Monday, November 17, 2008

Roasted Chickpeas

This is a favorite snack of mine, going back to my early days on Core. It is a super-easy recipe, and I keep a can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) in my pantry at all times just for this snack. Use whatever spice combination you like. I've used garam masala, cinnamon & chili powder, Cajun seasoning, and others.

Roasted Chickpeas

1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained.
1 Tbsp. spice
olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray generously with olive oil spray. Put the beans on the sheet and spray again, then shake the pan to ensure an even coating. Sprinkle with spices and shake again. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until outsides are crispy and insides are soft, checking every ten minutes to shake pan.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chicken Roasted over Squash

Lately I have discovered the joys of winter squash, and have been searching for recipes that feature it. This Weight Watchers Core bake was a simple but yummy option. You can use any winter squash you like in this recipe. I used Golden Nugget, but butternut, acorn, or kabocha would work just as well.

Chicken Roasted over Squash

1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2-in pieces
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. salt
ground pepper to taste
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large skillet with canola spray. Over medium-high heat, cook onion, bell pepper, and squash, stirring until slightly softened, about 7-8 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper, until mixed. Mound mixture in center of 9x13 baking pan.

Place chicken over vegetables, covering them as much as possible. Stir together mustard and applesauce; brush over chicken. Bake until chicken is golden, about 50 minutes. Cut chicken and serve with vegetables.

Serves 8.

224 Cal, 7g Fat, 2g Sat Fat, 78mg chool, 320mg sodium, 14g carb, 2g fib, 27g protein, 51mg calcium

Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup

Mmm... the picture in the Weight Watchers cookbook looked so good, I had to try it. I was not disappointed. The recipe calls for a fennel bulb, which I could not find. I substituted one leek, cleaned and diced, and a teaspoon of fennel seeds. The flavors are not intense, but they are complex. It's a very good soup, and easy to make.

Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup

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

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

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475. Toss the tomatoes with the remaining oil and place cut-side down on a large cookie sheet. (Line with foil first.) Roasted until skins shrivel and just begin to brown, about 20 minutes.

Add roasted tomatoes and juices to skillet. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf before serving.

Serves 6.

144 Cal, 4g Fat, 1g Sat Fat, 530mg sodium, 24g carb, 4g fiber, 4g protein, 41mg calcium

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

This is another recipe taken from Weight Watchers, and it is Core. I like that I only have to use a skillet, knife, and cutting board. You can use leftover rice, or do what I did - use the steam bags of brown rice from the freezer section. Cooks perfectly every time, and tastes better than it does when I cook it. You can use Canadian bacon instead of ham if you prefer a smokier taste.

2 c. brown rice
2 tsp. canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. ham steak, trimmed of fat and diced
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash to cut down on salt)
1/2 c. chicken broth

Cook rice according to package directions. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown, 4-5 minutes.

Add beans and Cajun seasoning; cook until heated through. Add rice and broth. Cook until liquid is almost absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Serves 6.

Spiced Pot Roast

When it comes to cooking a roast, I have tried a million different things, and I never make it the same twice. I've also never used a recipe, until now. I adapted this from a Weight Watchers cookbook to use my CrockPot. You can cook it with the vegetables, but I prefer to cook mine separately. Serve it with roasted potatoes and a salad. The leftovers are also perfect for vegetable beef soup (recipe to follow next week).

Spiced Pot Roast

1 1/2 pound lean eye of round roast, trimmed of all fat
1 14.5-oz can reduced-sodium beef broth
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground pepper

Spray a skillet with olive oil spray. Sear roast over high heat on all sides. Transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on low 8-10 hours, or until meat is cooked.

Serves 6-8

Crab Chowder

This chowder goes together quickly, and has a gentle, mild flavor. It is also Weight Watchers friendly. I use imitation crabmeat, because it's hard to find the real stuff where I live. If you do use the real thing, be sure to carefully pick out all the cartilage.

Crab Chowder

1 tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium red potatoes, diced in 1/2-in chunks
1 large carrot, grated
2 celery ribs, finely sliced
3 slices Canadian bacon, diced
1 15-oz can creamed corn
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
2 tsp. chicken bouillon
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
6 drops Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
4 c. water
ground pepper to taste
1 c. crabmeat, flaked
1 14-oz can fat-free evaporated milk
2 tsp. dried parsley

In a large pot, heat oil. Saute onion, garlic, potatoes, celery, carrot, and Canadian bacon. Cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add corn, creamed corn, bouillon, sauces, lemon juice, water, and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cover. Simmer about 30 minutes, or until potato is cooked.

Add crab and cook until heated. Stir in evaporated milk and parley and cook one minute longer.

Serves 10.


You've got to love the name of this recipe I hijacked from Cathy Zielske's blog. And if you don't know who that is, don't worry - it just means you aren't a scrapbooker. But I digress.

The ingredient list is long, but don't stress. It's pretty easy to put together, and can simmer while you're doing other things. Just make sure your pot is large enough - I used the biggest one I own and it was a squeeze to get everything in there.

This broth-based soup will freeze well. It is loaded with fiber, and is great for chilly winter afternoons.


2 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
3 c. cooked, shredded chicken
2 cartons chicken broth
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
3 15-oz cans navy beans, rinsed & drained
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed & drained
juice of 1-2 limes
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro (or 2 tbsp dried)
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
lime wedges, tortilla chips (optional)

In a large pot, saute onions and green chilies in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook one minute longer. Add dry spices, stirring until mixed well.

Add chicken, broth, corn, beans, lime juice and cilantro. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Before serving, add cheese. Stir until melted.

Serve with cheese, lime juice/wedges, and tortilla chips.

Serves 12.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Butternut Squash Fries

I have a new love... butternut squash! It's one of the great things about Weight Watchers. It has opened up an entire realm of foods I never considered - either because I didn't know how to cook it, thought I didn't like it, or just plain didn't know what it was.

Admittedly, the big squash a little hard to cut, but oh, my! it is good! I've been picking up butternut and acorn squash from the grocery store each week, and if all I do is bake and eat, I am one happy camper. I found this recipe from the Weight Watcher website, and adapted it a tiny bit to suit my spice preferences. It's soooo good, and good for you, too!

Butternut Squash Fries

1-lb butternut squash
1 tbsp. garam masala
1 tsp. sugar
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450. Cut the neck of the peeled squash into 1/2-in strips. You can cut up the bulb part, or reserve it for something else. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Arrange squash in rows so that they don't touch. Sprinkle with garam masala and sugar. Bake for 14-18 minutes, turning once, until fries are desired crispness. Serves 4