This is fun to say, and even more fun to eat. Best of all, it’s incredibly healthy. The preserved lemon isn’t traditional, but it adds a little burst of sunshine in every bite. and it really works here.
When I first decided to make a light pancake, I did what I always do: I searched on-line. The first thing I found was a recipe that used oats, bananas, and milk. This created something that looked like a pancake, but was spongy and somewhat crunchy because of the oats. Even worse, it was much heavier than what I came up with here: 3 points for 2 “pancakes”, which isn’t terrible, but also not as good as these babies. I spent the first 3 paragraphs of the post on those oat cakes just explaining what they were, since I didn’t really consider them to be pancakes.
Then, I decided to start over.
I did see recipes that used eggs in what looked like a huge proportion: 2 whole eggs for each banana?? No wonder one reviewer remarked that the pancakes tasted like “banana omelets”. So, I decided to try again, but take out the thing that makes eggs taste “eggy” in a recipe: the yolk. I then went an extra step by whipping the egg whites into a froth to add air to the batter.
Finally, one thing I missed in the oat cakes was a total lack of crispness. No matter how long I cooked those, they never got crisp. I know, the first thing you do with pancakes is smother them with syrup, but I want them to be somewhat firm on the surface so they don’t turn into a pile of mush. So, I added a small amount of flour to these. This is the only source of points in the recipe, so you could try excluding it if you like. But, they’re only 43 calories this way (compared to about 65 for a regular pancake), and they really do feel like a regular pancake.
Wait…there’s more. Some recipes show vanilla extract and sweetener as optional ingredients. I feel that they’re essential. Otherwise, you’ll have a tasteless pancake. Again, I know they you’re going to have them swimming in syrup anyway. But, if you have tasteless pancakes, you might as well just pour the syrup on a plate and eat it that way. You will notice the difference.
I’m so glad I didn’t decide to make this as a white chicken chili. To do that, I would have had to leave out two of my favorite things in a chili: chilies (duh) and tomatoes. Besides being ridiculously healthy, it’s also pretty and very tasty.
I ground my own chicken from breast meat, leaving in the little bit of fat that came with them. It’s really negligible…something on the order of a 97%/3% mix, but I think it helps with the sizzle.
I also decided to try a quick prep of the dried mayocoba beans. Typically, they’re soaked overnight, then boiled for a long time to soften. I found that I can achieve the same results in 30 minutes using a pressure cooker and enough stock to cover the beans, plus a few inches. The beans weren’t totally soft, which is what I wanted: the cooking process in the chili would finish the job.
Also, in my recent penchant for shortcuts, I decided not to devote much time to the tomatoes, and instead went with the canned variety.
This is not a very spicy soup…it’s intended for normal people who don’t want their faces burned off by the heat.
I was shocked by how many Weight Watchers points regular gummy bears are: 1 point for 3 of those little sugar bombs?? NNOOO!!!!
But, here’s a way around that. I adapted the following from https://elanaspantry.com/gummy-bears/
NOTE: the images here are from when I used other diet juices.
Chicken Tikka Masala is typically made with chicken thighs, which is how I always made it before becoming more health-conscious. But, the flavors of the tikka sauce are so good that I didn’t notice the difference between the thigh and the healthier chicken breast.
I’m so happy with how this turned out, but part of me is disappointed that I couldn’t do this as a 0 Weight Watchers point recipe. The only two things contributing points this recipe are: a small amount of light butter to sauté the ginger and garlic; a scant amount of oil was needed to grill the chicken; and, skim milk is needed to provide a small amount of creaminess. The milk wasn’t entirely necessary, but removing it still didn’t get me to 0 Weight Watchers points per serving, so I left it in (4 points for butter and 1 point for oil / 6 servings).
This recipe isn’t as hard to make as it might seem. You can do the marinade the night before, and you can just buy the cauliflower rice if you want to save the time there. By the way, I didn’t season the rice because I wanted the Tikka to stand out.
As prepared, this is 216 calories per serving (6 servings) and loaded with protein (25 g), potassium (758 mg), and vitamin C (85% of your RDA).
My ultra light pesto is the key here; see the recipe linked in the Ingredients list. If you want to make this with a reduced fat pesto, it’s a 2 point (Weight Watchers) recipe. Regular pesto makes it a 3 pointer.
As a second generation Italian (pronounced “Eye-talian”), Pesto sauce is practically in my blood. The big issue I’ve always had is how much oil is usually used: a jar of pesto from the supermarket that’s separated will be half-full with just the oil. I worked on using less oil, which works somewhat, but still doesn’t take care of the root issue: there’s still a ton of calories in oil.
But, this treatment fixes that. I remember seeing a recipe years ago where someone used stock to replace oil, and I decided to try that here. It works, though you don’t have that clingy luxuriousness that oil brings. But, if you noticed that first line above, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make: regular pesto is a staggering 9 Weight Watchers points per 2 ounces, and even reduced fat pesto is 4 points.
Besides the stock, I also shaved off some points using almonds (5 points), which are lighter than most other nuts (8 points for pine nuts and most others). Note that using reduced fat grated parmesan doesn’t change the point value (2 points vs 5 for regular cheese), but it does greatly affect the taste! Freshly-grated parmesano reggiano cheese really makes this pesto sing.
More fun with pesto: you can replace the greens with just about anything. See the Recipe Notes after the recipe for some suggestions.
I’m surprised at how much a lean cut of pork is versus chicken. I made this one with pork, but it can be done exactly the same way with chicken. I decided to put the pork chops on the grill first, to impart some extra flavor, before the stir-fry.
I’ve made croquettes several times before, always with potato as the main ingredient. With Weight Watchers declaring potatoes to be Bad (due to high starch), I decided to sub out the potato in favor of rutabaga. Not surprisingly, this lightened things up considerably (rutabaga is 10 calories/ounce compared to the potato at 26 calories/ounce). The result is 104 calories per croquette…and they’re a good size (almost 3 ounces each
If someone ever offers me “vegan bacon”, I’ll try it, but probably dread the taste. But, this is something that intrigued me immediately. There’s no meat here: just carrots and seasoning. Obviously, this is fully vegan.
If you close your eyes and take a bite, you’d swear…well, you’d know you weren’t eating real bacon, but I have to say it’s delicious.
The only thing missing is the mouth feel: this doesn’t have a texture like bacon. I think there’s a sweet spot between under-cooking, which comes across like a baked carrot, and overcooking, which is crunchy like a cracker. The dark patches you see were the latter: while tasty, it doesn’t conjure up bacon. On the other hand, it’s still tasty, and much lower in calories than the real thing.
Recipes I’ve seen have the cook only last 15 minutes or so. This doesn’t yield the look or feel that I want, but maybe it’ll work for you.