My most recent experience with thinking I can do things that I can't do started Sunday afternoon while making my grocery list. I had just gotten back to town and was preparing to make my weekly store trip. Flipping through my trusty manila folder of recipes to try, I grabbed the one for Koosa and went on my merry way.
I spent some time yesterday researching the dish and finding ways to make it a bit healthier. Got home from work, invited friends over for dinner (because that's always a good idea when you're cooking things you've never tried) and started hollowing out squash. Fast forward a bit and it's time to take the dish out of the oven. Brandon tried to claim it was "really good!!" but I knew this was a sham when I could hear him crunching the rice. Brandon, rice isn't supposed to crunch. My venture into Lebanese cooking was short lived.
The evening was saved by a tub of french onion dip, ruffles potato chips, an assortment of cheeses (fancy ones), and a bottle of wine. No one starved and the company was enjoyable. At least I put the french onion dip in a McCarty dish. I'm not complete trash.
The last time I purchased a pork chop, I was in college and I decided to try my hand at frying them. I was working at an adolescent drug and alcohol treatment center; the cook there could really fry a mean pork chop. I almost started a grease fire and from that point on, Emily (my roommate at the time) forbade me from frying. Probably a good move. For several reasons.
So here I find myself, many years later, trying my hand at the ever elusive pork chop. This one was pretty good, very easy to put together. If you are a fan of the pork chop, give it a whirl!
Mexican Pork Chops
3 pork chops, trimmed of fat
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup instant brown rice
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green red bell pepper, chopped
1 can Healthy Request tomato soup
Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray. Pour rice (uncooked) into the bottom of the pan. Atop the rice, place onion and half of each of the peppers.
Season pork to taste with salt and pepper. Place on rice bed. Top with rest of the peppers. Mix can of soup with about 3/4 can of water, pour over the chops. Cover tightly with foil and bake for an hour and a half.
Serving size 1/3 of recipe
WW points 7
Points Plus 9
Now for the shameless self promotion....several people (ok, like two) have asked if I sell any of the clothes I make for Alex & Leo. Well, kind of. I mean, I will if you ask me. I've posted pictures on the right side of the blog, all the way towards the bottom, of things that I have made in the past. If there is something you are interested - email me! Let's chat about it.
What I do know is that Tuesday night's dinner was quite the hit. A winner, winner (not a) chicken dinner you could say. Lots of things in (parenthesis) today.
I love fried rice. I love it any form. Well. Except the time that i tried to make it in college and did not chop the ginger up small enough, therefore making the whole dish taste like soap. Luckily my kitchen gear has grown to include a micro plane, so I'm good.
Vegetable Fried Rice
adapted from Tasty Kitchen
2 cups instant brown rice, cooked as directed
1/3 cup vegetable broth
3 tbl low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp grated, fresh ginger
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp canola oil (divided)
1 cup egg beaters (lightly beaten)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups mixed frozen veggies, thawed
Combine broth, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and salt into a bowl; combine with a whisk. Set aside. Heat 1/2 tsp canola oil in a large skillet coated with spray . Add beaten eggs, scramble. Set eggs aside.
Heat remaining 1/2 tsp of canola oil in the pan. Add rice, cook for about 3 minutes or until heated through. Add vegetables, broth mixture, garlic, and green onions; cook until thoroughly heated. Add scrambled eggs and heat through.
Serving size 1 cup
WW points 5
Points Plus 7
This is a continuation of my effort to have fresh, filling, tasty things for lunch. This meal was inspired by the WW message boards and I was quite impressed. Speaking of "message boards" the concept is still kind of foreign to me. I don't really understand how it all works. But what I do understand is that you can type in just about anything and it's pretty much guaranteed that someone is talking about. For example - members of the WW message board system have discussed "blue cheese" 1081 times. It's a lovely thing. Anywho.
Here's my lunch from yesterday. It was easy to put together - I chopped up all the veggies and put them in separate ziplocks bags on Sunday afternoon. Monday morning, I was able to pack everything (separately) into my lunchbox (which one of my co-workers once referred to as "sexy", by the way) and be on my merry way.
Chopped Veggie and Turkey Wrap
a small handful of each: onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and mushrooms
1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese (light Swiss flavor)
3 slices smoked turkey, thin
1 whole wheat, high fiber wrap
Spread the cheese on the wrap, top with turkey and vegetables. Give it a few dashes with the balsamic vinegar.
Serving size 1 wrap
WW points 4
Points plus 6
I think everyone likes a good casserole. Judging from this picture, my two guests last night (Brandon and his cousin Sam) seemed to enjoy it. Looks like a pack of screech owls got aholt of this stuff.
If you share my love of casseroles, try this one out. If you share my love for casseroles and live in the Delta area, you can come to the casserole party that some friends and I have been talking about having. Just a few rules....must be cool outside and no reduced fat ingredients allowed. Go big or go home.
Mexican Chicken Casserole
adapted from Cooking Light
1 cup fat free chicken broth
2 (4.5 oz) cans of chopped green chiles
1 3/4 lb skinless boneless chicken breast
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup + 1/2 cup Weight Watchers shredded cheese, Mexican flavor
2 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, combine 1 can of chiles and broth. Bring to a boil, add chicken, reduce heat and simmer. Cook, turning once, until chicken is done. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and shred. Reserve the cooking liquid.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet (the same one is fine). Saute onions and the other can of green chiles until soft. Add reserved cooking liquid, milk, 1 cup of cheese, and enchilada sauce. Stir well. Add shredded chicken; cook for about two minutes. Remove from heat.
Coat a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Place two corn tortillas in the bottom of the pan, spoon two cups of chicken mixture atop the tortillas. Repeat layers twice, ending with the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Points Plus 10
While at the class reunion, she and Leah bunked with me at my mom's house. Peggs always goes shopping for us and picks up delightfully healthy treats like pita chips, salsa, and laughing cow cheese. This is a step up from her usual kitchen items which only includes cream of wheat a a few grapes. Mamma takes care of us.
After arriving home from our evening out on the town, we wondered what in the world we would have for a snack. Thank goodness, Lindsey's ability to improvise shown through. She pawed through the lazy susan and uncovered this dusty can of bean dip...traveled to the fridge to see what she could find in there. Ahhhhhhhh. Laughing Cow cheese. Best idea ever. Take bean dip, top it with a wedge of LCC, zap it in the microwave, and dig in. Great any time, day or night. In fact, yesterday for lunch I slathered it on a whole wheat tortilla for a 4 point lunch. Woo!
Lindsey's Late Night Bean Dip
4.5 oz bean dip (about 1/2 a can)
1 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese
Combine bean dip and wedge of cheese, microwave for about 20 seconds. Stir well. Serve with whatever.
Serving size entire recipe
WW points 3
Points Plus 4
So with all of the talking of wrapping yesterday, I decided to bring it on into supper and have myself a wrap. This particular wrap is borrowed from the always enjoyable food blog Literally, a Spoonful and has been slightly tweeked for the WW. It's quick and easy and great for summer. You like how there are even more and more cell phone pictures of food? I'm really getting lazy.
adapted from Literally, a Spoonful
1 whole wheat, high fiber tortilla
1 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 handful spianch leaves
6 slices shaved smoked turkey breast
1 slice reduced fat pepper jack cheese (I used Kraft 2% milk)
5 turkey pepperonis
Spread cream cheese onto tortilla. Layer the rest of the ingredients - spiniach, turkey, cheese, turkey pepperonis. Roll into a wrap.
Serving size 1 wrap
WW points 5
Points Plus 8
My 10 year class reunion is this weekend. If you would have asked me seven years ago if I was going, I probably would have snarled in my dirty hippy clothes and said no. My, how things have changed. And yet, how they haven't. I've had too much fun this week replying back and forth via email to my group of girl friends, cackling out loud when I read each response. Feeling comforted by the fact that none of us have really matured at all and probably have no business posing as adults.
Not to make anyone jealous, but i've made four different mix cds to celebrate the weekend. Named by my always creative friend Kate (2nd from the right), "Bristol and Levi....Wasn't Meant To Be." This shows that even though we might be celebrating our 10 year reunion, we are still hip to what's up. Just a few of the artist featured on the mix: DMX, Pam Tillis, Tupac, Eve 6, Aerosmith, Abra Moore, Sublime, Wyclef, Weezer, Soul Decision, and Toad and the Wet Sprockett.
My excitement is absolutely out of control.
My own personal melt down was not in Wal - Mart but was in my kitchen while trying to cook supper. I got fancy feeling and decided to make some Cajun Chicken Alfredo. Hey now. It was good but required a lot of pans. There were a million things going on in my kitchen and I'm pretty sure the temperature was registering about 110. See, just a little dramatic. Imagine what it would have been like if I had some kids running around? Sweet Lord, I'm not going to make it...
So that's my stressful making of the Cajun Chicken Alfredo story. I'm sure you people out there with families think that I'm a lunatic. It was good, and if cooking chicken and having three pots going at the same time is your thing, you should try it. Kind of high in points but creamy and pasta-y and worth it.
Cajun Chicken Alfredo
adapted from Tasty Kitchen
16 oz chicken breast
2 tbl blackening seasoning
1 pkg creamy garlic Alfredo sauce
3 pieces Laughing Cow cheese
1 cup low fat milk
2 tbl Parmesan cheese
whole wheat, high fiber pasta
Season chicken breast with blackening seasoning, cook in pan coated with cooking spray. Cut up into bite size pieces, set aside.
Combine the package of Alfredo sauce, milk, and Laughing Cow cheese in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stir for about a minute, and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, boil and drain desired amount of pasta. I used Rozini Smart Taste Penne - it was three points for two oz.
Layer pasta, 1/4 cup of sauce, and 1/4 of chicken in a large bowl. Top with 1/2 tbl of Parmesan cheese.
Serving size 2 oz pasta (3 pts); 1/4 cup sauce, 1/4 of chicken, 1/2 tbl of Parmesan cheese (6 pts)
WW points 9
Next time - I might go it without the chicken. It would bring the sauce/cheese pointage down to 2. It's still hard for me to go head to head with a chicken.
This one jumped out at me while cruising the tasty kitchen site. It reminded me of a soup from the A La Carte Cookbook. If you do not own that cookbook and you are a lover of the soups - you should go get it. Few of them are WW friendly but that doesn't mean they don't rock.
Vegetable Tortellini Soup
adapted from Tasty Kitchen
1 rib of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz can tomato sauce
4 cups fat free broth (vegetable or chicken)
2 handfuls baby spinach
10 cherry OR grape tomatoes, halved
9 oz tortellini (I used Butoni's spinach and cheese)
Spray a large pot with cooking spray. Once pot is hot add celery, onion, and carrot and saute until soft. Next, add garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Saute for about 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and broth, allow to simmer.
Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a boil. Add tortellini, cook according to directions. Drain and set aside.
After pasta is ready, stir spinach and tomatoes into soup.
Serving size 1 1/2 cups of soup (1pt) and 1/2 cup of pasta (3 pts)
WW points 4
Are you confused? I was a bit confused. Most tortellini soup recipes ask you to put the pasta in with the soup. Heck, sometimes they even ask you to cook the pasta IN the soup. I kept it all separate for the following reasons.
A. It was easier to measure out points if you keep them separate.
B. If you plan to have leftovers and keep the pasta in the soup, those pesky pastas will absorb all of your broth.
If you are wondering what to do with your left over grape / cherry tomatoes - you should dunk them in hummus. That's what I did.
Until next time...
Like many mornings for the past five weeks, I woke up bright and early this morning to go on my run/walk. I was preparing for a doozie - knowing that I was going to have to run for eight minutes straight. One of the things that I love about living in Greenwood is Grand Blvd. It's a beautiful street, lined with old trees and stately homes. It also has sidewalks, which really comes in handy when you exercise at 6 am. You never know when a farmer who had too much scotch the night before might accidentally run you over on the way to the farm.
Anyway. So my exercise route is mapped out on Grand Blvd. This has all been fine and good up until the last week. You see, a little movie called The Help has thrown up in Greenwood. Wait. That was mean. I like The Help being here. Really, I do. It's added some life to our little town and given us something to talk about. Not to mention that my bartender boyfriend has really banked on some tips. And I've met some pretty cool people. So really, The Help, I'm not mad at you.
So I'm making my way down Grand Blvd, it's about 6:15 am. I've already completed my first 8 minutes of running and I'm taking my five minute walking break. I see the "road closed" signs ahead, just as they've been there for the past week. However, at this time of the morning it's never been a problem to run through. They're not filming, testing lighting, or doing whatever it is that they do when shooting a movie. The most action I see is someone cranking up an old car. I see a police officer ahead but he's chatting with a local so I figure I'm in the cool. I also see several other locals doing their own morning exercise thing straight up ahead.
Here's the deal. Yes, I get a little starstruck. Who doesn't? But in reality, I'm so awkward that if I actually encountered, say, Sissy Spacek, I would be so freaked out by her that I wouldn't say anything to her. Was I trying to get up in the filming of The Help? No. Was a being a little nosey? Just maybe.
So right when I pass previously mentioned police officer it's time for me to start my run again. With great confidence - I start to run. I think Justin Timberlake was blaring on the iPod. THANK GOD I, for some reason, look over my shoulder. I am being chased by the police officer like I'd just robbed the freaking County Marketplace. He starts waving his arms and screaming "NOOOOO!! YOU CAN'T GO DOWN THERE!!!" I do a sharp pivot, duck onto a side street, and contemplate crawling up a tree and hiding out for the rest of the day. So embarrassing. This officer was yelling. Not to mention that I was running in the brightest yellow tank you've ever seen. What if he would have tackled me? I. Would. Have. Died.
Thank goodness I escaped my run without trespassing charges or a broken arm. Still a little embarrassed but I think I'll make it.
So my hair appointment is today. What should I do? I always love Reese Witherspoon's hair. I feel like she also has fine hair and therefore feels my pain. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that she is armed with a stylist and a truckload of product. What's a girl to do?
Lord knows I'm in need of some spicing up today - in the mood for some adventure. Maybe it's because it was such a wild weekend that I'm not sure what to do with myself now that things have calmed down. Hopefully the feeling will pass, however, as I have a hair appointment tomorrow. When the need to spice things up and a hair appointment fall on the same day I end up with bangs. When you have the same hair as the lead singer of Silverchair, this is not a good thing.
Enough rambling, here's what I had for lunch. For a girl looking to spice things up, it wasn't to exciting. It was, however, tasty and filling and seemed to pack a nutritional punch. If you don't like hummus, I would just stop here.
Pita Hummus Sandwich
1 small wheat pita
2 tbl hummus (I used roasted red pepper)
1 handful of spinach leaves
1/4 tomato, cut into large hunks
salt and pepper
Spread the hummus on the pita bread. Place spinach and tomatoes inside of the pita. Season with salt and pepper.
Serving size 1 sandwich
WW points 2
Yes. The Baby Girl A. Although her actually birthday isn't until the 11th of this month, the family came together today the celebrate the little sassy pants.
Here's a picture of me and Chickey, the two proudest aunts ever.
Alex got a bright pink cozy coup from Jen and BJ.
Eat birthday cake while looking like a unicorn. Is there any other way?
How cute is this family? It's quite challenging to get a family picture with a 1 year old who is coming down from her first sugar rush ever.
So here's a new BBQ recipe that was not only boyfriend approved but also boyfriend's 17 year old cousin approved. That's big.
A word of warning - if you decide to take this BBQ adventure, make sure that you've got a good carving knife. I got an excellent workout yesterday trying to slice this pork up. This is intense, considering my feelings towards raw meat. I need new knives.
BBQ Pork Sandwiches
adapted from WW Online
1 pound lean pork tenderloin, sliced 1/4 inch thick
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 tbl white wine vinegar
4 light wheat hamburger buns (I use Bunny brand)
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray; set over medium high heat. Add pork slices in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Be sure not to crowd the pork in the pan. Cook in batches if need be. Cook about 2 minutes per side. Set aside.
Add onion and garlic to the pan, saute until tender (about 5 minutes). Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir and allow to simmer for about a minute. Return pork to skillet and cover with sauce. Cover skillet and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Serving size 1/4 of pork and 1 bun
WW points 5
Points Plus 6
I brought this for lunch today - it was not my favorite as leftovers. Just being honest. Instead I snacked on some chicken salad from the hospital which, in truth, was a little pickley for my taste.
Mississippi Elder Law Conference in Oxford tomorrow - I'm sure it will make for a thrilling blog post.
I'm quite easily distracted. And now - the Chicken Cesar Pita....
Chicken Cesar Pita
adapted from WW Online
1/4 cup low fat plain yogurt
2 tbl reduced calorie mayonnaise
2 tbl grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 oz raw anchovies, paste (*I have no idea what this means, so I used about a 1/2 inch squirt of anchovy paste - which I know is very strange but it seems to have worked)
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups chicken breast, chopped
4 wheat pitas (small)
Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, cheese, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, anchovy paste, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add chicken and toss.
Divide mixture into four equal parts - fill pita with chicken.
Serving size 1 pita
WW points 5
Points Plus 5
Chili Beef Tacos
adapted from Weight Watchers Online
2 1/2 tbl chili powder (or more if you like it hot)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb uncooked lean ground beef (7% fat)
16 oz canned tomato sauce
16 oz canned kidney beans
Toast chili powder and cumin in a medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add oil to skillet and heat; add onion and cook until tender (about 3 minutes).
Add beef and cook until done. Add tomato sauce and beans; cook 5 minutes more or until heated through.
Serving size 1/2 cup
WW points 3
Points Plus 8
This is how I made this happen. I lucked up and found some high fiber, low carb wheat tortillas for one point. I used two tortillas and filled each of them with 1/4 cup of meat. I then used some reduced fat sour cream and some WW cheese to round the meal off. If making this meal and counting points - be sure to count everything you add to the taco.
If the thought of standing of the stove and making tacos is more than you can handle...bookmark this one. It's a keeper.
But lets not talk about that. Let's talk about the sweet things in life. Like the fact that football season is right around the corner (hello, fantasy football league and dip parties!). And the fact that when fall finally comes it will be oh so nice. Let's focus on the cutest video ever made and the fact that Baby Girl A's first birthday party is this weekend. Let's focus on the fact that surviving this heat is probably making us all better people. Making us tougher.
To help you to focus on all the sweet things in life - here's a recipe for Cool Whip Sandwiches. I myself HATE cool whip. With a passion. I'm not really even a big fan of meringue. There are some situations however (Death By Chocolate) in which I will openly embrace the cool whip. Here is one of them. Kind of tastes like ice cream...
Cool Whip Sandwiches
1 whole sheet of reduced fat graham crackers
1 tbl fat free cool whip
Break the graham cracker in half. Place cool whip atop on graham cracker square, smush the other half on top. Place in freezer.
Serving size 1 sandwich
WW points 1
Points Plus 2
It's almost like these two things were meant to go with one another. One box of graham crackers uses just about 1 tub of cool whip. Or maybe it did for me because I'm not the best at breaking graham crackers in half.
Stay cool, my friends.