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