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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