Friday, March 15, 2013

No Complaints

Much to my surprise, all of the Weight Watchers recipes that I cooked this week were good, and most were dishes that I'd be willing to work into a fairly regular routine. One critique is that, for nearly everything I've made, I've needed to use more oil than they call for. It is totally unrealistic to cook these meals with one measly teaspoon of oil. It just doesn't work.

First up, Chicken with Apples and Noodles (pg 169). I wasn't totally sure what this dish was supposed to come out like. You brown apple slice, then remove them from the pan. Add chicken to the pan, and brown it on both sides. Remove from pan. Add onions, broth, apple cider vinegar, and honey, then return the chicken to the pan until it cooks through. The apples go back in for the last two minutes, and then it's meant to be glopped on noodles. I'm glad that I chose to serve this with brown rice instead of noodles. There was not a lot of sauce left by the time I was finished, and it never would have coated pasta. A little sweet, a little tart, and plenty filling.
I forgot to take a picture until I was halfway done.
Conclusion: Liked it.

Charlie's a buckwheat fan, so I made the WW recipe for Buckwheat Pancakes (pg 39). This is a recipe for someone who doesn't like buckwheat. 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour, diluted by 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour does not create a very buckwheatey pancake. They were fluffy, and basically tasted like a normal pancake.

Conclusion: Liked it, but wouldn't be my go-to recipe.

I was feeling a little homesick, and decided to make a BBQ-ish meal. I smeared Smoky Barbecue Sauce (pg 14) on chicken breasts, grilled them, then smeared more sauce on. Have to say, the bbq sauce was really good. I've never made my own before. It had a whole lot of flavor (and it should, with onion, garlic, ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, molasses, chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, ground ginger, and cayenne all simmered together). Matt said that he's not a fan of chicken with BBQ sauce that hasn't been thrown on a charcoal grill, but he was a fan of this.
A three-fer!
Conclusion: Loved it.

Rainbow Slaw (pg 91) seemed like a natural companion to the bbq chicken. I do admit that I used normal mayo and sour cream, rather than fat free versions, so I don't know how much healthier it turned out to be than a normal slaw, but there were a whole lot of vegetables involved, so I'm not losing sleep over it. The picture in the book clearly has no dressing on it, b/c after two minutes of sitting in the dressing, my red cabbage turned the whole bowl of green cabbage, carrots, yellow pepper, and scallions purple. I'd hoped that the dish's purpleness would attract Charlie. No dice.

Conclusion: Just okay. I ate plenty of it, but the leftovers have been sitting in the fridge for a week. They're destined for the trash.

Continuing my quest for decent non-greasy fries, I gave their recipe for Oven Fries (pg 260) a shot. Folks, we have a winner. Usually oven fries end up reminding me more of a roasted potato than a french fry. Not these. These tasted and had the fluffy-on-the-inside consistency of normal french fries. The difference between this recipe and others that I've tried, is that you soak the potatoes in slightly salted, slightly sugared water for 15 minutes, then dry them, before tossing them together with a little oil and paprika, and spreading them on the baking sheet. I don't know what that 15 minute soak does, exactly, but it's key! Charlie has never been fooled by an oven fry before. He usually takes one bite and spits it out. He ate his plate of these, and then asked for more.

Conclusion: Loved them. My search for a good oven fry is over.

Lastly, I made Garlicky Red Beans and Pork (pg 152). I wish I'd doubled this recipe, because it tasted good, and now I have half a pork loin sitting in the fridge, without a plan. It may be bad by now. This wasn't especially garlicky. Cumin  was the dominant flavor. It was good, though, and Charlie took several bites of it.

I'm launching a "No, you can't have an english muffin. You're eating what we're eating" mission. I don't care if he eats it all; I just want him to taste everything on his plate. I'm cautiously optimistic that this will work. It's only been a few days, but after a prolonged period of screaming tantrums, he eventually breaks down and tries what's on his plate. He even ate a whole bowl of cauliflower soup the other night (after refusing to taste it for 45 minutes.) Wish me luck.

Conclusion: Liked it.


  1. if you ever have extra raw pork again, and want to keep it for a few days without freezing it, just marinate it. i have done this, not intentionally, and discovered that pork is one of the few meats that really improves in a marinade- up to 3 days.

  2. I mean- improves in a LONG marinade- most other meats seem to break down.

  3. Sigh. Do I really have to start using Weight Watchers recipes because they taste good? That is soo against everything (most things) I stand for.
    I think you can make the Charlie Eating Challenge more fun for everyone if you start a pool where we can all bet on the amount of time before he gives in and takes a bite. You have time for that, right?