Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lemon-Basil Lasagna Rolls

My oldest daughter is pasta-obsessed at the moment and every time I ask her what she'd like for dinner this week, it's always "PASTA!" I found this recipe in People magazine (recipe author: Candice Kumaiand just added a bit more marinara sauce so the noodles wouldn't be so dry . It was both delicious and healthy, so we were all happy with it. Pictured with Favorite French BreadServes 6-7 (2 rolls each).

1 (16 ounce) box lasagna noodles (not the pre-cooked ones)
3 cups marinara sauce, divided 

(15 oz.) container  part-skim milk ricotta cheese
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons (save 1-2 Tablespoons for garnish)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 Tablespoon dried basil (OR substitute 1 cup julienned fresh basil, plus more for garnish)
sea salt, to taste

1. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions until al dente (still a little bit of crunch; Noodles will continue to bake & soften in the oven). Separate and lay flat on cookie sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray to prevent them from sticking together.
3. Cover bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce.
4. Blend ricotta, lemon zest, oregano, basil, and sea salt in a medium bowl.
5. Spread about 2 Tablespoons ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle; roll each tightly to form a compact spiral. 
6. Arrange rolled noodles neatly in baking dish and cover with the remaining 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
7. Garnish with additional lemon zest and julienned basil, if desired. 

*NUTRITIONAL INFO: Per 2 lasagna rolls: 350.9 calories, 9 grams fat, 16.5 grams cholesterol, 424 mg. sodium, 51.2 grams carbohydrate, 4.3 grams fiber, 14.6 grams protein.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've probably made a dozen different variations of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, because I love them, but these are, without any hesitation, my very favorite! They are not overly "pumpkin-y" but they are soft and flavorful. I made them with half semi-sweet and half white chocolate chips (because I was out of milk chocolate chips....GASP!) and really liked the variation, but milk chocolate chips are always delicious. The cookie dough tastes a lot like pumpkin pie, though I wouldn't just be eating it by the spoonful... (wink, wink!) Recipe from George Duran on The Food NetworkMakes 5 dozen cookies. 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup light brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup canned pumpkin puree
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips (I used 1/2 white and 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons (or cookie scoop) onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

SERVES: 60 (PER COOKIE); Calories: 106; Total Fat 5 grams; Saturated Fat: 3 grams; Protein: 1 grams; Total carbohydrates: 14 grams; Sugar: 9 grams Fiber: 1 gram; Cholesterol: 16 milligrams; Sodium: 70 milligrams

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Crockpot Bolognese Sauce

One of my husbands favorite foods is Spaghetti with meat sauce, therefore over the years I have experimented with various recipes to find our favorite one. Here it is. Great flavor and what I like to call "hidden" veggies for the kids.  I love it even more that it's in the crockpot. Throw it in in the morning and by dinner time you have a fabulous meal ready. 

1 Tbs. virgin olive oil
1 white onion, diced
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 c. water
1 (28 oz) can diced tomato
1 (15 oz) can tomato puree
1 c. carrots, grated
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 Tbs dried italian herbs
1 bay leaf

Heat olive oil in saute pan. Add onions and saute for about 4 minutes. Add meat and 1 tsp salt and cook for 5 more minutes, breaking up meat as it cooks. Put meat mixture in crockpot. Whisk 2 Tbs tomato paste into 1 c water. Add to pot along with remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over your favorite pasta (I use low carb spaghetti).

recipe found at weelicious 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Apple Cider Crisp

Here's another Weight Watchers recipe that's lightened up, but doesn't skimp on flavor. It's sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Funny thing is, the second time I made it, I left out the apple cider and I liked it better. Either way, it's delicious!

1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour 
1/4 cup(s) sugar 
1/4 cup(s) packed light brown sugar 
1/4 cup(s) salted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 
7 medium Granny Smith, apple, peeled and sliced 
1/3 cup(s) apple cider (optional)
2 Tbsp sugar 
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 spray(s) cooking spray 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine first four ingredients in a blender or food processor; pulse four times or until crumbly. Set aside.

Combine apple and next five ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to combine. Spoon apple mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm. 

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3⁄4 cup).
WW Points Plus: 6 points

Each serving provides: 273 calories, 6.8 grams fat, 15.3 mg cholesterol, 44.6 mg sodium, 77 mg potassium, 58.1 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 1.9 grams protein

Lightened Up Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

This version of quiche is healthier than most, but tastes naughty:) My family had no idea it was a Weight Watchers recipe!

6 oz. pie crust, 9-inch, refrigerated 
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup low-fat, shredded Cheddar cheese
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well-drained
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Press pie crust into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch, removable-bottom tart pan or a 9-inch pie pan; refrigerate until ready to use.

To make filling, heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer onion to a large bowl and add ricotta cheese, cheddar cheese, egg, egg whites, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper; mix well and fold in broccoli. Spoon mixture into prepared crust and level surface with a wooden spoon; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake until a knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces. Yields 1 piece per serving.
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 6 points per serving

"Twix"Cookie Bars

Ok, this recipe is a decided SPLURGE, but my sister-in-law Kari made these for our Christmas Eve family dinner and all 18 of us were raving about them (and having seconds!) It makes a huge batch, so it's easy to keep some in the fridge or freezer and just take them out when you need a chocolate fix. Recipe from www.ourcookingcafe.com

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325. Beat together butter and sugar til smooth, add vanilla. Stir in flour and salt until smooth. Press into a sheet cake pan, about 12x16 (or close to those measurements.) Poke with a fork several times. (See photo below) Bake for about 22-25 minutes, or until just starting to brown. 
Remove and cool completely.

1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
6 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Place butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat. Stir in remaining ingredients except for vanilla. Bring to a boil, 
stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook and stir over a low rolling boil for about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour caramel over shortbread layer. Place in the fridge or freezer to set.

3-4 cups milk chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons shortening

In a sauce pan over low heat, melt chocolate, stirring frequently. Stir in shortening until smooth then spread over caramel layer. Return to refrigerator to set, then cut into bars. Makes about 50 bars.

* When you cut into bars, set a clean, slightly wet cloth nearby and clean your knife each time you cut. This prevents the shortbread layer from sticking to the chocolate and your bars will look pretty!
* Stack in an airtight container, separating the rows with layers of waxed paper. (See photo below)
* These are best kept in the fridge and set out a few minutes before you eat them.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Baked Ziti with Turkey Sausage

HAPPY 2013!!!!!!!!
With each New Year so many people focus their efforts on eating healthy and getting or staying in shape and our family is doing the same! I made some delicious and HEALTHY recipes over the holidays that I can't wait to share with you this week! This is a Weight Watcher's recipe, but you'd never know it. My daughter asked me when she took her first bite, "Mom, did this food fall from heaven?" 
Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers.com

3/4 pound(s) uncooked turkey sausage, casings removed (I used Jimmy Dean reduced-fat pork sausage)
1 medium uncooked onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
10 oz. frozen green peas, thawed
2 Tablespoon canned tomato paste
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. table salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
12 oz. uncooked whole-wheat pasta, ziti, cooked according to package directions (I used Dreamfield's low-carb penne pasta)
6 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Crumble the sausage meat into a large saucepan and brown over medium heat, stirring often, about 4 minutes.Drain off any fat, then add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, peas, tomato paste, oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook uncovered 5 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in the cooked pasta and half the cheese. Spread evenly into a 9- X 13-inch baking pan. Top evenly with the remaining cheese.

Bake until the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before serving. Serves 8.

Weight Watcher's Points Plus value: 8 points per serving

Favorite French Bread

 Even if you don't make yeast bread often, this recipe is so easy! The dough is easier to work with than any I've tried and the bread bakes up fluffy and soft. I've included directions for using a stand mixer (such as a Kitchen Aid or Bosch) and for hand mixing. My Mom made this bread often when we were younger and it's still a favorite! I made several batches for Christmas gifts this year for neighbors. Recipe from our relative, Winnifred Jardine.

2 1/4 cups warm water (115 degrees F.)
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 packages (1 Tablespoon each) active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons soft shortening or oil
6 cups flour, stirred & measured

In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water and sugar (I used my stand mixer). Sprinkle yeast over top; allow to soften. Add salt, shortening (or oil) and 3 cups flour; beat well. Add remaining flour, stirring well with a heavy spoon (or the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer). Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes; stir down with spoon (or mix on low speed for a couple seconds with a stand mixer). Repeat this process until dough has been stirred down 5 times.

Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle baking sheet lightly with cornmeal. Set aside.

Turn dough out onto floured board; knead 2-3 times to coat dough with flour so it can be handled. Divide dough into 2 parts. Roll each part of the dough into a  9 x 12 inch rectangle. Roll dough up, starting from the long side and pinch the end of the loaf to seal. Arrange seam side down on the prepared baking sheet, allowing room for both loaves. Repeat with the second part of the dough. Cover loaves lightly and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a very sharp knife, cut several gashes at an angle in the top of each loaf. Carefully brush both loaves with an egg wash (1 egg, beaten slightly with 1 Tablespoon water). If desired, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on racks.

NOTE: For a crustier loaf, a pan of hot water may be set on bottom of the pan while bread is baking.

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