Monday, March 31, 2008

California Rolls

Back when I was working at my first job, I became friends with Aiko, who was originally from Japan. She once invited me and another friend over and taught us how to make California Rolls. It's not as hard as you think, and I actually found instant sushi rice at Stop n Shop! If you need to make your own rice, buy sushi grade rice. Most supermarkets have them in their Asian sections. It needs to be made in a steamer to get the stickiness you need for the rolls.

California Rolls
Makes 2 rolls (8 pieces each)

1 cup cooked sushi rice (the brand of instant I found in the supermarket was Nishiki Steamed Sushi Rice)
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar for sushi
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 sheets sushi nori (seaweed sheets)
2 sticks fat-free imitation crab (about 3 ounces)
1/2 medium avocado, cut into thin slices

Place the cooked rice in a shallow bowl. Add the rice vinegar and sesame seeds. Combine the mixture by cutting through with a spatula. Make sure it's cooled completely before using.

Place 1 sushi nori sheet on a sushi bamboo mat. Spread 1/2 cup rice mixture evenly over sheet. Pull pieces off 1 imitation crab stick to make thin strips. Place the crab strips on the lower third portion of the rice covered sheet. Place about 3 slices avocado along the crab strips.

Roll the sheets from the crab and avocado to the other end, rolling back the bamboo as it goes along. Roll tightly and remove bamboo. Continue with the second roll. When you are done, slice the rolls into 8 pieces each. Serve with low-sodium soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi, if desired.

(For those of you counting, each piece is 1 point, but if you indulge in an entire roll, it's 7 points.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cracker-Crusted Chicken

Has anyone tried those All-Bran Crackers that are on the market now? I had recently bought a box of the Garlic-Herb flavor and couldn't believe how much flavor these crackers have. The wheels started turning in my brain and I realized--use them crushed like breadcrumbs! I chose to use chicken, but you can definitely use this on fish fillets like Tilapia. Serve the chicken with your favorite side (I chose roasted potatoes.)

Cracker-Crusted Chicken
Serves 2

27 Kellogg's All bran garlic and herb-flavored crackers
1 serving egg substitute
7 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil spray.

Place the crackers in a resealable plastic bag. Seal bag and crush using a rolling pin. Place the cracker crumbs on a flat dish. Place the egg substitute in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken in the egg substitute and then dredge in the cracker crumbs, making sure to coat chicken completely.

Place coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the chicken with olive oil spray. Bake until cooked through and crumbs are browned, turning halfway through baking, 20-25 minutes.

(For those of you counting, it's 4 per serving.)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Asian Slaw

I love broccoli slaw mix and wanted to find a recipe to use it. I've added it to stir-fry (it's very good), but wanted something more salad-like. I saw this recipe somewhere and decided to add some toasted sesame seeds to the mix. It's very easy and very delicious.

Asian Slaw
Serves 4

3 cups broccoli slaw mix
1/2 cup Newman's Own Low-Fat Sesame-Ginger Dressing
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (you can find this in the Asian section of the supermarket)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and chill for at least 3 hours before serving. Stir mixture a couple of times during the chilling process.

(Each serving, about 3/4 cup, is 1 pt.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Turkey Shepherd's Pie

Finally a new recipe to list! My friend Marina requested this recipe, and it is delicious (if I do say so myself). Actually, the smell as it baked reminded me of a Thanksgiving dinner. The aroma was so fragrant, it was as my father would say, "Ambrosia!" (My father always says that about something that tastes so unbelievable. You'll think so, too!)

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 6

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons Olivio spread or butter, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/4 pounds 93% lean ground turkey
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 1/2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth (I use College Inn)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and black pepper
1/3 cup fat-free or low-fat milk

Place the potato cubes in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and let cook until softened, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon Olivio over high heat until melted. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the ground turkey to the skillet and continue cooking until browned and crumbly, breaking up large chunks, 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat, if desired. Add the frozen vegetables to the skillet.

Combine the chicken broth, cornstarch, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and thyme. Pour over the mixture in the skillet and stir to combine. Let simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens, about 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the turkey mixture to a 11- x 7-inch casserole dish (about a medium-sized dish).

Preheat oven to 375°F. Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan. Add the remaining tablespoon Olivio and milk. Mash with a hand masher, or whip with an electric mixer. Spoon the potatoes over the turkey mixture in the casserole dish, covering the top completely. Bake until the potatoes brown slightly and the mixture bubbles around the edges, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

(For those of you counting points, each serving is 5, if you used the fat free milk and Olivio.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Garden of Cupcakes

As promised, here is a picture of the cupcakes I made for my friend Michelle's baby shower. I did have one, I couldn't resist the buttercream frosting. Everyone seemed to enjoy the cupcakes. It was a great shower, great to see everyone and great food. I've never seen so many gifts!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fondant Flowers Everywhere!

Here's a picture of what I've been up to for the past few days. It's been a weighty week (and I don't mean in the fat sense). My friend Michelle's baby shower is Saturday and I'm hard at work making enough fondant flowers for her cupcakes, which I am making as well. Of course, none of this is on Weight Watchers, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for your friends. Michelle is definitely worth the risk of me gaining a few pounds, but I've resolved not to gain, not this week.

Fondant isn't a big must-have for me (not since I made about 200 fondant roses for my friends Marina and Paul's wedding). However, the cake batter and the buttercream frosting are another story. I'm making the cupcakes on Friday night and then I get weighed in Saturday morning, so I have some incentive. I plan on dumping the bowls in sudsy water so I won't be tempted. I'll let you know how I do over the weekend.

Just to keep you interested, I'm working on a few new recipes, one of them a Turkey Shepherd's Pie (thanks for the suggestion Marina!).

And for those of you who have ideas for new recipes, please send them along to me. I'm happy to do my best in creating the recipe you're looking for. Thanks!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Broiled Flank Steak with Mushroom-Wine Gravy

This recipe may seem like it has a lot of steps, but the prep of the steak is done the day before. Letting the steak marinate overnight helps to tenderize the steak and the aroma as it cooks is just amazing. The marinade is then boiled down with the addition of sauteed mushrooms and used to top the thinly sliced steak when it's ready to serve. Delicious!

Broiled Flank Steak with Mushroom-Wine Gravy
Serves 4

1 flank steak (about 1.25 pounds), trimmed of any visible fat
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons roasted garlic and bell pepper seasoning (it's made by McCormick; if you can't find that then just substitute with Italian seasoning)
1 teaspoon Olivio
1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms

Rub each side of the flank steak with salt and pepper. Place the red wine, olive oil, minced garlic, basil, parsley and garlic and bell pepper seasoning in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the flank steak. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate overnight.

Preheat the broiler to high. Remove the steak from the plastic bag. Reserve marinade. Place the steak in a roasting pan. Cook until steak is medium doneness, turning halfway through cooking, about 20 minutes. Remove steak from oven and place on a cutting board. Let steak rest for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place Olivio in a medium skillet. Heat until melted. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add reserved marinade and 1/2 cup water. Heat mixture on high until boiling, and then reduce heat and let simmer until mixture is thickened, 3-5 minutes.

Cut steak into very thin slices, cutting against the grain of the meat. Divide steak and gravy among 4 serving dishes.

Serve with your favorite style potato (I mashed a potato with skim milk and a little Olivio and salt).

(For those counting, each serving of steak and gravy is 6 pts.)