Friday, April 27, 2012

Chilean-Style Sea Bass with Artichoke Salsa

Some people come back from their in-law's houses with a headache.  Not me, I come back with a handful of Sea Bass and a pound of Roasted Garlic.

Yes, my Father-in-Law is a major foodie; which is alright with me, because I get to reap the benefits.

So here I am on Monday night with nothing in the fridge, but three filets of Sea Bass.  What to do?  I mean, I've never actually made Sea Bass before.  Luckily, I found a great recipe online (which of course, I modified), and it turned out wonderful.

Here's a great recipe that's low in points (about 6 Weight Watcher Points total).  I really like this recipe, but since I don't have Sea Bass around very often, I would like to try it with some other types of fish also.  Maybe cod or even Tilapia?

Note: Make a little extra Artichoke Salsa and water it down with Oil and Balsamic for a delicious, no-effort salad dressing.

Chilean-Style Sea Bass with Artichoke Salsa
Effort Meter (1 to 5): 2 - The only hard part is cooking the fish thoroughly without overcooking
Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 4Serving Suggestion: Serve with 1/4C of brown rice, and Romaine salad topped with thinned out version of the Artichoke Salsa 
Weight Watcher Points - About 6 if you use the Salsa sparingly


Olive Oil (spritz)
3-4 Sea Bass Fillets, about 6 ounces each
Salt and Pepper
Cajun or Creole Seasoning

For a delicious dressing, add oil, water, and balsamic to the salsa
Artichoke Salsa:
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, chopped (reserve 1TBSP of the juice)
1 Tbs. dehydrated minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbs. chopped green olives with pimento
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. water
1/2 packet of sugar substitute (like Splenda)
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper


Coat the Sea Bass filets with a spritz of olive oil.  Rub onto the filets, a light coating of salt, pepper and Cajun/Creole seasoning.  Refrigerate for a couple hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the Artichoke Salsa by combining all the ingredients into a mason jar, and shake to mix.  Refridgerate.

When ready to cook, place the Sea Bass on a shallow baking pan and cook at 425 for 15 minutes or so.  Top with Artichoke Salsa.

Weight Watcher 7 Day Challenge Part II

Yesterday was day four of the Weight Watcher Challenge, and when I stepped on the scale, I was pleased to see that I had lost 4 pounds.  Not bad for four days work.

My brother came to town and I knew that I would probably want to have a couple drinks with him, so I skimped on lunch and tapped into 5.5 of my 35 total weekend points.  I wouldn't recommend using your weekend points to splurge on drinking, but what can I say?  I like my beer.

Thursday - 28.5 total points (5.5 Weekend Points Used)

2 Slices of Chicken Bacon (2 Pts)
1 Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin, Toasted with a Squirt of Low-Fat Butter Spritz (1 Pt)

3/4C of Cereal with 1/4C Non Fat Milk (3 Pts)

Lunch: (I took it easy on lunch because I knew we were going out for dinner)
One Laughing Cow Light Garlic Herb and Cheese packet with one serving of pretzel sticks (3 Pts)
Minestrone Soup (2 Pts)

Happy Hour:
One slice of Tomato Mozzarella Thin Crust Pizza (4 Pts) 
2 Bud Select 55 Calorie Beer (2 Pts Each, 4 Pts Total)

One Cup of Tomato Basil Soup (3 Pts)
One Side Salad with 1TBSP Blue Cheese on the Side (3.5 Pts)
One glass of red wine (3 Pts)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seven Days of Weight Watcher's - Join Me

I've been wining and dining a little to much lately.  With bikini season coming up, it's time to get back on the Weight Watcher's diet which helped me lose 45 pounds post-baby (leaving me 20 pounds lighter than before I got pregnant.

It works, but finessing a meal plan that works for you is the hardest part.  I've spent years perfecting Weight-Watcher's friendly recipes, and I've got a whole grocery list worked out for when I get "back on the wagon."  So why not share it, right.

Now first, let me say that I use the old system, because hopping on the "Points-Plus" system at this point--after I've already calculated the points of everything I buy and cook--is just too much work.  So, I'm allotted about 23 points/day plus 35 "weekend points".  But calculating the points is a pain in the ass, so here's what I'm suggesting.

Join me in the 10 pound Weight Watcher Challenge.  Post to me your progress.  And I will do the same.  All you have to do is eat what I eat, following my recipes and we will do this together.  Ready for the challenge?  Here's what I've ate so far.

Monday - Daily Total About 23 Points

Two cups of coffee with 2TBSP Fat Free Creamer (1 Pt)
1C of Multi-Grain Cheerios with 1/2C Fat Free Milk (3 Pts)

2TBSP Hummus with 1/2C Snap Peas (3 Pts)

Meatloaf Sandwich: 3oz of Leftover Turkey Meatloaf on a 100 Calorie Whole Wheat Thinwhich Bread, with 1 TSP of Fat-Free Mayo and a sprinkle of Low Fat Mozzarella (5.5 Pts)
18 Veggie Chips (2 Pts)

Chilean Sea Bass with Artichoke Salsa (7 Pts)
1/4C of Brown Rice (1 Pt)

Pineapple Fruit Popsicle (1 Pt)

Tuesday - Daily Total About 23 Points

Two cups of coffee with 2TBSP Fat Free Creamer (1 Pt)
Apple (1Pt)

Snack-size microwave popcorn (2pts)

Lunch (Repeat - Sorry, so yummy and satisfying though):
Meatloaf Sandwich: 3oz of Leftover Turkey Meatloaf on a 100 Calorie Whole Wheat Thinwhich Bread, with 1 TSP of Fat-Free Mayo and a sprinkle of Low Fat Mozzarella (5.5 Pts)
18 Veggie Chips (2 Pts)
Sweet Pepper Chicken Burger: Amylu Sweet Caramelized Onion Chicken Burgers with Red Bell Pepper and Gouda Cheese (SO GOOD and 150 Calories from Costco) with diced peppers, fresh-chopped cilantro, pineapple ring, and 1TSP of FF Mayo on a Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin. (6 Pts)
Potato Wedges (Cut and Baked at 425 with salt) - (2.5 Pts for one potato)

3 Newton Blueberry Thin Crisp Cookies (3 Pts)

*I also had one Deschutes Chainbreaker IPA Beer (4pts) but rode my bike to/from work which earned me an extra 3 points which I frivolously spent on alcohol--and then some.

Wednesday - Daily Total About 23 Points

Two cups of coffee with 2TBSP Fat Free Creamer (1 Pt)
1 Whole Wheat English Muffin with 1TBSP Whipped Cream Cheese (4 Pts)
Banana (1 Pt)

2TBSP Hummus with 1/2C Snap Peas (3 Pts)

Yogurt Parfait with Oikos Vanilla Greek Yogurt, Two Cut Strawberries, and a sprinkle of Nutmeg and Cinnamon (2.5 Pts)
Low Fat String Cheese (1.5 Pts)

Turkey Brats: 1 Foster Farms Turkey Italian Sausage, 1/2 of a Whole Wheat Hoagie Bun, Dijon Mustard (6 Pts)
Fresh Veggies: Snap Peas, Green Beans, Carrots (1.5 Pts)

Strawberry Shortcake: 1 Shortcake mini, cut strawberries, FF Cool Whip, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon (3.5 Pts)

Stay tuned for Thurs - Sun Recipes!


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grandma's Family Caesar Recipe (Just Add Anchovies)

Doesn't everyone have that recipe their Grandma used to make that will forever make you think of her?  Well, given her French ancestry, it's no wonder that the recipe that makes me think of my Grandma is her Garlicky Caesar Dressing.  So when I opened the cupboard last week and saw this taped to the inside, I well, pulled a little trickery and snapped a shot of it on my iPhone. 

No one does Caesar better than my Grammy.  No one.  But I'll give my Dad credit for coming close. The difference between my Dad's recipe and my Grandma's recipe is this: Anchovies.  I know what you're thinking...gross right?  But every decent restaurant in the world puts anchovies in their Caesar dressing whether you are aware of it or not.  It's what puts the Caesar in Caesar.

In fact, true Italian Caesar dressing only has four ingredients: Anchovies, Olive Oil, Garlic, and Lemon (or another acid, like Vinegar). 

So try that recipe, or try this one.  Either is delicious!  And do not fear the anchovies.  Your guests will never know!

Related Posts:

How to Make Killer Vinaigrette Out of Practically Anything

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Eazy-Peazy Pizza in Eight Minutes

I love finding new low-cal things that are delish!  And I've got a new one!  

My sister and I were at World Market when we ran across Pastorelli Ultra Thin Whole Wheat Pizza Crusts.  They were $3.99 for three, so we thought we'd try them.

Tuesday is always pizza night at our house, so yesterday, we gave them a try and they ARE awesome!  Not to mention, only about 150 calories for half a pizza.

So, here's what you do to make your own eight minute, low cal, no guilt pizza.

Eight Minute Pizza

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 1 (easy peazy)
Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 3 (as good as an effort of 1 gets)


Pastorelli Whole Wheat Pizza Crusts
Marinara Sauce
Olive Oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Place pizza stone in the oven and let warm up to temp.
  2. Remove crust from bag. 
  3. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  4. Using a spatula, add some pre-made marinara.  I like the Wolfgang Puck Tomato Basil (or you can use left over homemade spag sauce). Coat crust lightly.
  5.  Cut chunks of mozzarella cheese--not shredded--and lightly cover the pizza.
  6. Add thinly chopped fresh basil. 
  7. Salt the pizza.
  8. Place on stone and cook for about 8 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

Seems Like We're Building A Staircase to Heaven (feels like Hell though)

This was suppose to be the staircase to heaven.  It's turning out to be the staircase of hell!  But almost a month later, this is the progress we've made.

In case you ever get a contractor's bid for a landscaped staircase on a hill, and you think, "No way, that's too much," let me warn you that they're not's adequately prices for the labor involved. 

This was our inspiration...and hopefully what the stairs will look like when we finish.  The only difference is we used railroad ties instead of 4x4's and our yard is a lot--I mean a lot--steaper.
Here is the before picture.  The stairs will come down the right-hand side, just to the South of the deck.

Slow going...this was the first two steps which were started about a month ago.

A little progress...
In order to make it all the way up, we had to bend around some of the larger lava rocks.  That's ok though; I think it gives the whole thing character.
It's a good thing we didn't need a permit for these...some are higher, some shorter, some longer, some square, some trapezoids.
Almost to the top...
Just keep building, just keep building...
Holy staircase of hell!
Twenty-two steps.  That's how many it took to get to the top.  But they are done and ready to be filled now.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Roasting Chicken is Easy (and delicious)

What's one of the easiest "home cooking" meals to cook?  Roasted chicken.  It's because it's so easy to cook, I can not understand why more people don't do it.

I'm always experimenting with different rubs for my chicken.  Just rub, roast, and done!  But one thing I never thought of using is honey.  But in the Better Homes and Gardens April issue, they had a recipe for a Honey Roasted Chicken that I finessed and it turned out great.  Here's the recipe the way I cooked it:

Honey Roasted Chicken

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 2
Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 4


1 whole raw chicken
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 TSP salt
1/2 TSP pepper
1 TBSP garlic salt
2 TBSP thyme
3/4 C honey
1/2 C peeled and sliced shallots
1/2 C white wine
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 small lemon, thinly sliced


Remove giblets and neck from chicken.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Put neck in a sauce pan with three cups of water and simmer for up to an hour (you may have to add more water).  If this grosses you out, use chicken broth instead of broth created from chicken parts. Feed the giblets to the dog. Set broth aside.

Pat inside and outside of chicken with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and thyme.  Coat with drizzle of olive oil and massage into chicken.  Tie up legs of chicken. Place in shallow roasting pan. 

Roast uncovered at 375 until chicken reaches 180 degrees (about 1-1/4 hours).  Coat chicken with 1/4C of honey.  Roast for an additional 5 minutes.  Add to pan: shallots, remaining honey, wine, peas, cut lemon, and 1 - 2 Cups of chicken broth.  Roast for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve by removing peas with a slotted spoon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Two Killer Turkeyloaf Recipes for Those Who Hate Meatloaf

I HATE meatloaf.  But for some reason, trading out hamburger meat with ground turkey makes meatloaf yummy (and better for you!).

So here are two meatloaf-alternatives that are to die for, and very diet-friendly.  I encourage you to experiment using your favorite meatloaf recipe and trading out for turkey.  You may be surprised at how delicious it is.  Turkey takes on the flavor of whatever you bake it with, so the results are more delectable than beef.

Standard Turkey Loaf

Serving Suggestion: Serve with Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli sauteed in olive oil and garlic salt.


1 - 2lbs Ground Turkey
1 C Chopped Onion (give or take)
1 C Chopped Carrot (give or take)
3 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs mixed with 1/4 C skim milk to soften
1/2C  Parmesan Cheese
1/4C Ketchup
2 Eggs
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Seasoning Salt or Poultry Seasoning
1 TSP Garlic Salt


Preheat oven to 400. Combine ingredients into a bowl and mix well with hands.  Coat a meatloaf pan with oil (I also sometimes make individual portions using cupcake pans). Place meat mixture in pan  and pat down.  Bake for 60 - 70 minutes until center registers 160 degrees.

Southwest Turkey Loaf


1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
14-1/2 ounce can beef broth
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 pounds uncooked ground turkey
1 cup frozen or canned whole kernel corn, thawed or drained
1/2 cup bottled picante sauce (I didn't have this, but salsa or enchilada mix will work, too)
1/4 - 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
Shredded Mexican-style four cheese blend, chopped tomato, snipped fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeno pepper


In a rice cooker, add oil, onions, rice, garlic, and beef broth. Cook until rice is tender. Stir in beans; set aside to cool slightly, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a meatloaf pan baking with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl combine turkey, corn, picante sauce, crushed chips, and taco seasoning. Stir in rice mixture. In prepared baking pan lightly pat meat mixture to a 10x5-inch loaf. Bake for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted near center of loaf registers 165 degrees F.

Let meat loaf stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, tomato, cilantro, and/or sliced jalapeno.