Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pop Goes the Amaranth

Amaranth...  although it is often referred to as a grain, it is actually the seed of a plant that was first cultivated by the ancient Aztec people of South America.

Amaranth was revered as a staple food source, but it was was also used in Aztec rituals of human sacrifice. For this reason it was almost completely wiped out by the Spanish conquistadors who destroyed its crops in hopes of ending the practice of human sacrifice.

Luckily in a few remote areas of South America this six-foot tall, colorful plant, with its edible leaves and nutritious seeds, was grown and harvested in secret and therby preserved. It is now cultivated and eaten around the world.

It can be cooked as a cereal, puffed and popped like popcorn, or added to soups and stews as a thickener. It can also be ground into flour but because it is a seed it contains no gluten. Therefore, this type of flour must be mixed with glutinous flours to make any kind of leavened bread.

It is high in the amino acid lysine, and also in calcium, magnesium, and iron.

I decided to try it and purchased some from the bulk bins at the local Planet Organic market... it sat on the counter in its little plastic baggie until I finally got brave enough to pop it, and serve it for breakfast.

I would recommend that you put a lid over the saucepan when you pop it, otherwise it could will end up all over the kitchen!  And don't do more than a Tbs or 2 at a time... it burns easily so keep an eye on it, and keep the pan moving on the burner!

About 1/4 cup of the small raw seeds

Makes about 2 cups, after popping

The popped seeds are light and crunchy and have little flavor

But make a lovely breakfast with berries and ygourt

2 Tbs raw seed yields about 1 cup after popping, and that is plenty for breakfast.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 91; Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 16g; Fat 2g; Fibre 4g

Friday, April 29, 2011

Crunch Lunch

As the week is winding down, the groceries in the pantry are dwindling too, in preparation for our move to the sailboat on Sunday.

I was able to put together this fabulous lunch salad today, with a couple of my favorite pantry essentials....  Mann's Broccoli Slaw and Kirkland canned chunk chicken breast, along with and a few other ingredients.

This salad first came to my attention when one of my buddies posted it on the Weight Watchers site, and she calls it Crunch Lunch.  Of course the possibilities for variations and additions are unlimited.  The dressing is my own and I love it, but you can use your favorite soy ginger dressing if you prefer.

Crunch Lunch
Makes 1 serving
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw
  • 2 ounces chicken breast
  • 1 thin slice of white onion, chopped
  • 7g slivered almonds

Garlicky Soy Ginger Dressing
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce, reduced sodium
  • 1 Tbs sushi vinegar
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  1. Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix the dressing ingredients
  3. Add the dressing to the salad and stir to combine.
  4. Place in serving bowl.
You can use white vinegar or rice vinegar in place of the sushi vinegar

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 203; Protein 18g; Carbohydrate 15g; Fat 9g; Fibre 4g

For the salad alone.
Weight Watchers p+ = 3.
Calories 129; Protein 17g; Carbhohydrate 7g; Fat 4g; Fibre 4g

For the dressing alone.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 74; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 8g; Fat 5g; Fibre 0g

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Broccoli Apple Salad

Normally when I make this salad, I use broccoli crowns and chop them up.  But today I had a brand new bag of Mann's Broccoli Slaw in the fridge that was calling my name.

I love this salad.  It is crunchy and pretty and quite delicious.   If this is all I am having for lunch, I will eat the whole thing. Otherwise I divide it into 2 servings.  It will keep quite nicely in the fridge overnight.

Feel free to get creative with the ingredients.  Any kind of apple will do.  I often used sunflower seeds or almonds instead of walnuts, and dried apricots are a nice alternative to the dried cranberries. 

Today's version went like this.

Broccoli Apple Salad
  • 1 cup Mannn's broccoli slaw
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 Tbs chopped onion
  • 1 Tbs dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbs walnut pieces
  • 1 Tbs real bacon bits

For the dressing:
  • 1 Tbs fat free Miracle Whip
  • 1 Tbs fat free plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 packet Slenda
  1. Mix the salad ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients, then pour over the salad.
  3. Stir to blend and then serve.

The whole recipe.
Weight Watchers P+ = 6.
Calories 235; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 39g;  Fat 7g; Fibre 8g.

Before mixing and adding dressing

And ready to eat

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Tribute to Johnnycake

When I was a child my Mother used to make something we called Johnnycake, and it was a real treat.  We normally had it at supper time (dinner was lunch in those days), smothered with Roger's Golden Syrup.  Oh my!

I made up this recipe a few years ago when I was following the Weight Watchers 'Core' program and it tastes much like that beloved Johnnycake, only it is much lower in calories and can be made with no added fats.

If you haven't had your healthy oil servings, go ahead and add the oil, but it is really not necessary if you prefer to leave it out.  And, you can also cut it into 6 pieces rather than 4 if that suits you better.  I have mine with sugar free syrup and an egg.... and if we have some ham, too, so much the better! 

Today it was breakfast.

Core Cornbread
Makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 Tbs unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbs canola oil (optional)

  1. Preaheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Spray a 8 or 9 inch square cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix the cornmeal with the baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  4. In a separate, small bowl, combine the milk, egg, applesauce and oil, if using.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until bread pulls away from the edges of the pan.
  7. Cut into pieces and serve.

Per serving/recipe using oil.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 204; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 32g; Fat 5g; Fibre 3g

Per serving/recipe without oil.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 174; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 32g; Fat 2g; Fibre 3g

I keep the leftover cake in the fridge and then reheat it in the microwave oven. It can also be frozen.

Just out of the oven

A piece that is 1/4th the whole

With pancake syrup

And with ham and an egg

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Heart Warming Soup for a Special Lady

I found this recipe a few years ago in an old (November 1997) issue of Vegetarian Times Magazine, and have been enjoying it during the Fall and Winter months ever since.  It can easily be halved, but I warn you... it is delicious and you will happily eat it all in a few days!  Sweet potatoes and roasted peppers together make a beautiful soup - golden and creamy with a robust but slightly sweet flavor.

A special lady (You know who You are!) told me she would like to find it here.  She says it is the best recipe I have ever shared with her.  Here it is.

Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup
Makes 8 servings

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 sprinkle cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 sprinkle salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs sour cream for garnish
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or a bit of dried
  1.  Preheat broiler.
  2. In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cover and cook over medium-low heat, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and stir well; cover and cook 10 minutes. Add stock or water and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, roast peppers under broiler, turning with tongs until charred all over, about 10 minutes. When peppers are cool enough to handle, remove charred skins, stem, seeds and ribs.
  4. Discard thyme sprigs from soup. Transfer soup and roasted bell peppers to blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  5. Return mixture to pot and gently reheat. Add lemon juice, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve, ladle soup into warmed bowls and garnish each serving with a swirl of sour cream and several small sprigs of thyme.

Per 1 cup serving. Not including sour cream garnish.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 189; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 40; Fat 3g; Fibre 6g


If you don't want to roast your own red peppers, use the ones you can purchase already prepared.  Trader Joe's are the closest I have found to doing them yourself.
You can subsitute dried thyme if you like, for the fresh, in this recipe.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Aw Cheezy .... Potatoes

When I was preparing our Easter Dinner menu, I asked The Captain if he would like to have scalloped potatoes with the baked ham... of course he would!  I am not a big fan so I planned a small sweet potato for myself.

I don't know where the term 'scalloped' came from.  And I don't remember having a recipe that didn't include gobs of butter, so I made up a dish I call Low Fat Cheezy Potatoes and it filled the bill quite nicely.

Low Fat Cheezy Potatoes
Makes 6 servings

  • 1-1/2 pounds of pared, thinly sliced potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of onion, thinly sliced vertically into rings
  • 1 ounce lite cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbs lite parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Place the potato and onion slices in the casserole dish, alternating layers of each.
  4. Combine the milk, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a gentle boil and whisk until it bubbles and thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and pour the contens over the potatoes and onions in the casserole dish.
  6. Sprinkle the cheeses over the top.
  7. Cover and bake for 1 hour.  Remove the cover and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until browned.
  8. Let cool slightly before serving.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 138; Protein 6g; Carbohydrate 27g; Fat 1g; Fibre 2g

Ready to go into the oven

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to Color Easter Eggs

Wherever we are at Easter, I hard-boil and color eggs for The Captain.  It is a tradition that can travel with us, wherever we happen to be.  One year I did them, while were on board the sloop, swinging from a mooring ball in Montague Harbor... but most times we are in a house, somewhere, with a real kitchen.

The first step is to hard boil the eggs.

I like to put the eggs into a saucepan, cover them with water, add a splash of white vinegar, then set the pan on high heat and bring the water to a gentle, rolling boil. 

Then I put a lid on the saucepan, turn the burner off and leave the eggs for about 15 minutes.

I drain the hot water off the eggs and run cold water over them, until they feel cool to the touch.  The cold water stops the cooking process.

When I am ready to color them, I get out my food coloring kit, and 4 glass containers, that will hold enough hot water to cover one egg.

I like to do the 4 colors that come in the kit... red, blue, green and yellow.  So I use 4 glass cups.  Into each one, I put 1 Tbsp of white vinegar, and 8 drops of the food coloring. 

Then I fill each cup about 3/4 of the way, with boiling water.

I like to put one egg into each cup, and leave them till they take on the color I like... approximately 3 or 4 minutes each.

When I take them out of dye bath, I set them on a paper towel until they are dry.

The vinegar helps set the dye, but I do take care not to handle the wet eggs with my bare hands, so that my fingers don't get dyed too!

And eggs are so good for us, too.  Lots of choline (memory), lutein (eyes), protein (muscles), and Vitamin B12 (brain/nervous system), along with lots of other health-supporting nutrients.

Per large egg.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 70; Protein 6g; Carbohydrate 0g; Fat 5g; Fibre 0g

Thursday, April 21, 2011

White Chicken Chili

This recipe has become  a real go-to for me when I am looking for something easy and quick to make for dinner.  I normally have all of the ingredients on hand, and it is tasty and filling.

The inspiration came from a recipe I found in the book Hunger Free Forever.  The one change I made is to use a can of Kirkland Seasoned Chicken Breast instead of 2 fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

I normally use white kidney beans but navy beans would work too.

Quite often we will eat the whole recipe and I call it 2 servings.  Tonight I want to have some brown rice with it, so I am calling it 4 servings, and will put half into the refrigerator for lunch one day soon.

White Chicken Chili
  • 1 can Kirkland chunk chicken breast, drained
  • 1-3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ of a 4-oz can chopped green chiles
  • 2 cups canned white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish

  1. Pour half of the chicken broth into a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook until the onion starts to soften.
  3. Add the chiles, stir, then add the remaining broth and beans.
  4. Stir in the cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt and cayenne.
  5. Bring to a boil and add the chicken. Cover and simmer for 5 or 6 minutes.
  6. Serve garnished with sliced green onions.

Per 1/4th of the whole recipe.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4. 
Calories 187; Protein 21g; Carbohydrate 21g; Fat 2g; Fibre 6g.

Bubbling in the pan

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mmm Good!

I love home made soup.  This recipe is actually more of a method than a recipe because it can be used with a variety of squashes... butternut, zucchini, kabocha, ambercup, kurri, pumpkin... and also sweet potatoes, which I am using today. 

And you can vary the spices, depending on the vegetables you use.  Cumin and curry (if you like it) are great with the orange veggies, I think.  Zucchini calls for thyme and rosemary, and perhaps, basil.  Whatever you like works best!

I always use lots of garlic and onions.

Here is how I put it together today.

Low Fat Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup
Makes 6 servings, about 1-1/4 cups each

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbs curry powder
  • 1 lb carrots, cut up into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and peppe to taste

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté onion and garlic until softened.
  2. Stir in cumin and curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add carrots, sweet potatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and when cooled, blend until smooth with immersion blender.
  5. Reheat,  to serve, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with fat free sour cream or plain yogurt if you like.

Per 1-1/4 cup serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3. Not including garnish.
Calories 118 ; Protein2g; Carbohydrate 25g; Fat 1g; Fibre 6g


  • You can use low fat chicken broth or water and a bouillon cube, instead of vegetable broth, if you like.  The chicken-tomato cubes make a lovely broth.
  • If you don't have an immersion blender,  just cool the soup, and put a couple of cups at a time, into your counter-top blender container, and puree.
  • This soup is very thick - if you prefer thinner, use more broth.

Vegetables in the pot, before adding broth.

Garnished and ready to eat.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So Happy to Find Something New

Tru Roots Organic Sprouted Bean Trio.  Wow!  That's a mouthful... and a delicious and nutritious one at that.

A vegan acquaintance recommended this to me a few days ago, and I had to make a trip to Costco this morning so I made a point of looking for it.

44g is the recommended serving size/approx 1-1/2 oz

It is a mixture of dried, sprouted lentils, mung beans and adzuki beans.  According the information on the package, sprouting the beans boosts the nutritional profile-increasing vitamins and micronutrients.   Apparently it makes the beans easier to digest.

I was happy to see that it only takes 15 minutes to prepare them.  Just put the amount you want into boiling water for 5 minutes at simmer, and then remove the saucepan from the heat and let rest 10 more minutes.  Drain and use!  That makes them a really good food for the boat, where resources are limited.

And the price was reasonable.  So, I added the package to my cart and when I got home, immediately cooked up some to add some punch to my lunch salad.

Cooked and drained

Very tasty, and satisfying.  A nice change from canned beans, and without all the sodium, too.

And on my lunch salad

Dry weight 44 grams/1-1/2 ounces (not quite 1/2 cup)
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 160g; Protein 11g; Carbohydrate 27g; Fat 0.5g; Fibre 11g

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baking not Boiling... a Nice Change for Oats

I opened a can of pumpkin a few days ago and have been looking for ways to use it up.  I love the baked oatmeal idea so thought using pumpkin instead of applesauce might work.  And it did, very well! I just changed the spices a bit. 

Spicy Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
Makes 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • dashes of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup cooked pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbs raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Coat 2 small oven-safe ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix all the ingredients and divided between the 2 ramekins.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Turn oven setting to Broil, and cook for 3 minutes, to crisp the top.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before turning out into serving bowls.
  7. Add toppings of choice.

Today I used 1/4 cup fat free vanilla yogurt and a few banana slices.

Per serving. Not including toppings.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 115; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 23g; Fat 1g; Fibre 3g

Mixing the ingredients together.  If it is a bit dry looking, add some more water.

After turning out of the ramekins into serving bowls.

Topped with vanilla yogurt and banana slices.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

No Pudge Brownie Mix

Is there anyone who wouldn't consider chocolate in some form, a pantry essential?

My favorite chocolate is a low-fat brownie mix I discovered several years ago when I first visited a Trader Joe's market  (and if I lived near one I probably wouldn't shop anywhere else).

It is called No Pudge and is cleary identifiable by the bright pink box... the writing on it has changed over the years, but not the color.

I particularly love the taste.  Very rich chocolate flavor.  Chewy, moist, and delicious.

But the very best thing about this brownie mix, other than it is definitely fat-free, is that it can be made into individual servings... so you can have one whenever you like without having to make up a whole tray of brownies.

For single serving:

Place 2 Tbs brownie mix into a small microwave-safe bowl.
Add 1 Tbs of any one of the following:

  • fat free plain yogurt  *
  • low fat yogurt, any flavor
  • fat free sour cream
  • unsweetened applesauce
  • silken tofu
  • soy yogurt
Blend well with brownie mix.
Place in microwave oven and cook on HIGH for one minute.

Let cool slightly.
Eat as is or add toppings of choice.

Today I used fat free vanilla yogurt as the mix-in, and then also as a topping, along with some sliced, fresh strawberries.

* If I use plain yogurt, I like to add a dash of vanilla, too. 

Per 2 Tbs of brownie mix. Doesn't include your choice of mix-in or toppings.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 110; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 28g; Fat 0g; Fibre 1g

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I ♥ Soup!

We love to have soup at lunchtime.  It just seems so nourishing.  This recipe came from a book I read a few months ago, called Hunger Free Forever.  

The original recipe calls for 1 Tbs of olive oil but I thought that was a bit too much, so I used only 1 tsp.  I also subbed canned diced tomatoes for the condensed tomato soup.  The tomato soup has a lot more carbohydrates than the canned diced tomatoes, and also some fat.  I think my version is healthier, and tastier.
Here it is.

Red Bean and Tomato Soup
Makes 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp canola/olive oil blend
  • 1 cup canned red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 - 1/4 cups canned diced tomatoes, blended
  • 2 Tbs Italian herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup water

  1. Saute the onions, garlic, and celery in the olive oil over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes in a medium saucepan, stirring often. 
  2. Blend the kidney beans, tomatoes and herbs in a blender for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add to the pot along with 1 cup of water. 
  3. Cook for 15 minutes. 
  4. Season to taste.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 177; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 29g; Fat 4g; Fibre 8g

Red Kidney Beans

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Power Packed Farro Salad

I love grain based salads.  Add some veggies, some protein,  a tasty dressing, and you have a hearty, power packed meal.   They are portable, filling, and pretty.

You can use any combination of veggies you like... tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, snow peas, cooked leftover sweet potatoes, mushrooms... and you can used canned sardines or tuna, baked chicken breasts, or an style of beans.  You could even use a combination of fruits and berries, and nuts.

Today I cooked 1/4 cup of farro and left it cool on the counter.  At noon, I started rumaging around in the refrigerator for vegetables to add, and also opened a can of beans... today it was a 6-bean blend that I really like. 

Farro and Bean Salad
Makes 2 servings

  • 1/4 cup raw farro, cooked and cooled
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 small cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup spinach leaved, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/2 cup canned beans, rinsed and drained
  1. Mix all ingredients in large bowl.
When I put it all together, I realized it was enough for 2 servings, so I put half of it into a storage container and popped it into the fridge... then I made a dressing for the half I was about to devour for lunch.

Per serving, before dressing was added.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 172; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 34g; Fat 1g; Fibre 7g.

I sort of made the dressing up as I went along and it was delicious.  Very garlicky and it would be good over any hearty salad.

Garlic and Cilantro Dressing
Makes 1 serving

  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • dash of salt
  • 1 Tbs cilantro, roughly chopped

Mix all the ingredients and pour over the salad and stir to blend in.

Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 43; Protein 0g; Carbohydrate 1g; Fat 5g; Fibre 0g

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pork Medallions with Cranberries and Apples

Whenever we have a pork tenderloin  I am in such a quandry as to how to cook it.  I love it marinated and then barbecued, or coated with a dry rub and then baked, and also smothered in a sauce and cooked in the slow cooker.

Today it is rainy so the barbecue is not a good choice.  The slow cooker has already been packed away for the season, and I just as I was thinking about getting the ingredients ready for the dry rub, I recalled this recipe, and how much we enjoyed it the first time I made it.

I happened to have some cranberries in the freezer and so this was the perfect choice.  It is from Cooking Light Magazine, November 2002.  It needs no changes.


Pork Medallions with Cranberries and Apples
Makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced peeled Rome apple
  • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • Fresh sage sprigs (optional)

  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  2. Cut pork crosswise into 8 pieces. Place each piece between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap; flatten each piece to 3/4 inch thickness using a meat mallet or a rolling pin. Dredge each piece in flour.
  3. Heat 3 tsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray, over medium-high heat. Add pork, cook 2 ½ minutes on each side or until browned. Remove pork from pan.
  4. Add 1 tsp oil to pan. Add onion, cover, reduce heat, and cook 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.
  5. Return pork to pan, add juice mixture, apple, and cranberries. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 3 minutes or until cranberries pop and pork is done, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with fresh sage sprigs, if desired.

Per serving of 2 pork medallions and 1/3 cup fruit mixture
Weight Watchers P+ =  7.
Calories 262; Protein 24.8g; Carbohydrate 20.9g; Fat 8.7g; Fibre 2.2g

Just before the sauce ingredients are added to the pan

Plated and ready to eat

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Salmon Loaf with Lemon-Yogurt Sauce

I have had a large can of Pacific Red Sockeye Salmon sitting in my cupboard for a few weeks, just gathering dust.  I wanted to use it today so I went looking for a salmon loaf recipe that uses oats instead of bread crumbs, and also a yogurt based sauce to serve with it.

I found the loaf recipe on a web site called, and I found the sauce recipe at the Jewish in St. Louis web site.  I thought they looked like they would go well together.

And I was right.  I made only one change to the Salmon Loaf recipe.  The original had parsley in it, but I subbed cilantro so it would compliment the cilantro in the sauce.  And then I added details to the instructions, to relate how I made it.  I didn't change the Lemon-Yogurt Sauce at all.

I also have calculated Weight Watchers Points Plus values for the loaf and the sauce separately, and then combined.

Salmon Loaf
Makes 8 servings

  • 1 large can salmon (418g/14.5 ounces)
  • 1 cup raw oats
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs cilantro
  • 2 Tbs chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Open the can of salmon and pour contents into a bowl. Remove skin but mash the bones into the meat.
  3. Add other ingredients and mix until blended.
  4. Pour mixture into well-greased loaf pan. 
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes till knife inserted comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then slice into 8 pieces and serve.

Per serving without sauce.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 174; Protein 15.4g; Carbohydrate 7.9g; Fat 8.5g; Fibre 1.0g

Lemon-Yogurt Sauce
Makes 8 servings
  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  1. Mix and keep at room temperature till ready to use.
Per 2 Tbs serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 0.
Calories 11; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 1g; Fat 0g; Fibre 0g.

Per serving of Salmon Loaf, topped with 2 Tbs Lemon-Yogurt Sauce.
Weight Watchers P+ =  5.
Calories 185; Protein 16.4g; Carbohydrate 8.9g; Fat 8.5g; Fibre 1g.

This all came together very quickly and easily for a busy day dinner.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Splendid Spinach

Spinach is a wonderful, versatile vegetable.  It has too many nutrients and health benefits to possibly list them all.  But, you do remember Popeye, don't you?

Baby spinach is not much different, nutritionally, from the larger, mature leaves.  And both types come packaged in cellophane bags, that you can find in your local produce markets, in avariety of sizes.

These bags of pre-washed spinach leaves are just too handy to ignore .All you need to do is cut one open, take out as many fresh leaves as you need, then seal the package and put it back into the refrigerator.  I keep spinach fresh in the crisper for at least a week this way. 

If you are concerned about the cleanliness of the leaves, you could certainly wash them yourself and spin them dry before using. 

When I am making salad, spinach is my go-to leafy green base for all the assorted toppings that I love to use in a variety of combinations... veggies, grains, legumes, eggs, cheeses, canned fish, chicken or turkey breast, crumbled bacon, fruit - dried and fresh, nuts and seeds.

Spinach, Long English cucumber, sweet white onion, white button mushroom, fresh strawberries, crumbled bacon with raspberry vinaigrette.

If the spinach does start to look a little limp before you have finished the bag, that is the time to turn it into a nutritious and delicious green smoothie.  With the addition of milk, banana, cinnamon, and some honey or Splenda, whizzed together till smooth with your immersion blender, you have a great snack or after-run pick-me-up.

If you cannot get past the green color, toss in a few berries... you will end up with a purple power house!

You can add spinach leaves to your pasta sauces, chilis, vegetable and grain soups, omelets, quiches, dips, and I also like to use it in place of lettuce as a condiment on my veggie burgers.  And let's not forget that you can just steam it, or wilt it in hot bacon drippings, and eat as a side dish.

Learn to love spinach!  Your body will appreciate it.

Featured Recipes using this staple: