Dutch Oven · recipe

Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowl

Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls
Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls

Hi fellow Weight Watchers!

I’m back again with another yummy and “WW friendly” Mexican-style main dish.  This one is an old favorite that I plugged into the WW App and only modified slightly to produce a 6 point large entree to die for!  Soooo yummy for the tummy!

I like to prepare this one in a Dutch Oven, because of its even heating, but it can also be prepared in a regular pot, too!  My 12 year old son–MO–loves this one and he’s not even a Weight Watcher!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups canned/boxed chicken broth
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies (I use Rotel)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) cans/jars of enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn kernals
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

 

Instructions:

  1. Add oil to your Dutch Oven and heat for a minute or so.  Toss in onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook for a minute or two.  Add chicken chunks and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until vegetables are soft and chicken is no longer pink.
  2. Add the rice and stir to combine.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until rice and chicken is light golden brown.
  3. Add chicken broth, canned tomatoes and chilies, enchilada sauce, corn, chili powder and cumin.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Cook covered until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid or for approximately 20 minutes.
  5. Remove pot from heat and add the black beans.  Stir to combine.  Cover and let rest for a few minutes.
  6. Makes 6 *very generous* servings, which equal to about of only 6 Weight Watcher points, as prepared.  Note: If you serve it with a low-fat sour cream and/or a sprinkling of low-fat Mexican cheese you need to consult your app and add for the additional toppings. 
Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls
Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls sprinkled with optional low-fat Mexican cheese (don’t forget to add points for the cheese!)

 

recipe

Skinny Black Bean Burritos

Fresh Veggies for Black Bean Burritos
Fresh Veggies for Black Bean Burritos!

In honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday, here is an amazingly delicious and fresh Skinny Black Bean Burrito recipe!

They are easy to prepare and so satisfying!

Ingredients:

  • One yellow, orange or red Bell Pepper, coarsely chopped
  • One medium or half large sweet onion (such as Vidalia onion), coarsely chopped
  • One medium jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Two cloves of garlic, pressed (feel free to use minced!)
  • Pan spray
  • Adobo seasoning
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek-style yogurt
  • Shredded low-fat Mexican style cheese
  • Salsa for garnish
  • Low-carb wraps, such as Tumaro’s “Skip the Sandwich” Wraps

Instructions:

  1. Spray a medium non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat.
  2. Toss in Bell pepper, onion, jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, garlic and cilantro and fry until softened and onion is translucent.
  3. Season with salt and pepper or Adobo seasoning.
  4. Fold in black beans and cook for an additional minute or two until beans are warmed.
  5. Remove pan from heat and mix in yogurt.  Do NOT do this while the pan is still on the heat or it will curdle! You can also use low-fat cream cheese, but I found the Greek yogurt gave a “fresher” taste and also had less WW points.
  6. Spoon the mixture into preheated tortillas.  Sprinkle with a bit of Mexican style cheese and top with salsa, if desired.

This recipe makes 4-6 fully stuffed burritos and–if prepared as above with fat free yogurt and low-carb wraps–they are only 2 Weight Watcher points!!

Black Bean Burritos
Black Bean Burritos

Simply delicious!!

recipe

Mouth-Watering Chicken Marinade

I’ve used this marinade for both boneless breasts and bone-in wings/drummies and it always tastes delicious.

For best results, marinate your chicken pieces overnight; the marinade will really penetrate through the chicken!

I got an air fryer a few weeks ago and I used it to cook my marinated chicken and it came out fabulously!

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 1/2 cups soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil (any kind/I used corn oil)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped

I mix all the marinade ingredients in a large zippy bag and in shaking it. Then I toss in the chicken and marinate in the fridge. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

I was able to marinate about a pound of chicken breast AND a large portion of chicken drumsticks with one portion of marinade, because I reused it.

You can reuse marinade, just don’t use it on cooked chicken!

recipe

Maple Bacon Cinnabon-Style Buns

img_7709

Perhaps you may think there is no earthy way to improve upon a Cinnabon.

But I’m hear to tell you it’s possible and I’ve done it, too!

How could I improve on what could be the most decadent food on the planet–the Cinnabon?  By adding bacon, of course!

Tell me who doesn’t like bacon? Or real maple syrup? By combining bacon and maple syrup with my already over-the-top Cinnabon-style Buns I have managed to create the perfect mashup!

And the cool thing is this recipe doesn’t require that much extra work!  Just sprinkle crumbled bacon on the filling before rolling and substitute maple for the vanilla.

The results are simply divine!

ICYMI (In case you missed it) I posted my original Cinnabon-style recipe on my blog before.  You can find it here: Cinnabon-Style Cinnamon Buns

The recipe below includes the additions that make them Bacon-y and Maple-y.  But, hey, if you don’t like bacon…just leave it out!

Maple Bacon Cinnabon-style Buns

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 packet (or 2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 4 cups of flour (I like King Arthur the best!)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs

For the filling:

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Six slices of cooked bacon, crumbled

For the cream cheese icing:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (half of a regular sized brick)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring or maple syrup (the flavoring gives a more intense maple flavor, but the syrup does fine, too!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the room temperature milk.  Allow it to proof about 5 minutes; proofing occurs when you see some little bubbles in the milk.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1/3 cup of softened butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and mix with your hand mixer until incorporated.  Add the two eggs and mix.  Then add the salt plus the yeast milk.  Once your wet ingredients are well mixed, begin adding in the flour one cup at a time, mixing after every cup until all four cups are incorporated.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and kneed lightly to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated.  Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with a moist cloth.  Allow it to rise to double the size, which will take about an hour.
  4. Make the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon and softened butter together.  The filling will be grainy, which is fine.
  5. Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it to your work area and roll it out to about 12 by 16 inches.  The dough should be somewhat stiff, not doughy like bread and about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Spread the filling on top of the dough, leaving a one inch end of just dough and about 1/2 inch edge on the other sides.
  7. Sprinkle the bacon crumbles all over the cinnamon filling.
  8. Begin rolling the dough from the short end and rolling somewhat tightly until you reach the dough only end.  Expect some of the filling to spill out on either side, but it might be good to keep the ends even when rolling.  Do this with your hands. (You can roll them lengthwise, but when I did that my buns didn’t have room to rise and they practically jumped out of the pan.
  9. Cut the rolled dough in half and line both halves up side by side as a guide.  With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch slices.  I ended up with 8 Cinnabon-sized slices when rolled from the short side, which was perfect.  Make sure they are not crammed into the pan!
  10. Place the slices–cut side up–into a well greased 9 x 13 baking dish.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.
  11. Put your risen buns in a 350 degree preheated oven and cook for about 25 minutes.  Check them after 20 minutes to make sure they do not over bake.  You want them to be golden brown and you want to be able to smell the baking cinnamon.  They will be a bit puffed up, but they will deflate a bit when cooled.
  12. While the buns are in the oven (haha!), assemble the icing by first mixing the butter with the cream cheese and maple syrup or flavoring.  Then add the confectioner’s sugar slowly, mixing and then beating until light and fluffy.  Do make sure you use a hand mixer for this…I made my icing both ways and the mixer icing was much creamier!
  13. Allow the buns to cool for about five minutes then spoon a heaping portion of icing on each of the buns and use a butter knife or cake spatula to spread it out across each of the buns.  This is an easier way to ensure all the buns get the same amount of icing.
  14. Enjoy with lots of hot coffee!  Yum!

New England · recipe

Calzone and my Julia Child Moment

Ricotta Calzone
No sauce, no meat…just cheese, baby!

Last week I shared my pizza dough recipe with the idea that I was going to follow up immediately with some great calzone recipes.  Little did I know I would experience a supreme Julia Child Moment as well.

Things don’t always go as planned, do they?  Alas!  Here is my failed Spinach Ricotta Calzone, which practically flew out of my hands and plopped on the open oven door:

Far from perfect Spinach Cheese Calzone
Far from perfect Spinach Cheese Calzone

 

Here it is!  In all its hideousness.

You might be wondering why I would post such a dramatic failure on my blog.

I felt compelled to let you know that sometimes you just fail.  Sometimes–no matter how hard you try or how badly you want it–you fail.

The Internet has become–in large part–a place of perpetual perfection, hasn’t it?  Nothing to see but Instagram-worthy pictures of perfect lives filled with sunshine, butterflies and flowers!  On the Internet, no one fails.  No one makes a mistake.  Everything is perfect. Always.

So instead of introducing you to the history of calzone or maybe even the backstory of my Ricotta Calzone recipe, I wanted to show you my glorious failure!  My Julia Child Moment!

Let me start by explaining what a Julia Child Moment is first.

You might recall, from my recent post on French Onion Soup (Julia Child’s French Onion Soup Gratinee I am a huge Julia Child fan.  I cut my cooking teeth on her Boston-based PBS program “The French Chef” and I own all of her cookbooks.

I always admired the way Julia was able to simply explain the finer points of French haute cuisine without making you feel like you were simple.  Julia knew good food was for everyone and she shared that message wherever she went, even if things didn’t go as planned.

One of the most amazing things about Julia was her ability to “roll with the punches” and make a failure into a triumph.

How could I forget when she first tried to flip an oversized potato pancake…only to chock her failure up to not having the “courage of conviction”?

Or when she tried to teach Dave Letterman to make a gourmet hamburger on Late Night, but ended up getting him to eat raw ground beef and calling it Steak Tartare?

Nothing phased Julia Child and no failure was ever a true failure with her.  Julia believed failing was a learning opportunity and a way to adjust your perspective.

In watching The French Chef all those years, I developed many life skills.  But the most important lesson I learned was that no one is perfect.

No one is perfect, BUT we must always do the best we can with what we have.  Despite our imperfection, we should always “press on” in an effort to always be trying to improve our skills.

And that’s not just a cooking lesson to learn.

And that, my faithful reader, is a Julia Child Moment!

Courage and onward to our calzone!

 



Calzone

To make the calzone, you will need one batch of my pizza dough, which you can find here: Making Your Own Pizza Dough

Each batch of dough will make two medium sized calzones.  Keep your dough covered while you prepare the filling.

Ingredients for Ricotta Cheese Calzone:

  • 1 batch Pizza Dough
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup or so shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup or so shredded romano or parmesan or a mixture of both
  • garlic salt and black pepper
  • cornmeal for sprinkling
  • olive oil or egg wash for brushing the outside of the crust

Ingredients for Spinach & Ricotta Calzone:

  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach defrosted and dried in a towel to remove liquid
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup total shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses
  • salt and pepper
  • cornmeal for sprinkling
  • olive oil or egg wash for brushing the outside of the crust

 


Directions for Making Calzone:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  If you are using a pizza stone, put it in before preheating the oven.
  2. Separate the dough into two equal balls.  Cover the one you aren’t working with.
  3. Flatten your dough ball on a lightly floured surface being careful to form a flat circle shape
  4. Roll the dough out from all directions to maintain the circular shape until it is about the size of a medium pizza.  Try not to roll the dough so thin that it could create holes in the dough. If you accidentally make a hole, carefully pinch the dough back together, making sure it is closed up.  Holes are bad.
  5. Since the dough is pretty elastic and will be heavy when filled, it may help you to transfer the dough to a pizza peel lined with a piece of cornmeal-sprinkled parchment paper.
  6. Spoon the filling on the right half of the dough circle and spread it out.  Keep a good inch of dough around the edge, but spread the filling out within the entire right half of the circle.
  7. Carefully lift up the empty half of the dough and drape it gently over the filled side, lining up the edges of the dough to make the classic half-moon shape of a calzone.
  8. Using water if necessary, pinch and crimp the edges where the dough overlaps.  Be certain that you’ve properly closed your seam…remember holes are bad.
  9. Lightly brush the calzone with oil or egg wash (I used olive oil).
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove with the pizza peel and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing, because contents will be extremely hot, extremely gooey and exceptionally delicious!

 

I do hope you try making your own calzone at home!  If this is your first time making a rolled dough remember your Julia Moment and press on!  Courage!