Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Better Than Big Barry's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

My husband is a soup person. Loves his soup. And I've been on a big homemade soup kick lately, but he hasn't really taken to any of them since they are all a little too healthy for his style. Quinoa Corn Chowder? Nope. Tuscan Bean Soup? Definitely not. Chicken Noodle Soup? Oh yeah. When he finally wandered into the kitchen to see what I was up to and saw the soup in the pot, he eyes nearly bugged out of his head, into the pot of soup.

So, the story begins with Matzoh Ball Soup. My favorite soup in the whole wide world. It was the 1,000th time I was making matz0h balls (first time blogging though) and I still wasn't quote ready to tackle the homemade soup element of it though.

Our story continues with Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. By now I'm starting to feel my way into homemade soup, but I'm still not quite there so I mix in some chicken broth and use sparing amounts of raw chicken and water. Something about the raw chicken in the soup wasn't rubbing me right.

But yesterday I was planning ahead to Friday, when I will home sick half the day after having a (hopefully painless) procedure. Hmm...what could I have on hand that will make me feel better? Duh...soup. So I leave work and I call Grandma from the car, who is always on-hand for cooking consultation as she doesn't really leave her house much anymore. Grandma gives me the shopping list, of which I already had most of at home except the cheesecloth (to strain out the fat at the end), dill, turnip, and an ingredient described like this: "That other root vegetable that goes in soup...the one with the green fringe on top. Just throw the whole thing in...fringe and all. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it at the market. If you can't find it, ask an employee or an old lady. They should know what goes in soup." Ummm....the employees in my market don't speak English really and I'd bet the old ladies don't either. And if they did, I highly doubt they would know what goes into old fashioned chicken soup. Needless to say, I came out root-less (and its not a parsnip or a turnip, according to Grandma). I also had some concerns when I asked where to find cheesecloth, I was told to ask at the deli counter or look in the dairy aisle. My reply: "Um, it's not cheese you know." Butcher counter guy's reply: "It's not?" Oddly enough, I found it hanging on a hook over the hot dogs...across from the cheese. What are the odds?

OK, so we're home...we're cooking....and you are wondering why the hell this soup is called Better than Big Barry's Chicken Noodle Soup. So my husband begs for a bowl the second it is ready to eat. I try to tell him that it should be eaten tomorrow after it sits, but he will have none of that. So I made him a small bowl. One bite and his eyes lit up like he had just gone to heaven. He exclaimed, "This is even better than the soup at Big Barry's!!!!" So now, us both being Jewish New Yorkers, I'm assuming that Big Barry's is a Jewish deli somewhere out on Long Island near where he grew up. OH. NO. Big Barry's was a COWBOY WESTERN THEMED restaurant from his childhood. He proceeded to go into great detail about this place for about 20 minutes. I have known him for 12 years and I have never seen him speak about anything with such enthusiasm. The jail cell where he had a birthday party, the cowboy-costumed waiters, the food served in cast iron skillets, the "gunman" in the watchtower on top of the restaurant with his shotgun aimed at the parking lot, and last but not least...the chicken noodle soup served in big tin mugs. Before yesterday, it was apparently the best soup in the world.

And now I can say with great pride and enormous pleasure that my soup tops that. Yee haw!

1 (3 pound) roasting chicken
2 large carrots, chopped
2 large celery stalks with leaves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 parsnip, sliced in half vertically
1 turnip, sliced in half
3 garlic cloves, peeled
several springs of parsley and dill
10-12 cups cold water
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces pasta (optional)

Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs (reserving a few springs of dill) in a large stockpot. Add enough cold water to cover all the contents of the pot. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer; cover pot, but vent to allow steam to escape. Simmer for about 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, remove chicken from the soup. Remove as much meat as possible and discard skin and bones. Remove turnip and parsnip and discard. Find garlic cloves (they should be floating near the top) and smash them against the side of the pot and mix the smashed garlic into the soup. Add chicken meat back to soup; season with salt and pepper and add leaves of reserved dill springs. Add pasta and bring back to a boil; boil until pasta is cooked through.

Remove pot from heat and cover top surface of soup with cheesecloth. Push cloth down into soup until it sits just below the surface. Allow to cool completely, preferably overnight. Slowly lift cheesecloth up, separating the fat from the top surface of the soup. Reheat to serve.

Yields 10 servings.

WW info:
core - all included (without pasta); 1 point with pasta
flex - 3 points per serving (including pasta)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Makeover for this Fashionista

You might notice a few changes going on with the Foodie Fashionista in the coming weeks. I felt like I needed a makeover. New logo, new fonts, new colors...maybe soon a change of address! But nothing yet. Stay tuned and thanks for reading the ramblings of the Foodie Fashionista.

'Tater Skins

I am really looking forward to the Super Bowl this year for many reasons.

  1. The New York Giants are in it! Go Giants! I hope they cream the Pats. I'm a New Yorker living in Massachusetts and I absolutely depise the New England Patriots.
  2. We have a brand new 46" Sony LCD and we will be watching the game in HD.
  3. Most of the yummy traditional football snacks I'm preparing are Weight Watchers Core-friendly!!!!! Which brings me to the point of this post....
So I don't remember the conversation my husband and I were having the other night, but in the middle of it, it all of a sudden occurred to me that I could make CORE potato skins and have no guilt about indulging in them!

8 baby white potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 Tbsp fresh chives
1 cup fat-free sour cream
4 strips lean Canadian bacon, fat trimmed
1 1/2 cups fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until soft in the middle, about 25 minutes. (You can also speed up this process by microwaving them at this step for 5 minutes). Stir 1 tablespoon of chives into sour cream and mix well; set aside.

Meanwhile, spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place trimmed bacon in skillet. Cook until brown on both sides and crispy, about 4 minutes each side. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel to absorb any residual grease. When cooled, chop into fine pieces. Set aside.

Slice potatoes in half and spray the skin sides of them with non-stick cooking spray and season generously with salt and pepper. Place potato halves back on baking sheet, skin side up, and cook for 10 minutes,

After 10 minutes, flip potato halves over and scoop out about 1/4 of each potato and discard. Distribute half the cheese over the tops of the potatoes. Layer the bacon evenly over this layer, followed by the remaining cheese. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chives over tops and lightly spray finished skins with cooking spray. Return to oven and bake until cheese has melted.

Serve with sour cream.

Yields 8 servings (2 halves each).

WW info:
core - included
flex - 1 point each


I finally made a successful cookie. The Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. But do I see all the hype over these allegedly heavenly cookies? Unfortunately, not really. Don't get me wrong...they were a delicious treat after all the diet treats I've been stomaching lately, but I don't think they tasted any different or looked any different than cookies from the Nestle Tollhouse recipe, which I made many times in years gone by before I went healthy. They were better than these healthy chocolate chip cookies, but I don't know that they are worth the time. Although, licking the bowl was the highlight of my day. And I definitely ate more than my fair share.

WW info:
2 points per cookie*
*The recipe as is on is supposed to yield 18 HUGE cookies. You can easily get 36 good-sized cookies (that are still very will be a very nice snack).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Quinoa Corn Chowder

Is there anything more tummy-warming than chowder on a cold winter day? I'm not a huge fan of corn chowder, but I am a big fan of quinoa and I'm always looking for new ways to use it. I don't have a huge stockpile of recipes incorporating it since it is often used in place of rice or couscous and I don't use either of those ingredients much (brown rice makes an appearance on our table when a stir fry makes its way to our table, but that's pretty much the extent of our rice consumption.)

I recommend using a Yukon Gold potato with this recipe, as it is very soft and part of it will disintegrate into the soup, adding to its thickness. You can slo sub the dried herbs for fresh, just be sure to double their amounts, as dried herbs are much more potent than fresh.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small Onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove; crushed and minced
1 lg Potato; peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
3/8 cups uncooked quinoa
2 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 bay leaves
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1 tsp fresh dill
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper; to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and red pepper until soft. Add the corn and potato, cook for another 5 minutes. Add stock, bay leaf and quinoa; stir well. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add milk, dill and thyme. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves; add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with dill to serve.

Yields 4 servings

WW info:
core - included
flex - 3 points

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Asian Slaw Salad

I have finally broken free from the "been there, done that" salad topped with grilled chicken. I found the inspiration for this salad in Cooking Light (which originally used chicken...surprise!). My leftover pork from a few days ago seemed perfect since pork and Asian flavors are an undeniable match. The original recipe called for slivered almonds on top, but I didn't include those, but I guess you can. I also added some grated ginger to the dressing, because what's an Asian flavored salad without ginger? Seriously.

4 cups coleslaw mix OR 3 cups shredded green cabbage and 1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely sliced (or 1/2 cup scallions, chopped)
1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
6 ounces cooked lean pork loin, shredded

3 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar

Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Refrigerate one hour (or overnight) before serving.

Yields 2 large entree size salads.

WW info:
core - included
flex - 3 points

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Herbed Pork Loin with Apples and Garlic

How is it that I've never cooked a pork roast before? It was so easy and so much more juicy and flavorful than regular old pork chops. I couldn't decide on which recipe to use so I combined a number of recipes to create my own. The apple mash really adds a nice touch instead of the usual jarred applesauce.

7 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
10 large sage leaves
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
1 (3 pound) boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of all visible fat
coarse salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 large Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
1/2 cup apple jelly
1 Tbsp cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Place 3 garlic cloves, rosemary, sage, and parsley in a food processor and pulse until a paste forms. You have to scrape down the sides one or two times to enusre that everything is ground up evenly. Season pork with salt and pepper and rub herb paste over top and sides of the roast. Dice remaining 4 garlic cloves and spread on the bottom of the baking dish with the diced apple. Place roast on top of apple and garlic mixture. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the roast and cook for 20 minutes.

Place the apple jelly and cider vinegar in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until the jelly liquifies. After the first 20 minutes of cooking the roast, brush the apple jelly over the surface of the roast. Cook for another 10 minutes and brush with the jelly again. Continue this process ever 10 minutes until the thermometer reads an internal temperature of 150 degrees.

Remove from the oven and tent with foil; let stand for at least 10 minutes prior to slicing and serving. Place the roast on a serving tray, leaving the apple and garlic in the baking dish. Lightly mash the apples and garlic with a potato masher or fork; transfer to a small serving bowl to serve as a garnish for the pork.

Yields 8 servings.

WW info:
flex - 6 points
core - 1 point (for the apple jelly)

Roasted Potatoes with Yellow and Red Piperade

Piperade: A traditional Basque dish that is comprised of peppers, onions, and tomatoes in olive oil. (Thank you, Wiki!)

These potatoes involved a little more work and effort for roasted potatoes but the final dish is wonderful. All the flavors come together perfectly. I found the recipe in the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit where it was shown as a potential Thanksgiving side dish. I personally don't know if these flavors would work alongside traditional Turkey Day fare, but I will definitely make it again. I did alter the recipe slightly and I think it came out wonderful.

non-stick cooking spray
1 large red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, and sliced into 1/4 strips
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, and sliced into 1/4 strips
1 small red onion, sliced thin
2 Tbsp olive oil
coarse kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4 large potatoes), sliced into thick
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 shallots, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a bowl, toss the bell pepper strips and red onion strips with the olive oil. Add to baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat salt and pepper evenly. Roast for 10 minutes. Add potatoes over the peppers and onion and spray generously with non-stick cooking spray. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and toss with peppers and onion. Return dish to oven and continue to roast until the potatoes are golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Toss parsley and shallots into potatoes and roast an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped basil immediately prior to serving.

Yields 4 servings.

Original recipe

WW info:
core - included
flex - 3 points

Frittata with Mushrooms and Spinach

I just realized that this is my first "breakfast" post. I guess I'm not a fancy breakfast person. Give me some basic scrambled eggs or a bowl of cereal most days. Unless I'm hosting some weekend guests, in which case, I break out all the fancies (I even made fruit salad).

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8 ounces), sliced very thin
non-stick cooking spray
1 small onion, diced
6 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 cups chopped spinach leaves
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup fat-free egg substitute
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place potato slices in a steamer and steam for about 5-6 minutes. Spray a 10" pie plate with non stick cooking spray. Lay steamed potato slices in the bottom of the pie plate, overlapping them and covering the whole surface. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and cook onion and mushrooms until soft. Add spinach to pan and allow to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic powder, thyme and pepper; mix well. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix the egg substitute and eggs. Pour half the mixture over the potatoes. Add the spinach mixture and half the shredded cheddar cheese. Pour the remaining half of the egg mixture over that, and then the remaining cheddar cheese. (Optional step: Sprinkle the crumbled cheese over the top).

Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the egg is set. Broil for 2 minutes to crisp up the top surface.

Yields 6 servings.

WW info:
core - all included (without goat cheese); .5 points (with goat cheese)
flex - 3 points

And my husband's idea of breakfast (he's not the fancy frittata type)

Monday, January 14, 2008


Another cookie attempt failed...or did it? I'm really trying here. I love snickerdoodles. Love them almost as much as warm chocolate chip cookies. So I finally decided to try to make them. I found a recipe that seemed simple and painless. I made one substitution (Splenda for sugar) and I wound up with treats just like Dunkin Donuts munchkins, not cookies.

Damn it....all I want is to make a successful cookie. Not that these were bad, but where did I go wrong? Was it the sugar substitution? The only other thing that may have caused my non-spreading was that I chilled the cookie sheets and dough separately before rolling out the dough, rather than doing it after as the recipe said. I didn't do that on purpose. I just misread the directions. If anyone has an insight, please share.

This is the recipe I used from, making the single substitution of Splenda for sugar. I halved it and got 16 cookies, but I think they were too big. I could have easily gotten 20-24.

WW info:
2 points per cookie.

Chicken Salad

Aahhh...leftovers. I used the leftover chicken from our Balsamic Glazed Wings from last night, but you can use any leftover chicken. Soup chicken, roasted, barbequed.... the sweetness of the balsamic glaze lends a sweet flavor to my salad. A traditional roasted chicken would lend a more savory flavor. BBQed chicken will give you a more tangy salad. Soup chicken will give you a blander chicken, but more of a blank palatte to work with when flavoring your salad.

The measurements below are for one portion, but the amounts should be adjusted based on the texture and taste you desire. How you use them is up to you.

2 oz cooked chicken
1/8 cup red onion, chopped
1/8 cup celery, finely chopped
splash of cider vinegar
2 tsp mayonnaise (i use light)
1/8 cup dried cranberries

WW info: 3 points per serving (can be all free for core if you use FF mayo)

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Wings

Finger lickin' good.

I found the inspiration for the recipe in Meghan's blog, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. I modified it slightly but it was perfect because I too am addicted to balsamic vinegar. Instead of using on the grill (its about 20 degrees outside!), I baked the wings.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 1/2 pounds chicken wingettes and drumettes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a soft boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until thick and coat the back of a spoon.

Lay wings on a cooling rack positioned over a baking sheet (mimicking a grill inside the oven). Season wings with Italian seasoning. Place wings in oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and glaze both sides of the wings and return to the oven. Glaze wings about every 10 minutes until they are cooked through (mine took about 45 minutes and I bumped the oven up to 375 for the last 10 minutes).

Yields 4 servings of wings.

WW info:
flex: 4 points
core: included

Sunday, January 13, 2008

East Hampton Clam Chowder

Ina Garten, I have no words. The Barefoot Contessa is one of those chefs that I watch on the Food Network that I watch knowing I'll never make any of her recipes. There was one episode where she used 9 sticks of butter in one meal! My arteries clogged up just watching. Last weekend, my husband and I were happily spending the whole weekend on the couch, vegging out in front of the TV. When Ina made this soup, my husband said, "Thats it? I thought chowder would be so complicated." I offered to try it this weekend (with slight modifications to accommodate my dietary preferences).

One word: wow! I cut down slightly on the amount of butter and flour and I used 2% milk instead of whole milk (which actually surprised me that she used. No cream for the Contessa?). I also used Yukon Gold potatoes instead of boiling potatoes. I thought this was a mistake at first because a lot of them broke down, but then realized that it was actually a blessing in disguise. The broken down potatoes help thicken the chowder, making up for the lighter milk and decreased amounts of butter and flour. I also used clam strips, rather than Ina's suggested whole-belly clams. The girl at the fish market recommended strips over the whole bellies. She said the whole clams would discolor the chowder and make it brown. The strips were a perfect choice. They also chopped them up for me. One less thing for me to do! I heart my fish market.

Original recipe

10 tablespoons light butter, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 1/2 cups medium-diced celery (4-5 medium stalks)
1 1/2 cups medium-diced carrots (2 large carrots)
4 cups peeled medium-diced Yukon Gold potatoes (4 large potatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups clam juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat 2% milk
3 cups fresh, chopped clam strips (approx. 1 1/2 pounds)

Melt 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of the butter in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 more minutes. Add the clam juice, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

In a small pot, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and whisk in the flour. Cook over very low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in a cup of the hot broth from the pot and then pour this mixture back into the cooked vegetables. Simmer for a few minutes until the broth is thickened.

Add the milk and clams and heat gently for a few minutes to cook the clams. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Yields 10-12 servings (1 serving = 1 heaping 1/2 cup)

WW info: 4 points per serving.

Fudgy Brownies!

I found this recipe on accidentally. I wasn't even looking for snacks but it magically appeared on the screen. I figured I'd give them a try. For low-fat, I think they came out pretty damn good! I'll definitely make them again. Who can argue with a 2 point regular-size brownie? Since Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker are a no-no on Weight Watchers, a girl got to find some way to get a brownie into her diet, right? Because a life lived without brownie is no life at all.

2 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup Splenda
1 egg
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with cocoa, shaking out excess.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt margarine. Stir in cocoa, sugar, egg, applesauce and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gently stir in flour, baking soda and salt until well combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 25 minutes or until set.

Cool completely and cut in 9 squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Yields 9 servings.

WW info: 2 points per brownie

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sicilian Pasta

Last spring, my husband and I took a cruise around the Mediterranean. Our stop on the isle of Sicily left us in the town of Taormina. A gorgeous coastal town, high up on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea. Well, I'm sure its gorgeous when it's not raining, which it was when we were there. As it was our first day in Italy, we were determined to find a delicious authentic Italian lunch. We decided to get lost in the back alleys of the town and avoid the restaurants right on the main drag. When it started to pour, we decided to duck into a little restaurant whose name escapes me right now.

Prior to our trip, I had read that eggplant is a major staple in the Sicilian diet. After reviewing the menu, I settled on the Pasta alla Siciliana—pasta tossed with eggplant, garlic, tomatoes, and a little cheese. It also had lots of garlic, crushed red pepper, and fresh basil. It was one of the best meals I ever had.

Having made eggplant for one last night (according to my husband, he is "over" eggplant), I had plenty left over so I decided to recreate this memory.

1 large eggplant
coarse salt
8 oz whole-wheat penne or rigatoni
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
non-stick cooking spray (olive oil flavor if available)
4 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped and loosely packed

Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/2" thick rounds. Salt both sides generously and allow to sit for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, blot the moisture from the eggplant and cut the eggplant into cubes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to desired tenderness. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.

In a large skillet, heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper and cook for one minute. Add the eggplant and spray generously with non-stick cooking spray. Saute until the eggplant is soft, cooked through and brown on the outside. Add the remaining the olive oil and the garlic. Toss and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the marinara sauce and drained pasta. Add reserved pasta water if necessary to help the sauce coat the pasta. Stir in cheese until melted. Toss in fresh basil right before serving.

Yields 4 servings.

WW info:
core - included
flex - 5 points

Fried Mozzarella Caprese

This is my husband's favorite. I've been feeling bad that I haven't cooked any of his favorites since I've been so focused on healthy cooking. I haven't fried a thing in about 8 months. Tonight I gave in because he's been having a bad week. And since I've been so good, I indulged myself in one piece of cheese. Damn, that was good.

1 egg, beaten (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
8 oz whole milk, low moisture mozzarella ball
extra light olive oil
1 cup marinara sauce
fresh basil to garnish

Add egg to a wide, flat bowl and mix the breadcrumbs and flour in a second wide bowl. Slice the mozzarella ball into 8 equal slices, about 1/4" thick. Dip each slice into the egg and then dredge through the breadcrumbs and coat evenly.

Pour olive oil (1/4" deep) into a skillet. Heat over medium heat. Add slices to oil and cook for 30-60 seconds per side, until golden brown.

Serve with marinara sauce and fresh basil.

Yields 4 servings (2 slices and 1/4 cup sauce per serving).

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Eggplant Towers with Herbed Ricotta

This dish is like a mini version of my Eggplant Lasagna and can be modified all the way down to one serving (which is actually how I made it for dinner tonight and just refigured the amounts for the recipe below). Serve either 2 towers as an entree or one tower with a side of pasta.

1 large eggplant (at least about 4" in diameter and 9" long)*
coarse salt
non-stick olive oil cooking spray
1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 cup fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups marinara sauce, divided
*The size of the eggplant will determine the number of servings

Peel eggplant and slice into rounds 1/4" thick, making . Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant rounds with salt and lay flat for about 30 minutes, allowing the moisture to rise to the surface of the eggplant.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blot moisture from both sides of the eggplant with a paper towel. Spray a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray and light spray both sides of the eggplant rounds. Bake for 15 minutes, flip eggplant, and bake another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix ricotta cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder in a small bowl.

Remove baking sheet from oven. Place about 1 tablespoon of the ricotta mixture in the center of one eggplant round. Stack a second round on top of that. Spread another tablespoon of ricotta on top of that, finishing with a third eggplant round on top. Repeat process until there are 8 towers total.

Spread about 1 tablespoon on marinara sauce over the top of each tower. Return baking sheet to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle about 1/8 cup of shredded mozzarella over the top of each tower and bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To serve, divided remaining marinara sauce between 4 plates and plate 2 towers per plate on top of sauce. Garnish with a sprinkle of dried or fresh minced basil.

Yields 4 servings (2 towers per serving).

WW info:
flex - 4 points per serving (2 points per tower)
core - included

Monday, January 7, 2008

Beef Goulash

Nothing better than a hot beef stew on a cold winter's day. Too bad that winter took a break today and the thermometer reached 50 degrees. Oh well. Its still delicious. There's nothing more warm and homey than coming home to a warm bowl of stew.

So, as for the goulash aspect of it. If there are any true Hungarians out there, then the first thing you will tell me is that the recipe below is not real goulash. It contains two ingredients considered most forbidden among goulash ingredients: flour and tomatoes. Of course, I did not discover this until AFTER it was simmering away. The good news is that somewhere I read that if you must add tomatoes, then you needn't be able to taste them. Thankfully, all they did was body to my goulash, not flavor. I also unintentionally omitted red peppers. But in my defense, I actually am part Hungarian and my mom never mentioned anything about red peppers when making goulash. I'm not blaming though.

My goulash (or stew, for the party poopers) came out great. My husband didn't care for it, mainly because of the caraway seed flavor. I'd be willing to leave it out next time, just to see if he'll eat more. Because now I'm stuck with 6 more servings of goulash to eat myself since he doesn't want anymore.

2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds trimmed beef sirloin, cut into 1" chunks
1 Tbsp shmlatz (chicken fat)
2 1/2 cups onions, chopped (about 3 onions)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 tsp caraway seed, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1 (14 oz) can reduced sodium, fat-free beef broth
1/2 cup water
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pound egg noodles
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Mix flour, pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon paprika in a bowl. Dredge meat in flour mixture.

Melt chicken fat in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add meat and brown, about 8 minutes. Remove meat and add onions and garlic. Cook onion and garlic until soft and brown, about 10 minutes. Add remaining paprika and vinegar; cook for 2 minutes and return beef to pot. Add bay leaves, tomatoes, caraway seed, and salt; cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add broth and water; bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to low, and simmer for about an hour and a half.

After an hour and a half, add carrots and potatoes. Cook for another hour and fifteen minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Serve over cooked egg noodles tossed with butter. Garnish with a light sprinkle of paprika to serve.

Yields 8 servings (2/3 cup of goulash over 3 oz cooked egg noodles)

WW info:
core - 3 points (for egg noodles, shmaltz, and butter)
flex - 8 points

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach and Red Peppers

Kinda looks like a stuffed shell here...

No shells here.... all chicken.

I'm back, baby! It's been 2 weeks since I last set foot in the kitchen. With the New Year in tow now, I'm planning on switching back to the Core plan this week so I'm on the prowl for new recipes. Not only is this Core, but my husband gave it two thumbs up. It was really easy to make too, so I highly recommend it as an easy weeknight dinner. Serve with pasta (whole-wheat for those following Core).

4 (6 ounce) chicken breasts
3/4 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1 cup fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach
1/4 red pepper, diced
3/4 cup marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound each with a meat mallet until 1/4" thin.

In a bowl, mix ricotta, 1/2 the mozzarella, and seasonings. Lay chicken breasts flat and spoon 1/4 of the mixture onto each breast. Spread evenly to cover the entire surface of each breast. Add 1/4 of the spinach and 1/4 of the diced pepper to each breast. Roll each breast in a jellyroll fashion, starting with the narrowest end.

Spread 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce in an 8"x8" baking dish. Place each roll, seam side down, in the baking dish. Pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken breast. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, uncover and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over chicken breasts. Bake until melted, about 5-7 minutes.

Yields 4 servings.

WW info:
core - included
flex - 5 points each