Monday, October 27, 2008

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower

Roasting vegetables makes any vegetable taste better. And I actually like the flavor of slightly charred vegetables. I admit it. The most common vegetables to roast are root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots. I never thought of roasting broccoli or cauliflower until I had it once when I was in the city. You can use whatever seasoning you'd like.

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower
Serves 2

1 lb. broccoli and cauliflower florets (I bought the bagged variety in the vegetable section)
Nonstick olive oil spray
Seasoning blend (I chose to use Italian seasoning and garlic powder)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick olive oil spray. Spread the broccoli and cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet. Spray with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with the seasoning blend.

Bake until edges are slightly charred and stalks are just tender, turning baking sheet halfway through baking, about 35 minutes.

(Each serving is .5 pts.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin-Apple Spice Muffins

Here is another idea that came out of my WW meeting yesterday. The original idea was to add canned pumpkin to a box of spice cake mix. I tried it and, although it was fine, it could have been better. I decided to add some egg substitute and some chopped apple. It definitely made the difference, plus I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top. Would you believe that I was able to keep the muffins to only 2 pts? There are delicious!

Pumpkin-Apple Spice Muffins
Makes 24

1 box (18.25 ounces) spice cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 can (15 ounces) canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
2 servings egg substitute
2 tablespoons water
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Combine the cake mix and canned pumpkin in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the egg substitute and water. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Fold in the diced apple.

Spoon the batter evenly in the lined muffin cups. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the batter-filled muffin cups. Bake, turning halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let the muffins cool for about 10 minutes.

(Each yummy muffin is 2 pts.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Flat Bread Pizza

While I was at WW today, there were many ideas being thrown around for low-point meals and snacks. One that I have been trying to make is a flat bread pizza using a low-fat, high fiber flat bread, called Flat Out. I haven't been able to find it. Word is, it's 1 pt. per serving and the piece is huge! I did happen find another version from Joseph's which is a Flax Seed, Oat Bran & WW blend Lavash Bread, but it was 2 pts. If you happen to find the other lower point bread, grab it! This pizza idea is very satisfying and is virtually low in points when you use low-fat sauce and cheese and top with tons of chopped 0-point veggies, like mushrooms, onions, green peppers. I decided to have a little pepperoni since I had the extra points to spare. It definitely satisfies my pizza cravings!

Flat Bread Pizza
Serves 1 (yes, the entire recipe!!)

1 piece flax seed, oat bran & whole wheat lavash bread (Joseph's)
1/3 cup spaghetti sauce (I used Hunts Roasted Onion and Garlic)
1/3 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
14 turkey pepperoni slices (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the lavash bread in the oven while it's preheating to warm, about 5 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Spread the bread with the spaghetti sauce. Top with the cheese and the pepperoni slices. Place in the oven and bake until cheese is melted and the edges of the bread are crisp, about 10 minutes (watch carefully, don't let the edges burn). Enjoy!

(The entire serving without the pepperoni is 5 pts.; with the pepperoni is 7 pts.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mushroom Soup

Now that the weather is getting chilly, I have soup on the brain. If you're watching calories, most soups fit the bill, but they may be lacking flavor. And of course, creamy soups are the best, but not "waist-friendly". I've been in the mood for mushroom soup the past few days, so I came up with a light, broth-based soup with just a small bit of skim milk which gave it a somewhat creamier texture. I also added a little bit of Marsala wine for flavor, and it definitely made the difference.

Mushroom Soup
Serves 2

1 tablespoon Olivio spread
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, diced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms or white mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced thin
3 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth (I use College Inn)
1 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 dry mustard
3 tablespoons skim milk

In a large saucepan, melt the Olivio spread over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion and sliced mushrooms. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, Marsala wine, flour, salt, pepper and dry mustard. Mix well. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the skim milk, mixing well. Serve.

(Each generous serving is 3 pts.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

The "Best" Apple Pie

Some of you may know, I love to bake. But being on Weight Watchers isn't the best thing for a baker. When I heard there was an apple pie contest at work, I knew I had to enter. I worked really hard on this recipe, even made a practice pie (which my neighbors and friends were very happy with). Out of 12 entries, I came in 2nd, but most everyone thought I should have come in first, which is why I'm calling this the "best."

Now, if you're following WW, you know that you can have special treats and should not deprive yourself of them. Each serving might be more than you want to spend for extra points during the day, but isn't that what those extra flex points are for? Enjoy!

The "Best" Apple Pie
Serves 12

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
8 tbsp (1/2 stick) vegetable shortening, chilled
6-7 tbsp ice water

Filling & Topping
2 pounds Macoun apples
2 pounds Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup unpacked light brown sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1 egg white, beaten

For the crust, place the flour, sugar and salt in the workbowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse about 5 times. Cut the shortening into pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse about 4 times. The butter and shortening should be the size of peas. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. The dough should come together when pressed together. Divide dough in half and form into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days in advance.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out one of the dough disks on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Place in a 9-inch pie dish. Chill dough-lined dish until ready to fill.

For the filling, peel, core and slice apples into 1/4-inch wedges. Place in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and allspice. Spoon the filling into the lined pie dish, piling the filling higher in the center.

Roll the remaining dough out on a lightly flour surface to a 12-inch circle. You can cut it into 1 1/2-inch strips and create a lattice top, or place the crust on top of the filling and cut out vents. Crimp the edges to seal. Brush egg white on top of crust and sprinkle with the remaining granulated sugar.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil. Bake the pie for 20 minutes. Remove foil from the edges of the pie. Reduce oven to 375°F. Continue baking until the filling bubbles and crust is brown, about 35 minutes. (If the top of the crust browns too quickly, place a piece of foil on top to prevent it from overbrowning.) Let the pie cool before serving, about 2 hours.

(If cutting the pie into 12 servings, each serving is 9 pts.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pesto Chicken & Polenta

I needed to come up with a few ways to use the pesto I made and decided it was a great flavor enhancer for chicken. Plus, did you know that those polenta tubes at the supermarket and at Trader Joes are 1 pt per serving? Two and a half slices is a serving, but who makes a half slice? I served the pesto chicken with the polenta slices and it was great! If you want, you can use a store-bought sauce, but make sure you count the points correctly.

Pesto Chicken & Polenta
Serves 2

8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 1/2 tablespoons Pesto Sauce
6 slices basil-flavored Polenta, cut from a tube

Combine the chicken in a bowl with the pesto sauce. Spray a medium skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Add the chicken and pesto sauce. Cook until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Add the polenta slices. Cook until browned, turning frequently, about 3 minutes. Serve chicken with the polenta slices.

(Each serving is 5.5 pts.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pesto Sauce

I'm hoping to get to use more of the basil from my garden, but as the weather starts to get cooler, my basil patch is getting thinner. I realized that I haven't utilized it enough this season. So, I grabbed a bunch of basil and made some pesto. It is actually easier than I thought it would be. And, a little goes a long way. You don't need to use a lot of cheese either, as long as you use fresh and grate it yourself. Also, toasting the pine nuts adds to the nutty flavor. I like to add the tablespoon serving to a 1/4 cup of roasted diced tomatoes. It's a wonderful sauce for pasta and very tasty!

Pesto Sauce
Makes 4 tablespoons

2 tbsp pine nuts
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
2 clove garlic, peeled
1 tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp olive oil

Heat a small skillet over medium-hight heat. Add the pine nuts. Heat until toasted and slightly brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

Add the basil leaes, garlic, Parmesan and toasted pine nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture is chopped. Add the olive oil and process until mixture is combined completely, about 30 seconds.

(Each serving is 1 tablespoon, which is 3 pts. For a teaspoon serving, it's 1 pt.)