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White Lasagna

17 Jan

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


  

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Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

17 Oct

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

  
 

Lower Calorie Deviled Eggs

6 Oct

So, there’s not much you can do to a deviled egg to make it lower in calories.  And actually, when you look at other side items, even a full fat deviled egg or 2 is not a bad decision when faced with choices at a cookout or party.  The one thing you can do to lighten up a deviled egg, is switch regular mayo for a fat free version of either mayo, or miracle whip. The difference in calories is less than 2 calories per serving if you use Kraft brand ff mayo instead of miracle whip.  I used miracle whip because I had it on hand (i use it for tuna and sandwiches) however, I actually prefer the Fat Free Mayo for deviled eggs (I like a more savory egg).  This recipe gives you just the right amount of each ingredient to make yummy deviled eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard boiled eggs, cooled
  • 2 TBSP fat free mayo or fat free miracle whip
  • 1 1/2 TBSP sweet pickle relish
  • 1 TSP yellow mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Paprika for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cut eggs in half, longways.  This leaves you with 12 half eggs.
  2. Scoop the cooked yolks out of the middle of each egg, and place them all together in a small bowl.
  3. Use the back of a spoon to smoosh all the egg yolks.  Keep smooshing until they are well mashed and not too lumpy.
  4. Add all ingredients except your egg whites and paprika, and stir ingredients together until you have a smooth yellow filling for your eggs.
  5. Basicall all you do at this point is fill the holes in the whites with yolk mixture.  You can just spoon it in, or you can cut the tip out of a ziplock back and fill the back with yolk to “pipe” the yolk mixture into the egg.  You could even place a star shaped piping tip in the bag if you are super fancy.  I usually just spoon them in if I’m making a small batch, and I’ll do the “hole in a bag” piping for larger batches. It just seems to be neater and easier.  I rarely use a piping tip, but if you’re doing this for some fancy occassion, go for it!
  6. Sprinkle the tops of your finished eggs with paprika.

Makes 6 servings (2 egg halves each)= 82 Calories

Appx 2 weight watchers points per 2 egg halves

 

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

22 Sep

I put this recipe together while trying to recreate a soup I’ve had many times at Izzy’s restaurant in Cinci. This goes nicely with the Turkey Reuben sandwich I posted yesterday, and combined they’re only about 300 calories!

It’s a simple but yummy soup.  I really enjoyed it, and if you like cabbage, I think you will too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small-medium head of cabbage, diced into 1 inch squares
  • 1/2 a medium onion, chopped
  • 40 oz of beef broth (use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian!)
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP splenda brown sugar blend
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a soup pot, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered for about 1 hour, stirring periodically.

Note:  I tried to make this in the crockpot and it didn’t really work.  This one’s a stovetop soup for me going forward.

Makes 6 cups of soup at only 42 Calories per cup!

0 weight watchers points per cup

Stuffed mushrooms

31 Aug

My husband loves these mushrooms. They are pretty simple to make, and they make a tasty side, or appetizer. I apologize that I wasn’t able to get a better photo, but this was one of those nights where the kids were wound up and we had a billion things going on, so here are my mushrooms (pictured as a side item for spaghetti).

Ingredients: 

  • 12 medium to large mushrooms
  • 6 wedges of laughing cow cheese, garlic and herb flavored
  • 1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Directions:

1. Wash mushrooms and carefully pull the stems out of the caps (set the stems aside, we will need those). Be careful to try to keep the mushroom caps intact.

2.  Once all stems have been removed from the mushrooms throw away half the stems and chop the other half into tiny pieces.

3. Unwrap all of your cheese wedges and place them in a microwavable bowl. Microwave your cheese for about 20 seconds to soften.

4. Mix breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and oregano with cheese. Stir in chopped up mushroom stems and mix until well combined.

5. Use a spoon to fill each mushroom cap with about a tablespoon of filling.

6. Line mushroom caps up (filling side up) inside a baking pan and cook for 20 minutes at 400°

Makes 12 mushroom caps

28 calories per mushroom

(Appx 2 weight watchers points plus for 3 mushrooms)

Simple Side Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

29 Aug

So, I feel sort of silly even listing this as a “recipe” because it’s so stinking simple.  But, I guess it’s the contribution of the homemade, very low calorie dressing that makes it legitimate for me.  I hope you guys enjoy.  Keep in mind here, that I only feel like I need a little dressing on a salad these days.  Some folks may want more dressing, so I’ve added some additional info on how to get more dressing for not too many more calories.  This recipe is for 1 side salad.

Ingredients:

  • Romaine Lettuce, 2 cups chopped
  • Red onion, 2-3 TBSP chopped
  • 1/4 of a medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped (you can peeling and seeding, but I don’t like eating peels or seeds in my cukes)
  • 1/4 of a medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • about 1/8 tsp of Italian seasoning (herbs like oregano, basil, etc)

Directions:

Add all veggies to a bowl.

Use a small container to mix together oil, vinegar, and Italian seasoning.  You’ll see that I’ve decided to use a children’s medicine spoon.  It holds the ingredients perfectly, helps you to measure them, and pours easily.  Just place your finger over the top and shake until everything is combined. If you’re using a tiny bowl instead, you may have difficulty whisking such small amounts together, but give it a go anyway. I have faith in you.  (but seriously, if you have one of these spoons… so awesome)

Makes 1 side salad

Salad Only: 30 calories

Salad with dressing as shown: 75 calories (1 ww points plus)

Want more dressing? Use 1 more teaspoon of vinegar for only 5 more calories. If you add more oil, it’ll be 40 calories per tsp.


  

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

10 Aug

This is one of my Daddy’s favorite things.  I had never made it before tonight, but I’m glad I tried it out, because it was a hit.  If you like the traditional version, I think you’ll love this low calorie alternative.  Not too difficult, but a bit time consuming since you have to let the eggplant sit to draw all the moisture out.  Very delicious.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 medium sized eggplants
  • Salt
  • 1 Cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded paremsan cheese (the shreds, not the powder)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 cup homemade marinara or Prego Light Smart Sauce
  • 1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Wash and dry eggplant, and slice it into 1/2 inch slices (they should be round).  You should have about 20 slices.

Lay sliced eggplant out flat on a paper towel, and sprinkle both sides of each round piece liberally with salt.  Cover with a 2nd paper towel.  Let the eggplant sit for 20 min.  The salt will draw the moisture out of the eggplant. Don’t skip this step 🙂

In a shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese.

In a separate shallow dish, mix egg whites and water.  Whisk until they are well combined.

Once Eggplant is done resting on the paper towels, wash each slice off and pat dry.

Dip each slice of eggplant into egg wash, and then press down into breadcrumb mixture, covering both sides with breading.

Place eggplant slices in a single layer on 2 baking sheets which have been sprayed with non stick spray.

Bake on 450 for 20 minutes, flipping each slice halfway through cooking.

Top each slice with about 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce, and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the slices evenly.

Return to oven and bake an additional 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Makes 5 servings.  1 serving= 2 slices of eggplant (or 1 large slice and 2 little slices)

258 Calories per serving

Appx 7 weight watchers points plus per serving