Saturday, December 31, 2011

Apple and Dried Cranberries Sweeten up this Slaw

We eat this sweet coleslaw quite often.  Recently when I posted the recipe for Peanut Butter Pasta, I mentioned that a sweet crunchy coleslaw would be a nice side dish with it, and went to link to my recipe... but was quite surprised to find that I had never posted it!

I am rectifying that now as I did just make it to have with some store-bought gyoza and sauce.  It calls for ingredients that I almost always have on hand.  I guess that is why we have it so often!  That, and we really do like it.

And now I can go back and insert that link!

Sweet Crunchy Coleslaw
Makes 4 servings of 3/4 cup each
  • 2 cups of bagged tricolor cabbage slaw or chop your own
  • 1 small red apple, pared and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 thin slices of white onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs dried cranberries
For the dressing:
  • 2 Tbs fat free Miracle Whip or other mayo
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 packet Splenda
  1. Place the first 4 ingredients into a medium bowl.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix till creamy and well-blended.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad in the medium bowl and mix well. 
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 42; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 10g; Fat 0g; Fibre 2g.

The only ingredients in this recipe that have Points Plus values are the dried cranberries and the fat free Miracle Whip.  But Weight Watchers uses all the ingredients in a recipe to calculate the N.I.

Put the vegetables and fruit into a medium bowl.

Place the dressing ingredients into a small bowl.

Mix till creamy and then pour over the fruit and vegetables.  Stir till all the freggies are coated with dressing.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Pasta

If you mix peanut butter and soy sauce, you can make a wonderful and easy topping for pasta.

This particular idea came from a web site that I recently found called Rock, River, Run.  It chronicles the adventures of a couple who are outdoor enthusiasts and who like to eat well.  I followed the basics for the sauce and then added a couple of twists of my own.

It is delicious and although it doesn't look like much food, it is very filling.  If you like, a sweet, crunchy coleslaw would go nicely alongside. 

As a guideline, I usually measure 2 ounces of pasta per person, before cooking it.  And I think this sauce goes really well with a heavier pasta such as rotini or fusili, or even penne.  But make the kind and the amount you like;  I don't include the pasta in the N.I. or the Weight Watchers P+ values.

Peanut Butter Pasta
Makes 2 servings
  • 2 servings, pasta of your choice:  rotini or fusili hold the sauce nicely
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled, smashed, and minced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 20 peanuts
  1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, place the garlic and ginger in a small bowl and mash them together with the back of a spoon.  This will release more oil/flavor from the garlic.
  3. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar to the bowl.  Mix well.  If the peanut butter doesn't mix easily, place the bowl into the microwave oven and cook on HIGH for 15 seconds.  Mix again till creamy.
  4. Drain the cooked pasta and divide between 2 plates. 
  5. Spoon half of the sauce over each pasta serving and then garnish with half the onion and half the peanuts.
Per serving, not including pasta.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 125; Protein 5g; Carbohydrate 9g; Fat8 g; Fibre 1g.

This would also be good made into a cold pasta salad.  Just combine all the sauce and all the pasta together in a bowl and place it, covered, in your fridge to chill.  Stir again and then add the onions and peanuts as garnish before you serve it.

Chop the green onions.

Mash the minced garlic and shredded ginger together to release more flavor.

Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, white vinegar, and brown sugar to the garlic and ginger.

Mix till creamy; heat slightly in mike if necessary, to soften peanut butter so it will blend with other ingredients.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Prawn Curry on Avocado

I found this recipe in a local Thrifty Food supermarket flyer.  It appealed to me immediately because it calls for prawns and coconut milk.  I have made it several times, leaving out the avocados, and serving it with snow peas and linguini... it is very good, but today I had an avocado that was just ripe so I decided to make the recipe up as originally written, using just a bit less oil.

What a lovely surprise!  I served it with some leftover heated white/brown rice.  The sauce is just perfect with rice and it really does go nicely with the avocado!  It is a very mild curry sauce and tastes very rich because of the coconut milk.

This dish sort of goes hand in hand with the Butter Chicken recipe I posted several months ago.  That is because it uses up the other half of the can of light coconut milk I use in that recipe.... So, we usually have this for dinner within a night or two before, or after, we have the Butter Chicken.  And they are very different recipes so that is good.

It is much easier to pull everything together if you get all your ingredients prepared ahead of time, except for the avocado.  It will turn brown if you prepare it more than a couple of minutes ahead.  If you do choose to do that, sprinkle some lime juice over it.

Prawn Curry on Avocado
For 2 Servings
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 1 or 2 tsp chopped, fresh ginger 
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 200 ml (1/2 can) light coconut milk mixed with 1 tsp cornstarch 
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice 
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar 
  •  approximately 200g total weight cooked prawns, tails removed (I use 32 of 71-90 count or 16  of 31-40 count)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 servings cooked rice as desired
  1. Prepare 2 servings of rice and set aside to keep warm. 
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the shallot, garlic and ginger and cook 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Mix in the curry powder and cook 1 minute more.
  5. Add the coconut milk/cornstarch mixture, lime juice and brown sugar.
  6. Bring to a simmer and cook until the coconut milk is thickened by the cornstarch.
  7. Add the prawns and simmer until just heated through, about 3 or 4 minutes.
  8. While the prawns are heating quickly peel the avocado, and remove the pit.
  9. Slice each half of the avocado into 4 and fan on the serving plate. 
  10. Divide and serve the prawns and sauce over the avocados and rice.
Per serving, not including rice.
Weight Watchers P+ = 6. 
Calories 230; Protein 14g; Carbohydrate 14g; Fat 14g; Fibre 1g.

Shallot slices and garlic in the pan along with heated canola oil.

Add curry powder to pan.

Coconut milk is mixed with cornstarch, lime juice, and brown sugar, then  added to pan.

Add cooked prawns to thickening sauce.

Cook till prawns are heated through and sauce is thick.

Serve prawns and sauce over avocado slices and rice.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Recap

A few memories of yesterday's wonderful roast turkey dinner.... bread and mushroom stuffing, gravy, potatoes and carrots, cranberry sauce... creamy lemon pie.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From our house to yours...

Elle & The Captain

Friday, December 23, 2011

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Just in case you haven't made or eaten enough cookies yet....

This recipe is based on one that has been around for years, but I wanted to make it a bit more Weight Watchers P+ friendly so I used a mix of white sugar and brown sugar, and less sugar overall.  The original recipe calls for 1 cup white sugar, but I used 1/4 cup of white and 1/2 cup of loosely packed brown, and it worked just fine.

Ask The Captain... he has eaten most of them already!

You can easily whip up a batch of these cookies and have them baked in less than 20 minutes.  The perfect last minute gift or take-along.  Or just have some on hand to munch on yourself when you get tired of shortbread and chocolate!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 26 servings of 1 cookie each
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 whole fresh egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the peanut butter and sugars together till well blended.
  3. Add the egg, baking soda and vanilla, and beat again.
  4. Take about a teaspoonful of dough at a time and roll into a ball.  Repeat until you have 26 balls.
  5. Place them on the parchment paper a couple of inches apart, and flatten slightly with a fork.  They will double in size as they bake.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes.
  7. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before putting the cookies on baking trays to cool completely.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 82; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 7g; Fat 5g; Fibre 1g.

Cream peanut butter with sugars.

Then beat in egg, baking soda and vanilla.

Allow to cool completely - they will break easily while warm.

Enjoy with your favorite tea!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Succulent Chinese-Stye Barbecue Pork

This is a dish that is very easy to prepare but just begs to be given a place of honor at your next gathering of friends and family. It would be perfect for Christmas Eve or New Year’s Day.

If you are serving more than 4 people, then cook 2 tenderloins and double the marinade ingredients.

I don’t care for the barbecue pork that The Captain loves to order when we go out to eat Chinese food at a restaurant  I am not sure just what it is about it that puts me off, but I never even taste his anymore, even when we go somewhere new.

But he loves it so much, so when I saw a recipe in a local Thrifty Food advertisment,  I decided to try it. And I am so glad I did because it really is delicious. The original recipe called for 1/8 cup of either dry sherry or brandy. I had neither so I just left it out.

It can be sliced and served as is or used in other dishes, such as fried rice, noodle dishes, or soup.

Here it is, as I prepared it.


Chinese-Style Barbecue Pork
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs ketchup
  • 1/2 Tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 whole pork tenderloin, trimmed of any sinew or fat, about 1-pound
  1. Combine the first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Add the pork and turn to coat.
  3. Cover and marinate, refrigerated, for 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat the oven or barbecue to 375°F.
  5. Remove the pork from the marinade and place it on a lightly oiled rack set over a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil (for ease of cleanup).
  6. Brush the pork with a quarter of the leftover marinade and roast for 10 minutes.
  7. Brush with another quarter of the marinade and roast 10 minutes more.
  8. Brush with the remaining marinade and cook 20 minutes, or until the pork is cooked.
  9. Remove the pork from the oven and place it on a platter, tented with foil and let it rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 112; Protein 16g; Carbohydrate 5g; Fat 2g; Fibre 0g.

Place all marinade ingredents in a large bowl and mix well before coating tenderloin.

Place on hot barbecue, baste and roast as directed.

When cooked through, remove from heat.

 Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Slice very thinly and serve.

Plated and served with rice and stirfried veggies.

And the next night, I cut up the leftovers and used it in fried rice.  Just lovely!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lemon Snowballs Melt in Your Mouth!

Snowballs seem to say ‘Merry Christmas’ and we love to have them on hand to nibble with afternoon tea. These are similar to shortbread, just a little heavier.  But they have much less butter in them so they are much more Weight Watchers friendly at only 1 P+ each.

The trick to making snowballs is to let the dough chill thoroughly before rolling it into balls and baking them.

These are loosely based on several different recipes floating around the internet right now so I cannot credit anyone in particular as I took ideas from a few different sources to put together.

Lemon Snowballs
Makes 40 servings of 1 Snowball each.
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbs icing sugar for rolling In a separate bowl combine flour, salt and cream of tartar.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar well.
  2. Add egg and beat again until light and creamy.
  3. Add lemon juice and vanilla and beat again.
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.
  5. Place the dough, covered, into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  7. Remove the dough from fridge and divide it into 40 pieces.
  8. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. They will not brown on the tops.
  10. Transfer the balls immediately to wire racks and cool for 2 minutes, then roll in icing sugar while still warm.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 57; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 8g; Fat 2g; Fibre 0g.

Cream butter and sugar together.

Beat in egg, then lemon juice and vanilla.

Then mix in the dry ingredients.

Cover and chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

Divide the dough into 40 pieces and roll each piece into a ball to bake.

After baking transfer the balls to a rack to cool for a couple of minutes before rolling in icing sugar.

The sugar adheres better if the snowballs are still slightly warm when you roll them.

Ready to enjoy!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bring on the Shortbread!

For me it just wouldn’t be Christmas without shortbread!

When I was a child my Mother made beautiful shortbread cookies with a press, and she decorated them with green and red cherries, and green and red sugar crystals. They were melt-in-your-mouth delicious and if I close my eyes I can almost taste them…

I enjoy experimenting and have made several different shortbread cookies and bars over the years.  This year is no different and today I made shortbread squares with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. It is based on the old standby cornstarch recipe, but with a bit of a twist.

And they turned out very well… just ask The Captain!


Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Shortbread Squares
Makes 32 squares *
  • 1-¾ cups white all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving about 1 inch of overhang on all sides. This makes it easier to remove the bars from the pan after they are baked, and you don't have to butter the pan either.  Nice easy cleanup!
  3. Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. In a separate, large bowl, cream the butter and icing sugar. When fluffy, beat in vanilla.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine well. You may want to use your hands for this. It will be crumbly.
  6. Then mix in the cranberries and chocolate chips, again using your hands.
  7. Place the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly over the bottom by patting it with your finger tips.
  8. Prick the surface all over with the tines of a fork.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
  10. Remove from oven and place the pan on a baking rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.
  11. Lift edges of parchment paper to remove the baked shortbread from the pan.
  12. Cut the shorbread into 32 squares while it is still warm.
  13. Allow to cool completely.
  14. Store in sealed container or freeze.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 110; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 12g; Fat 6g; Fibre 0g.

* If you cut the shortbread into 48 pieces, the N.I. is as follows:
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2. 
Calories 73; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 8g; Fat 4g; Fibre 0g.

Combine flour, cornstarch and salt.

Cream butter and icing sugar.

Add the vanilla and beat again.

After combing the wet and dry ingredients, add cranberries and chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper.

Pat with fingers till evenly spread and then prick the surface all over with a fork.

Bake till edges are golden brown.

After cooling for 30 minutes, lift edges of parchment paper and remove from pan.

Cut while still warm... and enjoy!