Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

                I am not a huge dessert person.  I almost always choose salty/savory over sweet.  But sometimes I just like to bake something.  Being on Weight Watchers and baking from scratch can be complicated, mostly because I need to use all my daily points for breakfast/lunch/dinner and a snack, and almost never have any left over for dessert.  And I save my weekly points for the weekend and eating out.  My in-laws were coming for the weekend, and Scott had been bugging me to bake something, so I decided to look for a chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I was excited to find one on the Weight Watchers website that looked good.
                Disclaimer: usually when I look at a recipe I might be interested, I kind of skim the list of ingredients and completely ignore the part about what you actually have to do.  This has bitten me in the ass on several occasions.  Turns out, my foray into WW friendly chocolate chip cookies would do the same.  These cookies were called “Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies”.  When I think of mini cookies, I think of cookies about a third of the size of regular cookies.  Of course, I should have known this was too good to be true when each cookies was only 1 point.  Well, silly me, I didn’t even look at how much dough to use per cookie.
3x the size the recipe called for, and still only
about the size of a poker chip.  Better than the cookie crisp size
the recipe called for!
                So there I am, in the kitchen on Friday night with Scott, putting together these chocolate chip cookies.  I mad the dough, preheated the oven and had out my baking sheets.  I get to the part about portioning out the dough, and it said to use HALF A TEASPOON for each cookie.  I thought that seemed small, but decided to go for it.  I portioned out about 6 cookies, and Scott had the biggest WTF look on his face.  He asked if I was making cookie crisp.  It was the saddest looking cookie mound I have ever seen.  After some discussion and disappointment, we decided to make the cookies half a TABLESPOON each, which still made some pretty tiny cookies.  At 3 points apiece, I’m not sure they were worth it though.  The cookies tasted good, although I did have to add an extra tablespoon of softened butter, because there wasn’t nearly enough fat to cream the butter and sugar together.  Here is the recipe:

1 point per cookie with the WW serving size, 3 for my serving size

2 Tbsp salted butter, softened (I used 3)
2 tsp canola oil
½ Cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg white
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter, oil and sugar. Add vanilla, salt and egg white; mix thoroughly to combine.
In a small bowl, mix together flour and baking soda; stir into batter. Add chocolate chips to batter; stir to distribute evenly throughout.
Drop 48 half-teaspoons of dough onto one or two large nonstick baking sheets, leaving a small amount of space between each cookie. Bake cookies until golden around edges, about 4 to 6 minutes; cool on a wire rack. Yields 1 cookie per serving.  (I used ½ tablespoon measure and cooked them about 8 minutes)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sweet Potato and Apple Hash

Rumor has it that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I kind of hate breakfast.  Okay, hate may be a strong work, but breakfast is not my favorite meal of the day.  I don't love most breakfast foods, and if given the choice, I always choose breakfast that looks more like lunch or dinner, like an egg sandwich or chicken & waffles (mmmm the chicken and waffles from Miss Shirley- to die for, but so NOT Weight Watchers friendly!)  The only exception to my breakfast indifference is bagels.  I could eat a bagel 3 times a day.  I'm from New York originally, so good bagels are in my blood.  Thankfully, there is a place in Annapolis that serves pretty good bagels so I can get my fix every once in a while.

Now, the real horror here is that I married a man who LOVES breakfast.  I'm pretty sure he would eat a breakfast meal 3 times a  day if he could.  Pancakes, waffles, eggs, etc. Scott loves them all.  So I have to compromise.  On Saturday and Sunday, since I like to revert back to being a teenager and sleep till around 9 or 10, I usually one eat two meals a day with a healthy snack, like fruit, in between.  Coming up with breakfast recipes that I will like is pretty hard, but this hash I made was pretty good, even for this breakfast hater.  Hash can be really pointy, with lots of potatoes and meat, so I lightened this up by subbing apples for some of the potato, and I only use a little bit of really good quality meat. 

This is a great, hearty, weekend breakfast.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Apple Hash
10 Weight Watchers Points + per serving (serves 2)

2 slices of bacon
1/2 onion, diced
1 10 ounce sweet potato
2 medium apples
2 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs

Dice bacon and saute in non-stick skillet. Spoon out about two tablespoons of bacon fat and reserve. When the bacon is almost done, add the diced onion and cook until golden brown.  Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potato, and put in a microwave safe bowl with 1/4 cup of water. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 3-4 minutes, until soft.  Peel, core and dice the apples.

Add the sweet potatoes to the onion/bacon mixture, and let brown for a 4-5 minutes.  Add the apples and cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste.  Saute for about 4-5 minutes, until apples are just cooked.  Split hash into two bowls. 

In the empty skillet, put the bacon fat back and heat.  Crack four eggs and cook them to your preference.  I like them over easy in a hash so that the yolk coats all the other ingredients. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Srirachi Cream Salmon with Pineapple Jicama Rice

Srirachi Cream Salmon with Pineapple Jicama Rice

                One of the pictures floating around Pintrest (btw do you follow me on Pintrest yet?  I’ll follow you back!) is of a Srirachi Cream Salmon, but when I looked at the recipe that it came from, it seemed to have a lot of ingredients and wasn’t very WW friendly.  So I decided to simplify the recipe and lighten it up.  What I came up with tasted great and was 9 point plus per serving, and looked good too (but I didn’t have my camera ready and didn’t want to let it sit to take a picture, sorry).   I wanted the rice to be a little sweet to balance the spicy Srirachi. 

Srirachi Cream Salmon

2 6 ounce salmon filets (at Whole Foods they sell them already pre-portioned which works out great for paying attention to portions)
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
½ tablespoon Srirachi, or to taste
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ cup water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and put salmon on baking sheet.  I use a baking sheet with a silpat to prevent sticking. Brush salmon with soy sauce, then sprinkle on sesame seeds.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until done to your preference (I like my salmon pretty rare).

Meanwhile, mix together mayo and Srirachi.  Slowly add water until the sauce gets to the point where it can be drizzled

Pineapple Jicama Rice

2/3 cup Jasmine rice, prepared whichever way you usually cook rice (I just throw it in my rice cooker)
½ cup diced pineapple
½ cup diced jicama
½ lime
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Mix Jasmine rice with the pineapple and jicama.  Squeeze lime and drizzle soy sauce into rice and mix well.

Serve the salmon on top of the rice, then drizzle with the Srirachi cream sauce

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recipe: Oven Fried Pickles

In my attempt to eat healthier, one of the things I find hardest to replace is snacks.  Let’s be honest- sometimes an apple or veggie slices just don’t it for me.  I’m a salty/crunch snacker, so finding things to replace some of those items can be difficult, especially since I am not a big fan of “low-fat” versions of foods.  I would rather eat a little of the real thing the version where fat is replaced by chemicals.
                I have also recently become addicted to pintrest, which is kind of a like a visual way to favorite different things online.  It is great for organizing recipes you want to try, crafts to make, clothes you like, etc.  I have actually made several things I found on pintrest, so it isn’t just a way to waste time for me.  This recipe is inspired by something I saw there, but I tweaked it to make it even lower in points than the original recipe was. 
                This recipe for oven-fried pickles combines so many things I love.  Pickles, which I could eat a whole jar of by myself, crunchy breading, salt, etc.  Plus, it really is a very quick and easy recipe to make.  The pickles I used came from Whole Foods, and are kind of ridiculously expensive, but they are SO good, especially if you are a fan of Srirachi.  You can use any kind of pickles you want though, but they are best sliced into rounds for this recipe.

Oven Fried Pickles (6 WW points+ per serving, serves 2)

1 jar of pickles
1/8 cup flour
1 large egg and 1 large egg white
¾ cup Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Take pickles, and drain in a colander.  Pat dry with paper towels. 

Put into a Tupperware container, then sprinkle in the flour.  Put a top on shake until all the pickles are coated in flour.

Beat the egg and egg white together.  Dredge the pickles in the egg mixture, then in the panko, making sure to coat on both sides.

Lay coated pickles on racks on top of a baking sheet, without over lapping.  Spray with olive oil spray.

Bake for approximately 7 minutes, then flip, spray the other side, and bake for an additional 7 minutes.  Both sides should be nicely browned.

These are excellent on their own, and a little bit of ranch dip goes a long way.