Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Baked Falafel Salad

This recipe is adapted from Flourishing Foodie's Falafel Salad.  
Makes 16 patties
Serves 4
Soak dried chickpeas for 24 hours. Do NOT use canned chickpeas. 

1 3/4 cups dry chickpeas, soaked at least 8 hours
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pulverized
1 yellow onion, small dice
1/3 c fresh parsley, stems removed then chopped
1 t cumin
1 t coriander seeds, ground
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 T lemon juice, or 1 small lemon
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
2 T all-purpose flour (enough to slightly hold the mixture together)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sesame seeds
cooking spray 

DRESSING INGREDIENTS (makes a little more than 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup oil (canola, olive, safflower, or grapeseed)
2 tbsp lemon juice or 1 small lemon
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
dash of salt

SALAD INGREDIENTS or use Tabbouleh Salad
8 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced

1.  In a food processor, pulse half of the chickpeas until just broken. Place into a large bowl and set aside.
2.  Pulse the remainder of the chickpeas in the food processor with the garlic, onion, parsley, cumin, coriander, cayenne, baking soda, salt, lemon juice and water. Pulse until it resemble a paste. Add to the large bowl with the chickpea pieces and combine. Stir in the flour, beaten egg, and sesame seeds.
3.  Scoop a rough 1/4 cup of the falafel mixture and roll into a ball. Place onto the parchment paper. Continue in this manner until you have rolled all of the falafel balls. Place the baking sheet into the fridge and let sit for 1 hour. Some of the water will seep out onto the tray, this is normal.
4.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees F.  Check after 20 minutes.  You want a nice crust on the outside while the inside remains tender, but cooked through.
4.  In a mason jar or any jar with a lid, add all of the dressing ingredients. Shake until combined.
5.  To assemble the salad, add the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion to a bowl, drizzle with the dressing. Place a few falafels on top and drizzle with tahini.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Weight Watchers Super Creamy Mac and Cheese

I didn't have any idea how this was going to go.  I mean, seriously, cauliflower instead of cheese?

Folks, as diet meals go, this isn't bad.  I was getting sort of tired of eating vegetable soup.  Yes, I like vegetable soup. Yes, it is good for me.  Yes, vegetable soup is low cal.  But, after about 8 meals of vegetable soup, I wanted something that didn't scream, "You're on a Diet!"

Enter Super Creamy Mac and Cheese, or cauliflower and cheese as I like to think of it.  This took a leap of faith on my part to make.  Why?  Because I have never.  In my entire adult life.  Purchased.  A head of cauliflower.

There, I said it.

I didn't want to buy something that most people smother in cheese to make it taste better.  But I was desperate for some comfort food. I found myself in the produce department mulling over white heads of broccoli wannabes.

Say what you will, I will make this again.

Weight Watchers Super Creamy Mac and Cheese

1 t salted butter
1/3 c Panko breadcrumbs
2 T grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 head uncooked cauliflower (2 lbs)
4 medium uncooked carrots, thinly sliced
1 c reduced sodium vegetable broth
1/4 c low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1.5 t Dijon mustard
1/2 c low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, sharp variety recommended, divided
1.5 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded (1/4 cup)
1 t table salt
1/4 t hot pepper sauce
8 oz uncooked macaroni
2 sprays cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.

Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat; add panko and cook, stirring occasionally until toasted, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to small bowl and let cool; stir in Pecorino and set aside.  (Just as a head's up here, I didn't use this butter and I didn't toast my panko.  I simply sprinkled the panko mixture on the top of the casserole once I got to that point.  I'm not washing more dishes.)

Cut 3 cups small florets from cauliflower; set aside.  I used 4.  Cauliflower is BIG.  Cut remaining cauliflower (including stem) into 2 inch pieces.  Add cauliflower pieces and carrots to boiling water; cook until very tender, 10-12 minutes.  I forgot to set the timer, so it went 20.  No biggie.

Meanwhile, combine broth, cream cheese, mustard, 1/4 c cheddar, gruyere, salt, and pepper sauce in a large blender.  With a large slotted spoon, transfer cooked vegetables to blender, puree into a creamy sauce.  Can we say thank goodness for the Ninja blender?

Add pasta to same pot of boiling water; cook half the time of package directions, adding reserveed cauliflower florets during last minute of cooking.  Drain pasta and cauliflower, return to pot and stir in pureed sauce.

Coat a 2.5 quarter shallow baking dish with cooking spray; spoon pasta mixture into prepared pan in an even layer.  Sprinkle dish with remaining 1/4 c cheddar and reserved crumb mixture; bake until golden on top, 25-30 minutes.

Here's what you get.

Serving size: 1 c.
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 6

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gram's Chicken Casserole

This is a recipe from Gram.  My gram is one of the world's great country cooks.  Her green beans are without comparison.  Her potato salad is renowned.  And this.  This.  This chicken casserole is one of our family's leftover favorites.

1 stick butter
1 bag herbed stuffing
5 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 turkey breast or half of a roasted chicken,diced
1 can Campbell's  Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can chicken broth

Stew chicken.  Don't discard chicken broth.  Remove from bone, discard skin and cut or shred into bite-sized portions.  Melt butter in a saucepan and saute diced carrots, celery and onion until soft.  Mix the soup with the chicken broth and set aside.

Grease the bottom of a 13x9 pan.  Layer 1/3rd of the dry stuffing to cover the bottom of the pan.  Top stuffing with 1/2 of the chicken.  Top chicken with 1/2 of the sauteed vegetables.  Pour 1/2 of the liquid over the dry ingredients.  Layer 1/3 of the stuffing over this.  Add the remainder of the chicken and vegetables and liquid.  Top with the final 1/3 of the stuffing.

Bake at 400 F for 1 hour.



Spinach Fritatta

If you read this blog or know me, you know I love breakfast.  I am an egg eater.  An ovivore.  I love eggs, virtually any style.  And yes, I love quiche. But I am not a fan of the pie crust.  When served pie, I give away the rind of the crust.  It's just not my thing.  So when I discovered that one could make a crustless quiche, I was all in.

Enter the fritatta.

The thing about fritattas, about quiches, is that they are best when they are barely set.  They have the consistency of custard and they melt in your mouth.  This is just one of those kinds of recipes.

3 small Yukon gold potatoes, diced and pre-cooked
1 large vidalia onion, julienned
1 pkg (10 oz.) spinach, wilted
12 eggs, beaten
4 oz. full fat sour cream
4 oz. Gruyere cheese
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
vegetable oil
1 well seasoned 10" cast iron pan

Dice and cook the potatoes in a small amount of oil.  Set aside to cool.  Julienne the onion and cook in a small amount of oil over low heat until onions are caramelized.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Wilt one package of baby spinach (stems removed) over medium heat.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Dice the Gruyere into small pieces.  Set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat 12 large eggs with a wire whisk.  Add the sour cream and beat until homogeneous. Add the salt and pepper.  Oil the cast iron pan with a generous 2T of oil.  Use a paper towel to oil the sides of the pan. 

Add the potatoes, onion, spinach and cheese to the egg mixture and pour into the pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Check for doneness.  You want the center of the fritatta *just set*.  If not to desired doneness, bake on, checking every 5 minutes for donenes.  Do not overbake.  The fritatta will probably not have a browned top.  If you cook it until the top is browned, you have overcooked the interior of the thing and it will have the texture of a kitchen sponge.  Don't do that.  You are going to have to live with an unbrowned top this time.  

As soon as practically possible, run a knife around the edge of the pan removing the sides of the fritatta.  After 10 minutes, turn the fritatta out onto a plate and serve.