Friday, February 25, 2011

Three Square Meals... in bowls.

It's been cold and rainy this week, which has been making me crave warm, comfort foods.  It was really cold this morning, so when I got home from the gym not only was I chilly, I was ravenous.  I made a delicious bowl of Apple Cranberry Oatmeal with a side of scrambled egg whites that really hit the spot and kept me full.  For lunch I went back to that fabulous Spinach Salad with balsamic chicken, almonds, cranberries and goat cheese, and for dinner I had the steak and potatoes dinner leftovers, and ended with a scrumptious bowl of Braised Red Cabbage. 

Last weekend we had lunch at Houston's, and on the side of my veggie burger patty (the best veggie burger anywhere) I ordered the seasonal vegetable- Braised Red Cabbage with crumbled goat cheese.  It was so delicious, so when the server cleared my plate I asked what the main ingredients were.  She said balsamic vinaigrette and brown sugar.  Perfect, I went to the web and found Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage at which was very similar.  With a few tweaks it was more WW friendly.

Since I've already posted the salad recipe, here's my oatmeal and braised red cabbage recipes.

Apple Cranberry Oatmeal

1/4 cup dry oatmeal (Quaker quick-cooking 2 pts.)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chunky apple sauce (no sugar added, I like the Trader Joe's brand best 1 pt)
1 tbsp. dried cranberries (1/2 pt)
2 tbsp. sugar free maple syrup (Maple Farms, 1/2 pt)
few shakes of cinnamon

Put dried oatmeal and water in microwave safe bowl and cook accordingly.  Add in all other ingredients and stir- delicious!

Braised Red Cabbage

1 head of red cabbage, chopped
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
6 tbsp. brown sugar
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

In bottom of large pan place oil and butter, and turn heat to medium high.  When butter is melted, add cabbage and saute 5 minutes until it's slightly wilted.  Then add brown sugar, toss to coat, followed by balsamic vinegar.  Stir, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from heat and enjoy.  I estimate 2 pts per 1/2 cup.  To make it out of this world, top with 1 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese.

Have a great weekend and look for my Oscar party post!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Meat and Potatoes.

I know what you're can you follow a diet plan and have meat and potatoes?  Well I do, and did, twice today!  My lunch was "Burgers and Fries" which I made my way with Boca Burger patties, and skillet potatoes, while my fabulous dinner (thanks honey for cooking the steak) was medium-rare top sirloin, roasted potatoes with Madeira mushrooms and brocollini.  I know you're supposed to eat light at dinner, but tonight I ate like a queen! 

"Burgers and Fries"

2 Boca Burger patties (2 pts each)
non-stick spray
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp. lowfat shredded cheddar cheese (1 pt)
3 oz. baked potato (1 pt)
1 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. bbq sauce (1 pt for both sauces combined)

I start by prepping my veggies and my skillets.  I spray a large and a small skillet with non-stick spray.  I slice my onions and mushrooms and put them in the large skillet on medium heat. I slice the baked potato and place that in the small skillet over medium heat- and cover both.  The steam adds moisture and speed the cooking time.  After a couple of minutes, flip the potatoes and turn to low heat.  Stir the onions and mushrooms and spread to the outside of the pan.  In the empty center, spray again and place two Boca burger patties- cover and cook 2 minutes.  Lift lid, flip and cook the other side for 2 more minutes.  Turn off heat, and move some of the onion and mushroom mixture to the top of your Boca patties, and  top each with a tbsp. of lowfat shredded cheddar.  Cover for one minute, grab your plate and condiments- you're ready to eat!  7 points.  You could always skip the second patty and toast an Orowheat sandwich thin for only one more point.  Another variation is to serve Ore-Ida Golden Crinkle Cut french fries- 12 are only 2 points ( though I haven't calculated them on the new points plus plan.

Steakhouse Supper

4 oz. top sirloin (5 pts)
1 tsp. oil ( 1 pt.)
3 oz. roasted potatoes (today I bought a medley from Trader Joe's- purple, red and Yukon gold- 1 pt.)
1 tsp. olive oil (1 pt.)
1 cup brocollini
1 tsp. olive oil (1 pt.)
1/2 cup Madeira mushrooms
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp. olive oil (1 pt.)

I started by pulling the steak out of the fridge to come to room temperature, and prepping my veggies.  For the potatoes, I quartered them, tossed them all with 1 tbsp. olive oil, sprinkled them with kosher salt and clipped some fresh rosemary overall.  I put them on a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and roasted them at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.

For the brocollini, I rinsed it, trimmed it (2 pkgs from Trader Joe's will serve two, as I really only like the tops) and put 2 tsp of olive oil in a non-stick skillet along with two cloves of garlic, minced.  Heat the oil, put the somewhat wet brocollini in the pan when heated, cover to cook for 2 minutes.  When al dente, turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper.

For the mushrooms (1 pkg of organic button mushrooms from Trader Joe's), I brushed them and halved them. Next, mince 1 small shallot.  In a saute pan, add 1 tsp of butter and 1 tsp of olive oil.  When hot, add the shallots and cook for one minute.  Add the mushrooms and cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then add 1/4 cup of Madeira wine.  Simmer the mushrooms for another 5 minutes.

For the steak, season as you like, prepare a cast iron skillet (rub with canola oil and heat) and sear steak for 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.  Once cooked, move to cutting board and let rest for a couple of minutes.  Meanwhile, plate your veggies (3 oz. potatoes, 1 cup or half of brocollini, 1/2 cup of mushrooms) and cut and weigh 4 oz. of meat.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Whole Grain Apple Pancakes, Spaghetti Squash Casserole and Salmon

I made three fabulous recipes today, two of them new, and the other a favorite I've made many times.

For breakfast I started with Whole Grain Apple Pancakes.  I had been craving pancakes since last fall, but never opened the mix until today.  I used the Whole Foods brand of Whole Wheat Pancake Mix and made it as follows:


1 cup Whole Foods Organic Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancake mix
2/3 cup organic skim milk
1/4 cup chunky applesauce (no sugar added, I use Trader Joe's)
1 egg white
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 apple (I used an organic Braeburn)
1/4 Maple Farms sugar free syrup
1 shake cinnamon

For pancakes, mix all ingredients until well blended and set aside.   For topping, peel apple and slice thin.  Place in small bowl with 1 tbsp of water and steam in microwave (covered) for 45 minutes.  Remove from microwave, pour off water and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and maple syrup.  Stir.

Prepare griddle with non-stick spray and heat to medium high.  Pour 3 tbsp. of mix to form 1 4 inch size pancake, cooking three at a time.  When first three are done, place on plate, spray with I Can't Believe it's Not Butter and top with all of apple mixture.  7 Points Plus per serving, with a serving of fruit and whole grains.

The new one was a Spaghetti Squash Casserole.  This is my favorite dish at True Food Kitchen right now and I wanted to try it at home.  So I did, and it came out fantastic.  I made it for dinner last night, but it was even better leftover today for my lunch.


1 whole spaghetti squash
2 medium sized zucchini
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with healthy oil cooking spray (canola or olive).  Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.  Place cut side down on foil and bake for 30-50 minutes, depending on size of squash.  Set timer for 30 minutes, and check.  Add time until done. Test with knife for doneness- tip should easily pierce the skin when done.  Pull from oven, turn over and let cool for a few minutes.

While squash is baking, smash and slice garlic.  In medium sauce pan, over medium high heat, heat 2 tsp. of olive oil, and when hot add in garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add in can of crushed tomatoes.  Let heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Julienne both zucchini, discarding the skins.

When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh (which will look like broken spaghetti) and place in large mixing bowl.  Add in julienned zucchini, tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese and stir to mix.  Spray a 9x13 inch glass pan with healthy oil spray and pour vegetable mixture in.  Top with 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese and bake 25 minutes uncovered.  Dish may be a bit watery, so serve with a slotted spoon.  Makes 8 servings.  Projected Points Plus value, 2 per serving.

For dinner tonight I made this fabulous salmon recipe which I served on a bed of wilted spinach with steamed carrots and baked potatoes.  I also found this recipe last year in Cooking Light, in a McCormick spice ad.  It makes for a healthy, gorgeous and colorful plate.


1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves, divided
2 pounds salmon fillets
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 bag spinach leaves

Prepare salmon by mixing orange juice, 2 tbsp of the oil and 1 tsp of the thyme in a small bowl.  Rinse salmon fillets and place in glass dish.  Add marinade: turn to coat well.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

In a separate small bowl, mix sugar, paprika, cinnamon, orange peel, remaining tsp of thyme and sea salt.  Remove salmon from marinade and place on sprayed foil lined baking pan.  Discard any remaining marinade.  Rub top of salmon evenly with smoked paprika mixture.

Roast salmon in pre-heated 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tsp of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add spinach, cook and stir 2 min. or until wilted.  Serve salmon over spinach.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Italian Dinner Boosted.

I'm always on the look out for a new idea, and on Friday night I found one.  We were eating dinner at my favorite restaurant where I love to order the Tuscan Kale Salad followed by the Spaghetti Squash Casserole (tackling that next week).  But, my fiancee ordered something even better- Ricotta Ravioli served in KALE Pesto Sauce!  What a great idea, so  I took my beloved Weight Watcher Pesto Sauce recipe and "boosted" it by shorting the basil leaves and adding in kale leaves.  I can't taste the difference, but my body should notice a difference.  Kale is one of the best foods you can eat, and the more the better.  For dinner tonight I made my delicious Shrimp Pesto Stir Fry and served it with a side of Eggplant Unparmesan, so delicious!  Here are the recipes for all three:

Kale Pesto Sauce

1 medium bunch of washed basil leaves (about 3 cups, I find the best at Trader Joe's)
2 cups kale leaves (washed, with mid ribs removed)
3 tbsp. pine nuts
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. water
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:  place all ingredients except for the cheese, and pulse until well blended.  Add in cheese and puree.  3 tbsp. are worth 2 points plus.  Store in an air tight container, with a piece of saran wrap laid right on top of sauce.  Limiting the air contact will keep it from browning.  Can also be stored in the freezer.  I use this sauce for several different meals- as a sauce for pasta, as pizza sauce (with sliced roma tomato, sundried tomato, mushroom, goat cheese and mozzarella) as a spread for a grilled vegetable sandwich and more. 

Shrimp Pesto Stir Fry

1 lb. raw shrimp, washed, peeled, and deveined with tails removed.
2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (bella or button)
1 roma tomato, chopped
3 tbsp. Pesto Sauce
2 tbsp. chicken stock or white wine
1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, saute the mushrooms in the olive oil for three minutes uncovered.  Then add shrimp and cook for another three minutes.  Add pesto sauce, chicken broth (or wine) and add tomatoes last.  Cook until all shrimp are pink and thoroughly cooked (about 2 minutes.)  Turn heat off and finish with the sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese.  Makes two large servings.  I built my serving by measuring and weighing the cooking shrimp in my serving bowl (6 oz, 3 points) and half of the veggies, sauce and cheese- another point for the olive oil, 2 for the pesto and Parmesan.  5 points total.  Serve by itself, or over noodles.

Who doesn't love Eggplant Parmesan?  I sure do, but the way it's usually cooked- breaded and fried, is so unhealthy and loaded in calories- and you really can't taste the eggplant.  I found this recipe in one of my weekly guides from Weight Watchers a couple of years ago and have made it often ever since.  Once you try it I bet it will be one or your favorites too.

Eggplant UNParmesan

1 whole eggplant, sliced into about 16 slices (this will make four nice "stacks")
healthy cooking oil spray
garlic salt
1 cup marinara sauce (I prefer Trader Joe's organic marinara)
8 large basil leaves, julienned
1/2 cup low fat mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat brolier.  Place a sheet of foil on a cookie sheet, and spray with healthy cooking oil spray.  Place the eggplant slices on the sprayed foil, and spray them with oil too.  Sprinkle garlic salt over all, and broil for about 2-3 minutes.  When very golden brown, pull from broiler, and turn each slice.  Broil other side for 2-3 minutes, but don't spray or salt.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8 inch square glass pan with healthy oil spray and spread 2 tbsp. of marinara across the bottom.  Take the four largest slices of broiled eggplant and place in pan.  Top each with 1 tbsp. of marinara and half of the basil leaves.  Stack next four largest eggplant slices and top each with 1 tbsp. of marinara and 1 tbsp. of low fat mozzarella.  Stack next four largest eggplant slices and top with 1 tbsp of marinara and the rest of the basil leaves.  Stack last four slices and top with remaining marinara and top each with 1 tbsp of low fat mozzarella.  Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.  Each stack is only 2 points, and so delicious!  Have one stack as a side to a protein, or two stacks as a meal served with salad.  You won't miss the old eggplant parmesan anymore, trust me!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eating healthy on the road.

As a business traveler, eating healthy on the road is my biggest challenge.  I learned early this year, that when I manage my travel (schedule, food, etc) I have success.  When I'm at conferences or meetings where I don't manage my schedule or get to order my own food is when it's really difficult to do well.

This is my third day of travel this week and I've done pretty well so far.  Sorry, I haven't had the nerve to whip out my camera in a restaurant to photograph my plate yet, but I will.  Tonight I'm at a Kimpton Hotel and just discovered their Travel Healthy program.  It's a series of videos on the TV hosted by Joy Bauer with in room workouts, suggested menus for dining out, and helpful tips.  There is also an in-room dining menu that has fiber, fat, protein and carbohydrates listed on four menu selections per meal time- this is so awesome!  Alas I did not discover this until I had returned to my room after ordering sushi takeout.  But that's OK, I'll save it for next time.

When I travel I try to eat as much seafood as I can.  It's high in protein, low in fat, and something I don't cook that often at home.  For lunch I had a gorgeous piece of grilled salmon served with brussel sprouts, mushrooms and sweet potatoes (menu had all dietary calculations listed.)  It was delicious, and good for me- I never eat enough salmon.

Tonight I ordered a Shrimp Spring Roll and a Rock and Roll Sushi roll with three piece nigiri of ahi, salmon, and mackerel. 

The spring roll had a generous portion of avocado, so I estimated it to be 5 points, and the sushi I am counting 4 points.  It includes a serving of vegetables, a serving of healthy oil (avocado) and l lean protein.  I also bought a container of organic strawberries in case I wanted something sweet later on, and another serving of fruit.  I used low sodium soy sauce, and earned activity points walking around to get it.

Now I'm starting an in room movie and relaxing.  Enjoy your night!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Stir Fry"...

So while I love to cook, I HATE to dishes.  "Stir Frys" are my go to recipes cooked in one pan.  But there's a second strategy at play as well, I really limit my carbohydrates too (noodles, tortillas, bread, etc).  I can achieve both of these with meals I call "Stir Frys".  You've seen my Teriyaki Tofu Stir Fry which has a classic Teriyaki flavor, but I do other stir frys that do not have Asian flavors.  I made two of them today, check them out. 
Broccoli, Bean and Bacon Stir Fry (lunch)

This recipe is an adapted version of a recipe I found last year in Cooking Light.  The original called for broccoli rabe and regular bacon, but I have been substituting with regular broccoli and turkey bacon, and today I got even leaner with Canadian bacon and it was just as good.  I make two servings out of this one recipe:

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (2 pts)
6 slices Canadian Bacon, chopped (Trader Joe's, slices are about 3-4 inches across, 30 cal and 1 gram of fat for three slices) (2 pts)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups broccoli florets
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, slices
1 cup garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed) (4 pts)
1/8 tsp. of kosher salt
1/8 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (2 pts)

Directions:  In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, cook onion and bacon in olive oil for 3 minutes.  Add in all remaining ingredients except for cheese, cover and cook for 3 more minutes.  Toss to combine, and sprinkle cheese over top.  Remove heat and cover for one more minute to let cheese melt, then serve in two bowls.  5 points per serving with 2 vegetable servings, 1 healthy oil and 2 lean proteins.

Chicken Fajita Stir Fry (dinner)

This recipe uses all the protein, vegetables, and seasonings of fajitas, minus the tortillas.

6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast meat,cut into strips (Raw, 6 pts)
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (2 pts)
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup sliced bell pepper ( I used red and yellow, but any color is fine)
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. McCormick Chicken Fajita Seasoning (this comes in a packet which I find among the taco seasoning, etc.  I only use 2 tsp, because each one has 320 mg. of sodium!)
1/2 cup pico de gallo
4 Tbsp. low fat shredded cheddar cheese ( 2 pts)
4 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt or sour cream (1 pt)

Directions:In a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat, saute onion, bell pepper and chicken in olive oil for 3-5 minutes- covered.  Make sure chicken is cooked, then sprinkle with fajita seasoning, add the water to the pan, stir well, cover and cook for two more minutes.  Transfer to two serving bowls, and top each with 1/4 cup fresh pico de gallo, cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt.  5.5 points per serving.  For two more points, wrap it all in a whole wheat Tortilla Factory tortilla (12 grams of fiber), and for one more point, top this all off with 2 tbsp. guacamole.  Without the tortilla and guacamole, track 2 lean proteins, 3 vegetable servings, and 1 healthy oil.

Now that I've shared these, guess where I'm headed- to do my dishes!  Have a good night and look for my Shrimp Pesto Stir Fry next week.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Comments are enabled.

Hi everyone-  Since I'm new at blogging, I didn't know I had to enable the comments, but it's open now, so please feel free to post any and all comments if you'd like.  Have a great night!

Look Familiar? Restaurant Recipes made healthier.

I read this morning that the FDA officially withdrew its federal requirement to make national restaurant chains add nutritional information to their menus.  As a Weight Watcher I was looking forward to this as dining out is always a challenge, and the more I know, the more I succeed. 

Since I do dine out a lot, I love to recreate recipes at home, only make them more healthy, and points friendly.  Maybe you recognized my first posted recipe for BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad from California Pizza Kitchen?  I know their version has a lot more calories and fat, but now I have a healthy version that lets me enjoy it more often.

Here are two other salads that I've recreated after having them at restaurants.

Tuscan Kale Salad from True Food Kitchen.

For one serving:
2 cups organic kale leaves
1-2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. fresh minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
hot red pepper flakes to taste
1 tbsp. panko bread crumbs (whole wheat preferred)
2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Start by preparing your kale.  Wash and pat dry, then remove the midribs (the big stalk down the length of the leaf).  Julienne your leaves into bite size lengths and place into a medium mixing bowl.  For the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Pour over kale leaves and toss.  Place in serving bowl and sprinkle panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed.  (I personally love an extra bit of lemon juice- makes it so bright!) 

Don't be scared to make this because it has raw kale in it.  I'm sure you've tried it before and didn't like it, but I am telling you, this recipe is so good- and SO GOOD FOR YOU!  Kale is one of the best ingredients for you, and you know you're not eating enough of. This serving delivers two servings of vegetables, and two servings of healthy oil.  3 points for the whole bowl!

This next salad is the one I took to the Superbowl party on Sunday, but had the leftovers for dinner last night.  It was actually better the next night.

Chopped Italian Salad from California Pizza Kitchen

1 cup iceberg lettuce leaves, julienned
1 cup romaine lettuce leaves, julienned
2 tbsp. basil leaves, julienned
2 oz. fat free smoked turkey breast (I use lunch meat), chopped (2 pts)
4 slices Gallo low fat Italian salami, chopped (1 point)
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup garbanzo beans (liquid reserved), chopped (1 point)
2 tbsp low fat shredded mozzarella cheese (1 point)

Assemble chopped salad ingredients as listed.

For Herb Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing:

1 tbsp. garbanzo bean liquid
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk all ingredients really well, adding cheese last.  Count 2 points for all of the dressing. 7 points for the whole salad. 

Have a great day!
pinches of salt and pepper

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekend Wonders.

I had a busy weekend, so I did not get everything posted on time, but better late than never.  I wanted to share my delicious breakfast and lunch from Sunday.  I started my morning with a good uphill walk on Signal Hill with two good friends.  Of course we were talking about a lot of different things, but the closer we got to the finish line, the more we talked about food- we were all getting hungry.  It was very foggy, and quite chilly, so when we finished and the hunger pangs were kicking in, all I could think of was Whole Wheat French Toast.   I cam home and made just that.

Whole Wheat French Toast

In a shallow bowl, whisk three egg whites (1 point) with a tbsp. of nonfat milk.  Add in a 1/2 tsp. vanilla,  a shake of nutmeg, and a few shakes of cinnamon.  Whisk well, and then soak two slices of whole wheat bread (make sure each slice has at least three grams of fiber, 2 pts. per slice) in it- coat evenly.  Meanwhile spray a griddle or non-stick skillet with healthy oil spray and pre-heat.  When hot, place both slices of soaked bread onto the skillet, and pour all egg mixture on top (you need the protein).  Cook for three minutes, then flip and cook until browned.  Spray each slice with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, top with a 1/4 cup of Maple Grove Farms sugar free syrup (30 calories, 1 point) and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  This is such a satisfying breakfast, and for only 6 points.

After a breakfast like that you think I'd be full all day, but I did walk up a lot of hills, so I was famished by noon.  Good thing I had all the ingredients I needed for a quick and nutritious lunch.  While breakfast was on the sweeter side, lunch was definitely savory.

Polenta Florentine

2 slices of Trader Joe's polenta (comes in a log form, 2 points for 1/5 of the log, I portion my log with a Sharpie before I cut in)
1 tsp. olive oil (1 point)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups spinach leaves
1/2 cup marinara sauce (Trader Joe's Organic marinara sauce, 2 pts.)
1/4 cup low fat shredded mozzarella cheese (2 points)

In a non-stick skillet, saute the garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat, and make sure pan is well coated with oil.  Add in mushrooms, cover with lid, and cook 1-2 minutes.  Move mushrooms to the edge of the pan, spray each side of polenta with healthy oil spray and place in center of pan.  Cook about 90 seconds on each side, uncovered.  Move some mushrooms onto tops of polenta slices, turn heat to low, and top with spinach leaves, then marinara and finally the mozzarella.  Cover with lid, turn off the heat, and let spinach wilt for 60 seconds.  Remove cover and transfer to dinner plate.  You will love the comfort this dish delivers with its rick marinara, melted cheese, and warm polenta.  You also get a serving of whole grains (polenta is made from corn) a serving of healthy oil, four servings of vegetables, and some dairy- can't beat that for 7 points!

Enjoy your Monday, I'll be back tomorrow.

Big Game, Big Ideas.

I love to watch all kinds of sports, especially football.  I also love to make great game food, especially on Big Game Days like this past Sunday for Superbowl 45.  This year we went to someone else's house to watch the game.  We had pizza and I brought a big salad, and some low fat cupcakes- nobody even knew.

But if I had stayed home and hosted the game, here's what I would have served:

Turkey Meatball Marinara Sandwich

I start by making a batch of the Turkey Parmesan Meatloaf found in the Weight Watchers Momentum cook book, but instead of forming it into a loaf, I form them into 16 meatballs.  Each meatball is 2.5 points.  These not only taste divine, but they are so versatile.  I can put a tbsp of bbq sauce on them and serve them as meatloaf (for a complete meal add a baked potato and a steamed vegetable).  I can simmer them in marinara sauce and serve them over whole wheat spaghetti noodles for a Spaghetti and Meatball dinner, or I can serve them up on a toasted sandwich roll with onions, peppers, marinara and mozzarella, sound good?  Here's the recipe:

Turkey Parmesan Meatballs:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 lbs. ground skinless turkey (I use one 20 oz. pkg of Jenny O extra lean ground turkey)
4 slice whole wheat bread, made into fine crumbs
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. ketchup
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with healthy oil spray.  In a small non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onion until tender, 4-5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well by hand.  Shape into 16 equally sized meatballs and transfer to pan.  Bake about 22-24 minutes.  Let stand for a few minutes, then serve.

For Meatball Marinara Sandwich:

Spray a non-stick skillet with healthy oil spray.  Cook 1/4 of a bell pepper sliced, and 1/4 of an onion, sliced with a tsp. of minced garlic.  When tender, add in two meatballs (halved) and 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and simmer for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, toast an Orowheat sandwich thin (or desired whole wheat bread roll).  When toasted, layer on meatballs (split side down) top with onions, peppers, and marinara, and 2 tbsp of shredded low fat mozzarella cheese.  11 points of total yum!

Or I'd serve Pepperoni Pizzas on Pitas.  These are so good!

Pita Pepperoni Pizzas

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
1 whole wheat Alternative Pita (by Western Baking Co, 3 pts)
2 tbsp. pizza sauce (I like the Trader Joe's brand best, 1 pt.)
1 tbsp. sliced black olives
4 white mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. sliced onions
8 slices of low fat turkey pepperoni (I like Gallo or Hormel best, 8 slices for 1 point)
1/4 low fat shredded mozzarella cheese (2 pts)
Assemble pizza and bake on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.  Crust will be crisp and cheese will be browned.  Cut into four pieces and enjoy.  I make this a complete meal by serving with a green salad.

Enjoy one of these and you're sure to be a winner not only on game day, but at your next weigh in!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Enjoy more SLO Foods.

I'm sure you've heard of SLO foods- seasonal, local and organic.  I try to incorporate these into my meals as often as possible as they taste better and more affordable (when in season) they're fresher and more eco-friendly (local) and better for you (no pesticides, organically grown.)

I incorporated several of these ingredients this week, and a couple today. 

I start every morning with either a skim latte or skim cafe mocha- always made with nonfat Organic milk.  I use two home brewed shots of espresso, 3/4 cups milk, and 1 Tbsp of Starbuck's mocha powder- all for 2 points.

Cafe Mocha

My lunch today included organic romaine lettuce and vine tomatoes, along with local avocados. 

Cobb Salad

2 cups organic romaine lettuce leaves
2 small vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. low fat blue cheese dressing (I love the new yogurt based dressings from Marie's- 2 pts for 2 tbsp.)
3 hard boiled egg whites, chopped (1 pt.)
2 oz. grilled chicken, shredded (2 pts.)
1/4 avocado, chopped (2 pts.)
1 tbsp bacon crumbles (1 pt.)
Entree sized salad, 8 pts with three servings of vegetables, 2 servings of lean protein and a serving of healthy fat.

Since tonight is the last meal I'll eat before weighing in tomorrow morning, I am careful not to eat a lot of carbohydrates, or use any salt- don't want to retain any water.

My gorgeous dinner plate is Raspberry Chipotle Glazed Pork Tenderloin  (3 oz and 1 tbsp of sauce, 4 pts)with roasted organic sweet potatoes ( 3.5 ounces for 2 pts.) and steamed organic zucchini (0 pts.).  I just love the colors on the plate.  The only thing missing is a glass of pinot noir, but I'll have that this weekend.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Taco Night!

Growing up Taco Night was a favorite family meal.  Of course back then it was very gringo and very unhealthy.  My mom fried our tortillas, filled them with ground beef (not even seasoned with taco seasoning) and we topped them with lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese- and KETCHIUP!  Can you believe it?!?!?!?  I still love taco night, but now it looks and tastes better than ever before, sorry mom.

Tonight we had Grilled Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos and they were so good!  I started by chopping up my own pico de gallo (tomato, onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and lime juice), then shredded some cabbage, and made a low fat guacamole (made creamy wih Greek yogurt and lime juice).  For the fish, I bought the frozen and pre-seasoned mahi mahi fillets from Trader Joe's (1 pt per ounce) which we grilled indoors.  Here's how I built my plate:

2 corn tortillas (3 pts according to the package and my calculator), warmed on our grill.
4 ounces flaked mahi mahi fish (4 pts.) cooked according to package directions
2 tbsp. shredded cabbage
2 tbsp. pico de gallo or salsa to your liking
2 tsbp. guacamole (1pt.)

For both tacos it's 8 points.  Since I had two more points left, I also had 1/4 cup of black beans which I topped with another tbsp. of pico de gallo.  In total  I had a serving of whole grains (though not power food), 2 servings of vegetables, a serving of healthy fat and two servings of lean protein.

With pico de gallo in the fridge, guess what's for breakfast tomorrow?  You guessed it, an egg white breakfast burrito!