Monday, December 31, 2007

Micro - Baked Potatoes

I love potatoes any way you make them. Although they are a high-glycemic-index carb, potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and phenols like quercetin aned may even fight off liver cancer! That's a load of goodness!

They are also low in calories and very filling (not to mention cheap). I don't eat them everyday, but I do use them for quick meals and to fill the occasional hunger void I am feeling.

A a while ago I posted a recipe for a soup with beans and corn (Taco Soup). I will often micro - bake a small potato (2 pts) and cover it with a cup of the heated taco soup (1 pt). This is a good lunch or quick dinner on the run that fills me up and stays with me!

To micro-bake:
Scrub the potato (because you will want to eat the skin).
  1. Poke through the skin in a few places.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Place potato in microwave and cook on high for 3 1/2 minutes.
  4. Place potato in oven and cook for 7 - 10 minutes in the center rack.
  5. Slit open and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

High Fiber Waffles

I get asked for this recipe all the time. This makes great company breakfast or for a holiday morning. Two waffle squares withour syrup is only 3 points.

Preheat your waffle iron and spray it with cooking spray right before you fill it with batter.

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup oatmeal, ground (in your blender)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites (or one whole egg)
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix al dry ingredients. Make a well in the center. Pour wet into the well and mix well.
Bake in your waffle iron.

Don't Spill!

Ever wonder how professional cooks (and servers for that matter) move pans of water around the kitchen without spilling? Usually when we move pans of liquid (think about moving full pots of water or a water bath) the liquid sloshes around and spills.
To avoid this, instead of keeping your eyes on the pan you are carrying, look to the place you are going to place the pan. This works because focusing on the horizon gives you the balance you need to keep the liquid steady. Focusing on the liquid only makes your balance more unstable!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Non Fat Sour Cream

One pint of sour cream has 28 pts! Not that I would expect anyone to eat a pint of sour cream, but think of all the dips and sauces we put it into (and the baked potatoes we pile it on). Here is a way to make a pint of Non Fat Sour Cream Substitute with only 6 pts!

1 pint of non fat cottage cheese
2 Tblspn of skim milk
1 tsp of lemon juice

Just place all of that in a blender and blend until smooth. This can easily be used as a substitute in dips, on potatoes or in a cold sauce.

Here is an idea for a cold sauce (great on turkey or fish) that can be used as a dip for crudites as well:

1 pint of non fat sour cream substitute
1 med cucumber, grated and water squeezed out
2 tsp of dried dill or 1/4 fresh dill chopped

Just mix together and allow to rest several hours for the flavors to come together.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

This is a recipe for one big serving of oatmeal. I was never a fan of hot cereal, but since I started making my oat meal like this, I am hooked!

1 cup water
1 healthy pinch of salt
1 apple, cored sliced and diced (no need to peal)
1/2 cup rolled oats (old fashion)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 packet sweetener (optional)

Bring apple, water and salt to a boil in a small sauce pan.
Add oats and cinnamon. Cover and turn to low. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with sweetener and enjoy.

This is only 3 pts, or good for core. And it sticks with you all morning.
You can easily multiply this for more people.

If you don't feel like apple, add 1/2 a banana and a bit of nutmeg!

Make this ahead and you can heat it in a microwave.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pan Roasting Vegetables

A quick easy way to cook vegetables and to get some healthy oil is by pan roasting. You need a saute pan (nonstick is better here) with any lid that fits.

Cut your vegetable (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts all work well) in bit size pieces. Use one to 1 1/2 cup per person.

Heat your pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the vegetables. Allow them to sit (don't stir) for 1 minute. Toss them (or stir) and cook 1 minute. Toss and cook one minute more (that makes 3 minutes).

Season the vegetables with salt and pepper (add red pepper flakes and garlic if you like).

Immediately add 2 Tablespoons of water to the pan and cover. Cook for 2 minutes to allow the vegetables to steam.

Uncover and allow the water to evaporate and enjoy.

Only 1 point and you get a vegetable and a healthy oil into your diet!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Easy Chicken Posole

Posole is a corn product. This traditional Mexican soup is named for it. Although it looks like little balls of pasta, it is corn that soaked in a solution that makes it puff up. It is also known as hominy and can be purchased in cans, like beans.
Typically made with pork, my version is lightened up with chicken. This soup is really good, filling, easy on the waistline and easy to make! What more can you ask for?
If you have never eaten this, give it a try. It has become a favorite with my family and friends.

8 servings

5 cups water (lightly salted)
3 chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
2 t canola oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 sm onion, diced
1 T flour
1 chipotle pepper, diced (optional)
2 15 oz cans posole
2 14 oz cans stewed tomatoes (undrained)
4 t oregano

1 ½ cups shredded cabbage
¾ c radish shredded
¾ c green onion, sliced
1 lime (cut into 8 wedges)

1 ½ c jack cheese (optional)

Bring salted water to boil.
Add chicken, cover and simmer until cooked.
Remove chicken and cool.
Save liquid and shred chicken with a fork.

Sweat (saute but don't brown) onions and garlic in 2 t oil.
Add flour and stir. Add reserved chicken liquid. Add posole, tomatoes, chipotle and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 1 hour.

Stir in chicken and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve bowls of soup and let guests add cabbage, radishes, onion and cheese (and/or baked tortilla chips).

Without the chips and cheese this hearty soup is just 3 points per serving!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bread Crumbs

Most of us buy dried bread crumbs from the market. Dried crumbs are a concentrated (nutritionally dense) because the water is removed. If you make crumbs from fresh, whole grain bread they are not so dense. The result? The fresh crumbs are lower in calories:

½ cup of dried crumbs = 4 – 6 pts
½ cup of fresh crumbs = 1 – 2 pts

How do you make fresh crumbs? Just tear up your bread, throw it into a food processor or blender and whirl until you've created the texture you want.
Use the same as you would the dried crumbs.

In meatloaf or meatballs, try substituting oatmeal too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Make a Cup of Hot Cocoa

We know that chocolate is good for us and we need our calcium (not only do we need calcium for our bones, studies have shown calcium bonds with fat inside our bodies and pulls some of the fat we consume out before we digest it). So why not make a cup of hot cocoa to supply yourself with the milk you need and satisfy a craving for chocolate?

Microwave Hot Cocoa

1 heaping tsp of cocoa powder
pinch of salt (and maybe a dash of cinnamon)
1 Tblspn water

Stir and microwave for 15 seconds to allow the cocoa to bloom.

7 – 8 oz of FF milk and stir

Microwave one or more minutes; until the drink is hot.
Add Splenda or other sweetener to taste (1 packet is enough for my taste).

Enjoy this for only 2 points and one of your daily dairy / milk requirements!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Midwestern Vegetable Chowder

Much like a Manhattan Clam Chowder this one is all vegetable and a good filling option to have around for the holidays. For less than a point or good on the core plan, I like to eat a bowl before heading out to a holiday party or when I am just come in and need some food and warmth.

cooking spray
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
16 oz tomato sauce
1 14 oz can tomatoes with green chilis
3 boullion cubes
5 cups water
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper sauce
2 carrots, sliced
1 small zucchini, large dice
1 cup corn
1 cup cabbage, chopped

Saute the onions and garlic in a stock pot with the cooking spray until softened and starting to turn golden. Add everything up to the red pepper sauce.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Add remaining vegetables and cook for 20 minutes more.

Store in the refrigerator and eat 1or 1 1/2 cups heated in the microwave.

This is less than 1 point per cup!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes"

I am thinking about Thanksgiving and what I can have on the table that will be both healthy and delicious. Of course, I will have mashed potatoes, but I will also offer this alternative. Even if you don't like cauliflower (which is so good for you) try this; I think you might change your mind!

1 2 lb head of cauliflower
1/4 - 1/2 cup buttermilk (can use nonfat plain yogurt too)
pinch of nutmeg
salt & white pepper to taste

Cut/break up the cauliflower into flowerettes. Place in a pot of water and bring to a simmer.

Cook for 8 - 10, until tender (not tender crisp but tender all the way through).

Drain completely. Place in a food processor with spices and puree. Add as much buttermilk as need to allow the puree to become smooth but not too soft.

Eat up; this is 0 pts!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pumpkin Pudding

Here's a good snack or dessert that will satisfy that pumpkin pie craving. It was giving to me by a Weight Watcher member just last week.

16 oz can of pumpkin puree
1 c skim milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 box cheesecake or vanilla FF sugar free instant pudding mix
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tblspn Splenda (or equivalent sweetner)

Whisk the pudding with the milk. Blend in all the other ingredients.

Divide into 4 servings and chill.

1 pt each (or good on core)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Turkey stock: From Thanksgiving bones

Don't walk away from your turkey dinner without the bones! They make the best stock. And that stock will make a great turkey noodle soup or even a great soup with turkey meatballs!

Bones from a cooked turkey
1 peeled carrot, cut in half crosswise
1 celery stalk, cut in half crosswise
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
4 quarts cold water
1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon thyme
4 parsley sprigs 1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 425°.

Cut turkey carcass into quarters. Place the turkey bones, carrot, celery, and onion in a roasting pan. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes.

Place bones and vegetable mixture, 4 quarts water to completely cover, and remaining ingredients in a large stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 3 hours.

Strain through a sieve over a large bowl; discard solids. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill stock 8 hours or overnight. Skim solidified fat from surface and discard.

The stock when finished will have no points.
Because it has no salt, you must salt to taste when you make soup.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Garden Vegetable Pasta Pie

This is really a quick dish (don't let the list of ingredients scare you away). It is a great substitute for lasagna and a good thing to serve to vegetarians that carnivores will like too! And if you have a seldom used springform pan, it is a good excuse to use it!

1 Tblspn olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic. minced
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti cooked
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tblspn each, dried oregano, basil
1/2 tsp each, salt and pepper
1 15 oz container FF ricotta cheese
10 oz pkg frozen spinach, cooked
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 med zucchini, thinly sliced
2 oz mozzarella, grated

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 9 or 8 inch springform pan with cooking spray.
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until softened. Transfer to a bowl. Add the pasta and spices and toss well.
Steam the zucchini slices in the microwave, on high, for 4 minutes to soften.
In another bowl combine eggs, ricotta, spinach and 2 T of Parmesan.
Spread 1/2 of the pasta in the springform pan. Spread the riccotta mixture over the pasta. Top with remaining pasta. Lay the zucchini slices over the pasta and then lay the tomato slices on that.
Sprinkle the remaining cheeses over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 or 10 minutes more.

6 servings - 5 pts each
4 servings - 8 pts each

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Eat Red Cabbage

I love cabbage! Red cabbage with its beautiful color has 28X more flavinoids than green cabbage! Think of it as the crusader against cancer! While cabbage is generally good for you, red is fantastic! It is up there with spinach and broccoli!

Try this easy salad based on German Stlye Braised Cabbage:

Warm Cabbage Salad

2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 crisp, sweet apple, cut into matchsticks
¼ cup sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cabbage, caraway seeds and salt. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add apple, shallot, vinegar, mustard and pepper and stir until combined. Serve sprinkled with toasted walnuts.

This is 1 point per cup.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chocolate Biscotti

I have been gone too long and I am back at it! Here is a chocolate treat I made last night. Notice how little fat in this! If you actually get 36 -- 40 cookies, they will be about 1 point each! That is great considering they are pretty big and satisfying! If you don't like using Splenda, use all sugar, but they will be
Yield: 36 Servings

1 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
4 Eggs
1 Cup Wheat Flour
1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Cup Splenda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Cocoa
1 Cup Almonds, Chopped And Toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Combine all the ingredients except the almonds; mix well with a spoon. Stir in the
almonds until well blended; the dough will be thick and sticky.
Place half of the dough on a 10 x 15 inch rimmed cookie sheet that has been coated with nonstick baking spray. Form a slightly rounded 4 x 12 inch loaf that is about 1 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining dough on a second cookie sheet and bake for 30
Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
Allow the loaves to cool for 20 to 25 minutes, then cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Lay the slices cut side down on the cookie sheets and bake for 15 more minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake another 15 minutes or until very crisp. Allow to cool, then
store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Arroz Chicano

Here is an easy and healthy way to enjoy Mexican style rice. This works perfect every time and is good enough to eat on its own or even with some vegetarian refried beans as a meal. I have been using this for years. It works for Weight Watchers as a core food!

1 tsp oil (grapeseed or olive is best)
2 cloves of garlic. minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
1 cup of brown rice
1 can 10.5 oz vegetarian vegetable soup
2 cans of water

Heat oil in a 2 quart pot. add the pepper flakes and garlic to the hot oil and heat 30 seconds. Add the brown rice and stir occasionally.
When the rice starts to become fragrant (will smell like popcorn) add the soup and the water. Bring to a boil. Add oregano.
Cover and cook on lowest setting until the water is all absorbed (about 35 minutes). Allow to rest 5 - 10 minutes, covered, before serving.
Fluff with a fork (a spoon will crush the grains).

This can also be cooked in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees (after the rice comes to a boil).

Monday, July 23, 2007

20 Ways to Love Your Body

Compiled by Margo Maine, Ph.D.

Sometimes it is hard to appreciate our bodies. We really need to take care to treat our physical vessel well. No matter how we feel about how our bodies function or look, they are spectacular for what they do for us! Let's be nice to our bodies and let's not compare it to others because it is the best one we are going to have.

1. Your body is extraordinary--begin to respect and appreciate it.

2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do. Read it and add to it often.

3. Become aware of what your body can do each day. Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.

4. Create a list of people you admire: people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.

5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.

6. Don't let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy

7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like and that feel good to your body.

8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.

9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance. Try one!

10. Be your body's friend and supporter, not its enemy.

11. Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months.

12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.

13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.

14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don't exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.

15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body. Tell yourself you can feel like that again, even in this body at this age.

16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself--without mentioning your appearance. Add to it!

17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, "I'm beautiful inside and out."

18. Choose to find the beauty in the world and in yourself.

19. Start saying to yourself, "Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way."

20. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Buy the cheap stinky onions!

Oddly enough the hot stinky cheap onions have more cancer fighting vitamins than those really sweet ones! Here is a good way to cook them to make them sweet and delicious! In fact, when cooked they are always sweeter. The sweet varieties are best eaten raw because when cooked they are less sweet.

Peel and core (with your apple corer) a large onion - don't poke the corer all the way through.
Place the onion on a sheet of foil. Put a bullion cube in the core, top with a 1/2 teaspoon of a butter substitute, sprinkle with thyme and pepper. Pour a teaspoon of dry sherry over all and grill for 45 minutes or until completely soft. Open and enjoy - it will taste like sweet French Onion Soup! Make one for each person because you won't want to share!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Moroccan Vegetable Stew

Try this dish. It is a vegetable dish that is good for you and really satisfying. It is good with a small piece of grilled chicken or fish. The spice blend is warm and taste exotic. Once you've tried Moroccan food, you'll wonder why this style of cooking is not as popular as Asian cuisines!

1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup turnip chopped
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons raisins
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add turnip, onion, carrot, chickpeas and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in broth and the remaining stew ingredients (broth through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve with whole wheat couscous.

Per Serving: 341 Cal (14% from Fat, 19% from Protein, 66% from Carb); 17 g Protein; 6 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 2 g Mono Fat; 59 g Carb; 15 g Fiber; 17 g Sugar; 118 mg Calcium; 7 mg Iron; 828 mg Sodium

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Margaritas for a Crowd

Although Margaritas are not a low calorie option when comes to beverages, this is a real crowd pleaser! I make this, chill and put into pitchers. Everyone drinks it over ice, but you can shake it and pour it into martini glasses too.

24 oz frozen limeade
36 oz of water
12 oz light beer
12 oz can 7 UP
6 oz Triple Sec
18 oz Tequila

Mix and chill.

12 9 oz servings

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sour Cream Substitute

Usually, I am the first person to walk away from anything that is "mock". But in this case, I really like this as a low fat version of Sour Cream.

Place 1 cup of low fat or fat free cottage cheese in a blender with 1 tablespoon of FF Milk. Blend until smooth.

This is not quite as tangy as the real thing but is great in dips, cheese cakes, and even in those jello concoctions that call for sour cream (or try it in stroganoff or paprikash) . I often make low fat versions of sauces or dips that call for sour cream when catering using this method. My customers are always aware of the switch, but the guests never have a clue and seem to enjoy everything as much or more than the high fat versions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Berry Sauce

What could be more difficult than this trendy Italian dessert? This is actually so easy to prepare and you don't have any baking to do as you would with creme brulee or flan. You'll want to enjoy this with friends so go a head and doulbe or triple it!

Keep in mind, when working with gelatin (I love this but I am not a fan of Jello) that the gelatin melts at 86 degrees and starts to set at 68.

2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon lime zest

To prepare panna cotta, coat 4 (6-ounce) custard cups with cooking spray. Sprinkle gelatin over whole milk in a small saucepan; let stand 10 minutes. Cook milk mixture over medium-low heat 10 minutes or until gelatin dissolves (it doesn't need to boil), stirring constantly with a whisk. Increase heat to medium; add 2/3 cups sugar, stirring with a whisk until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add buttermilk and zest, stirring well. Divide mixture among prepared custard cups. Cover and chill at least 5 hours or up to overnight.

For the Sauce:
1/4 cup apple juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 cup mixed berries (I use frozen)

To prepare sauce, combine the apple juice, 2 T sugar, and lime juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; stir in blueberries. Cook 8 minutes or until blueberries are warm and begin to pop. Cool sauce to room temperature.

Place a dessert plate, upside down, on top of each custard cup; invert panna cotta onto plates. Serve with sauce. May garnish with fresh mint.

Per Serving: 165 Cal (5% from Fat, 10% from Protein, 85% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 1 g Tot Fat; 36 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 34 g Sugar; 149 mg Calcium; 111 mg Sodium; (that's 3 points)

Make the Mayo Light

I just love Mayo! Unfortunately it is about 98% fat or oil. Here is a an idea to get the flavor and feel of mayo and not the fat.

Replace the mayonnaise in tuna, egg, pasta and chicken salads with pureed, seasoned silken tofu or plain low-fat yogurt, dressed up with your favorite diced vegetables and seasonings. To make the tofu or yogurt taste more like mayo add a bit of mustard, white wine vinegar and salt to taste. Those are the ingredients that give Mayo its background flavors!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Diner Style Individual Meatloaves

These mini meatloaves are great! They are easy to make, cook quickly, preportioned and they freeze well! Kids love 'em too!

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/ teaspoon dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup, divided
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1 c oatmeal
2 tablespoons mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, thyme and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.
Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.
Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°.
Let stand for 5 minutes.

If you want gravy (which I always do) take a brown gravy envelop (such as McCormick) and mix as directed. Add an 8 oz can of tomato sauce or a 1/4 c of ketchup and a pinch of oregano and thyme. Reduce to desired consistency.

Per Serving: 492 Cal (42% from Fat, 32% from Protein, 25% from Carb); 39 g Protein; 23 g Tot Fat; 8 g Sat Fat; 10 g Mono Fat; 31 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 10 g Sugar; 60 mg Calcium; 5 mg Iron; 561 mg Sodium; 179 mg Cholesterol

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chef's Tip: Heat it up!

Adding some heat to your food can make it more interesting, challenging, allow you to cut back on the salt, and can even boost your metabolism. I find adding some heat to my food (I like it hot) also helps me feel full and saited faster.

Here are ate ways to heat up you meals:
1. Louisiana Hot Sauce
2. Red Pepper Flakes - when heating oil for a saute, add some flakes to season
the oil
3. Cayenne Pepper - use it like black pepper
4. Tabasco Sauce (red, green, garlic)
5. Jalapenos - fresh or pickled
6. Black, white or pink Pepper - try all the varieties
7. Wasabi - not just for sushi; add it to mashed potatoes for a zing
8. Chinese Mustard - mix some dry mustard with warm water to create a paste;
add to a stirfry at the last minute for flavor and a kick

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Arroz Chicano (Mexican Style Rice)

Rice is always a good side dish. My version of this Mexican classic is as good as it is easy. This is made with brown rice so you get you fiber in too. If you think you don't like brown rice, try this and you might change your mind. I like this version because it is a little more moist than the traditional rice.

1 tsp oil (grapeseed or olive is best)
2 cloves of garlic. minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup of brown rice
1 can 10.5 oz can vegetarian vegetable soup
2 cans of water

Heat oil in a 2 quart pot. add the pepper flakes and garlic to the hot oil and heat 30 seconds. Add the brown rice and stir occasionally.
When the rice starts to become fragrant (will smell like popcorn) add the soup and the water. Bring to a boil.
Cover and cook on lowest setting until the water is all absorbed (about 35 minutes). Allow to rest 5 - 10 minutes, covered, before serving.
Fluff with a fork (a spoon will crush the grains).

This can also be cooked in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees after the rice comes to a boil).

4 large servings - 4 points each
5 servings - 3 points each

Friday, May 25, 2007

Salisbury Steaks with Sweet Onion Relish

This is a spicy way to dress up ground beef. This is good enough to serve to company, too. Of course, you can use ground turkey instead of beef. Don't be frightened away by number of ingredients....most of them are just spices you should have on your spice rack already. This is a great recipe to prepare on the grill (or your George Forman) as well.

It also freezes well so if you make extra, pack up individual portions for later.

24 oz ground sirloin
1/2 c oats
1/4 c Dijon Mustard
1/2 c red bell, diced
1/2 c green bell, diced
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t basil
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t pepper flakes
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
cooking spray

Mix all the above ingredients (except the spray) together. Form into 4 patties (or if you want to have a smaller version you can make 6 smaller patties). The mustard adds a lot of salt to the patties, but you want more you can season the patties before cooking.
Set aside and begin the relish.

3 Red onions, chopped or sliced
2 T honey
1/2 c apple juice
1 beef boullion cube (optional)
2 t oil
2 t cider vnegar

Heat a skillet and add the oil. When the oil is hot (shimmering) add the onions. Lower the temperature to medium and saute until the onions are softened (5 - 8 minutes).
Add the boullion cube, cider vinegar, honey and juice to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow the liquid to evaporate and onions to cook down. Set aside.

In a skillet or on a hot grill sprayed with the cooking spray, cook the patties to desired doneness.

Serve with the relish.

(The relish can also be done on the grill by wrapping all the ingredients in foil and cooking for 40 minutes. When unwrapped the relish will be ready to go.)

Per Serving: 530 Cal (29% from Fat, 41% from Protein, 30% from Carb); 54 g Protein; 17 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 7 g Mono Fat; 39 g Carb; 5 g Fiber; 18 g Sugar; 93 mg Calcium; 5 mg Iron; 294 mg Sodium; 126 mg Cholesterol

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Lighter Summer Cocktail

Summer is a great time to relax and have a drink or two with friends. With summer approaching quickly and now that I am spending more time outside at cafes or in the yard, I have come up with a simple summer drink that is easy on the calories and points and refreshing too.

White Wine Cocktail

2 oz of a crisp chilled white wine (not Chardonay)
1 wedge of lime or lemon
4 - 6 oz of lime or lemon sparkling water

Squeeze a wedge of lemon or lime into a large wine glass. Fill the glass with ice. Pour in the wine and the sparkling water (water flavor to match the fruit used).
Can garnish with a fresh strawberry if desired.

And this is only 1 point!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Chef's Tip: En Papillote

I always give a healthy cooking tip to my Weight Watchers Members each week. Here is my tip for this week.

Try cooking your food En Papillote. That is a French technique that means to seal the food in parchment paper and bake it in the oven. What happens is the food steams in its own moister (with perhaps a bit of wine or juice added). This gives you a light product that is nutritious and healthy.

If you think about it, you may already use or have used this technique. Maybe you have wrapped something in foil and baked it or grilled it. This is actually the same thing (effect). I use this a lot because it is quick, easy, low calorie (points) and delicious. And you don't have to worry about the parchment paper, just use the foil, it is easier to work with. It is also fun for everyone to get your own individual package of food that you can unwrap at the table! (kids love this)

Try these simple and tasty variations on this theme or come up with your own:

Pesto Salmon: Lay down a few slices of fresh tomato seasoned with salt and pepper on a sheet of foil. Place a 6 oz fillet of salmon on the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Place a tablespoon of pesto on the salmon. Pour 1 teaspoon of wine on the pesto. Wrap the package tightly, folding all the edges together. Bake on a tray at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and eat.

French Onion (like the soup!): This is so good, you will have to make one for each person!
Take a large onion and peel it, cutting off each of the ends. Core out the center with an apple corer almost, but not quite, to the bottom. Place a beef bullion cube in the bottom of the whole you have created. Place the onion on a piece of foil. Season the onion liberally with salt, pepper and thyme. Place 1/2 to 1 tsp of butter in the core of the onion. Pour 1 tsp of sherry or brandy over the onion. Seal the package and bake at 425 degrees or on a hot grill for 45 - 60 minutes (until completely softened).
When you open the package the onion with be sweet and taste like French onion soup, but it only has a 1 pt value from the butter!

Grill Roasted Potatoes: Scrub the dirt off of 1 lb of russet potatoes. Slice them thin. Slice one small to medium onion very thin and toss with the potatoes. Toss in salt and pepper and any other spices you like (thyme, rosemary, cumin, Cajun, garlic, etc) and place on a large sheet of heavy duty foil. Spray with cooking spray liberally (you can dot with butter if desired). Wrap up the package tightly and grill for 45 minutes on a hot grill (or you can bake in the oven).

All of these ideas can be expanded upon or changed to meet your needs and taste profile. Once you start doing this, it will become a regular part of your cooking routine. All of these things are also great the next day in your lunch so make an extra one to bring with you.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken with Grape Glaze

This is on my menu this week. It is a healthy and delicious alternative to BBQ chicken. I like to serve it with a low fat Hummus and Fresh Pitas.

3 cups seedless red grapes or 4 cups grape juice (reduced to 2 cups by boiling)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 teaspoons olive oil
6 chicken drumsticks & 6 chicken thighs (skin removed)
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
Fresh rosemary leaves (optional)

To prepare glaze, place grapes in a blender; process until smooth. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cover and cook 10 minutes. Add garlic; cover and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in pureed grapes, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and 1 teaspoon rosemary; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thick. Cool slightly. Place grape mixture in blender; process until smooth. Set aside.

Prepare grill.

To prepare chicken, brush 2 teaspoons oil over chicken; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons rosemary, pepper, and salt. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 25 minutes or until done, turning and basting frequently with grape glaze. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.

Heating instructions: Thaw chicken and spinach in the refrigerator the night before consumption. Heat the chicken at 375 degrees, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and heat for 5 minutes more. Heat the spinach in the microwave on high for 4 minutes, vented. The hummus is in the refrigerator and ready to eat. It can be garnished with extra virgin olive oil if desired.

Per Serving: 288 Cal (27% from Fat, 55% from Protein, 18% from Carb); 39 g Protein; 9 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 4 g Mono Fat; 13 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 10 g Sugar; 34 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 395 mg Sodium; 103 mg Cholesterol