Tuesday, July 13, 2010

28. Baked Salsa Chicken Breast

Sorry if the image isn't so great! I will be making this again and getting a better image!

I found this recipe on the Weight Watchers message boards and haven't done a thing to it. I'm not sure who came up with the recipe and so if you know, you can let me know so that I can give due credit. On a search of the site I turned up quite a few versions of this dish!

This was so simple! I am beginning to cherish "simple" in my attempts to get chores, the gym, and dinner done at night. This hit the spot! I served it with some mexican rice (prepackaged) and some steamed broccoli.

Baked Salsa Chicken Breast - 4 points per serving
Makes 4 servings

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 4 (4oz) pieces
1 16 oz jar salsa (mild, medium or hot, your choice. Hot for us!)
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Spray a shallow baking dish with cooking spray and lay chicken inside.

3. In a mixing bowl add salsa, brown sugar, vinegar, and mustard. Mix well.

4. Pour mixture over the chicken and bake for 30 minutes.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

27. Diet Coke Chicken

This! This is a surprise, trust me. I've been seeing variations of this for months on the WW boards and have been turned off by the fact that it (originally) contained 3 ingredients that I could not imagine together: chicken, ketchup, and diet coke. Yes, diet coke. I want to say something here about sugar free or artificially sweetened things. I do not like cooking with them. I find that the sweetener leaves a bitter taste behind that ruins everything. However I did not find that to be the case with this dish, in fact I was so pleasantly surprised that I made it two nights in a row (with varying heat to make sure it wasn't a fluke) and my family devoured it. You can serve this over rice or couscous. You can serve it on rolls or wraps. It has a lightly sweet, lovely taste and is one of the easiest dishes I have ever made.

Diet Coke Chicken - 3 points per serving
Makes 8 servings

2lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper (or more if you are like me!)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
12 - 14 oz (14 makes a little more juice) diet coke

Dutch Oven:

1. Preheat oven to 275
2. Place ingredients into pot in the order listed above.
3. Replace lid and place into oven. Cook at 275 for 3 -4 hours.
4. Remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks. Put back into pot with juice and stir. Serve hot.

Crock Pot:

1. Follow directions 1 & 2 above.
2. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
3. Remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks. Put back into pot with juice and stir. Serve hot.

Stove Top:

1. Place ingredients into skillet in the order listed above.
2. Over medium to medium high heat bring the liquid to a boil.
3. Cover with a lid, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove chicken from the pan, shred with two forks. Put back into skillet with juice and stir. Serve hot.


Friday, July 2, 2010

26. Pork Chops with Apple Pie Filling and Stuffing

Have you ever cleared your plate of dinner and then wished you could start over? Yes? Well, we didn't get fat by wishing we had eaten less did we? In any case we are (well I am) on diets. We are on lifelong journeys to correct our eating habits and live long and healthy lives. So have you cleared your plate recently and wished you could start over? I have. This is that kind of meal. The one you eat, but can't believe how good it turned out. The pork chops were so tender I couldn't get them out of the pot without breaking them! I found a rendition of this recipe on the WW message boards. It is a crock pot recipe, but seeing as my crock pot is out of commission I decided to use my trusty dutch oven. Now, I have a few pieces of advice. One, try to find a can of apple pie filling you either know and like, or that is no sugar added without aspartame (does that exist?), or perhaps one with just less sugar. Two, do not get lazy and just mix the stuffing mix and pour it on top. Cook it first, then spoon it on. If you do not cook some of the moisture out it gets a little too wet.

Pork Chops with Apple Pie Filling and Stuffing - 7 points per serving
Makes 6 servings
Special equipment: Dutch Oven or Crock Pot

1 1/2 pounds lean pork chops (6 slices)
1 20 oz can apple pie filling, sugar free or no sugar added
1 box corn bread stuffing mix
1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
sea salt

1. Mix the marinade and pour over the pork chops. Shake well (in closed container!) until pork is well coated. Refrigerate for 2 - 24 hours.

2. Lightly coat dutch oven with olive oil (if using a crock pot, lightly coat a large skillet) and place over medium high heat. Add the pork chops and cook them until you get a nice sear on each side. (If using a crock pot, take them from the skillet and lay them into the bottom of the crock pot.)

3. Mix the stuffing mix as the box directs and cook.

4. Spoon stuffing into dutch oven/ crock pot. Top with apple pie filling. Cover.

5. Dutch Oven: Cook in oven at 300 for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Crock Pot: Cook on low for 4-5 hours.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

25. "Bubble Up" Buffalo Chicken Casserole

This is a recipe that you will probably see me tweak and update a few times in the future...

So last week after making Bubble Up Pizza Casserole I started wondering what else would make a good "bubble up" dish? Bubble up refers to the use of refrigerated biscuits as they seem to bubble up in the casserole dish. I make a dip that is so unsuitable to this blog called Buffalo Chicken Dip. It is so freaking good! I make it for special occasions and Thanksgiving and people fight over it. I cant make it on any given day being that it is chock full of calories and fat, but I have found several ways to get that flavor without needing an extra few hours at the gym! This is just one of them!

Just a note for WW users: Please always double check your own points values!

"Bubble Up" Buffalo Chicken Casserole - 8 points per serving
Serves 6
Special Equipment: 9x13 inch baking dish

16 oz small low fat refrigerated biscuits. quartered. (I use grands)
1 pound(s) Chicken breast, skinless, boneless, raw
1 cup(s) hot pepper sauce
10 oz Campbell's 98% Fat-Free Cream Of Celery Soup
8 oz fat-free cream cheese, room temperature.
1/2 cup(s) fat-free ranch salad dressing
1 cup(s) celery chopped
1 cup(s) carrot(s) diced small
1 cup(s) canned mushrooms
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 3/4 cup(s) shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Boil and shred your chicken breast (you can do this ahead of time, to save time and effort).

3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and add shredded chicken, garlic, celery, and carrots and mushrooms over medium heat.

4. Saute until heated through, and then add cream of mushroom, hot sauce, ranch, cream cheese, and 3/4 cup of cheddar. Stir thoroughly until cream cheese is blended through.

5. Let mixture simmer over medium heat until carrots and celery are tender.

6. Add cut up refrigerated biscuits and stir gently until biscuits are well coated.

7. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

8. Bake for 25 minutes.

9. Sprinkle with cheese, bake an additional 10 minutes or until biscuits are done.


24. Cherry Glazed Chocolate Muffins with a Cherry Center

I am starting to experiment with muffins. Yes, I said it. I want, no I need something other than cereal for breakfast, and I don't really enjoy eggs. Now over the next few weeks you will all be subjected to my muffin whims! Seriously though, I was looking through the Weight Watchers site for a muffin recipe that caught my eye and this one certainly did. It looks like a cupcake, and its chocolate. Um, hello! Where have you been all of my life?! Now I followed the recipe to a T and my glaze was not nearly as pretty as theirs. To be fair, I added 3 drops of red food coloring to the glaze to give it more "pop". My muffins turned out amazingly pretty! It doesn't really matter though, these muffins are very satisfying and filling and easy to make ahead of time for a weeks worth of breakfasts or snacks! Plus, there are cherries in the center. Have I mentioned how much I like cherries? This recipe is straight from Weight Watchers! This is in no way my recipe! I just had to share the wealth!

Cherry Glazed Chocolate Muffins with a Cherry Center - 3 points per serving
Serves 12
Special Equipment: Muffin or Cupcake pan

2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa
1 cup(s) powdered sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp table salt
3/4 cup(s) Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup(s) water, warm, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup(s) unsweetened frozen sour red cherries, pitted, left whole, or cherries jarred in water (about 12 cherries)
1 tsp butter, softened
1/2 cup(s) powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup(s) unsweetened frozen sour red cherries, pitted, finely chopped or cherries jarred in water (about 3 cherries)
3 tsp water, warm, or more if necessary

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and coat a 12-hole muffin tin with cooking spray or muffin liners.

2. Sift together flour, cocoa, 1 cup of powdered sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream Neufchatel cheese, about 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla together in a large bowl until blended.

4. With mixer running on slow, add flour mixture in small batches, alternating with remaining 3/4 cup of warm water, until batter is thoroughly blended; add vinegar and mix well.

5. Fill each muffin hole with a tablespoon of batter (you’ll have about 1/2 the batter left). Place a whole cherry in center of each muffin hole and top with remaining batter so each hole is about 2/3 to 3/4 full.

6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins for 5 minutes in tin and then remove muffins to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

7. While muffins are cooling, make glaze: Combine butter, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, 3 chopped cherries and 3 teaspoons of warm water (add another teaspoon of water if glaze is too thick). Spread each cooled muffin with a thin layer of glaze. Yields 1 muffin per serving.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

23. Cheesy Tuna Mac

My grandmother used to make this dish called Tuna Casserole, which growing up I wasn't exactly fond of. First of all I really dislike canned tuna, and second of all, it was bland. It also offended me by being a pretender to the crown, it wanted to be macaroni and cheese so badly, but fell short. She (whom I loved dearly) used to make a weird sort of roux using whole milk, 2 pounds of american cheese, tons of butter and cream of mushroom soup. It was always better on the second day, with about 1/4 of a cup of butter... Needless to say, I can't make this no matter how much my family wants me to.

However, I have been searching for quite a while for a recipe for macaroni and cheese that lived up to my standards. So a few nights ago during an episode of Good Eats when I got some pretty good ideas I had to try them out. Now, please, trust me on this. Go with it. If you have ever made a real roux in your life you will probably cry your eyes out the whole time you're whisking away... It tasted amazing! It was creamy with a crispy top. I have no leftovers! My WW friendly dish stands up to full fat macaroni and cheese! I have taken one of my family's most classic recipes and brought it to the present! All of the flavor without the guilt or gain. You can lower the points of this dish by using low fat Velveeta which I could not find!

Just a note for WW users: Please always double check your own points values!

Cheesy Tuna Mac - 7 points per serving
Serves 8 (9 points per serving at 6 servings)
Special Equipment: Casserole dish with round corners*

1 box whole wheat rotini (or anything you like, 5-6 servings pasta)
2 cups chopped, cooked broccoli
1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
10oz regular Velveeta
5 oz can water packed tunafish, drained
1/4 cup fat free shredded cheese
1 cup unprepared (dry mix) stuffing mix
1 tbsp light margarine
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard (or any mustard you like)
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp hot sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook your pasta as the package directs, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

2. In a sauce pan or skillet on low heat add your milk and margarine. When the milk starts to get warm add your flour and start whisking. Continue whisking keeping the heat low until you get a paste like texture. Add the Velveeta, cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper and let sit, stirring gently occasionally. (You can avoid a wait here by warming your cheese in the microwave to loosen it up a bit, which I did not think of until right now!)

3. When the cheese is pretty much melted, pour the mixture into a deep mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly until the texture is smooth and creamy.

4. Fold in broccoli, pasta, tuna, mustard, garlic, onion powder, and hot sauce. You want to mix well, but not mash your pasta.

5. Transfer pasta mixture to a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle on paprika, then cheddar, then stuffing mix in that order.

6. Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve immediately! Enjoy!

*Rounded corners on a casserole dish keep the corners of your pan from taking most of the heat, and too much of the cooking!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

22. Bubble Up Pizza Casserole

Recently I moved back in with my Mom and younger brother in order to help with bills after my grandfather passed away, and really also to be a cohesive family for a while after such a giant hurt. My brother to my surprise has grown up (he is 22) so much in the two years that I was gone. Before I moved out, this boy would not eat anything that had any vegetables in it, or any spices or rice or ...anything. It was nuts. Macaroni and cheese out of a box, and frozen pizza were his idea of home made. Now, I move back in and I find that the only things he wont eat are beans and pineapple. I'm ecstatic! I can now cook things with peppers and onions that everyone who lives with me will appreciate! Now, back to pizza though...my brother still loves pizza very much, and to be honest so do I. So last week (after having made a recipe that was very pizza tasting) when I asked him what he wanted for dinner this week his reply was "pizza". And so goes my exploration into the most notorious of neo-classsic comfort foods...

This is a recipe I have been playing with for a few months now. When I first read it, I decided that it could not possibly taste good. It probably didn't help that all of the originals are on the Weight Watchers online boards - there were no pictures! I don't know how you guys choose or create recipes, but I like pictures! I know that makes me sound like a third grader but I want to see what the intended outcome is or could be! Sometimes just reading a recipe isn't enough to make it sound appetizing, especially when the recipe is low fat or diet or low calorie. So I finally took the plunge with this one and let me tell you, we loved it! I'll admit that I personally think that the Meatloaf Pizza Pie was more filling, but I have been out voted on all counts! I will definitely make this again, and change it up, next time I will use a ton of vegetables to make it more filling (for me)!

Just a note for WW users: Please always double check your own points values!

Bubble Up Pizza Casserole - 7 points per serving
Serves 8
Special Equipment: 9x13 inch baking dish

1 lb lean ground beef
2 tsp. onion powder or 1 onion, chopped
14 oz. tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
2 tbsp (or more!) minced garlic
1 tbsp pizza seasoning (or any combination of italian seasoning you like)
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 oz pepperoni (I use minis/ optional ingrediant)
1 15oz can reduced fat refrigerated biscuits, quartered (or cut into 6ths if you could only find GRANDS)
1 1/2 cups 2% italian three cheese blend (or any cheese you like!)
Veggies- anything you want, remember that some vegetables can add points on!

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Brown ground beef over medium heat, stirring to crumble. When all of the pink is gone, drain the excess grease. Note: the more crumbly the meat the better it will mix and spread out making for more even servings.

3. Stir in onion powder or onion, tomato sauce, pizza seasoning, garlic and red pepper.

4. Add veggies if any.

5. Add quartered biscuits; stir gently until biscuits are covered with meat mixture.

6. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle on your pepperoni.

7. Bake for 25 minutes.

8. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until biscuits are done. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

21. Meatloaf Pizza Pie

I wrote this recipe up as a guest post over at Thoughtful Momma! My friend Rebekah has been eating my cooking (good and bad) for years while giving me thoughtful advice on everything from having babies, to getting married and more! She has even inspired me to try new foods (I used to be pretty picky) and was the first person I ever saw use cast iron!

So go on over to Thoughtful Momma for Meatloaf Pizza Pie, and when you're done give the rest of her blog a read, it is heartfelt and thought inspiring!

Monday, February 22, 2010

20. Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

I found this dish here while searching for interesting side dishes for well...anything. Steamed or roasted vegetables gets pretty old after 168 days of dieting. The original is so very much prettier than mine, but mine was really very tasty. Now the points here are a little high for a side dish and normally I'd have aimed lower, but it looked so good, I just couldn't help myself. I love Indian food! Of course as always I made changes, and I paired this with roasted pork tenderloin.

I am going to post the recipe as is for you all to see with parentheses for my changes.

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes - 6 points per serving (with my changes)
Serves 4 (I changed it to serve 6)

1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets (1 1/4lbs)
1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2lbs)
5 tablespoons vegetable oil (4tbsp)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (didnt have seeds, used ground, upped to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (used two tbsp minced)
2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds (used 1/2 whole jalapeño seeds and all, minced)
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger (used 2 teaspoons ground)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (heaping)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (1 teaspoon garam masala)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup water (1 cup)

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.

Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 (I sprayed the pan with cooking spray and lightly drizzled a single tbsp over the vegetables) tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes (If you do not cut the potatoes and cauliflower small enough this will take longer.).

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 (I used 3 here) tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

It was amazing!

19. How to season and use that cast iron skillet you have just lying around

How many of you have cookware lying around or hung up or hidden in your kitchen that you have no idea how to use or that you want to use but aren't sure of the upkeep? Growing up we had one kind of cookware. The copper bottomed kind. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about! I used to watch my grandmother dutifully shine the copper on the bottoms of every one of her pans once a month with ketchup, thus learning how to shine copper very cheaply. This was also the only thing I learned about cookware growing up. However I am not here to talk about copper bottom pans, I am here to talk about: Cast Iron.

I always thought of cast iron as something that my grandmother would have used (even though she didn't) and that the pans themselves were just gross. You never use soap to clean them as that would destroy the wonderful nonstick coating that you are going to create by seasoning it. I'm over that now. I used to love and use (and still use as I have only just recently started replacing all of my cookware with the set I plan to have for the next um, forever.) non-stick or Teflon pans, but after reading articles on Teflon possibly having some pretty heinous heath risks and seeing how quick even the most expensive pan deteriorates I have changed my mind. This isn't to say that everyone should run out and replace their Teflon, but there are alternatives. Cast iron is one of many alternatives including stainless steel and glass.

Now, get that old rusted cast iron pan out from where ever you have been neglecting it and follow my lead.

You are going to need:
1 (or several) cast iron pan (s)
Fat (I have tried both vegetable fats and (recently) animal fat and I like the way animal fat works a lot more. I used bacon fat and the result was a gloriously seasoned pan. Vegetarians, do not despair! I have been reading and vegetable fats are just fine!)

1. Preheat your oven to anywhere between 300 and 500 degrees. This is entirely up to you, I used 300 degrees today.
2. Scour your pan out very well with hot water and a scouring pad or steel wool. If you have light rust spots scour them until all traces of the rust are gone. Then wash and immediately dry your pan.
3. Coat your pan with fat and place it into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and drain the excess fat.
4. Place the pan back into the oven for 1-2 hours.

Note: Repeating the process several times will help to create a stronger seasoning and better cooking surface.

Caring for your pan:

1. Do not use soap, though I am sure you can find several resources for why you can and how. Soap will start to break down the seasoning you have created.
2. Let the pan cool down some, rinse it with hot water, and wipe with a soft sponge if you need to.
3. Dry with paper towels and then place over low heat on the stove to make sure the pan is completely dry.

Voila! You have an amazing non-stick pan that should last years and years with proper care.

18. Chipotle Lime Flank Steak

Oh no! I do not have a picture for this incredibly flavorful dish to entice you into making it! Don't worry...I will be making it again!

I found this recipe on the WW online boards and it called out to me not only because I had almost all of the ingredients on hand, but because I love chipotle flavors, and we hadn't had steak in a while. I paired this recipe with a whole wheat wrap, 1/4th cup of rice, and saute'd peppers and onions. Amazing! However when I made it I made some tweaks, so I am going to post it with my tweaks and recommendations.

For example, the original calls for 1 lb of steak. I used 1 1/2 lbs and doubled some of the ingredients in the marinade. I doubled the amount of peppers in Adobo. Don't do that, no matter how much you want to, unless you like your food extremely hot! However I do believe that you will find what I post to be quite satisfying... The recipe as I made it with 1/2 the peppers:

Quick side note: Always double check your points values no matter who posts them or how often they are correct. You don't want ruin a good run with someone else's mistake!

Chipotle Lime Flank Steak - 4 points per serving (as long as you do not add extra marinade to your actual serving.)
Serves 6

1 1/2 lb flank steak or skillet steak
4 chipotle chiles canned in Adobo, minced
1/2 c fresh lime juice
1/2 c honey
1 cup chopped cilantro (not packed)
3 Tablespoons dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground allspice (I did not have any allspice left! I used a dash of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients for marinade. Marinate flank steak in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight (I only had 3 hours and it was still fantastic, this is a no worries recipe!). Remove steak from marinade, reserve marinade. Grill or broil to desired degree of doneness. *If you are going to cut your steak into strips, do it now rather than before putting it into the marinade. Trust me, its easier to fish it out of the marinade this way.

If desired bring marinade to a boil. Boil until slightly reduced and thickened. Serve sauce over thinly sliced steak, and enjoy!