Thursday, July 30, 2009

Five Finds

Dr. Praeger’s
Have you have heard of this fella, Dr. Praegar? Well, on a whim, I picked up his Tex Mex Veggie Burgers while shopping at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago. I figured it would taste like a Boca or Morningstar patty, but this guy’s veggie burgers are fan-freaking-tastic. Well, turns out he’s got a whole slew of low calorie, low fat products that look yummy, only I can’t find them anywhere (Word on the street is that Whole Foods carries some of his products, only I haven’t stepped inside a Whole Foods since I quit my job at The Association—good for the pocket book…hmmmm…). I did also try the California Veggie Burger, and it’s also tasty. I suggest skipping the bun, topping the patty with some salsa (Garlic Salsa from Trader Joe’s is one of my new favorite things) and finishing it off with some slices of avocado. Points: 2 points for one patty; 4.5 for two.

WeightWatchers Chicken Salad
This is one of the easiest, tastiest recipes I have found on the WeightWatchers website. It’s a staple in my make-ahead lunch rotation, and it’s a great way to get a solid serving of lean protein in every day. Seriously, it’s so easy, it’s stupid.

3/4 pound(s) cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized piece (I boil and shred the chicken)
1/2 cup(s) celery, finely diced (or as much as you want; celery is a great filler in this recipe and adds a lot of bulk to your serving)
1/3 cup(s) dill pickle(s), or sweet gherkins, finely diced (I found sweet relish that was super low in calories, so I just do about two or three tablespoons of that)
1/4 cup(s) reduced-calorie mayonnaise
2 tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
2 tbsp parsley, fresh, chopped (I actually started using dried parsley because I always waste the fresh stuff)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Mix it all together. Tada.

Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza from Smitten Kitchen
I do like to look at photos of food. Food porn, I believe they call it these days. So after everyone I know told me about the blog Smitten Kitchen, I added it to my Google reader. The photography is beautiful, and the recipes always sound good, but she does a lot more baking than I imagine I’ll ever do, and frankly some (most) of her recipes are just not weight-conscious-bride-to-be friendly. However, I keep an eye out for those recipes than would work or could be modified, and lord knows if I see the words “goat cheese” I have to investigate.

I happened to remember reading this when I saw zucchini and yellow squash on recent trip to the farmers market. I knew someone (myself) was trying to tell me something (make the pizza). I was worried the amount of goat cheese might make the pizza too rich or that the added lemon flavor would be over-powering, but my fears were in vain. The pizza turned out perfectly. And I, often a tomato sauce and cheese purist when it comes to pizza, was in love. I, of course, used a Whole Wheat Boboli crust because time is not something I have an over-abundance of these days. Also, do not drizzle the olive oil (if you are concerned with these things), rather, I just put a teaspoon of oil in a small bowl and brushed it on to the veggies right before the pizza went into the oven. It’s not the most diet-friendly meal, but it’s easy to plan for, and it feels more like an indulgence than it is. If you want to eat 1/3 of the pizza it’s 8 points. If you’re going to go “nuts” and eat half the pizza, it will cost you 12.

Total Whole Grain
I love cereal. But sometimes I love cereal a little too much, which has meant that as of late, Cheerios has gone on the “do not buy” list. I will eat an entire box. Watch me. This means that eating cereal is a bit of a precarious situation for me. I have to find something that I like enough to look forward to eating it every day, but not enough that I’m going to want to eat it all day. I’ve been lucky in that I do seem to prefer non-surgery, higher-fiber, lower fat cereals. But that’s just me. MM picked up a box of Total Whole Grain, I was all “whatever Total,” for unexplained, perhaps ignorant reasons. When I looked at the nutritional content though, I decided to give it a try. I am hooked. Not only is it a great breakfast choice, it’s also become my staple pre-workout snack. And one serving is only 1 point (granted it’s only ¾ cup, but whatever…).

Spinach Tofu Chickpea Curry
My experience with is kind of feels like being handed a 10 page menu at a restaurant. There simply too much—too many categories, too many recipes, too many comments with too many suggestions for modifying recipes. This makes it difficult to make a decision, and once you find something you like, you stick with it even though there are thousands of other options. Once upon a time, when I was trying to eat vegetarian, I found the recipe for Spinach Tofu Chickpea Curry. It was an instant hit and I made it constantly. So constantly, in fact, I was shocked that I hadn’t already written about it on this blog. The recipe ran its natural course in our households—as recipes will do—and we moved on.

However, last week I brought back the Spinach Tofu Chickpea Curry, and it was as good as ever. I did make one modification. I use extra-firm tofu, rather than firm. And for those of you who don’t often eat the crazy, hippie stuff, “pressing” the tofu before cooking with it makes a world of difference in your final product. All you need to do is set the tofu on a plate, cover it with a paper towel or dish towel (whatever) and then set some heavy stuff on top of it. Let it sit for awhile (I sometimes do this in the morning and have it sit under the weight all day). This removes the water from the tofu, allowing it to soak in the flavors of curry.

1 comment:

Lindy said...

you MUST try the pizza crust at Trader Joe's. It's raw and in a blob of dough in that section near the cheeses. Then you roll it all out and it feels homemade, and tastes GREAT.

Gonna try the chicken salad, maybe as soon as tomorrow.

Thanks Lou!