.

3- Sift flour and baking soda and spices together and add to the wet mixture alternating with the yogurt. You want to start and finish with the flour. Do not over-mix! The more you mix, the denser it will be.

4- Fold in the pineapple guava, ginger, and vanilla extract and pour the whole thing in 2 9X5 inch pan that you pre-sprayed with cooking spray. Grate nutmeg on top before putting in the oven.

5- Bake for about 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 8-10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

*The original recipe was 10 serving per bread which would be 3 pts here. To me those slices are too thin. I want a REAL slice!

Source: Adapted (a lot) from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007 p. 407 (November 2007) 

This is Bread #2 right out of the oven!

So once it was completely cooled, I wrapped one of the bread in plastic, then foil, then plastic again just to be sure, and put it in the freezer. the other one is waiting for my husband to be tasted. I know better than start without him, there'd be none left by the time he makes it home!!

Half of the leftover fruits got peeled and diced, frozen on a cookie sheet and then "zipploc-ed" for future smoothies. The other half will be eaten tomorrow.

Soooo, if anybody has more of those to share, I'm in!! :o) I'll come back and comment on the taste once I have actually tasted it! ;op

Added Note: After tasting it, both my husband and I think it's absolutely a winner! Thankfully I froze one of them already!

Be good n stuff!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits

This is one of those recipes that has made the round on the Weight Watchers message boards since the dinosaurs. I have no idea who first posted it, or how many variations there are. I trot it out in one version or another every year.

The original version was a pumpkin mouse, but I turned it into neat little parfaits. These are good without the graham crumbs (and much more PointsPlus friendly), as shown in the picture, but sometimes you have to get fuffy!

Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits
Makes 4 parfaits, 5 P+ each (8 with the graham crumbs)

15 oz can of pumpkin puree
3 cups cool whip free, divided
1 cup skim milk
2 small boxes of sf/ff vanilla pudding
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)
1 cup Graham crumbles (divided in 4)

Beat pumpkin, milk, pudding mix and spice together with a whisk. Gently fold in 1 cup of the Fat Free Cool whip. (You can stop there and serve this alone (4servings at 4 P+) as a mousse along a nice cup of hot cider (3 P+).) ;o)

Putting it together:
Brush the bottom of each of your parfait glasses with butter substitute (ICBINB or something like that). Pour in each ¼ of the graham crumbs (if using) and pour out whatever doesn’t stick.

Delicately put in 1/8 of the pumpkin mousse, add ¼ cup of Cool whip (try not to mix it up so it looks cute), sprinkle with ½ of what’s left of each ¼ cup (after you coated the bottom of the Parfait glasses) of Graham crumbs, then add 1/8 of the Mousse again.

**I cover and refrigerate at that point for about 1 hour to let it set, and finish it up just before serving so it looks prettier.

Just before serving: Add ¼ cup of the Cool whip again and sprinkle with the rest of your Graham Crumbs. I stick a cinnamon stick in there to make it look fuffier. :o)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweet Potato Chili

This recipe is from an old-ish cookbook called "Slow Good". That cookbook came out in 2005 and has been a favorite of my family ever since! We make this recipe regularly. It's good as is, or with leftover chicken or pork thrown in. :o)

Sweet Potato Chili

4 servings, 7P+/serving

2 leeks, trimmed to white and light green parts, chopped
1 large zucchini, diced
1(15 ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapeno
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (no salt added)
2 1/2 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin seed crushed (ground can do, but put less!)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp red-wine vinegar

Place the leeks, zucchini, kidney beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, brown sugar, curry powder, cumin seeds, pepper, and cinnamon in a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker; mix well. With the back of a spoon, gently press the vegetables so they form an even layer. Place the potatoes on top, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge of the slow cooker. Place the green beans on top of the potatoes. Cover and cook until the vegetables are fork-tender, 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.* Stir in the vinegar.

* Newer slow cooker seem to reach a higher temperature on the "low" setting, adjust time accordingly.

Source: Slow good, Weight Watchers 2005, p. 126.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lobster Desperation Soup

This is the kind of simple but delicious lunch I make when I'm home and I got nothing quick to reach for. Thinking about it, I'll stop buying quick things to grab cause this is delicious! ;op

I walked around the kitchen a few times trying to figure out what to eat and finally made this up.

Lobster Desperation Soup
1 serving, 2 P+ (not counting the veggies)

1 french shallot, halved and thinly sliced
2 sm celery stalk, chopped
1 sm zucchini, diced
1 sm red bell pepper, diced
1 can lobster (or crab would do) undrained
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano, dried
1/4 saffron threads
Pepper to taste (no need of salt really*, taste at the end and adjust)

Heat up a Dutch oven and spray with cooking spray. Cook shallot, celery for about 1 minute, add remaining veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add spices, cook for about 30 seconds, add the brine of the lobster (not the flesh yet!) and boil for 1 minute or so, add broth and cook for about 5 minutes (until the veggies are cooked to taste).
Add lobster, adjust salt and pepper and heat through (about 1 minute).

*The brine is plenty salty!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

I made this last night on the fly, it turned out delicious! I didn't measure the spices, so go at it however you like. ;o)

I had a bit of leftover tandoori chicken, about 4 oz, which I added to this. That would up the P+ value 1 P+/serving.

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry
4 Servings, 3P+/serving*

2 tsp + 1 tsp olive oil
pinch of cayenne
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 medium butternut squash, cubed
1 medium onion thinkly sliced
1 small jalapeno, minced
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 cube frozen crushed garlic
1 can petite diced tomato drained
1 can chickpea rinsed and drained
3 cups (more or less) broth (veg if vegan, I used chicken cause it was open)
Curry powder, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper to taste**

Pre-heat oven to 400F

In a small bowl, mix 2 tsp oil, pinch of cayenne, 1/4 tsp ground cumin and 1/2 tsp curry powder. In a large bowl, coat the butternut squash cubes with the oil/spice mix. Let sit a few minutes. Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil (keeps down the cleaning!) and lay the squash in one layer. Bake until lightly browned + or - 30 minutes.

In a dutch oven, heat up 1 tsp of oil, and sauteed the onions until softened and starting to get a bit golden. Meanwhile, in a small bowl (I used the same one I used for the spices and oil), mix the crushed garlic, the tomato paste, and whatever spice you choose to use.**

Add the jalapeno to the onions and cook a few more minutes, throw in the tomato paste mixture and cook mixing well, until it starts to to caramelize a bit (it's real quick!). Add the diced tomatoes and the chickpeas and the broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If you have plenty of time, you can cook longer, I was getting hungry.

Add the squash carefully (so it won't mush all up) and cook another 5 minutes.

*I don't count the butternut squash or the tomatoes.
** Remember you put some in the squash already!

  • That would be delicious with cilantro and a TBSP of lemon juice added at the end, but I had neither..
  • It would also be delicious with home made garam masala and whole spices instead of curry powder and ground cumin, but I was in a hurry.

Have fun in the kitchen!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Butternut Squash Roasted with Harissa

I had leftover Harissa that I didn't know what to do with, and I decided to get creative. This recipe is a mix of personal ideas, several recipes I've seen on the web. It's very simple, and gives you a lot of latitude. It's very spicy! So feel free to modify the Harissa recipe. Better yet, just buy pre-made Harissa and then it's a snap to prep!

This is delicious!

Butternut Squash Roasted with Harissa
4 servings, 2P+/serving

Harissa (store bought Harissa is perfectly fine, just forget this part):
10-12 dried red chili peppers
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons olive oil (normally it's more than that, but I try to keep it to a minimum)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Remove stems and seeds from chilies, soak in warm water about 20 minutes to plump up. Meanwhile, sauteed the spices in a dry cast iron pan until just browned (fragrant).

Put everything in a mortar and grind everything together with a pestle until it makes a more or less even paste. If you want to it to be super smooth, you might want to grind the spices first in a grinder, but I like it more "natural looking".

1 large butternut squash peeled and cubed
1 TBSP Harissa*
1TBSP olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a small bowl, mix Harissa, oil and lemon juice (if using). In a large bowl toss the squash cubes with the harissa mix well.

Spread the squash cubes on a baking pan (big enough to make 1 layer) and let sit a few minutes. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes (a bit browned is good, but don't let the Harissa burn).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Spiced-up Pumpkin Soup

This is a fall favorite for me. Once September comes to an end, and it starts smelling like fall, I bring up this soup and make it almost once a week until January. It's simple, it's easy, and it's DELICIOUS!

Spiced-up Pumpkin Soup
6 servings, 2 pts/serving

2 limes
2 tsp olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin (roast and grind yourself, so much better!)
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne (I put more)
5 cup vegetable broth
2 cans (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin puree (not pie filling!!)
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 TBSP sugar
¾ tsp salt
3 TBSP fat free half & half*

Zest one of the limes, then squeeze enough juice from the limes to equal 2 TBSP. Set zest and juice aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden about 6 minutes. Add cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool about 5 minutes.

Transfer the onion mixture to a food processor and add 1 cup of the broth; puree. Return to the Dutch oven; add the remaining 4 cups of broth, the pumpkin, the apple sauce, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved lime juice.

Ladle the soup into 6 bowls. Drizzle each with ½ TBSP half & half (or yogurt) and swirl lightly with the tip of a knife. Sprinkle with the reserved lime zest.

That soup is truly delicious and keeps well for a few days!

*I use plain non-fat yogurt instead of half & half just because fat free half & half sounds spooky to me. If you like it use it!

Source: Simply Bueno, Weight Watchers p.41

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Scallop and Vegetable Stir-Fry

One of the many things Weight Watchers has always been good at is coming up for ways of making cooking quick and easy. A few years ago, the cookbook "Shortcuts" came out, and my husband and I have used it extensively. Still do!

Those are not Foofy cuisine, but quick and easy satisfying meals for those days when you just don't have time for anything else.

Scallop and Vegetable Stir-Fry
4 servings, 4 P+/serving

2 tsp canola oil
1 1/2 pound sea scallops
1 tsp dark asian (dark) sesame oil
1 12 oz bag assorted fresh vegetable cut for stir-fry
1 TBSP minced, peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 TBSP reduced-sodium soy sauce

1- Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on it. Add the canola oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the scallops and stir-fry just until opaque in the center; about 3 minutes on each side (do not overcook!). Transfer to a plate.

2 Heat the sesame oil in the skillet. Add the vegetables and stir-fry just until tender; about 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic; stir-fry just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 cup water and cook, covered, until the vegetables are crisp-tender; about 1 minute. Stir in the scallops and the soy sauce; cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until heated through, about 30 seconds. Serve at once.

Note: It always cracks me up when a recipe says to serve "at once", I feel like I have to run to the dinning room as soon as I turn off the fire. "Quick, quick! It has to be served AT ONCE!" ;o)

Source: Shortcuts, Weight Watchers, p. 27

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chicken and Broccoli with Black bean sauce

I have so many cookbooks that it takes me some time to work my way through new ones. Last spring we got the Fresh Fabulous, Fast cookbook here at Weight watchers, and I am now working my way through it. Here's my favorite so far:

Chicken and Broccoli with Black bean sauce
4 servings, 6 P+/serving

3/4 pound chicken tenders, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
4 cup small broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP water
2 TBSP black bean sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 (8.8 ounce) package cooked brown rice (about 1 3/4 cups)

1- Spray a large wok or skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry until browned and just cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to plate.

2- Add broccoli, bell pepper*, and 1/4 cup of the water to wok; stir-fry until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add chicken, black bean sauce, sugar, and remaining 2 TBSP water; stir-fry 1 minute.

3- Heat rice according to package directions for microwave. Serve chicken and vegetables over rice.

* You can add more vegetables to this and bump the volume and the taste!

Source: Fast, Fresh, Fabulous Weight Watchers p. 129.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Garden Vegetable Soup Variations

If we think basic recipe when following the Weight Watchers program, what do we think of?

Yup! The 0 PointsPlus soup! Here's a few variations found on the website. The possibilities are endless. Feel free to modify!

Fresh vegetable soup
12 servings, 0P+/serving

2 cloves garlic, minced (medium)
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrot, diced
1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced (medium)
2 small zucchini, diced
2 cups green cabbage, shredded
2 cups Swiss chard, chopped
2 cups cauliflower, small florets
2 cups broccoli, small florets
2 tsp thyme, fresh, fresh, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp parsley, or chives, fresh, chopped
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, optional

Put garlic, vegetables, thyme and broth into a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered, about 10 minutes.

Stir in parsley or chives; season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

Asian-Inspired Vegetable soup
12 servings, 0 P+/serving

2 cups bok choy, chopped
2 cups chinese cabbage, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (medium)
1/4 cup ginger root, thinly sliced and julienned
4 small raw oyster mushrooms, chopped
2 cups scallion, chopped
1 cup canned water chestnuts, sliced
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups snow peas, stringed
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Put bok choy, Chinese cabbage, garlic, ginger root, mushrooms, scallions, water chestnuts, red pepper, red pepper flakes and broth into a large soup pot; stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered, for about 10 minutes. Toss in snow peas during the last 3 to 4 minutes of simmering.

Stir in soy sauce and cilantro. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

Mexican-Style Vegetable Soup
12 servings, 0P+ serving

2 cups green snap beans, fresh, cut into bit-size pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced (medium)
2 small zucchini, cubed
14 oz canned diced tomatoes, Mexican-style preferred
1 medium spanish onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped tomatillos
1 medium jalapeٌno pepper, finely chopped (don't touch seeds with bare hands)
1/2 medium poblano chile, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin,
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, water-packed (about 2 peppers)
1 Tbsp canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 cup cilantro, fresh, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3/4 tsp table salt

Place green beans, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, tomatillos, jalapeno, poblano, oregano, cumin and broth into a large soup pot. Puree roasted peppers with chipotle in adobo sauce in a blender or food processor; stir into soup. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, partly covered, for about 10 minutes.

Stir in cilantro, lime juice and salt. Serve. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

Italian-Style Vegetable Soup
12 servings, 0P+/serving

2 cups escarole, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (medium)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cups spinach, baby leaves
2 small zucchini, cubed
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
6 cups vegetable broth
28 oz canned diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
3/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
1/4 cup basil, fresh, leaves

Put escarole, garlic, onions, spinach, zucchini, red pepper, fennel, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, thyme and oregano into a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, partly covered, for about 10 minutes.

Stir in salt, black pepper, parsley and basil. Serve. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

See how easy that is? Fat free broth, 0 P+ vegetables, and fat free seasonings. One basic recipe, endless possibilities!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Food: Lemon Cucumber

This is not a recipe, but rather an add-on to this week's posting.

I tried something new and I wanted to share! My friend and partner in crime for my Friday meetings, Sally Waters, had told me about these little guys, which I had never seen or heard of. When Dan and I went to the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building yesterday (Saturday) I decided to keep an eye out for lemon cucumber and found some.

Cucumbers are tricky because they don't really cook very well. I think the best way to enjoy them is to throw them in a salad. I decided to keep it very simple, so that we could enjoy their full flavor.

I chopped the cucumbers and halved tiny tomatoes (see above how tiny they are!) I got from the Civic Center Farmer's market Wednesday.

Look how pretty it looks all chopped up together!

I wanted to find something that would compliment the flavors well, and I remembered that I hadn't yet tried the Raspberry-Balsamic vinegar I got at the Stonestown Farmer's last Sunday.

I didn't want to put too much vinegar as to not overwhelm the taste of the cucumber in there, so I put only 2 tsp.

Add a little salt, pepper, and you've got a simple, delicious salad! The idea was to have some leftover for dinner, but the whole thing went for lunch. Victory!

I think those little dudes (the cucumbers) are very seasonal, but I think they are worth the efforts. Cucumber taste fresh already, but I think these have this light summery freshness to them which made this simple salad all the more enjoyable.

Thanks to Sally for giving me a heads up on those, I will get them again!

P.S. Little shameless plug, (it's my blog, I can! ;op) Sally has her own line of skin care products which I cannot live without now. It's called Birdy Botanicals. Give them a look, they have saved my highly allergic skin!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cotelettes de porc a la jamaicaine

This recipe is simple, quick and gives a lot of taste to simple pork chops. I have used the same recipe on chicken with great results.

The recipe calls for oven baking, but I've done it on the grill too. It's just one of those easy, good for everything recipe!

Cotelettes de porc a la jamaicaine (Jamaican style pork chops)
4 servings, 5P+/serving

4 boneless pork chops (about 1 lb total)
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP orange juice
1 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, minced
1 tsp Jamaican pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt,
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch cayenne pepper

1- Make little cut on the side of each chop of about 1 inch. In a bowl mix all remaining ingredients. Rub the mixture on each pork chops and put in an oven safe dish in one layer.

2- Cook pork chops for 18 minutes or so at 375 F, or until they are golden but still pink inside, turning once.

Source: Coup de Pouce, Au menu ce soir, p. 36

Friday, August 19, 2011

Apple-Fennel slaw

This recipe is a creation of mine. I was looking for a good fennel salad, and was tired of my usuals, so I experimented. I'm not beyond bragging, this was really good!

I've shared it on Facebook already, but thought I'd share it here for posterity (HA!)

Apple -Fennel slaw
6 servings, (recipe builder says 1p+/serving, but that counts the apple and fennel. I protest!)
2 granny smith apple, thinly julienned
1 fennel bulb, cored, thinly julienned
2 TBSP lemon juice (or so)
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar, divided
1 (generous) TBSP dijon mustard (I use whole grain, it's prettier)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 packet stevia (or 1 tsp sugar)
1/2 TBSP (or more) poppy seeds
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix 1 TBSP of the vinegar with the lemon juice and pour over the apple juliennes as soon as they are cut (to keep from browning). Put in a big bowl

Mix the mustard, the remaining vinegar, the oil and the stevia in a little bowl, pour over the slaw. Add poppy seeds, salt and pepper and toss well.

Source: My own brain, please credit said brain if you're going to reuse ;op

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eggplant-Chicpea Curry

I have entirely too many cookbooks, and I am purging them every once in a while. I do however have a very extensive and, if I say so myself, well researched vegan cookbooks collection.

This recipe is from a favorite of mine: Appetite for reduction from Isa Chandra Moskiwitz. Isa's recipes are sometimes a little complicated and out there, but her cooking is very creative, and inspiring.

This recipe is one of the simplest most satisfying "whole meal" that I've gotten out of that book.
Don't let the cooking time and long instruction get to you, it is very easy to make and a good way to deal with eggplant when one feels a little intimidated. :o)

Eggplant-Chickpea Curry
6 serving, 4 P+/serving

1 tsp oil
1 small white onion, chopped finely
3 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, spicy!)
1 pound tomatoes, chopped roughly (about 2 cups)
2 pound eggplant, cubed (3/4 inch)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mild curry powder
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup vegetable broth
1 (15 ounces) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cup)
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Use a little nonstick cooking spray if needed. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes (if using), and saute for another minute. Mix in the tomato, eggplant, and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. The tomato should deglaze the pan (if not I cheat and throw in a TBSP or a little more vegetable broth).

Mix in the curry powder, garam masala, and ground cumin. Add the vegetable broth, stir and cover the pot. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and cook with the pot covered for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The eggplant should be mostly broken down by this point. Add the chickpeas and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes,stirring for about a m inute at first (to further break down the eggplant) and then occasionally.

Taste for salt and serve garnished with cilantro.

Source: Appetite for Reduction, Isa Chandra Moskowitz p. 230.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Indian-Spiced Pork Chops

This recipe is for pork chops, but I have used this marinade for chicken (for kebabs) with great results. It's simple and easy, and quick!

I find that it taste better if marinated overnight.

Indian-Spiced Pork Chops
4 servings, 5 P+/serving

2 TBSP plain Yogurt fat free
2 tsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne
4 (5oz) lean pork loin chops

In a zip-close bag, combine the yogurt, the honey, the garlic, the vinegar and the spices; add the chops and seal. Turn around to coat the chops completely. Marinate in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

Prep the grill for a medium fire and spray the grill rack with cooking spray.

Remove the chops from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the chops, turning once, until the temp of each is 164 F (about 4 minutes on each side).

From: Grill it! Weight Watchers 2005, p. 52

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sauteed Summer Squash with Tomatoes and Corn

This is a simple little side dish that I used to make all the time. A few months ago, I dug out my Simply Bueno cookbook, and rediscovered this along with a few other favorites that I had forgotten about. It is delicious, and perfect for summer time because it's as good hot as it is cold.

It's one of those recipe that you can easily spice up, or spice down depending on taste! :o)

Sauteed Summer Squash with Tomatoes and Corn
4 servings, 3 P+/serving

1 TBSP canola oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb zucchini, diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
3/4 cup fresh or thawed corn kernels
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add the jalapeño and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, corn, salt and ground pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro and serve.

Source: Simply Bueno (Weight Watchers) p. 197

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Peach and Ginger Crepes

We recently moved our dinning table closer to the window, and on beautiful mornings, the sun hits right on our table as we sit there having breakfast. It's sort of a magical thing when we have time to just sit and enjoy the morning together. On the weekend we like to indulge a little bit and sometimes we go hunting for different breakfast that does not include eggs or oatmeal. :o)

This recipe is one of those "special breakfast" recipe that we don't do too often, but that is so delicious, that we keep it in reserve "just in case". Thing is, it's easy and quick enough to be an every day recipe and it's not THAT high in P+ really, I did add some FF cool whip to it, because I was feeling fuffy!

Peach and Ginger Crepes
4 servings, 4P+/serving

4 ripe peaches, about 1 1/2 pound, halved, pitted, chopped
2 TBSP granulated sugar
2 TBSP chopped candied ginger
2 tsp lemon juice
4, 7inches, ready-to-use crepes
2 tsp confectioners' sugar

Combine the peaches, granulated sugar, ginger, and lemon juice in a medium bol; let stand 10 minutes.

Place 1/4 of the mixture in the center of each crepe; roll up to enclose the filling. Place each filled crepe, seam side down, in the middle of a breakfast plate. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Source: Mix it Match It cookbook, Weight Watchers 2007, Breakfast section.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shredded Green Beans, with lemon-lime zest and snipped chives

This is another recipe that is delicious on the spot, but also makes great picnic/lunch fare.

You can get fuffy cutting the beans, or you can put them through a chopper, it won’t be nearly as pretty, but it will be a lot faster.

Shredded Green Beans, with lemon-lime zest and snipped chives
4 servings, 2 P+/serving

3/4 pound green and/or yellow beans, tops and tails trimmed
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP water
Grated zest of 1 lg lemon
Grated zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Fine salt and pepper to taste

Slice beans on a diagonal into roughly 1/8 inch pieces. The result should be tiny, angular zeros.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beans and stir until coated with oil, then add the water. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes, until the beans are brightly colored and tender; give the pan a good shake midway through to ensure even cooking.

Remove from the heat and stir in the zests and half of the chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve garnished with the remaining chives.

Source: Super Natural Cooking, Heidi Swanson, P. 91

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

The funny story about this recipe is that it was in a Weight Watchers magazine years ago (2006) and since, every summer, my friend and I have the same email conversation: “Do you still have that watermelon salad? You know the one with the cucumber?” and it goes on, one of us find it and we happily make it all over again.

You can’t get simpler than this, it’s delicious too!

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad
4 servings, 0 pts/serving

2 pounds seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into ¾ inch chunks (about 3 cups)
2 Kirby cucumber, thinly sliced
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 TBSP Red-wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Let stand until the flavors are blended about 15 minutes.

Source: Weight Watchers Magazine July/August 2006 p. 131

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jamaican-Style Potato Salad

Ok, honestly I haven’t done this in a while. Every summer I bring it back out though, and carry it around from potlucks to BBQs, make a batch on Sunday and happily eat it for the next 2 days.

It’s one of those easy, recipes that are good right away, or a day and a half later. I got so many good comments about it that I’m never afraid to bring it along.

Jamaican-Style Potato Salad
6 servings, 3 P+/serving

1 ½ pound new potatoes, halved if large (I like to mix red and yellow for looks)
1 TBSP canola oil
2 Celery stalks, finely chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
½ green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
½ red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
½ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
¼ cup apple-cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard (I like to use whole grain, prettier)
½ tsp sugar free jerk seasoning
½ tsp salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add potatoes, return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain in a colander; set aside.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the celery, onion, and bell peppers; cook, stirring, until softened, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into ¾ inch chunks; transfer to a serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss gently to coat. Serve within 4 hours or refrigerate, covered up to 2 days. For the best flavor serve at room temperature.

Source: Weight Watchers, Savoring Summer 2007, p. 70.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tuscan Potato and Pepper Packets

Packet side dish #2!

Again, I think these are the perfect side dishes for the grill. Easy to put together, no mess, no dishes (YAY!), you can throw it together in minutes and let it do its thing while you are grilling away.

I put in the very explicit explanations for those who have never done packets, but bottom line is: prep the food, make packets big enough for the steam to have space (so the packet doesn’t blow open during cooking), and make sure to seal well so that the steam doesn’t escape.

This has been a favorite of ours for a long time now!

Tuscan Potato and Pepper Packets
4 servings, 4 P+/serving

1 TBSP olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP chopped, fresh rosemary
½ tspsalt
½ tsp black pepper (I put coarsely ground)
1 pound red potatoes, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced.

Prep the grill: Medium fire (or put the packet on the side away from the hot flame).

Prep the food: Combine the oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the potatoes, bell pepper, and onion and toss to coat evenly.

Make the packets: Tear off 4 (15x18 inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil and spray with nonstick spray. Place one-fourth of the potato mixture in the middle of each foil sheet. To close the packets, bring the two opposite long sides of the foil up to meet in the center; fold the edges over twice to make a tight seal. Double fold the open sides to seal the packets.

Cook: Place the packets on the grill rack and grill, covered, until the potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes (it’s ok if it over cooks a little, it’s even better!). With one or two wide spatulas, transfer the packet to a cutting board; carefully open, standing back to avoid the steam. Transfer the mixture from each packet to a plate.

Source: Weight Watchers, Best Eats 2008, p. 159

Note: It’s a good recipe to prep ahead and bring to a BBQ somewhere. If you make the packets ahead of time, the potatoes and peppers have time to marinate, and you can just throw them on the grill. I’m not fuffy about opening the packets, I just eat it straight out of the packet. That’s how we roll ;o)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nutmeg Carrots

I like packet grilling for side dishes. It’s an easy, low maintenance way to cook a very flavorful side dish while the rest of the meal is grilling away.

Usually, I prepare the packet first, put it on the side of the grill where it slowly cook while the meat is doing its thing over the fire.

This one is simple and delicious and goes with pretty much anything.

Nutmeg Carrots
4 servings, 2 P+/serving

6 carrots, diagonally sliced (1/4 inch thick), about 4 cup
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 TBSP water
2 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper (I like coarsely ground for such things, prettier if nothing else)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly ground is MUCH better) *

Prep the grill: Medium fire (or put the packet on the side away from the hot flame).

Prep the food: Mix all ingredients in a bowl and toss well.

Making the packet: Place the mixture in the center of a double layer of heavy duty, extra-wide foil, about 24 inches long. Make a packet by bringing 2 sides of the foil to meet in the center, and pressing the edges together to two ½ inch folds. Then fold the edges of each end together to two ½ inch folds. Allowing room for the packet to expand, crimp the edges together to seal.

Please the packet on the grill rack and grill until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Remove the packet from the grill and open it carefully to allow the hot steam to escape (it WILL burn!). Place in a serving dish or divide evenly in 4 plates.

*Cinnamon works too

Source: Weight Watchers Grill It! 2005, p. 129

Monday, May 23, 2011

Molasse-Glazed Beef Kebabs

These skewers are delicious, a little goes a long way as they are packed with flavor! For Memorial day, it's neat to have something tasty and healthy on the grill!

These makes 8 servings of about 3 oz each (cooked). I will usually serve these with the Ginger Chicken Yakitori , a grain salad and a vegetable side. For about 12-15 PointsPlus, I have a full delicious filling meal, and I don't feel like I'm missing a thing. When everybody is scarfing down burgers, I like to have little servings of different things. Makes me feel like I'm having a lot of food and still remain right on plan.

Molasse-Glazed Beef Kebabs
8 servings (or 6), 5 P+/serving (or 7P+)

1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
2 garlic cloves minced (or pressed)
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 lbs trimmed beef steak (round), in 2 inches cubes

Tool: Metal skewers (on high heat, bamboo or wood will disintegrate eventually even if you soak them forever.

In a medium saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil on high heat and reduce to 1/3 cup, about 3 minutes. Stir in the molasses and continue to boil until mixture reduces to 1/2 cup. Take off the fire.

Whisk in the garlic, salt and pepper. Throw in the beef cubes and toss to coat well. Thread the beef cubes on 8 metal skewers and grill over high heat turning frequently until meat is well browned 8 to 10 minutes.

Adapted from an American Test Kitchen's recipe :o)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ginger Chicken Yakitori

It's summer again! Well almost! It's grilling time for sure! Here's a favorite recipe from an older Weight Watchers cookbook It's delicious, easy, and a little different than the usual grilling fare.

Ginger Chicken Yakitori
6 serving, 4 P+/serving

3 TBSP reduced sodium Soy sayve
2 TBSP mirin (cooking rice wine)
2 TBSP Sake or dry Sherry
2 TBSP grated, peeled fresh ginger
2 tsp sugar
1 pound skinless bonless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 scallion, thinly sliced

1- Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray. Preheat the grill to medium-high. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water 30 minutes.

2- Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake, ginger, and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the sauce is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat; set aside.

3- Thread the chicken on 6 (8 inch) skewers dividing it evenly. Place the skewers on the grill rack and grill, turning frequently and basting with the sauce, until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with the sliced scallion. Serve hot or warm.

Great idea: Grill a few green onion whole and serve with the chicken (baby leeks would be even better!)

From: Sizzle it, Weight Watchers 2008, p. 27.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Orange Chicken

This recipe is so delicious and simple. It looks good, so it's good for entertaining, and it makes great leftovers, so it's perfect for lunches. What else can we ask for?

Orange Chicken
6 servings, 5P+/serving

1 med. orange
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
6 chicken thighs, skinless, boneless, trimmed (4 oz each)

Preheat the oven to 350F

Zest the orange and mince the zest. Mix the zest with the oil, the paprika, the rosemary, the garlic salt and the pepper.

Supreme the orange (making sure to remove all the "white").

Rub the zest-spice mixture over the 6 chicken thighs and put in a roasting pan (I used a pyrex oven dish), spread the orange pieces around the chicken thighs.

Roast until cooked through, about 45 minutes (until juices runs clear when poked).

Cover with a foil and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Greatest Hits Cookbook, 40th Anniversary collector edition (Weight Watchers) p. 119

Friday, April 1, 2011

Middle Eastern Beef Kebabs

This is a recipe that we always end up going back to. It's delicious! We make it on the grill instead of the broiler, but it's the same thing.

Middle Eastern Beef Kebabs
4 servings, 6P+/Serving

1 onion, cubed
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
4 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp finely chopped fresh time (1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp paprika
Dash cayenne
1 lb boneless beef tenderloin, in 1 inch cubes
1 bay leaf
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 8 squares
8 medium mushroom caps
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

1- Combine first 10 ingredients in a blender or food processor, pureed. Place marinade in a Ziploc bag and add the beef and the bay leaf. Turn to coat and let marinate 1 hour to overnight in the fridge, turning occasionally. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking, drain the marinade into a little saucepan and bring to a boil. Keep boiling, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.

2- Preheat the broiler or the grill. Thread the onion wedges, bell pepper, mushrooms, and beef onto 4 skewers, beginning and ending with the onion wedges. Set the skewers on the broiler or grill rack, keeping the rack 2-3 inches from the heat. Broil about 5 minutes on each side, basting with the marinade when turning. Discard the bay leaf.
Sprinkle the kebabs with the parsley and serve with any remaining marinade on the side.

Source: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook, P. 192

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black Bean Mini-Burgers

I have been going over my old blogs, reviving some of them, putting aside others, and I found a few things that I had forgotten about. One of them is my Black Bean Mini Burgers. Those little guys are great for dinner, but even more for packed lunches!

I made up the recipe by mixing up a few recipes that I had found on different food blogs. I didn't want to put in bread crumbs, so somebody suggested to use cornmeal instead. Later on I would a little bits and pieces of roasted red pepper to it but not too much, so it doesn't start falling apart.

Here's what I did:

Black Bean Mini-Burgers
9-10 servings 1P+/serving

1 can of black bean, rinsed drained
1/2 carrots grated (very mushy, but that's ok)
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup red bell pepper minced,
1 whole egg lightly beaten
4 tsp (more or less) fine cornmeal
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 Indian red chili powder
Pinch garam masala
Salt, pepper

I mashed the beans with a fork, it makes a coarser texture than processing it. Then I added all the ingredients and mixed until combined. The mixture was pretty wet, but I managed to make 18 tiny patties that I put on a rimmed baking sheet (I covered it with aluminum foil and used cooking spray, less cleaning).

I pre-heated the broiler, sprayed garlic olive oil on the patties and then put them about 4-5 inch under the broiler for 3 minutes. Then I took them out, flipped them gently (use a flat spatula to keep half the patties from staying on the sheet) and cooked them another 3 minutes.

Finally I flipped them again and cooked them about 1 minute. Don't overcook them cause they'll get dry. Keep an eye on them!

For dinner I'd serve 4 patties (2 P+) in my bento I put 2 for 1 P+.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Grains Power!

I get a lot of questions about grains. I use grains a lot, and often people tell me that they would like to experiment, but aren't sure how. I thought it might be helpful to give a little "How to" of my favorite grains.

I cook grains with very little fat if any. Some will say that you need to add oil (or butter) to this, see what you like and go from there. This is how "I" like to cook them.

(also bulghur or burghul) is a cereal food made from several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. Its use is most common in Middle Eastern cuisine, Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. Bulgur is easier to find than ever, but best bet is health food stores, specialized groceries etc.

Uses: I use instead of rice (in anything) or in tabbouleh.

I put 1 cup of bulgur in a tupperware along with salt, pepper and whatever spices I want (I like a little cumin, but since I make it in batches, I try not to over spice so it will go with anything).Add 1 1/2 cup of boiling broth (generally veg. but chicken will do). I set it aside, covered for 40-45 minutes. Fluff, serve what you want, put the rest in the fridge for further use. It makes about 4 cups (depending on how big the grain is, how old it is, etc).

is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds it is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. It can be a little hard to find sometimes, Whole foods or Rainbow Groceries are your best bet. There is red and white Quinoa.

Uses: Quinoa is loaded with proteins, so it's very filling. I like to use Quinoa as a side dish with vegetables, but also as the main staple in my lunches. I now use red Quinoa almost exclusively because it looks cooler. There is no significant difference in nutritional value. ;o)

Rinse the grain thoroughly for a minute or two. That removes saponins that can still be on the grain and makes digestion a little difficult.On the stovetop, bring 2 cups of broth to a boil, put in the rinsed Quinoa and lower flame to a simmer. Let cook for 14-18 minutes. You will see the germ separating from the seed when it's ready (little circles).

Note: Quinoa can be a little tricky at first, but it's delicious and very filling!

couscous granules are usually made by rolling moistened coarsely ground semolina wheat into small balls, which are then coated with finely ground wheat flour.You can find is pretty much anywhere. There is whole wheat, and regular. I use whole wheat myself as it is much more tasty.

Uses: Couscous is fabulous to eat along with stew because it absorbs the juices and the flavor so easily.

You can't get easier than couscous. Add 1 1/2 cup of boiling broth to 1 cup of couscous, cover and let sit 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp of olive oil (and a little lemon juice is good too) salt and pepper and fluff with a fork. Et voila! People usually put butter in couscous, I don't. Your call!

Steel Cut Oats
Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces by steel rather than being rolled. They are golden in color and resemble small rice pieces.

Uses: I start a batch of SCO on Sunday everything to give me breakfast for the week. I'll put in a dollop of Greek yogurt and different toppings.. Favorites: slices of apples, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg; pureed pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices; Banana, raisins, caramel (shhhhh!). The possibilities are endless really!

Cooking (several days worth)
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and a stick of cinnamon. Add 1 cup of Steel cut oats and boil for about 1 minutes. Turn off the fire, cover the pot with the lid, let sit on the stove overnight.
The following morning, take what you need, mix with toppings, and put the rest in a sealed tupperware in the fridge for future use.

Note about grains:
It's sort of difficult to give you the PointsPlus value of grains because amount varies so much. The way I count it, I find the PointsPlus value of my start amount, dry, and then divide that by the number of portions I make. Use E-tools on that one, much easier!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Scarlet Barley

Feeling a little creative? I like interesting looking food. I feel that how my food looks impact strongly on how satisfied I really am with what I eat. That can sometimes mean long complicated preparation, and sometimes not!

This is a recipe I tried recently and I really enjoyed, both for its simple taste and its funky look! It will come out brightly colored by the beets, it's supposed to! I served that with white fish which I steamed in a bamboo steamer with broccoli and zucchini.

Note about the source: This recipe is from Isa Chandra Mosowitz's cookbook "Appetite for Reduction". I have 3 of her cookbooks now: Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance and Appetite for Reduction and I love every single one of them.

All of her recipes are Vegan (which I'm not really, but I do eat vegan meals quite regularly now) but far from the usual "fake meat eater food" you find in many vegan cookbooks, her recipes tend to be very inventive, tasty, and often very simple and frugal (cheap! I love it!).

If you like to cook and are feeling adventurous, give her a peek, you might just love it!

Scarlet Barley
6 servings, 3P+/serving

1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 tsp salt
1 beet (about 3/4 pound), grated
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Fresh dill, for garnish (optional)

Preheat a 2 quart pot over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for about 30 seconds. Add several pinches of pepper and the bay lead. Add the barley, broth, and salt; cover and bring to a boil. Once boilingm stir and lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When most of the water has absorbed, mix in the grated beet. Cook for about 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, mix in the lemon juice, and taste for salt. Cover and let sit for about 10 more minutes. Remove the bay lead and serve topped with fresh dill.

Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz 2011, p. 69

Monday, March 7, 2011

Turkey Mulligatawny

I cannot believe that I haven't shared this recipe already! This has been a favorite of mine for years, and for some reason is sort of slipped off my list. It is delicious, easy to make, and reheat perfectly. Love it!

Turkey Mulligatawny
4 servings

2 teaspoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup long grain white rice (I use bulgur instead)
2 teaspoon Madras curry powder (2 to 3)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small apple, unpealed and diced
1 pound bonless, skinless turkey breast cubed (3/4 inches)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until golden. 7-10 miuntes. Add the rice, curry powder, turmeric and cloves. Cook stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the broth, bell pepper, and apple; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the turkey and salt; return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered. until the turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season with the pepper, then sprinkle with the tomatoe and cilantro just before serving.

Weight watchers "In one pot" cookbook, p. 21

Monday, February 28, 2011

Spicy Molasse-Barbecued Drumsticks

This recipe is for the grill, but I've used it in the oven also. You can make the sauce in double or triple batch and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It's delicious with chicken, pork, even beef!

Spicy Molasse-Barbecued Drumsticks
2 servings, 5P+/serving

3 TBSP bottled chili sauce
1 1/2 TBSP plain or seasoned cider vinegar
1 TBSP light molasses
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp minced chipotle en abodo
1 garlic clove minced
4 (3oz) chicken drumsticks, skin removed

1 To make the molasses barbecue sauce, combine the chili sauce, vinegar, molasses, chili powder, chipotle en abodo, and garlic in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring, until thickened, 2-3 minutes.

2 Meanwhile, spray the grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare the grill. Place the chicken on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes. Brush the chicken with the barbecue sauce. Cook, turning the chicken, until deeply glazed and cooked through, 5-6 minutes longer.

On the Broiler:
Preheat broiler, broil chicken 5 inches from the heat, turning frequently for 12-13 minutes, brush with the sauce and broil 5-6 minutes longer turning once or twice.

Cooking times vary with the size of the drumsticks!

Dining for Two, p. 135 Weight Watchers 2004

Monday, February 21, 2011

Indian Lentil and Vegetable Stew

I usually make this with leftover yellow split peas puree the day after I cook an Indian feast. However, it is a very easy dish to make on its own, and makes a great 1 pot lunch to carry around.

Like most Indian food recipe, this reheats very well.

Indian Lentil and Vegetable Stew
4 servings, 5 P+/serving

1 3/4 cup water
1/2 cup yellow lentils or yellow split peas, picked over, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 tsp canola oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
1 (10 oz package) frozen brussels sprouts, thawed
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro

Combine 1 cup of water, the lentils, and turmeric in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook, covered, until popping subsides, 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and chile; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the Brussels Sprouts, tomatoes, the remaining 3/4 cup of water, and the salt; cook, covered, until the Brussels sprouts are tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir pureed lentils into the vegetables; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat; stir in the lemon juice and cilantro.

Stir it up, p 208, Weight Watchers 2006.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spicy Indian-Style Chicken Kebabs

This is a go to recipe for me when I'm in the mood for grilled food but the weather isn't cooperating.

It also makes great leftovers for lunch the following day.

Spicy Indian-Style Chicken Kebabs
4 servings, 4 P+/serving

3/4 cup fat free plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 TBSP chopped cilantro
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut in 24 cubes
1 each yellow, red, green pepper cut in 24 pieces (each)
1/2 tsp salt

Combine the yogurt, coriander, garlic, paprika, cayenne, and 2 TBSP of the cilantro in a zip top bag; add the chicken. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag; refrigerate, turning occasionally for 25-30 minutes to 1 day.

Remove chicken from the bag and thread evenly (along with the pepper pieces) on 8 skewers*. Sprinkle evenly with salt.

Spray broiler rack with cooking spray; preheat broiler. Place skewers on the rack and broil 5 inches from the heat turning frequently until chicken is cooked through (about 12 minutes). Sprinkle skewers with remaining cilantro and serve.

* If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 20 minutes before using to keep from burning.

Pantry to Plate p.160, Weight Watchers 2007.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Home-Style Meatloaf

Ok, I am the cook in the family, but the last year or so my husband jumped in and started cooking also. I'll be darned if he's not turning out to be at least as good a cook as I am.

This recipe is a little messy, but so worth it. It's delicious, makes tons of leftovers and freezes like a charm.

Home-Style Meatloaf
8 servings, 4 P+/serving

3/4 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup diced onions
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground pepper
3/4 pound ground skinless turkey breast
3/4 pound lean ground beef (7% fat or less)

1- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 5x9-inch loaf pan with foil

2- Combine the oatmeal, milk, broth, carrots, onion, egg, parsley, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gently mix the turkey and beef in a medium bowl. Add the turkey mixture to the oatmeal mixture; mix just until blended.

3- Spoon the mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf register 160F, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Remove meatloaf from the pan and cut in half. Slice one half and serve immediately (that always cracks me up "Quick! quick! serve it NOW!"). Let the other half cool completely, cut in two and wrap the two pieces separately, keep in the fridge or freeze to use later.

Beat Eats, p. 66, Weight Watchers 2008.