Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Turkey Cutlets Florentine

Chicken is my protein of choice for weeknight meals, but I occasionally branch out and use turkey or pork cutlets. Turkey cutlets cook very quickly and, if you buy them in the supermarket, they are generally more uniform in terms of size and shape than chicken or pork.

This dinner looks like something you would be served in a restaurant, but if you do your mise en place, it comes together in minutes.

Serves 4
3 tsp olive oil
1 lb thinly sliced turkey cutlets (about 1/4 inch thick)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbs capers, rinsed and drained
1 tbs finely chopped fresh sage
3 cups packed spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

Season the turkey cutlets with salt and pepper to taste. In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil over high heat. When the oil is just smoking, add half the cutlets and cook until golden brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip the turkey and cook until golden on the other side, less than a minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining cutlets. Cover plate loosely with foil to keep cutlets warm.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the skillet. When it has melted, add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is browned and softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minutes. Then add the sherry and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the capers, sage, and spinach and stir until the spinach is beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Return the turkey cutlets and any accumulated juices to the skillet, cover, and cook for 1 minute, to heat through.

Arrange the turkey cutlets on a platter and pour the spinach, onions, and sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

N.I.  283 calories, 42 g prot, 9 g fat, 1 g fiber, 6 g carb
I have to be honest, I wish I'd used chicken cutlets. That's just my preference. I find the texture and taste of chicken more pleasing than that of turkey. That said, the spinach-onion-sauce that topped the cutlets made the entire dish. That tablespoon of capers added just the right amount of acidity. I was tempted to add some flour to thicken the sauce and would probably do so next time. With some glazed carrots and rice, dinner was served in short order and had tons of flavor given the short list of ingredients. Definitely a keeper.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chocolate Eclair Icebox Dessert

My mom made us ice box cakes on a regular basis. Hers included graham crackers, chocolate pudding, and then whipped cream topping. I still make them, only now I use fat free, sugar free products to reduce the calories. So when I needed a quick dessert that wasn't too calorie-laden, I remembered a twist on the old icebox cake that I'd had at a friend's house quite a few years ago. I decided it was time to resurrect this luscious dessert.

Yield:  18 servings

22 1/2 sheets (about 1 box) honey graham crackers
butter-flavored cooking spray
3 cups fat free milk
2 pkgs fat-free, sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
8 oz tub fat free cream cheese
8 oz tub fat free whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup fat free milk
2 tbs butter, softened
2 tbs honey
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar

Coat a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with butter-flavored nonstick spray. Combine 3 cups milk, pudding mix, and cream cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat at low speed for 1 minute or until thick. Fold in whipped topping.

Arrange 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets in the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the pudding mixture over the grahams, spreading to the ends. Top with another 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets, then top with the remaining pudding mixture. Place the remaining 7 1/2 sheets of grahams on top.

Combine 1/4 cup fat free milk, softened butter, honey, and unsweetened chocolate in the mixer bowl and beat well. Gradually add the confectioners sugar to milk mixture and beat well.

Spread the chocolate glaze over the graham crackers. Cover dessert, tenting with foil, and chill for at least 4 hours.

N.I.  234 cal; 5.8g fat; 5.4g protein; 41.5g carb; 0.8g fiber
This dessert comes together quickly and easily, but needs plenty of time to chill so that it can be sliced more easily. I guarantee that you will love the filling. In fact, I think it will make a wonderful filling for cream puffs, too. I probably should have made half the recipe since there were only 5 of us for dinner and having the leftovers around is sheer torture. At 6 PP per serving, it's not over the top, but it's not something I can eat each day (darn!).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Macaroni and Cheese with Carmelized Onion

Who doesn't love rich, creamy macaroni and cheese? Unfortunately, this is typically a fat-laden, high calorie dish. Not so this Weight Watchers version, which is a hearty casserole but comes in at just 7 Point Plus per serving,

Serves 8
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 tsp salt
olive oil nonstick cooking spray
8 oz cavatappi (*the recipe called for whole wheat pasta, but I just can't)
1 (15 oz) can evaporated fat-free milk
1 large egg
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp water
2 cups shredded reduced-fat, sharp cheddar cheese (I like Sargento's)
1 cup fat free cottage cheese (I like Axelrod)
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 7 X 11 baking dish with the nonstick spray.

Place onion on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Bake until onion is tender and lightly browned, 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through cooking.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Cook evaporated milk in small saucepan over low heat just until warmed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in egg. Stir together mustard and water in small cup until mustard is dissolved. Whisk into milk mixture.

Add milk mixture, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, remaining salt, and pepper to pasta and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, just until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to prepared baking dish and sprinkle with onions. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.
As my photos attest, I overcooked the onions slightly, but this turned out to be a good thing since they were really carmelized. While the serving size is about 3/4 cup, the dish is very filling. I was happy with just one serving and a large salad, but even 2 servings is not very high in calories. (N.I.:  262 cal, 7g fat, 9g carb, 3g fiber, 20g prot.) The dish was so good, I'm making it as a side dish to a spiral ham next weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Slow Cooker BBQ and Cola Pork

Pulled pork, BBQ pork, shredded pork--no matter what you call it, I'm in. This pork is as delicious on a bun with cole slaw and pickles as it is over cornbread or cheese grits.

The fact that it has 3 ingredients, requires no prep work, and cooks all day unattended is a bonus.

Serves 6-10
cooking spray
1 (3 to 4 lb boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), trimmed
1 (18 oz) bottle BBQ sauce
1 (12 oz) can cola

Lightly spray a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place roast in slow cooker; pour BBQ sauce and cola over roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 - 10 hours. (I cooked it for 8 hours.)

Transfer pork to a cutting board and shred with two forks, removing any large pieces of fat. Skim fat from sauce and stir in shredded pork.
On a toasted potato roll topped with cole slaw and pickles, I was immediately transported to summer (I wish).  There is plenty left over to be made into quesadillas before freezing some to be served with cornbread or cheesy grits some night when there's no time to cook. If you trim and skim the fat and watch portion size (and use diet cola), this pork fits into a healthy eating plan.