Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients - is that phyllo dough I see?

Onion with flour.

Making that good sauce.

In the pie dish, ready for phyllo on top.

Out of the oven.  Isn't it time to eat yet?

Broccoli fills out the plate.

Chicken pot pie - another "comfort food."  It has been one of our favorites for years!  This Weight Watcher version cuts the calories in the original recipe considerably, and for the six servings that the recipe gives, it is a very generous portion.  The serving on the above plate, however, was with eight servings, and it is easy to see how satisfying this amount is.  For those of you who may be wondering if we have dinner plates, the answer is, "Yes, we do."  Using a smaller plate is one of those tricks from Weight Watchers.   Those of us who are members of the "clean plate club" may be tempted to eat more when we are served a filled dinner plate.   The salad plate, of course, has a smaller capacity than the dinner plate, thereby decreasing the amount of food on the plate - and the amount of food we eat.

Now - on to the recipe.  This actually came in a regular email from Weight Watchers a few years ago as their recipe of the day.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cups water (I used chicken broth because I skipped the bouillon cubes mentioned below).
1/2 cup wine, dry white (I had none of this in the house, so I just used extra broth).
2 average chicken bouillon cubes, crumbled
2 medium carrots chopped
1 cup frozen green peas (I added 3/4 cup more because I left out the corn mentioned below).
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons white all-purpose flour
5 oz. fat-free evaporated milk
15 1/4-oz. canned white corn, drained (We prefer to have only carrots and peas in the pot pie).
6 pieces phyllo dough (I don't always have very good luck with this, but it worked well this time).

- Place chicken, water, wine and bouillon cubes in a medium pan.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and cook gently, uncovered for 15 minutes.   Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Set aside one cup of broth and chop chicken into chunks.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Coat a deep 8-inch pie dish with cooking spray.
- Microwave carrots and peas for 2 minutes.  Drain.  Heat oil in a medium nonstick pan, add onions and cook until soft.  Stir in flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in milk and reserved broth.  Return to heat and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens.  Add carrots, peas, chicken, and corn.
- Pour chicken into prepared dish.  Layer sheets of phyllo over pie, trim edges, and press down firmly to seal.  Lightly coat with cooking spray.  Bake for 10 minutes, lower temperature to 350 degrees F and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes more.  Servings:  Six

Today was January 31, and our high temperature reached 64 degrees!  The Man of the House met some friends, and they walked 18 holes on the golf course with only a light jacket!   We are 1.37 inches over our average rainfall for the month/year, with rain predicted during the next several days
and cooler temperatures by the week-end.  This has been a very unusual winter here, as it appears to have been over much of the United States.  We have some fruit trees, as well as a few berries, and we are hoping the unusual warmth will not encourage them to an early bloom.

There will be something sweet here in the next few days.  If you want to see something tasty, check into Munchomom.com for her latest delicacies.  This is our daughter's food blog.  She will appreciate the visit.

Tomorrow - more chicken.

Thank you for reading.  I enjoy reading your comments.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Vegetarian in the House....

Gathering ingredients for making Pasta  e Fagiole.

All ingredients in pot, ready to cook!

The finished product, ready to serve!  Yum!

Through the years one of our daughters has become a vegetarian; therefore, I have developed a collection of recipes suitable for her.  In this post, I will share one of her favorites.  This is a recipe that I found in a little booklet called Great-Tasting Pasta from the editors of Favorite Brand Name Recipes, March 18, 1997 issue.

1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (about 14 ounces each) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth (I substitute vegetable broth).
1/2 cup white wine, divided (I have used extra broth for this step if I didn't have wine on hand).
1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1 3/4 cup uncooked ditalini pasta or other small tube pasta (I have tried other varieties, but find ditalini works best for this).
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat until hot.  Add garlic and beans; cook and stir 3 minutes.  Add broth, 1/4 cup wine, basil, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add pasta; cook 10-12 minutes or until tender.  Add remaining wine just prior to pasta being fully cooked.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.  Serve immediately.  Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.  Makes 4 (1-cup) servings.
NOTE:  This soup will be very thick.  Also, if it sets very long, the broth becomes absorbed, making it more of a side dish than a soup.

I'll post more vegetarian recipes on occasion.  Tomorrow I will post one from the Weight Watchers website - Chicken Pot Pie!

Thank you for reading.  I enjoy reading your comments.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A January Sunday....

Fog in January with our patch of greens in the foreground.

The fog down our street.

We have had several foggy mornings this month, and these pictures were taken last week.  This morning we had heavy frost and a temperature of 26 degrees!  Even so, there are daffodils in bloom in some areas around town!  Many people are concerned about a late frost that would damage the growth that is taking place on fruit trees at this point.  It has been a strange winter.

We were happy to have our oldest daughter with us this morning when we went to church.  Today was Youth Sunday, and it was inspirational to hear the youth speak of how their faith has been strengthened by their participation in the various activities of our church.  We believe the church will be in good hands in the future.  

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.

Tomorrow - A Vegetarian in the House

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chilly weather again....

This is the finished product, ready to garnish with cilantro, sour cream and grated cheese!

Although we have had a few cold mornings, our winter, for the most part, has been warmer than usual.  At the end of the week there was a cold front that passed through, dumping a bit of rain on us before the temperatures became more seasonable.  This morning we had a healthy frost, along with some fog, and the sun is now shining with temperatures in the high forties.  Regardless of the weather, it is always a good time to enjoy some of this White Chili.  This recipe comes from a local
 restaurant and was printed in our local newspaper some time ago.  It has been a favorite of ours since the restaurant opened quite a number of years ago.


1/2 pound chicken breasts, boneless, skinless - roasted and pulled into small pieces
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups water
2 cups low fat chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 to 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro  may use dried if fresh is not available)
2 Tablespoons chopped green chillies (canned)
3 cups Great Northern beans (canned), drained and rinsed
salt to taste
- Saute diced onions, garlic, and oregano in olive oil in a soup pot.  Cook 5 minutes.
- Combine water, chicken broth, cumin, cilantro, and green chilies.  Add to pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.  Add chicken and beans; stir often, and simmer about 15 minutes.
- If you wish, you may combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water to add to the chili if you want it to be thicker.  In that case, after cornstarch and water are blended, pour, while stirring, into simmering pot of chili.  Continue cooking until mixture thickens.  Then, remove from heat.
Servings:  Four to six
NOTE:  I sometimes use more chicken broth for part of the water if I want more chicken flavor.:-)

I send wishes for a good week-end for each of you.  Have a blessed Sunday!

I have noticed new followers.  Welcome!  Thanks to all of you who are reading.  I appreciate  your comments.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What do you cook when....

Gathering ingredients for Gone All Day Stew!

Vegetables and meat ready for the liquid to be added.

Liquid added and ready for the oven!

Out of the oven five hours later, ready to be served!

When I went back to work while the "children" were still at home, I had quite a lineup of possible dinners after my day in the classroom.  That often meant cooking and freezing on Saturday for the week ahead.  The crockpot was especially handy.  

There is a bit of preparation to this recipe; however, it can be assembled the night before, if needed.
I assembled it this morning, then had it baking this afternoon while we were out on errands.  I cannot remember where I first got this recipe.  It has been in my file for a number of  years.  It is just as good if the recipe is halved.


1 can (10 3/4 oz.) tomato soup, undiluted
1 cup water or red wine (I used beef broth - unsalted and fat-free)
1/4 cup flour
2 pounds stew beef, all fat trimmed
3 medium carrots, cut in 1-inch diagonal slices
6 white boiling onions or yellow onions, quartered (I used frozen baby onions).
4 medium potatoes, cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup celery cut in 1-inch chunks
10 to 12 whole large fresh mushrooms
2 beef boullion cubes (I omitted these because of sodium concerns, substituting the beef broth instead, and then I added the salt that was needed).
1 teaspoon oregano, thyme, and rosemary
1 bay leaf
3 grinds fresh pepper

- Mix together tomato soup, water/wine, and flour until smooth; combine with remaining ingredients in large Dutch oven or other covered roasting pan.  Bake at 275 degrees for 4 to 5 hours.  When ready to serve, adjust seasoning, if desired.

This is good served with slaw and cornbread.  The Man of the House was happy!:-)

Nann over at atnannstable.blogspot.com has a wonderful giveaway in progress.  Head over to her site and leave a comment.  Maybe you could mention that you heard about it on this blog.:-)  

Next - chilly weather here again!

Thank you for reading.  I enjoy your comments.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Barleyburger Stew....

Gathering ingredients for Barleyburger Stew.

Browned ground sirloin and onion with barley, celery, and spices.

Tomato juice added; cook for an hour.

Served, ready to eat, with steamed cabbage.

It has been a very drizzly, rainy day here, with more rain expected overnight.  This just seems like the perfect recipe for a day like today.  The recipe comes from a cookbook I have had for many years - Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two, 1964 edition.  This is the cookbook I used through the years, multiplying the recipes whenever needed to serve more than two, and it has seen us through many, many meals.


3/4 lb. ground beef (I use chopped sirloin).
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons oil (canola or olive){My adaptation; book mentions 2 Tablespoons fat}
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup hot water
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt {My adaptation; book mentions 1 1/2 teaspoons}
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup barley

- In large kettle brown beef and onions in oil, stirring frequently.  Add remaining ingredients; cook slowly for 1 hour.  Servings: 3-4.  The cookbook says 2 servings, but we have found that size serving to be too large for us.

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.

Tomorrow - What do you cook when you're gone much of the day?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another bowl, please....

The beginning of that famous WW soup!

Carrots, onions, and garlic in a small amount of olive oil.

Ready to bubble and work that magic!

This is a Weight Watchers recipe that has been printed in their Three-Month Journal from a few years ago - 2006 - and I have also seen it on the website.  It is a very good basic vegetable soup.  When you read the ingredients in the recipe, you will see why you would be able to "have another bowl, please.":-)


1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup diced green cabbage
1/2 cup green beans (I used frozen from the store.)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced zucchini (From last summer's garden, in our freezer!)
3 cups fat-free broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable) {I  used vegetable.}

- In a large saucepan, saute carrot, onion and garlic in olive oil over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and stir, then add cabbage, green beans, basil, oregano, salt, and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until beans are tender.  Stir in 1/2 cup diced zucchini and heat 3-4 minutes.
- Serve hot.  Servings:  four

This is really tasty, and you can see why it is all right to have another bowl!:-)  

While our weather here has been very unseasonably warm, I am still enjoying cooking some of those dishes associated with winter months.  Tomorrow, Barleyburger Stew!

Today is my sister's 43rd wedding anniversary!  She is probably reading this, so I want to wish her a happy anniversary!  She is ahead of us by 8 months!

Thank you for reading.  I truly enjoy your comments!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Soup's on....

Gathering ingredients for Escarole Soup.

Onion and garlic in olive oil.

Escarole - six cups - has just been added.

Escarole, wilted, after about two minutes.
Ready to serve!

Is it "soup weather" where you are?  Many people consider soup to be a food for cool months, but I willingly eat THIS soup year round!  Escarole is a vegetable that I will admit I hadn't tried until about five years ago, and it isn't easy to find it looking good around here.  It was a streak of good fortune last week when I was able to find some fairly nice-looking escarole at my favorite market.   The recipe comes from another Weight Watchers Cookbook - Quick Italian Favorites, 2006.


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups coarsely chopped packed escarole (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine or fat free, less-sodium chicken broth
6 cups fat free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast (can use rotisserie chicken for this)
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice (I use brown rice)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf

- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium  heat.  Add onion and garlic; saute 7 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. 
- Add escarole; saute 2 minutes or just until escarole wilts.  Add wine; cook 1 minute.  
- Add broth and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender.  
- Discard bay leaf before serving.
- Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 1 cup).

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Tomorrow - Another bowl, please....

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cook once....

Mushrooms browning.

Almost there!

Ready to eat!  Pomegranate seeds on the salad.

Don't you love meals that are easy to prepare because you have already cooked part of it?  That's what today's recipe is like.  

Do you remember that meatloaf recipe of a few days ago?  The one that was cut in half?  Well, this recipe uses one fourth of the entire meatloaf and creates a very tasty meal!  It also comes from the Weight Watchers Best Eats Cookbook, edition 2008.

1 cup egg noodles
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered
1 piece leftover Home-Style Meatloaf, crumbled
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

- Cook the noodles according to package directions, omitting the salt if desired.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the meatloaf, broth, sour cream, dill, and pepper.  Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, just until heated through 4-5 minutes.  Spoon over the noodles and serve at once.
- Four servings

We have happily made the switch to 100% whole wheat pasta in all but egg noodles, and they are just not the same.:-(  So, this recipe has the usual egg noodles.  It is popular with the Man of the House because he loves dill.:-)  As I have mentioned before, remember portion control is a huge consideration with the WW program.

Next up - Soup's on....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The right steps....

Fruits and vegetables of a deep hue.

Low-fat dairy and whole grains.     


The Man of the House and I have been taking a "whirl" with some ballroom dance classes.  Boy!  Is it ever important to take the right steps there!

Just as dancing requires the right steps, so does participating in a weight management program.

When wishing to obtain a lower weight on the scale, we often must change our eating habits.  That will most likely involve changing how we shop at the grocery store.  That means making healthier choices.  Colorful fruits and vegetables will give us important nutrients, and the WW plan encourages us to eat at least five servings daily.  The squash in the top picture came from our vegetable garden this past fall, and the blueberries are from last summer's harvest, frozen for enjoyment through the winter months.

Be sure to include the appropriate dairy servings for your age/circumstance.  At my "magic age," I need three servings of dairy a day.  Also, focus on whole grains such as oatmeal and 100% whole wheat pasta.  I am a fan of Fage 0% Greek yogurt.  The Cabot's cheese block is 75% reduced fat, and the Babybel is light.  There are other whole grains, of course, and we choose them whenever possible. Brown rice, grits, barley, bulgur, and polenta are only a few I will mention.

Items above are displayed on a tray of Susan Branch design!  I am a real fan of anything she designs!

Not illustrated in today's post are the bottles of olive oil and canola oil that are staples at our house. 

I send along wishes for a good week-end to all of you.  Some of you may have snow.  I hope you will be able to enjoy it, and that it will not pose any real problems for you.

In the meantime, anybody care for a waltz?:-)

Thank you for reading.  I love your comments.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Comfort Food....

Gathering ingredients for Home-Style Meatloaf.

Ground white meat turkey and chopped sirloin in green bowl, ready to add to other ingredients.

Meatloaf mixture in lined dish, ready to bake.

Out of the oven; loving the aroma!

Cut in half; slice one half into four slices for four servings.

Served with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh garden greens!

One of the first things I think of when I think comfort food is meatloaf.  This recipe comes from the Weight Watchers Best Eats Cookbook, 2008.


3/4 cup quick cook oatmeal
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup diced onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
3/4 pound ground skinless turkey breast
3/4 pound lean ground beef (7% fat or less)  I used chopped sirloin.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 5x9-inch loaf pan with foil.
- Combine the oatmeal, milk, broth, carrots, onion, egg, parsley, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Gently mix the turkey and beef in a medium bowl.  Add the meat mixture to the oatmeal mixture; mix just until blended.
- Spoon the mixture into the pan and smooth the top.  Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees F, about 1 hour.  Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.  Remove the meatloaf from the pan and cut in half.  Cut one half into 4 slices and serve at once.  Let the remaining half cool completely; cut into 2 pieces.  Wrap each piece, and refrigerate to serve as leftovers.  

I am not authorized to include anything regarding nutritional information or points value; however, I will mention this.  Portion control is a biggie for me, so I limit myself to the serving that is suggested by the recipe.

Next - The Right Steps....

Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's in the Cards....

A "find" while exploring a local antique store.  

Five full tables for bridge this week at the Senior Center.

An activity I enjoy is playing bridge.  There are times when I will entertain here, having two tables of friends who enjoy bridge as well.  At those times, I am pleased to use the Van Gogh set of cards/score pad for one of the tables.  I really Van Gogh's painting, "Starry Night."

There are times when we will have as many as six full tables at the Senior Center where I go once a week to play bridge.  A player's goal is to move from a higher numbered table to the next lower numbered one; that is, from Table #6 to Table #5, from Table #5 to Table #4, etc.  In these instances,
the winning pair is the one that moves, and the losing pair remains.  Table #1 is the top table, and
that's where everyone wants to finish.:-)  I am usually running in a bit later than most of the others, so Table #1 has already been taken.  The losers from that table (after four hands) will move to the last table, this week Table #5, where I happened to begin play this week.  Well, at the conclusion of play,
I was STILL at Table #5 - the only original player at that table.  That means my cards were not very good - or I didn't play the ones I had well.:-(  

One week, I happened to arrive early enough to take a place at Table #1, and at the conclusion of play, I was still at Table #1, the only original player at that table!  The cards were friendly to me that day!  

There are two other groups with whom I play - one called "First Friday" and one called "Second Friday."  Our church has provided a room where we are able to play.  I enjoy playing in that atmosphere.

So - is it "in the cards" for you to enjoy food and eating and still be in control of your weight?  I will begin a series of some recipes tomorrow that will show you that is possible!  Starting off - Comfort Food!  See you then!

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blue Ribbon Biscuits....

Ready to make biscuits.

Butter cut into dry ingredients.

Dough on lightly floured surface, kneaded 5 or 6 times.

Roll to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with 2-inch cutter.
Bake until golden brown; I like using a Silpat mat.

Ready to eat!  Yum!!

For a few years I have prepared entries for our area Fair in September.  One of my quests was to earn a blue ribbon for my biscuits, a prize that was elusive until this past September.  Following is the recipe I used for the first time last fall.  It comes from the Country Living Country Mornings Cookbook, 1989 edition.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter or vegetable shortening (I used butter)
2/3 cup milk

- Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the milk to the flour mixture; mix lightly with a fork until the mixture clings together and forms a ball of soft dough.  Turn the dough onto lightly floured surface and knead gently, turning 5 or 6 times.
- With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness.  With a floured 2-inch cutter, cut the dough into rounds.  Place the biscuits, 1 inch apart, on an ungreased baking sheet.  Pat the dough scraps together, reroll, and cut out more biscuits.
- Bake the biscuits 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are light brown.  Yield 12-14 biscuits.

These may become Buttermilk Biscuits by using 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in place of 1 Tablespoon of baking powder.  Add 3/4 cup buttermilk in place of 2/3 cup milk.

The previous years, I had always placed second while using a recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits that I had printed off the Weight Watchers daily newsletter.  That recipe follows.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 spray cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Combine flour and next three ingredients in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add buttermilk; stir just until moist.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 4 or 5 times.  Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter.  Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.  Yield - 7 biscuits; serving size - 1 biscuit.

Thank you for reading, and I am really enjoying your comments.

Tomorrow - It's in the Cards.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Friend....or foe?

You "speak" to me every morning.

I get nowhere fast with you.

There are those of you who are following this blog who know that I am a Lifetime Weight Watcher.  I am celebrating four years of being at goal weight!   I have had many helps along the way, and these two pictures illustrate some of those helpers.

I have found it very beneficial to weigh myself every morning.  This may not be exactly what is suggested; however, it is the way I measure how I am progressing.  So, the top picture is definitely one of a "friend."

The recumbent bike at the Fitness Center has become part of my life.  A mere half-hour with this "friend," and I will cover over seven miles and account for 150 calories!:-)  Why does it seem so difficult to get there more often than two or three times a week?  Surely this bike is not a "foe!"

Coming up soon will be a series of recipes that have been helpful as I have continued this lifelong journey of weight maintenance.  Not tomorrow, though!  Be ready for Blue Ribbon Biscuits!

Thank you for reading.  I love your comments.