Sunday, August 31, 2008

Microwave Apple and Pear Crisp

Microwave Apple and Pear Crisp

Makes 4 servings

The first time I ever made this recipe was the same night we had the girl's night at my friend's house and made the Glaze of Glory pork tenderloins. I was in charge of dessert, and when I found the recipe, I thought the ingredients all sounded delicious, so I was just hoping it would turn out yummy. The recipe makes 4 servings, and between the 4 of us girls that were there that night, there was not a crumb left when we were done. I also made this for my family the night we had the pork tenderloin, and I didn't have pears, so I just used extra apples instead.

The recipe is from the Weight Watchers' Simply the Best : 250 Prizewinning Family Recipes cookbook.


2 Empire or other firm apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)
4 tsp. cold reduced-calorie margarine, diced

Spray a 9" square microwaveable baking pan in nonstick cooking spray.

Place the apples and pears in the pan; with a vented cover, microwave on High, stirring once, until the fruit is tender-crisp, 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the oatmeal, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit mixture.

Microwave on High, uncovered, until the fruit is tender and the topping is cooked, about 6 minutes.

NOTE: I love using Granny Smith apples for this, and one way to make it even faster and easier is to use a food processor to slice the apples.

(I love Granny Smith apples for this recipe, and using the food processor to slice the apples makes it even easier)

Low Fat Oatmeal Banana Bread

Low Fat Oatmeal Banana Bread

I have always loved all things banana. Banana popsicles, banana candy, actual bananas, but I somehow developed an allergy to them as an adult. However, while I can't eat them raw, I have no reaction to foods with bananas that have been cooked. This is lovely because I've always been a huge fan of banana bread - covered with lots of delicious butter - mmmmm! But, banana bread? Eh, not usually incredibly healthy.

So, when someone from our local food co-op suggested this recipe, found at a fabulous little blog called Joy the Baker, I tried it right away and just absolutely fell in love! The loaf makes 10 slices, and each slice is just 4 Weight Watchers points. Not bad at all, man. I've eaten it from time to time as a stand-alone breakfast when I'm running late and don't have time for anything else. It's also a great snack, and Kaylee just goes berserk for it. Gotta love a recipe that is kid-friendly and can serve as breakfast, a snack, or even dessert.

I also highly recommend making it with your kids! Kaylee is almost 2, and she just loved mixing the dry ingredients while I worked on the other parts of the recipe.


1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat flour)
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. canola or walnut oil
1 large egg, beaten (you can eliminate some calories/fat by using egg substitute)
3 large bananas, ripe
1 c. uncooked old fashioned oats (not instant)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients including the oats and cinnamon.

In a smaller bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Add oil and whole egg and mix thoroughly.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Batter will be fairly thick.

In a medium sized bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter in three additions.

Pour batter into pan and bake until top of loaf is firm to touch, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Flip out and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes. Slice loaf into 10 equally sized slices.

Oven-Crisp Potato Wedges

Oven-Crisp Potato Wedges

This is absolutely one of my favorite side dishes. It's really easy to make, and one thing I love about it is that these potatoes taste like they should be bad for you, but they're not. The recipe is from my sister-in-law. I like that this is a different way to make potatoes in case you get tired of mashed or baked potatoes, and the flavor of the red potatoes is a nice change from regular white potatoes.


1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 tsp. finely minced garlic (I like the convenience of the jarred stuff)
3/4 tsp. coarse salt (also known as Kosher salt)
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 525 degrees F. Quarter potatoes and place in large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and toss.

Sprinkle garlic, salt, paprika and pepper over potatoes; toss to coat well.

Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray w/ vegetable cooking spray (and keep this foil trick in mind for other recipes as well - it makes clean up SO much easier!). Arrange potatoes on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking.

Raise heat to broil. Broil potatoes until crisp, watching closely not to over-brown, about 1-2 minutes.

NOTE: It's really important that you stir the potatoes throughout the time they're cooking because they will definitely burn if you don't. Also, I've never needed to turn the temp up to broil. I have always just left it at 525 and they turn out great. You really need to watch them at the end because they will brown very quickly.

Spicy Turkey-Bean Chili

We love chili in this house - especially on those blistery cold days when you really need something to warm you up. This chili is so stinkin' good! Dennis told me this is the best chili I've ever made. It's another adaptation from the Weight Watchers' Simply the Best : 250 Prizewinning Family Recipes cookbook. The creator of the recipe is Joanie Kensil-Bradsher.

Excerpt from the cookbook:
 "Joanie's favorite way to serve this chili is stuffed in flour tortillas and topped with shredded lettuce and nonfat sour cream. The chili makes great leftovers, and it freezes well, too."

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground skinless turkey breast (I used 93% lean ground beef because it's what we had on hand)
3 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
4 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced (I used the jarred minced garlic to save time)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
One 28-ouce can crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
Two 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
One 15-ounce can fat-free refried beans
One 4-ounce can diced green chiles, rinsed and drained
One 4-ounce can sliced jalapeno peppers, rinsed and drained (I left this out because I'm a weenie.)

Here are couple tips from me:
1. If you're short on time or hate chopping veggies, get your peppers and onions pre-chopped in the freezer section of the grocery store.
2. You can also make this in your crock pot. I've made it once on the stove top as directed by the recipe, and once in my crock pot, and it turned out great both times.

In a large nonstick suacepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the turkey, bell peppers, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne and bay leaves; cook, stirring as needed, until the turkey is browned and the vegetables are softened, 6-8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, the beans, chiles and jalapenos; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring as needed, until the flavors are well blended, about 45 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.