Friday, March 4, 2011

Exterior Makeover

Everybody knows that when you don't like the outside of something you generally don't like the "something" and most of the time won't try it. That's true for food, clothing, people, restaurants, hotels... you name it. We all know the saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover" but are we really good at following that advice? The media would definitely say no - beauty sells! An ugly meal on the cover of a cookbook is not going to sell the cookbook no matter how healthy, nutritious or tasty it is. And who knows this better than our kids?!

For this reason I decided to create one of my favorite comfort meals with a whole new "cover". By changing the outside I figured I may be able to get my daughters to at least take a bite! And not knowing what it was... they did!! They loved it!

Try it for yourself and get those picky eaters to eat an old favorite!

In-Side Out Cabbage Rolls

1 lb lean ground beef (96%)
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup beef broth
8 oz pizza sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, reduced fat, shredded

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook the beef, onion and green pepper until meat is no longer pink; drain as needed. Stir in the cabbage, tomatoes, broth, pizza sauce, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender. Stir in the rice and heat through. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the cheese. Cover and let it stand until the cheese is melted.

I served it in bowls to allow all the juices to stay with it and a slice of garlic toast made with Sarah Lee Delightful 45 calorie bread. For 1 1/2 cups and the slice of bread it was only 6 WW PointsPlus value!! That serving size is rather large too so the points can be adjusted with the serving size.

The family has gotten used to not asking what's in something so I lucked out! Had the kids known it was cabbage I may not have succeeded at giving this not-so-pretty meal a much needed makeover! Will they ever learn not to judge by the outside? I'm not so sure about that but I'm doing my part to teach them well!

This makes me want a haircut and some new foundation...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Starting Over

How many times have we said and heard that one? I know I've said it at least 100 times! Starting over so many things, so many times... dieting, exercising, budgeting, moving, jobs, relationships, you name it, I've started it over. This time, I've actually started over before starting over! My blog that is!

Shortly after starting this blog almost a year ago and being very focused on cooking healthy meals, I lost it! No, not the weight, the enthusiasm and motivation. The family vacation traveling down the west coast helped - I think I left it somewhere between San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf and Disneyland!

I've now started my journey over - more dedicated than ever! I've been on my newest weight loss journey for 2 months now and the healthy meals are piling up in my recipe book! I'm using Weight Watchers again and find myself addicted to their online features! The recipe builder keeps me logging in every day, all day! So ready or not, here they come!

A little different format this time - no nutritional values for each ingredient. Someday I may come back and edit the new recipes to include that but for now it's all about the PointsPlus values on the bottom line.

Here's the first recipe to begin the new journey:

Chicken Chimichangas

1 1/2 cups chicken breast, cooked
1 1/2 cups picante sauce, mild
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, low fat, shredded
2/3 cup scallion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin1 tsp dried oregano
6 flour tortillas, carb balanced, low fat
1 tbsp butter, melted

In a small bowl, combine the chicken, 3/4 cup picante sauce, cheese, 1/4 cup onions, cumin and oregano. Spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture down the center of each tortilla. Fold the sides and ends over the filling and roll up. Place the seam side down in a 15" x 10" baking pan coated with cooking spray. Brush each tortilla top with the melted butter. Bake uncovered at 375 for 20-25 minutes until heated through and tops begin to brown. Top with the remaining picante sauce and onions. Optional toppings include additional cheese and fat free sour cream.

Each Chimichanga is a mere 7 WW PointsPlus value and when served with a side of fat free refried beans it's a great meal for under 10 points.

My daughter, who thinks of herself as a Chimichanga expert (actually, she thinks she's an expert at everything since she's 16) was excited to learn we were having these for dinner. She even offered to retrieve the deep fryer from the shelf in the garage! When I informed her they were going to be baked she was skeptical (that's putting it mildly)! After one bite she was hooked! These chimichanga's will make you think differently about those fat laden deep fried ones you get in restaurants. There is no oily after taste and the flavors are all there for you to enjoy. I'll experiment with homemade picante sauce later - these were too easy and too tasty to mess with right now!

I think I'll go mess with something else....