Monday, January 30, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower

This is another shameless plug for roasted vegetables.  Cauliflower is in season right now.  If you, like me, do not like to stink up the kitchen with the smell of steamed cauliflower, roasting is for you.

The method is simple and the result is delicious.  Wash, core,  and cut the cauliflower into florets.  Pile them onto a baking pan covered with parchment paper or coated with nonstick spray.  Drizzle with only a tablespoon of olive oil for a huge head of cauliflower and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread florets out in a single layer.  Roast in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, stir, then roast 15 more minutes until browned on the edges.  Serve hot.

For more "roasted veggie" inspiration, click here, here, and here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Recipe inspiration comes from unlikely places.  A sweet gift from my son and his girlfriend resulted in a sweet breakfast idea!

A beautifully packaged pancake mix made a quick meal using only eggs, milk, and syrup from my kitchen.  It occurred to me it would not be difficult to recreate the yummy treat with a few other ingredients.  No pretty package but a pretty plate of steamy pancakes!

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup white whole wheat or unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup nonfat liquid egg substitute
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
Warm maple syrup or other toppings, to serve, optional

Preheat griddle to medium high heat.  Measure milk and stir in vinegar; let sit several minutes to curdle.  In medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in egg substitute and curdled milk, then chocolate chips.

Pour about 3 tablespoons batter onto griddle for each pancake.  Flip when bubbles appear and edges begin to look dry.  Pancakes are done when both sides are lightly browned.  Makes 10 pancakes, 2 points plus for Weight Watchers or 69 calories each.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Naan Pizza

Here is credit where credit is due:  my son created this pizza and eats it frequently.  He made it for me and I knew immediately it would make an appearance on Tracy Cooks it Right.

Naan bread has found it's way to most stores these days.  It's an oval-shaped flat bread a little thicker than pita.  I love the chewy texture of the whole wheat version, and the size is perfect for two lunch portions of pizza.

No way did Clark use "lite" cheese or (thrown together) homemade marinara sauce.  Prosciutto also found it's way under the cheese on his.  But even made my way, this lunch was quick and delicious and will make an appearance again real soon.

Naan Pizza

4 whole wheat naan breads (I used "Good Life" brand)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
8 teaspoons pesto, homemade or storebought
6 ounces sliced lite provolone cheese

Place naan breads on griddle preheated to medium high heat to get warm on one side.  In small bowl, combine tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.  Flip naan breads and spread tomato sauce almost to the edge of each one.

Spread 2 teaspoons pesto on top of tomato sauce on each naan bread.  Lay cheese slices evenly over pesto.  Continue cooking on griddle until cheese is melted.  Cut each naan bread into 4 slices.  Makes 8 (2-slice) servings, 5 points plus for Weight Watchers or 206 calories each.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thai Soup

It began like this: I said to my girlfriend, "I have leftover coconut milk and I must think of something to do with it."  Neither one of us had an idea then, but a little while later, I was slurping soup.

Easy to make with mostly ingredients you'd have on hand, the simple but vibrant flavors will delight your tastebuds.  In the cold of winter, this soup will surely brighten your day.

Thai Vegetable Soup

1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup light coconut milk (from a can)
1 tablespoon red curry paste (I used "Thai Kitchen" brand from the Asian section of the market)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fish or soy sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large leek, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups), or use 1 large onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 broccoli crown, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 lime, juiced (1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, optional, for garnish

In medium saucepan, whisk together broth, coconut milk, curry paste, sugar, and fish or soy sauce; set aside.  In large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add leek and garlic and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until leek begins to soften.  Add broccoli, pepper, and 1/4 cup water; cover and cook 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Set pan aside momentarily.

Place saucepan over medium heat and bring ingredients to a simmer.  In small bowl, whisk cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until smooth.  Pour into simmering liquid and continue whisking until thickened.  Stir in vegetables and lime juice.  Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro leaves, if desired.  Makes 4 (1-cup) servings, 3 points plus for Weight Watchers or 115 calories each.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birthday Sco-Nuts!

Ooh, ooh, ooh!  I'm so excited!  This month marks the first birthday of Tracy Cooks it Right.  I thought and thought about what I could make to celebrate.  What favorite could I lighten up to share with you?

I have a weakness for buttermilk donuts.  I know just where to go for the densest, sweetest glazed buttermilk donuts in my area.  The sad thing is, I can't bring myself to have this special treat but once or twice a year.  The fat and calories -  oh my!  So for my special celebration I bring you "Buttermilk Sco-nuts."  They are a cross between my beloved buttermilk donuts and scones.  Please enjoy!

And thank you to my special readers out there who stick with me through the thick and THIN of it all!

Buttermilk Sco-nuts

2 cups unbleached flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons stick trans fat free margarine
3/4 to 1 cup lowfat buttermilk

3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Coat a large baking pan with nonstick spray or parchment paper and set aside.  Measure flour, sugar. baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg into bowl of food processor.  Pulse until well blended.  Cut margarine into 1/2-inch cubes and add to bowl.  Pulse until mixture is well combined.

Dump flour mixture into medium bowl.  With wooden spoon, stir in 3/4 cup buttermilk plus more if needed, until mixture begins to form a ball.  Using hands, divide into 8 sections.  Form into oblong pieces about 4 by 1 1/2 inches each, place on baking pan, and flatten slightly.

Bake 12 minutes or until sco-nuts begin to brown.  Measure powdered sugar into small bowl.  Heat milk 10 seconds in microwave and stir into sugar along with vanilla.  Spread evenly on tops of sco-nuts and serve.  Makes 8 sco-nuts, 5 points plus for Weight Watchers or 204 calories each.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Tart

If you are a food lover like I am, you probably get a thrill going to Williams-Sonoma kitchen stores.  I can spend hours browsing there.  It's dreamland for me! 

My recent trip lead me straight to the cookbook section and my eyes landed on a beautiful new book called Plenty.  It is written by the chef/owner of Ottolenghi, a renowned restaurant in London, U.K.  Turning the pages and gazing at the beautiful pictures, I was stuck on one.  "Ottolenghi's Very Full Roasted Vegetable Tart" imprinted itself on my mind until today when I made a "Tracy Cooks it Right" version.

This tart is a bit more complicated than my usual recipes but the end result is worth it.  Please don't let a few extra steps keep you from trying it.  And take a look at the beautiful book that inspired it.

Roasted Vegetable Tart

1 medium eggplant, diced in 3/4-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
6 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 (6-ounce) sweet potato, peeled and diced in 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 small zucchini, diced in 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 frozen pie crust, thawed
1/2 cup jarred roasted red and/or yellow peppers, well drained
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
2 ounces lowfat Feta cheese
7 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup nonfat liquid egg substitute
1/2 cup nonfat creamer (I used So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cover baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with olive oil spray.  Place eggplant on pan and toss with 4 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Roast 12 minutes, remove from oven and stir in sweet potato.  Roast 12 more minutes, remove from oven and stir in zucchini.  Roast 12 more minutes, remove from oven, and reduce oven heat to 375°F.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and bay leaves.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and golden, about 20 minutes.  Discard bay leaves.  Let onion cool several minutes.

Prick pie crust all over with fork and spread onions evenly in the bottom.  Place roasted vegetables on top of onions, and next, the peppers.  Sprinkle with half the thyme.  Dot with little pieces of the ricotta and Feta.  Lay tomato halves cut side up on top of the cheese.

In small bowl, whisk together egg substitute, creamer, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Pour evenly into pan.  Sprinkle with remaining thyme.  Place pan on baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, or until filling is golden on top and set.  Cool 10 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve immediately.  Makes 6 servings, 8 points plus for Weight Watchers or 327 calories each.

Note: The original recipe did not call for light ingredients.  You could make this with your own crust, regular cheeses, eggs, heavy cream, and lots of olive oil.  The nutritional information would be much different! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I must be craving cheese.  Not just any cheese.  Rich, elegant cheese like the Gorgonzola I had the other day.  Today I am dreaming of Brie.  Just a little bit, but melty and creamy and, well. . . rich.

There is something special about the combination of fruit with cheese.  In this case, strawberry jam in my sandwich contrasts beautifully with the Brie, but cranberry sauce, chutney, or any other fruit spread would be delightful.

Brie Grilled Cheese

2 slices sprouted wheat bread (I used Fresh and Easy brand)
1 ounce Brie cheese, thinly sliced
Several leaves fresh spinach
1 tablespoon strawberry jam or other fruit spread
1 teaspoon butter or trans fat free margarine

Place bread on flat surface; lay cheese on one slice and top with spinach.  Spread jam on other slice.  Put sandwich together and  butter one side with half the butter.  Place butter side down on hot griddle and spread remaining butter on top slice.

Cook until golden brown on first side, then flip sandwich and cook until golden brown on other side.  Cut in half and serve immediately.  Makes one serving, 10 points plus for Weight Watchers or 378 calories.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gorgonzola Frittata

Add one elegant ingredient to an otherwise simple recipe and all of a sudden you have an over-the-top dish.  Gorgonzola cheese is the perfect elegance to enhance a frittata.

If Gorgonzola is not a flavor you favor, try goat or feta cheese instead, but a thrilling flavor is achieved with this tangy, rich blue cheese.  And don't be afraid to use egg "substitute."  It's not really a substitute at all, but just egg whites with beta-carotene added to provide the yellow color yolks would add.  You save on fat, calories, and cholesterol, and you get the benefit of a healthy lean protein.

Gorgonzola Frittata
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup nonfat liquid egg substitute
1/4 cup nonfat creamer (I use So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a seven or eight-inch ovenproof skillet.  Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, about five minutes until onion is translucent and carrots soften.

Preheat broiler.  Combine egg substitute, creamer, salt, and pepper.  Pour over vegetables in skillet abd sprinkle with Gorgonzola.  Cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes until frittata is almost set.  Place under broiler for 2 to 4 minutes until golden brown on top.

Let frittata rest several minutes and serve warm.  Makes 4 servings, 3 points plus for Weight Watchers or 136 calories each.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Garlic Herb Romanos

Perusing the frozen vegetable section at Trader Joe's, I stumbled upon these intriguing beans.

A simple skillet side dish seemed the best use of them.  So yummy and so easy!

Garlic Herb Romano Beans

1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons butter or trans fat free margarine
1 (1-pound) package frozen romano beans
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I used thyme and rosemary)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and butter or margarine and cook until bubbly.  Stir in beans and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes, until defrosted and warmed through.

Add herbs, salt, and pepper to skillet and cook, stirring gently, 2 more minutes.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4 (3/4-cup) servings, 1 point plus for Weight Watchers or 50 calories each.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

One of my favorite easy dinners is sausage and pepper sandwiches.  Today I give you a fresh new take on this old family recipe.

Omitting big Italian rolls filled with the sausage and peppers results in a much lighter meal.  Serve with a green vegetable or salad to keep the light theme going.  After all, it is the new year, and we could all benefit from increasing our vegetable intake.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

4 medium red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, tops sliced off and reserved, seeds and veins removed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 (3-ounce) links Italian sausage, cut lengthwise and sliced in 1/4-inch slices
          (I used Trader Joe's vegetarian style)
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 ounces sliced lite Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F.  On stove, bring large pot of water to rolling boil.  Add peppers and boil two minutes; drain and reserve.  Measure olive oil into large nonstick skillet and bring to medium heat.  Toss out stems of peppers and chop remaining tops.  Add to skillet along with onion.  Cook and stir three minutes until vegetables begin to soften.

Add sausage to skillet, raise heat to medium-high, and cook about eight minutes, until sausage begins to brown. Stir in tomato sauce; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes until thick.  Take skillet off heat and stir in breadcrumbs and salt.

Coat baking pan in which to snugly fit whole peppers with nonstick spray.  Fill each pepper with one-fourth sausage filling.  Bake 25 minutes, then remove from oven and lay cheese slices evenly on top.  Place back in oven for five more minutes to melt cheese.  Makes four servings, four points plus for Weight Watchers or 202 calories each.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Picnic Seafood Wrap

My family had a fun beach picnic and hike on New Year's Eve day.  What a pleasant way to look forward to the new year and reminisce about the old.  Of course, yummy food was involved.

These wraps come together quickly and taste better after sitting in the ice chest awhile.  With light potato chips and selection of fruit, topped off with my mother's chewy peanut butter bars,  we were fueled for our hike.  Fun times and special memories!  Happy New Year to one and all!

Seafood Wrap

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound imitation crab, shredded
1/3 pound cooked baby shrimp
1/2 cup thawed frozen artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup thawed frozen peas
5 light flour tortillas (I used La Gloria brand, made from white whole wheat)
About 10 fresh spinach leaves
1/2 medium avocado, sliced

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Place crab, shrimp, artichoke hearts, and peas in medium mixing bowl.  Add dressing and mix well; set aside.

Lay tortillas on flat surface and place several spinach leaves and avocado slices on each.  Divide seafood mixture evenly among tortillas, about 3/4 cup each.  Roll them up, tucking in the ends.

Cut wraps diagonally and serve, or wrap in foil and take on a picnic.  Makes 5 servings, 6 points plus for Weight Watchers or 248 calories each.