Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chicken and Herb Dumpling Stew

Recipe From: Weight Watchers Slow Cook It Cookbook

3/4 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs - cut into 3/4 inch chunks
3 large carrots - sliced
1/2 lb red potatoes - scrubbed and diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 can seasoned chicken broth with vegetables and herbs (14.5 oz)
1 1/2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 c frozen pearl onions - thawed
1 cup frozen peas - thawed
1 c low-fat buttermilk baking mix
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
5 Tbsp fat-free milk

  1. Combine chicken, carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper in a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Pour in broth. Press chicken mixture down into broth. Cover and cook until chicken and vegetables are fork-tender - 3-4 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low.
  2. About 50 minutes before cooking time is up, whisk water and cornstarch in small bowl until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture, onions, and peas into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until mixture simmers and thickens, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine baking mix and dill in medium bowl. Stir in milk just until soft dough forms.
  4. Drop dough by rounded 2 tablespoonfuls onto simmering stew, making 4 dumplings. Cover and cook until toothpick inserted into center of dumpling comes out clean, about 30 minutes. 
    • Recipe makes 4 servings.

    Rating: good stuff! 
    Warming Up: just as good as the first night
    • I originally made this recipe after Thanksgiving - it was a great way to use leftover turkey (white meat).
    • I used carrots and onions I had frozen.
    • I omitted the peas because I don't care for them.
    • Instead of dill, I used diced garlic in the dumplings.
    WW Points*: 7

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars

    Recipe From: Cooking Light Magazine

    4.5 oz all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
    1 cup quick-cooking oats
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    6 Tbsp butter, melted
    3 Tbsp orange juice
    cooking spray

    1 1/3 cups dried cranberries (about 6 oz)
    3/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp grated orange zest
    1 large egg white, lightly beaten 
    1. Preheat oven to 325.
    2. To prepare crust - weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle butter and juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened (mixture will be crumbly). Reserve 1/2 cup oat mixture. Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7 baking dish coated with cooking spray.
    3. To prepare filling - combine ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling.
    4. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until edges are golden.
    5. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

    Rating: A nice combination of orange and cranberry 
    • I substituted 1/8 cup of egg substitute for the egg white and used fat free sour cream.
    • The recipe says it make 24 bars, but I got 15.
    • A couple other options pointed out in the magazine:
      • Cherry-Oatmeal Bars: Substitute dried cherries for the cranberries and use lemon rind for the orange rind.
      • Maple-Date-Oatmeal Bars: Substitute chopped, pitted dates for the cranberries. Omit sugar from filling and use 2 Tbsp maple syrup and 2 Tbsp brown sugar instead.
    WW Points*: 4

    Noodles does sandwiches

    So, it's no surprise to friends and family that read this blog that I am a regular visitor of Noodles & Company. (It doesn't hurt to have a brother who works for the company.) Anyway, I went to a Noodles last night for dinner and decided it was time to try a sandwich. I called my brother and he said I'd like the Med Duo (without mushrooms) with Tomato Basil Bisque. The Med sandwich is served on flatbread, so that made it a little less filling than a sandwich. It was pretty tasty, but, for me, the "zippy Med dressing" had a little kick to it. This was also the first time I had the bisque, and thought that was also tasty. It had little chunks of tomato that made the texture really nice. The good thing about adding sandwiches to the menu is that people that don't like pasta can still meet for lunch at Noodles, while their friends/colleagues enjoy their favorite Noodles dish. And, I didn't feel as full as I can after eating a bowl of pasta.

    Overall, I liked my sandwich duo experience at Noodles and may try the Chicken Caesar, but I think if I'm going to Noodles I'm going to be more inclined to get pasta. :)

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Chicken with Apples and Cider

    Recipe From: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

    3 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine
    1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
    1 Tbsp packed, dark brown sugar
    4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp ground pepper
    1 medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
    1/2 c apple cider
    1/4 c cider vinegar
    2 c hot cooked wide noodles

    1. In a large nonstick skillet, melt half of the margarine. Saute the apple until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 3-5 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.
    2. On a sheet of wax paper, sprinkle the chicken with the cinnamon, salt, and pepper. In the skillet, melt the remaining margarine. Saute the chicken until browned, 4-5 minutes on each side. Transfer to another plate.
    3. In the skillet, cook the onion, covered until tender, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the cider and vinegar. Reduce the heat and simmer 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet. Simmer, spooning the sauce over the chicken, until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is reduced by half, 4-5 minutes.
    4. Return the apples to the skillet. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Arrange the noodles on a platter. Top with the chicken mixture, pouring any remaining juices over the chicken.
    Rating: tasty!
    Warming Up: warms up well, but tastier the first meal
    Notes: I made the recipe without the noodles and enjoyed it. I just put some apple and onion slices over the piece of chicken.
    WW Points: 6 (according to recipe)

    Cheesy Potatoes

    Recipe From: Weight Watchers Magazine

    1 container fat-free sour cream (16 oz)
    1 can low-fat cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 oz)
    1 package low-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
    1 package frozen hash browns (32 oz)
    1/4 c light stick butter
    1 tsp thyme
    1/4 tsp black pepper

    1.  Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
    2. Mix sour cream, soup, cheese, butter, and spices in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the hash browns, stirring until well blended.
    3. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Bake until hot and bubbling, 55 minutes - 1 hour.

    Rating: good - but aren't all cheesy potatoes? The thyme adds a little something different than cheesy potatoes I'm used to.
    Warming Up: warms up pretty decently
    Notes: I made half a batch in an 8 x 8 baking dish and it was just fine.
    WW Points: 4 (for scant 3/4 c, according to recipe)

    Caramelized Onions and Carrots

    Recipe From: Weight Watchers Magazine

    1 Tsbp olive oil
    1 bag frozen pearl onions (16 oz)
    1 1/4 c water
    1 bag baby carrots (16 oz)
    1 Tbsp sugar
    1/2 tsp dried thyme
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper

    1. Heat the oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, just until softened, about 2 minutes. Add 3/4 c of the water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates, 5-6 minutes.
    2. Add the carrots, sugar, and thyme. Reduce the heat and cook until the onions are golden, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 c of water, the salt, and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

    Rating: ok
    • This recipe can be made and frozen for up to a month. The directions say, "If making ahead, let cool. Freeze in an airtight container up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Cook in a skillet with 1/3 c water until hot and water evaporates."
    • I think I will like to recipe better if I cook the carrots longer. I guess I don't like "crisp-tender," I would have preferred them tender.
    WW Points: 1 (per 1 1/3 c serving, according to recipe)

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Greek Yogurt! YUM!

    So, I need to take a second and share my new favorite "go to" food - Greek yogurt!

    A couple co-workers of mine have been eating it since last school year, but I hadn't tried it until recently. During a weekend away at a bed & breakfast, the innkeeper served a peach Greek yogurt with granola and since then I've been hooked! (I've only had the Chobani brand.) And, like at the B&B, I always add granola to give it a little something extra. I've tried strawberry banana, honey, and peach, and they've all been very tasty.

    This type of yogurt is a little more pricey than the "normal" type (I haven't seen it for less than $1 per container.), but it's a pretty decent sized portion and is low in fat. The Chobani brand has the fat grams in large, colored print on the lid and container, and the types I've purchased are 0 or 2 grams per container.

    Another great thing about Greek yogurt is that you can use it for a substitute for some of the more fattening parts of a recipe. I have read that it can be used in place of sour cream, but there are also suggestions for using it in place of mayo and butter. Just be sure you do some research before using it in a recipe.

    So, next time you're at the grocery store, think about picking up a container of Greek yogurt! :)
    -and I suggest some granola to go with it-

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

    Recipe From: Everyday Food -

    Click on above link for ingredients and directions. 

    Rating: Good stuff!
    Warming Up: Warms up as good as any other cream & cheese based pasta dish, maybe a little better. Doesn't lose it's flavor, almost as good as day one.
    Notes: I used wheat pasta (as always), pre-cooked chicken breast, a combination of fat free half-and-half and skim milk, and did not include the mushrooms. However, this time I did use regular cheese since I couldn't find the types I needed in reduced fat.
    While this says you can make two and freeze one, I just cut the recipe in half and made one dish. It fit in an 8x8 glass dish.

    Upside-Down Deep Dish Pizza

    Recipe From: Ragu advertisement

    1 lb ground beef
    1 jar Ragu Pasta Sauce
    1 package (10 oz) frozen, chopped broccoli, thawed and squeezed dry (optional)
    2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 can (11 oz) refrigerated pizza dough

    1. Brown ground beef in skillet, drain. Season. Stir in pasta sauce, bring to a boil. Put into a 2-quart baking dish.
    2. Top with broccoli, then cheese. Press dough over dish, sealing edges.
    3. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until crust is golden. Let stand 10 minutes.
    Rating: Delizoso! 
    Warming Up: Warms up really well, tastes just as good (if not better).
    • I used ground turkey and reduced fat cheese to make this a little healthier and lower in fat.  And, of course did use broccoli.
    • I did not use Ragu sauce, I would suggest using any jar of pasta sauce you like, since this was from a Ragu ad that's why the recipe calls for Ragu.
    • I couldn't find a 11 oz pizza crust (only a bigger size), so just discard what you don't need to cover your baking dish.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Chicken Strata

    Recipe From: People Magazine (Art Smith - chef of Chicago's Table Fifty-Two)

    1 tbsp. unsalted butter
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    3 celery ribs, finely chopped
    6 oz asparagus, woody stems discarded, cut into 1 inch pieces
    1/4 cup water
    4 cups cubed, cooked chicken (1 inch cubes)
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    6 large eggs (I used egg substitute.)
    1 tbsp chopped parsley
    1 tbsp chopped chives
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    6 cups cubed French bread (1 inch cubes)
    1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used reduced fat cheese.)

    1. Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and water and cover. Cook until asparagus is crisp-tender - about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until all liquid is evaporated - about 2 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl.
    2. Add chicken and mayonnaise, mix well. Whisk milk, broth, eggs, herbs, and spices in another bowl.
    3. Lightly butter a 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Spread half of the bread cubes in dish; top with chicken mixture. Spread remaining cubes over chicken. Pour egg mixture over ingredients in dish. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 10 hours.
    4. Preheat oven to 350. Bake strata for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until it is melted - about 15 minutes more. Let stand for 5 minutes, serve hot.

    Rating: Pretty good.
    Warming Up: Not a problem, still tastes good.
    Notes: This would be a good Thanksgiving leftovers recipe to use the extra turkey and bread from the holiday.

    It's finally here!

    After a lot of talking, I finally got my food blog up and running! Through this blog I hope to share great recipes, great restaurants, etc. - basically anything that has to do with food and fun! Please feel free to comment on and/or follow what's going on here.

    I spent a day recently going through all the recipes I have ripped out of magazines and other random places and found out that I have more than I could ever even try to cook. Because of all these recipes I have set a goal of making at least one new recipe a week. I will share them here, rate them on various aspects, and hope that maybe one of them will inspire readers of my blog to try something new.

    Thanks for checking the blog! Come back soon! :)