Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Corn Bread

I made chili the other night and decided that cornbread would be the perfect "side dish" to go with it.  I probably have a million cornbread recipes in all of the cookbooks on my shelf but most of them have never even heard of the word "diet".

I have this crazy old Weight Watchers cookbook and decided to pull it off the shelf and see what it had to offer.  I found this recipe and decided to give it a try.  The preparation was simple and while it's not a true southern corn bread it was delicious with my bowl of chili.

Corn Bread:
(adapted from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook- PP+ 3)

1 1/4 cups yellow cornbread
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
1 egg
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4-1 cup frozen corn kernels

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the corn, cheese, milk, and egg.  Mix everything together and pour into the pan.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, serve warm.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

The Mexican restaurant we frequent has a stuffed poblano pepper dish that is on special most of the time.  It's Mr. T's favorite and he orders it almost every time we go.  I decided to try making a vegetarian version at home for "Meatless Monday" (or Meatless Friday for Lent) and this is what I came up with.

I have to say, I impressed myself.  These were really good.  Even if you aren't the biggest fan of stuffed peppers the filling would be great alone or inside of a burrito.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers:

2 poblano peppers
1 small package of yellow rice, prepared per the package directions
1 can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheese (I used a mexican blend)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Chipotle seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt to taste

Set oven to 375.  Take the peppers; cut off the tops and remove the seeds and membrane inside.  Set aside. 

In a small bowl mix together the rice, beans, cheese, and greek yogurt.  Trim the tops of the peppers, chop them up, and add them to the bowl too.  Add the spices and mix everything together.  Stuff the rice and bean mixture into the peppers and bake for 15-20 minutes or until everything is warm and the pepper has started to soften.  Just make sure it doesn't get soggy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Roasted Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is a great weekend meal.  It doesn't use a ton of oven heat and since it needs to sit in the fridge for the flavors to come together it's the perfect thing to make when it's hot outside.

Roasted Chicken Salad:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon season salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 carrot, shredded or chopped
1-2 stalks of celery, chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken breast with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.  Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken and roast until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked allow it to cool then cube it.  Mix the cooled chicken with the Greek yogurt, carrot, celery, dried cranberries, and salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vegetable Lo Mein

This is another recipe that I have found in my quest for healthier cooking at home.  It was really easy and quick to make.  Feel free to change up the vegetables and use whatever you have in the house.

This can be made gluten free by using gluten free soy sauce and rice noodles.  I've been able to find both at the grocery store with no problems.

Vegetable Lo Mein:
(Can You Stay for Dinner- serves 2)

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Remaining Ingredients:
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1/4 cup grated carrot
6 oz rice noodles or whole wheat spaghetti

Cook the egg noodles or spaghetti according to package instructions, drain and set aside.

Stir all sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened and glossy, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, set a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the two teaspoons of canola oil and swirl to coat. Add the bean sprouts, mushrooms, cabbage, and carrot. Saute for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the cooked egg noodles and the sauce, tossing to combine. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Honey Barbecue Meatloaf

Mr T. and I have been really working hard on losing weight.  Instead of giving up all of the foods that we enjoy I've been looking around for better options for those same foods.  This is one of those better options.

The flavor of this meatloaf was really good.  I had trouble getting my meatloaf to stay in loaf form.  It's very possible that it was user error.  The next day everything had come together a bit more and its shape a little more.

Honey Barbecue Meatloaf:
(Can You Stay for Dinner)

1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1 slice white bread, ground to crumbs in food processor -or- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
3/4 cup smoky barbecue sauce, divided
2 tablespoons honey, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Toss one slice of soft white bread in your food processor and grind it into crumbs.
In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together the ground beef, fresh bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce, the spicy brown mustard, 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, salt, and black pepper.

Shape the mixture into a long, thick log and place in an oiled baking dish. Be careful not to pack the meat too tightly or you’ll end up with a very dense, tough loaf.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, and 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce. Spread half of this mixture evenly all over the meatloaf. Reserve the other half for serving.

Bake for 45 minutes. Slice and drizzle with reserved honey barbecue sauce.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a staple dish in many households.  It's always an option in a "Meat + 3" or on a veggie plate.  While it's fantastic it's not the healthiest option.  I found this recipe online through Weight Watchers and substituted whole wheat pasta.

While it wasn't the most amazing mac and cheese I've ever had it was pretty good.  I loved the broccoli and the whole wheat pasta was delicious.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese:
(adapted from Weight Watchers, 7 pps+)

2 spray(s) cooking spray  
12 oz uncooked pasta, I used whole wheat (about 2 1/2 cups)  
1/8 tsp table salt, for pasta cooking water  
10 oz uncooked broccoli, small florets (about 2 1/2 cups)  
1 tsp salted butter  
1/3 cup(s) fresh bread crumbs  
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided  
2 1/2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk  
1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour  
1/2 cup(s) (chopped) uncooked onion(s), diced  
1 cup(s) low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese, sharp-variety  
1 tsp Dijon mustard  
1 1/2 tsp table salt  
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground  


Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water according to package directions, adding broccoli to water 3 minutes before pasta will be done; drain pasta and broccoli and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until light golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer crumbs to a small bowl; stir in 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and set aside.

In same saucepan (wipe clean if necessary), whisk together milk and flour until blended; add onion. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar cheese, mustard, salt, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Pour over cooked, drained pasta and broccoli; toss to mix and coat.

Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle top evenly with bread crumbs. Bake until bubbly at edges, about 20 to 25 minutes. Divide into 8 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Grilled Fish Tacos

Mr. T and I do taco nights almost weekly.   I'm always looking for some new ideas and this one was right up our alley.  Basic white fish (I used tilapia) goes on sale most weeks and tacos are an easy way to get your kids to eat more vegetables.

Grilled Fish Tacos:
(Grilled Fish Tacos)

1 pound fresh white fish such as tilapia, cod, sole, or flounder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Favorite fresh salsa- my favorite brand
Lettuce (optional)
7 - 8 fat-free flour tortillas

Arrange fish in a 2-quart square baking dish; set aside. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour over fish. Turn fish to coat with marinade. Cover and chill for 15 minutes. Drain fish, discarding any marinade. Stack tortillas and wrap in foil.

Either grill the fish or sear the fillets in a skillet over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes of until flaky.

Transfer fish to a cutting board. Cut or flake fish into 1-inch pieces. Serve in warmed tortillas topped with a salsa of choice.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Fingers

My favorite meal to make on Sunday nights is a large salad with chicken and buffalo yogurt salad dressing.  I found this recipe for buffalo chicken fingers on the Weight Watchers website and decided that they would fit perfectly.  I was right, they were really good and I didn't feel like I was eating something "diet".

Buffalo Chicken Fingers:
(Weight Watchers- 4 strips, 5 ppt+)

1 spray(s) cooking spray  
1 1/4 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), cut into 16 strips total (or 1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless tenderloins)  
1/2 tsp table salt  
1/2 tsp paprika  
1 tsp minced garlic  
2 Tbsp fat-free margarine  
4 tsp hot pepper sauce, I used Frank's  

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.

Place chicken on a plate and sprinkle with salt and paprika. Add chicken to skillet and cook, turning occasionally until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic; reduce heat to low, stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Remove skillet from heat; stir in margarine and hot sauce until margarine melts.