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Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries

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I love fries. Who doesn’t? I found this recipe in an old Weight Watchers magazine.

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

2 sweet potatoes (1 lb each)

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425. Line large rimmed baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; set aside.

Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices; cut each slice into 1/2 inch thick sticks (you should have 48 fries). Spread fries on prepared pan, making sure they do not touch or overlap. Spray with nonstick spray and sprinkle with salt.

Bake 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven; spray fries with nonstick spray and sprinkle with half of the sugar mixture. Flip fries and spray with nonstick spray and sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Bake 10 minutes longer. Remove from ove, toss well and bake until brown and tender, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool several minutes before serving.

Serving size: 8 fries per person

144 calories, 8 g total fat, 9 g sat fat, 277 mg sodium, 34 g total carbs, 9 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 2 g protein

Points Plus: 4

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Vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

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I had something like this recently and it was heavenly. I found this recipe on SimplyRecipes and hope it meets my expectations. I have adjusted it a little to make it Weight Watcher’s friendly. This is 10 servings and 11 WW points. That seems like a lot of points but this can be a full meal in itself rather than separate components. I wouldn’t eat additional bread. If you want to eat a salad with it, that would make it more filling and get you more veggies.

  • 1 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 generous cup of chopped onions
  • 1/8 cup olive oil plus more for keeping the noodles from sticking to each other
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I recommend Muir Glen brand with added basil)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed in clean towel of excess moisture
  • 1 lb whole wheat lasagna noodles (16 to 20 noodles)
  • 1 15-ounce container of part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 pound Parmesan, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 12 oz shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
Place mushrooms in a large (6 to 8 quart), sauté pan on high or medium high heat. Stir them with a wooden spoon or shake the pan from time to time. You may hear them squeak. Sprinkle salt over the mushrooms. The mushrooms will sizzle and then start to release water. (Note that you are not adding fat at this point to the pan; this method of cooking mushrooms in their own moisture is called “dry sautéing.) Once the mushrooms start to release water into the pan, stir in the chopped onions. Cook until the mushrooms are no longer releasing moisture and the mushroom water has boiled away, about 5 minutes more.

Add the olive oil to the mushrooms and stir to coat. Sauté the mushrooms and onions for about a minute.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, cook for a minute longer. Reserve 1 cup of the tomato sauce (it will go in the bottom of the casserole dish), and put the remaining cup of tomato sauce into the pot with the mushrooms.  Add the large can of crushed tomatoes.  Add one cup of water. Stir in the thyme, sugar, and red pepper flakes. If you are using dried basil instead of fresh, add it now.  Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and simmer on a low simmer, for 20 minutes.

Once sauce is simmering, salt the boiling pasta water, and add the dry lasagna noodles to the boiling water.  (The water should be at a vigorous, rolling boil.) Stir gently, making sure that the noodles are not sticking to each other. Set the timer for 8 minutes, or however long is indicated on the package of the noodles. Cook uncovered on a high boil. When the noodles are ready (al dente, cooked through but still firm to the bite), drain the noodles in a colander, and rinse them to cool them with cold water.  As you rinse them, gently separate them with your fingers so they don’t stick to each other. Prepare a couple large cookie sheets or baking sheets by spreading a tablespoon of olive oil over the baking sheets. Place the lasagna noodles on the sheets, gently coating them with a bit of that olive oil, and spreading them out. This will help keep them from sticking to each other while you finish the sauce and prepare the layered casserole.

Turn off the heat on the stovetop for the sauce. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the one cup of reserved tomato sauce over the bottom of a large (preferably 10×15-inch) casserole dish. (If your casserole dish is smaller, you may need to add another layer as you go through this step.) Place a layer of lasagna noodles down over the tomato sauce, slightly overlapping. (For our 10×15-inch dish, we ultimately fit 3 layers of noodles, each layer with 6 noodles.  Then we had 2 extra noodles on which to nosh.) Sprinkle half of the ricotta cheese over the noodles. Sprinkle half of the defrosted, drained, and excess moisture squeezed out spinach over the ricotta.  Sprinkle half of the Mozzarella cheese over the spinach, and just a quarter of the pecorino cheese. Then spoon 1/3 of your mushroom sauce over the Mozzarella. Sprinkle half of the fresh basil over the sauce if using.

Repeat the layering process. Place a second layer of noodles over the sauce. Spread the remaining ricotta, spinach, and Mozzarella over the noodles. Sprinkle another quarter of the pecorino along with the Mozzarella. Top with another third of the mushroom sauce and the remaining fresh basil.  Layer your final layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce. Spread the remaining sauce over the lasagna noodles, and sprinkle with the remaining pecorino or parmesan cheese.

Pull out a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to cover the casserole dish. Spread a little olive oil over the inside of the piece of foil (the side that will have contact with the lasagna). Place the foil over the casserole dish and crimp the edges.

Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 25 minutes.

Take the lasagna out of the oven when done and let it rest 10 minutes before cutting to serve. Once made, the lasagna will last a week in the fridge.

January 21, 2015

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I start a new job on Monday. I am excited and nervous. I know it will be very beneficial for me to be up during “normal” hours. I will move more and be able to do more personally.

The new job also causes food anxiety. My first day I will only have 30 minutes for lunch. But I will be in training all day. I don’t know about taking my lunch or what to do. After that, I should be working where I get a full hour for lunch. That leads to a lot of interesting prospects for lunch. Eat at work and also have time to read on phone. Run home for lunch since work is literally 5 minutes away. Eat at work and walk for part of the time. Meet a friend for lunch. See? Possibilities!

With those possibilities, though, I need to make some better choices. If I want to lose weight, I need to do best to stay away from most fast food. I think my goal for the next 2 weeks is to not eat any burgers from a fast food joint. I can try other lighter fare if I go there, but no burgers. Burgers are my downfall. I could probably be a vegetarian if it weren’t for burgers. Oh wait! And chicken. I love chicken cooked any which way usually. But chicken isn’t normally associated with being bad for you. So I can eat chicken! 🙂

Golden Potato-Cauliflower Soup

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Golden Potato-Cauliflower Soup

Meatless Monday!

Guess what day it is! MEATLESS MONDAY! I love potato soup. Why not make it healthier? Add some cauliflower! This came from Health magazine.

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup french bread, cubed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups cauliflower, sliced
3/4 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
28 ounces low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare croutons, combine cumin and 1 teaspoon oil in a bowl; add bread cubes, and toss to coat. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool croutons slightly; set aside.

3. To prepare soup, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and celery; cover and cook 2 minutes. Stir in cauliflower, potato, broth, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add lemon juice. Place vegetable mixture, in batches, in a food processor; process until smooth.

5. Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls; serve with croutons, and top with chives, if desired.

Serves 4.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 329 Calories; 5g Fat (14.7% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 53g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1064mg Sodium.

Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat.

Beet Veggie Burger

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I’ve been looking for a great veggie burger. I found this site that had what looked yummy. Check them for other recipes if you’d like.

3 large beets
1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cans black beans, canned
1/4 cup prunes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons brown mustard
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 large egg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 each hamburger bun

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Wrap the beets loosely in aluminum foil and roast until easily pierced with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, bring a 2-quart pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and add the rice. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm (not completely mushy). This should take about 35 to 40 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside to cool.

3. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir the onions every minute or two, and cook until they are golden and getting charred around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. A few wisps of smoke as you are cooking is ok, but if it seems that the onions are burning, lower the heat. A dark, sticky crust should develop on the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the cider vinegar and scrape up the dark sticky crust. Continue to simmer until the cider has evaporated and the pan is nearly dry again. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

5. Process the oats in a food processor until they have reduced to a fine flour. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

6. Drain and rinse one of the cans of beans and transfer the beans to the food processor. Scatter the prunes on top. Pulse in 1-second bursts just until the beans are roughly chopped — not so long that they become mush — 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Drain and rinse the second can of beans and add these whole beans to the mixing bowl as well.

7. Use the edge of a spoon or a paper towel to scrape the skins off the cooled roasted beets; the skins should slip off easily. Grate the peeled beets on the largest holes of a box grater. Transfer the beet gratings to a strainer set over the sink. Press and squeeze the beet gratings to remove as much liquid as possible from the beets. (You can also do this over a bowl and save the beet juice for another purpose.)

8. Transfer the squeezed beets, cooked rice, and sautéed onions to the bowl with the beans. Sprinkle the olive oil, brown mustard, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and thyme over the top of the mixture. Mix all the ingredients until combined. Taste the mixture and add salt, pepper, or any additional spices or flavorings to taste. Finally, add the oatmeal flour and egg (if using), and mix until you no longer see any dry oatmeal or egg.

9. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the mixture to a refrigerator container, and refrigerate the burger mixture for at least 2 hours or (ideally) overnight. The mix can also be kept refrigerated for up to three days before cooking.

10. When ready to cook the burgers, first shape them into burgers. Scoop up about a scant cup of the burger mixture and shape it between your palms into a thick patty the size of your hamburger buns. You should end up with 6 large patties.

11. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan. When you see the oil shimmer a flick of water evaporates on contact, the pan is ready.

12. Transfer the patties to the pan. Cook as many as will fit without crowding; I normally cook 3 patties at a time in my 10-inch cast iron skillet.

13. Cook the patties for 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side. You should see a nice crust on the cooked side. If any pieces break off when you flip the burgers, just pat them back into place with the spatula. Cook for another 2 minutes, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 4 more minutes until the patties are warmed through. If you’re adding cheese, lay a slice over the burgers in the last minute of cooking.

14. Serve the veggie burgers on soft burger buns or lightly toasted sandwich bread along with some fresh greens.

6 servings.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 313 Calories; 7g Fat (19.3% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 53g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 35mg Cholesterol; 443mg Sodium.

Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple, and Red Lentil Soup

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Meatless Monday again! It’s winter and we need warm and filling foods. Here ya go! Another All Recipes winner!

Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple, and Red Lentil Soup

Meatless Monday

1/4 cup butter
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large apple, cored, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup lentils, red
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 cups vegetable broth
6 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt, to garnish

1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Place the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots, apple, and onion in the pot. Stir and cook the apples and vegetables until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir the lentils, ginger, ground black pepper, salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and vegetable broth into the pot with the apple and vegetable mixture. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.

3. Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot.

4. Return the pureed soup to the cooking pot. Bring back to a simmer over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes. Add water as needed to thin the soup to your preferred consistency. Serve with yogurt for garnish.

Serves 6.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 324 Calories; 11g Fat (29.9% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 23mg Cholesterol; 1551mg Sodium.

Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 1/2 Fat.

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Beef Burgandy

Here is a recipe that looked great. It is from MyRecipes.com and looks very yummy!

  • 2 pounds lean beef stew meat
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 cups (1-inch-thick) slices carrot
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces uncooked egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
  1. 1. Place beef in a large bowl; sprinkle with flour, tossing well to coat. Place beef mixture, carrot, onions, mushrooms, and garlic in an electric slow cooker. Combine beef broth and next 6 ingredients (through pepper); stir into beef mixture. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  2. 2. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Serve beef mixture over noodles; sprinkle with thyme.

Serves 8.

Calories: 357
Calories from fat: 0.0%
Fat: 9.3g
Saturated fat: 3.3g
Monounsaturated fat: 3.8g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7g
Protein: 28.4g
Carbohydrate: 38.9g
Fiber: 2.5g
Cholesterol: 94mg
Iron: 4.7mg
Sodium: 637mg
Calcium: 53mg

Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 4 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 2 Fat.