Tag Archives: weight watchers recipes

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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RECIPE
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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

Just Desserts

6 Aug

The one prized possession I received in what I inherited from my Grandmother (beyond the awesome furniture, jewelry, and art) is her recipe folder.  There are recipes in here torn out from newspapers from decades ago and scribbled notes from friends (and friends of friends).  Some of them are so stained by butter that they are nearly translucent and the ink is almost impossible to read. 

 I have only just begun to explore the treasures in this folder.  The first one I sought out, however, was the famous brownie recipe.  I made these first thing when the family was getting together to celebrate my Grandmother’s life.  I have made them about a dozen times since and introduced them to friends and coworkers.  They are ALWAYS a hit.  They have even been called “the best brownies I’ve ever tasted.”  Thanks Grandma.

The batter is “old style,” using Baker’s chocolate (and none of that new age, chip stuff!)  It’s actually quite hard to find sometimes… but I try to keep a stash for the days I want to make a treat for someone.

The cook up so perfectly.  Crispy on the outside and on the top, fudgey on the inside.  Every time. 

And I’m sure you’re all licking your lips for the recipe, however, I am a terrible tease and will not be sharing it.

Though since I’m not ENTIRELY mean, I’ve also included the easy rugelach recipe I made a few weeks ago.

The secret to this is Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations, which is the same as their crescent rolls but without the pre cut slits.  (I used them before on the delicious chicken tarts).  You can roll it out thinner to use as the basis for rugelach.

I mixed up the classic filling, fruit and nuts.  I went with two variations.  The first was blueberries and nuts.

The second was strawberries with mini chocolate chips and nuts.

You slice the dough into long triangles and fill it with a thin layer of fruit.

Then you roll them up from the big end to the little end.

I layed them all on a Silpat and then sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar.

They baked up very nicely, though next time I would back them a little more so they get a little crispier.  They tasted DELICIOUS, however.  Great and easy treat to bring to a picnic.

And they are only 1 Weight Watcher point per cookie! Not bad!

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RECIPE
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Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Rugallach

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray (or silpat mat)
  • 1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations
  • ~1/2 cup fresh fruit (your choice)
  • ~1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1 Tbl. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbl. flour
  • 1 Tbl. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbl. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with a Silpat
  3. Combine fruit, nuts, and granulated sugar in a separate bowl
  4. Roll out crescent rolls to 1/8” thickness on a lightly floured surface
  5. Cut into about 16 long triangles (a pizza slicer works best for this)
  6. Spoon about a teaspoon of filling into center of triangle, leaving ends free of filling
  7. Roll the dough from the wide edge to the point
  8. Place rolled cookies onto cookie sheet
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown
  10. Let sit for about 5 minutes
  11. Dust cookies with cinnamon and powdered sugar (if you push them all together, it makes this easier, but I never bother)

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!

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

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RECIPES
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Portobello Pizzas (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

Fish Face

2 Jun

Sometimes I plan meals entirely around what is on sale that week at Fresh Direct.  On this specific week, it was Branzino and Baby (Jerusalem) Artichokes.  Branzino is my favorite fish. It’s a type of seabass and I find it just has the perfect flavor each and every time.  Big fan. I’m also a big fan of artichokes… so why not try a miniaturized version?  I wanted to do a healthier version of the ones we had at Bond 45a few weeks prior. (Looking back at that post I realized I ordered the Branzino that night… Funny!)

So I found this recipe a bit wasteful since you pluck off most of the outer leaves, but perhaps I’m used to regular, full size artichokes (which I prefer simply steamed and dipped in butter) and those have outer leaves that are more edible?  Not sure… Anyway… you pull off most of the outer leaves until you get to the soft inner, yellowy leaves and then cut each mini archie in half.

We then tossed them in olive oil and drizzled them with balsamic vinegar.  Then you roast them up!

As for the Branzino, I was far too intimidated to do a full fish, so we got our split and deboned.  I still cannot deal with bones in fish… shudder.

We also had filets, so Mike and I had a little competition where I made the whole fish stuffed with veggies and cheese and roasted in parchment paper and he made it pan fried with a butter shallot sauce.

Mine looked cool.  And roasting in paper was novel.

And it tasted damn good.

But how could I compete?

We are talking about butter and shallots here!

(Though this was 11 points vs 5 for mine!)

The whole meal was great, but Mike’s fish reigned supreme…

(If anyone ever questions why I love this man… refer to above picture.)

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RECIPES
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Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes
***Just 2 points since the artichokes and balsamic don’t count!***

Ingredients:

  • Jerusalem Artichokes (with tips snipped off, cleaned of outside leaves, and split in half)
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Toss artichoke halves in enough olive oil just to coat
  • Sprinkle with salt
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar
  • Arrange on a silpat (or sprayed cookie sheet) so there is space between the halves
  • Roast for about 30-35 minutes or until tender

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Roasted Stuffed Branzino in Parchment Paper
(original recipe from Weight Watchers “Striped Bass En Papillote”)
***
5 Points for a serving of half a fish***

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole branzino fish (deboned and split in half)
  • Veggies for roasting (we went with onions, zucchini, canned fire roasted tomatoes)
  • Cheese (we used Laughing Cow wedges)
  • Cooking spray (or olive oil)
  • Parchment paper (can replace with foil)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F
  2. Spray parchment paper with spray (or coat with a bit of olive oil)
  3. Lay fish on parchment paper and put veggies inside fish
  4. Top with cheese
  5. Fold parchment over fish to make a packet (ours wouldn’t stay closed so we used toothpicks soaked in water, so they wouldn’t catch of fire… Thanks for that tip Lori!)
  6. Bake about 10 minutes or until puffed and slightly brown
  7. Cut open and serve immediately

Ramping up for Spring

28 May

Ramps seemed to be all the rage on miscellaneous food blogs.  I heard that they are one of the first new spring veggies that come to the farmer’s markets so when I heard they were in stock in Union Square, I decided to try them.  A recipe that sounded delicious was a potato au gratin type dish that I actually could convert to a Weight Watchers recipe. (With my calculation and alterations, this made 4 portions and each portion was 5 points).

So we cut the ends off but used most of the rest (including the green leaves).

I also had beautiful multicolored potatoes from Fresh Direct.  It was all about the layering.

First a sliced potato layer.

Then a layer of the chopped ramps.

Til it fills the dish

I just loved the colors of all of this together

Then we topped it with milk (I went skim), grated cheese (I went fat free from Weight Watchers), and then sprinkled with parmesan cheese and some breadcrumbs.

And bake.  V’oila!

It needed a slotted spoon since the milk was a little watery, but the taste was SO. GOOD.

The ramps add a kind of scallion/garlicky flavor.

We also had it with miso tilapia (which was good, but not good enough to post the recipe)

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RECIPE
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Ingredients:

  • 4 med. potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 c. coarsely chopped ramps, including green tops
  • 1 c. milk (we went skim)
  • 1 (4 oz.) pkg. grated Cheddar cheese (we went for nonfat)
  • 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
  • Paprika (Optional… we went sans)

Directions:

  1. Preheat to 425 degrees.
  2. Place a layer of sliced potatoes in a greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place a layer of ramps on top of potatoes. Continue alternating layers, ending with potatoes on top layer.
  4. Pour milk over top. Sprinkle with cheese, bread crumbs and paprika.
  5. Bake covered at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
  6. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Teriyaki Chicken & Roasted Squash

3 May

Sometimes you just need to make do with what you’ve got.  One given night, I had boneless, skinless chicken breasts, teriyaki sauce, pineapple chunks, olive oil, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and squash.  So… I made teriyaki chicken with roasted pineapple and some roasted squash.

A perfect easy, healthy meal.



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RECIPES
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Roasted Squash
Points = 4 (for half the squash)

Ingredients:

  • Squash- Peeled and Cubed (really any kind will do… we’ve done this with butternut, acorn, and delicata)
  • 1 Tbl. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbl. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbl. Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  • Pre-heat to 400 degrees.

  • Put squash into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and toss with rosemary.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

  • Spray baking sheet with cooking spray (or use a Silpat) and place squash into pan in a single layer (overlapping means not crispy)

  • Roast squash for about 40 minutes until squash is slightly brown, crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.

“Mashed Potatoes” made with Cauliflower

30 Apr

I have never been a huge mashed potato fan. I LOVE potatoes (despite a childhood fear that they looked like… well… we won’t go there).  I love them baked and fried and especially roasted.  But it takes a special mashed version to tickle my fancy.  I find most too bland.  So for me, the exchange from mashed potato to mashed cauliflower was a no brainer.  And I could add garlic and cheese?! Score!

First I roasted up some garlic (cut the top of a garlic bulb off, wrap in foil, put a bit of olive oil on the top, close the foil, toss in pre-heated 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes… so many uses!).

Then I steamed up some cauliflower and put it into a bowl with 3/4 cup of fat free cheddar cheese, a half cup of skim milk, 1 Tablespoon butter (probably could have gone without) and the garlic cloves and used my (awesome) immersion blender to start pureeing (can also be done with a blender when it’s cooler and in batches… but why do that when you can get an immersion blender for $25??).

Within moments I had a perfect looking mashed potato-like veggie!  I saved some of the garlic cloves from the puree so I could mix them in whole.  Mmmmmm Nom Nom Nom.

Not too shabby for 5 points for half the recipe!

Honey Glazin

26 Apr

I had to use both a pork loin and shrimp by the same day and, unfortunately, I found myself on that day.  I’m always nervous about letting food go past expiration dates, but pork and seafood are on the top of my fearful list. I had a Weight Watchers recipe for a honey glazed pork loin so I figured I’d just double the sauce and use it for the shrimp.  It works great for both!  So much flavor for just 4 points.  We paired it with some garlicky spinach and quinoa. Nom Nom Nom.

Pork loin is so easy to cook and so tasty!

The shrimp in the same sauce was also sooooo tasty.

Full pot of raw spinach and garlic:

Reduces to tiny bit of cooked spinach and garlic in the same pot.

(I’m always so impressed with how the volume of raw spinach reduces to the volume of wilted spinach)

Full plate with quinoa.

The sauce was soooo good over the quinoa!

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RECIPES
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Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin (Just use the same sauce for the shrimp!)
4 points!

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces Extra Lean Port Tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, low sodium
  • 2 cloves garlic — minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 

Instructions:

  1. Trim excess fat from pork. Tie it to make it even shape. Place in a heavy plastic bag.
  2. Mix the soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Add to bag. Coat pork well. Marinade for 2 hours or over night in refrigerator.
  3. Remove pork from marinade. Pat dry.
  4. Combine honey and sugar. Brush over pork. Coat with sesame seeds.
  5. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees F.
  6. Slice thinly and serve.