Monday, November 22, 2010

Nutella Cake with Chocolate Ganache

I had a family dinner this weekend at my Aunt Peggy's house and was asked to bring dessert, when asked what to bring I was told, "Chocolate!" See exhibit A:
Nutella Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Cake:
6 large eggs, separated
pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 13-ounce container Nutellla
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
Ganache:
4 ounces whole hazelnuts
1/2 cup half and half (she calls for heavy cream but I was out, half and half worked well)
1 tablespoon rum
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degree
Cake
1.Spray a 9-inch springform pan.
2. In a large bowl (preferably metal, I did mine in my kitchenaide), whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff.
3. In another bowl, cream the butter and Nutella, then add the rum, egg yolks, and ground hazelnuts.
4. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, on 30 sec intervals until it is melted. Stir in melted chocolate to nutella mixture.
5. Add a blob of beaten egg whites to the chocolate batter, and mix gently until well-combined. Fold in the remaining whites, one-third at a time, very gently but thoroughly.
6. Pour into springform and bake for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting tester, which should come out mostly clean; lightly pressing finger into top to check for a slight bouncing-back; and observing edges beginning to separate from pan. Let cool completely, in pan, on a rack.
Nuts
7. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet (I did mine in my toaster oven in a small round cake pan) shaking them around frequently. Do it for about 4 minutes, or until they are lightly browned, then let cool completely. If hazelnuts came with skins on, put them in a towel after toasting and rub around; this will remove most of the skins. (My daughter liked helping with this part, and she ate a few too- she loves raw nuts!
Ganache
8. Chop chocolate, and add to sauce pan with half and half and rum over medium-low heat. Once chocolate is melted and components are combined, whisk until mixture reaches desired thickness, then cool.
9. Remove rim of cake pan and pour cooled ganache over, pour close to rim of cake so that a small amount spills over for presentation, and apply hazelnuts all over.
*This was a hit, everyone loved it!
* I suggest serving with a good vanilla bean ice cream, to cut the richness.
*Notice the small piece, a little goes a long way!





Linked to Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, & Tuesdays At the Table.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pan Roasted Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

I loved this dinner, Molly and Brian were not as enthused. For a weight watchers meal it was very satisfying, I would make this again. Thanks to Relish for the recipe!
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms
Prep time and cook time: 45 minutes
WW 7 pts
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 shallots , minced
1 garlic clove(s), minced
1 cup chicken broth, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus chopped thyme for garnish
8 ounces whole button mushrooms, rinsed and halved
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

PASTA
2 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
reserved pasta water 1 tsp, 1/2 tsp olive oil

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

[1] Heat olive oil in a large, heavy ovenproof frying pan (not nonstick) over high heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Add chicken breasts and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn chicken over.

[2] Add shallots and garlic to pan with chicken, stirring occasionally so garlic doesn' burn and shallots are soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken broth, thyme sprigs, mushrooms and salt and pepper and cook until mixture begins to boil, about 1 minute.

[3] Lay asparagus over chicken, then cover pan and put in oven. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through (cut to check) and asparagus is tender. Transfer chicken to a plate.

[4] Cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to desired doneness, then in a bowl mix with reserved pasta water, olive oil, garlic powder and parsley flakes.

[5] Season asparagus-mushroom-stock mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Put pasta in pasta bowl, or plate with a rim, divide vegetables among plates or shallow pasta bowls, top each with a piece of chicken, and spoon sauce over all. Garnish with chopped thyme and Parmesan.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beef-Vegetable Pie (WW)

Made this the other night again when I didn't really have a plan I was just searching for a recipe with ingredients I had on hand. I again changed the recipe from the original, based on what my family would like and on reading the reviews. Does anyone read the reviews on recipes when you get them online? I find them very helpful. Just a helpful hint if you don't do it already!
Beef-Vegetable Pie
1 pound(s) raw lean ground beef
1 packet of onion soup mix
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cup(s) dry potato flakes
1 1/2 cup(s) low fat milk
10 oz frozen mixed vegetables (or a combination of fresh veggies, this is what I did - carrots, corn, peas, and broccoli)
1/2 cup(s) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
1.Preheat oven to 450°F. Pat beef into a 9-inch pie plate and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and the onion soup packet. Cook until beef browns, about 18-20 minutes, and remove from oven; set aside and preheat broiler.

2.Meanwhile, combine potatoes and milk in a microwavable bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and turn back a corner of plastic to allow steam to escape. Microwave until hot, about 1 to 2 minutes; whisk with a fork until smooth and set aside. Microwave vegetables according to package directions; mix vegetables and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt into potatoes.

3.Pour off any accumulated juices from beef. Pat potato mixture into meat crust and sprinkle with cheese. Broil 4 inches from heating element until cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Slice into 6 pieces and serve.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chicken Stir Fry with Brown Basmati Rice

Sometimes when a go a long time without a post it isn't because I am not cooking at home it is often because I have fallen back on something that I have already cooked and feel like it isn't worth writing a post about. This is one of those times, however I will say again that out of most of the brown rice I have tried this is the only one I like, and surprisingly for weight watchers it isn't that bad pts wise to have chicken stir fry and rice!
4 pts for the brown rice (1 cup!)
2 pts for the veggie stir fry with chicken (because if you are making it like I make it there are WAY more veggies than chicken!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Crunchy Chicken Strips and Candied Carrots

Talk about kid friendly meal! Oh, and husband friendly! HA HA HA!

Crunchy Chicken Strips
5 PTS
3/4 pound(s) Chicken breast, skinless, boneless, raw, sliced into strips (2 breasts)
1 large egg(s), mixed with a tbsp of water
1 cup(s) cornflake crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
Instructions
1. Using a food processor get the corn flakes the size of panko crumbs. (I have tried it with panko crumbs and the corn flakes are better, much more crunchy!)
2. Mix the Parmesan cheese and garlic powder with the corn flakes.
3. Mix eggs with water.
4. slice chicken into strips. season with salt & pepper, and dunk the chicken into the eggs and then the corn flakes and cheese mixture.
5. Bake in the oven at 450 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Serve with ranch dressing or BBQ to dip.

Candied Carrots
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp apricot preserves
1. Put carrots and water in a sauce pan and cook on medium high heat until carrots are cooked through.
2. Drain off any excess water, in empty sauce pan melt butter and preserves, then toss carrots in mixture and serve while hot.

*These are so easy, the carrots, and a great way to add a new twist to an easy side dish.
*Thanks to Relish for the inspiration behind this meal!
 
Dad helped make this meal, and literally he liked it so much that he made it with mom and Molly's help the very next night. The dinning room chair is very movable for Molly she is joining me in the kitchen for almost every meal I make to oversee everything. So cute, but in my little kitchen it sometimes can be very limiting.
 
Then mommy said, "Smile Molly!" and then ba-dow, this is the picture I got. She is getting better on her smiles! Poor daddy: our ceiling is a little low for our pot rack, and he is a little tall for the pots hanging from said pot rack!

 Linked to Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, and Tuesday at the Table.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chicken and Penne Casserole with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese (WW)

A couple of nights ago I made this with the pasta I received from The Barilla group, in reference to Share the Table see here for the post on that, I looked for a recipe on WW online that had some ingredients that I had on hand. I REALLY modified the recipe to fit what I thought would sound good, and it was very good. Of course it was pasta so I needed to have a soup and salad so I didn't GORGE myself on the pasta, it was very good!

Chicken and Penne Casserole with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
PTS 6, serves 6
2 cups uncooked pasta, penne variety
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup(s) cremini mushrooms, sliced
5 re hydrated shitaki mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium onion(s), chopped
1 can petit cut canned tomatoes
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 egg
1/4 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
Toppings:
2 oz hard-type goat cheese, low-fat, crumbled
2 Tbsp dried bread crumbs
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp parsley, fresh, chopped OR 1/2 tsp dried parsley

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 7 x 11-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, then add the mushrooms and onion; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken mushroom mixture to the pasta in the bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, egg, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and broth. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish. Top with the goat cheese.

3. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the casserole. Bake, uncovered, until the topping is browned and the filling is hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Yields 1 cup per serving.

Molly really loved this, she loves chicken, she loves pasta win win!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Taco Salad

I made some taco meat (see previous post here) over the weekend for lunch and for a quick dinner made Taco Meat on Monday. Mom, AKA me, has started Weight Watchers through my work and the meetings are late on Monday so I came home and needed a quick meal. I decided to make a taco salad with the left over meat.
Taco Salad:
2 hearts of romain, shredded
2 cups of leftover taco meat
1/2 can of black beans, rinsed
1 cup cheese
1 handful of chips, crunched
2 tbsp Spicy Ranch Dressing
1 tomato, chopped.

1. Throw all ingredients together in a salad bowl, toss, and eat.

*Super easy, super fast, and tasty!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WW, Hot and Sour Soup

Another soup to add to the list of weight watcher soups to have prior to your meal, one cup is only worth 1 pt and helps fill up your belly. I make the soup on a Sunday so that I have it pre-made during the busy work week and just use it till it is gone.
HOT & SOUR SOUP

WW =1 PT/1 cup serving
6 c. fat free chicken broth
2 T. rice vinegar
1 t. Saracha Sauce (some call it rooster sauce)
1 pkg sliced crimini mushrooms
1 C. firm diced tofu
1 can bamboo shoots sliced (matchbook slice)
1 T. soy sauce
¼ C. dried black fungus
2 green onions, sliced

1. Combine all soup ingredients except black fungus & green onion in soup pot lightly simmer until mushrooms are tender (about 7-10 min)
2. Meanwhile soak dried fungus in hot tap water for 7-10 min. Drain & squeeze excess water from fungus. Slice mushrooms, & add fungus to soup mixture.
3. Serve in soup bowl topped with green onions

*Note: The original recipe does not call for the black fungus, but in my attempt to make it authentic I started adding the black fungus and it adds just the right texture to the soup.

My husband and my daddy's favorite soup!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

WW, Whole Wheat Pasta Salad for Lunch!

I had a weight watcher's meeting yesterday so I stayed late and Brian and Molly had to fend for themselves for dinner. Daddy did well, they had Healthy Choice chicken noodle soup and a ham and cheese sandwich! When I got home I had leftovers, I was trying to make up for a very bad weekend (WW points wise) and practically starved myself all day, for those of you that know weight watchers I had like 6 points from waking to 6 p.m. which for me was not very much (I had one packet of instant oatmeal and salad all day! My coffee made up the remainder of the points).  Since I had leftovers, I didn't have anything prepared for lunch for the next day so I created this pasta salad. It was delicious!
Whole Wheat Pasta Salad
(WW pts 5)
1/2 cup(s) cherry tomato(es), halved

1 Tbsp scallion(s), chopped
1/2 item(s) bell pepper(s), red, orange or yellow chopped
2 1/2 cup(s) cooked whole wheat pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white vinegar
3 Tbsp Athenos Blue cheese crumbles
2 cup(s) cooked broccoli, separated into florets and cooked
Instructions
1. Cook spiral whole wheat pasta in salted boiling water to preferred doneness. I like mine at about 10 minutes.
2. While pasta is cooking chop tomatoes, bell pepper, and scallions. Throw these ingredients into a big bowl to combine with pasta.
3. When pasta is done strain and add to veggies in bowl. Allow to cool slightly.
4. Toss broccoli florets into pasta water and cook until desired doneness. Then put in bowl with pasta and other veggies.
5. Toss with oil and vinegar, allow to cool slightly before adding in the blue cheese. Use salt and pepper to taste throughout. Let set overnight to meld flavors (great as a lunch item).

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Weight Watcher's Mushroom Omlet

I wanted to try this at some point this weekend, let's face it I don't have time to cook something like this on a weekday when I am trying to get everyone out the door in time. I decided to make it for lunch on Sunday. It was delicious!
Mushroom Omelet:
For Mushrooms
4 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
For Omelet
1 egg white
1 whole egg
mushrooms
2 tbsp reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced
1. saute mushrooms in olive oil, add butter and Worcestershire sauce till mushrooms cook through.
2. Scramble eggs, spray pan, add to small fry pan and let cook almost through.
3. When eggs are set add mushrooms, & cheese to one side of omelet. With a heat resistant spatula turn over  one side of omelet onto ingredients and cover with a teaspoon of water to steam the cheese through without scorching egg.
4. Turn out onto plate and top with green onions.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meatloaf, Garlicky Broccoli with Egg Drop Soup :-)

One of my personal favorite meals is meatloaf. When I was younger and my birthday would roll around in my family we could always go to any restaurant we wanted or mom would make you whatever you wanted. I always asked for meatloaf, asparagus, and scalloped potatoes. So near and dear to my heart is meatloaf, or more importantly the meatloaf my mom made. Which isn't that the truth? Those of us that had the good fortune to have a mom that was a good cook generally really like their own "home" version.
Meatloaf 
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 45-55 minutes
1 tsp olive oil
1 yellow onion , finely diced
2 garlic clove(s), minced
1 pound ground beef
1 cup breadcrumbs, homemade in food processor
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 large egg
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 packet onion/mushroom dry soup packet
1 packet veggie dry soup packet
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
[1] Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft, 5-6 minutes.
[2] In a large bowl combine onion mixture with all remaining ingredients 
[3] Form the meat into a loaf on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray. Bake for 45-55 minutes.
[4] Drain juices (if using a higher fat content ground beef) and let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Garlicky Broccoli
1 large head of broccoli, florets
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
1. In a skillet put water and broccoli florets under cover and steam for a few minutes, until vibrant green, add in garlic and stir until water is cooked off.
2. Toss in vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

* Don't forget to add in the egg drop soup.
* Weight watchers points; 8 pts for meatloaf, 0 pts broccoli, 1 pt for soup

Weight Watcher Egg Drop Soup

My mom's brilliant idea on how to loose weight and maintain portion controls, while on weight watchers, is to have a salad and soup before eating the main course. I will make a big batch of soup to last the majority of the week, well that is if your husband doesn't eat it all in two sittings (Brian really likes the soups!) This weeks soup was egg drop soup, and I would say the vinegar is imperative! So tasty, this soup!
EGG DROP SOUP
WW =1 PT/1 cup serving
6 C. chicken fat free chicken broth
1 T. low sodium soy sauce
1-2 T. white vinegar
¼ C. thinly sliced carrots
¼ C thinly sliced celery
¼ C. frozen peas
2 egg whites beaten
2 green onions, chopped

1. Bring to a boil the first 5 ingredients, then simmer for 5-7 min or until veggies are tender. Add peas, and  bring soup mixture back to a boil gradually pour beaten eggs into the soup while stirring the soup.

2. Serve in soup bowls topped with green onions.


So, after going to the grocery store our quick dinner was a thin crust frozen pizza (to make sure I didn't eat too much, I had the cup of soup, a big salad and two slices of pizza - If I am being honest I think I had another slice but still cut down on the amount I ate!)


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Mummies Two Ways

For our Halloween dinner prior to trick or treating we had mummies two ways. Sausage mummies, and pizza muffin mummies. We have had the mini pizzas before but I LOVED the sausage mummies!


Sausage Mummies
Sundried tomatoe Chicken Sausage
1 can refriderated crescent rolls
Mustard for eyes or to dip
Preheat 350 degrees
1. Slice sausage in half, and wrap with a single crescent roll. If you slice them in half, you will have the exact number of each sausage and rolls.
2. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes until rolls are golden brown.





English Muffin Mummies
Whole wheat muffins
Tomato sauce
Reduced Fat Provalone
Sliced Olives for Eyes
Preheat Broiler
1. Toast muffins as much as possible to keep the sauce from getting to deep into the muffin.
2. Top muffin with sauce and cheese, place on cookie sheet and place under broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
3. Top with olive eyes.

*Weight Watchers 11.5 pts.
*Even though this is Halloween inspired the chicken sausages were very good, and if you could find the reduced fat/calorie crescent rolls you could reduce the amount of points and you don't have to put on the yellow mummy eyes and then you could have it any weeknight!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Sugar Cookies

To add to the weekend festivities we did sugar cookies and decorated them on Sunday, before we had dinner and went trick or treating. I was able to stay away from the Halloween Candy, but not these!


Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1.In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3.Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
*recipe used from allrecipe.com

Frosting
2/3 cup butter, softened

4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
4 drops red food coloring
1.In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, confectioners' sugar, and milk until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and food coloring. Spread on or between cookies.

* Recipe from allreceipe.com
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