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Faux Fried Catfish and Spinach Quinoa

19 Jan

I was in the mood for quinoa, so I checked to see what Weight Watchers recipes came up and found a tasty sounding one with mushrooms and spinach.  The recipe was very similar to cooking kasha where you brown garlic and onions in a pan, then toast up the quinoa, then add in liquid and let it absorb.

(Side note: Does anyone else find it annoying to rinse quinoa?  It’s so delicious, but I can’t find a good way to rinse it without it getting everywhere)


Then at the finale, you top it with fresh spinach (which is always surprising how much it reduces in size!) and let it steam down and stir it in.


We paired it with faux fried catfish (it’s faux fried because it’s coated in ground up Fiber One cereal and then baked… it’s a really delicious and diet friendly way to “fry” just about any white meat or fish).


It made for a great meal, although the more I eat catfish, the less I like it.  I just don’t think it’s my kinda fish.


My favorite part about this meal, however, was making the leftovers for lunch the next day!  I topped the quinoa and spinach with 2 poached eggs and the mushy yolky goodness was purrrrrrrfect with the nutty quinoa and spinach.  Delish!





1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion(s), minced
1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
1 cup(s) quinoa, rinsed
2 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional (we left this out)
4 cup(s) spinach, baby leaves, packed, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp table salt


  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add quinoa to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until quinoa starts to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Add broth, black pepper and red pepper flakes to skillet; bring to a boil. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low and simmer for 13 minutes; stir in spinach. Cover skillet and cook until spinach and quinoa are tender and liquid is absorbed, about 3 to 5 minutes; season with salt. Yields about 1/2 cup per serving.

Spaghetti Squash and Slow Cooker Pears

19 Nov

I feel like I am already at the tail end of this incredible cacophony of  support for the long neglected spaghetti squash.  I first encountered this awesome veggie about 8 years ago, and when I found out that it has ZERO Weight Watchers Points for a whole cup, I had to make it part of my weekly cooking.  I love squash to begin with, so having a squash that is easy to cook, can be paired with just about anything, and is good for me is pretty awesome.

How easy to cook?  I’ll tell ya.

The hardest part is cutting the sucker in half, lengthwise.  I always sharpen the big knife before going into it, however, it makes me yearn for an axe.  Once you have it split, you can just scoop out the yag and seeds from the middle (just keep those seeds for roasting!)





















I use the side of a large spoon to scrape around the opening.


After that, you put it cut side down on parchment paper, a Silpat, or slightly greased cookie sheet and just roast it up at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  A fork should easily be able to scrape out the insides.

So why do they call it spaghetti squash?

Well… what starts as a seemingly solid piece of squash winds up turning into these beautiful strands that look just like spaghetti.


And you can treat it like spaghetti and pair it with a pasta sauce, cheese, veggies or any other savory topping.  You can also make a sweet version and I’ve heard brown sugar and butter on it is especially delicious.  Personally, I’m dying to try this recipe which pairs it with maple syrup and shallots.


Another quick and easy, yet totally healthy recipe for a good dessert after you’ve had your spaghetti squash is putting a pear (or apple) in the slow cooker.  I just cored 2 apples and then put them in the crock pot.  Then I poured over some apple cider (until it came up about half way on the pears), a sprinkle of brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, then set it on low for about 4 hours until it was tender.


Topped off with a bit of homemade schlag and it was a very yummy treat.


Weight Watchers Recipe- Rosemary-Grilled Pork Chops with Potatoes and Zucchini

13 Aug

Usually dinner is planned based upon what is in the fridge that day.  This day we had pork chops, yellow zucchini (not summer squash… I wonder what the difference is), and potatoes.  What luck that Weight Watchers has a recipe entitled “Rosemary-Grilled Pork Chops with Potatoes and Zucchini.”

Unfortunately, NYC living does not provide us with a grill, however, our apartment stove luckily provides us with a griddle top!  Usually works pretty well (besides the smoke alarm factor). 

I love mini potatoes, and when they get crispy and brown, they are my favorite.  I haven’t found any healthy way of making them as delicious as when you fry them up, but it’s a fine alternative.

It was easy to use the same top for the pork and zucchini.  The rosemary is key in this.  

The assemblage was delicious and everything went really well together.  It was incredibly easy and, though the potatoes take a pretty long time, it was quick to throw together!

It wound up being about 1.5 servings each based on the pork weight (the recipe called for 4, 4 oz portions but we had 2 6 oz. portions), so the point value was about 9 for the whole meal (would have been 6 with the 4 oz. chops).  To get a full meal this delicious for 9 points? I’m in!



  • 1/8 tsp lemon zest, or to taste  (I used lemon juice only, but I think the zest would have been nice)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, juice of 1 large lemon  
  • 2 Tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped  
  • 3 clove(s) garlic clove(s), crushed with a garlic press  
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, extra-virgin  
  • 16 oz lean boneless pork chop, center-cut, trimmed of all visible fat, 4 (4-ounce)  
  • 1 tsp table salt  
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground  
  • 1 pound(s) Yukon Gold potato(es), or any baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved  
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1⁄8-inch-thick slices


  1. Combine the lemon zest, rosemary, garlic, and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle the pork with 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the pepper. Rub half of the rosemary mixture over the pork. Put the pork on a plate, then cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to several hours.
  2. Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray; prepare the grill.
  3. Toss the potatoes with the remaining rosemary mixture,1⁄4 teaspoon of remaining salt, and 1⁄8 teaspoon of remaining pepper in a medium bowl. Lightly spray the potatoes with nonstick spray, then place on the grill, cut-side down. Grill the potatoes 5 inches from the heat, turning once, until tender, 45 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl; cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Sprinkle the zucchini with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper; lightly spray the zucchini with nonstick spray. Put the pork and zucchini on the grill. Grill the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork chops registers 160°F for medium, about 4 minutes on each side. Grill the zucchini until tender, about 4 minutes on each side. Put the pork and zucchini on a platter. Drizzle the lemon juice over the zucchini. Serve with the potatoes. Yields 1 pork chop with 1⁄4 of zucchini and potatoes per serving.

Chicken in Blackberry Ginger Balsamic

30 Jul

Our trip through Maine brought us to Fiore, a specialty shop for balsamic vinegars and olive oils.  One vinegar we bought was the Blackberry Ginger variety that seemed to just scream “cook with me!”  So our first meal back, that’s just what we did.

We paired it with a boxed cous cous.  DELICIOUS! And sooooo easy.  One reason I love balsamic is that it packs a lot of flavor, is easy to cook with, and super low in Weight Watcher’s Points.  

Weight Watchers Cooking: Baked Omelette

25 Jun

I wanted something hearty and healthy one night, and after flipping through Hungry-Girls’ 1-2-3 cookbook, I decided to edit one of her recipes.  She had oven-baked omelette lasagna which used zucchini instead of lasagna noodles (a recipe I MUST try, especially after ready about Lori trying it).  Unfortunately, however, on this day I didn’t have zucchini.  So I figured I’d forgo the lasagna part of the recipe and just make a giant baked omelette.  And wow was it easy!

I basically just combined everything I’d normally put in an omelette (tomatoes and mushrooms being the key pieces, plus spices) and used fat-free liquid egg substitute (I happened to use Better’n Eggs since I had so much luck with Better’n Peanut Butter). We also threw in some Purdue Short Cuts for extra protein.  Then I topped it with Weight Watchers shredded cheese…

And baked it…

The portion was HUGE for the points and I was totally stuffed after eating this.

One quarter of the full recipe is FIVE points!  That is insane!



  • 3 cups Better’n Eggs (they come in a 3 pack of 1 cup containers)
  • 1/2 – 2/3 box of Purdue Short Cuts
  • 1/3 cup canned tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 3/4 cup Weight Watchers Shredded Mexican Style Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, Garlic Powder, Oregano to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray (sides too)
  3. In a bowl, mix all ingredients except cheese
  4. Pour mixture into pan
  5. Top with cheese
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown and cooked through

Chicken Tarts

21 Jun

I like easy recipes that look really complex.  And there is something about individual portions that always make a dish look that much more difficult.  Muffin tins are a favorite of mine for making dishes like the Crustless Ham & Egg Tarts and this new recipe for Chicken Tarts.

The secret to these tarts is the Pillsbury Crescent Seamless Recipe Creations Dough.  Someone over there got wise that their crescent rolls were being used for more than just their cut out triangles were originated for and made some that are a single sheet of dough (rather than perforated).  Genius!

For this recipe, you roll the dough out and then push it out a bit more with a rolling pin so you can cut out 12 squares that will line a muffin cup. (The best tool for this is a pizza cutter!)

Then you put the dough into each muffin cup and build it up the side.  It didn’t quite reach the top of most of my cups, but it still worked well.

Then… you fill it!  We went with mushrooms and already cooked chicken slices that we made into bite size pieces (Purdue Shortcuts… another favorite easy food staple of mine).

Then we topped each cup with some canned tomatoes (and shredded Weight Watchers cheese) and popped them in the oven.

The looked and smelled SO good!

And they came out perfectly browned… just a little bit crispy and then that buttery, fluffy goodness on the inside.

With 3 per serving, this was very filling and SO savory and satisfying for just 7.5 points!

Paired with some zero point (frozen) spinach and onions… hard to beat!   

The prep time on these was so little, and with so many pre-made pieces, it just comes together perfectly.  

Bake time was 15-20 minutes (until the edges start to brown) at 375 degrees F.  Even though they smell delicious, let them cool for a few minutes.


18 Jun

There is no shortage of greek food in NYC, especially falafel.  But it’s rare to find an affordable, quick, delicious one in the Theatre District that you can actually eat in without a reservation.  With those pre-qualifications, Akdeniz (on 46th Street between 5th and 6th Aves) never disappoints.  I have gone there with quite a few people, and it is usually a crowd pleaser.  

Mike chose the Sultan’s Delight this time which is “a classic ottoman dish made with chunks of chicken or lamb over smoked eggplant puree.”  He said it was good, however, see that lovely piece of death on the side of the plate?  That kept me far away due to my pepper allergy.

I went pretty simple and diet friendly with the Mediterranean Sea Bass (de-boned since I’m a wimp) which was served with arugula and shredded carrots. For such a “plain” dish, this was really delicious! And I estimated only about 6 points! WOO!

Overall, Akdeniz is quite reliable, fresh, and relatively inexpensive for Times Square (less than $20 per entree and some dishes on the menu for less than $10).

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10

Quantum Leap

16 Jun

Esther suggested we meet one night for dinner at Quantum Leap in the East Village.  It’s a restaurant that specializes vegetarian and organic dishes.  Usually not my thing (I like my meat), but Esther said it was good, so I gave it a shot.  Turns out it’s actually pescatarian and they also have vegan items.

It was a long day and I had eaten well, so I treated myself to a beer.  I went with the organic Georg Schneider’s Wiesen Edel-Weisse.  It was so good I took a picture of it.

I actually cannot for the life of me remember what Esther ordered.  Esther: If you read this, let me know!  I remember she liked it very much though.  It MAY have been this: Vegetarian Curry Stew a melange of seasonal vegetables and tofu slowly simmered in our south east asia curry spices. served with basmati-lentil rice

The rice was especially delicious.

I had the Seafood Scampi with skewers of broiled shrimp scallop, flounder and salmon in roasted fresh garlic. served with fettuccini and sauteed garden vegetables in a pesto sauce.

I really liked the seafood and the pasta taste was great, but a little extra oily.

Point estimation?  11 for dinner.

  • Beer ~ 3 points
  • 2 skewers ~ 5 points
  • 1 cup pasta ~ 3 points (I didn’t eat all on the plate)

I think this place was pretty good, and I certainly didn’t miss the “meat.”  I wasn’t overwhelmed, however, and don’t think I’d be chomping at the bit to go back.

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

Hungry Girl’s S’Mores Stuffed Bananas

14 Jun

I bought Hungry Girl’s 1-2-3 cookbook and was tempted by many recipes, but none so much as the “easy oven-baked s’mores-stuffed bananas.” 

Easy? Love it!

Baked? Yes!

S’Mores? YES YES!

Stuffed Bananas? Definitely!

So you split the banana horizontally and then stuff it FULL with crumbled graham crackers and chocolate.

The you top it with marshmallows and wrap it all up in tinfoil.

Then you unwrap a delicious gift.

Just the banana + stuffing is only THREE points!  The dollop of fat free whip added 1 point.  What a great treat!


Hungry Girl’s Easy Oven-Baked S’Mores-Stuffed Bananas


  • 2 Tbl mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 sheet (4 crackers) low-fat honey graham crackers, crushed
  • 4 small bananas, unpeeled, ripe yet slightly firm
  • 1/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • Optional: Fat free reddi-wip


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Mix chocolate chips with graham cracker crumbs in small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Lay bananas on a flat surface and cut a 3/4-inch-deep slit lengthwise in each from top to bottom.  Cut two small slits width-wise at the top and bottom of each banana, to make opening the fruit easier
  4. One at a time, use a fork to pry open bananas slightly and fill each with 1/4 of the chocolate-crumb mixture.  Evenly distribute marshmallows among the bananas, pressing them into the openings
  5. Thoroughly wrap each banana in foil that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, ensuring there are no openings for filling to escape.  Place bananas on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until bananas feel very soft when gently squeezed with an oven mitt
  7. Serve immediately with spoons for scooping the gooey mixture out of the peels or, if you prefer, transfer the mixture from each banana peel into a bowl.  Top with Reddi-wip, if you like, and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings

Portobello Pizzas

11 Jun

I’m typically not a huge pizza fan, however, sometimes I just crave it.  I read about a “diet” version that uses portobellos instead of pizza crust and I was sold!

I prepped the ingredients: portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh basil, pine nuts, and Saucy Solutions Bolognese sauce.

First you bake the mushrooms for 5 minutes.

Then you fill them with all the goodies and bake for 20 minutes.  (You can stick them in the broiler for a minute or two at the end to get them crispier on top if you prefer them the way I do)

We even topped them with some sliced roasted garlic.

This recipe is a total WINNER. And for just 5 points, it’s hard to beat (just 3 points if you use a fat free tomato sauce!).

I really enjoyed the bolognese.  It was hearty and full of flavor.  It was even better over pasta.  Nom Nom Nom.


Portobello Pizzas (Serves 2)


  • 2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tomato, sliced or 1 cup grape mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 Tbs. basil, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup bolognese
  • 3/4 cup Weight Watchers shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat to 350 degrees F
  2. Spray baking dish/pan with cooking spray and place mushrooms in
  3. Bake for 10 minutes
  4. Fill each with half of the remaining ingredients (cheese on top)
  5. Bake for an additional 5 minutes (broil at end if desired)
  6. Serve warm