Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Frittater" Frittata

  I have always wondered what the difference was between an omelet and a frittata - and after visiting the "Get Cracking" site, I now know. Basically - when open faced and the ingredients are mixed into the egg, it's a frittata. When the egg is folded around the ingredients, it's an omelet.

Potato, Leek and Pepper Frittata

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 large potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 cup chopped leek (The white and a bit of the green of 1 leek)
1/2 cup diced red pepper
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup liquid egg whites
1/4 cup water

Spray a 9" non-stick pan with vegetable spray and add 1 tbsp. oil.
Lightly brown the shredded potato and add the leeks and red peppers part way through the cooking.
Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.

Continue to cook until you are satisfied all are cooked or softened.

Whisk the eggs with the water and pour over the potatoes, leeks and peppers.

Cover with a lid and cook over medium-low heat until eggs are set. While they are still runny, poke through the contents and pry away from the pan around the outside to allow egg to run through to the bottom of the pan to hasten cooking.

When eggs are set, sprinkle shredded cheese on top, cover and allow cheese to melt.

If you'd like the eggs a little browner, here's my trick for flipping the frittata intact. Loosen the frittata from the pan with a spatula around the outside edges toward the middle while being very careful not to break it. Cover the pan with a large plate, and, wearing oven mitts, pick up the plate and the pan together and flip so the plate is on the bottom and the frittata falls onto the plate. Return the pan to the burner and slide the frittata back (now bottom up) into the pan to finish cooking. Sprinkle with the cheese and allow it to melt.

You wouldn't know it to look at my pictures, but  it really is a tasty and filling brunch or light meal.

This recipe serves 2 generous portions for a points value of  6.5 each.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's all Greek to Me

Warning..this post is WeightWatcher X-rated.

Last night my women's group held a "Surprise Greek Dinner". A perfect activity for a cold and blustery January evening in Winnipeg!
Upon arrival, everyone was given a menu / order form to complete. And - you guessed it - it was in Greek. We had to order by number. The catch - there was no translation. Only the fates (or the 3 organizers) knew what we would be eating for each of the four courses.

I was lucky. My first course arrived.  It was Greek Salad and bread. And a toothpick. No cutlery with which to eat!   Luckily, on the table were breadsticks, carrots and celery - well washed with the "scoop" end intact, so if necessary, could be used as a utensil.

I gave up trying to eat my salad with a toothpick and resorted to using two breadsticks as chopsticks!

It is surprising how resourceful a bunch of women can be when it comes to food! 
Some of the gals were less lucky than I - some had the dessert first.  There were some bizarre combinations - water,toothpick and knife - or salad, main course and napkin. Any number of possible combinations - and all contributed to the hilarity.

All first course items were removed before the next course was served.

Second course for me was coffee, the main dish (which consisted of vegetarian moussaka, spanakopita and lemon potatoes), and a knife. Oh great!  By this time my breadsticks had broken and I had to resort to using a chunk of celery as a scoop.

This picture doesn't do the food justice! It really was delicious - and any thought of tracking points went out the window!  As it was, I couldn't eat all of it and ended up taking a portion of it home.

My third course was water, lemon rice soup and a napkin. The celery had to serve as my spoon because I had yet to receive any usable cutlery!

My final course was dessert (a chocolate shell with fruit) and finally a fork and spoon!  A lot of good they did now!

It was a great evening - such fun. I recommend the activity highly! 

My weightwatcher resolve vanished with the arrival of the first course - but so what!
I'm sure all 35 of my weekly flex points were consumed in that one meal....but I'm still smiling about it. No regrets whatsoever!
The important thing is - I'm back on track today - and maybe I'll dust off that treadmill or engage in some heavy duty cleaning to burn off some of those extra points!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lazy Lasagna (aka Bowtie Lasagna)

In an effort to eat vegetarian more often, I often try to create entrees with Yves Veggie Ground Round®.

Anywhere ground beef is normally used in a recipe, this product can easily be substituted.

There is a Mexican Ground Round (quite spicy). I freeze it in 1/3 cup allotments and use it on salad to add some kick and a little protein, and add  2 WW points to the salad. There is also an Asian Ground Round which I have not yet tried.

The original Veggie Ground Round® can be used in spaghetti sauces, lasagna, shepherd's pie and stroganoff. I've tried it in all these ways and can vouch for it.
Jewish dietary laws forbid the mixing of meat and milk together in a meal, so a traditional ground beef based lasagne made with cheeses would be a no-no in my kitchen. This product is a way to use a vegetarian substitute - get the same texture and taste - and still conform to kosher rules. Not to mention a healthier alternative!

What vegetables I use depends on what I have in my fridge or cupboard on any given day. If I have fresh mushrooms - I use them. If I don't, I'll throw in a can. Sometimes it's canned diced tomato, sometimes crushed. This summer I'm going to harvest my extra tomatoes and freeze them so I can use a healthier alternative than the salty canned product. (Mind you, there are low salt products available. I just don't happen to have any right now!)

So, without further ado, here is my Lazy Lasagna.


4 cups cooked bowtie noodles (rotini noodles work well also)
1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped (or green,red,or orange or equivalent combination)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 lg. onion, chopped
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup cooked chopped spinach (with all moisture squeezed out)
1 pkg, Yves Veggie Ground Round®
1- 14 oz. (398 ml) can crushed tomatoes
1 - 14 oz.(398 ml) can tomato sauce
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup cottage cheese ( dry curd has the lowest salt content)
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1 cup (3.25 oz.) shredded low fat mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook bowtie noodles according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water to avoid sticking, and set aside.

2. Spray a large non-stick pan with vegetable spray and saute onion, garlic and peppers until softened. Then add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms soften.

3. Add the Veggie Ground Round, spinach, tomato sauce, crushed tomato and seasonings.

4. Stir in the cottage cheese and yogurt.

5. Pour the entire mixture into a 9 or 10 cup casserole dish or lasagne pan and top with the shredded cheese.

6. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until cheese has melted and juices are bubbling around the edges.

7. Allow it to stand for 15 minutes or so before cutting it into wedges.

This recipe fills a 9 cup casserole dish and serves 8. Each serving is approximately 6 WW points. Served with a green salad, it makes a very filling meal.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Behold the humble cottage cheese....

Behold the humble cottage cheese
However served, it's sure to please.
Used in a meal or for a snack..
As a weight loss food - keeps me on track.

Okay, so my poetry is not the greatest. But I do want to pay homage to the lowly, simple cottage cheese. Seems to me you can dress it up and take it anywhere! It has taken me a while to learn to appreciate it, but I have learned to like it in a variety of ways, and it's now a staple in my fridge.

Here are seven easy ways to enjoy cottage cheese as a light meal or snack. In each case, I use Fat Free C.C. to calculate the points value.
  • 2/3 cup C.C. with a cut up apple and sprinkled with Splenda and cinnamon (3 Weightwatcher points)
  • 2/3 cup C.C. with a 5 oz. can of fruit salad or diced fruit (4 WeightWatcher points)
  • 2/3 cup on a 7 oz. baked potato - topped with green onions and salt and pepper or salsa   (5 WW points including the potato)  
  • Cheater Cheesecake - 1 cup C.C., 2 pkg. Splenda, 2 tsp. cocoa powder and a splash of vanilla (4 WW points)
  • In a Lazy Single Serving Sweet Kugel - 1/2 c. CC mixed into 1/2 c. cooked egg noodles. Add a pkg. of Splenda and a sprinkle of cinnamon. (4 WW points)  If you use a full cup of noodles, it would be 6 WW points.
  • Another variation of a savoury noodle combo - 1/2 c. CC mixed into 1/2 c. cooked noodles. Mix in a chopped green onion, salt, pepper and 2 oz. tuna. (6 WW points)
  • Lazy Perogies - 1/2 c.CC, 1/2 c. cooked noodles, sauted onions, 1 cup cooked potato - mashed (6 WW points)
I would consider the last three items on the above list a lunch or dinner because of the high points value. When eaten with a salad ( 0 points) and a fruit serving (1 point), you get a full meal deal!

It seems to me that Cottage Cheese is darn near to being a perfect food. It qualifies as a serving of dairy on the WW program. (I am not a milk lover, so it's hard for me to get my required dairy servings into my daily fare.)
Body Builders love it because it's a non meat source of protein. It's high in bone healthy calcium and low in calories and fat. It's a filling food that staves off hunger for a good period of time. And it's low in carbohydrates, so great for diabetic diets.
Now, if only I could convince my diabetic DH that he likes cottage cheese. I do try to include it in a number of hot dairy main courses that I prepare, and he willingly eats those. Today I snuck 1/4 c. into our breakfast egg white scramble and he ate it and liked it, so maybe in time he'll learn to appreciate it in it's more natural state!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Easy Salmon Patties with Dill & Cucumber Sauce

I often forget to take something out of the freezer to thaw in time for dinner, and today I did it again. But I did have canned salmon in the cupboard, and a few weeks ago I made some salmon patties (sans the Dill-Cucumber Sauce) that we both liked a lot, so I thought I'd make them again.

I based my salmon patties on a recipe from a cookbook called The Art of Cooking for the Diabetic© by Mary Abbott Hess, and in my usual fashion made a few substitutions/ alterations.

Salmon Patties with Cucumber Dill Sauce - my version

Salmon Patties
1 lg. can (426 g) or 2 small (213g) cans of red or pink salmon
1 cup dry oatmeal
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup liquid egg whites or 2 beaten eggs
3 green onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp. fresh dill
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Cucumber Dill Sauce
1/2 cup plain low fat or fat free yogurt or sour cream
1/3 peeled English cucumber - diced
1/2 small tomato, diced
2 green onions, chopped finely
1 tsp dried dill weed

Drain salmon and mash well. Add the oatmeal, milk, egg, green onion, dill and pepper.(You may wish to add salt, but I figure the salmon is salty enough and am trying to avoid additional salt.) Mix well and form into 6 round patties.
Fry the patties in a non-stick pan that has been sprayed with vegetable spray and have added 1 tbsp. veg.oil. Cook over medium heat 4-5 minutes per side until nicely browned.

To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Serve on or with the salmon patties.

Each pattie with a couple tablespoons of sauce works out to approx. 3 WeightWatcher points.

I don't know if I would make the sauce again to use with the salmon patties, but I would like to try it on a baked potato. I think it would make a nicer pairing.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Orange you glad I baked muffins again?

Yikes! When I decided to look for the nasty smell emanating from my fridge, I didn't expect to find a bushel of oranges. Well, maybe not a bushel - but a goodly sum. And apples, too. Altogether too many. And that's not counting the petrified ones I had to throw away. Time to look for a recipe that can use up some of these surplus fruits.
I found this recipe in one of my 6 Norene Gilletz cookbooks, Norene's Healthy Kitchen©.
 Her web site is

I did modify it slightly -  I used Splenda® instead of sugar, liquid egg white instead of 2 eggs, and I added 1/4 cup of flax meal since I am consciously trying to include flax in more of the foods I prepare. If you read my last blog, you'll understand why!  I ended up using only 1 of the oranges when all was said and done, so I'm sure I'll be hunting for more recipes to use them up. The apples will be much easier - there are so many more recipes!
DH and I didn't give them much of a chance to cool before we tucked into them. And not being sure of the taste verdict, we each had to have a second one.  I suppose I should have calculated the Weightwatcher® points before scarfing the second one, but it's too late now!  Good thing all I had for lunch was a salad.

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat or all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp.salt
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used Splenda®)
2 large eggs or 1 lg.egg plus 2 egg whites  (I used 1/3 cup liquid egg whites)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I used a heaping teaspoon)
1/4 cup flaxmeal - optional. This was not part of Norene's original recipe.
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries. (If frozen , do not thaw.)

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 12 compartment muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.In a large bowl, measure all the dry ingredients and mix well.

  2. Add the yogurt, orange juice, oil,sugar or Splenda, eggs, and cinnamon. (Norene suggests using a food processor and processing with quick on/off pulses until smooth.) An option is an electric mixer. I was too lazy to drag out either of these, so I mixed vigourously with a spoon.
    Stir in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.
  3. Scoop the batter into the muffin pan, filling each compartment about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool slightly before removing from pan. Makes 12 muffins which can be frozen.

They smelled amazing while they were baking (the cinnamon, I think.)

The muffins didn't rise a whole lot - maybe because they were cornmeal based, and cornmeal muffins generally don't rise much. Perhaps if I had followed Norene's directions and used the processor or even an electric mixer they might have been higher. Next time! These are a definite "Doagain". Each muffin works out 3 Weightwatcher points with Splenda® or sugar.

Flummoxed by Flax?

I recently purchased some Flax Meal at our neighbourhood Bulk Barn. So now what do I do with it? I have been reading of the benefits of flax meal in the "Outsmart Diabetes" magazine, and on the following Web Site:

So I know flax is a good thing for my DH to get into his daily diet. And it's not so bad for me, either, as a WeightWatcher. It's Omega-3 content slows the rate of digestion, making a person feel full longer. For diabetics, it reduces also inflammation and improves insulin resistance. It's also a high fiber food that helps to control blood sugar. So - with all that going for it, how do we incorporate it into our daily diet? It has a pleasant nutty taste that is not at all hard to take.

I keep it refrigerated in a small, easily accessible plastic container since it can go rancid fairly quickly.

Here are the 10 ways I have found in my research - so it should be easy!
1. Sprinkle a tablespoon on your salad
2. Stir some into your soup.
3. Mix it into yogurt or cottage cheese.
4. Add it to pancake mix, waffle mix, banana or quickbreads - even cookies!
5. Add it to breading for chicken. (Using Shake and Bake? Add a couple tablespoons of flax meal to the bag.)
6. Add it to meatloaf or burger mixtures.
7. Sprinkle into breakfast cereal - hot or cold.
8. Use it in a smoothie.
9. Use some in Apple or Fruit Crisp topping.
10. Pretend it's an herb and use it along with seasonings for roasted or pan fried potatoes.

You get the picture - the list could be endless. The flax meal just has to become part of one's daily food prep vocabulary.

Isn't Omega-3 also supposed to be good for memory? I seem to have forgotten! Better get more into my diet!