Saturday, July 30, 2011

Baked Spaghetti

This is a modification of a recipe I got out of a church cookbook, pared down for two. I decided to try it with the fat free cheese, and drizzle some olive oil on top to help it melt. That really helped -- made the cheese just as stringy as it would have been if it was regular cheese. It's a delicious and very filling recipe.

Baked Spaghetti

4 oz whole wheat spaghetti, cooked & drained
2 cups homemade meat sauce, warmed
3 oz Kraft Fat Free Mozzarella cheese
4 tsp olive oil

In a 1 1/2-qt casserole lightly coated with cooking spray, spread pasta in even layer. Spread warmed sauce over pasta. Sprinkle cheese over sauce, and drizzle olive oil on top. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starts to brown. Makes 2 servings.

Note: If you don't have any homemade meat sauce made up and stored, you can also make the sauce while the pasta is cooking. Just brown 8 oz lean ground beef (at least 93% lean) with 1/4 cup of chopped onion, stir in 1 cup marinara sauce, and heat throughout.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crab Pasta Salad

I have been guest hosting a thread on the Weight Watchers Power Foods board that serves as a recipe exchange, while the regular hostess is taking a break. The first week I hosted, I asked for no-cook or minimal cooking recipes to keep the kitchen cool during this insane heat wave. This recipe was posted in that thread by Grandmomlady, and has now become a summer staple for us. My version may be a bit different from hers, but it's very tasty and super easy.

Crab Pasta Salad
4 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 stalks celery, diced
6 oz imitation crab meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup fat free mayonnaise
1/4 cup fat free plain yogurt (regular or Greek)
1 tsp onion powder

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Mix in a large bowl with remaining ingredients. Serve chilled. Makes 2 generous servings.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mom's Meat Loaf

If you're craving comfort food, here's a healthier option! This is a recipe from my childhood -- the meat loaf my mom used to make growing up. It was a favorite of one of my cousins who ate dinner with us a few nights a week when I was a teenager. It's very kid-friendly in flavor, and simple to put together. The serving sizes are quite generous too.

Mom's Meat Loaf
1 1/2 lbs 93% lean ground beef
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (such as Lipton Recipe Secrets)
1 egg
1/3 cup skim milk
2/3 cup ketchup, divided
3/4 cup old fashioned oats (dry)

In a small bowl, combine milk and 1/3 cup of ketchup. In a large bowl, mix together beef, soup mix, egg, and ketchup mixture until combined. Mix in oats. Shape into a 2" high rectangular loaf in a 7x9" casserole dish. Spread remaining ketchup over top. Bake for 1 hour at 350. Makes 6 generous servings.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sugar Free Strawberry Jam

I love to start my mornings off with some toast or an English muffin and some jam. But I hate spending my weekly points on jam. So, I solved the problem with Ball's Low or No Sugar Added Pectin and 2 lbs of strawberries. You can use several different fruits, and depending on their sweetness you may not need anything at all. But you can also sweeten with sugar substitute if needed.

After the jam is made, you can either store it in the fridge to enjoy over the next 3 weeks, or process it in a waterbath canner to store for later. For the purpose of simplicity, I am going to post this recipe in the "single batch" that should make about 16 oz of jam. I doubled it, and canned all but one jar.

Homemade Sugar Free Strawberry Jam

2 cups hulled & crushed strawberries (about 1 lb as purchased)
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp Ball Low or No Sugar Pectin
1/3 cup granulated Splenda

Crush strawberries in a single layer with a potato masher. (I put them in a large glass casserole dish for this.) Combine fruit with water in a saucepan and gradually stir in the pectin. Bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in Splenda and continue stirring. Return to boil and boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat and ladle into hot jar(s). Refrigerate until set. Enjoy!

It only took my refrigerated jar an hour or two to set. For the other jars, I processed them in a waterbath canner for 10 minutes. The detailed canning instructions are on the label for the pectin if you are interested in doing this.

Source: Ball Low or No Sugar Pectin package

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Basic Cole Slaw

Cole slaw is a summer picnic and barbecue staple -- but who wants to try to count PointsPlus for it? This simple recipe is compatible with the Simply Filling Technique, so it's great for topping barbecue sandwiches or serving as a side dish.

Basic Cole Slaw

14 oz package pre-shredded cole slaw mix (cabbage and carrots)
1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise
2 tbsp skim milk
1 tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 tbsp "measures like sugar" Splenda

Empty cole slaw mix into large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour over slaw mix and toss to coat. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Source: Member 70XSEVEN on Weight Watchers Power Foods board

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Homemade Meat Sauce

Most of the time I'm too lazy to make a sauce from scratch, even though it's super easy. Today, I took the plunge and did it! I found a WW Core spaghetti sauce recipe for the slow cooker, modified it a bit to fit my tastes, and gave it a shot. It turned out really tasty, and made enough for my husband and I for dinner tonight, lunch leftovers tomorrow, and 2 pint jars to freeze for later. I topped my serving with 2 tsp of grated Parmesan cheese*.

Simply Filling Meat Sauce

Adapted from

1 lb 93 or 96% lean ground beef, browned
1 onion, chopped
28 oz tomato sauce (canned)
28 oz diced tomatoes (plain, canned)
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
2 packets of Splenda

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Baking and eating my homemade baked goods is one of my favorite things to do, but it can eat up a lot of points very quickly. So when I had a couple of overripe bananas to use up, I asked the Weight Watchers Power Foods Board for advice on banana bread. I was met with a few recipes for baked oatmeal, one of which I decided to try tonight. It was quite yummy!

Here is the recipe, shared by Lynn on the Power Foods board:

Baked Oatmeal

2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin, mashed banana, applesauce, any pureed fruit or veg. (or 2 or so cups of shredded zucchini)
2/3 cup splenda (or to taste)
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 T apple pie spice
OR 1/3 c cocoa powder and a bit of sf/ff chocolate pudding mix (pudding optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together and spoon into muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.

I made it with the cocoa powder, no pudding, and mashed bananas. Very tasty!