Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Whole Wheat Orange-Vanilla Buttermilk Waffles

  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Makes 4 Servings (1 waffle & 1 tablespoon maple syrup)
  1. Spray waffle make with nonstick spray. Preheat according to manufacturer's directions.
  2. Whisk together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, egg, oil, orange zest and vanilla in a small bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until batter is just smooth.
  3. When waffle baker is ready, ladle in 1/2 cup of batter. Close lid and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer waffle to plate and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, making a total of 4 waffles. Serve with maple syrup.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW New Complete Cookbook. The original recipe was called whole-wheat buttermilk waffles and the orange and the vanilla were different variations. I decided to combine the orange and vanilla to make whole-wheat orange-vanilla buttermilk waffles. Vanilla pair well with any fruit and the dish always tastes good. These waffles are so crisp and delicious you'll have these again and again. If you have any leftover waffles, wrap them in plastic and freeze them And when you want to eat waffles, take them out, defrost them, put your favorite toppings on them, heat them in the microwave and enjoy them. As for enjoying these waffles fresh out of the waffle iron, I highly recommend adding your favorite fresh fruit on top of these waffles to fill you up. One bite of these and you'll never go the local waffles house or pancake parlor again.

Ragu Bolognese

  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Makes 6 Servings (1 cup per serving)
  1. Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking it apart with wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated. Stir in onion, carrot, celery, oregano, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 12 minutes. Stir in milk and cook, stirring, until creamy and thickened, about 5 minutes longer.
  2. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti, according to package directions, omitting salt if desired; drain well.
  3. Add pasta and Parmesan to skillet and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 2 minutes longer.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW New Complete Cookbook. This is what I call a taste of Italy. Don't be intimidated by all the ingredients. Once you get your mise en place together, it's all smooth sailing from then on. The original recipe calls for dry white wine but I prefer red wine with my ground beef. You can use ground turkey, chicken, pork or veal in the Bolognese and this dish will still be deliciously comforting. You can use the white wine with the white meat and the red wine with the ground beef. I also recommend 3 garlic cloves minced in with the vegetables for a more aromatic flavor and garlic always makes everything taste better. If you make this dinner, I promise you it will bring your family and friends to the table and people will love it. As for the olive oil, you can use a variety of Mediterranean in fused olive oil in this dish. For a selection, visit www.TheImperialOlive.com.

Tequilla-Citrus Chicken

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. tequila
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 4 (1/4 lb.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Makes 4 Servings (1 thigh per serving)
  1. Combine the garlic, orange juice, tequila, lime juice, oil, and cumin in a zip-close plastic bag; add the chicken. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag; turn to coat the chicken. Refrigerate, turning the bag occasionally, for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray; prepare the grill for a medium-hit fire.
  3. Lift the chicken from the marinade, shake off the excess marinade, then sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Discard the marinade. Place the chicken on the grill rack and grill until well marked and cooked through, 6-7 minutes on each side.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW Ultimate Chicken Cookbook. This is a great chicken dinner that's quick, easy and flavorful. This dish really does remind you of being on a beach in Mexico after you take one bite into it. Who doesn't love the combination of orange, lime, olive oil and garlic mixed in with tequila? As for the olive oil, I highly recommend Lime-Infused Olive oil for a more tropical flavor. For more information, visit www.TheImperialOlive.com.

Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice

  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking brown rice
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup drained petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 1 /2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
Makes 4 Servings (1 cup bean mixture & 1/2 cup rice per serving)
  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions, omitting the fat is desired; keep warm.
  2. With a fork, coarsely mash 1 cup of the beans; set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Add the whole and mashed beans, the tomatoes with their juice, the cumin, and oregano; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly and the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the lime juice and pepper sauce, stirring to mix well. Serve over the rice.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW in 20 Minutes Cookbook. This dish makes a great meal or side dish alongside a Latin flavored protein. You have three servings of vegetables in this dish so you'll get your share of nutrients. Don't worry if this dish looks like a hot mess, it tastes great and it's full of flavor.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ham and Cheese Frico Breakwiches

  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
  • 4 tsp. coarse-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 oz. sliced smoked ham, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 roasted red pepper halves (from a jar)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
Makes 4 Servings (1 sandwiches per serving)
  1. Heat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using 2 tablespoons for each, sprinkle the cheese into 8 mounds on the baking sheet. Spread each mound into a 3-inch round. Bake for 3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and spread lightly. Remove from the oven and let stand on he baking sheet until the cheese sets, about 2 minutes.
  3. Using a thin-bladed metal spatula, lift the rounds off the baking sheet. Brush the smooth side of each round with mustard. Top each of 4 rounds with 1 piece of ham, a red pepper, another piece of ham, and one-fourth of the onion. Top with the remaining cheese rounds, mustard side down, and serve warm.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. This is a breakfast sandwich but you can eat this 'sandwich' for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This sandwiches are made from frico, or cheese crisps in place of bread. You can use a variety of shredded cheeses such as Monterey Jack, Provolone, Mozzarella, Swiss, Gruyere, etc, a variety of meats such as sliced turkey, roast beef, Canadian bacon, and a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, arugula, etc. and use pesto, chimichurri, romesco in place of the mustard for a variety of breakwiches and you'll have endless possibilities.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dark Chocolate Bark with Walnuts

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 6 oz. bittersweet dark chocolate, finely chopped
Makes 20 pieces (2 per serving)
  1. Heat the oven to 350 F. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, or until fragrant. Cool, the coarsely chop.
  2. Place 4 ounces of the chopped chocolate in a medium glass bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir, then microwave for 30 seconds longer, or until just melted. (If the chocolate hasn't melted, microwave an additional 20 seconds.) Add the remaining chocolate to the bowl, stirring until melted. Stir in the walnuts.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Spread the warm chocolate mixture on the sheet into a 6 X 9-inch rectangle. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until firm but not brittle. Cut or break into about 20 pieces and serve, or refrigerate for later (the bark will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container).
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. These treat will be your new guilty pleasures after you make them. You can have your chocolate and eat it too. What makes these treats even sweeter is that there is no granulated sugar. You can use any kind of nut such as almonds or macadamia nuts in this recipe and your treats will be delicious. If you want to add and extra kick of flavor to these treats, I highly recommend adding a touch of orange zest in with the chocolate and your treats will get an extra kick of zing.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Flank Steak Stir-Fry with Ginger & Scallions

  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking brown rice
  • 3/4-lb. flank steak, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 tsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 5 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
Makes 4 Servings (3/4 cup beef mixture & 1/4 cup rice  mixture per serving)
  1. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
  2. Combine steak, cornstarch, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Combine remaining 2 teaspoons soy sauce with hoisin in small bowl.
  3. Heat oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally, just until lightly browned, about 45 seconds. Add ginger and cook 30 seconds. Stir in bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add hoisin mixture, stirring, 30 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in scallions and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Divide beef mixture and rice among 4 plates.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW Tastier than Takeout Cookbook. This is what I call gourmet Chinese food. I've said it once and I'll say it over  and over again: if you're thinking about ordering Chinese takeout, PUT DOWN THE PHONE!! You can make this elegant meal in 20 minutes or less and it will taste just as good as takeout. You can use any cut of beef (porterhouse, sirloin, skirt, etc.) and this meal will be delicious. I highly recommend seasoning the beef with freshly ground pepper as and minced garlic to enhance the flavor. You don't need salt because the soy sauce is already salty. Any kind of vegetable such as broccoli, snap peas, or shitake mushrooms will work just as well too.