Saturday, January 28, 2012

Green Gangster Protein Shake

I've been making this recipe for a while, but have yet to post it due to life happenings.  Anyways, here we go. It is great as a quick breakfast or post workout snack.

Why do I call it a "Green Gangster" shake? Probably to make it more fun, and because this smoothie packs in a lot of healthy vitamins. Baby spinach is a "power food," in that it is extremely rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B2, calcium, omega 3-fatty acids, and iron.  So, eat it up, and eat it often!

A note about whey protein powder. Sure, it helps your muscles recover after a workout. But here are some other awesome benefits:

1) Whey protein helps to boost your immune system in that it fights harmful bacteria, and fights off cancer cells
2)Promotes lean muscle growth and loss of body fat
3)Good for any age group
4) It is a naturally occurring anti-oxidant

Enough with the all of the vitamin talk...lets get cookin' (and more impartantly, eating)!

Green Gangster Protein Shake

1 scoop chocolate (or vanilla if you wish) whey protein powder
1 T reduced fat peanut butter
1 cup milk
1 banana
2 cups of spinach


Blend up until smooth & enjoy!

p.s.--there's not a finished product picture because I inhaled it. Will add one soon :)
Serves 1

WW: 6p+



Friday, January 20, 2012

Laura's Blue Fig Pizza

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza! Everyone loves it.  There's no reason for it to make the "no no" list.   My camera battery is dead, so I had to take pictures on my cell phone for this one (as well as the Lemon Pesto Salmon). Don't judge me please!

The salty-tangy-sweet flavors work beautifully here.  If you don't like blue cheese, try goat cheese, or perhaps fresh mozzarella! Be creative, kids.

Laura's Blue Fig Pizza

Adapted from Bon App├ętit, 2009

Ingredients:

1 sandwich 100% whole wheat thin ( I used Kroger brand)
1  oz blue cheese
2 T Fig preserves
1/2 oz of prosciutto
Arugula, chopped
1 tsp evoo
Pepper, to taste

Method

1) Preheat oven to 350
2) Split sandwich thin in half and place on foil covered baking sheet.
3) Spread fig preserves equally over both halves of the sandwich thin.
4) Lay on shredded prosciutto
5) Sprinkle blue cheese equally over both pizzas
6) Top each round with arugula, to taste
7) Drizzle top with evoo.
8) Add fresh pepper to taste

Bake for 10 minutes, or until warmed through/melted.  Cut into pieces and serve with a salad.

Serves 1 or 2

Other information:

WW:  For 2= 5p+
           For 1=  10p+

**subtract 1 p+ if using Kroger sandwich rounds**


Lemon Pesto Salmon in Foil Pouch

Salmon is excellent for you.  It is a great way to earn some healthy Omega-3 fats.  Some of the benefits of adding foods containing Omega-3's into your diet include the following:

1. improved brain functioning/higher intelligence (no brainer, huh?) 
2. alleviates symptoms of depression, bipolar and psychosis
3. superior cardiovascular health
4. protection against heart attack and stroke
5. reduction of menstrual pain.

Now repeat... Fish high in omega-3s are friends to our bodies. Eat up!

This dish adapted from Jamie Oliver couldn't be easier and is super delish!

Also, random side note: I don't cook with salt. If you do, feel free to add it in!

Lemon Pesto Salmon in Foil Pouch

Ingredients:
1 handful of fresh green beans (BIG handful)
1 lemon
1 4oz wild salmon fillet, skin on.
1 T pesto
1 tsp EVOO
freshly ground pepper
aluminum foil

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Trim green beans by cutting off the ends.
3. Cut the lemon in half
4. Pull out a BIG sheet of aluminum foil (about 2 feet long), and fold it in half.
5. Put the green beans in the center of the foil. Lay the salmon fillet, skin side down, on top of the beans.
6. Spoon the pesto over the fish & drizzle with olive oil.
7. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the fish and green beans. Place lemon halves in beside the green beans.
8. Add the fresh black pepper, as much as desired.
9. Pull the aluminum foil edges together and scrunch them up to seal up the pouch.

Place on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 1 minute before unwrapping. 

Serves 1

Other information:

WW 7 p+




Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Salmon baked in a foil parcel with green beans & pesto

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberry FroYo

Frozen yogurt is the hot topic these days in the dessert world. Froyo places are popping up all over the place--so you can imagine my excitement when I found some really good stuff in the natural foods section.  Kefir is even better! The health benefits include contributing to a healthy immune system, and aids those suffering from sleep disorders and depression. Not only that, kefir can help reduce unhealthy food cravings!!! Amen to that, right? :)

Ingredients:
-1/2 c frozen strawberry kefir (I used Lifeway Tart and Tangy Strawberry)
-2 large strawberries, chopped
-1 dove chocolate "promises" square (or other equivalent)

Method:
1. Place 2 scoops (1/2 c equivalent) into a bowl.
2. Top with fresh strawberries
3. Unwrap chocolate & break up with a knife.
4. Sprinkle shavings over dessert.

Enjoy it!

WW 4p+



Soul Food Vol 1: Chili BBQ Shrimp & Grits

Welcome to the Soul Food challenge! I've extended this challenge to myself, and hopefully you can reap the benefits as well. This is the first of many 'Soul Food' volumes.  Here we go!

Health conscious cooking doesn’t have to mean gross or eating only raw carrots. While you should eat vegetables ( a conversation for another day), there is plenty of room for healthy takes on southern classics.  I don’t know very many people who are opposed to good southern cooking.

 In the South, cooking is often referred to as “soul food”—and is made with love.  In fact, many southerners celebrate just about everything with food.  This doesn’t have to lead to a Santa Clause style belly that jiggles around.  You can be perfectly jolly, sans the belly. So what is one thing that is  quintessentially southern? Mardi Gras, of course. Where does Mardi Gras take place? New Orleans. 

New Orleans is known for a particular dish…BBQ Shrimp.  Don’t be fooled. It has nothing to do with sticky, sweet BBQ sauce.  It’s perfectly delicious, but is filled with butter and other belly expanding ingredients.  Its time I put my healthy spin on it.  For the purists, its not “exactly” BBQ shrimp.  How could it be? I’m drastically reducing the fat & calories.  It is still delicious though. Have faith. It was still made with love, and therefore, is still “soul food.”

 
pictured w/ Gambini's Cheese Grits, and my take on collard greens.

New Orleans Style BBQ Habanero Shrimp

Ingredients:
10 large shrimp
1 tsp olive oil
1 habanero, stemmed, seeded, & thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t italian seasoning
a few churns of fresh black pepper
juce of 1/2 lemon
3 tsp of hot sauce
2 tsp of water
1 T light butter
1 scallion, sliced

Method:
1. In a bowl, combine the shrimp with 1 t of the olive oil, habanero, garlic, Italian seasoning, pepper, 2 t of hot sauce, 2 t of water, and lemon juice. Toss well to mix. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate the shrimp at room temperature for 20 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 6 hours.

2. Heat a small/medium sautee pan, and pour contents of small bowl in over medium heat. Cook until sauce bowls and shrimp turn bright pink.  Remove shrimp from sauce, and continue to boil marinade a few minutes longer.

3. Return shrimp to the pan, and turn heat to low. Add remaining hot sauce, butter and scallion.

Serves 1
WW 5p+







Gambini's Fluffy Cheese Grits

Yeah, you heard me right--as in Vincent LaGuardia "Vinny" Gambini.  If you recall, there is a very distinctive scene about grits. To which a character states, “no self respecting southerner uses instant grits.”  Well, my friend, I beg to differ. Any self-respecting southern cook should know how to prepare grits, but that’s definitely a hard and fast rule.  In honor of my favorite legal movie…here we go.  Vinny, this one’s for you.

This is actually my take on a recipe my Mom makes.  Love you, Mom!

Ingredients:
1 packet instant grits (I used butter flavor)
½ c water
2 wedges laughing cow cheese (I like garlic & herb or french onion)
3 1/2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, grated (I put a hunk into the food processor to get it fine)
1 egg
1/8 c of skim milk
Pam spray

Method:
Set oven to 350 degrees

1. Boil water and add grits. Prepare as packet describes. Remove from heat
2. In a small bowl, beat egg and milk together until frothy.
3. Slowly (SLOWLY!!!) add egg mixture to the grits, in batches.  Continue to whisk and temper both ingredients until fully combined into the grits.  (This is to prevent scrambled eggs)
4. Add in 3 T of the parmesan cheese, stir.
5. Crumble/pull apart the laughing cow wedges into the mix, stir.
6. Spray a dish with cooking spray. Pour grit mixture into pan. (I used a 15oz corning ware dish).
7. Sprinkle top with the remaining 1/2 T of parmesan cheese
7. Bake for 50 minutes, until golden brown.

Serves 2.
WW 4p+



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Salmon w/ Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette


Salmon w. Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette




Shown with baby brussel sprouts.


Lemon and cilantro add a fresh kick to a filet of salmon.  I liked the original recipe, but the second time I made a few changes to it.  Enjoy!



Ingredients:

1 box of couscous (I used Near East pine nut)—prepared according to box

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 wild salmon fillet, skin on (4 oz)

½ t garlic powder

½ t oregano

kosher salt and black pepper

1/8  cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cooking spray



Method



1.      Cook the couscous according to the package directions.

2.      Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium heat, spray lightly with cooking spray.

3.      Season salmon with the garlic, oregano, cracked pepper.

4.      Drizzle with 1 t of oil, place in grill pan—skin side up.

5.      1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

6.      Cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

7.      In a small bowl, combine the cilantro, scallions, lemon juice, remaining oil, and fresh cracked pepper, to taste.

8.      Put ½ cup of couscous on plate, and place salmon on top or to the side.

9.       Drizzle the vinaigrette over the fish.



Serves 1

Serve with a green veggie.  You will have plenty of couscous left over. Save it for another day!



Other information:

 10 points plus.

Inspired by Real Simple's Salmon With Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette

Ricotta Stuffed "French Toast" w/ sliced Honey Glazed Nanners'

Alright, people. Who doesn't like french toast? The proper answer is NO ONE! Kidding. I guess there are some people who really dislike breakfasty foods.  This is easy-peasy and super delicious. Here's my take on it : )

Ricotta Stuffed "French Toast" w/ Sliced Honey Glazed Nanners'
Ingredients:
1 100% whole wheat sandwich thin (I used Kroger brand)
2 T of part skim/low fat ricotta cheese
1-1 1/2 t of cinnamon
1 packet of splenda, or other zero calorie sweetener
1 egg 
splash of milk
1 T of water
1 t canola oil
2 t honey
1 banana

Method:

1) In a small bowl mix the ricotta, 1/2 of the cinnamon, and splenda. Spread between the sandwich thin.

2) In another bowl mix the egg, splash of mix, and water. Lightly wisk.

3) Soak stuffed sandwich thin in egg mixture (1 or so minute per side). You will use 1/2 the egg mixture. You can discard it or make another serving.

4) Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Place "french toast" in pan, and lightly brown on both sides.

5) Meanwhile, heat up honey in microwave and slice the banana

6) Transfer to a place, arrange bananas on top of the ricotta stuffed french toast.

7) Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon, if desired.

YUM


Information:

6 points plus

Note: this recipe might be more depending on the brand of ingredients you use.  I know the brand of sandwich thins I used is lower in point value than some of the leading name brands.




Feisty Habanero & Lime Rice


Some like it hot…really hot.
Ok, to those of you who know me, it really isn’t a secret that I love Bruce Springsteen.  While surfing the internet one night (while listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire”), I came across Gina’s original recipe for this habanero rice.  I had a lot of other ingredients that I was trying to use up in the fridge... Thus, this take on her recipe was born. 

Feisty Habanero Pepper & Lime Rice

Inspired by: Gina’s Skinny Taste Scallion Cilantro Rice with Habaneros and Lime

Pictured w/ steamed spinach and fiery cilantro lime shrimp.
INGREDIENTS

1 cups uncooked Arborio rice (or other rice, like brown rice)

2 cups water

1 T canola oil

1 habanero pepper, finely diced

1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced (replace with green pepper if desired)

½ red pepper, diced

Pinch of cayenne pepper

2 scallions, diced

½ small onion, diced

½ c chopped cilantro

Juice of ½ lime



METHOD

1)      In a medium sauce pot add the canola oil, and heat on medium. Once oil is hot, add the habanero, jalapeno, onion and red pepper. Sautee for a few minutes until soft—do not burn!



2)      Add rice, and then the water. Turn heat up to high, and boil until most of the water is absorbed into the Arborio.   When rice is creamy, but still has liquid, turn heat down to low.  Simmer gently for another 15 minutes.  Be careful to watch and add more water if necessary.  Turn off and let sit for 5 minutes.



3)      Remove from heat, and add in the lime, cayenne,  cilantro, and scallions.  Serve immediately

Serves 4 (generous 3/4 cup serving)

INFO:

5 pt+ 

I served this deliciously warm rice with  Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Inspired by Skinny Taste Scallion Cilantro Rice with Habanero & Lime

A New Year, a New Me.

Very much like the movie Bridget Jones's Diary, in June of last year I decided to "get a grip on my life"...so I started Weight Watchers. 

So who am I? My name is Laura. I'm a fiery southern girl, on a mission to practice criminal law & own a restuarant. Cooking is a passion. This blog is my way of bringing many of my healthy and delicious creations--some original, some inspired by others--to you!

Just some housekeeping...please forgive my pictures.  Photography isn't one of my God given talents! I hope that in time, it will improve.  Also, should you decide to leave comments, please be kind! Remember, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all :)

Happy cooking....grab a spoon!