Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Polenta Fries

I am a huge fan of Polenta. I love trying new and different ways of making it. I have thought about trying to make Polenta fries for a while and I decided to try it this weekend. I loved the crispy edges of the Polenta. They were perfect with the Italian Meatloaf I made the other day. Polenta is great for those on Weight Watchers, since it has very little points.

Polenta Fries
Serves 4

1 cup instant Polenta (I used Scalfani)
Garlic powder
Dried basil
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray (I used olive oil spray).

Place 4 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Slowly add the Polenta, stirring constantly. Stir mixture continuously over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add seasonings to taste.

Spoon the Polenta onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread the mixture about 1/4-inch thick.

Let the Polenta stand until cool and set, about 30 minutes. Lift the foil and transfer the Polenta to a flat work surface. Line baking sheet again with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Cut the Polenta into fries and transfer them to the lined baking sheet. Spray again with nonstick cooking spray. Season again with garlic powder and salt.

Bake until edges are crisp, turning halfway through baking, about 30 minutes.

(Each serving is 1 pt.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Italian Meatloaf

I haven't always been a fan of meatloaf. I remember my Mom used to make meatloaf for my Dad, and I never wanted any part of it. I don't know what she put into it, but it wasn't for me. I have made meatloaf for myself, many different versions, but it wasn't until a few years ago. This version tastes like a giant meatball, and I love it! I could have eaten the whole thing (or at least half), but a single serving is 2 slices. Of course you can eat as many slices as you like if you're not on Weight Watchers, but if you're watching, it's 7 points for 2 slices (not too bad)!

Italian Meatloaf
Serves 5 (two slices per serving)

1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 large egg
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced garlic (equal to 2 cloves)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup low-fat spaghetti sauce, divided
1/3 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, milk, tomato paste, garlic and Italian seasoning. Mix well with your hands. Transfer beef mixture to the prepared baking sheet and form into a meatloaf shape. Spoon 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce over the top.

Bake meatloaf until browned around the edges and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Spread the top of the meatloaf with the remaining spaghetti sauce and sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese. Bake until mozzarella is melted, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into slices to serve.

(Each serving, 2 slices, is 7 pts.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

I don't know why, but I had this vision of Cookies & Cream cupcakes. I wanted to make something special for my brother before he left for Alaska. I researched recipes on the internet and found this recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor. The batter was a little too thick for my taste, so I added water to the recipe, which was just what it needed. They were still moist and delicious. The secret to making a cake mix taste more like homemade is the additional ingredients, in this case it was the sour cream. I used light, but it didn't really help the calorie count. But they were delicious!!

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
Makes 24

18 Oreo Cookies
1 box White Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
3 large eggs
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can (12 ounces) Betty Crocker whipped fluffy white frosting

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. Place Oreos in a resealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, roll over the Oreos to crush. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, sour cream, oil, water, and vanilla extract. Beat mixture on low speed for 1 minute, and then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Measure 1/2 cup Oreo crumbs and add to the cake batter, folding to combine. Spoon cake batter into the cupcake liners. Bake until cupcakes are lightly brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Frost cupcakes with frosting and top with remaining Oreo crumbs.

(Each cupcake is 6 pts.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Blueberry Crumble Bars

My co-worker John's birthday is on Wednesday. He always bakes for everyone's birthday and I thought it only fair that someone bake for him. His request for his birthday: Blueberry Crumble Bars. I searched the Internet for a good recipe and I think I found it. It was originally published in The Good Cookie, but reviews showed that the crust wasn't enough to cover the pan, so I added to the recipe. They smelled so good baking, a hint of cinnamon with the brown sugar. And as I watched the blueberry center bubbling through I couldn't wait to try them. They are delicious!!

Blueberry Crumble Bars
Makes 28 Bars

For the Crust:
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

For the Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups blueberries (about 1 1/2 pints)

For the Crumble Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust, combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and light brown sugar on medium speed until combined. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture. Press the crust mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan.

For the filling, combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the blueberries, stirring to coat. Spoon the filling mixture over the crust.

For the crumble topping, combine the all-purpose flour, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter. Mix well. Crumble the topping and sprinkle over the blueberry filling. Bake until crumble topping is brown and the blueberry filling is bubbly, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cut into 28 bars.

(Each bar is 5 pt pls.)