Monday, December 31, 2007

Rice Pilaf

My neighbor has brought a version of this rice dish to the last 2 parties we've had here at our condo development, and I just love it. I finally asked for the recipe and I entered it into WW and it comes out to 3 pts! It's really tasty and you can add different herbs and spices to your liking. Here is a base recipe, add to it as you wish and make it your own!

Rice Pilaf
Serves 6

2 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 oz. high-fiber pasta, broken into small pieces
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
3/4 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Place the chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the rice and pasta to the pot; reduce heat and cook until all liquid is evaporated, about 30-40 minutes. Add the corn and peas during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Season to taste.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sweet 'n' Sour Meatballs

My mom's Aunt Betty used to make sweet 'n' sour meatballs all the time for me when she was alive. This isn't her recipe, but it sure tastes like it! This recipe is perfect for a party, and it's light on the points (each serving is 4 points, which equals about 3 or 4 meatballs).

Sweet 'n' Sour Meatballs
Serves 12

1 1/2 pound extra lean (93%) ground beef
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
2 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 jar (12 oz) chili sauce
1 jar (12 oz) grape jelly

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine the beef, bread crumbs, egg, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and dry mustard. Using a small scoop, shape the beef mixture into 1-inch balls.

Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the meatballs until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Combine the remaining soy sauce, the chili sauce and jelly in a 2-quart baking dish. Add the meatballs and gently mix to coat with the sauce. Cover and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve hot with fun, frilly toothpicks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Broccoli Rolls

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, but it's been a holiday party frenzy! Trying to stick to WW has not been easy. I even have leftovers from last night's condo party in my house and I wrapped them up and put them in my car (if any of my neighbors are reading, don't break into my car to get them!). I'm going to bring them to work and let my co-workers make them disappear.

Anyway, I think this week is going to be posts for appetizers. This is the perfect time for them, whether you need to bring something for a Christmas party or other gathering, you can feel good about trying to keep to the healthier choices.

Broccoli Rolls
Servings: 8

2 tsp olive oil
10 oz frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
2 clove garlic clove(s), minced
1 small onion(s), finely chopped
1/2 cup Kraft Low-Moisture, Part-Skim Shredded Mozzarella
1 can (8 roll count) reduced-fat crescent roll dough

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add the garlic and onion. Saute over a low flame until onion is softened and garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped broccoli. Remove skillet from heat and toss mixture to coat the broccoli well.

Unroll cresent dough and separate into 8 pieces. Divide broccoli mixture between the dough pieces, placing the broccoli mixture at the wide end. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Roll up dough crescent-style, enclosing filling. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until rolls are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Serve warm.

(For those of you counting points, each roll is 3 points.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Potato Latkes

I wanted to finish out Hanukkah with a traditional favorite: potato latkes! Some people call them pancakes, some eat them with sour cream or applesauce (maybe both), but they are all made the same way, the old-fashioned way—grating them by hand. Fortunately, the cooking world has given us the food processor. Now, traditionalists might say that is not the way to make them, but I don't feel like having scrapped knuckles, have you? Here is a recipe I came across a few years ago, and adapted it to make it my own.

Potato Latkes
Makes about 2 dozen

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
1 large yellow onion, quartered
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup matzoh meal or flour
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil
Sour cream

Cut the potatoes into large pieces so they fit in the food processor tube. Using the shredding disk, shred potatoes. Once all the potatoes are shredded, place in a colander and squeeze out the moisture, letting drain into the sink. Place shredded potatoes into a very large bowl.

Using the chopping disk, add onion to the processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the potatoes in the bowl. Add the beaten eggs, matzoh meal, parsley, salt, garlic powder and black pepper. Mix well.

Using a large skillet, add about 1/4 inch of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil is hot. Measure heaping tablespoonfuls of the potato mixture into the skillet. Press down the mounds with the back of the spoon so the latkes are flattened. Heat until the edges begin to brown, then flip over and continue cooking until crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Remove latkes from skillet and place on a towel-lined tray. Repeat with remaining potato mixture, adding more oil when needed. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream.

(For those of you counting points, don't even try. Just try and blot as much oil from the latkes as you can and opt for the applesauce.)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

Have you ever had chimichangas? They are so good but they are so fried. I decided to come up with a recipe that would take the fried out of this recipe. They're a little small, but if you're counting points, they're 5 points each. Those not counting points can probably enjoy two per serving. It's really great served with spanish rice and a little guacamole (but don't forget to count the points!).

Baked Chicken Chimichangas
Serves 4

10 oz cooked chicken fillet, shredded
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder, optional
1 cup Fat-Free Refried Beans
4 medium flour tortilla(s), 6-inch

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Shred cooked chicken. Combine shredded chicken with salsa, cinnamon and chili powder, if using.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Spread refried beans down the center of each tortilla. Top with chicken mixture. Fold in sides of tortilla, and then roll up from bottom. Place seam-side down on prepared baking sheet. Spray rolled tortillas with cooking spray.

Bake chimichangas for about 20 minutes, turning halfway.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Mema's Brisket

Tuesday night is the start of Hanukkah, the festival of lights. My Mom's mom, who I called Mema, had a special recipe she used to make for every gathering: brisket. Other than turkey on the major holidays, she always made this tender meat dish when we came for dinner. Although I never got the original recipe from Mema, this recipe I created is as close as it gets. For best results, cook brisket and carve the day before serving and reheat. If you're counting points, this calculated at 8 points per serving.

Mema's Brisket
serves 8

3 pounds lean beef brisket, trimmed
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onion(s), sliced
28 ounce canned tomato puree
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
8 oz carrot(s)

Pat brisket to remove excess moisture. Rub garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and salt into brisket. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil. Add brisket to pot. Cook brisket over medium low heat until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove brisket from pot; set aside.

In the same pot, sauté onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato puree, ketchup, water, onion soup mix and brown sugar to pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Add brisket to pot with sauce. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add carrots to pot. Continue cooking until brisket is tender, about 1 hour longer. Remove brisket from pot; transfer to cutting board and let stand for 15 minutes.

Using an electric carving knife, slice brisket across the grain into thin slices. Return sliced brisket to pot. Simmer until ready to serve, about 30 minutes.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

As the air outside gets more and more chilly, it screams for a warming winter soup. It's amazing how such a creamy soup like butternut squash is so low in calories and points. Who needs cream? This soup is creamy enough without it. If you don't eat it all, it freezes really well.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 6

3 pounds butternut squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion(s), finely chopped
5 1/2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup sherry cooking wine, optional
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a shallow baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and threads. Place butternut squash halves cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast squash until easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Let cool and then scoop out flesh into a bowl.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add chopped onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash, 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, sherry if using, pumpkin-pie spice and brown sugar. Simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up large lumps of squash, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place soup in a large food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Return soup to the pot. Add remaining chicken broth. Simmer until heated through.

(For those of you counting points, each serving is 4 points; if you don't use the cooking sherry, it's 3 points, but trust me, the sherry really does enhance the flavor.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Great Read!

Hey guys! I'm sorry I didn't post a recipe today, but I needed to boast about a book a co-worker lent me. It's called, I'm Not the New Me, a memoir by Wendy McClure. It is all about her struggles with her weight, but in a very funny, blog-style format. She talks about how her weight has always been an issue, as a child and as an adult, and her constant battle with food (she even takes her Weight Watcher Food Companion on a road trip and will only stop at a rest stop if the eateries are in the companion). There are even some old WW recipe cards featured (just for the outrageous photos and not for the disgusting recipes featured; I can't believe that WW created those recipes, but it was the 70s). It is hilarious and at the same time heart-warming how she inspires hoards of people with her weight-loss odyssey. Anyone on Weight Watchers will appreciate the many references to points and food strategies. It's a great read!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lasagna Roll-Ups

Making lasagna roll-ups is a good way to enjoy lasagna but with some portion control. I use equal amounts of fat-free ricotta cheese and part-skim ricotta cheese (you need to have some fat in your cheese). You'd be surprised (or at least I was) that the points for 2 lasagna rolls could be 6 points! And they're very filling, just serve a salad with it and you're done.

Lasagna Roll-Ups
Serves 4

8 lasagna noodles
1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 large egg white)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse; lay noodles on a piece of waxed paper on a flat surface.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, combine both ricotta cheeses, egg substitute, chopped spinach, black pepper and salt to taste. Mix well.

Divide spinach-cheese mixture among lasagna noodles, leave the short ends of the noodles uncoated. Roll up lasagna noodles jelly-roll style.

Spoon 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 2-quart shallow casserole dish. Spread sauce evenly over the bottom. Place lasagna rolls seam-side down in the prepared dish. Spoon the rest of the sauce over the rolls. Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella cheese.

Bake the lasagna rolls until cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Honey Mustard Chicken

Here's a quick and easy recipe to make the next time you want to make some chicken (which is, what, like every other day?). Plus, it's really good if you're on Weight Watchers since the amount of mustard and honey in the recipe is 0 points.

Honey Mustard Chicken
Serves 4

1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard
4 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)

Combine the mustard, honey and garlic in a large resealable plastic bag. Cut a few slices into the chicken breasts (don't cut all the way through). Add the chicken to the plastic bag. Turn a few times to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.

Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add chicken. Cook, turning several times so the chicken doesn't burn, until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Best Meatballs

Growing up, my mother wasn't the greatest cook. And she won't mind me saying so since she is the first to admit it. When she decided to make meatballs, her recipe consisted of ground beef and breadcrumbs shaped into balls, and that was it. She then proceeded to add these balls of meat into a pot of canned tomato sauce. After years of enduring this wonderful meal (ha!), I learned what real meatballs are made from. Now I have trained my mother to make this delicious recipe which consists of more than just meat and breadcrumbs.

The Best Meatballs
Serves 6

3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with your hands. (Sorry, that's the best way to do it!) Make sure the mixture is completely blended. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Form the meat into balls (you should have about 24) and cook in the prepared skillet, cooking on all sides until browned. Place cooked meatballs in a large pot with your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce or homemade sauce, and cook for 1 hour over a very low flame. Serve with your favorite pasta.

(For those of you counting points, it's 2 points per meatball.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Roasted Vegetables

Only 2 days til Thanksgiving!! It's a time for thanks, it's a time for giving, but it's also a time for eating...but don't panic! I have a strategy. First of all, I'm bringing my 1/2 cup measure from Weight Watchers with me (I don't care what anyone says, I'm not going to overeat). At this weeks WW meeting, we spoke about what everyone's strategies are for surviving the day (surviving is not just about making it through the day with your family, it's about passing on a second helping of stuffing!). Besides my idea of bringing my measuring scoop, I'm also making a roasted vegetable side dish.

You can pick your favorite vegetables to roast. Most every vegetable can be roasted, even broccoli. The charred edges and smoky flavor really makes you want to eat your vegetables. My choices for this year are Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, mushrooms and baby onions.

All you have to do is preheat the oven to 400F. Clean your vegetables and dry thoroughly, and cut into bite-size pieces. Spray or line your baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Spray with nonstick spray and sprinkle garlic powder or any seasoning blend on the vegetables. Roast vegetables until tender and the edges are charred (mushrooms will cook through sooner, so you might want to put them on a separate baking sheet and take them out earlier). Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Polenta Squares

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, I'm sure those on a diet are thinking how they can stay on track and not ruin all their hard work with just one day. Here's an idea for a side dish that is delicious and low in points (only 1 per square). If you've never made polenta, it might seem a little time consuming, but it's really easy. Follow the recipe once and you'll see how easy it really is. Then, you can change the vegetables if you like, such as swapping the chopped broccoli for chopped spinach.

Polenta Squares
Makes 15 squares

20 oz Green Giant Chopped Broccoli, Frozen
2 Tbsp Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp table salt
1/2 cup mushroom(s)
1 cup uncooked yellow cornmeal
1 cup fat-free chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 10x7-inch pan with cooking spray.

Thaw the chopped broccoli. Place in a colander and squeeze out any excess moisture.

Chop the mushrooms and set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup boiling water, chicken broth, milk, garlic powder and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and slowly drizzle the cornmeal into the pot, stirring constantly. Once all cornmeal is added, continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture resembles mashed potatoes, about 5 minutes.

Stir in broccoli, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.

Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sesame Broccoli

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for something new to serve with chicken or beef. A vegetable is usually my choice, but which one? Broccoli is a great, filling vegetable, and 1 cup of broccoli has 0 points. Add some zip to broccoli with this tangy idea.

Sesame Broccoli
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, washed and dried
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar

Trim of the large leaves and ends from the broccoli. Cut the broccoli into spears. Arrange the broccoli spears in a steamer basket and set over boiling water. Cover and steam until crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and place in a serving bowl.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and saute until lightly browned. Add the lemon juice, soy sauce and sugar and bring to a boil. Drizzle oil mixture over broccoli in serving bowl, tossing gently to coat.

Each serving is 1 cup (with a points value of 1).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nana's Cream Puffs

My best friend Michele's Nana used to make these yummy cream puffs for her family. On a visit to her house a few years ago, we came across her Nana’s recipes. Feeling nostalgic, we decided to re-create one of her recipes and we both chose the cream puffs. They were surprisingly easy to make, and we used instant vanilla pudding for the filling to make it even easier. When my friend took a bite out of the first filled cream puff, she had a tear in her eye. They tasted just like Nana’s.

Nana's Cream Puffs
Makes 8

1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix

Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a large baking sheet. In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter and salt; bring to a boil. Add flour to boiling mixture; stir vigorously until dough leaves sides of pot. Remove from heat.

Add eggs, one at a time, to pot, beating well after each addition. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 300°F and continue baking until lightly golden, 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare and chill pudding according to package directions. To fill cream puffs, slice puffs in half. Spoon pudding onto bottom half and place top half on top.

(If you're counting WW points, the cream puff, without the pudding, is about 5 points.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Stuffed Mushrooms

I was browsing through my recipe books and came across an index box with the recipes I've created over the years. There's something about finding handwritten recipes that can be passed on through the generations. Yes the internet does keep at your fingertips, but tangible memories are priceless.

Anyway, I digress. One of the recipes I came across was for Stuffed Mushrooms. I haven't made it in years, but it was always one of my favorites.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Serves 4-6

1 package (14 ounces) large mushrooms (usually marked for stuffing)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Wash mushrooms and remove the stems. Finely chop enough stems to equal 1/2 cup. Place chopped stems in a saucepan with enough water to cover the stems. Boil stems until softened.

Combine softened stems, bread crumbs, Parmesan, egg and black pepper. Mix well. Place mushroom caps in prepared baking dish. Spoon filling mixture into mushroom caps. Drizzle oil over the filled mushroom caps. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.

(Depending on how many mushrooms are in the package, if serving 6, the WW point value is 3.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sweet, Sweet Potato

Who doesn't love sweet potato casserole? It's a staple at every Thanksgiving, or at least in our family it is. My dad is usually the chef for that recipe. But about a year ago, I was traveling for work down in Kentucky and a co-worker ordered his dinner and it came with a sweet potato that was topped with marshmallows!

Basically, all you have to do is bake a sweet potato as you would normally bake them. Once baked, cut the potato down the middle, but not all the way through, and spoon some mini marshmallows down the center while the potato is still hot. Then sprinkle a little nutmeg or pumpkin-pie spice on top of the marshmallows and enjoy!

If you're counting points, a large sweet potato is 3 points, and 2 tablespoons mini marshmallows are not even 1 point (.5 to be exact).

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Marvelous Meat Loaf

Now that the weather is getting colder, it's time to go into those hearty recipes. So, Sunday night, I made this meat loaf that was just delicious! I used extra lean beef and seasonings and it was just great. You can double it to serve 4, but since I'm one person, I made the recipe to serve just me (and some leftovers).

Meat Loaf
Serves 2–3

10 oz extra lean ground beef, 93% lean
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg white(s)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tsp Dijon Mustard, divided
5 Tbsp ketchup, divided
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic seasoning blend

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg white, Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons mustard, 3 tablespoons ketchup, garlic powder and Mrs. Dash. Mix well. Line a baking sheet or pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Form beef mixture into a 7-inch loaf on the prepared sheet. Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon mustard and 2 tablespoon ketchup in a small bowl. Spread onto top of meat loaf.

Bake meat loaf until cooked through, about 40 minutes. Let meat loaf stand for 5 minutes before serving. Cut into slices to serve.

(For those of you counting points, it's 5 points when serving 3.)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Diet Soda Cupcakes!

Today is my mom's birthday, so in honor of her birthday I decided it was time to share the recipe for diet soda cupcakes! It is amazing that you can use diet soda to make cupcakes, but it really does work. Plus, there are so many combinations that you can use.

For Chocolate Cake, use diet root beer, diet cherry soda, diet cola (my favorite is Devil's Food and Diet Root Beer).

For Yellow Cake, use diet lemon-lime soda, diet cream soda, diet orange soda.

Here is the recipe:

Diet Soda Cupcakes
Makes 24

1 box (18.25 ounces) cake mix
1 can (12 ounces) diet soda
24 foil muffin liners (much better than paper)

In a large bowl, combine cake mix and diet soda with a whisk. Make sure you mix well and no lumps remain.

Line a 24 muffin cup pan with liners. Spoon batter into liners. Bake according to package directions for cupcakes, but check at the earliest time. To check for doneness, stick a toothpick into a cupcake and some crumbs should cling to the toothpick. Depending on your oven, you may need to add 5 minutes to your baking time.

For best results, make them the night before and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

(For those of you counting points, each cupcake is 2 points.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Frozen Mango Pops

This is a favorite recipe of mine. And even though it's not exactly summer outside, these pops make a great snack. You can substitute any type of fruit for the mango if you prefer. And, if you're looking for freezer pop molds, I've found them at Bed, Bath and Beyond. In a pinch, you can use paper cups and popsicle sticks.

Frozen Mango Pops
Makes 6

1 1/2 cup unsweetened frozen mango chunks
2 cup fat-free skim milk
1/2 cup light vanilla ice cream
1 packet McNeil Nutritionals SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener

Place all items in a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Pour into freezer pop molds and freeze until solid.

(For those of you counting points, each pop is 1 point.)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

"Fried" Chicken or Fish

As you think of breaded chicken or fish, you probably think, "Oy, the calories!" But, I have a secret—Fiber One cereal. Now, it's not my secret, there are people out there who also know about this trick. Did you know that this high-fiber cereal can be used as breading in some of your favorite "fried" recipes? If you're on Weight Watchers, 1/2 cup of this cereal is 0 points. The best way to turn this into crumbs is with a food processor. Just pulse until fine crumbs form. It's easy to bring flavor to this breading by adding garlic powder, Italian seasoning, crushed black pepper, or try some of those seasoning blends.

"Fried" Chicken Cutlets or Shrimp
Serves 4

12 ounces chicken cutlets or 10 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and cleaned
2 cups Fiber One cereal, processed into crumbs
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons Italian seasonings
salt and pepper
1/2 cup egg substitute

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Pat dry chicken or shrimp. Combine cereal crumbs, garlic powder, Italian seasonings, and salt and pepper to taste. Place on a shallow dish. Place egg substitute in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken or shrimp in egg substitute, then coat in crumb mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through and crumbed are browned, about 20 minutes.

(Each serving is 3 points. If making shrimp, 3 tablespoons of cocktail sauce is 1 point.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Chicken and Artichoke Salad

I came up with this recipe a couple of years ago. There's a restaurant that my co-workers and I used to go to, called Friend of a Farmer, in Manhattan. They have this chicken and artichoke salad sandwich that was just unbelievable. After I ordered it a few times, I decided to try to replicate it at home. It might not be an exact match, but I like it, and so do my friends. I've added some macaroni to bulk it up. It can be pulled together in a flash if you purchase a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket.

Chicken and Artichoke Pasta Salad
Servings: 4

6 ounces low-carb macaroni or other high fiber pasta
1 1/2 cup cooked light meat chicken, cubed, shredded, or sliced
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard
1 cup canned artichoke hearts (not marinated), chopped
3 medium scallions, chopped
Black pepper


Cook the macaroni according to package directions; rinse under cold water and drain.

In a large bowl, combine the macaroni, chicken, mayonnaise, mustard, artichoke hearts and scallions. Mix well. Chill overnight to blend the flavors. Add black pepper to taste.

(If you're counting points, it's 6 per serving.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Frozen Peanut Butter Cups

Happy Halloween everyone! It's a glorious day in the Northeast, perfect weather for the kids to go trick-or-treating. I don't know about you, but to keep myself from gorging on all the Halloween candy, I usually buy candy that I won't eat to hand out to trick-or-treaters (yes, there is actually something that I don't like, and that's coconut, anything with coconut). Unfortunately, there are bowls and bowls of candy strategically placed around my office (it seems like a bowl of candy is at every turn, and it miraculously fills itself every night, or so it seems). My willpower is waning, but at least it's only for one more day (and then every co-worker who has leftover candy brings it into the office for the next week—ugh!).

Here is a recipe that might take away the candy craving. They are really easy to make and they really do taste like peanut butter cups!

Frozen Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 10

1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip Free Whipped Topping
10 tsp lite chocolate syrup
1 1/2 Tablespoons peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural Reduced Sugar and Sodium)

Combine cool whip and peanut butter in a medium bowl using a whisk. (Do not over mix.) Divide mixture between 10 foil muffin liners. Top each with a teaspoon of chocolate syrup. Freeze overnight.

(For those of you counting points, they are 1 WW pt. each.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ode to Candy Corn

Oh, candy corn, how I long for you,
As soon as your sweet stripes come into view,
I find myself sampling one or even two.
Although I can never stop at one,
Walking past that teeming bowl I’m done,
Then I admit my weakness, and you have won.

OK, not my best poem, but you have to admit, those little candy kernels taste like pure sugar (no seriously, they are). It’s all I can do to keep to a single portion size (22 candy corn equals 2 WW point, and they're fat-free).

Today, October 30th, is National Candy Corn Day, and according to the National Confectioners Association, candy corn has been around for more than 100 years. And they seem to be on the shelves earlier and earlier in the season. I think it was early September or even August when I saw the first bags on the shelves at the local CVS.

This fall season you can add candy corn to any sweet recipe. Top your favorite cupcakes with a handful of candy corn, roll just-dipped caramel apples in candy corn or add this sweet candy to your favorite popcorn snack mix.

Candy corn has always been a favorite of mine. There are many versions these days, such as the “Thanksgiving blend” which has the brown ends instead of the yellow (which my friend Karen likes the best), but to me, it just tastes like candy corn that has fake chocolate added. Give me my candy corn pure, don’t mess with the perfection of sugar, corn syrup and other ingredients that I can’t even spell! I’m sure when I get around to having kids, candy corn will still be on the shelves (although, I hope it’s not the same bags that are around today, but then again, they do last a long time).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Skillet Barbecue Chicken

When you look at the ingredients you are going to say, "How can a dish cooked with diet coke and ketchup taste good?" Well, it does, and you wouldn't believe how many recipes, both savory and sweet, can be made using diet soda. This dish really does taste like a real pulled chicken recipe. And it's so easy. All you need to do is make some brown rice (or white rice, if you prefer) and you're done. I make it on Sundays and then eat it during the week. If you're looking to add a vegetable to this dish, I have added some frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe's on occasion during the last 10 minutes of the cooking time. Hope you all enjoy!

Barbecue Chicken
Serves 4

1 cup Heinz Tomato Ketchup
1 can (12 ounces) Diet Coke
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

In a small bowl, combine ketchup, diet coke, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Mix well. Place chicken breasts in a skillet. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover skillet and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes.

Remove chicken from skillet to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred chicken. Return chicken to skillet and heat over medium heat, uncovered, until sauce has reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Makes four 3/4 cup servings (if you're following WW, each serving of chicken is 4 pt pls).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding

I love this time of year! Halloween is just a few days away, and I just carved my first pumpkin. It was so much fun. And since I have pumpkin on the brain, I wanted to share my favorite pumpkin pudding, which has the flavor of cheesecake, thanks to cheesecake-flavored pudding mix. If you want, you can make this pudding and pour into a graham cracker crust for a chilled pumpkin pie. Either in a crust or alone, this pumpkin pudding tastes like pumpkin cheesecake! Delicious and so easy.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding
Serves 6-8 (when serving 8, each portion is 1 point, if you're counting WW)

15 oz canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 package Jell-O Fat-Free Sugar-Free Instant Cheesecake pudding mix
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
8 oz Cool Whip Free Whipped Topping, thawed

Place pumpkin, pudding mix and pumpkin-pie spice in a large bowl. Mix well. Add whipped topping to bowl. Use a wire whisk to combine. Chill about 1 hour before serving.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

One Point Apple Crisp

I was really in the mood for apple crisp, and being on Weight Watchers, I wanted to create something I can enjoy and not feel guilty about. This recipe serves 1, but you can make as many as you need to serve (I would rather cook these per serving so I won't be tempted to eat an entire apple crisp!). Enjoy!!!

Apple Crisp
Serves: 1

1 tsp apple-pie spice
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 Tbsp rolled oats
1/2 tsp McNeil Nutritionals Splenda brown sugar blend

Preheat oven to 350F. Place apple slices in a bowl. Add apple-pie spice; toss to combine. Place apple slices in a ramekin. Combine oats and brown sugar blend. Sprinkle on top of apple slices in ramekin. Spray with imitation butter spray, if desired. Bake until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly before eating; filling is very hot.

Welcome to my blog!

Hi everyone! I want to share my favorite recipes with you. I have been cooking since I am 14 (my mom wasn't the best cook; more on that later). I love to cook for friends and family and I usually try to come up with something new. I've also been on Weight Watchers© since April 2007 and I've figured how to lower some of my favorite recipes into low point options. That's my favorite thing to do, I love to have my cake and eat it too!

I will post a new recipe just about every day, either my own or one from another source I've found, just to share with you. I'll also provide some helpful tips for each recipe and sometimes I might even impart on some kitchen wisdom to make cooking and baking even easier and tons of fun!