Friday, November 28, 2008

Lemon Butter Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sweet unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon extract
extra sugar, for dipping glass

Mix all ingredients (except for the extra sugar for dipping the glass) together well using a heavy duty mixer.
Roll into 1/2 inch size balls-you will need three large ungreased cookie sheets, 16 balls per sheet.
Use the flat base of a drinking glass that has been dipped into sugar to flatten each dough ball on the cookie sheets.
Bake in a preheated 350 F (or 180 C) oven for 8-11 minutes or until lighly browned on the edges- do not overbake.
Remove to wire racks to cool.

These ROCK my socks. OMG, they are sooooo good. I didn't think there would be enough lemon flavor for the amount of dough; but it's just right. I baked each batch for exactly 8 minutes. YUM YUM YUM

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Peanut Butter Ice Cream/Gelato

1 c skim milk
1 c whole milk
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c peanut butter

Combine peanut butter and sugar in saucepan. Melt. Stir thoroughly.
Add milks 1/2 cup at a time -- DO NOT BE A SLACKER ABOUT THIS -- making sure to thoroughly heat the milk mixture (i.e. you should get at least one burbling bubble) before adding the next 1/2 cup.
Once all the milk is added and completely heated, pour into container and chill to 40°.
Pour into ice cream maker. Freeze following equipment instructions.

If you do not have an ice cream maker, don't despair! Pour mixture into shallow dish. Set in freezer for 45 minutes. Take out and stir vigorously. Return to freezer. Check every 30 minutes and stir vigorously each time for 2-3 hours.

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Stir-fried tofu with mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and green onions

Adapted from

6 T soy sauce
2 T unseasoned rice vinegar
2 T honey
2 t oriental sesame oil
½ t dried crushed red pepper
1 12-oz pkg extra-firm tofu, drained, cut into ¾-inch cubes, patted dry with paper towels (I press the tofu between two plates with a stack of plates on top for about an hour)
¼ cup water
1 t cornstarch
2 T vegetable oil, divided
6 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps quartered
8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed (I used peas once. All other times, I’ve subbed asparagus. I think you can use anything.)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced peeled fresh ginger
4 green onions, sliced on diagonal

Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Add tofu and stir to coat; let marinate for 30 minutes. (I leave for at least an hour, usually 2.) Drain, reserving marinade in small bowl. Whisk ¼ cup water and cornstarch into marinade.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. (Here, I coat the tofu with cornstarch.) Add tofu and saute until golden about two minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer tofu to plate. (Here, I eat several pieces of the tofu.) Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to skillet. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until tender, about 3 minutes. Add sugar snap peas; stir-fry 2 minutes (a little longer for asparagus). Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry 30 seconds. Return tofu to skillet; drizzle reserved marinade mixture over. Stir-fry until marinade thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

(I have it with brown rice. Also, I like spicy stuff, so I usually have some Thai chili garlic sauce on the side.)

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Peach Ice Cream

6 cups (3 lbs) sliced peaches
3/4 c sugar (Next time a full 1 cup)
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups half and half (Next time whole milk or heavy cream)

Combine peaches and sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes.
after 30 minutes, puree peaches and sugar.
Add vanilla and milk.
Combine thoroughly.
Chill to 40°.
Pour into ice cream maker. Freeze following equipment instructions.

If you do not have an ice cream maker, don't despair! Puree the ingredients and pour into shallow dish. Set in freezer for 45 minutes. Take out and stir vigorously. Return to freezer. Check every 30 minutes and stir vigorously each time for 2-3 hours.

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Watermelon Sorbet

2.5 lbs watermelon, chunks
1 cup sugar
juice of one large lemon
1 T vodka

Puree all ingredients.
Chill to 40°.
Pour into ice cream maker. Freeze following equipment instructions.

If you do not have an ice cream maker, don't despair! Puree the ingredients and pour into shallow dish. Set in freezer for 45 minutes. Take out and stir vigorously. Return to freezer. Check every 30 minutes and stir vigorously each time for 2-3 hours.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mustard Grilled Chicken (Light)

From Oprah Magazine by way of Recipezaar.

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (I completely forgot this! Oops!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 skinless chicken breast halves
  1. Mix together lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and spices in a bowl.
  2. Pour over chicken in a shallow baking dish and turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator covered for 2–4 hours. (I let mine sit overnight.)
  3. Grill on BBQ or in oven on broil.
I tossed mine on the trusty George Foreman grill. So good!

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Banana Nut Bread 2

1 c. sugar
½ c. butter
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten
1¼ c. flour
½ t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1 c. nuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream sugar and butter. Add bananas and eggs. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda 3 times. Add to banana mixture. Stir in cinnamon, vanilla, and nuts. Pour batter into a 9x5 loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes. Cool on rack.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Granola Bars

1 c. quick-cooking oats
1 c. chopped nuts
⅓ c. butter
½ c. firmly packed brown sugar
¼ c. honey
1 c. California raisins
1 c. dried banana chips
1 c. granola

Heat oven to 350ºF. In an 8 or 9-inch square pan, combine oats and nuts. Bake 20 minutes or until oats are golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, stir butter, brown sugar and honey together in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils.

Measure raisins, banana chips and cereal into large bowl. Add toasted oats and nuts. Pour cooked mixture over all and toss to coat thoroughly. Generously butter same square pan. Press mixture firmly and evenly into bottom of pan. Cool. Cut into 2 inch squares. Yields 16 bars.

From San Marcos Daily Record

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Peppery Baked Onions with Sage and Gruyere

from Cooking Light (Dec 2004)

4 medium yellow onions
Cooking spray
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup less-sodium beef broth
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely shredded Gruyère cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400.

  2. Peel and half onions.

  3. Arrange onions cut side up in shallow baking dish.

  4. Coat tops of onions with olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper and salt.

  5. Bake 40 min.

  6. Combine broth and soy sauce. Add to baking dish.

  7. Bake 1 hour. Every 15 min, baste onions with liquid.

  8. Sprinkle sage and Gruyere over onions.

  9. Bake 5 more minutes -- or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 4 servings -- 2 halves each

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Flax seed whole wheat pancakes

YIELD: 15 - 17 pancakes
POINTS: 19 (entire batch, 17 if using EggBeaters)

1 cup whole wheat flour (8 pts)
2 teaspoons baking soda (0 pts)
1/2 teaspoon salt (0 pts)
3 packets Splenda (0 pts)
6 tablespoons flax seed meal (3 pts)
1 tablespoon oil (1 pts)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (3 pts)
2 large eggs (4 pts)

1. Combine dry ingredients.
2. Combine wet ingredients.
3. Mix wet into dry until completely incorporated. DO NOT OVER MIX.
4. Set aside.
5. Heat griddle/skillet until water droplets will bead over cooking surface.
6. Laddle 1/4 cup of batter onto hot surface.
7. Cook until edges are firm and bubbles appear.
8. Flip. Cook 1-2 minutes.

Flax seed will make the pancakes brown very quickly. Also, I found that the heat may not need to be quite as high as for regular pancakes.

Something else I learned, these babies do NOT need syrup. A little apple butter or honey or some other sweet spread will go much better than the cloying sweetness of syrup. Don't get me wrong, I like syrup; but not with these pancakes.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chicken with Lime and Avocado Salsa

4 chicken cutlets
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medium red onion, cut in thin strips
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and sliced
3 T. lime juice
¼ c. packed fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

1. Preheat grill pan over high heat. Coat chicken with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add to grill pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes each side or until no pink remains.

2. Meanwhile, in large bowl combine avocados, tomato, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with chicken. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Makes 4 servings.
From Better Homes and Gardens, April 2008

(My mods: Tomatoes in the grocery store looked like heck and I missed the weekly farmers' market, so I omitted the tomato. I also omitted the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the salsa -- didn't see the need for it.)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Black-eyed pea Salad

Mom and I made this to accompany Easter dinner. I think it's sort of like Texas Caviar, but I've only had that once, so I'm not sure how it differs.

2 15½ oz. cans black-eyed peas, rinsed & drained
1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped (sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Balsamic vinaigrette to taste

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Cover and chill for 8 hours. Serve with vinaigrette.

Yield: 6 servings

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Turkey Spinach Meatloaf

Found in Cooking Light, modified slightly.

cooking spray
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 large egg whites
2 pounds ground turkey
2 10-ounce packages frozen leaf spinach

1. Preheat oven to 350o

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for four minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Combine onion mixture, breadcrumbs, and the remaining ingredients, stirring well.

3. Shape mixture into a 12 x 5 inch loaf on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350o for 45 minutes or until done. (I separated mine into two loaf pans.)

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Apricot Chicken

This recipe is modified from one found in Cooking Light.

1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
6 chicken breast steaks
cooking spray

1. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken and marinate in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

2. Remove chicken from marinade and bake for 20-26 minutes.

3. Bring marinade to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and boil one minute. Remove from heat.

4. After baking, let chicken cool slightly and add marinade.

I served over couscous. It was delicious!

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Crock Pot Cranberry Chicken

From Recipezaar.

2 lbs skinless chicken pieces (breasts or thighs)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules (or two cubes)
2 cups orange juice
2 teaspoons orange rind, grated
1 lb cranberries, uncooked
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow red pepper, diced

1. Add all ingredients to the crock pot.
2. Cook 8 - 10 hours, until done.

Makes four servings, 411 calories per serving.

It's so easy! To lighten it up, I use less oil, low sodium chicken bouillon, and sugar substitute.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pasta with Chicken and Artichokes

This comes from America's Test Kitchen.

4 T unsalted butter
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast -- sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 can artichoke hearts in brine, drained and patted dry
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 t all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup Parmesan, grated
3 T lemon juice
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
1/2 lb bowtie pasta
salt and pepper

1. Boil water for pasta.
2. In skillet, melt 1 T butter. Cook chicken in single layer for 2 minutes without stirring. Then stir and cook until no longer pink. Remove from skillet and set aside.
3. Lower heat to medium. Melt another tablespoon of butter. Cook artichokes until lightly brown. Add minced garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add flour. Cook for 30 seconds. Add broth and simmer until slightly thickened.
4. Add butter (2 T), parmesan, lemon juice, and chicken to sauce. Cook about 1 minute.
5. As sauce is cooking, boil pasta in water -- remember to add salt. Drain pasta. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.
6. Add parsley to sauce. Toss with pasta. Moisten with reserved water as needed.

YIELD: 4 servings
POINTS: 10 (per serving of sauce) / 4 (per 1 cup of bowtie pasta)
NOTES: I made double the pasta, left out the parmesan, and split the chicken 'n' sauce into 8 1/4 cup servings. This makes a 3 POINT topping. Bowtie pasta is still 4 POINTS for 1 cup. *grins*

As a treat for my co-workers, I made Ree's Delicious Chocolate Pie (from The Pioneer Woman Cooks). It's sitting in my fridge right now. I've already licked the bowl and the spatula clean. The only reason I tried this is that I found pasteurized eggs. I'm not confident in the general egg population.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Banana Nut Bread

This is a bread-in-a-jar recipe. It yields 7 1-cup "loaves." Normally, I can break this into 2 bread loaf pans and 6 regular sized muffins.

2 2/3 cups Sugar
2/3 cup shortening
4 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups four
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
2/3 cups nuts (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 325.
1. In large bowl, cream sugar and shortening.
2. Add eggs and mix well.
3. Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix well.
4. Place dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.
5. Add dry and creamed mixtures. Mix until wet.
6. Fold in mashed bananas and nuts.
7. Pour 3 cups into greased loaf pan(s).
8. Pour remaining into muffin cups.
9. Bake for 45 minutes, or inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Whole Wheat Cranberry Scones

This comes from WW: Take Out Tonight Cookbook

1 1/3 cups All Purpose Flour
2/3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter, diced small
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk
1 teaspoon powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
2. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
3. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
4. Add cranberries and zest. Stir with fork.
5. Add egg and buttermilk. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.
6. Gather dough into ball. Place on lined baking sheet and pat into 7-inch diameter disc.
7. Cut into 10 wedges. Do not separate wedges.
8. Bake until golden and toothpick comes away clean, about 20 minutes.
9. Transfer to cooling rack. Sift top with powdered sugar. Cut wedges with knife.

NOTES: I added 1/4 cup more cranberries.
POINTS: 3 (1/4 cup cranberries)
POINTS: 3.5 (1/2 cup cranberries)

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Polenta with Sauteed Vegetables

CellentaniWeight Watchers: Take Five Cookbook

8 large shitake mushrooms (6 ounces), stemmed and thinly sliced
10-oz bag frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup instant polenta

3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat.
2. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the peas and cook 1 minute.
4. Add the vermouth, bring to boil, and cook until it reduces slightly, about 1 minute.
5. Stir in the pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Make the polenta
6. Combine the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and bring to boil.
7. Stirring constantly, gradually and steadily add the polenta.
8. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring until thick but not stiff, 5 minutes.
9. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan.

10. Divide the polenta into 4 servings.
11. Top with vegetables. Serve.

NOTES: Quick shortcut -- premade polenta. I found some at Trader Joes, sliced it, warmed it in a skillet, and topped it with the vegetables.
POINTS (per serving): 5

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Beer-Steamed Shrimp (with Garlic Butter)

This comes from America's Test Kitchen

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce
12 ounces beer
4 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 pounds extra-large shell-on shrimp (get EZ-Peel if you can, trust me)

1. Heat butter and garlic in Dutch oven over medium heat until sizzling and fragrant, about 4 minutes.
2. Pour garlic butter into serving bowl and stir in lemon juice and hot sauce. Cover and keep warm.

3. Fit Dutch oven with steamer basket, add beer, bring to boil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle Old Bay over shrimp and transfer to steamer basket.
4. Cover and steam until shrimp are cooked, about 4 to 6 minutes.
5. Transfer to serving platter. Serve with warm garlic butter for dipping.

NOTES: Garlic butter is for sissies. Chill the shrimp. Buy some red sauce (a.ka. cocktail sauce) or if you're so inclined, make it. Throw it all on the butcher paper-covered table. Shrimp is 4 POINTS per 1/2 pound.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Everyday Lighter Macaroni and Cheese

This comes from America's Test Kitchen

3/8 pound elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)
1 (12-ounce) can 2 percent reduced-fat evaporated milk
2/3 cup low-fat milk (2 percent)
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or celery salt (optional)
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
8 ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese , grated (about 2 cups)

1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and the macaroni; cook until the pasta is completely cooked and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander; set aside.

2. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of the 2 percent milk, mustard, garlic powder (if using), cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the now-empty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened and is smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cheddar until melted and smooth. Stir in the macaroni, and let the macaroni and cheese sit off the heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 5 minutes, before serving.

NOTES: I don't like sauc-y mac and cheese. I used a full pound of pasta -- Cellentani, to be specific. Mine yields 8 1-cup servings. That is the only change I made.
POINTS (per serving): 6 (if using 1 lb pasta and 1-cup servings)

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

BLT Salad

This comes from America's Test Kitchen

3/4 cup Mayonnaise
4 (1-inch thick) slices Italian bread
12 slices thick-sliced bacon, chopped
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
10-oz bag chopped romaine lettuce

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475.
2. Spread 1/4 cup mayo over both sides of bread slices and transfer to baking sheet.
3. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch croûtons

5. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes.
6. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Discard drippings.

7. Whisk remaining 1/2 cup of mayo and vinegar in large bowl.
8. Add bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and croûtons. Toss to combine.
9. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

YIELD: 4 servings
NOTES: I didn't have mayo and don't normally use mayo. So, I substituted the mayo and vinegar for 2 T Miracle Whip. I also didn't make the croûtons as they quickly add up in WW Points.

My version:

2 T Miracle Whip
12 slices thick-sliced bacon, chopped
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
10-oz bag chopped romaine lettuce

1. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes.
2. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Discard drippings.

3. Combine bacon, tomatoes, and Miracle Whip.
4. Add lettuce. Toss to combine.
5. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

YIELD: 4 servings
POINTS (per serving): 6

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pineapple Walnut Chicken Salad

1 cup pineapple chunks, roughly diced (I used the Del Monte Fruit Naturals)
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 chicken breast (or 2 chicken legs), roughly diced
1 large spoonful Miracle Whip
Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Couscous with Seafood


15 oz can tomato soup
1 cup water
1 lb frozen seafood mix
10 oz green peas
10 oz couscous

Pour soup and water into large pot. Heat until boiling. Add seafood mix. Bring to simmer. Simmer 6 minutes. Bring to boil. Add peas. Return to simmer. Simmer 6 minutes. Add couscous. Remove from heat. Cover for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous.

Total Points: 39
Serves: 9 - 18 (I split this into 19 1/2 cup servings equaling 2 PTS per serving)
Points per serving: 2

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