Thursday, March 10, 2011

Polenta with Tomatoes and Capers

Tonight we had a bunch for leftovers for dinner. I found a single serving of polenta (ok, actually corn grits, since the name "polenta" implies butter and cheese whereas my corn grits have neither of those additions) and decided I should dress it up for my dinner.

It was only a 1/2 cup, so I mashed it up with a fork, heated it up in the microwave, then topped it with a teaspoon of olive oil, about 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes (the larger ones cut in half lengthwise), and a couple teaspoons of caper. Topped with a bit of salt and pepper, this was a delicious, filling treat of a side dish! Conveniently quick, low in points, and tasty.

Corn Grits:
3 cups boiling water
1 cup corn grits
salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
Whisk grits into boiling water. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir while protecting yourself with the lid of the pot you are cooking this in--those spatters (and there will be spatters!) are hot!
Makes approximately 4 cups. I pour the corn grits into ramekins and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning them out onto the plate when serving dinner. We do not eat all 4 servings, so I often refrigerate one or two servings for later.

1/2 cup corn grits is 2 WW points plus, so my dish is 2 points plus + 1 points plus for oil (zero for tomatoes and capers) for a total of 3 WW points plus.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

I used to buy (organic, whole grain) frozen waffles and put them in the toaster oven in the morning for my son but they are rather expensive, so I started a new habit, which is fun for us both, much cheaper, and still produces good food. I make pancakes about one morning a week--he eats one serving for breakfast and I freeze the rest (that's right: I do not eat any myself). This way he gets to have the fun of making pancakes with me and I get to have the convenience of the frozen pancakes to put in the toaster oven on the other mornings.

Here is the batter:

Here are the blueberries, washed and ready to be placed carefully in the cooking pancakes:

Here is a pancake cooking:

Here are the pancakes cooling on racks before I freeze them.

Here is his plate. Oh, whoops, looks like he ate them all up while I was cooking the rest of the batter!

Whole Wheat Pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil (I use evoo)
1 and 1/4 cups milk or buttermilk
1 tablespoon honey
butter for frying

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the egg and oil together and then add the milk and honey and mix thoroughly. Add wet to dry and mix gently, leaving lumps. Put a little butter in a hot pan and add batter (I make 2 pancakes with 1/4 cup batter). Place blueberries or strawberries or banana or apple or chocolate chips while batter is still liquid. You will know the pancakes are ready to turn when little bubbles appear on the surface. Flip and cook for another minute or so.

If you are going to freeze the pancakes, allow them to cool completely on wire racks before wrapping them in wax paper, placing in a plastic freezer bag (or other freezer container). I've never kept them longer than a week, so not sure how long they would last. To reheat I put them in the toaster oven on the toast setting for the same amount of time I'd put in a piece of bread. They do get a little stiffer than when fresh, but this just means they are better able to soak up maple syrup!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Black Bean Soup With Roasted Tomatoes

The dreary rainy day outside made me think of creamy soup for dinner. I wanted a soup that combined the protein, fiber, and anthrocyanins in black beans with the taste and nutritional benefits of tomatoes. The end result disappeared so fast I was not able to take a photo! My husband said that means I have to make it again so I can take a picture next time (oh, and he thought it was delicious). My FIL seemed to dig it too and my four year old son ate the first serving he was given (shocking enough already since he doesn't really like soup) and then asked for, and ate, seconds! This soup can be tailored to any taste, but I will tell you exactly how I made it tonight.

Black Bean Soup With Roasted Tomatoes
16 ounces plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and then cut into several wedges
6-8 garlic cloves, peeled but whole
1 medium carrot, cut into quarters
3 and 2/3 cup cooked black beans (if you use canned beans, rinse them first)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon oil (I used macadamia nut oil infused with hot pepper called Pele's Fire)
2 cups vegetable stock

Bake the vegetables in the oven at 350 for 55-60 minutes, stirring about every 20 minutes or so. Once baked, remove the carrots and set aside. Combine the remaining veggies, beans (except for 2/3 cup), cilantro (except for 1/4 cup), cumin, salt, oil, and stock. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Puree the soup (either in batches in food processor or blender, or with an immersion blender in the pot). Dice the baked carrot. Add the reserved beans, cilantro, and diced carrots. Serve hot!

Six servings at 5 WW points plus each.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Savory and Sweet Fruits

Aren't they gorgeous? Such beautiful red grape tomatoes: sweet and fabulous, they are the perfect size to fit in my mouth so when they can burst between my teeth and not squirt anywhere! Today for lunch I started my recently oft-repeated tomato and zucchini salad, but this time with the beauties above instead of slicing tomatoes. Of course both tomatoes and zucchini are fruit, so these are my savory fruits for this post.

Grape Tomato and Zuchini Salad
1 cup grape tomatoes
2 cups baby zuchini, cut into small pieces
1 ounce crumbled feta
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
I topped the salad with an ounce of crumbled feta, teaspoon of evoo, a couple teaspoons full of white wine vinegar (thought about balsamic but didn't want to color the feta), and some freshly ground salt and pepper. A delicious, filling lunch for only 3 WW points plus (the feta and the oil--I did not plug all these ingredients into the recipe builder). Full of flavor, vitamins, and fiber. Plus, fun to eat!

For dinner (a very casual affair with for two: my son and I), I decided to make a sweet fruit smoothie for the child. He will eat vegetables, but I have to bribe him more often than not. He needs the vitamins from the fruit, the fat and calcium from the 2% milk, and everybody needs fiber! All ingredients are organic: 1 cup 2% milk, 1/2 mango, 1 very ripe banana, 4 strawberries, in the vita-mix for 30 seconds. Here are before and after photos! (Sorry I was not able to take a photo of the glass when it was full!)

This made 2 cups , which I called 2 servings. 5 WW points plus for each serving. I had only 1/2 serving (would have had more but he wanted the rest of mine when I asked if he wanted me to pour it into his glass). P.S. I tried to get him to let me put a carrot in also and he protested that adding the carrot would make for too many ingredients. He insisted on, "only 4 ingredients, not 5!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Baked Purple Fries

Those beautiful purple potatoes (by the way I read that the color gives these potatoes the same anthocyanins (phytonutrients) as are found in blueberries!) I bought a couple of weeks ago were still sitting in the cupboard, waiting for me to do something delicious to them. I decided to cut them up and bake them as fries. Here they are in the bowl.

Here they are on my plate. I also had stir fry tofu and steamed broccoli.

Baked Purple Potato Fries
Preheat oven to 400 fahrenheit.
16 ounces purple potatoes, scrubbed, eyes removed, and cut into 1/4 inch fries
In a bowl, combine with:
1 tablespoon evoo
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
and stir.
Bake, spread in a single layer, for 25-30 minutes. (Mine were baked for 30 minutes and I think that was a little long, but I did use my convection oven.)
This recipe makes 3 servings of 2.2 ounces each (see my plate, above, for the size of that serving) and each serving is 4 WW points plus (and 2 teaspoons of oil per serving!).