What did you do for Father's Day? Ben is actually driving back to Ohio today so we had an early celebration yesterday. I am sharing dinner photos from the evening spent celebrating the love of my life (and pretty damn fine dad). Here's wishing everyone and enjoyable rest of the day...
Friday, June 14, 2013
|Chicago Dog and Simple Slaw|
fresh poppy seed hot dog buns from a bakery
chicken sausages, we used Johnsonville 3 cheese Italian
spicy brown mustard
Vidalia onion, sliced in thin half moons
summer tomato, sliced in thin half moons
fresh jalapeño, sliced into thin rounds, keep the seeds
Grill the sausages. Slice the rolls and spread each side with the spicy brown mustard. Layer one side with tomato and season generously with the celery salt. Layer the other side with onion and jalapeño slices. Insert grilled sausage. Eat. Enjoy.
|Oozy cheese yum...|
The sausage will be 4 or 5 points, depending on the brand. Unless it is a huge bun, the hot dog bun will generally b 4 points. The condiments are free. as was the slaw.
at 1:50 PM
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Baked Eggs, à la South Carolina
Baked Eggs, à la South Carolina
For each serving:
1 heaping cup of your favorite leftover collard greens, preferably with lots of ham bits
1 or 2 eggs
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly spritz oven-safe dishes or ramekins with cooking spray. Place a heaping cup of prepared collard greens into each of the oven-safe dishes, making a well or two in the center of each. Break an egg into each well and season with salt and pepper. Place the ramekins on one or two rimmed baking sheets and bake until the whites are set and the yolks are firm around the edges but still soft in the center, about 17 minutes or to your liking. Serve immediately.
Serve this with a whole grain bread or English muffin and some hot sauce. Texas Pete is very popular here.
2 points per egg, but the greens will depend upon how they were prepared. Mine, made with lean ham and defatted ham broth, are 2 points for a heaping cup.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
|Chocolate Molten Cake|
The final indulgence for the evening was a chocolate molten cake...think gooey brownie and you know what I'm talking about. I have been wanting to make something like this for a long time, but for some reason thought it would be difficult or time consuming. Then I found Mark Bittman's article and video in the NYT and knew the time had come. (As a side note_ I love Bittman and his straight forward approach to cooking).
This recipe requires only five ingredients and is incredibly easy to make. Pay close attention to the baking and don't do as I did- at seven minutes it didn't look done enough so I gave it the nine. The interior was still very soft, but not "molten" as had been my desire. That aside, this cake was deliciously sinful and worth the points hit I took. I will be making this again for the family, but may cut the amount of sugar a bit to get more of the dark chocolate bitterness that we (okay. I mean me) love so much.
Molten Chocolate Cake
Makes 4 individual cakes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the molds
4 ounces dark chocolate chunks
4 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar (or equivalent substitute)
2 teaspoons flour, plus more for dusting the molds
When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the molds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the cakes have puffed up a bit, the tops are barely set and the cakes still jiggle slightly when shaken, 7 to 9 minutes (better underbaked than overbaked). Let sit for 1 minute, Put a plate on top of the ramekin and (with a potholder to protect your hand) carefully invert the cake onto the plate. Let it sit for 10 seconds, then lift up the ramekin. Serve immediately, with ice cream, sorbet, whipped cream, or just a simple dusting of powdered sugar.
WW PontsPlus - Each cake is 11 points. Using stevia instead of sugar would bring it down to 10 points.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I found this recipe in an article about 25 Uses for Cottage Cheese. Fat free cottage cheese has become a recent favorite, so I had to read this article (and bookmarked four different recipes from it). I have made this recipe three times since, the last time adding a second jalapeño, making it perfect for Ben and I. I am also going to try this thinned out as a salad dressing, my version of Green Goddess.
I've adapted the recipe a bit (but of course), because who really uses a tablespoon of chopped scallion and 3/4 teaspoon of jajapeño? Use the whole thing and actually be able to taste it. You can find the original recipe here.
Creamy Guacamole with Cottage Cheese
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
2/3 cup fat free cottage cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, more or less as desired
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Makes 1 1/2cups.
WW PointsPlus Breakdown - Each quarter cup is 2 points
Monday, May 20, 2013
|The Skinny Rita|
If you know me at all, you know that I much prefer my adult beverages on the dry side, and I find that premade cocktail mixes are entirely too sweet. I've written before about creating the perfect margarita, but when I went to make one last week I found that I was out of triple sec. This actually ended up being a good thing because it led to the "Skinny Rita," a margarita that could not be lower in calories and still contain the all important tequila. Please don't turn your nose up at the use of bottled lime juice. I don't know about you, but I don't want to squeeze enough limes to get the juice necessary for multiple cocktails, and I assure you, it tastes better than any mix on the market. And for the calories? The juice adds minimal calories, so you are really only getting those from the tequila. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
1 1/2 ounces silver tequila
1 1/2 ounces lime juice
lime flavored sparkling water, calorie free sweetened
salt and lime wedges, as desired
Pour the tequila and lime juice over ice in a salt rimmed glass (optional), with a lime wedge. Top off the glass with the desired amount of sparkling water, just give it a twirl with your finger in the glass.
WW PointsPlus Breakdown - Each cocktail is 5 points
Sunday, May 12, 2013
|Baked Eggs Florentine|
Ben found this dish easy to make, but if you like your eggs runny like he does, you will want to decrease the baking time a bit. This recipe is a definite keeper and would make for a great dinner, too. The next time we have it we are adding a bit of minced garlic and red pepper flake to the spinach, and sprinkling the cheese on top rather than mixing it in (it did get a bit lost). The addition of a tomato slice or two under the spinach would be fantastic, especially once summer tomatoes are here. Come on summer!
Baked Eggs Florentine
2 tsp olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1 1/2 lb baby spinach, large stems removed
4 large eggs (or more)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp shredded Asagio or Parmesan cheese
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly spritz four oven-safe dishes or ramekins with cooking spray. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, shallots and cook 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in cheese and remove from heat.
Divide the wilted spinach among the oven-safe dishes, making a well or two in the center of each. Break an egg into each well and season with salt and pepper. Place the ramekins on one or two rimmed baking sheets and bake until the whites are set and the yolks are firm around the edges but still soft in the center, about 17 minutes or to your liking. Serve immediately. These were perfect with a toasted light whole grain English muffin on the side.
One quarter of the spinach with one eggs is 4 points, two eggs are 6 points. A light whole grain English muffin is 2 points.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
|Low Fat Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Mini|
Christopher: Why are you making those?
Mom: For a lunch for your teachers.
Christopher: But why?
Dad: To bribe them so they will let you pass this year.
Christopher: (angry eyebrows)
Today, Tuesday, May 7, is National Teacher Appreciation Day, and Christopher's school is having an appreciation lunch today. Recruited by a friend to provide a dish for the luncheon, I said yes with no hesitation. Teachers are beautiful, hardworking people who have chosen a difficult and under-appreciated profession, so there was no question that I would help out. And my son's teachers? Well, they put up with him, so enough said :)
But then she said she wanted a desert.
I had assumed she wanted a savory dish (and we all know he saying about assumptions). Regular readers know that deserts are not my forte and I rarely make them...to the deprivation of my children according to the above mentioned Christopher. Ben suggested mini cheesecakes which sounded like a fine idea. He also suggested full fat, full sugar ones, which didn't sound like such a fine idea. This recipe is for 12, so double or triple if necessary.
Low Fat Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Minis
Makes 12 mini cheesecakes
12 small chocolate wafer cookies
1 8oz pkg. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 8oz pkg. fat free cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Splenda Sugar blend
large pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
5 Tbsp. raspberry preserves, divided use
2oz (about) dark chocolate chunks
6oz pkg. fresh raspberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the sugar blend, salt, vanilla and cream cheese with a mixer until well blended and fluffy. Introduce the eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated. Line a (1/2 cup-12 capacity or two 6 capacity) muffin tin with foil cupcake liners. Place a small chocolate wafer cookie into the bottom of each cup.
WW PointsPlus Breakdown
These were 5 points each as made.
If you use all fat free cream cheese they would be 4 points, and also using stevia instead of the sugar blend would bring them down to a miserly 3 points each. I plan to make some plain ones (Ben's preference) in this manner, but will sub gingersnaps for the chocolate wafers and add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the batter.
at 10:17 AM
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
|Sriracha BBQ Sauce sitting on my rainy day window sill...|
I've spent the last few days working on my sunburn, which means I've been outside working in the (too many) planting beds. Today brought dreary rain and miserable (at least to me) cold, so a day in the kitchen was in order.
One of the things I made today was a Sriracha BBQ sauce that I discovered last week on Slender Kitchen. The BBQ was featured as the dipping sauce for grilled chicken and I made both earlier this week. The chicken was very good, but not unlike other grilled chicken I have made many times. What was CRAZY GOOD was the BBQ sauce. Ben was wiping his little serving bowl clean with his finger to make sure he got every drop! We had the leftovers last night as a dip for fries and Ben offered a repeat performance of how to clean a bowl :)
To fill a pint jar, I quintupled (Is that even a word?) the recipe. I'm not sure how long it will keep in the fridge since it has the fresh ginger, but I suspect it won't be a problem for us. I did increase the amount of Sriracha from the original, so just decrease it to one tablespoon (or less) if you like things less spicy, but try this sauce you must.
Sriracha Barbecue Sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoon Sriracha (or less)
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon peeled fresh ginger, finely minced
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
Combine the ingredients at least an hour before serving to let the flavors marry. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
WW PointsPlus Value
1 point per 2 tablespoons
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
We have been on Weight Watchers for nine weeks now and I've lost 28 pounds, although Ben has lost an astonishing 42 (men!!). I had promised when we started that this was not going to become a "diet" blog, a promise I intend to keep, but I wanted to share some things that have become favorites and helped us on our journey. If you are trying to lose a bit of weight, or just want some easy meal ideas, I hope this is helpful.
Corn tortillas and fat free canned refried beans
I have always preferred corn tortillas to flour, but Ben was slower to come around. But three corn tortillas are only 2 PointsPlus, as is 1/3 can of the beans. Bean tacos topped with chopped onion, cilantro, and hot sauce have become a common lunch for me, and only 4 points. We have been eating a lot of burrito bowls, a la Chipotle, and the beans are always at the bottom of the bowl.
Pre-chpped veg and salad in the fridgeBell peppers, red and green, onions, halved grape tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, romaine, cabbage, radishes, cucumber...these are some of the things that I've been keeping in the fridge already sliced up and ready to go. Salads, breakfast omelets, pizzas, tacos, burrito bowls. sandwiches- all sorts of meals come together quickly without too much thought or fuss.
Liquid egg whites and fat free cottage cheese
Most of the foods on my favorites list are not new to me, the exception being the liquid egg whites. A half cup of these and a big handful of chopped veg are the base of a delicious and easy omelet in a bowl, and come in at one teeny, tiny point. The cottage cheese isn't new, what's new is how much of it we are eating. A whole cup is only three points and delicious on a salad with some fresh ground black pepper or fresh fruit. This is good for a gal now in her forties (yikes) who needs to increase her calcium intake, but doesn't like milk.
Single serve tuna pouches
These easy pouches are only 2 PointsPlus and are available with a variety of seasonings, my favorite being the sweet and spicy. A small can of drained tuna in water is also only two points, but I really like the ease and variety of these packs, and they are sooo much easier for lunch packing. The last time these went on sale I bought a dozen; now I'm about out and waiting for the next sale. I really love the tuna and cottage cheese together on a salad dressed only with balsamic vinegar
Salsas, hot sauces, and pepper flakes
Again, nothing new here, but the amount of salsa we are eating has skyrocketed with the introduction of omelet and burrito bowls. Salsa and hot sauce are "free" additions to your meal, and in addition to adding delicious flavor, capsaicin has been shown to speed up the metabolism and bring on endorphins, which act to improve mood. So hurray for the heat, bring it on.
Fat free sour cream (and Greek yogurt), prepared hummus and grainy mustard
We were already eating these things, but have practically done away with out use of reduced fat mayo, which is still pretty hefty in the point department, considering what you get for it. We haven't missed the mayo at all. An easy snack that I have been having of late is two slices of toasted whole grain bread, each spread with a tablespoon of hummus for a total of 4 or 5 PointsPlus, depending on the bread I use. Hummus can be a bit pricey if not on sale, but Aldi offers several delicious varieties for only $1.49 (in SW Ohio).
Red grapefruits and clementines/mandarians
I have become seriously addicted to both, sometimes eating two grapefruits in a single day. And I don't do any of that silly nonsense of cutting them in half and sprinkling with sugar; I peel and eat them like an orange. It's a bit time consuming to remove all the pith, but well worth it. The green apples? Wish I was enjoying them more, but just not feeling it right now. Maybe once the citrus is out of season and not so flavorful.
Some other favorites not pictured: 2% milk cheeses and part skim mozzarella are lower in fat but still provide the melty nature of cheese- the fat free cheeses just don't cut it. Flat breads for pizzas and wraps- the Flatout brand lights are 3 points each, and the Aldi brand Fit and Active are 2 points each.