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!