Friday, February 25, 2011

light creamed spinach

Gina baby, I love ya, whoever you are.

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1/2 cup shallots, minced [I used a regular onion]
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free milk [I used 1%]
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg [more!]
  • 1/4 tsp fresh pepper
  • salt to taste [I will skip this next time; the cheese made it salty enough]
  • 4.4 oz Boursin Light [I actually had some Laughing Cow swiss wedges that I'd intended to use, but I tasted the sauce before I added the cheese and thought it tasted great, so I skipped this]
  • 16 oz bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of all moisture [I used 10 oz frozen and 6 oz fresh]

In a large saute pan, melt butter. Add shallots and garlic and cook on medium about 5 minutes. Add flour to shallots, mix well and cook one more minute.

Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk, whisking well.

Add parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well. Add boursin light and mix with until smooth.

[I added the fresh spinach here and wilted it, then added the thawed stuff.]

Add spinach and combine well with sauce, cook one minute, until heated through. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Makes 6 1/2 cups.

Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 2/3 cup • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 95.8 • Fat: 4.9 g • Protein: 5.9 g • Carb: 8.2 g • Fiber: 1.8 g

skinny tuna noodle casserole

I'm generally not a fan of tuna (or of casseroles, really), but this is really good. I've already made it twice in the last month or so. Hearty and comfort-food-tastic.

I also love the website it comes from, Gina's Skinny Recipes. She does great modifications, and includes WW points for every recipe.

  • 6 oz no yolk noodles (you can use Ronzoni Healthy Harvest, or brown rice pasta for gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced fine
  • 3 tbsp flour (gluten free use rice flour)
  • 1 3/4 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 oz sherry (optional) [I threw in some white wine]
  • 10 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas (thawed)
  • 2 (5 oz) cans tuna in water, drained
  • 4 oz 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar [I used 2% Cracker Barrel]
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese [yeah, you need more than that]
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs [I used panko]

Cook noodles in salted water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large deep skillet. Add onions and cook on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray 9 x 12 casserole with butter flavored cooking spray.

Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until well combined, increasing heat to medium and whisking well for 30 seconds, then add the milk and bring to a boil. When boiling, add sherry, mushrooms and petite peas, adjust salt and pepper to taste and simmer on medium, mixing occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes). Add drained tuna, stirring another minute.

Remove from heat and add 1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar and mix well until it melts. Add the noodles to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated. Pour into casserole and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray and top and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. Place under the broiler a few minutes to get the crumbs crisp (careful not to burn).

Servings: 6 • Size: 1/6th • Old Points: 6 pts • Points+: 8 pts
Calories: 318 • Fat: 7 g • Protein: 27.3 g • Carb: 34.3 g • Fiber: 3.6 g

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chili-glazed pork with sweet potato hash

from Real Simple, February 2011

Geoff and I had this last night. Even if pork isn't your thing, the sweet potato hash is particularly good, and worth making to suit some other entree.

Serves: 4
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
(Note: it was more like 30-35 minutes for us)


1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1⁄4 pounds)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled
2 large shallots, chopped
1 5-ounce package baby spinach, chopped
hot sauce (optional)


1. Heat broiler. Place the pork on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Rub with 1 teaspoon of the oil, the chili powder, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Broil, turning occasionally and basting with the maple syrup twice, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. (Note: our pork was in the oven for a longer period of time, and when we pulled it out, it wasn't done. We cut it into quarters (making one cut lengthwise, then another cut widthwise), then put it back in, cut sides up, for a few more minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with the coarse grating disk, grate the sweet potatoes.

3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 7 to 9 minutes more. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes more.

4. Serve the pork and potatoes with the hot sauce, if desired.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crockpot Apricot Chicken

Adapted from: A Year of Slow Cooking
What is it with apricot chicken recipes? Anyway - here's one for the crockpot! Had this for dinner tonight with leftover quinoa. I admit that I left mine in the cooker for too long, so mine was a bit dark in color and the sauce was beginning to burn around the edges. That aside, this was good, and super quick to throw together, and I can definitely see making it again in the crockpot I can set a timer on.

11 oz jar of apricot preserves
1 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 to 1/2 t red chili flakes, optional (I used Aleppo, my new fave)
6 frozen chicken thighs or equivalent body parts (you could probably almost double the amt of chicken and still have enough sauce)

Drop the chicken into your crockpot. In a small bowl, mix all the other ingredients and pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours, high for 4-5. If your chicken isn't frozen, cook for less time.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Adapted from: Closet Cooking

Ok, so I very loosely followed the recipe above and just used what I had in the house. The recipe below is the way I made it. The original recipe calls for summer vegetables, and I had winter vegetables on hand. This salad is along the lines of previous grain salads I have posted here in the past, except that I used quinoa here. Use whatever veg you have on hand - zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and summer squash would be good in the summer. I used carrots, beets and butternut squash here. Try marinated artichokes, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, etc. Serve as is or over baby spinach leaves.

1 cup carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup beets, peeled, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup quinoa
5 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups baby spinach, optional
1 handful feta, crumbled, optional

Toss the vegetables in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place onto a baking sheet in a single layer and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 30 minutes stirring once during cooking.

Meanwhile, place quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse until water runs clear. Boil 2 cups of water (or chicken or vegetable stock) in a saucepan. Add quinoa, cover, reduce to simmer, cook about 15 minutes until done.

In a bowl, stir together cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables, and sundried tomatoes. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour dressing into quinoa mixture and toss to combine. Serve over spinach and/or top with feta if desired.

Stuffed Acorn Squash (Crockpot)

Adapted from: A Year of Slow Cooking

I had this for dinner tonight (Todd was eating out with a friend. He's not a fan of squash and this would not have satisfied him for dinner.) I think this would be good as a side dish, maybe as a main dish for lunch... but I wanted something more for dinner. I think this might be good with some raisins in the mix, too.

1 acorn squash
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (or almonds or pecans)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Cut the acorn squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Put the squash into an empty slow cooker, skin side down.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the cut up apple, melted butter, brown sugar, walnuts, salt, and cinnamon. Scoop this concoction into the acorn halves. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or on high for 2 to 3.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole w/ Mushrooms

Adapted from: Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA recipe blog

3 lb spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons fresh basil
2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 onion (I used a cup of caramelized onions I already had on hand)
2 diced fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
1 cup sour cream
1.5 cups bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
drizzle of olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds.
3. Roast squash face down for 30-45 minutes until tender.
4. While squash is roasting, sauté fresh garlic, basil, mushrooms, and onion until onion is translucent.
5. Mix onion mixture, fresh tomatoes, and sour cream together in a casserole dish. Add salt and pepper as needed.
6. Take squash out of the oven. When cool enough to handle, scoop out insides with a fork into the casserole dish and mix together with other ingredients.
7. Top with cheese and bread crumbs.
8. Place back in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until brown on top.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Soba Noodle Salad

From Mark Bittman.

This is not really a recipe per se but a great way to throw together some things hanging about in your fridge. I just happened to have the ingredients that Bittman suggests and then some. Here's what I used:

1 bag shelled edamame, defrosted if frozen
3 bundles soba noodles
1 pkg baby spinach
1 small red pepper, julienned or finely diced
1 medium carrot, julienned or finely diced
1 scallion, finely diced

For the dressing:
fresh ginger, minced
miso paste
juice of one lime
toasted sesame oil
wasabi paste or chili paste, if desired
toasted sesame seeds or chopped cashews, optional

Cook noodles according to pkg directions. Whisk together ingredients for dressing in a large bowl and toss with veg. Add cooked and drained noodles and toss to coat until spinach is slightly wilted and ingredients are evenly distributed. Serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Pineapple Coconut Quick Bread with Mac Nuts

Adapted from

So, I still have mac nuts from our Hawaii trip last year sitting in the nut drawer in my fridge. And I was thinking about making cookies but then remembered that I had a recipe bookmarked for a tropical fruit bread and thought this would be a great time to try it out. Alas, the recipe I bookmarked was gone--having been lost last year when my computer crashed--but I found one I liked and tweaked it a bit to serve my needs.

Note: for this recipe I used unsweetened coconut flakes but next time I'll use sweetened. There's only 3/4 C sugar in the whole thing and while it tasted really good, I think I'd like a smidge more sweetness.

2 large eggs
1/2 C coconut milk (I used lite)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract if you have it
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
3/4 C sugar
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour (I used 1.5 C white WW and 1 C AP)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 T melted butter
1 cup grated coconut, or use flaked (see note above)
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a 9x5 pan it will take about 1.5 hrs to bake so if you want to bake it in less time I would use an 8x8 pan.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs lightly; beat in the butter, milk, vanilla & coconut extracts, pineapple and sugar. Combine the flaked coconut, flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir almost all of the dry mix into the first mixture until moistened. Add the chopped mac nuts to the bit of remaining flour and toss to coat. Add to mixture and fold just until blended. Try not to over-mix the batter. If you want, you can sprinkle the top with 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts and sanding sugar but I didn't do that.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hr to 1.5 hrs, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Tent with foil to prevent over-browning while baking. Cool completely in pan before slicing. Wrap well with foil to store. My co-workers devoured this within a few short hours so be sure to cut a slice for yourself before sharing!

* could be made vegan by subbing margarine for butter and using egg replacer for the eggs (Ener-G is a reliable replacement)