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A Hound’s Worst Nightmare?: My New Cookbook Journey!

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A Hound’s Worst Nightmare?: My New Cookbook Journey!

Dommy! | May 5, 2006 02:17 PM

A couple of weeks ago I happily proclaimed to my SO, I’m almost done cooking through my first cookbook! Rick Bayless’ Salsa’s the Cook, I only have about two more MUST try recipe and then it’s retired… I learned a lot from it and it was a lot of fun getting into my Mexican Roots…

So after this proclamation had a surprise for me… a request actually, he wanted me to cook through another book. I eagerly awaited what it would be… would it be something else Mexican? Maybe that cool Jacques Pepin book he just got… or perhaps the Japanese Cookbook I got him? He has a huge Cookbook collection that we’ve just barely scratched the surface of…

But then he handed me the book… my hair darn near turned white…

“Weight Watchers: Cooking for Two”

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! …. I screamed in my head…

In the real world, I feigned a smile… my SO is probably one of the most faithful Weight Watchers Members I know. Mostly going to meetings as a way to keep his eating in check, I knew that recently he wanted to kick it up a notch… so I let him know gently that I would not be cooking with faux low fat ingredients but I’d look over the book. ..

And what I found was actually some really yummy sounding and simple recipes. Hardly any of them called for some faux ingredients, and some of them sounded darn right fancy… Phylo Wrapped Spinach and Sausage (Turkey of course) Rolls… Yummm…

And so I decided to give it the old college try and started off with two simple but yummy sounding recipes. The first, a greek soup avgolemono.

Making this soup was a key example as to why it helps to have good tools. Notihng Caramelized onions and shallots like Le Creuset. And as I plopped in my two chopped shallots in 2 tbs of olive oil, soon it all melted down into an amazing smelling base and eventually added a great underlying flavor to the soup.

I then added 3 cups of broth and 1/3 cup of tiny pasta. The recipe called for Orzo, but a dear friend of mine gave me a little baggie of the cutest little bowtie pasta, so we used that and liked that MUCH more than Orzo because it gave the soup lots of texture.

After the tiny pasta was done, I added in ¾ cup of chopped Chicken Breast. This is where I became a faker. I prepared this recipe under some serious time constraints, I DID have good intentions to poach my own chicken for the soup. But the clock and curiosity got the better of me while at TJ’s and I checked out their refrigerated pre-cooked Chicken Breast Pieces. I looked at their nutrition guide was VERY pleased by what I saw… very low calories and not a crazy amount salt. Also, not too bad for 5.99 a lb (Compared to their raw stuff, it was actually about the same price!). So this is the chicken that I used for the soup and it tasted great! :)

Final element of the soup was to take one egg and beat it with 1 tbs of Lemon Juice and then ‘stream’ it into the soup while stirring to create little shreds. Like a Egg Drop Soup. It turned out wonderful and although I thought it was odd to have the egg beaten with the lemon, it really did impart a subtle lemony flavor.

I added a bit of ground pepper and some dried thyme to make it all come together and served it up in two regular sized soup bowls. The thing was… the whole soup fit in two soup bowls… it was WEIRD not having left overs… I supposed I could double the soup next time… And for those keeping count, this soup is 7 points.

And with that success, the following week I dared to try the Chili Recipe!! Yup, a Weight Watchers Chili!! Again, the recipe was simple, no faux ingredients, and only 3 points for a cup! But the reason why was that it had no meat! For me, it’s not chili unless there is SOME meat, so I got a lb of extra lean ground beef which added to the 6 cup recipe 22 points, not bad…

I started again with my Le Creuset and worked half a Jumbo Onion and 2 garlic cloves minced into a sweat with 2 tbs of olive oil. I then added the meat and fresh yellow bell pepper (Originally the recipe called for Frozen! BLEH!!)

Seeing how much meat there was, I opted for in addition to the a 28 oz can of TJ’s diced tomatoes the recipe called for, to add a 14oz can of Muir Glenn Fire Roasted Tomatoes (this addition adds 0 points). I then added one can of white kidney beans.

Now, just like having great tools, I also believe in having really good ingredients. The recipe called for a Chili or Taco Mix packet! So instead I added 2tbs of Penzey’s HOT Chili Powder. Also, the recipe called for ½ tsp of all spice… which was a scant amount, but seemed interesting to me, so I added it…. To be honest, I could not detect the flavor at all….

After simmering for about an hour and a half, it was dinner time and what we had was one HOT and tasty chili. I was tempted to stop by the Mexican bakery up the street and get some corn muffins, but opted to stay healthy… however, SO admitted, he would loved it more with some corn chips broken into it (Our standard way of eating chili… :). So as the rest mellows in the fridge tonight (Chili is always better the next day!)…. I think we’re going to spurge a little but and get a little bag of tortilla chips… :)

And so… two yummy dinners courtesy of Weight Watchers! There are several more on the ‘try’ list, including those awesome sounding Spinach Sausage Phylo Rolls… since I’ve never worked with Phylo before … this won’t be the last post about my Weight Watchers adventures because I’ll be sure to report back about that one!! :)

--Dommy!

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