I have been informed that my recipe postings have been too infrequent, so I’m making amends by posting 2.
Now that I’m only breastfeeding part-time, I had to change my Weight Watchers status to reflect the situation, and low and behold, they stole 9 of my points. NINE POINTS! That’s a whole meal! It was almost enough to try and force Sophie to keep breastfeeding full-time, but 5 months of pain and a frustrated baby won. So now I’m on a mission to find lower point-value meals, that are actually filling.
My biggest successes have been when veggies become the main star of the meal, accompanied by a small amount of meat and carbs, instead of the other way around. If you eat enough of anything, it will obtain a point value, but a large variety of proportioned veggies can equal zero points easily. To that end, we’ve tried out some shish kabob recipes on the grill with great success. Here are my two favorites so far (both are chicken – mostly because the point value is lower – I’m sure other meats would work as well but I can’t vouch for any at the moment):
Chicken and Red Onion (adapted from a Martha Stewart Living recipe)
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (she says 1 – but come on, don’t be a wimp – garlic needs to shine)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons course salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly ground pepper
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (she says to use thighs – breasts are obviously more WW friendly)
- 1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
- (Optional – this was our addition) Enough veggies to fill 1-2 additional skewers per person. We used yellow squash (cut into chunks) and cherry tomatoes.
- (Another option) Rice or couscous – 1/2 cup cooked per person is what I usually go with – that means you want half that amount of the uncooked grain – i.e., 1 cup of uncooked rice for 4 people.
- Pre-heat grill. Stir together vinegar, garlic, salt, honey, and oil in a large bowl; season with pepper. Add chicken and onion to the marinade. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, 15 minutes.
- Thread chicken and onion on to skewers. If adding other veggies, thread on to skewers, spray lightly with cooking oil (doesn’t matter what kind) and lightly season with salt and pepper. (I prefer to put only one kind of veggie on each skewer because I think they cook more evenly that way.)
- Grill over medium-high heat, brushing with marinade and turning halfway through, until chicken is cooked through and onions are charred (about 10-14 min).
We served this over couscous, which I usually cook with a little garlic and onion (dehydrated works just fine, but you can also use fresh by sauteing it in the pan before you boil the water.)
The second recipe isn’t really a “recipe”. I took the same principle – veggies and chicken shish kabob-style and just changed up the flavor on the meat. One chicken breast-half should be plenty for each person – in fact, I used only about 2/3 of the breasts I cut up, and froze the rest for another meal. The spice mixture I used was taken from a recipe my friend Lori found for Chicken Tikka Masala, courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen (which Tom finds terribly ironic, considering it’s the best home recipe we’ve tried and the closest to our favorite Indian restaurant).
Anyway – here are the ingredients for the rub:
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt (we use kosher for pretty much everything – but if you’re not AB fans, table salt will work fine)
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (I just threw that in as an extra flavor – it’s normally in the sauce, so if you don’t have it, don’t worry about it)
Cut up the chicken into chunks and put into a zip-top bag. Combine all the spices and sprinkle over the chicken, close the bag and give it a good massage. Let sit for about a half an hour. While the chicken is partying with the flavors, pre-heat the grill and prep your veggies. Again, any veggies will work. I used stuff exclusively from our garden so we had: yellow squash, green bell peppers, anaheim peppers and the remains of our onions that haven’t been carried off by some wild animal. Mushrooms, zucchini and asparagus would all work as well. Prep like the previous recipe – thread chicken and veggies on to skewers, spray veggies lightly with cooking oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for 10-14 minutes, until chicken is done and veggies are slightly charred.
We served this over rice (again, couscous would be fantastic as well) with a side salad of tomatoes and basil (from our garden – have I mentioned how much I love food from our garden?) drizzled with Trader Joe’s fat-free balsamic dressing. We also happened to have 2 kinds of chutney from Trader Joe’s as well, which we used as a condiment, but it would have been fine without.