Skinny Holiday Baking: Pumpkin Scones

I do enjoy baking from scratch, but sometimes, I’m up for trying shortcuts. I found this recipe by perusing the Weight Watchers boards, because I wanted to try something a little different than pumpkin bread for breakfast.

This was a pretty good scone, but I think the recipe needs a little work. I think next time, I’m going to try brown sugar, more white sugar and more spices. I also didn’t have Splenda, which was recommended for the recipe, so I subbed sugar.

This was also a fairly wet batter, so I couldn’t really shape these like traditional scones. I ended up using a large cookie scoop to scoop individual scones out, and it worked out fine.

Pumpkin Scones
Source: adapted from a Weight Watchers forum

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Bisquick Heart smart mix
  • 1/3 cup mini choc chips (omitted to save calories)
  • 6 packets of Splenda (used 4 tbsp. sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. skim milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
  3. Mix pumpkin, egg and milk in a separate bowl and add to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  4. Using a large cookie scoop, place scones about 2″ apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until the scones start to brown on top.

The Skinny: per serving, serves 8

Calories: 124.4
Fat: 2.6 g
Fiber: 1.5 g

Kung Fu Chicken

Kung Fu Chicken…. sounds like an extreme dish to me. Well, when rapper Coolio writes a cookbook, you should expect it to be extreme. That’s right children of the 90s, Coolio wrote a cookbook. I didn’t see it coming, but apparently he’s been a foodie for quite sometime now.

When I saw that a fellow foodie received an email for food bloggers to review this cookbook, I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t very interested. I’d like to remember Coolio as a “Gangsta’s Paradise” type of guy. However, when I mentioned it to my husband, he seemed anxious to get his hand on this book and try a recipe. So, I emailed the publisher and requested to review the book.

Upon receiving it, my husband and I skimmed through the book, laughing at how he wrote the book. It’s almost like he’s talking to you, without censors, and spices are measured in “dime bags” and “nickel bags” vs. teaspoons and tablespoons. There are recipes like Backyard Grass Salad, Bro-ghetti, Pimp my Shrimp and Jarez Make-It-Rain Peanut Butter Cookies.

So, how did we choose Kung Fu Chicken? Easy…we were looking for a simple, weeknight meal that was healthy and well, this fit the bill.

Upon tasting it, it really wasn’t anything Asian as we expected. This dish, however, had a striking similarity to a Louisiana dish called Sauce Piquant. We had no problem with that though, since this dish was rather tasty!

Kung Fu Chicken
Source: Cookin’ with Coolio

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 “dime bag” (or tbsp.) salt
  • 1 “dime bag” (or tbsp.) pepper
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 14 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. asian sweet chili sauce
  • 3-4 tbsp. soy sauce

Directions (straight from the book, to get an idea of how he wrote it):

  1. Take your chicken and chop suey it up into quarter-size pieces.
  2. Kung Fu grip your knife and chop up your half of a white onion.
  3. Get out your garlic. If you already got it minced, you’re ready to go.
  4. Warm up a large skillet over medium heat and toss in your olive oil, onion and garlic. Sneak it into that pan like a ninja with a plan. Saute that up for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Throw in your chopped chicken, along with salt and pepper to taste, and let that cook for 8-10 more minutes.
  6. Crack your cans of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes and pour them into your large skillet, covering up all that chickeny-garlicky onion-ness.
  7. Add in the red chili sauce and the soy sauce, and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Cover the skillet between stirs.
  8. Let all that cook up and coagulate together for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Take it all out and serve it up with some brown or white rice.

The Skinny - per serving, serves 4 (not including rice)

Calories: 212.5
Fat: 11.0 g
Fiber: 5.0 g

Skinny Holiday Baking: Snickerdoodle Biscotti

snickerdoodlebiscotti

Since it’s unbelievably less than 8 weeks until Christmas, I’m finding myself more and more in the mood to bake. Be sure to check this blog every Monday leading up to Christmas for some baked goods that are also SKINNY!!

I spent this weekend making another package for Operation Baking Gals, and happened to find this recipe trying to find a spiced biscotti. I was glad to find that I wouldn’t feel too guilty tasting this recipe to make sure it came out fine since this is a recipe from Cooking Light.

That being said, this was a pretty difficult dough to work with. It’s extremely crumbly, and you really have to work it well to get it to form into logs. In the end, though, this was a pretty good biscotti, and it’s definitely worth a try!

Snickerdoodle Biscotti
Source: Cooking Light (found on Recipezaar)

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg white

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350.
  2. Measure flour into a large bowl and add 1 C. Sugar, Baking powder, and salt.
  3. Mix oil, vanilla and the eggs in a small bowl and add to the large bowl, your dough will be dry and very crumbly.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 7 or 8 times. It may take a while, but the dough will eventually come together.
  5. Divide in half. Shape each portion into a roll about 8 inches long, and place them a six or so inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Flatten each roll to 1 inch thick.
  6. Combine the 2 Tbsp. Sugar and cinnamon, then gently brush the tops of the rolls with the egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from the sheet and cool for 15 minutes.
  9. Cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices and lay them cut sides down on the cookie sheet again.
  10. Reduce oven temp to 325 and then bake 10 more minutes, turn over and bake 10 more. They’ll be soft in the middle but will harden as they cool. Cool completely on a wire rack.

The Skinny: per serving, makes 30

Calories: 83
Fat: 1.1 g
Fiber: 0.4 g

Cheddar Chicken Chowder

chickenchowder

I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween! I can’t believe we are already less than a month away from Thanksgiving. Since the weather’s changing, I asked my husband if he was up for a soup. I already had a recipe in mind, after seeing it on Dinner Delish. It sounded like a new way to use up chicken, besides grilling or baking it, and it was, most importantly, SKINNY!

This soup definitely did not taste skinny, and my husband and I gobbled it up! It was delicious and not too hard to put together either!

Cheddar Chicken Chowder
Source: Cooking Light (originally found on Dinner Delish)

Ingredients:

  • 2  bacon slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  pound  skinned, boned chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 1  cup  diced red bell pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 1/2  cups  fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 3/4  cups  diced peeled red potatoes
  • 2 1/4  cups  frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 1/2  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  cups  2% low-fat milk
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Crumble; set aside.
  2. Add chicken, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to bacon fat in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth and potatoes; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add corn; stir well.
  3. Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended; add to soup. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper. Top with crumbled bacon.

The Skinny – serves 6, Serving Size is 1.5 cups

Calories: 306
Fat: 7.5 g
Fiber: 2.9 g

Pot Roast, Again!

IMG_0533

The temperatures dipped into the 40s out here. It’s absolutely nuts that the week before, we were experiencing nasty, summer weather. However, this new weather was a welcomed change. I told my husband I had to make pot roast for us. It just screams cold weather food!

So, I made pot roast using the same recipe as last time. Diet friendly pot roast, in fact.  I highly recommend this simple, delicious recipe to anyone looking to make their first pot roast!

Pumpkin Bread

bread

I can’t believe this pumpkin shortage. I mean, who would have thought that store shelves would be empty where this stuff is usually stocked? In fact, around this time, most groceries have special holiday baking sections with rows and rows of pumpkin. None to be found. It’s SO weird!

However, as a woman with a craving, I went on a mission to find this rare canned pumpkin. Five stores later, I found myself in a grocery store in a pretty bad part of town. (I went during the day, if you are wondering how wild I am.) I walked down the baking aisle in crazy anticipation. There they were – two large cans of pumpkin puree. I grabbed them quicker than a kid grabs the bubble gum off the candy aisle.

I was so excited when I got home, but I knew I have 58 precious ounces of pumpkin puree. I need to ration this wisely, just in case I can’t find any for the beloved Thanksgiving pie. (You never know!) I couldn’t help but make myself pumpkin bread. It’s a Fall breakfast staple for me!

I’ve seen this recipe from Allrecipes around many food blogs, and people rave about it, so I decided this would be the lucky recipe. It turned out to be a really good pumpkin bread, however, it wasn’t very spicy. I prefer spicy pumpkin bread, like this one I made last year.

Of course, I did my favorite applesauce for butter/oil substitution and it didn’t disappoint. I also halved the recipe  since I don’t need 2 loaves at one time.

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread (full recipe)
Source: Allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (sub applesauce)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans. (When I halved the recipe, I used one large loaf pan.)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes (took mine 60 minutes) in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

The Skinny - per serving, Serves 24 (in full recipe)
Calories 187.6
Fat 1.1 g
Fiber 1.3 g

Lighter General Tso’s Chicken

generaltso

My husband’s favorite chinese dish is General Tso’s chicken. Unfortunately, the restaurant near our house makes the most unhealthy version possibly available, so it’s an indulgence for him to have it. A few months ago, however, I starred a recipe from Proceed with Caution, but like every recipe I star, I forget about it rather quickly.

I have been in a chicken slump, looking for new ideas, so I went through my starred entries, and I was so glad to find this recipe all over again. I decided to make it last night, and wow! This was very flavorful and good. It’s not exactly the General Tso’s chicken that I’ve tasted, but it’s still good!

I also made some “fried” rice with this to add more veggies to the meal, rather than just plain rice. This fried rice is really simple to make, and I used less sodium soy sauce to flavor the dish.

Lighter General Tso’s Chicken
Source: Proceed with Caution, originally from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain brown rice
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
Directions:  
  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).
  4. Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.
The Skinny - per serving, Serves 4
Calories 179.6
Fat 7.1 g
Fiber 1.2 g  

Fried Rice
Source: Allrecipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups enriched white rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup chopped baby carrots (used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • soy sauce to taste  (I used 1/2 cup, less sodium)
  • sesame oil, to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, combine rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, boil carrots in water about 3 to 5 minutes. Drop peas into boiling water, and drain.
  3. Heat wok over high heat. Pour in oil, then stir in carrots and peas; cook about 30 seconds. Crack in eggs, stirring quickly to scramble eggs with vegetables. Stir in cooked rice. Shake in soy sauce, and toss rice to coat. Drizzle with sesame oil, and toss again.

The Skinny – per serving, Serves 8
Calories – 170.9
Fat – 4.9 g
Fiber – 1.1 g

Note: You can add more vegetables to your rice, which is what I did, to fill your plate more!

Banana Bread

banana bread1

I always make sure to have some fruit options at home. This past week, I realized that I overlooked a small bunch of bananas which were ripening quickly, so I knew it was time to make some banana bread. The last time I made banana bread, I wasn’t very impressed, so I tried another recipe. This one was much better!

Banana Bread
adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

The Skinny – per serving, serves 12

Calories: 184.5
Fat: 1.3 g
Fiber: 1.7 g

banana bread

Spaghetti and (Turkey) Meatballs

spaghetti

I love meatballs and spaghetti. It’s one of my childhood favorites, but it’s not a regular on the dinner menu since I’m a huge pasta lover and it’s not exactly diet friendly. I was thawing ground turkey with absolutely NO idea on what to make. I wasn’t in the mood for burgers or tacos, so my husband brought up meatballs and spaghetti. Since he’s not much of a pasta fan, this was a surprise to me, but man, hearing that brought on a huge craving. I had to make it!

I’m all about shortcuts on a weeknight, so I bought canned marinara. I mixed Classico’s Cabernet Marinara with Target brand’s Three Cheese and just spiced it from there.  For the pasta, we used Ronzoni’s Smart Taste pasta.

As far as meatballs go, here is my recipe, which is a definite winner…even my husband loved them! I adapted it from a recipe I found on Aimee’s Adventures, which is a W/W friendly recipe website, and it came out wonderful!

Turkey Meatballs
adapted from Aimee’s Adventures

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Form into appx. 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until fully cooked.

The Skinny - per meatball, Makes 22-24 meatballs (calculated at 22 meatballs)

Calories: 50.2
Fat:  2.6 g
Fiber: 0.1 g

Smothered Chicken with Rice

chickenrice

This is one of those dishes that is a simple, weeknight hit in our house. I’ve already blogged about it here and here (post with a recipe), but I figured another time shouldn’t hurt.

This is a great W/W dish to cook up in your home, so definitely give this one a try!