Okay. I admit it. I don’t have the time and/or energy to make recipes “from scratch” every night of the week. In my ideal world, when preparing dinner, I would never rely on bottled sauces or dressings, never use seasoning packets, or use canned soups. But in my real world, with special needs kids, errands, chores, etc., sometimes I just need a hot quick entree to serve with rice and a veggie.
Oh my! This is both the most wonderful AND the most hectic time of the year. So much decorating, shopping, wrapping and baking to do. Last night I took my 17-year-old son to a Wizards game as one more birthday present. They actually won!
Now that we are in the midst of a polar blast, I spend most of my days trying to warm up again after my morning 2-mile dog walk. I despise the cold and the wind together – even through coats, gloves and hats. So, it is the time to cook dinners that will warm my family up from the inside out.
When Thanksgiving is less than a week away, there is no escaping the fact that Fall is here. Nights and mornings are chilly here now in Northern VA. In our house, we have put our flip flops away for the next 7 months and dug our slippers out of the closet. Extra blankets have found their way to our beds, and our dog Maggie, who is a Wheaten Terrier mix, is in heaven on our sub-40-degree morning walks.
This is the type of weather that is perfect for eating a rich fragrant stew with the heat that curry lends it.
I was in Ann Arbor, Michigan (what a beautiful town) for a few days for a visit to my eye doctor, and got home last night. I had a Weight Watchers meeting this morning (a visit to Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor set me back) and then ran a variety of errands. By the time my youngest son got off the bus, I realized I had no idea what I was making for dinner, and it was too late to drive to the store to pick up anything.
I dove through our freezer and pulled out some chicken thighs. I then started combing my cookbooks on Kindle but couldn’t find an appealing recipe for which I had all the ingredients. So, it was time to come up with something on my own based on what I did have. It is quite a simple recipe, yet cooking the thighs in the sauce in a pressure cooker infuses the flavor throughout the meat, leaving it moist and seasoned throughout.
I served it with Jasmine rice – 3 SP for 1/2 cup cooked rice – and Birds Eye Steamfresh Brussel Sprouts with sea salt and cracked pepper – 2 SP for 3/4 cup. So, the whole meal was balanced, filling, delicious, and only 11 Smart Points.
i hope that you and your family like it as much as mine did.
My heart lurched in my chest at bowling last week (I’m in a Thursday morning league), when I realized that Thanksgiving was only three weeks away. Don’t get me wrong; I love Thanksgiving. I love the time with family, the football, and most of all the food. But, it is a lot of work, all that cooking.
I have spent too many Thanksgivings being too hot and tired by the time I finished preparing everything to really enjoy the meal by the time we sat down to eat. These days, I start preparing things days ahead of time, so that my actually cooking on Thanksgiving Day is much less than it used to be.
Today I am going to share two Corn Casserole recipes that I have lightened up to make them more Weight Watchers friendly. One is made using the old standby Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix; the other, in order to cut down on calories and Smart Points, doesn’t use the boxed mix. I am also giving directions for making these in either the Instant Pot, or cooking in the oven. You won’t save any time cooking these in an electric pressure cooker, but you will free up valuable space in your oven, and your corn casserole will be incredibly moist, almost like a pudding.
One of my favorite blogs is SkinnyTaste.com. Gina Homolka, the author of the site and several SkinnyTaste Cookbooks, operates on the philosophy that low-calorie “diet” food doesn’t have to be bland and tasteless. She does an amazing job and providing flavor-packed recipes that taste anything but low-cal. My family has loved every recipe of hers that I have tried so far. So, when I set out to make my weekly batch of vegetable soup, I used her as my inspiration.
Good afternoon! It has been a busy week here – my niece and nephew from Israel came to visit this week. We had a few days of sight-seeing in downtown DC, going to an American movie theater (complete with recliners), and going out to eat in the ever-shrinking number of Kosher restaurants in the Metro DC area. They are on their way back to Israel after a wonderful but too-short visit, and it is time to focus on this week’s menu.
How many of you have seen a celery root (also known as celeriac), let alone cooked one? Not many, I am guessing. I discovered this amazing root vegetable a year ago, when I decided to try this soup, and fell madly in love with this ugly knotty root.
This root can be hard to find, depending on your local stores. Sometimes my standard local grocery stores carry it (Giant, Wegmans, etc) in the section with other root vegetables- beets, turnips, fennel, etc. At other times it is nowhere to be found on their shelves. But my local Asian supermarkets (including H Mart), always have it and substantially cheaper than at the other stores.
The taste of this root, when cooked, is like celery on steroids. You will never be able to eat plain cream of celery soup again. This particular soup, with both celery and celeriac, is so flavorful and filling, that it is hard to believe that it is low-calorie too.
Fall is finally here in the northern part of the Mid-Atlantic Coast. And for me, fall means pumpkins 🎃. And pumpkins mean pumpkin bread, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin soup.
Now, one can always bake pumpkin goodies using canned pumpkin, but I look forward buying my pie pumpkins at the grocery store or a roadside stand in WV, and roasting my pumpkin and pureeing it myself.
To roast your own pumpkin, buy pie pumpkins (the small ones; sometimes called sugar pumpkins), remove the stem if it is still attached, and cut in half. You will need 2-3 pumpkins depending on the size you have. You cannot use jack o’lantern pumpkins because they have a high water content and little taste – i.e., they’re not good eating. Next, scoop the seeds out of the halves. You can roast those later like regular pumpkin seeds.
Raise your hand if you love potatoes. I do!
One of my biggest challenges on Weight Watchers has been to cut way down on starches and carbohydrates. I’m one of those people who will always take savory starches over sweets. Offer me a bowl of ice cream OR French fries and I will take the fries every time.
So, I decided to try Mashed Cauliflower. There actually are people out there who claim that they taste just. like. mashed. potatoes. Umm, no, they don’t. They taste like mashed cauliflower, which is good, but they are thinner and less starchy in consistency.
Well, here we are. Welcome to my blog. I have been using an electric pressure cooker for years. My first was a Cuisinart that my husband gave me for Chanukah five years ago. I used it occasionally – mostly for brisket.
Then, at the beginning of this year, when the pot in my Cuisinart electric pressure cooker was starting to peel in places, I decided to buy a new pressure cooker. Enter a 6 quart Duo Instant Pot. I fell in love instantly. I use it at least 4 times per week for making everything from yogurt, to soup, to beans, to main dishes. I also purchased an 8 quart Duo Instant Pot, because I often use two pots at once for dinner.
Here is a picture of my 6 quart baby “blinged out”:
I have been modifying recipes for the Instant Pot for the past year, and my family has never been happier with my cooking.