Haddock Piccata Poached in Parmesan Broth

I had been struggling for ways to make fish more interesting. Calories vs Flavor. I went to dinner out, opted for a haddock piccata over linguini. I Told them omit the pasta, and I had a side of veg. A hearty sized bowl of Haddock poached in a lemon Parmesan broth swimming with capers and quartered mushrooms arrived at my table. It was better than terrific, it was perfect.  By taste alone I adapted in to my Weight Watcher regimen. It came out perfect!  The trick is, taste along the way. If the broth isn’t lemony enough. add more lemon, if too lemony add more broth.

Image result for fish in clear broth capersThe ingredients per serving

  • 4-6 ounces of Haddock, Cod or your favorite white fish
  • 1 tablespoon of capers, liquid can be included
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice fresh or bottled
  • 1 1/2 cups of Chicken, or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup of mushrooms quartered or sliced
  • 1/2 cup of cooked pasta, 1 cup gently cooked  zoodles, or spaghetti squash
  • options to add, to simmering broth, are garlic, onions, 1/4 cup of shredded carrots, 1/4 cup of broccoli slaw.

In a  1 quart pan, simmer, do not boil broth, add lemon juice and mushrooms until cooked, add capers, lemon juice.

Taste the broth if it is too lemony add more broth or add more lemon for a more lemon.

Add Fish to the simmering broth and cover for 3 minutes.  After 3 minutes If fish is firm and flaky it is ready to serve.  If not done, cover a minute at a time for your preferred texture. Gently lift haddock out of the pot into a bowl over pasta or cooked veggies, Stir Parmesan into broth until dissolved, pour your broth over fish and enjoy.  7 weight watcher points if served without pasta.

Grilled Balsamic Sundried Tomato Pesto Chicken

This entire dish is less than 350 calories. Waist line friendly, taste bud joy!

Flecks of basil and sundried tomato cling to the chicken after grilling. The Balsamic vinegar sweetens as it grills. We served it with 3/4-1 cup of Steamfresh Brown & Wild Rice. Undressed heirloom tomatoes on the side, balanced out the meal.

Ingredients for dinner for Four

  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, Purdue breast slices are best
  • Prepared pesto or  make fresh pesto
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, preferably not packed in oil which increase calories
  • 4 tablespoons sundried tomato

To prepare chicken other than thin slices, butterfly open to flatten, or pound to 1/8 thickness between 2 pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. The back of a large metal spoon works great. If you substitute other bone in chicken, take into account the longer cooking time.Remember chicken should never be served until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees as recommended by the USDA.

The day before or at least one hour before grilling, use one tablespoon of pesto per breast. Due to salmonella concerns do not handle raw chicken unless you wash your hands prior to handling other ingredients. I use a rubber spatula to spread pesto on both sides.If using prepared pesto, mince sundried tomatoes fine, add to pesto and mix. Sundried preserved in oil adds 100s of calories to your dish. Dry-packed sundried tomatoes are  generally stocked in the produce department. Cover and chill one hour or overnight.

While grill is heating, drizzle 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar per breast. All balsamics are not  equal, an aged Balsamic has a sweeter taste. Investing in a good premium bottle is well worth it. You may find a premium balsamic can replace dressings on salads.

Grill and serve. Grilling times vary per BBQs.

The leftover chicken is great served in sandwiches and salads.

 

Grilled Watermelon with Feta & Balsamic Drizzle

This seems like it would be unappetizing, But it is incredible delicious and light. For lower calories, skip the olive oil and go for fat free feta.

Watermelon  cut 1″ thick

  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil or Pam spray
  • A pinch of Salt optional
  •  fresh  greens
  • Feta or goat cheese crumbled,Fatfree Feta for low calorie option
  • Pepper to taste

Pam Spray or lightly oil watermelon before Grilling. Grill on hot grill pan or BBQ for 1-2 minutes until grill marks appear. Place on bed of greens, sprinkle with  cheese, and drizzle your favorite aged balsamic, salt and pepper to taste.

 

Glitter’s Miracle Rice with Brussels Sprouts, Brown Rice and other Goodies

From my friend Anna O’Brien the super weight-loss blogger http://www.glitterandlazers.com


Via Glitterandlazers.com

Glitter’s Miracle Rice

  • 1 C Whole Grain Brown Rice
  • 1 C Lima Beans
  • 1.5 C Chopped Mushroom
  • One Half of a Large Spanish Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Brummel and Brown
  • .5 Tsp Cumin
  • A Pinch of Garlic Powder
  • One Cube Chicken Stock
  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts

Chop mushroom and onion into medium size pieces (there is likely a fancy cooking term for this. Sadly,  I am unbearably unfancy)

Cook whole Grain according to the directions on the package With Broth, substitute chicken Bouillon for Veggie for a Vegetarian option. Add Lima beans, mushroom, onion, Brummel & Brown and seasonings into the rice once it reaches it’s initial simmer.

Halve Brussels sprouts and then cut them into thick slivers. Using a hot skillet and the wonders of Pam, saute the sprouts until they are light brown, set aside.

When the rice mixture is completed cooking, fold in the Brussels sprouts. The resulting yield is 4 servings at 297 calories a pop. Put on your crown and enjoy this rice like the Carb Queen you are.

Summer Harvest Time For Winter Squash

It’s that time of year again, Winter squashes are making their way to Farmer’s Markets, Farm Stands and supermarkets. Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, and Delicata. Great baked, boiled or Microwaved. When the weather gets chilly theirs nothing like a Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Summer Harvest Time For Winter Squash

Farmers Market Cornucopia

  • Best way to peel a smooth winter Squash.  prick with a fork on all sides, microwave for 2-3 minutes, remove, easier to peel easier to cut. From here you can
  • cut in half diagonally, and roast whole for 45-50 minutes @350 degrees , skin side down, or up, make sure you  use non stick spray either way
  • cube and roast @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes,  serve mashed or as savory soup see recipe
  • cut in large chunks, boil for 25 minutes, or until fork tender, drain, and mash, use your favorite herbs, and a hint of brown sugar optional if low calorie is not mandatory

Ribbed Small squashes like acorn and delicata, pierce  with fork,  microwave 2 minutes, cut in half and seed

  • microwave 12 minutes on high for 2 halves, face down, remove from microwave, serve 1/2 per person,  for  a  nice presentation,  fork fluff, add a topper of caramelized onions and apples, a  center filled with rice,  the  ideas are endless
  • Roast in oven the same way as above for 45 minutes at 375 to prepare for whole, cut off the stem and 1″ of squash to use as a lid, scoop out seeds. If you are baking a small whole squash per person, cut a little flat spot on the bottom, Serve as a whole baked,  maybe with a surprise under the top, such as rice,  cooked apples, caramelized onions
  • cut in 1″ wedges and oven roast like oven fries. Use cooking spray on top and bottom to brown to save calories or drizzle olive oil  to crisp, 25  minutes at 375.

Large Squashes, like pumpkin and spaghetti

  • A jumbo winter, like Hubbard or pumpkin,  prepare as other squashes above, roasting whole will be an hour or more, due to size. Cutting in half and seeding speeds cooking time. Squash is done when fork is able to penetrate easily
  • Spaghetti squash is an adventure, to microwave whole, pierce deeply all over microwave on high for 20 minutes, steam should be apparent, pierce  to see if tender,  cook another 4 minutes if necessary, let sit  for 10 minutes before cutting. Cut in half, remove seeds,  pull strands into a serving bowl, for a low cal pasta meal, serve  as a pasta replacement or a 50/50 swap. 1/2 seeded squash can be treated the same way,  for oven roasting cook 1 hour at 350. To with Parmesan for a quick side dish

pleas submit your favorite recipe, for Steffie to add!

Spaghetti Squash Guilt Free Pasta Alternative

I just heard a big thunk, I guess I didn’t poke a big enough knife holes in the Spaghetti squash. The microwave will need another cleaning tonight. Puncture a spaghetti squash deeply with a fork or knife. Microwave a very large squash for 20 minutes. Steam should be coming out of the holes at the end of this time. If not, microwave for another 4 to 5 minutes. Let squash sit in the microwave for 10 minutes after cooking. I did an extra small for 8 minutes. Pull threads into a bowl, and dispose of seeds, toss with your favorite sauce or butter 42 calories per cup. You can purchase at farmer’s markets for a pretty low price. Yummy Yummy. For  more quick ideas follow us on facebook!

Fresh Corn on the Cob vs Canned-The Cost Myth

Decobbing and freezing is the way to go.  Buy the Fresh Corn on sale throughout the summer. 2012 is the year of the cornfield drought in the Midwest. Currently  the media is saying it will drive up prices on not only corn but other products derived from corn.

All summer long through October’s final harvest, corn on the cob ranges in price as low as 10 cents an ear to $5.99 for a dozen for Farmer’s Market native. Corn is made into Ethanol for fuel, Corn Syrup, Corn Meal, Popcorn, you get the idea.

Will the price of frozen and canned corn go UP?  Definitely! Even if we had a bumper crop, the production costs to harvest, frozen and canned most likely will never drop. Decobbing is the Frugal, healthy way to go.  Buy the Corn on sale throughout the summer. Here’s the reason why? A can of Niblets, drained says it has 3.5 servings, 1/2 cup each or One & 3/4 cups total.  A bag of Steamable vegetables says it contains four  servings of 2/3 cup. The math is hard but its Two and 2/3 cup.
Four medium ears of fresh corn yields just about 2 1/2 cups when taken off the cob.
When corn is  $6 a dozen or below it’s the ultimate bargain. Cheapskate mathematics; 12 ears=7.5 cups or the equivalent to 4 1/4 cans or 2.8 bags of Steamable frozen.  The corn on the cob is the Better choice, its fresher, tastier and Cheaper than prepackaged supermarket items.. It wasn’t so long ago frozen corn was 99 cents and cans were 3/$1.  Last I checked it was $2.19 for frozen bags and up to $1.59 for a can of Delmonte. If you don’t catch it on a weekly sales ad in can really be expensive. Frozen veggies still pop-up on sale from 99 cents and cans often are 2/$1 for store brand. When the pricing is low DO stock-up. .

BUT! Kids love to peel corn!!! Its portable food. Why not have summertime all year round at the table? The USDA  says the average ear of corn is 80 calories 17 carbs 1 gram of fat and 3 grams of protein.

You can freeze ears whole, cob chunks, or de-cob and bag the kernels.  To strip corn off the cob, first peel and rub off the corn silk, use a sharp knife or decobbing tool. Hold the cob upright with the tip in the air, and slice downward. Prepare a large pot of boiling water for blanching and a bowl of ice water for chilling after blanch. It’s suggested that sweet corn should not be salted while preparing. To blanch, plunge the corn in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes, remove corn and immediately place in an ice water bath. Blanch and chill times should be equal. Drain and seal in Ziploc type or a vacuum bag. Portion by your family meal size. Eliminate as much air out of the bags as possible for freezing. To reheat, boil or steam for 5 minutes, or microwave for 4 minutes. The blanching process has already partially precooked your corn. You won’t be just saving money; you will be enjoying the freshest taste and nutrition. If you’re lazy like me, toss peeled corn or kernels in bags without blanching and freeze, it’s still going to taste better than canned.

If you cannot take advantage of freezing from fresh, take advantage of sales on frozen and canned, stock up then. It applies to all veggies not just corn. Also be generous, don’t forget to donate to the local food bank, when the prices are low.

The choice is clear, when the seasonal veggies are abundant, buy fresh and freeze, when the stock-up sales at the grocers pop-up, take advantage.

 

What to do with Squash Blossoms?

All those huge beautiful male squash blossoms go to waste on the plant. Only the female blossoms that already have a squash started on the base will develop into a squash.  Summer or Winter,  both are tasty treats if you think outside of the box.

Pick them either at night before they open or first thing in the morning. Picking them at night prevents  surprise guests from your snack, like bees, spiders and other crawlies.

You can store unopened blossoms for several days if stored gently,  I wrap in paper towel in a sandwich bag or plastic container.

My favorite recipes includes

  • Goat cheese, sundried tomatoes & basil
  • Feta, mint & pine nuts or olives
  • Low fat spreadable herb cheese
  • Ricotta, Parmesan, basil and sundried tomato

Pre-mix the cheese with minced additives

Closed Squash blossoms can be gently blown open to fill, check for critters, some prefer to snip the stamen before filling

Fill each blossom with a tablespoon of cheese, and close by running fingers up from the base of flower. you may fix ahead and cook  later in the day

Preheat oven to 325, make a wash of egg or egg substitute , gently coat with  your favorite breadcrumbs, we use gluten free. Spray a baking dish with Pam, bake 15-20 minutes.

Serve on a bed of field greens as an appetizer, or  as the main ingredient of a salad

You can pan fry or deep fry. When calorie counting baking is best.

 

 

 

Tabouli Style Quinoa Cold Salad

Love love love. Quinoa replaces couscous from the traditional recipe. Wheat allergies  can restrict  many from enjoying this delicious cold salad which is usually  made with wheat berries and/or couscous. Those requiring  a Gluten-free lifestyle can enjoy and be satisfied. Quinoa is easy to cook and versatile, it adapts to flavors readily. Quinoa  is great served hot or cold and packs a protein punch. Quinoa is an ancient grain, that is being rediscovered by chefs and home-cooks looking for healthier options.

Like any good salad there is no wrong way to make this dish, its all about your favorite flavors. Experimentation is allowed in cooking. Steffie makes it a little different every time. We often add  tuna to leftover quinoa salad, for a quick heartier lunch.

What you need

  • 1 Cup of uncooked Quinoa, available with rice, ethnic food sections, and specialty food aisles
  • 1 Cup of your favorite stock or bullion cube, chicken or vegetable work best
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or Real lemon concentrate
  • 1/4 cup of minced mint
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, use enough to desired consistency
  • 1 cup of peeled, seeded, 1/4″ diced cucumber
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional add ins: Olives, capers, minced sun-dried tomatoes, Feta cheese, shallots,  or garlic.
  • Substitutions  or additional herbs to add to the mint are parsley for a milder flavor, or oregano for a Mediterranean flair. Basil in combo with sun-dried tomatoes and grated parm can make it Italian!

Prepare Quinoa as directed on package with broth, lemon and water

Fluff with fork when done, thoroughly chill.

Add remaining ingredients to chilled quinoa. Using olive oil serves two purposes, it dresses the salad in combo with the acid of the lemon, and also keeps the salad from caking.

Salt to taste, occasionally sun-dried tomatoes may be salty when not packed in oil. Capers and Kalamata olives also are naturally salty. If sun-dried tomatoes are oil packed, reduce the amount of olive oil

Chill and enjoy, the taste improves daily. Makes 4 or more servings

Nutrition Data, 1 cup cooked quinoa: 155 cal, 30g carb, 3g fat, 5.5g protein, 3g fiber, estimated glycemic load 18

 

 

Chicken Piccata Meatballs-Gluten Free

I love Chicken Piccata,  Lemony, Salty with Capers, Yummy. With a side of pasta even better. This recipe is Wheat Free, served with my favorite Orecchiette gluten free pasta.

Packed with a double hit of Protein packed Quinoa. You don’t need to be Gluten free to  enjoy this. Quinoa is the binder instead of Breadcrumbs. You can sub breadcrumbs, gluten free or not. You favorite pasta will do too. Serves 4-8 depending upon portion control. Meatballs can be served as an appetizer.

  • 1 lb of ground Chicken, Turkey or Ground Turkey Breast can be substituted
  • 1 cup Quinoa, cooked with lemon and  broth
  • 4 Bullion cubes made with 4 cup water or 4 cups broth divided for Quinoa prep and sauce
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, or Real lemon
  • 1/2 cup capers or chopped salty olives(kalamata type), divided
  • 1 shallot ir 2 cloves garlic
  • 1  fresh green or colored pepper, diced fine
  • 1 tsp Oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg well beaten optional, or 1/4 Eggbeaters
  • 2 tablespoons Corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil optional
  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta prepared at serving time
  • Favorite grated cheese

Spray non-stick pan. Saute shallot, peppers with 1/4 cup of broth until tender. Set aside and cool. Remove veggies which will be mixed into the meat, retain liquid in the saute pan for the sauce.

Prepare 1 Cup quinoa, with 1 3/4 cup Broth, and 1/4 cup lemon, allow to cool. It can be used as you would couscous.  Makes 3 cups.  You can serve it with the meatballs, or save the other 2 cups at another time.

In mixing bowl,  break apart Chicken, add half the capers, cooled veggies and ONE cup of cooled quinoa. Add optional well beaten egg or 1/4 cup eggbeaters. Get down and dirty, mix thoroughly with your hands. Preheat oven to 350 degees. Spray a cookie sheet with gluten free spray. Form walnut sized  meatballs, and place on cookie sheet without touching.

Bake for 25 minutes, 1/2 way thru carefully turn with tongs.

While the meatballs are baking,  add 2 tablespoons of broth or butter into the saute pan on low that the peppers and shallot were cooked in. Sift the cornstarch in slowly while whisking on low heat. As mixture thickens, continually add broth to the desired consistency.

Finally add meatballs and remaining capers and simmer for an additional 20 minutes (very low). Some prefer this sauce to be a thinner broth for a more rustic style. Steffie prefers a clingy thicker sauce, that sticks to your pasta.

Prepare pasta, and serve, sprinkle with your favorite cheese.

Meatballs can be served as an appetizer,  put into soups, or even a meatball grinder.

Weight Watcher and Gluten-free friendly

 

 

Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets-adapted-lower calories

Betty Crocker has started developing a line of Gluten Free products,  The GF Chocolate chip cookies are one of the best.  but it’s still second best to my Steffie’s Version of  Bob’s Redmill Recipe made with their pancake mix, delicious, closest thing to Entenman’s.

This is a terrific recipe made with Corn Chex.Their recipe says 25 servings , they mean 25 nuggets@ 25 calories each. This is also great for a salad meal topper! This recipe should serve 4 or more. Rule of thumb 3-4 ounces of raw chicken is an adult serving. This recipe omits 300 calories of butter and 120 calories  from 1 cup of Chex® cereal . The addition of the yogurt is under 70 calories, but they are nonfat dairy,  protein loaded calories. Any WeightWatcher would love!

Steffie has adapted to reduce the calories and spice it up!

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, breasts or tenders, cut into 1×1-inch chunks
  • 2 Cups of Rice or Chex Corn Cereal® cereal
  • 1/2 single size container of Chobani Greek nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese, optional,
  • 2 tsp of chili, cumin or paprika powders and other savory/spicy herbs of preference divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or onion powder optional
  • pinch of salt and pepper each

In a nonmetallic bowl combine Chobani or other plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon of spice, salt and pepper.  Add cubes of chicken to marinate, coat well. Refrigerate at least one hour. You may marinate up to 24 hours, to enhance flavor and tenderize.  The active ingredients in the yogurt will tenderize the chicken.

Pulse or crush  the Chex® cereal, add grated cheese (optional) and the other teaspoon of spice or herbs. Mix well, store until Chicken has finished marinating.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pre-spray a shallow baking pan or cooking sheet with Nonstick Gluten free spray.

Place Chex® cereal crumb mixture on a plate, Dredge each marinated chunk in mixture, place on cooking tray.

Bake for approx  25 minutes, turn half way thru cooking time. I felt the 400 degree temp  for 17 minutes was a little too high & short in the Betty Crocker Recipe. Chicken should not be pink when cut. Ovens vary in correct readings, I would test at least one for doneness.

If you don’t like yogurt, you can sub two well fork beaten eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute and go right to the cooking process. Chicken Breasts  halves or thighs can be done the same way for a heartier meal, increase the time to 35 minutes. The herb combinations are endless, add oregano for Italian, mint for Mediterranean, Rosemary for savory……

You can also create a dipping/ranch like sauce from another Chobani, with the same herbs and add dehydrated onion or vegetable flakes combined the day before. Even the  Hungry Girl‘ would approve!