Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chicken Fried Cauliflower "Rice"

When I saw this recipe being demonstrated on the Today show, I was a bit skeptical, but it kept turning up online in that persistent way that makes one curious. So...I decided it was worth a try. I found a recipe that would serve as a base, but made substantial changes to it--I didn't like using bacon and bacon grease and I wanted to add my favorite protein, chicken. Here follows my recipe for chicken fried (cauliflower) rice.

Serves 3-4 (as a main course)

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 " cubes
1 egg white
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch

1 medium head cauliflower*

1 tsp sesame oil

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
5 scallions
1/4 cup cashews, almonds, or other nut
 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
*Cut the cauliflower into florets, discarding the tough inner core. Working in batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it breaks down into rice-sized pieces. You should have 5 to 6 cups of cauliflower "rice."
Add the cornstarch to the egg white and whip with a fork until incorporated. Place the diced chicken in the mixture and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
Place a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp sesame oil.  Whisk the eggs and pour them into the skillet. Quickly make an omelet. Transfer the eggs to a cutting board and roughly chop into pieces.
Wipe the skillet (or wok)  clean and add an inch and a half of water. Bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and use a slotted spoon to separate the pieces. Cook until no pink remains, 3 - 5 minutes. Remove your "velveted" chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Clean the skillet (or wok) and warm 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the carrots and sauté until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Stir  peas and cauliflower "rice" into the pan, mixing the ingredients thoroughly.
Lower the heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 8 minutes. Uncover and stir in the eggs,scallions, cashews, chicken and 3 tablespoons soy sauce. Taste and add more soy sauce to taste. Serve immediately.
I cannot wait to make this again. First, because it was delicious. Second, because I was only permitted a taste. Unfortnately, I was placed on a low fiber diet for 10 days and could not eat any more of it. While you know that it isn't really rice, it has all the same flavors of a good fried rice and even most of the texture. Of course, it is easily adapted for a vegetarian dish. Likewise, you might decide to add shrimp or pork or beef. My suggestion is to velvet your protein. It makes a huge difference. I know this will be a much-requested dinner.

    Monday, January 25, 2016

    Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas

    Baked oatmeal is a bit like eating dessert for breakfast, but I say "go for it!" I saw this recipe on Skinnytaste and made it that day. It far surpasses any other versions I've tried in the past. Past recipes yielded a very hard, dried, cake-like oatmeal. This version reminds me of a bread pudding, though firmer. 

    Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas

    Servings: 6 • Serving Size1/6th • Smart Points : 6 
    Calories: 211.7 • Fat: 5.4 g • Protein: 5.6 g • Carb: 38.1 g • Fiber: 3.8 g • Sugar: 22.8 g
    76.9 mg (without salt)   


    • 2 medium ripe bananas, (the riper the better) sliced into 1/2" pieces
    • 1 1/2 cup blueberries
    • 1/4 cup honey (or agave)
    • 1 cup uncooked quick oats
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 cup fat free milk (or any milk you desire)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

      Preheat the oven to 375° F.  
    • Lightly spray a 8 x 8" or 9 x 9" ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
    • Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the ceramic dish. Sprinklehalf of the blueberries over the bananas, 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon, 1 tbsp of the honey and cover with foil. 
    • Bake 15 minutes, until the bananas get soft. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the oats, half of nuts, baking powder, remaining cinnamon, and salt; stir together.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining honey, milk, egg, and vanilla extract.
    • Remove the bananas from the oven, then pour the oat mixture over the bananas and blueberries. 
    • Pour the milk mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute the mixture as evenly as possible over the oats.  
    • Sprinkle the remaining blueberries and walnuts over the the top.
    • Bake the oatmeal for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set.
    •  Serve warm from the oven.
    An easy recipe, a satisfying portion, and a good-for-you breakfast. There's no downside.

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

    Spiralized Turnip, Potato, and Carrot Au Gratin with Turkey

    If you're trying to cut back on carbs as well as beef up your consumption of vegetables, a spiralizer is a great investment. I saw this recipe on Skinnytaste and knew I had to make it. I love turnips, but she had me at "au gratin."  The recipe is simple and serves 4-6.


    • 1/2 cup half & half cream
    • 1/2 cup skim milk
    • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
    • 2 teaspoons butter
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 1/4 lb 93% lean ground turkey
    • 4 garlic cloves, diced
    • 1 pound (2) turnips, peeled
    • 3 oz carrots (1/2 of large)
    • 1 (8 oz) medium potato, peeled
    • 3 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
    • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
    (8 WW Smart Points per serving, based on 6 servings)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 14-inch oval casserole dish with cooking spray.

    Spiralize the carrot, turnips and potato with the thickest noodle setting of your spiralizer, cutting the spirals into 8-inch lengths.In a small saucepan, simmer the milk, half and half, rosemary, and thyme.  In a large nonstick pan, melt the butter and saute the chopped onion and garlic in butter for 5 minutes, add 3/4 tsp salt and pepper. Add the ground turkey and cook on medium-high heat until browned, approximately 10 minutes.

    Remove thyme and rosemary leaves from milk and pour milk mixture onto turkey, simmer 3 minutes.
    In a large working bowl combine the spitalized turnips, potatoes and carrots along with meat and the milk mixture, combine well. Pour into a casserole dish, top with scallions, and gruyere cheese
    Cover with foil and bake 1 hour, uncover and broil on low for 5 minutes, or until golden on top.

    I was very happy with the taste of this dish and the ease of preparation. It should be noted that it is not creamy (the moisture from the veggies keeps it moist) and that the cheese is not ooey-gooey. It just kind of melts into the casserole. I will definitely make this again. The turnips and the herbs gave it wonderful flavor. I was out of scallions, but will make sure to add them next time.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2015

    Cheeseburger Soup

    I love cheeseburgers. I've had them stuffed, topped with frizzled onions, made with Waygu beef, but until today, I'd never had a cheeseburger soup. Count me a fan

    •       2 spray(s) cooking spray   
    •  1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced   
    •       1 medium uncooked onion(s), chopped   
    •       1 rib(s) (medium) uncooked celery, chopped   
    •       1 pound(s) uncooked 93% lean ground beef   
    •  2 Tbsp all-purpose flour   
    •  3 cup(s) canned chicken broth, divided   
    •  1 cup(s) low-fat evaporated milk   

    • Directions
    • Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. Add garlic, onion and celery to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Coat a 3-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray; spoon in vegetables.
    • Place same skillet over medium-high heat and brown beef, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 to 6 minutes; pour off any liquid and add meat to slow cooker.
    • In a small cup, combine flour and 1/2 cup of broth; stir until lump-free. Pour flour mixture into same skillet; add remaining 2 1/2 cups of broth. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits in bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon, and then pour into slow cooker; stir in evaporated milk, cheese, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 2 hours. Serve soup topped with crumbled chips. Yields about 3/4 cup of soup and 3 tablespoons of chips per serving.
    •  8 oz low fat cheddar or colby cheese, cubed   
    •  1/2 tsp paprika   
    •  1/4 tsp table salt   
    •  1/8 tsp black pepper   
    •  24 item(s) baked low fat tortilla chips, crumbled 
    • 8 servings (3/4 cup soup, 3 chips)  5 PP  
    This may not be the prettiest dish I've ever prepared, but it was the perfect antidote to a raw, rainy day. The soup is thick and filling and is truly reminiscent of that iconic American classic, the cheeseburger. I will probably just make it on top of the stove next time and I will definitely add some corn. Other than that, it was perfect as is.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2015

    Fettuccine Marsala with Chicken and Mushrooms

    I love chicken Marsala and chicken Marsala pizza, so it was an almost sure bet that I was going to like chicken Marsala fettuccine. This recipe serves 4.

    8 oz fettuccine
    2 tsp olive oil
    1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
    1 tsp salt
    12 oz cremini mushrooms, halved
    1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 large shallot, chopped finely
    1 tbs all purpose flour
    1/2 cup Marsala wine
    1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
    1/4 tsp black pepper

    Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

    Sprinkle chicken with salt. Heat 1 tsp oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to plate.

    Add remaining tsp oil to skillet and add mushrooms, rosemary, garlic, and shallot. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and cook 1-2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.

    Add the wine, broth, and pepper; bring to a boil, then simmer until sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken and accumulated juices to skillet as well as fettuccine. Toss to coat pasta with the sauce and heat through.

    (Weight Watchers info: 12 PP per serving)
    The combination of garlic, shallot, rosemary, and Marsala is the key to the success of this dish. Using chicken thighs instead of breasts ensures a juicy protein. The only thing I would change is to add some spinach to the dish next time. Quick and delicious.

    Friday, July 10, 2015

    Coconut Madeleines

    With Bastille Day coming up next week, I thought I'd make a favorite cookie of mine--the Madeleine. 

    Madekeines are little cake-like cookies that are baked in special molds that give them a delicate, shell shape. According to the story, the name "Madeleine" was given to the cookies by Louis XV to honor his father-in-law's cook, Madeleine Paulmier. Louis first tasted the cookie at the Chateau Commercy in Lorraine in 1755. Louis' wife, Marie, introduced them to the court and they soon became all the rage at Versailles. Whatever the origin, they are inextricably linked with author Marcel Proust, who described them as "...little shell of cake, so generously sensual beneath the piety of its stern pleating."

    It's been a while since I've baked Madeleines, but when I saw a recipe from one of my goddesses, Ina Garten, with that coconut twist, I decided it was time for a celebration.

    Yield:  24 cookies

    1 1/2 tbs melted butter, to grease the pans
    3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1 cup all purpose flour
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut, coarsely chopped

    1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
    1/2 tsp coconut flavoring

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Thoroughly butter and flour the Madeleine pans.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light yellow and fluffy. Add the 1/4 lb of melted butter and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt and stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Stir in the coconut.

    With a soup spoon, drop the batter into the prepared pans, filling each shell almost full. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they spring back to the touch and are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and immediately tap out onto parchment paper and allow to cool.

    Make the glaze by adding water to the confectioners sugar and coconut flavoring until it has a pourable consistency. Place the Madeleines on a wire rack and spoon the glaze over them, allowing excess to drip off. Let air dry for 2 hours or until glaze has set.
    I've never had Madeleines with a glaze, but must admit that this was a wonderful addition. These cookies (or little cakes, if you will) had just enough coconut flavor to make them special. I liked them very much, but am looking forward to my next batch of regularly-flavored Madeleines, which I intend to glaze with dark chocolate. Vive La France!

    Sunday, June 21, 2015

    Copycat Southwestern Eggrolls with Avocado-ranch Dipping Sauce

    If you've had these at Chili's or other chain restaurants, you know how delicious they are. I will caution you, though, that they are labor intensive. That said, I would suggest you quadruple the recipe (at least) and freeze these, either cooked or not, to make it worth your while. I made a quadruple batch for a BBQ and regretted not making even more to put in the freezer.

    Ingredients (for a single batch - 5 eggrolls)
    4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
    1 tbs vegetable oil
    2 tbs minced red bell pepper
    2 tbs minced green onion
    1/3 cup frozen corn
    1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
    2 tbs frozen spinach, thawed and drained
    2 tbs diced, canned jalapeno peppers
    1/2 tbs minced fresh parsley
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    dash cayenne pepper
    3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    five 7-inch flour tortillas
    1 egg, beaten
    OPTIONAL:  6 - 10 cups vegetable oil or shortening, if frying; otherwise, olive oil cooking spray, if baking

    Avocado-Ranch Dipping Sauce
    1/4 cup smashed, fresh avocado (about half an avocado)
    1/4 cup mayonnaise
    1/4 cup sour cream
    1 tbs buttermilk
    1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
    1/8 tsp salt
    1/8 tsp dried parsley
    1/8 tsp onion powder
    dash dried dill weed
    dash garlic powder
    dash pepper

    1 egg, beaten

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Bake for 8 minutes, turn, and bake until done (about another 5 minutes). Cool, then dice into small cubes.

    Preheat 1 tbs vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the red pepper and green onion and saute until tender, a few minutes. Add the chicken, corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, and spices to the pan. Cook, being sure to mix all ingredients thoroughly, for another 4 minutes.

    Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted.

    Wrap the tortillas in a moist cloth and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until hot.

    Spoon 1/5 of the mixture into the bottom third of each tortilla. Fold in the ends, then roll as tightly as possible without tearing the tortilla. Before you finish rolling, brush beaten egg on the inside edge of the tortilla. Finish rolling the eggroll, then set the eggroll on the "glued" flap until the egg sets.

    Arrange the filled eggrolls on a plate with the sealed edges down, cover the plate with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Overnight is best.

    Prepare the avocado dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

    IF FRYING:  Deep fry the eggrolls in the hot oil for 8 - 10 minutes. Remove to paper towels or a rack to drain for about 2 minutes.

    IF BAKING:  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick olive oil spray. Spray the eggrolls lightly. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until piping hot and golden.

    Slice each eggroll diagonally lengthwise and arrange on a plate around the bowl of dipping sauce.
    Because I was making these in advance for a BBQ, I decided to freeze them, deep fry them at home, then reheat them in the oven when we got to my cousin's house. However, when I was rolling the tortillas, I inadvertently rolled 2 of the eggrolls too tightly, causing the tortilla to tear. I decided to bake these and use them for a "taste test." While both cooking methods produced a very tasty appetizer, I have to admit that I preferred the baked tortillas, which turned out more crispy. I also admit to not being a huge fried food fan, so that may have colored my perception as well. While these are a bit labor-intensive, they are not difficult and they turn out quite well. If you've ever eaten them at Chili's, you'd swear they were the real thing.

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015

    Tandoori Grilled Shrimp Skewers

    I'm not a fan of Indian cuisine, though I have eaten and enjoyed Tandoori chicken. When I saw this recipe in a recent Weight Watchers magazine, I decided to give it a try.

    Serves 4
    1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
    1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
    1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
    1 1/2 tsp olive oil
    1 tsp curry powder
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp ground coriander
    1 tsp granulated garlic
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1lb uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
    OPTIONAL - 2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro

    Combine yogurt, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, curry, cumin, coriander, garlic, and ginger in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Marinate 15 minutes at room temperature, or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator (covered).

    Divide shrimp among 4 metal or wooden skewers. Coat a grill pan or grill with cooking spray. Preheat to medium high heat. Grill skewers until shrimp are cooked through (opaque) and slightly firm, flipping once (2-4 minutes per side). Garnish with cilantro, if desired. (5 WW points or 157 cal per serving)
    This marinade would be equally good on scallops or chicken. The spices combine for a wonderful flavor. My only change for next time would be to eliminate the cilantro and to serve with lemon wedges. The preparation time is under 10 minutes making this a great weeknight dinner.

    Sunday, May 31, 2015

    Corn Fritters (Revisited)

    The corn fritters I grew up eating looked more like potato pancakes. They are delicious, but so are these deep-fried corn fritters whose simple ingredients come together in 5 minutes. If you have a deep fryer, it's child's play to make them. If you don't, use a deep saucepan and at least 3 inches of oil.

    Like all fritters, these are best eaten immediately, though they'll keep fairly well in a low oven (275 degrees) for about a half hour.

    I intend to try a dessert version with apples (dusted with confectioners sugar) next time.

    3 cups canola oil for frying
    1 cup all purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 - 1 tsp salt
    1 tbs sugar
    1 egg
    1/2 cup milk
    1 tbs melted shortening (or butter)
    1 can corn, drained well (use fresh, if available)

    Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat together the milk, egg, and melted shortening then stir into the dry ingredients. Add the corn, mixing well. Drop by spoonfuls to the hot oil, frying in small batches until golden (a few minutes). Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
    While I seldom make fried food, these are worthy exceptions to that rule. Make sure the oil is sufficiently hot so not much gets absorbed into the fritters. These golden puffs are just sweet enough and make a wonderful accompaniment to BBQ spare ribs or chicken, pork chops, steak...well, you can see the pattern.

    Monday, May 11, 2015

    Skillet Turkey Meatballs with Lemony Rice

    This one-pan, weeknight dinner is as delicious as it is easy. With just the right citrus notes to brighten the flavors, it is destined to become a favorite. It was taken from my first issue of Cook's Country magazine, my new favorite cooking magazine.

    Serves 4

    2 slices white sandwich bread, torn into 1 inch pieces
    1 1/4 lbs ground turkey (93% lean)
    6 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
    1 large egg
    3 tbs chopped fresh parsley
    1 tbs grated lemon zest plus 2 tbs lemon juice
    salt and pepper
    2 tbs olive oil
    1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    3 1/4 cups chicken broth
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Pulse bread to fine crumbs in food processor, 10 - 15 pulses. Transfer to a large bowl. Add turkey, 2 tbs scallion greens, egg, 2 tbs parsley, 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 24 portions and roll each portion into a meatball. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Cook meatballs until well browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer meatballs to paper towel lined plate, leaving fat in skillet.

    Return skillet to medium high heat and add rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice starts to turn translucent, about 1 minute. Add scallion whites and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, lemon juice, and remaining lemon zest and bring to a boil.

    Return meatballs to skillet, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is tender and meatballs are cooked through, another 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in parmesan and remaining parsley.
    This dish is reminiscent of a risotto with the delightful addition of meatballs. It is totally unfussy to prepare and delivered a wallop of flavor in every bite.                                                                                                                                    

    Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    Turkey Cutlets Florentine

    Chicken is my protein of choice for weeknight meals, but I occasionally branch out and use turkey or pork cutlets. Turkey cutlets cook very quickly and, if you buy them in the supermarket, they are generally more uniform in terms of size and shape than chicken or pork.

    This dinner looks like something you would be served in a restaurant, but if you do your mise en place, it comes together in minutes.

    Serves 4
    3 tsp olive oil
    1 lb thinly sliced turkey cutlets (about 1/4 inch thick)
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 tbs unsalted butter
    1 large onion, thinly sliced
    2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup sherry
    1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1 tbs capers, rinsed and drained
    1 tbs finely chopped fresh sage
    3 cups packed spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

    Season the turkey cutlets with salt and pepper to taste. In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil over high heat. When the oil is just smoking, add half the cutlets and cook until golden brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip the turkey and cook until golden on the other side, less than a minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining cutlets. Cover plate loosely with foil to keep cutlets warm.

    Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the skillet. When it has melted, add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is browned and softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minutes. Then add the sherry and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the capers, sage, and spinach and stir until the spinach is beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes.

    Return the turkey cutlets and any accumulated juices to the skillet, cover, and cook for 1 minute, to heat through.

    Arrange the turkey cutlets on a platter and pour the spinach, onions, and sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

    N.I.  283 calories, 42 g prot, 9 g fat, 1 g fiber, 6 g carb
    I have to be honest, I wish I'd used chicken cutlets. That's just my preference. I find the texture and taste of chicken more pleasing than that of turkey. That said, the spinach-onion-sauce that topped the cutlets made the entire dish. That tablespoon of capers added just the right amount of acidity. I was tempted to add some flour to thicken the sauce and would probably do so next time. With some glazed carrots and rice, dinner was served in short order and had tons of flavor given the short list of ingredients. Definitely a keeper.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    Chocolate Eclair Icebox Dessert

    My mom made us ice box cakes on a regular basis. Hers included graham crackers, chocolate pudding, and then whipped cream topping. I still make them, only now I use fat free, sugar free products to reduce the calories. So when I needed a quick dessert that wasn't too calorie-laden, I remembered a twist on the old icebox cake that I'd had at a friend's house quite a few years ago. I decided it was time to resurrect this luscious dessert.

    Yield:  18 servings

    22 1/2 sheets (about 1 box) honey graham crackers
    butter-flavored cooking spray
    3 cups fat free milk
    2 pkgs fat-free, sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
    8 oz tub fat free cream cheese
    8 oz tub fat free whipped topping, thawed
    1/4 cup fat free milk
    2 tbs butter, softened
    2 tbs honey
    2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
    1 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar

    Coat a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with butter-flavored nonstick spray. Combine 3 cups milk, pudding mix, and cream cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat at low speed for 1 minute or until thick. Fold in whipped topping.

    Arrange 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets in the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the pudding mixture over the grahams, spreading to the ends. Top with another 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets, then top with the remaining pudding mixture. Place the remaining 7 1/2 sheets of grahams on top.

    Combine 1/4 cup fat free milk, softened butter, honey, and unsweetened chocolate in the mixer bowl and beat well. Gradually add the confectioners sugar to milk mixture and beat well.

    Spread the chocolate glaze over the graham crackers. Cover dessert, tenting with foil, and chill for at least 4 hours.

    N.I.  234 cal; 5.8g fat; 5.4g protein; 41.5g carb; 0.8g fiber
    This dessert comes together quickly and easily, but needs plenty of time to chill so that it can be sliced more easily. I guarantee that you will love the filling. In fact, I think it will make a wonderful filling for cream puffs, too. I probably should have made half the recipe since there were only 5 of us for dinner and having the leftovers around is sheer torture. At 6 PP per serving, it's not over the top, but it's not something I can eat each day (darn!).

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Macaroni and Cheese with Carmelized Onion

    Who doesn't love rich, creamy macaroni and cheese? Unfortunately, this is typically a fat-laden, high calorie dish. Not so this Weight Watchers version, which is a hearty casserole but comes in at just 7 Point Plus per serving,

    Serves 8
    1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
    1/2 tsp salt
    olive oil nonstick cooking spray
    8 oz cavatappi (*the recipe called for whole wheat pasta, but I just can't)
    1 (15 oz) can evaporated fat-free milk
    1 large egg
    1 tsp dry mustard
    1 tsp water
    2 cups shredded reduced-fat, sharp cheddar cheese (I like Sargento's)
    1 cup fat free cottage cheese (I like Axelrod)
    1/4 tsp black pepper

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 7 X 11 baking dish with the nonstick spray.

    Place onion on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Bake until onion is tender and lightly browned, 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through cooking.

    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

    Cook evaporated milk in small saucepan over low heat just until warmed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in egg. Stir together mustard and water in small cup until mustard is dissolved. Whisk into milk mixture.

    Add milk mixture, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, remaining salt, and pepper to pasta and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, just until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

    Transfer to prepared baking dish and sprinkle with onions. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.
    As my photos attest, I overcooked the onions slightly, but this turned out to be a good thing since they were really carmelized. While the serving size is about 3/4 cup, the dish is very filling. I was happy with just one serving and a large salad, but even 2 servings is not very high in calories. (N.I.:  262 cal, 7g fat, 9g carb, 3g fiber, 20g prot.) The dish was so good, I'm making it as a side dish to a spiral ham next weekend.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015

    Slow Cooker BBQ and Cola Pork

    Pulled pork, BBQ pork, shredded pork--no matter what you call it, I'm in. This pork is as delicious on a bun with cole slaw and pickles as it is over cornbread or cheese grits.

    The fact that it has 3 ingredients, requires no prep work, and cooks all day unattended is a bonus.

    Serves 6-10
    cooking spray
    1 (3 to 4 lb boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), trimmed
    1 (18 oz) bottle BBQ sauce
    1 (12 oz) can cola

    Lightly spray a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place roast in slow cooker; pour BBQ sauce and cola over roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 - 10 hours. (I cooked it for 8 hours.)

    Transfer pork to a cutting board and shred with two forks, removing any large pieces of fat. Skim fat from sauce and stir in shredded pork.
    On a toasted potato roll topped with cole slaw and pickles, I was immediately transported to summer (I wish).  There is plenty left over to be made into quesadillas before freezing some to be served with cornbread or cheesy grits some night when there's no time to cook. If you trim and skim the fat and watch portion size (and use diet cola), this pork fits into a healthy eating plan.