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.)