Monday, March 22, 2010

Sauteed Mushrooms with Thyme

Sauteed Mushrooms with Thyme
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 1 per serving

2 Tbsp. light butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 1/2 lbs. small white mushrooms, halved
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
1/4 c. red or white wine

In a skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallot; cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium. Add the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 5 - 6 minutes.

Uncover; raise the heat to high. Cook, tossing, until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are brown, about 3 - 5 minutes. Add the thyme and wine. Cook until the skillet is almost dry, about 1 minute.

NOTES: Mushrooms are sort of the forgotten vegetable for me. I mean, I LOVE mushrooms. I think they're so delicious, I forget they count as a vegetable, that they are a great source of protein, B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, and a host of other good-for-you minerals. This dish as a great side with just about anything, and it comes together really fast. I don't know if it reheats the next day, because there's never any leftovers!

Pasta with Escarole, White Beans and Chicken Sausage

Pasta with Escarole, White Beans and Chicken Sausage
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 12 per serving

12 ounces chunky whole-wheat pasta (like bowties)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces uncooked low-fat Italian-style chicken sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 medium head escarole, chopped (about 8 cups)
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a large, deep saute pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 3 - 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in the sausage and cook until heated through and browned, about 4 minutes. Add the escarole and cook until wilted, 3 - 4 minutes. Add the beans, 1 cup of the broth, the sage and red pepper flakes and simmer until the mixture is heated through and the liquid is slightly reduced.

Drain the pasta, add it to the sausage-bean mixture and toss well, loosening with the remaining 1/2 cup of broth if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan cheese before serving.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs

Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 4 per thigh

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 c. stone-ground mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground marjoram
3/4 tsp. dried basil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the mustard, garlic, herbs and maple syrup in a small bowl. Spread 1/4 of the mustard mixture on the top of each thigh, being careful to cover as much of the surface as possible to form a "crust." Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a baking dish.

Bake until the mustard mixture has formed a crust and is slightly hardened, and the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced in the center, about 30 minutes.

NOTES: This dish may have a small ingredient list, but it's got loads of flavor. It's super-easy to prepare and really, really delicious!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lynn’s Awesomesauce Cookies

Lynn's Awesomesauce Cookies
Servings: about 40 cookies
Weight Watchers Points: 2 per cookie

3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 c. whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk chocolate chips
3/4 c. peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix sugars, butter, applesauce, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool on a rack and enjoy!

NOTES: Best. Cookies. Ever. That's all you need to know.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eggplant Spread

Eggplant Spread
Servings: 6
Weight Watchers Points: 1 per serving

1 large (1 1/2 lb.) eggplant
14 sun-dried tomatoes (if oil-packed, drained and rinsed thoroughly)
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Halve the eggplant lengthwise; cut two deep slits into each of the cut sides. Insert the tomatoes and garlic into the slits.  Place the eggplant in a 12 x 8" baking pan; bake, covered, until the eggplant is tender, about 45 minutes. Cool until comfortable to handle, about 15 minutes.

Scoop out the eggplant pulp, tomatoes and garlic; place in a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice, oregano, oil, cumin and pepper flakes; puree. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature with pita triangles or vegetables.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Seared Salmon with Cilantro-Cucumber Salsa

Seared Salmon with Cilantro-Cucumber Salsa
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points:  6 per serving

1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp. red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
4 salmon fillets
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Lime wedges for garnish

In a bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and cilantro. Toss gently to mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 1 teaspoon of canola oil, the honey, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp of salt. Pour the lime juice mixture over the cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat evenly. Set aside.

Sprinkle the salmon with the remaining salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat in a large, nonstick pan. Add the fish and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer the salmon fillets to plates and top each with salsa. Garnish with more cilantro and lime.

NOTES: Mmm. And EASY! A friend who tried this before I did (hi, Courtney!) said that the salsa really made this special, and she was right. We loved everything about this one - the color, the texture, the flavor - it all goes together well to create a dish that just shouts, "Hello, summer!"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Thyme and Garlic

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Thyme and Garlic
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points: 1 per serving

2 Tbsp. vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large portobello mushrooms, brushed clean and stemmed

Combine the stock, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme and salt in a large zip-lock bag. Arrange the mushroom caps in one layer in the marinade, turning once to coat. Seal the bag, pressing out excess air. Marinate the mushrooms at room temperature, turning occasionally, about 1 hour.

Prepare a hot grill or broiler, and lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Positon the cooking rack 4 inches from the heat source.

Arrange the mushrooms on the rack or broiler pan and grill or broil, turning often, until tender, about 7 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board. slice thinly and serve warm.

NOTES: Wow. Who knew a marinade could transform a mushroom into something really amazing? Just thinking about how good this was make me happy. Make sure to use plenty of fresh thyme - an extra sprinkle on top before serving will make these pop. Serve with Creamy Polenta with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis for a really delicious, easy, healthy, meal. Did I mention that this is delicious yet?