Tomato Basil Soup

2 Feb IMG_2293-0

I have long had an aversion to canned tomato soup.  I’ve hated it since I was a kid, and for a long time I thought i didn’t like Tomato Soup at all.  Then, in college, I discovered tomato basil soup at a local restaurant, and from that point on, I was in love.  I’ve wanted to try this at home for years, but never got around to it.  I try not to eat it too often out anymore, because the calorie count can vary dramatically depending on the use of butter and heavy cream.  So, it seemed like I just needed to skinny up some tomato soup and make it at home.  Last weekend, I finally got around to it and the results are delicious.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Red onion, diced
  • 32 oz (one big box) of Vegetable Stock
  • 3 TBSP of minced garlic, or 3 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed
  • 1 (28 oz) Can of Crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup- 1 cup of half and half
  • About 10 leaves of fresh basil, cut into little pieces
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place red onions in a 4 qt pot with about 1 cup of vegetable stock.  Bring to a Simmer and simmer onions for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic to the onions and continue to simmer about 3 additional minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper into the mixture, and bring to a boil.  Once it begins to boil, reduce heat back to a simmer.
  4. Continue to simmer soup for about 15 additional minutes, stirring periodically.
  5. If you have a great immersion blender, you’ll use it at this point to puree the soup into a smooth blend.  If you do not have a great immersion blender, you can use your regular blender, but listen up here..this is important.  Do not pour the entire pot of soup into the blender at once.  If you do, the boiling soup is going to explode out of the top of the blender and all over you when you hit the button, trust me on this one.  Divide the soup into 2-3 batches, and after blending each one, return them all back to the pot. Your blender shouldn’t be more than 1/2 full with each batch.
  6. Once all your stuff is blended well and back in the pot, stir in your half and half, and your basil and salt and pepper to taste.   Continue to simmer the soup about 10-15 minutes or until it reaches the consistency you enjoy.

My batch used 3/4 cup of half and half, and i think it turned out nicely.  If you use 1 cup, add about 10 calories per serving.

 

6 (1 Cup) Servings= 105 Calories per cup

Approximately 2 weight watchers points plus per cup

Lemon Raspberry Pound Cake

25 Jan IMG_1643

So, I made this cake as a bundt cake, but judging by the texture when it was done, I’d say it’s really more of a “pound” cake. It’s rather dense, but flavorful. I hope you enjoy it. My kids really liked it.  This is a variation on a recipe i found in cooking light.

Ingredients: 

  • 12 oz fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Splenda + 1/2 cup Sugar (or 1 cup splenda baking mix)
  • 2 TBSP water, divided
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup light butter, softened (i use one that’s 50 cal/tbsp)
  • 1 1/2  tsp orange extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup of low fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2-3 tsp water

Directions:

  1. 1. Combine raspberries, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until berries break down and mixture thickens slightly, stirring frequently.
  2. Place cornstarch in a small bowl; add remaining 1 tablespoon water, stirring until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until thick. Cool completely.
  3. Once the raspberry mixture is cool, use an immersion blender to pulverize the seeds as much as possible.  You can also do this by pouring the mixture into a food processor.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  5. Place butter, Splenda Baking mix (or 1/2 c splenda/1/2 cup sugar) into a bowl or mixer and beat until smooth and creamy.
  6. Stir in Orange extract.
  7. Add eggs to sugar mixture, 1 at a time, mixing until all eggs are incorporated.
  8. Alternate between flour mixture and buttermilk, adding each one a little at a time to sugar mixture.  Mix batter until everything is well incorporated.
  9. Spray your bundt cake with nonstick spray.
  10. Spread 1/2 of your cake mixture into the pan and spread it evenly.
  11. Pour 1/2 of your raspberry mixture over the top of your cake batter and spread evenly, reserving the other half of the raspberry mixture to top your cake.
  12. Pour remaining cake batter over the raspberry layer and smooth the batter so it’s evenly distributed.
  13. Bake on 350 for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  14. Remove cake from oven, and cool about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake and turn it out onto a cooling rack.  Cool the cake completely.
  15. Combine powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of water, and whisk it well until all lumps are gone.  add additional water up to 3 tbsp total until glaze reaches desired consistency.
  16. Pour glaze evenly over cake and allow glaze to harden a bit (sit about 10 min)
  17. Slice cake and serve with a dollop of reserved raspberry sauce on top.


  
Makes 12 servings= 200 calories per slice

appx 5 weight watchers points plus per serving

 

 

Zucchini with Tomato Gravy

24 Jan IMG_1635

This was a yummy side dish that I quite enjoyed.  The sauce is lovely and quite different.  It can be used over baked or broiled chicken or pork chops as well.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 large green zucchini squash, washed and sliced
  • 1 cup of tomato juice or V8
  • 1/3 cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 TBSP light Butter (I use one that’s 50 cal/tbsp)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions: 

  1. Mix half of the tomato juice and all the corn starch in a small bowl and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  2. In a small skillet, mix tomato juice/cornstarch mixture, remaining 1/2 cup of tomato juice, chicken broth, salt, pepper and garlic powder to the pan.
  3. Bring the tomato gravy mixture to a boil.  Reduce Heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, until thick.
  4. Remove tomato gravy from heat and stir in 1 TBSP of light butter.
  5. In a separate skillet, melt remaining 1 TBSP of butter.
  6. Add sliced zucchini to the melted butter, stir and cook for about 5 minutes until zucchini is soft.  Add a little salt and pepper to the zucchini as it’s cooking.
  7. Once Zucchini is cooked, divide into 4 equal servings of zucchini, topped with tomato gravy.


Makes 4 servings= 76 Calories per serving

Appx 1 weight watchers points plus per serving

 

White Lasagna

17 Jan IMG_2135

This is a dish that can very easily be made vegetarian, by using veggie broth and omitting Chicken, so I’m listing it as “vegetarian friendly” and including the calorie count for both versions. This is a “weekend” recipe, meaning, it takes some time and love to put together. It’s not a “quick and easy” but it is yummy, and I hope you enjoy.

NOTE: I made mine ahead, put it all together and let it sit in the fridge assembled for about 1 1/2 hrs before baking. This is an easy “make ahead” meal. It’s also a good “make an extra one to freeze for later” meal. Just use an aluminum pan, and wrap the extra one tightly in saran wrap, then foil. Freeze, and when ready to cook set it out to thaw- then remove all the foil and plastic, cover back with foil, and bake as directed.

OK.  Here we go.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cooked chicken, diced or shredded (optional)
  • 8 oz reduced low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (divided)
  • 1 tsp italian herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 a tsp each)
  • 3 cups of baby spinach leaves, fresh
  • 9 No-boil Oven ready bake lasagna noodles (the long wavy ones)
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, rough chopped into quarters
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Sauce:

  • 3 TBSP light butter or margarine (50 cal per tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced bell pepper (any color)
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp flour (i like seasoned flour. here’s the one I use)
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 of paremsan cheese from list above

Instructions: 

  1. Wash, dry, and cut all veggies as described above, and set each aside for now.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together: Ricotta, half of your paremsan cheese, egg whites, italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  3. Stir your spinach leaves into the ricotta, mix thoroughly, and set the mixture aside for now.
  4. Next, you’re going to make your sauce.  I used a 1 qt sauce pan and a wire whisk.  First thing, melt the butter in the suace pan.
  5. Add onions and peppers, and stir constantly for about 3 minutes until onions are clear.
  6. Mix in your garlic and continue cooking and stirring about 30 seconds longer.
  7. Add flour into mixture, and stir until flour is well incorporated.
  8. Pour milk into mixture and stir until flour mixture is incorporated into milk and there are no lumps.  Add chicken broth and continue to stir and cook until mixture begins to thicken (about 3-5 min).
  9. While your sauce is cooking, fill a 9×13 pan about 1/2 way with hot water and place your lasagna noodles into the pan to sit for 5-8 min (no longer than that).
  10. Once your sauce is thickened a bit, remove from heat and stir in nutmeg a remaining parmesan cheese.

Assemble your lasagna:

  1. Using a 9×9 pan, sprayed with nonstick spray, Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the pan and swirl it around until it covers the bottom.
  2. Trim all of your lasagna noodles to fit inside the pan.  You’ll have to cut about 3 inches off the end of each one. I used kitchen scissors.  Set noodles aside on a paper towel to dry.
  3. Layer the following items on top of the sauce:  3 noodles, side by side, slightly overlapping one another: Spread 1/2 of spinach mixture on top of noodles evenly.  Sprinkle 1/2 of your mushrooms and onions over that.  Next, spread 1/2 of chicken evenly over mixture. Top with about 1/2 cup of sauce poured evenly over top.
  4. Repeat that layer one more time, reserving about 1/4 cup of sauce for the top of the lasagna.
  5. Layer your last 3 noodles over your top layer, creating the top of the lasagna.  Spread remaining sauce over top, and then add mozzarella evenly over the top of the sauce.
  6. Bake, covered in foil for 40 min on 375 degrees.  Remove foil and bake another 12 minutes.

Let lasagna sit 5-10 min before cutting to serve (don’t skip this step or it will be watery)

Makes 6 servings= 300 calories per serving (as written)

255 calories without chicken


  

Chinese Chopped Chicken Salad

27 Oct IMG_1284

I’ve fallen in love with the Chinese Chicken Salad at California Pizza Kitchen, so I set out to find a recipe that would allow me to come close to this delicious dish at home, and I have to say this is pretty darn good.  It lacks the fried wontons that I love on the CPK version, but that just lends it to be even lower in calories, and to be honest, it is delicious without them, so I hardly even missed them.  I encourage you to try this one out.  I made it “Quick and Easy” By chopping all the veggies and combining in a large ziploc bag the day before.  I also went ahead and baked 2 chicken breasts and set them aside.  The day I had them for lunch, I just mixed the dressing, chopped the chicken, threw in the sesame seeds and almonds and mixed it all up with the lettuce mix.  This was yummy.

Editors Note: The dressing is a little on the sweet side, which i don’t mind.  If you like things a little less sweet, go with 2 TBSP Splenda brown sugar and subtract 15 Cal per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 head of Napa Cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded (Julienne) carrots
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 10 oz boneless skinless chicken breast (seasoned with salth and pepper and baked or grilled)
  • 2 TBSP Roasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds

Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 TBSP Sesame Oil
  • 3 TBSP peanut butter
  • 4 1/2 TBSP Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 TSP Asian Chili Sauce
  • 4 1/2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
  • 3 TBSP Splenda brown sugar mix
  • 1 1/2 TSP grated ginger

Directions:

  1. Prep all your veggies. Chop your lettuce, cabbage, scallions, carrots, and cilantro, and mix together.  If you do this ahead of time, store in a big sealed ziplock bag in the fridge.
  2. Salt and pepper your chicken, and either grill or bake it ahead of time.  I don’t like hot chicken on a cold salad, so i give mine plenty of time to cool.
  3. Assemble your salad by mixing the lettuce mix with your chicken and adding sesame seeds and almonds.
  4. Mix all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl with a wisk until you have a smooth mixture.
  5. Add Dressing to salad and mix everything together until dressing is evenly coating other ingredients.

Note: To serve as a side, omit chicken and serve as 8 servings. 155 cal per serving

Makes 4 very generous portions

1 Serving= 400 Calories

Appx 8 weight watchers points plus per serving

  
Dressing Ingredients:

Finished Dressing

Final Product:

White Chicken Chili (Crock Pot)

20 Oct IMG_1247

This recipe is nice and hearty, and a great winter staple in any house.  My version is a little on the spicy side (for example, my youngest won’t eat it, but my 2 older kids love it).  I suppose you could make it milder by using plain tomatoes instead of rotel, or a “mild” version of the green chiles and verde sauce. You could also reduce the Cayenne by half.  You can also mix in some reduced fat sour cream to cut the heat.  I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.  Best part?  It’s another great crock pot recipe for those busy nights.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3 Cans of Great Northern Beans
  • 1 Can Original Rotel
  • 1 can of green enchilada sauce (Enchlidada Verde)
  • 1 Can of reduced fat chicken broth
  • 1 small can of roasted green chiles (or regular diced green chilis if you can’t find roasted)
  • 1 Cup of Corn (frozen or canned)
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1/2 TSP cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1/2 TSP Pepper
  • 1 TSP Salt

Directions:

  1. Drain the liquid from your Rotel, and Corn if you’re using canned. Also drain 2 of the 3 cans of beans.
  2. Place Chicken in the crock pot, and pour contents of all the cans on top of it.
  3. Place Chopped onion and 1 TBSP water in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.  Then dump it into the crockpot.
  4. Add Cumin, Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper into the Crock Pot.
  5. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  6. Remove Chicken, shred it with a fork, and return it to the pot.
  7. Stir the soup, and enjoy.  Serve with low fat sour cream and shredded cheese. (not calculated in this calorie count)

Makes 10 (1 Cup) Servings= 188 Calories per serving

Appx 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus per cup

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

17 Oct IMG_1164-0

I’ve never been a big fan of cooked carrots, unless they were in a roast.  My mother used to make glazed carrots occassionally when I was a kid, and I remember having like them because of the sweetness, so I thought I’d give them a shot.  I’m trying to broaden my repertoire of side items, and this one seems to be a good fit.  I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bag of baby carrots
  • 3 TBSP of Splenda Brown Sugar mix
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP of light butter or margarine (50 cal per tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Place carrots into a large saucepan, with enough water to cover them about halfway. Bring pot to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer carrots, covered, for about 10-12 minutes. (You could also steam them if you prefer)
  2. Remove carrots from pan and set aside. Melt butter in the saucepan; stir brown sugar, honey, salt, and cinnamon into butter until brown sugar is melted.
  3. Stir Carrots into sauce and allow everything to cook together about 5 minutes, stirring throughout.  

Makes 5 servings= 90 Calories per serving

Appx 1 weight watchers point plus per serving

  
 

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