Skinny Vegetable Fried Rice

I’m back!  I took a hiatus from blogging due to a busy work schedule, but I recently resigned from my financial secretary job and now have more time to blog, so I’m back!!  Woohoo!  I’ve really missed blogging and interacting with my readers!  (I hope there a few still out there after all this time)  🙂

A couple days ago I had a craving for Chinese food.  And that’s actually pretty odd for me because I’m not really a fan of most Chinese dishes.  But, I do LOVE the Pepper Chicken and Fried Rice at the Chinese restuarant here in town. So, I decided to try to make a “skinny” version at home.   My husband and I loved it, and my 12 year old son said it was “ok”.  🙂  Boys.  So uncommital.  Today I’m sharing the Fried Rice recipe and tomorrow I will post the Pepper Chicken recipe.  Ideally, you want to use “leftover” rice that you made at least the day before and chilled overnight.  I didn’t plan that far ahead however, so I just made my rice a few hours before dinner and let it chill until I was ready to prepare the rest of the dish.  It worked out just fine.

 

A healthy version of a Chinese favorite!

Skinny Vegetable Fried Rice

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup finely diced vegetables ( I used carrot, asparagus, onion, and red pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (best if rice is made the day before)

 

Heat a wok or other heavy skillet over medium high heat.   Add garlic and cook until tender.  Add vegetables and cook several minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Add soy sauce and vinegar; stir well and cook for a couple minutes.  Add rice, mixing well.  Add chicken stock and cook just until rice is heated through.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

Serves: 4

Calories Per Serving: 128

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Hashbrown Egg Nests

When you need a good hearty breakfast, full of protein, potatoes, and eggs, but don’t have time to sit down to a big plate full of food…Hashbrown Egg Nests are the way to go.  You can even make these ahead and just reheat when you’re ready to eat.  And they’re the perfect size to grab and go for a quick breakfast on the run.  You can change up the ingredients to whatever meat and veggies you happen to have in your fridge. 

Hashbrown Egg Nests

  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 cupfrozen hashbrown potatoes, thawed
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 cup egg substitute (or 4 eggs, beaten)
  • 2 tbsp diced green onion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced bell peppers and/or other vegetables of choice
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup meat of choice – diced ham, diced turkey, crumbled bacon, etc

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray.  combine potatoes, 1/2 cup minced onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Fill each muffin cup with about 1/3 cup potato mixture and press into bottom and up sides of cup to form a nest.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until godlen brown and crispy.

In bowl, combine egg substitute, green onion, bell peppers (or other veggies), cheese, and meat(s).  Fill each hashbrown nest with about 1/4 cup of egg mixture.  Return to oven and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until eggs are fully cooked.

Serves: 6

 

 

 

Sundried Tomato & Fresh Spinach Dip

Spinach.  Do you love it?  Hate it?  Me – I like baby spinach (aka arugala) in a salad.  I like spinach in dishes where it is a ‘backdrop’, not the main ingredient.  But I LOVE spinach dip.  And since it’s key ingredient IS spinach, I consider it healthy, and find myself eating almost half the batch right after making it.  Don’t judge me.  (But seriously…if you use low-fat cream cheese and sour cream, it really is pretty healthy.  Seriously.)

This recipe couldn’t be simpler to make.  Blanch some fresh spinach, chop up some sundried tomatoes and onion and throw it all in the food proccesor with the other ingredients.  Easy peasy.  This recipe is a great party dish, but you can also use it as a sauce for pasta (that recipe/post is coming tomorrow!)

Sundried Tomato & Fresh Spinach Dip

  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (dry packed)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

Blanch spinach in boiling water for one minute.  Draine and rinse immediately in cold water to stop the cooking.  Squeeze to remove excess liquid.  You should have about one cup of cooked spinach at this point.

Place spinach in food processor along with remaining ingredients.  Pulse until smooth.  Serve immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Love tomato soup?  You’ll love this delicious version of the classic.  A grilled cheese on the side and you’ll instantly be transported to your childhood.  Or, top with a dollop of whipped cream or sour cream for your grown-up tastes!  This soup starts with canned tomatoes, but if you have some fresh ones you need to use, throw those in too, as well as that little bit of leftover tomato paste you have hanging out in the fridge.  Extra tomato flavor won’t hurt!

Creamy Tomato Soup

  • 14 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

 

Heat a large, heavy stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp of the butter along with the onions.  Cook until onions are soft – lower heat if needed.

Add bay leaf, tomatoes, and tomato paste.  cook over low heat until the vegetables are very soft, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in seperate pan, melt remaining butter.  Add the flour, mixing until combined.  Cook over low heat until the mixture starts to turn golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma.  Slowly whish the half-and-half and the milk into the flour mixture.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Carefully pour the milk mixture into the pot with the tomatoes and whisk well.  Add 1 cup of heavy cream and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove bay leaf.

Puree the soup until smooth (use an immersion blender, or blend in batches in a blender or food processor).  Bring soup back to a simmer, and add more milk if soup is too thick.  Serve warm.

 

Zuchinni Tart

It’s summer.  And that means that zuchinni is everywhere!  I usually get smaller zuchinni, but when I went to the farmer’s market last week, all I could get was a huge one – I mean, this sucker was 5 inches in diameter and over a foot long!  I had to come up with something to do with all this zuchinni!  I found a recipe for a zuchinni tart/quiche, and decided to give it a try.  It turned out wonderfully.  We had this as a side dish with dinner, but I can totally see this being served for brunch.

Zuchinni Tart

Crust:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cups chopped zuchinni
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese, any type
  • 1/4 cu parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup skim milk

 

Spray a tart pan or springfrom pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Prepare crust by combining flour, salt, and baking powder.  Stir in olive oil and water.  Knead to form a dough and roll out into a circle large enough to fit into your pan.  Press into pan and (and 1″ up the sides if using a springfrom pan. 

Beat together eggs and egg whites.  Brush mixture over crust.  Bake crust in  375 degree oven for 8 minutes.  Cool on rack while preparing filling.

For filling, saute onion in a little olive oil until tender.  Add garlic and zuchinni; cook another 10 minutes.  Spread into crust.

Add milk to remaining eggs.  Pour over vegetable mixture.  Pour milk mixture over all and sprinkle with cheeses.  Bake for 45 minutes or until tests done.

 

Serves: 8

Weight Watchers Points + per serving: 5

Roasted Corn on the Cob

I don’t know what the weather is where you are, but it is HOT here.  HOT, I say!  For the last few weeks, it’s been over 100 degrees every day.  Generally, in the summer, we use our grill a lot, but who wants to stand out in 100 degree heat to cook?  Not us!   So, instead, I’ve been roasting a lot of veggies in the oven.  I wanted to give corn on the cob a shot too.  It wasn’t quite the same as grilled corn on the cob – you don’t get that great smoky flavor  – but the texture is great.  If it’s too hot where you are to even think about standing outside to grill, give this roasted corn on the cob a try.  The best part is that you don’t even have to shuck the corn of the husks and silks beforehand – they come off very easily after roasting!

Roasted Corn on the Cob

  • Fresh corn on the cob, still in husks

 

Soak corn, still in husks, in water for about 15 minutes prior to cooking.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove corn from water and pat dry.  Place corn directly on oven rack and bake for about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and remove husks and silks.  Serve immediately.

 

Weight Watchers Points + : 2 points per ear of corn

Skinny Zucchini Fritters

About a year ago a community college near me started offering a culinary program.  My sister was interesting in attending, and I was just curious what they would be offering (maybe one day down the road I’ll attend as well…who knows?!?!), so my sister, my then 7 year old daughter, and I headed off to the culinary program’s open house.  They had refreshments that the chef had prepared, and zucchini fritters were one of the offerings.  My oh-so-picky daughter ate one without knowing what they were and started raving about how Uh-MAZE-ing they were.  I let her eat another one or two and then told her they had zucchini in them – something she THOUGHT she didn’t like.  She was a new believer!  I asked the chef what was in them and he gave me a brief run-down.  Zucchini, feta cheese, and spices with some bread crumbs and egg to hold it all together.  Well, that sounds easy enough!  I attempted to recreate them a few times with no success.  My girl would take a bite and promptly tell me they were NOT like the chef’s.  So, I gave up.  But, when my husband brought some zucchini home from the farmer’s market this week, I decided to give it one more shot.  I didn’t have feta, so I used fresh parmesan instead, and used a homemade adobo spice.  I watched as my daughter took a bit…waiting…waiting…waiting…a smile produced and she started shaking her head up and down and proclaimed that I did it!  I made a zuchinni fritter that was just as good as the chef’s!!  SCORE!!!  And they’re good for you too!

Skinny Zucchini Fritters

  • 1 large zucchini, grated (leave skin on)
  • 2 tbsp egg substitute
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • heaping 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • scant 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • scant 1/8 tsp chili powder (use more or less, depending on the level of heat you like)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

Remove excess liquid from grated zucchini by pressing between two paper towels.  Place zucchini in a medium bowl along with egg, bread crumbs, and all spices.  Stir well to combine.

In a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the olive oil.  Shape 1/4 cup of the mixture into a patty; place in hot pan.  Repeat with remaining mixture.  Cook on each side for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve immediately.

 

Serves: @10

Weight Watchers Points + : 2 pts each