Friday, January 30, 2015

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

One of the hardest things about getting back on the healthy eating wagon, for me, are Sunday dinners. I love to cook a special meal on Sundays, and it's normally something Italian, saucy and cheesy. So I'm always on the search for a meal that checks all the boxes I need: Filling, traditional, special, and healthy. These lasagna rolls certainly fit the bill! They were delicious. The whole family loved them, and no one felt like they were missing out on 'Sunday Dinner'. Next time, I might get creative and add artichoke hearts, mushrooms and even shredded zucchini. Because there will definitely be a next time! So good.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls
PointsPlus: 6 per roll
10 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked to al dente (about 8 minutes), well drained
1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce (I use my Homemade Marinara)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups baby spinach, loosely packed and chopped well
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups part-skim, shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese (small curd if possible)
1 egg white
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher or sea salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add 1 1/4 cups marinara to a 13" x 9" x 2" casserole dish.

In a large skillet, add oil and heat to medium-low heat. Saute garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and saute until wilted, about 3 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine garlic, spinach, ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, cottage cheese, egg white, oregano, salt and pepper.

On a work surface, lined with parchment paper, arrange lasagna noodles flat, add 1/4 cup cheese and spinach mixture to each noodle, spread evenly to cover noodles. Start rolling the noodle at the end closest to you. Place lasagna rolls seam side down, not quite touching, in the prepared casserole dish. Evenly spread 1 cup marinara over rolls, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly. If desired, serve rolls with additional heated marinara.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Quinoa and Black Beans

I went to a 'Girls Night Out' at a paint-your-own pottery place last weekend and we all brought figure-friendly foods. One woman brought an awesome Quinoa and Black Bean dish that everyone raved about. We ate it with long-leaf romaine lettuce, just like tacos minus the carby shell. It was truly delicious. So good, in fact, that I made it two days later for my own family. Everyone loved it and it will be a regular in our meal rotation!

Quinoa and Black Beans
Servings: 6
PointsPlus: 7

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (I subbed one can of black beans with white kidney beans)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1.Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir onion and garlic until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
2.Mix quinoa into onion mixture and cover with vegetable broth; season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
3.Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes; mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Potato and Canadian Bacon Slow Cooker Chower

I just love my slow cooker! With two kids in school plus activities, this mama stays very busy during the day. It's so nice to prep dinner in the morning, or even the evening before, and know that we'll have a hot meal waiting for us when we finally return to "home base" at the end of the day. My Weight Watchers leader shared this recipe with us at our meeting last week, and she raved about it so much that I just knew I had to try it. And let me tell you, it was amazing! The recipe came from the WW website and I made it as written, only adding some chopped celery that wasn't called for but I had on hand. I also used fresh thyme since I had it, but I'm sure the dried is fine. Give this one a try. My husband and kids devoured it too. And at 1 and 2/3 cups per serving, it's hearty, generous and filling. Plus, we had two servings leftover for lunches!

Potato and Canadian Bacon Slow Cooker Chowder

Serves: 6
PointsPlus per serving: 4

In a slow cooker, combine potatoes, carrots, leek, garlic, broth, barley, bay leaf, thyme, pepper and bacon; cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Stir in evaporated milk and half-and-half; heat through, uncovered, about 10 minutes. Yields about 1 2/3 cups per serving.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Slow-cooked Turkey Chili

Warm, comforting, filling, and nutritious! What's not to love about chili? Here is another reason to love it: Easy! Over the years, I have tried many chili recipes and they have often fallen short of my expectations... That is, until I tried this one! As many of you know, I have rekindled my love affair with my slow cooker since giving birth to my second child. I just love the simplicity of using my slow cooker while I go about my daily routine with my girls. Arriving home after a play date or errands and smelling the aroma of dinner safely simmering in my kitchen is a wonderful treat!
This chili is my own adaptation of the chili recipe found in my slow cooker cookbook. The original recipe calls for ground beef, which I have used, but decided to lighten things up a bit and use lean ground turkey this time. The result was delicious! I also added more beans than the original recipe calls for both to increase the nutritiousness of the meal and because my toddler LOVES beans. The recipe posted below reflects the additional beans. We enjoyed our turkey chili with reduced-fat cheddar cheese (1/4 cup for 2 PointsPlus) and light sour cream (2 tablespoons for 1 PointsPlus). We also had tortilla chips on the side. I hope you enjoy this simple, delicious and nutritious meal as much as my family did. This has become my "go to" recipe for turkey chili and I am so happy to have discovered it!

Slow-cooked Turkey Chili
Servings: 12
PointsPlus per serving: 8

1/2 pound dry pinto beans
1/2 pound dry red kidney beans
3- 14.5 ounces cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 pounds ground turkey, browned and drained
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Completely soften beans by cooking in boiling water on the stove. Drain the water off of the beans. Put all ingredients into the slow cooker in the order listed and stir. Cover and cook on LOW for 10 to 12 hours or on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours. Stir before serving.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Split Pea and Ham Soup

We had some leftover ham from the other night, so I decided to make some split pea soup. I found this great recipe on the Weight Watchers website, and only made a few changes. I used all fat-free chicken broth for the liquid, rather than two cups of broth and two cups of water. Also, I omitted the shredded cheddar that they called for topping the soup with. It just didn't seem to "go". We topped ours with oyster crackers instead, which only added one point per serving. This soup turned out great and the whole family loved it. Will definitely make it again soon! 

Split Pea and Ham Soup
Servings: 8
PointsPlus: 6 (for one cup serving)

1 pound dry split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Baked Mostaccioli

Some of you might understand this and others might not, but, having a mother who is of Italian decent, I have always felt conflicted about revamping any traditional Italian recipes to be more healthy and less fattening. By this, I mean I feel guilty straying from the recipes and cooking methods that mother has taught me. I am learning day by day that lighter versions of classic recipes can be just as delicious and, often, more satisfying because there is not the excess fat and calories to weigh you down. This baked mostaccioli dish is essentially and lightened-up version of baked ziti. This recipe uses healthier ingredients, such as ground turkey in place of beef and cottage cheese in place of ricotta cheese, without sacrificing any of the flavor and texture that I love about baked ziti. A perfect win in my book!

Baked Mostaccioli
Servings: 6
PointsPlus per serving: 7 (1 1/3 cups servings)

8 ounces uncooked mostaccioli or penne pasta
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (16 ounces) fat-free cottage cheese
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook mostaccioli according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook turkey and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, water, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese and marjoram; set aside. Drain mostaccioli.
Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce into an 11-inch x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the mostaccioli, meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Top with cottage cheese mixture. Layer with remaining mostaccioli, meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (dish will be full).
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

French Onion Soup

French Onion soup has long been a favorite of mine. When my friend, Liz, raved about this recipe from Weight Watchers themselves, I knew I needed to try it. And lo and behold, it was amazing! I made it mid-day and simmered it for about 5 hours. It was so savory and delicious!

We have lots of cold days still ahead of us this winter, so warm up with this great soup!

The recipe calls for topping with grated parmesan cheese, but I decided to add an extra point by melting a slice of Sargento ultra-thin provolone on top of each bowl. I just popped my oven-safe soup crocks in the oven for a few minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and slightly browned. Served with a side salad, and voila, dinner!