Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tuna Pasta Salad

Now that I'm back on the diet wagon, I decided to keep it cool and make a salad to grab at the end of the day. It was really good to come home to after work. It definitely tastes best after it's chilled overnight and the flavors enhanced. Enjoy!

Tuna Pasta Salad
Serves 4

2 cans (6 ounces each) solid white tuna packed in water, rinsed and drained
4 ounces macaroni (I used Ronzoni Smart Pasta), cooked and drained
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fat-free honey mustard dressing
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
5 baby carrots, grated
2 small dill pickles, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Chill overnight for best results.

(Each serving is 4 points.)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Back from Vacation!

Well, I’m back from vacation. It was a wonderful time, and I know my mom had a great time (she’s still thanking me). The Grand Canyon was just grand. We actually stayed in a town outside of the Grand Canyon called Williams. Our hotel, the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, was just off Route 66. We were able to walk to the many restaurants and shops there. The people in the hotel and the shops were so nice and friendly, a stark difference from the grouchy people in the Northeast. We went to 2 restaurants that had the best food. One was called Pine Country Restaurant, and it was your typical comfort food place. We had dinner there the first night (we both got the turkey dinner — I know, boring, but it was delicious). But then we went for breakfast the next 2 mornings. It was unbelievable. If you like cinnamon rolls and French toast, then you would have loved the Cinnamon Roll French Toast. Can you imagine? I need to come up with a recipe for this (although it probably won’t be low-fat or point-friendly). The next night, someone recommended a restaurant that was part of a B&B called Buffalo Pointe. The restaurant part just recently opened. The steak was so tender and grilled to perfection. Plus the garlic mashed potatoes were so yummy. We felt so sick afterwards, but it was totally worth it!

The views at the Grand Canyon were spectacular. We took a great tour through Angel Gate Tours, which took us around the South Rim. They picked us up from the hotel and dropped us off in the evening, and in between they showed us beautiful vistas and even gave us a picnic lunch. If you are traveling to the Grand Canyon and are looking for a tour, book one through them, you won’t be sorry.

The latter part of our trip was to Las Vegas. The term “Sin City” also applies to the food. All we did was eat, but at least we made an effort and walked up and down the strip as much as possible. The buffet at the Planet Hollywood Resort, which is where we stayed, was amazing, at least for breakfast, that is. We ate just about everything, tasting and nibbling (and not counting points, not on vacation and not at this buffet).

All in all, it was a great time, and I really enjoyed spending the time with my mom. It was worth every penny to see her enjoy herself (she loves the slots!). Now it’s time to start the watching of the weight, counting points, and starting the exercise regimen. In my next life, I will be thin and eat whatever I want! But for now, I’ll create recipes that are better for me —and for you! I’ll post a new recipe tomorrow.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On Vacation

Hi everyone,

I'm taking my mom on vacation for a few days. We're going to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, just us girls. Would you believe that it's going to snow in Arizona while we're there? Unbelievable for Memorial Day. But we'll have fun anyway.

I'll blog more about the trip and new recipes when I'm back. Have a great holiday weekend!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cinnamon Baked Apples

I'm always on the look out for low-point desserts and here is a good one. My dad always makes baked apples for himself and my mom and he passed along his recipe to me. Of course I had to adjust it to my tastes and add a little sweet surprise—red hots! They are low in points and I only add about 3 red hots per apple, but it gives them an extra spicy kick.

Cinnamon Baked Apples
Serves 2

2 medium Fuji apples (or your favorite firm apples, like Granny Smith or Gala)
1 can (8 ounces) diet root beer
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 Splenda French Vanilla cafe stick (I found them in the coffee aisle)
6 red hot candies (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F. Core apples and peel the top quarter. Place in a deep loaf pan. Pour diet root beer in and around the apples. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon and splenda. Place 3 red hots in each apple.

Bake apples until softened and cooked through, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

(Each serving is 1 point.)

Scallops & Vegetables in Hoisin Sauce

My dad has always made chicken in hoisin sauce but I wanted to try it with scallops (which is low in points) and it was delicious. I served it with brown rice, but you really don't need it. If you prepare the vegetables ahead of time, you can make this dish in about 10 minutes! You could substitute chicken for the scallops, but make sure the chicken is cooked completely before eating (chicken takes a little longer to cook than scallops).

Scallops & Vegetables in Hoisin Sauce
Serves 2

3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger root
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
3 scallions, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup matchstick carrots
1 cup sugar snap peas
8 oz sea scallops, beards removed and patted dry

Combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, grated ginger, sesame oil, minced garlic and water in a medium bowl. Add scallions, broccoli florets, carrots, and snap peas and mix well.

Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium high heat. Add scallops and sear, turning frequently, until opaque and lightly browned around the flat sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the vegetable mixture to skillet over medium heat. Stir continously until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Return scallops to skillet, and continue stirring until heated through, about 2 minutes.

(Each serving is 5 points. If serving with brown rice, add 2 points for a half cup measure.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Graham Cracker Ice-Box Cake

I've had ice-box cakes over the years, but was looking to make one that was low in points. Using low-fat graham crackers and fat free whipped topping (Cool Whip) made for a great dessert.

Graham Cracker Ice-Box Cake
Serves 5

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 container (8 ounces) fat free whipped topping
7 1/2 sheets low-fat cinnamon graham crackers
2 tablespoons lite chocolate syrup

Add vanilla extract to the whipped topping. Using a 9 x 5 inch pan, begin layering the graham crackers along the bottom of the pan, keeping them to one layer. Top with some of the whipped topping. Repeat layering until you finish with the topping. Drizzle lite chocolate syrup over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Cut into 5 servings.

(Each large serving is 3 points.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Portobello Pizza

I've made this recipe a few times, but I decided to try it with my Bolognese Sauce from my
previous post. It gives it a really hearty flavor and is very satisfying. It's a perfect lunch treat.

Portobello Pizza
Serves 1

1 large portobello mushroom, stem removed and remove the gills (a great way to remove the brown gills inside a portobello cap is to scrape with a grapefruit spoon!)
1/4 cup Bolognese Sauce or your favorite hearty sauce
1 ounce part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray, preferably olive oil. Place cleaned mushroom, rounded side up, on prepared baking sheet. Spray top of mushroom with cooking spray. Bake mushroom for about 10 minutes (it will shrink slightly). Remove from oven. Drain any liquid produced from mushroom. Reduce oven to 375F.

Turn mushroom rounded-side down on the same baking sheet. Top with sauce and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is heated through, about 5 minutes.

(For those of you counting, it's 4 points using my Bolognese sauce. If using another sauce, point accordingly.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Turkey and Vegetable Sauce

I haven't made a homemade sauce in a while and I had some extra lean ground turkey in the freezer, so I thought I would make a meat sauce. You can use lean ground beef if you'd like, but you need to make sure it is at least 93% lean to match the nutrition of this recipe. Serve it over pasta or rice, or use it as a base for any recipe that calls for sauce. It would be great in a lasagna or over stuffed shells.

Turkey and Vegetable Sauce
Serves 6

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
10 oz lean ground turkey or beef (93% lean)
28 oz can tomato puree
14 1/2 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced carrot
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic seasoning

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the ground turkey to the skillet. Cook until turkey is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomato puree and the diced tomatoes to a medium saucepan. Add turkey mixture from the skillet to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer over low heat for about 2 hours.

(Each serving is 3 points, which is about 1 cup.)