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).