Friday night dinner was magnificent!
I made the Pork Chops with Squash and Mushroom Salad, on page 147 of the Weight Watcher’s PointsPlus Cookbook. The result? A delicious, healthy and enjoyable dinner.
The recipe calls for bone-in center-cut pork loin chops, but I made the thin cut pork chops instead, and they turned out really nice and moist.
This recipe includes the Squash and Mushroom salad to be served with the pork chops. It is a lively and wonderful grilled vegetables salad, which I made almost exactly according to the recipe, but added white zucchini squash, which I find to be slightly more delicate in flavor.
If you are tracking your points for Weight Watchers, this delectable combo is only 6 PointsPlus per serving (1 pork chop and 3/4 cup salad).
An additional side dish (not part of this recipe) decorated our table. Garlic couscous, is an out of the box dish, and may satisfy a craving you may have for the occasional carbs. And… it is so very tasty!
And of course… let’s not forget the wine. I paired these dishes with the full body and “sophisticated” Argentinian Malbec. Another favorite which I recommend you try if you haven’t yet.
The last few dinners at our house were improvised with what we had around the house. We try to keep our meals healthy, and make use of whatever ingredients we have before we go shopping again.
For one night we had baked chicken with cauliflower and white zucchini, and a side dish of white quinoa. A variety of baked chicken dishes are very healthy and tasty choice, and most importantly, very easy to make. You can lower the calorie (or points plus) intake by using a little olive oil, trimming the fat and skin off the chicken, and adding a lot of cut up vegetables. The only downside is that they take a while longer to cook.
On another night we had some pasta with ground turkey and sun-dried tomato sauce, and one night we went out to take a much needed break from cooking.
When you run out of ingredients it’s time to replenish your supplies. Try to plan ahead by choosing just a couple of recipes for the week. This way you can be sure you are not missing key ingredients when you are ready to prepare your meals. Then of course you go shopping for food.
Shopping? How many of you are excited about going to your local grocer? I know I am not. Shopping is a big part of cooking and if you want to cook healthy, you need to do some planning.
In my search for local farmer’s markets I found that there are many choices in a variety of times during the week.
A great place to search for local farmer’s markets is Local Harvest, at www.localharvest.org
I recommend searching by zip code for better results. I found some great options in my area, and outside of my area as well.
I look forward to finding some great locally grown organic food this morning. I have a couple of recipes in mind and dinner tonight should be fun.
See you soon!
I kept my promise to have everyone ooh and ah over Friday night dinner. The Salmon and Asparagus with Citrus Gremolata was divine (recipe can be found on page 175 of the Weight Watchers Points Plus Cookbook).
Everyone gathered around the kitchen to enjoy a glass of excellent Malbec while I was making this very easy recipe. No better way to start off the weekend and set a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere around the house.
The Gremolata is made of fresh chopped parsley, orange and lemon zest, and minced garlic, and it smells so fresh! I once again followed the recipe almost exactly, and even served it with lemon wedges. I decided to make more fish than the recipe calls for, and roasted it for 20 minutes to perfection. It was delicious! And… looked beautiful!
Salmon with Citrus Gremolata
Roasted asparagus paired perfectly with the fish, and was placed in the oven for exactly 12 minutes, to not overcook. The orange fish, garnished with green herbs and citrus zest, looked very appetizing next to the green asparagus spears. If you are tracking your Weight Watchers points Plus, this fabulous dish is only 7 points per serving (1 salmon fillet, 10 asparagus spears, and 1 tablespoon gremolata).
Roasted Asparagus Spears
For this special dinner I ventured out of my Weight Watchers book and added some pasta, with [I Can’t Believe It’s Not] Butter and some goat cheese. This pasta was fairly light in flavor and worked really well with our fish and the great wine we had with the meal. Obviously, portion matters if you are trying to lose weight.
Pasta with “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” and Goat Cheese
Not sure yet what’s for dinner tonight, but I am guessing some chicken with whatever I have around the house. Once in a while it’s fun to just get creative in the kitchen, so it will be interesting to see what I will come up with.
Food shopping does not have to be a boring chore. I heard from many people lately about how they simply do not like to go to the grocery store. I agree that a lot of big grocery stores can be boring and taxing, but you can change that for yourself.
Like anything else you love to do, it is fun to occasionally find ways to be inspired. Inspiration can be anywhere, and for cooking, what’s better than shopping in a colorful store that carries locally grown food.
For Friday night dinner, I plan to make the Salmon and Asparagus with Citrus Gremolata recipe (on page 175 of the Weight Watchers Points Plus Cookbook). I wouldn’t dream of making it with anything other than local wild salmon, and I went on a search of a store that will carry it in my area.
My search took me to a local store that I absolutely adored. Colorful and fresh locally grown produce lined the aisles and I had a blast. It reminded me of some of the Middle-Eastern markets (Souk) I visited as a child. There, I would trail behind my mother and watch her closely examine each tomato and cucumber she selected to bring home. The memories of eating beautiful food that was prepared with a lot of love flooded me when I started picking the best produce I could find in this charming store.
I then found out that they carry their own fresh pressed olive oil. Two very friendly employees offered me a taste of a variety of oils, in their olive oil bar. I chose an oil that was somewhat mild and got a small bottle to start with.
If you are located in the San Francisco Bay area, I recommend you visit Sigona’s Farmer’s Market. They are located in Redwood City, and have a smaller location at the Stanford Shopping Center. Check them out online:
It was there that I was able to find the local wild salmon I will prepare for tonight’s dinner. I am looking forward to a nice and relaxing time at home with my family, as they ooh and ah over this wonderful fish. I hope you feel a little more inspired to explore your area for a fun food shopping experience that will help create a beautiful time with those you love.
The Weight Watchers Points Plus Cookbook has proven once again that you can make a finger licking recipe that is also healthy. My family was so excited as we put these beautifully marinated chicken breasts on the grill last night. The wonderful smell of Indian spices was so appetizing, my son and husband said that they LOVE my new blogging project. Smile!
This delightful and easy recipe for Grilled Chicken with Cilantro and Indian Spices can be found on page 154 of the book. I followed the recipe exactly as written (except for the garnish part), but scaled up the ingredients for the paste since I made a little more chicken than the recipe calls for. It does not take more that 15 minutes to prep, but allow a couple of hours for it to sit in the fridge after you marinate it and before you grill it. Using raw and fresh herbs and spices for the paste is so simple and yet refreshing.
Grilled Chicken with Cilantro and Indian Spices
While the chicken is on the grill for about 25 minutes, you can enjoy a nice chilled glass of Chardonnay. In the last 10 minutes of grilling you may add a few slices of polenta, to make for a satisfying and easy side dish. The Points Plus Value for this delicious chicken is 4 points per 1 serving (one chicken breast). If you are tracking your food’s points values for Weight Watchers, please know that any additional food or wine will be extra points.
To embellish this summer night dinner, you can prepare a nice Mediterranean style vegetable plate with some goat cheese. Season with a little salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil to bring out the flavor of the cheese. And voila! A great dinner you will be thanked for!
Mediterranean Style Vegetables and Goat Cheese
The exquisite culinary experience continued last night with two delicious recipes from the Weight Watchers Points Plus Cookbook.
The amount of planning needed for these dishes was a little more than I expected. As I said yesterday, using ingredients that are new to me simply takes time to get used to. The prep time for the recipes I chose for last night was a little longer than I anticipated, and that was largely due to the combination of recipes I chose. Things like chopping fresh cilantro or rosemary are a bit time consuming, but nothing is more motivating to cook than the fresh fragrance of these wonderful herbs around your kitchen.
We started our evening with this refreshing, colorful and tasty salad, which can be found on page 114. With fresh squeezed lime juice, some cumin and coriander, this salad will tickle your taste buds. I have never used coriander before, but love to use cumin. The fruit tossed in these spices has a real nice flavor to it and makes for a great summer night salad. It is also filling and only 2 points per 1 cup serving. And… it looks beautiful!
Spiced Watermelon and Tomato Salad
The main course was the Rosemary Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables. I was able to find the boneless lamb shoulder at Whole Foods, where they cut it to nice 1-inch cubes for me (I recommend calling ahead to your local store).
As with a lot of healthy vegetable dishes, this recipe required a bit of cleaning and cutting of vegetables. I never used leeks or baby carrots prior to making this dish. Leeks add a great fragrance and flavor, and baby carrots have a more delicate taste than regular carrots. I found that this stew can be served over brown rice, but it will make you perfectly happy without it too. A one and a quarter cup serving has a value of 9 points and makes for a great and satisfying dinner at the end of a long day.
Rosemary Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables