Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spinach Dip

I know at some point in your life, you've had this popular dip, served inside a bread bowl. What I bet you didn't know if that if you use lower fat ingredients, you can enjoy this fabulous dip without worrying about all the calories. Of course, serving it in a bread bowl would defeat the purpose (unless you can control yourself from eating the bread, which I can't), but it's great with low-fat crackers and cut-up veggies.

Spinach Dip
Serves 8

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
1 container (16 ounces) light sour cream
1 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1 packet vegetable soup mix (I used Knorr)
3 scallions, chopped

Thaw spinach and squeeze out excess moisture. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, and vegetable soup mix. Mix well. Add thawed spinach and chopped scallions. Mix well. Chill at least 4 hours before serving (best if made the day before).

(Each serving, which is 1/4 cup, is 3 pts.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hearty Polenta Pie

I love polenta, and I never really get to make it. It's actually high in fiber and low in calories for a single serving. To make polenta, you really need to stir and stir, but the end result is worth it. I found instant polenta in the supermarket and it takes 3 minutes to make. I decided to turn the polenta into a base for my Turkey Bolognese that I posted yesterday. Topped with some reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, it was so amazing and the portions were huge! I hope you love it as much as I did.

Hearty Polenta Pie
Serves 6

4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup instant polenta (I used Scalfani; to get the correct point value, make sure to choose an instant polenta that is 140 calories, 0 fat, and 4 fiber per 1/4 cup serving)
2 cups Turkey Bolognese
3/4 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Sargento)

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the 4 cups water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the instant polenta to the boiling water, gradually, while stirring contantly. Continue to stir contantly for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Spoon the cooked polenta into the prepared pie pan. Let sit until polenta is firm, about 15 minutes.

Spoon the bolognese sauce onto the polenta in the pie pan. Top with mozzarella cheese. Spray a piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place over the polenta pie.

Bake the pie covered for 10 minutes. Remove foil cover and continue baking for 15 minutes. Cut into 6 wedges to serve.

(Each serving is 5 pt pls.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Turkey Bolognese

This meat sauce is so good, I was actually eating it with a spoon from the pot. It is great and very filling over a plate of high-fiber pasta. It's even better when you make it a few days in advance and the flavors blend. (Sorry I didn't take a photo of this one.)

Turkey Bolognese
Serves 5 (1 cup per serving)

1 container (26.75 ounces) Pomi Strained Tomatoes
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Italian seasoning, crushed
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground turkey, 93% lean
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine the strained tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and dried rosemary.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and garlic. Saute until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet and add to the pot with tomato mixture. Add the ground turkey to the skillet, and cook for medium heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess fat in the skillet; add the turkey to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low, and let simmer for about 1 hour.

(Each 1 cup serving is 5 pt pls.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok, I have to say, these are the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made! They are so chewy, yet the edges are still crisp. I replaced ground oatmeal for 1 cup of the flour and a larger ratio of brown sugar to granulated sugar also keeps the calories a bit lower. You definitely have to make these for your next party or family gathering.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 4 dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal, finely ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, ground oatmeal, baking soda and salt. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake the cookies, turning halfway through baking, until edges are nicely browned, about 12 minutes. Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool.

(Each cookie is 2 pts.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

I'm on a bit of a Mexican kick. I've always wanted to try enchiladas, but thought it would have been a little more fattening. I used the low-carb tortillas, and didn't add cheese (simply because I don't like cheese), and it was delicious and low points. I found a peach-mango salsa from Stop 'n' Shop, and it was delicious.

Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 4

2 cups enchilada sauce
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp. each garlic powder and cumin
1 cup peach-mango salsa
4 low-carb, high fiber tortillas
3/4 cup fat-free refried beans

Preheat oven to 350F. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a medium glass dish. Season the chicken with garlic powder and cumin. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet. Cook until chicken is no longer pink and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and using 2 forks, shred and place in a bowl. Add the salsa to the chicken and mix to combine.

Place each tortilla on a flat surface. Divide the refried beans among the tortillas and spread down the middle. Top with equal portions of chicken mixture. Roll up the tortillas and place in the sauce-lined glass dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the filled tortillas in the dish. Cover dish with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes, and uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer. Let the enchiladas cool for 10 minutes before serving.

(Each enchilada is 5 pts.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Best Weight Watcher Friendly Breakfast

This isn't exactly a recipe, per se, but I wanted to share my favorite Sunday breakfast with you. Sunday mornings, I always make myself 3 low-fat Nutrigrain waffles, 4 strips of Thin & Crispy Butterball Bacon, and 2 tablespoons of lite Log Cabin syrup. It's only 6 pts for the entire plate! And it's so filling, it's amazing. Hope you try this next Sunday!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chocolate Marshmallow Candy

My cousin Karen found this recipe on the Weight Watchers' website. It's very yummy, but hard to stop at one. I made some adjustments, and cut the original recipe in half, but tastes just as good as the original. It uses bittersweet chocolate, but make sure it is good quality, at least 60% cacao.

Chocolate Marshmallow Candy
Makes 16 pieces

1 bar (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate 60 % cacao
1 tsp. Better 'n Peanut Butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup mini marshmallows

Line an 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing the foil to hang over the edges.

Break up the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the peanut butter to the bowl. Microwave on HIGH at 15 minute intervals, stirring, until melted, about 30 seconds. Mix well to make sure the chocolate is completely melted. Add the vanilla and cinnamon to the bowl. Mix well. Add the mini marshmallows and mix well.

Spread the mixture into the pan. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour. Cut into 16 pieces to serve. Keep chilled until ready to eat.

(Each piece is 2 pts.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Awesome Chili

This is the perfect time of year for chili. Besides the freezing weather outside (we have a few inches on the ground), it's almost Super Bowl party time! For those of you watching calories, this chili is the perfect party food. After I browned the ground beef, I drained it and then rinsed it as well. Even though I used lean ground beef, every little bit helps, and it didn't hurt the flavor at all. I served it over brown rice. Hope you enjoy it!

Awesome Chili
Makes 10 one-cup servings

1.25 lbs 93% lean ground beef
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) pinto beans, drained
1 can (14.5 ounces) black beans, drained
2 cans (14 ounces each) fire roasted diced tomatoes (I used Hunts)
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with chiles
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp. Adobo seasoning (I bought this from Penzey's; it contains onion powder, black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, Mexican oregano and red chili pepper)
1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
drop of liquid smoke

Spray a large pot with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Drain the cooked beef in a colander and rinse; drain again.

In the same pot, spray again with nonstick cooking spray. Add the onion, green pepper, red pepper and garlic. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Return the cooked ground beef to the pot. Add the drained pinto and black beans, the diced tomatoes, ketchup, Adobo seasoning, cocoa powder, brown sugar, cinnamon and liquid smoke. Stir well. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low.

Let the chili simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours.

(Each 1 cup serving is 3 pts.)