Thursday, January 21, 2010

Forbidden Rice Salad

Forbidden Rice Salad
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 5 per serving

1 cup Forbidden (black) rice
1 red pepper, diced
1 ripe mango stoned, peeled and diced
3 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 lime, juice and zest
1 teaspoon sugar
1 jalepeno pepper, minced

Cook the rice as directed on the package.

Mix the black rice, red pepper, mango, green onions, cilantro and mint in a large bowl.

Mix the fish sauce, lime juice and zest, sugar and jalepeno in a small bowl.

Toss the salad in the dressing and enjoy. Serve room temperature or chilled.

NOTES: You can find Forbidden (black) rice at Whole Foods. This salad was amazing - the rice is nutty and hearty and a little bitter and sweet. Combined with the sweet fruit, the spicy pepper and the exotic fish sauce, it was a real hit. It's also very, very pretty. We will make this one again, for sure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pan-Roasted Tomatoes with Herbs

Pan-Roasted Tomatoes with Herbs
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 1 per serving

1 tsp. olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes
Olive oil cooking spray
2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Heat 1 tsp. oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes; cook 3 - 4 minutes or until tomatoes begin to blister. Remove from heat; spritz tomatoes with olive oil cooking spray and stir in remaining ingredients, tossing gently to combine. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

NOTES: When we made this the first time, I used way too much rosemary (about 2 teaspoons fresh), but it was still tasty, nonetheless. I'm looking forward to trying this again in the summer with some really nice, fresh tomatoes and serving it alongside a nice piece of grilled fish.

Thyme and Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Thyme  and Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 3 per serving

1 lb. small red potatoes (about 8 potatoes)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Scrub potatoes; cut each into 8 wedges. Place wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and toss well. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and pepper; toss until potatoes are evenly coated with spices. Arrange wedges in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 20 minutes or until browned.

NOTES: I'm not usually a big potato person, but this was a really great side dish with our Turkey Antipasto Paninis. The potatoes got nice and crispy, and the seasoning was just right. This makes A LOT of potatoes, though - we cut the recipe in half and still had about twice as much as we needed. The best part about this recipe, though, was that it was really easy to throw together and the end results were very good.

Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 2 per serving

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 shallot, chopped

Whisk first 3 ingredients together in a small bowl. Stir in tomatoes, basil and shallot.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup

Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup
Servings: 6
Weight Watchers Points: 2 per serving

5 tsp. olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
7 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. wild rice
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, fennel, onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the water, rice, bay leaf and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the grains start to pop and the rice is tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Toss the tomatoes with the remaining 3 teaspoons oil and place cut-side down on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the skins are shriveled and just begin to brown, about 20 minutes.

Add the roasted tomatoes and their juices to the rice mixture in the saucepan. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf before serving.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pan-Seared Salmon with Honey-Balsamic Sauce

Pan-Seared Salmon with Honey-Balsamic Sauce
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 8 per serving

Cooking spray
1/4 tsp. olive oil
1 c. leeks, juilenne-cut
4 6-oz salmon fillets, with or without skin
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper, divided
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add oil. Place over medium-high heat; add leeks, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until soft. Remove from pan and set aside.

Sprinkle fish with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper. Add fish to pan; cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove from pan; set aside, and keep warm.

Add vinegar, honey, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper to pan. Cook over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes or until reduced by half. Divide leeks evenly over fish; drizzle with sauce. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and 1 tablespoon sauce).

NOTES: My oh my. This was better than just about anything I've ever gotten in a restaurant, and that's saying something. The salmon was crisp and tender and juicy, the sauce was sweet and tangy, the leeks were savory and the whole thing, sitting on top of Buttery Herb Couscous, was absolutely delicious. I think I could eat this meal every single day and be perfectly happy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Makeshift “Hamburger” Helper

Makeshift "Hamburger" Helper
Servings: 6
Weight Watchers Points: 4 per serving

8 oz. whole wheat macaroni noodles (uncooked)
1 lb. ground turkey
14 oz. fat-free beef broth
2 cups water
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. button mushrooms, diced
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup grated reduced fat parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Brown turkey in a large skillet. When beef is cooked through, add veggies, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook it until the veggies start to soften and release their juices, stirring it often.

Stir in the water, 1 1/2 cups of the broth, uncooked macaroni noodles, and the Worcestershire sauce, bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium and cook until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

Whisk the flour with the remaining 1/4 cup of broth in a small bowl until it's smooth with no lumps. Stir this into the turkey mixture. Add the sour cream. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened. Right before serving, add the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. The sauce will thicken some as it sits.

NOTES: A staple of my childhood cooking experience was a cheeseburger casserole, the recipe for which came on case of macaroni and cheese we got from Sam's Club. It was a delicious and high-in-fat-and-calories concoction of cooked hamburger, macaroni and cheese and cream of mushroom soup. It was Hamburger Helper without the glove. I still love the flavor of that meal, but don't want much of anything to do with the old versions. This "makeshift" "hamburger" helper is so named because it's a from-scratch version of the originals that uses ground turkey instead of beef. The flavors are very, very similar to what you're used to, with far fewer calories or fat grams - knowing that it's good for you makes it taste even better. Serve with a side of sauteed spinach.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Surprise Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Surprise Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Servings: 8
Weight Watchers Points: 10 per serving (definitely a decadent treat, but SO worth it)

12 oz. block lite silken tofu
12 oz. milk chocolate chips
1 c. reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey
1 prepared reduced-fat graham cracker crust

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together in the microwave until smooth and blended. I microwave for 30 seconds, then stir, then 30 more, then stir, and so on until the mix is just right.

Combine chocolate and peanut butter mixture, tofu and honey in a blender and process until smooth.

Pour mixture into prepared pie crust and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Top with fat-free whipped topping and serve.

NOTES: The surprise is, of course, tofu. Don't tell people there is tofu in this pie and they won't have any idea. It's the best chocolate peanut butter pie you or they will ever eat. For a variation, substitute 1/3 cup of coffee liquor for the peanut butter, and add 1 tsp. vanilla extract. The points will reduce by about 1 per serving, and it's still freaking delicious. The pie is really rich, so I actually get 16 to 20 servings out of one of these - a little slice goes a long way.