Monday, September 22, 2008

Curried Fruit & Chicken Salad

Lately I've been on a tropical kick - weird, because I've never cared much for pineapple or coconut. I found this unusual chicken salad recipe, adapted it a bit to lower calories, and fell in love. The flavors are complex and the textures are great. This is definitely on my re-make list.

Curried Fruit & Chicken Salad

3/4 c. fat-free mayonnaise
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
4 c. diced cooked chicken
2 c. seedless grapes, halved
1 c. pineapple chunks
1/2 c. water chestnuts (chopped)
1/2 c. coconut
chopped almonds, optional

In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, curry powder, soy sauce and lemon juice. Stir in chicken, grapes, pineapple, and water chestnuts. Chill. Before serving, garnish with coconut & almonds.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Beef Stew

Mmmm... I've had this recipe for years, and it is the ultimate fall stew. Because the original version was stovetop and seriously labor-intensive, I adapted it for the slow cooker. The addition of tapioca gives the broth a nice, thick consistency. It freezes well. If you are lucky enough to have space for one of the really big slow cookers, double the recipe and freeze half for later. It keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, and is a good choice for camping trips.

Beef Stew

1 lb stew meat
2 cans V8 juice
2 tbsp. dry tapioca
1/2 cup choppped onion
2 tbsp. beef boullion granules
2 cloves minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp thyme
2 c. sliced carrots (or baby carrots)
3 c. diced potatoes
1 c. diced celery

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Mix well. Cook on low for at least 8 hours. (This will vary, depending on how fast your "slow" cooker cooks! I always let mine go for 10 hours.) Discard bay leaf before serving.

Italian Chicken Soup

I adapted this somewhat from a Taste of Home cookbook. Don't let the long ingredient list fool you - this is simple, down-home cooking - and yet it has an elegance to it that makes it an equally good choice for entertaining or sitting down with a blanket and a book. Sprinkle on some Romano or fresh Parmesan if you like.

Italian Chicken Soup

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 c. vegetable broth
2 tsp low-sodium chicken bouillon granules
2 bay leaves
1 can (15 oz) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
6 green onions, sliced
½ c chopped fresh parsley (may use dried instead, but decrease amount)
¼ c ketchup
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
½ tsp dried basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp pepper
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained

In a large Dutch oven, combine spices, broth, tomatoes, parsley, onions and ketchup. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; leaving cover ajar, simmer for 30 minutes. Add beans and chicken, heat through. Discard bay leaves before serving.

Chicken Crouton Hot Dish

I don't remember where this came from, but it's an easy favorite that I've made at least a half-dozen times - at my house, making anything more than once means it is a keeper. This is comfort food at its finest. Substituting turkey for the chicken is a great alternative, and you can use fat-free sour cream, reduced-fat soup, and "diet" butter without affecting the taste of texture.

Chicken Crouton Hot Dish

14.5 oz can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 14-oz package seasoned stuffing cubes
4 c. shredded cooked chicken

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, whisk together broth, soup, sour cream and butter. Stir in croutons and chicken. Transfer to a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Veggie Lentil Stew

This is a hoss of a recipe. It looks like a lot of ingredients, and I suppose it is - but it's so easy to put together. It makes a ton, freezes well, and couldn't be healthier. Plus it's incredibly filling, and perfect for a cool autumn day. From the Taste of Home Big Book of Soup cookbook, I give you:

Veggie Lentil Stew

4 c. V8 or tomato juice
2 14.5-oz cans Italian stewed tomatoes (I used diced instead)
1 16-oz can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 c. dried lentils, rinsed
2 tbsp. minced parsley
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. plain yogurt
2 tbsp. snipped chives

In a Dutch oven, combine first 15 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 35-45 minutes, or until lentils and veggies are tender. Stir in spinach; heat through.

Combine topping ingredients and dollop about 1 tbsp on each serving.

Serves 13.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Frito Corn Salad

I had this at a church potluck, and searched all over the web until I found the recipe. I modified it to make it more WW-friendly. It needs no spices - all the flavor comes from the Fritos. Don't ask me how long it will keep in the fridge - I will be surprised if it makes it through tomorrow!

2 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 c. reduced-fat Mexican blend shredded cheese
2/3 c. fat-free mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
Chili Cheese Fritos

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except Fritos. Immediately before serving, measure 1 cup of the Fritos, crush, and stir into the salad. (If you are not eating it all at once, use a little less than 1/4 cup per serving.)

Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Southwestern Chicken & Bean Salad

Here's another Weight Watchers recipe. Even though the ingredients are very similar to the previous recipe, it has a totally different flavor. This makes them perfect to cook at the same time, especially for weekend cooking. It also keeps well in the fridge.

2 medium scallions, chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
15 oz canned black beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 c. frozen corn, thawed
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz cooked chicken breast (skinless), diced
2 tbsp. reduced-sodium taco seasoning
4 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (or 2 tsp dried)
4 tbsp. fat-free sour cream

Combine scallions, peppers, beans corn, and chicken in a large bowl; toss until well mixed.

In a small bowl, combine lime juice, oil, taco seasoning, and cilantro. Add to chicken mixture; toss to mix well. Top with sour cream and serve.

Serves 4 (1 1/2 c. salad + 1 tbsp sour cream per serving)
WW points: 5

Tropical Black Beans and Rice

I adapted this from the Weight Watchers website. It is a wonderful, filling vegetarian meal. You will never miss the meat! Cook a large pot of brown rice and keep it separate in the fridge. This will keep for several days and is a good choice for those of you who like to do most of your cooking on the weekend.

Tropical Black Beans and Rice

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 c. red onion, chopped
1/2 c orange juice
1/3 c fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 medium red pepper, diced
1/2 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium mango, diced (or papaya, or 20 oz canned pineapple, drained)
2 garlic cloves, minced
15 oz canned black beans, rinsed & drained
3 c. cooked brown rice

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add oil and heat over medium heat until sizzling. Add all ingredients except beans and rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in beans. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice.

Serves 4 (3/4 c. rice and 1 cup bean mixture)
6 WW points

(The picture shows Canadian bacon, which I threw in because I had it on hand and needed to use it.)