Posts Tagged ‘main entrees’

This dish has been made a few times this week and a few different ways.  First, I made it for B and myself for dinner with grilled Quorn Naked Chi’ken cutlet for myself and a grilled piece of chicken for B.  I seasoned both with a dry rub of garlic salt, pepper, basil, and thyme.  I also made it for lunch with a Morningstar Farms Griller’s chicken patty.  I preferred the version with the Naked Chi’ken cutlet but it was also good with the patty sliced up.  Enjoy!

Grilled “Chicken”, Fruit, and Goat Cheese Salad
With 4 oz grilled Chicken: 7 Weight Watchers Points Plus
With piece of Quorn Naked Chicken Cutlet: 6 Weight Watchers Points Plus

Makes approximately 2 servings

1 1/2 large head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
8 mushrooms, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
3 tbsp semi-soft crumbled goat cheese
3 tbsp Ocean Spray Craisins
2 clementines, peeled and separated
1 4 oz piece of grilled chicken (or 1 piece Quorn Naked Chi’ken Cutlet)
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

Grill chicken (or Quorn cutlet).  Mix everything well and serve.  (I like to cool the grilled chicken before serving but that is a taste preference!)

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Herb Goat Cheese and Shrimp Pasta

Approximately 5 servings, 8 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white wine
6-7 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
6-7 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
16 large shrimp, deveined and detailed
5 cups cooked pasta
2 tbsp semi-soft crumbled goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring water to a boil.  Once it is boiling, add pasta and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, add oil and half of the garlic.  Let the garlic saute making sure to not let the garlic burn.  Add the basil, mint, parsley, salt, pepper, and white wine.  Muddle the herbs in the oil and wine.  Saute for approximately 2 minutes and add remaining garlic. Add tomatoes and saute on medium-high heat.  When  the tomatoes are softened add the shrimp cooking for approximately 5 minutes.

Drain pasta and add sauce to large pot.  Combine 2 tbsp goat cheese and mix well.  Serve in pasta bowls.

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As you can see (scroll down ya lazy bum) B and I tried out a New Orleans themed restaurant this weekend.  One of the things that stood out to me on the menu was their Shrimp and Grits.  Unfortunately, it was made with bacon, and ham, and all sorts of things that most people find delicious that I don’t eat.  So I sighed and (tragically) opted for the catfish (can you feel the sarcasm?).

I was inspired though.  I wanted to make Shrimp and Grits at home.  I have never been a huge fan of grits.  My dad is from the south and has them as a side with his eggs and I was always like “eh, I’d rather have home fries with ketchup and hot sauce” also known as the NJ diner way of eating egg sides.  Thumbing through a cookbook in our kitchen I found a recipe for shrimp and grits that I wanted to try to work with.  First, the grits had cheese in the recipe.  I thought, “Self, you love cheese.  This can’t be bad.”  Also, this recipe seemed to be incredibly Weight Watchers friendly (which it turned out it was).  I made a few adjustments to the recipe that can be changed back.  First, I swapped out 6.5 oz of Turkey sausage for one box of Morningstar Farms Sausage links (10 links).  Second, I added a lot more Old Bay Seasoning.  In the future, I think I would dramatically reduce that quantity and increase the amount of hot sauce in the shrimp mix (which the recipe did not originally call for.  I liked the strong Old Bay taste but B seemed a little lukewarm on it.  For mass appeal I would reduce to 2 tsp from 4 1/2 tsp.  A final benefit of this meal, it was incredibly quick to make.  With prep time for chopping it took no more than twenty minutes to make the entire dish. Enjoy!

The Northerner’s Take on Shrimp and Grits
4 Servings, 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus Points per serving


16 large shrimp, deveined and detailed
4 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large green bell peppers, diced
10 links Morningstar Farms Sausage Links
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Frank’s Hot Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Heat a large non-stick pan or skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add shrimp, 3 tsp of seasoning, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Cook approximately 3 minutes or until the shrimp are done, stirring frequently.  Remove shrimp from pan and keep warm.

2) Return pan to medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add bell pepper.  Cook for approximately 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add sausage, remaining seasoning, and hot sauce.  Cook approximately 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently.  Add reserved shrimp and garlic.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add 1/4 cup of water.  Cook for about 30 seconds scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Remove from heat and let stand for about 2 minutes.


1/2 C Quick 5 minute Grits
1/2 C fat free milk
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Frank’s Hot Sauce
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1) Bring 1 1/2 C of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Gradually stir in grits to boiling water.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Stir in milk.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.

Serve shrimp over the grits.  And serve warm!

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B is a fantastic cook.  For all the reasons I love him and married him, after tasting this dish the fact that he is a fantastic cook was at the top of my list.

I was treated to a home cooked meal from B and the star of the show was this polenta.  He built off a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis and I thought it came out awesome.  It had the right balance of garlic (which may be a little garlicky for some, since we’re both big garlic fans) and feta.  It also had a great creamy quality to it that went very well with what he served with it (grilled tomatoes, onions, and marinated Greek chicken with a cucumber dill tzatziki sauce).


Roasted Garlic and Feta Polenta
Makes 8 servings, 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving

1 tsp olive oil
1 bulb garlic, trimmed
2 tbsp reduce fat feta cheese (or to taste)
6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut the top off a garlic bulb.  Place in tinfoil pouch and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover and roast in oven for 30-35 minutes or until garlic is soft.

In a heavy, large sauce pan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.

Add roasted garlic and feta and mix well.  In a large Pyrex pan, spread out polenta and put in fridge for 1 hour or so to cool.  When polenta is cooled, slice and finish on grill, cooking approximately 5 minutes on each side.

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UPDATED: See Panzanella recipe below!

This meal started with leftover bread and tuna on sale.  Seafood out here is generally fairly pricey compared to what I used to be able to get back in NJ.  As a result, when good seafood is on sale I snatch it up.  This week tuna fillets were on sale for the same price as tilapia (score!).  We also had leftover bread from a meal earlier this week (B made a vegetable, shrimp, and fennel soup and we used the bread to get all the brothy goodness).  I had seen panzanella on a number of cooking shows and on various blogs and wanted to give it a shot.  So this is how I started: panzanella and tuna.  B and I decided we wanted an aioli so we started to do some research.  We came across a roasted red pepper one and, luckily, we had a leftover red pepper from B’s aforementioned soup. We were sold.  The last part of the meal came as a last-minute addition.  I had also bought a lot of asparagus (because it was on sale) for B’s soup (which he didn’t use it in) and for a meal this week.  We then decided to add this to our meal.  I’ve separated into the three key pieces that actually required assembling.  For the tuna I just seasoned with salt and pepper and seared it on the grill for about 4 minutes on each side, until it was cooked but raw in the middle.

8 servings, 7 Weight Watchers PointsPlus per serving

UPDATE: I made this again and instead of tossing the garlic and bread with 1/4 C of olive oil I lightly sprayed cooking spray before popping them into the oven.  This reduced the dish to 5 Points Plus per serving.

5 cups day old Italian bread, torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup sliced red onion
10-15 basil leaves, shredded
1/2 cup cucumber, quartered
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces (approximately 8 oz. for what I used)

For Vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl, toss bread with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Lay bread on a baking sheet, and toast in the preheated oven until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes; allow to cool slightly.

While the bread is in the oven, make the vinaigrette by whisking together 1/4 cup of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Add bread to bowl with vegetables.  Gently toss together the bread, tomatoes, onion, basil, cucumber, and mozzarella cheese. Toss with the vinaigrette and let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
Approximately 8 servings, 1 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving


3 cloves garlic
1 red pepper, roasted (approximately 1/2 C if you are not roasting your own pepper)
1/3 C mayonnaise (I had to use Miracle Whip because it is all we had.  A lower fat mayonnaise would likely influence the points plus per serving)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, add garlic and chop until the garlic is minced.  Add roasted red pepper and mix until almost smooth.  Blend in mayonnaise.  Once that is blended, mix in olive oil.  Add salt and pepper.  Transfer aioli to another bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and store in refrigerator.

Garlic White Wine Asparagus
4 servings, 2 Weight Watchers PointsPlus per serving

2 tbsp Smart Balance light
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 C white wine
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot boil water.  Add asparagus and cook.  Blanche the asparagus in an ice water bath.  In a pan, add butter, lemon zest, garlic, and lemon juice, be careful to make sure the garlic does not burn.  Add asparagus and white wine.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes until flavors are well absorbed by the asparagus.

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After Easter I made a patch of pesto with our leftover basil that I’ve been trying to find a way to use.  Laying in bed last night I had a “EUREKA” moment on how to use it.  Well, I decided that I was just going to use it.  I have to give credit to B for coming up with the idea to marinate the shrimp in a lemon garlic sauce to add a little bit of a citrus flavor to the dish.

B called this one of our “restaurant quality” dishes.  I can’t disagree.  This is nice especially for summer because of the pesto.  Also, it wasn’t overly pesto-y, which is something that B and I both look for in our pesto dishes.  Enjoy!

Shrimp and Roasted Tomato Pesto Pasta
Makes 6 servings, 8 PointsPlus per serving

1 cup basil, packed
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Shrimp and Marinade
2 1/2 oz. shrimp (20 shrimp in our case)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
3 cloves garlic, minced (or about 1 tbsp pre-packaged minced garlic)
1/4 tsp olive oil (drizzled)

Other ingredients
12 oz. farfalle pasta (1 box)
5 stem tomatoes

(1) For pesto: Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 3 tbsp of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

(2) For shrimp marinade: Take remaining 3 cloves of garlic and mince.  Add 1/4 tsp olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest with shrimp.  Mix and cover.  Let sit in fridge.

(3) To roast tomatoes: Preheat oven to 300 F.  Cut tomatoes into approx. 1/2″ slices.  On a foil lined baking sheet, spray cooking spray and lay out tomatoes.  Spray again and season with salt and pepper.  Allow to roast in the oven for 1-2 hours or until tomatoes look shriveled and are no longer juicy.

(4) We grilled the shrimp on skewers for about 2-3 minutes on each side.  The shrimp could also be sautéed on a stove top.  Add pesto, shrimp, and roasted tomatoes to the cooked pasta.  Mix well. Serve warm.

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Now that I’m starting to finally get back to closer to 100% health, have about 50% of my taste buds back, and having a bit more free time since I’ve been able to catch up on some work, I’ve been starting to plan out some recipes that I would like to try to make.

This is not one of them.

Yesterday was a end-of-the-year picnic for my department (I’m a Ph.D. student for the readers that aren’t my mom).  I had the brilliant idea to bring two things, my patented taco dip and some margarita cupcakes like the ones I made as a thank you to our neighbors (see below).  I learned (the hard way) that a) one should not go to happy hour and then bake and b) I am not nearly close to a good enough baker to add to a box cake mix with from scratch ingredients.  As a result, my creative juices just haven’t been flowing this weekend.

This recipe is adapted from Real Simple‘s website.  For the chicken, we used chicken tenders (which from our frozen aisle are like mini chicken breasts) instead of the chicken with skin on.  This came out a little dry but not bad.  For mine, without the chicken cooking on top, the beans and potatoes did get a little dry.  I had drastically reduced the oil called for in the recipe (from 6 tbsp to 1 tsp) so this might be part of the problem.  In the future I might look to another component other than the vegetable stock to remedy this.  Also, I still am not totally trusting the points value that comes out of the recipe builder.  Like I said a few weeks ago, I discovered that if one uses all 0 point vegetables and oil a number of points magically appear.  In this case, when I entered it for myself, I used 1 less lemon because the second lemon in our fridge was bad.  By adding another lemon into the recipe builder it added 1 PP to the total PP value.  The value I gave reflects the higher number to be on the safe side.

Pan-Roasted Chicken (Quorn) with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes
Makes 4 servings of the beans and potatoes
PointsPlus value per serving without Quorn or chicken: 5 Weight Watchers PointsPlus
PointsPlus value for 1 serving and  1 piece of Quorn: 7 Weight Watchers PointsPlus
PointsPlus value for 1 serving and 3 oz. of chicken tenders (thawed, cleaned, and with no skin): 8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus

1 tsp olive oil (I did drizzle about a tbsp over the chicken since B is not on WW and I didn’t want the chicken to be dry)
2 lemons, thinly sliced and juiced
6 cloves of garlic
approx 1 lb. fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
20 oz. Idaho potatoes (4 potatoes)
2/3 C vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried rosemary

(1) Preheat oven to 450 F.  Spray a dish or skillet with cooking spray.  Add lemon slices into a single layer at the bottom of the dish or skillet.

(2) In a large bowl, combine the juice of one lemon (be careful how to juice this because you will use the rind in the recipe, see above), vegetable stock, oil, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, basil, and rosemary.  Mix well.  Toss cut and cleaned green beans in the juice.  Using tongs, take the green beans out and add to a large dish or skillet.  Next, toss chopped potatoes in the liquid mixture and then move to the dish or skillet.  (NOT INCLUDED IN PP calculation) If cooking with chicken (or a soy substitute) toss this in liquid and then add on top of beans and potatoes with remaining liquid.

(3)  (IF COOKING WITH CHICKEN) Roast for 50 minutes.  Remove chicken from dish or skillet and cook for 10 minutes more or until potatoes are tender.  (IF COOKING WITH SOY MEAT SUBSTITUTE) Roast beans and potatoes for 40 minutes while marinating the soy substitute in the liquid.  Add soy meat substitute on top of beans and potatoes and roast for an addition 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Serve warm.

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