Monday, March 30, 2009

New Start to a New Me

I have been doing Weight Watchers online since July 2008. As of last Thursday, 3/26 I had lost almost 50 pounds. It sounds like a good amount, but I have been almost stalled since November. It was partly my own doing, as I was fudging some counts and stretching the extra points I get weekly. However, it was also a function of the way my personal metabolism works. I am not a nutritionist and I don't claim to understand the science totally, but my body doesn't like carbohydrates. I don't mean all carbohydrates, but the "white ones". This includes sugar, four, white rice and potatoes.

Last Thursday I switched to Weight Watchers Simply Filling method of tracking food. My body has already reacted positively and I am rejoicing at already being down 3.4 pounds. I am so excited and it is self-motivating to see such fast results.

Since I love to cook and experiment, it has also given be an opportunity to be extremely creative to get some of my favorite tastes in my diet without using the "no-no" foods. This Friday we are meeting friends for pizza. I could use some of my extra weekly points for some pizza, but I prefer to save the points for my wine/beer while out for Rock 'n Roll on the weekends. So, I have been trying to figure out how to not only say "no" to the pizza, but be satisfied with what I am eating instead.

Here is what I have come up with:

Pizza Casserole with Spaghetti Squash

1 Spaghetti Squash - cooked and shredded
1 large can crushed tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
green peppers, diced
leeks, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fat free mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fat free Parmesan cheese, grated
4 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat broiler or oven to 450°

Saute leeks, green peppers and garlic in 4 teaspoons of olive oil over low heat. When veggies are soft add oregano and stir to coat. When you can smell the oregano add the can of tomatoes and mix well.

Remove from the heat and add the spaghetti squash threads and half the cheeses to the pot. Pour into a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.

Place pan under broiler or in VERY hot oven. It is done when the cheeses are melted and gooey.

Because of the oil it has to be eaten on 2 separate days or by 2 people. The other option is to count the extra oil in towards the weekly points. (2.5)

If you lower the oils to 2 teaspoons you could eat the entire thing if that's what it takes to make you feel satisfied.

If you substitute whole wheat pasta for the spaghetti squash it is still a filling food, but you would have to count it as the "once a day" item.

Another option is to add 1/2 cup of the Morningstar breakfast starter "sausage bits" to get that flavor that many people love on pizza.

If this is eaten by folks counting points it is 4 servings and 4 points as written originally per serving. If you use whole wheat pasta instead it is still 4 servings, add another 2 points per serving and if you add the Morningstar breakfast starter sausage bits you would add another 1 point per serving.

I will be experimenting quite often and hopefully I will remember to post my results.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Diane's Menu March 29 - April 4 2009

Diane's Menu March 29 - April 4 2009

Sunday - Roast Pork, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli
Monday - Shrimp Kabobs, Brown Rice
Tuesday - Whole Wheat Pasta with Marinara Sauce, Salad
Wednesday - Grilled Chicken Cutlets, Curried Quinoa and Asparagus Pilaf in Rice Cooker
Thursday - Hamburgers, Red Cabbage Slaw
Friday - Onion Crusted Tilapia, Snow Peas, Baked Potato
Saturday - probably steak dinner out

Diane's Chicken and Quinoa Chili in Rice Cooker

I am always experimenting with my rice cooker and grains. Today I made something so good for lunch that I have to share it.

Diane's Chicken and Quinoa Chili in Rice Cooker

2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
1 medium onion diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 cup quinoa
1 small can fat free chicken broth
1 small can stewed tomatoes
1 precooked or grilled chicken breast
1 packet Sazon seasoning
1 can corn or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernals

In rice cooker on browning cycle, if you have one, heat oil and add onion and jalapeno pepper to saute for a few minutes. When soft add cumin and quinoa, stir to coat. Add chicken broth and tomatoes. My chicken breast was fully cooked, but frozen so I put it in at this point. If yours is cooked and cold, you might want to also put it in at this point. If it's cooked and room temperature you could wait till the end. If you want to cook the chicken in the rice cooker, you can chunk it up in 1 inch chunks and also add it at this point. Add the Sazon seasoning. Close rice cooker and set for regular rice. It will take about 1 hour. When it has 2-5 minutes to go, add corn and stir to distribute. Close rice cooker and allow to finish.

This is SOOO good. Spicy and tasty and very filling. I think this will be enough for 2 lunches or if I had made it for dinner and added another chicken breast it would have been enough for my husband and I both.

It is totally on the WW plan for Simply Filling. I didn't figure out points because I am not counting points at this time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Diane's Menu March 22-28, 2009

Diane's Menu March 22-28, 2009

Sunday - Roast Chicken parts, Baked Potato, Broccoli (chicken and broccoli leftovers for Tuesday Casserole)
Monday - weekly Take-IN Pizza
Tuesday - Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
Wednesday - Tilapia Francais, Brown Rice, Asparagus
Thursday - Macaroni and Cheese (fat free, yes it's possible!)
Friday - Chalupa **
Saturday - Dinner Out for a night of Rock and Roll!

** Recipes below

1 lb Dry pink beans
3 lb Pork roast
1/2 c Chopped onion
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Chili powder
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 can (4-oz.) chopped green chilies
Corn chips

(I use much more of all the seasonings except salt.)

Sort and rinse beans. Put all ingredients except corn chips in Dutch oven,an electric crockery cooker or heavy kettle. Add 7 cups water. Cover and simmer about 5 hours, or until roast falls apart and beans are done. Uncover and cook about 1/2 hours to desired thickness. Serve with cornchips and pass condiments for choice of toppings: (chopped tomato,avocado, onion, shredded lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, taco sauce orother hot sauce).

Prep and Planning Make Weekday Meals a Breeze!

Does anyone else besides me watch Robin Miller on the Food Network?

I love her recipes and techniques. So I thought I would share one or two that I use all the time. Actually I started doing this long before Robin Miller, but today she reminded me.

When I plan a meal, I automatically think about what ingredients go into that meal and try to plan another meal in the same week or the following week that will use those same ingredients so that I don't have to cook something twice.

For example: If we are going to have a pasta meal, I will cook 2 pounds of pasta at the same time. I use part for the first meal, take the remaining and split it in 2. Make a casserole with some of it and a pasta salad with the rest. Most casseroles made with pasta can be frozen for future use.

Next week, we will have a pork roast on one of the days. The roast is too big for one meal on purpose! In the same week I will also have twice baked sweet potatoes with diced pork that was left over from the roast and soaked in BBQ sauce poured over the top of the sweet potatoes.

Menu to be posted in the next few hours.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Diane's Menu March 15-21, 2009

Diane's Menu March 15-21, 2009
Sunday - Chicken Caesar Salads
Monday - Weekly Take-in Pizza
Tuesday - Out for St Paddy's Day
Wednesday - Grilled Talapia, Black Bean and Corn Salad
Thursday - Chicken Quesidillas, Salad
Friday - Ravioli, Salad
Saturday - Dinner out

Sunday, March 1, 2009



1 can of jellied cranberry sauce (I used homemade with Splenda instead of the sugary stuff in the can.)
1 cup yogurt cheese
5 - 6 bananas slices
1 sleeve salted soda crackers, crushed

Arrange above ingredients in layers. This is good!

Purple Passion Salad

Purple Passion Salad

makes 8 servings, 2 points per serving, 1 fruit

1 pkg. Sugar Free Grape Jell-O
1 pkg. Sugar Free Black cherry Jell-O
1 bag frozen blueberries, defrosted and heated with 5 tablespoons of Splenda and 1-2 tablespoons of water to make a thick syrupy blueberry pie filling type mix, Let cool.
1/2 c yogurt cheese

Add 2 cups boiling water to Jell-O and let stand till syrupy. Add blueberry mixture. Set until nearly set. Then add 1 1/2 cup yogurt cheese. Just barely swirl it in. This is very good.

Diane's Black Bean and Corn Salad

Diane's Black Bean and Corn Salad

Side Dish

POINTS® Value: 3 for a 1 cup serving = 2 veggies and 1 oil

Servings: 6

Preparation Time: 0 min

Cooking Time: 0 min

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Course: Salad, Side, Veggie

1 1/2 cup(s) cooked black beans
1 cup(s) cooked frozen corn kernels
1 medium green pepper(s), diced into size to match size of corn and black beans
1 cup(s) roasted red peppers, diced into size that matches corn and black beans
2 small jalapeno pepper(s), diced very small
1 cup(s) onion(s), diced very small
1/4 cup(s) red wine vinegar
6 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp cilantro, torn into salad at end


Mix first 6 ingredients, Combine vinegar and oil, pour over veggies. Toss. Tear cilantro into salad, toss again. Best served second day.

Diane's Menu March 1 - 7 2009

Diane's Menu March 1 -7 2009

Sunday - Spinach Ravioli, Salad
Monday - Corned Beef, Baked Sweet Potato, Salad
Tuesday - Turkey/Beef Chili
Wednesday - Blackened Talapia, Brown Rice, Black Bean/Corn Salad
Thursday - Chicken Thighs Moroccan Style, Steamed Bok Choy, Whole Wheat Couscous
Friday - Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Baked Potato, Broccoli, Salad
Saturday - Pasta some style - not decided yet, might be out to dinner before live music.