Salsa Red Snapper with White Beans & Gremolata Topping

Not shown: green pepper

Last night I invited Mom to join me for dinner.  I surprised her by making a recipe she’d discovered a few years back.  It’s a showy dish that’s perfect for easy entertaining and chock full of flavor.  Loaded with healthy ingredients, this is only 4 1/2 Weight Watchers points per serving. I sent Mom home with a to-go box and have an ample serving left for myself.  (If you can’t find red snapper, tilapia may be substituted). I tweaked the original recipe ever so slightly, using only one can of beans, a bit more salsa and made more gremolata because it’s that topping that makes this dish over- the-top delicious.  If you have gremolata left it would be great with chicken, salmon or even tossed in with pasta, couscous or rice!

Salsa Red Snapper with White Beans & Gremolata Topping             serves 4

4 1/2 Weight Watchers points per serving

  • 18 oz salsa
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained
  • 1 small green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb red snapper
  • 1/4 c green onions

Gremolata topping:

  • 1/2 c chopped flat leaf parsley
  •  1 1/2 t orange zest
  • 1 1/2 t lime zest
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine 12 oz of the salsa with the beans and green pepper and place in a casserole dish.

          

Cut the red snapper into several servings and place over the salsa mixture.


Top the fish with the remaining 6 oz of salsa, followed by the green onions. Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Mix together the ingredients for the gremolata and set aside.


Remove the casserole from oven and allow to rest uncovered for five minutes before serving.  Top each serving with gremolata and prepare to fall in love with this flavorful, healthy dish.

I served this with roasted garlic crostini, a fresh spinach salad with dijon vinaigrette with a lovely bottle of wine and lemon bars for dessert.

fullsizerender-844         fullsizerender-843

Refreshing Fruit Salad & it’s zero points

Inspired after finding dragon fruit at my local Meijer’s Grocery Store (as posted a few days ago) and seeing some stunning fruit medleys on Pinterest, I put together this recipe. It can be served as a salad, breakfast or snack.  Perhaps best of all, it’s zero points on Weight Watchers!

FullSizeRender 750

Refreshing Fruit Salad – makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups

  • zest from 1 navel orange
  • 1/2 navel orange – sectioned & squeezed for the juice
  • 1 dragon fruit – halved, then scooped out with a melon baller
  • 1/2 c fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 c fresh blueberries

Place the dragon fruit, raspberries, blueberries and orange sections in a bowl.  Add zest and orange juice, using a spatula to gently combine. Chill and serve.  How easy is that?

_____________________________________

Having recently reached my goal weight (to achieve lifetime status) in spite of traveling and enjoying delicious foods, it remains important to me to stay on track with Weight Watchers.  At this time of year, the Farmer’s Market has so much to offer and I’m planning to make dishes that are colorful, healthy and low in points. Stay tuned – there’s more to come…

7 Can Soup in a Crockpot

FullSizeRender 51.jpg

I recently came across a recipe on Pinterest by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.  I’ve long admired her rise from blogger to Food Network star.  She’s also a busy wife, mother of four, photographer and cookbook author who lives on a massive working ranch in Oklahoma. Her food is hearty, delicious and prepared with love.

7 Can Soup couldn’t be easier. As the owner of an always well-stocked pantry and a lover of soup on a bitter cold winter day, I had to try this recipe. This is my version, slightly modified from the original. Spence and I found it to be absolutely delicious!

7 Can Soup in a Crockpot

serves 14         Weight Watcher Smart Points 7

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 can chili with no beans
  • 8 oz velveeta white cheese – cubed
  • 1/2 c chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • garlic seasoning – to taste (I used a generous amount)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 2 T hot sauce (optional)

Drain and rinse the black beans, pour into crockpot. Open the corn, pinto and kidney beans, Rotel tomatoes and pour into the crockpot including liquid from those cans. Add the San Marzano tomatoes after chopping them as well as the liquid from that can. Finally add the chili. Stir gently to blend and turn the crockpot on low for two hours.  Add the garlic seasoning, salt, pepper and hot sauce, stir and turn crockpot on high for one hour. Add the parsley and cubed cheese, stir every five minutes until the cheese is full melted throughout the soup and serve.

FullSizeRender 52.jpg

This recipe lends itself to endless variations, check out the original version on Pinterest and enjoy!

 

 

Prosciutto, Brie & Arugula Gourmet Flatbread

Prosciutto, Brie & Arugula Gourmet Flatbread with Medjool Dates & Balsamic Reduction

FullSizeRender 42
11 Weight Watchers Smart Points

There’s a little gem of an Italian Restaurant in nearby Clarkston Michigan.  My lifelong BFF introduced it to me and it’s quickly become my favorite.  Their menu changes with the season and their offerings are inspired and delicious. I’m crazy about their flatbreads.

I’ve created my version of a favorite while using recipe builder on the Weight Watchers app. I’ve lost 15 pounds (since joining Weight Watchers on December 28) and I’m finding that I can have gourmet meals with a bit of creativity. This was so yummy I had to share it with the blogsphere.

Prosciutto, Brie & Arugula Gourmet Flatbread with Medjool Dates & Balsamic Reduction

Serves 1                           Weight Watchers Smart Points 11

  • 1 slice of Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan
  • 1 handful baby arugula
  • 1/2 oz prosciutto – roll and slice into thin “ribbons”
  • 3/4 oz brie – remove rind, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large Medjool Date – pit, then cut into 6-8 pieces
  • 1 t Balsamic Vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking stone, place the Naan. Top with baby argula, followed by prosciutto, brie and dates.  Drizzle the balsamic over the other ingredients.  Bake for 5-8 minutes and the brie is melted. If desired, a little cracked black pepper completes this dish.

Mexican Stuffed Mini-Peppers

This recipe was created as a result of brown rice and taco meat from earlier this week as well as my purchase of those beautiful tri-color mini-peppers.  It was easy and absolutely delicious.

Mini-Stuffed Peppers – serves 4  Weight Watcher Smart Points 6

  • 1 c taco meat (see my recipe below)
  • 1 c brown rice
  • 1 T chopped parsley
  • 1 can Rotel Tomatoes with green chilies – drained, reserve liquid
  • 1/2 c finely shredded cheese
  • 16-20 mini-peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut in half

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the meat, rice, parsley and tomatoes together.

FullSizeRender 32.jpg

Load each half pepper with about a tablespoon of filling and place into a large casserole dish. It’s fine if the filling spills over the sides a bit. If there is extra filling after you’ve wedged all the peppers in the casserole simply spoon it over the top. Pour the reserved liquid over the peppers.  Top with cheese.

FullSizeRender 35.jpg

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Taco Meat

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • minced jalapeno
  • minced garlic
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper

Brown the ground beef with the items above – to your taste. Drain and blot any excess grease with a paper towel.  This meat is what I prefer for the recipe above as well as tacos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas or taco salad.

Shrimp Stir-Fry

img_8930

Shrimp Stir-Fry   serves 2  Weight Watchers Smart Points 5 

  • 24 cooked shrimp
  • Veggies for stir fry: carrots, celery, sweet white onion, shitake mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli
  • 2 t peanut oil

Additional flavor elements: Grated fresh ginger, 2-3 garlic cloves minced, green onion – minced, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, juice from one half lemon, chopped flat leaf parsley, baby arugula and red pepper flakes to taste.

Stir-fry the veggies, adding the shrimp, arugula and parsley at the very end. Top with 1 oz chopped cashews when serving.

Grilled Zucchini & Summer Squash with Goat Cheese

With the bounty of fresh produce from farmer’s markets and gardens, veggies are plentiful this summer. Recently, using a summer squash, zucchini and some imagination, I came up with this recipe and may I say – it was fabulous. The combination of fresh herbs, grilled squash, sweet sautéed onion, creamy goat cheese and a burst of fresh lemon make this a new favorite for Spence and I.

Grilled Zucchini & Summer Squash with Goat Cheese

Weight Watchers Smart Points 3*

  • Zucchini
  • Summer Squash
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Seasoning (I love Melting Pot’s Garlic & Wine Seasoning)
  • Coconut Oil

Step One: Slice the squash into 1/2-inch “planks” (on the diagonal). Lay the planks on a paper towel, season with salt, pepper and garlic seasoning on one side. Brush a grill pan generously with coconut oil and bring to a searing heat. Place the planks on the grill pan, flipping only one time after 2-3 minutes (you’ll see grill marks). Allow another 2-3 minutes of grill time, remove and place the planks into a baking dish in a single layer.

  • Diced Sweet Onion
  • Butter

Step Two: Saute the onion in butter on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Top the squash with the onions.

  • Fresh Herbs: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme & Chives – chopped together
  • Goat Cheese
  • Lemon Wedge
  • Red Pepper Flakes

Just before baking.....
Just before baking…..

Step 3: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Top the squash with chopped herbs, followed by crumbled goat cheese. Squeeze fresh lemon over the top. Bake for 10 minutes – just to soften the goat cheese. Top with red pepper flakes and serve.

Note from Spence’s Girl: I purposely left the recipe without quantities as you can adjust based on how many servings you’d like. If you don’t have access to these exact herbs, use what you have – basil, oregano, tarragon – have fun with it. While not vegan, this would be a lovely vegetarian entree.  

* To calculate the Weight Watchers Smart Points, I used 1 oz of goat cheese and 1/2 tablespoon of butter, based on 2 servings.

Super Cole Slaw

If you are new to Spence’s Girl you may not be aware of my love of cooking. I come by it naturally as I’m from a family of wonderful cooks and grew up learning first by watching, then participating. One of my family mentors was my Grandpa Fox who retired in his 40’s and became passionate about cooking, taking over nearly 100% of their meals from shopping to preparation. I cherish those memories. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for recipes I grew up with lately and I hope you’ll want to try this one, my Grandpa’s cole slaw recipe.  It’s light and refreshing on these dog days of summer and a change-up from the usual creamy cole slaw.

SUPER COLE SLAW   

serves 12                 Weight Watchers Smart Points 3

For the dressing:

1/2 t coarse ground black pepper
1 t dry mustard
2 t celery seed
4 T sugar
2 t salt
6 T salad oil
2/3 c vinegar

Mix well, pour over:

5-7 c chopped cabbage
2 T chopped red pepper (or pimento)
1/4 c chopped green pepper
1/4 c grated onion

While you could make this and serve it the same day, it is increasingly better with 24 hours (or longer) to marinate.  And it’s a great dish for a potluck as it travels well. Enjoy!

IMG_6608

Ambrosia Apple, Goat Cheese & Toasted Walnut Salad

 On a recent balmy summer evening, I made this salad for friends and family. I’ve adapted it to a single serving to calculate Weight Watchers Smart Points.

Ambrosia Apple, Goat Cheese & Toasted Walnut Salad

Single serving               Weight Watchers Smart Points 6 (before dressing)

  • Baby Spinach
  • Chopped Radicchio
  • Ambrosia Apple slices
  • 8 – Toasted Walnut Halves, chopped
  • 1 oz Goat Cheese – crumbled
  • Thin-sliced Red Onion
  • Sliced Hearts of Palm

On the side, I made a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and red apple balsamic vinegar and drizzled it over the top.

It’s an easy, delicious, refreshing summer salad on the side or as a meat-free entree on a hot night.