Crunchy Vegetable Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce 2 Onion-Flavored Cheese Rounds 4 Feta and Spinach Triangles 5 Herbed Mushroom Morsels
Crunchy Vegetable Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
HANDS-ON PREP 25 MIN * COOK NONE * SERVES 4
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 1 tablespoon finely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 ounce cellophane noodles (part of 16-ounce package) 1 cup boiling water 4 (8-inch) round rice-paper sheets 1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into long, thin matchstick strips 1 carrot, shredded 4 scallions (light green parts only), sliced into long, thin strips 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves 1/4 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 To make the dipping sauce, combine the vinegar, lime juice, peanuts, sugar, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
2 Combine the noodles with the boiling water in a medium bowl. Soak the noodles for 12 minutes; drain and pat dry with paper towels.
3 Half-fill a large skillet with warm water. Soak 1 rice-paper round in the water just until pliable, 30-45 seconds. Pat with a paper towel to remove the excess water. Place one-fourth of the noodles on the bottom third of the rice paper; top with one-fourth each of the cucumber, carrot, scallions, and cilantro. Tightly roll the rice paper around the filling just enough to cover it. Place one-fourth of the parsley leaves in a single row along the roll, then continue rolling up to form a neat cylinder. Place, seam side down, on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Repeat with the remaining rice-paper rounds, noodles, cucumber, carrot, scallions, cilantro, and parsley leaves to make 4 rolls in all.
4 With a serrated knife, slice each roll on the diagonal into 4 pieces. Serve with the dipping sauce.
PER SERVING (1 roll and generous 1/2 tablespoon sauce): 78 Cal, 1 g Fat, 0 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 4 mg Chol, 87 mg Sod, 15 g Carb, 2 g Fib, 3 g Prot, 37 mg Calc. POINTS value: 1.
If you chop and prepare the ingredients in advance, refrigerate them in plastic bags. Then soak the rice-paper wrappers, fill them, and roll them up. It's important to keep the rolls covered as you work, as the wrappers can quickly dry out.
Onion-Flavored Cheese Rounds
HANDS-ON PREP 8 MIN * COOK 7 MIN * SERVES 16
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons onion powder
1 Preheat the oven to 400?F. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray.
2 Combine the Monterey Jack, Parmesan, and flour in a small bowl. Drop by table-spoonfuls onto the baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart, making 16 rounds in all. Bake until the cheese is melted and golden with darker brown edges, 5-7 minutes.
3 While the cheese rounds are still slightly warm, sprinkle generously with the onion powder; let cool about 1 minute. With a metal spatula, carefully transfer the cheese rounds to paper towels and let cool completely. Serve at once, or store in an airtight container up to 2 days at room temperature.
PER SERVING (1 round): 25 Cal, 2 g Fat, 1 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 4 mg Chol, 52 mg Sod, 1 g Carb, 0 g Fib, 2 g Prot, 63 mg Calc. POINTS value: 1.
HOW WE DID IT For an even coating of onion powder on the cheese rounds, place the powder in a small dish, grasp a good amount of it between your thumb and first two fingers and hold it high (about 14 inches) above the food. Move your hand back and forth over the food as you evenly sprinkle the powder.
Feta and Spinach Triangles
HANDS-ON PREP 35 MIN * COOK 25 MIN * SERVES 8
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese 2 tablespoons plain low-fat Greek-style yogurt 3 scallions, chopped 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 1 egg white 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 8 (12 x 17-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375?F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
2 Press the spinach between layers of paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Put the feta and yogurt in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until creamy. Add the spinach, scallions, dill, egg white, and pepper, stirring to combine.
3 Set the stack of phyllo sheets to one side of the work surface; cover with damp paper towels and a sheet of plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
4 Place 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface with a long side facing you. Cover the remaining phyllo with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Lightly brush the phyllo sheet with the oil. Top with another sheet and lightly brush with oil. Cut the sheets crosswise into 6 equal strips. Place a scant tablespoon of the spinach mixture at one end of each strip. Fold one corner of the phyllo over the filling, then continue folding, flag style, to form a triangle.
5 Place the phyllo triangles on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and filling to make 24 triangles in all. Brush the triangles with any remaining oil. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.
PER SERVING (3 triangles): 115 Cal, 6 g Fat, 1 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 3 mg Chol, 242 mg Sod, 12 g Carb, 1 g Fib, 5 g Prot, 47 mg Calc. POINTS value: 3.
FOOD NOTE Boxes of phyllo dough can be found in the frozen foods section of supermarkets. Phyllo must be completely defrosted overnight in the refrigerator, still in the box, before it can be used. Unroll the defrosted phyllo, keeping in mind that the sheets tear easily, so handle them as gently-and as little-as possible.
Herbed Mushroom Morsels
HANDS-ON PREP 12 MIN * COOK 3 MIN * SERVES 8
2 (10-ounce) packages sliced white mushrooms 2 tablespoons basil-infused olive oil 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 Preheat the broiler.
2 Spread the mushrooms in a broiler pan or large roasting pan. Whisk together the oil, soy sauce, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Drizzle over the mushrooms; toss well. Let stand about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
3 Broil the mushrooms 5 inches from the heat until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Turn the mushrooms and broil until crisp, about 1 minute longer. Sprinkle with the pepper and serve at once.
PER SERVING (3/4 cup): 50 Cal, 4 g Fat, 1 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 0 mg Chol, 53 mg Sod, 0 g Carb, 1 g Fib, 2 g Prot, 7 mg Calc. POINTS value: 1.
You can munch on these treats on their own as an hors d'oeuvre, but they can also be used to add an extra burst of flavor to vegetable soups, cooked brown rice, or to top chicken breast cutlets or fish fillets.
Pita Chips with Black Bean "Caviar"
HANDS-ON PREP 5 MIN * COOK NONE * SERVES 8
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 tablespoon prepared black olive tapenade 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 large garlic clove, minced 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 4 (6-inch) whole-wheat pitas, toasted, each cut into 8 wedges
Combine the beans, tapenade, feta, oil, garlic, and pepper in a medium bowl; gently mash with a wooden spoon to break up some of the beans. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with the pita wedges.
PER SERVING (4 pita wedges and 1/4 cup "caviar"): 108 Cal, 3 g Fat, 0 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 0 mg Chol, 134 mg Sod, 17 g Carb, 3 g Fib, 4 g Prot, 38 mg Calc. POINTS value: 2.
Black olive tapenade, which is also available made from green olives, is a versatile condiment that can add bold flavor to a variety of foods. Just a spoonful will boost the flavor of grilled fish, oven-roasted or steamed vegetables, turkey burgers, lamb chops, and poached eggs.
Pan-Seared Scallops with Tomato-Corn Hash
HANDS-ON PREP 6 MIN * COOK 15 MIN * SERVES 4
3/4 pound jumbo sea scallops 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 scallions (white and light green parts only), chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed 1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro 1 cup packed torn frisee
1 Sprinkle the scallops with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook just until browned and opaque in the center, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
2 Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 1-2 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring constantly, until it evaporates, about 30 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat; stir in the cilantro and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Divide the scallops, hash, and frisee among 4 plates and serve at once.
PER SERVING (2 scallops and 1/4 cup hash): 157 Cal, 6 g Fat, 1 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 28 mg Chol, 312 mg Sod, 13 g Carb, 2 g Fib, 16 g Prot, 31 mg Calc. POINTS value: 3.
HOW WE DID IT
Scallops pan-sear best when they are thoroughly dry and the skillet is very hot. Blot the scallops with paper towels until there is no trace of moisture on them. The scallops should sizzle when they are placed in the skillet. Keep in mind that just a few additional seconds of cooking time will turn the scallops chewy and dry, so don't overcook them.
Ham and Cheese Souffle
HANDS-ON PREP 20 MIN * COOK 1 HR 20 MIN * SERVES 6
3 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs 3 1/4 cups fat-free milk 3 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 cup cornmeal 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon canola oil 4 scallions, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 (1/4 pound) slice of lean deli ham, diced 1/4 pound fat-free cheddar cheese, diced 1/2 teaspoon powdered sage 5 egg whites
1 Preheat the oven to 375?F. Spray a 1 1/2-quart souffle or deep baking dish with nonstick spray; coat with the bread crumbs.
2 Bring the milk, salt, and pepper to a simmer in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Gradually add the cornmeal, whisking constantly, until blended. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and smooth, about 6 minutes. Transfer the cornmeal mixture to a large bowl; let cool about 2 minutes. Stir in the egg yolks and let cool about 20 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 1-2 minutes. Add the ham and cook until lightly browned, 6-7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat; let stand until slightly cooled, about 5 minutes.
4 Stir the ham mixture, cheddar, and sage into the cornmeal mixture; set aside.
5 With an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold one-fourth of the beaten egg whites into the cornmeal mixture. Repeat with the remaining beaten whites. Spoon the batter into the souffle dish and bake until puffed and golden, 55-60 minutes. Serve at once.
PER SERVING (about 1 cup): 251 Cal, 5 g Fat, 2 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 84 mg Chol, 901 mg Sod, 30 g Carb, 2 g Fib, 19 g Prot, 386 mg Calc. POINTS value: 5.
HOW WE DID IT
The centuries-old secret to a really puffy souffle is to never open the oven door to check on the souffle's progress. The slightest wisp of cool air during baking will lower the temperature and deflate the delicate expanding egg whites.
Sweet Apple and Cheese Pancakes
HANDS-ON PREP 10 MIN * COOK 30 MIN * SERVES 6
5 teaspoons unsalted butter 1 apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped 2 teaspoons sugar 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup fat-free creamy-style cottage cheese
1 Melt 2 teaspoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the apple and sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool about 5 minutes.
2 Meanwhile, in a microwavable cup, heat the remaining 3 teaspoons of butter on High until melted, about 30 seconds. Whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and egg in a large bowl; set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in another large bowl. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture, stirring just until blended. Stir in the apple and 1/2 cup of the cottage cheese.
3 Wipe the skillet clean. Spray with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the skillet, pour in the batter by 1/4 cupfuls. Cook just until bubbles appear along the edges of the pancakes, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until golden, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the pancakes to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 12 pancakes in all. Serve at once with the remaining 1/2 cup of cottage cheese.
PER SERVING (2 pancakes and 4 teaspoons cottage cheese): 198 Cal, 5 g Fat, 3 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 47 mg Chol, 733 mg Sod, 29 g Carb, 1 g Fib, 9 g Prot, 93 mg Calc. POINTS value: 4.
When baking powder, baking soda, and buttermilk work in tandem, the result is delectably tender, fluffy pancakes. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture just enough to combine the ingredients. Overstirring will result in thin, tough pancakes.