Friday, January 25, 2013

The Suprisingly Sophisticated Chicken Curry Casserole Bake with Broccoli

Chicken Curry Casserole Bake
Growing up, my mother swore off things like hot dogs, sloppy Joe's, and...casseroles.  Something about the fact that those were the things she ate and made for the family as a kid.  I guess she figured that once she was the head of household, she had the right to select from a richer variety of foods.

So there was no meatloaf growing up.  No chili cheese dogs, and definately no tuna casserole.  In fact, the first time I ever at a casserole, I was married to my husband.

The casserole is actually a fairly modern invention.  Originally showing up in the 19th Century, the original casseroles were made of pounded rice that was mixed with meat and/or sweet breads.  The modern day, one-dish wonder made it's way into society around the 1940's and 50's. 

Casseroles, in my limited experience, have generally been associated with fatty, low-grade ingredients and generally lack sophistication.  Needless to say, I'm not a fan.  But I have a casserole recipe that has changed my mind, and may change yours, too.

I first started making this casserole when my son was three months old and I had to return to work.  I would make it on Sunday, and heat it up and serve it during the week.  Thirty minutes and one pan later, it's the perfect dish for busy work nights.

So, go ahead.  Throw you preconceived notions of casseroles out the window.  This one is low in fat and calories (therefore, Weight Watcher Points), and is surprising and delicious.

Chicken Curry Casserole Bake with Broccoli

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 2.5

Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 4
Serving Suggestion: Make ahead of time and place in a casserole pan covered in tin foil.  Cook later in the week for 30 minutes on 350. For a crispy top, uncover and cook another 15 minutes.  

Weight Watcher Points -The entire casserole is about 42 points and makes 8 servings, so we figured that each 1-1/4C serving is about 5.25 Weight Watcher Points. 


3 C of cooked brown rice (cooked in a rice cooker, preferable.  You can also opt to mix 1/2 white rice with 1/2 brown rice if you are not a brown rice will never notice the difference!)
1 - 2 Heads of broccoli, cut into small pieces
3 C of cooked boneless, skinless chicken (cook with cooking spray, (garlic) salt, and pepper)
1 Can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup (lowfat if you can find it)
1/2 C Lowfat mayo
1 C Nonfat milk
1 Clove of garlic, minced
1 TBSP Lemon juice
2 TSP Yellow curry powder

1. Spoon cooked rice into a casserole dish.  Scatter broccoli on top.
2. Chop the chicken and layer over the rice and broccoli.
3. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix until well-blended.  Pour mixture over rice, broccoli, and chicken mix.  
4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. 
5. When ready to cook, heat oven to 350 and cook covered for 30 minutes.  For a crispy top, remove cover and cook an additional 15 minutes, but I don't like crunchy rice.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Recipe Update - Spicy Asian Noodles

Take on delicious recipe for Spicy Asian Noodles, add cubed eggplant and red cabbage, and what do you get?  A bowl of purple Asian deliciousness for even fewer calories.

I've done it!  I've taken an already delicious, 7 Weight Watcher POINT meal, and made it more delicious, nutritious, and...colorful!  Purple, even.  How do you beat the color purple in a season where foods are otherwise beige?

So, if you haven't tried this recipe yet, please do!  And add some eggplant and swap out the green slaw for purple cabbage.  Delish!

Amber's Asian Noodles (Makes 8 Servings, 7 points/serving)


8 Chicken Tenders or 3 Large Breasts
1/2C Soy Sauce
4TBSP Honey
2 Packets of Sugar Substitute
2TBSP Low Fat Margarine
2 TBSP Garlic Chili Sauce
1TSP Ground Ginger
1/2TSP Garlic Salt
2C of Coleslaw Mix, Cabbage, or Celery
Cashews (Optional)
Sesame Seeds
1 Package Japanese Noodles (I use Nanka Seimen Kishimen Rice Noodles available at Kroger/Fred Meyer) or Whole Wheat Pasta

Slice chicken into small pieces.  In a bowl, mix soy sauce, honey, sugar, margarine, chili sauce, ginger, and garlic sauce.  Add chicken and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Cook the noodles per the instructions.  Rice noodles require that you bring a small amount of water to a boil, add noodles, allow to boil over, add one cup of cold water, allow to boil over again, repeat three times and then cover and set aside for five minutes.

Once you have covered and set aside the noodles, bring a wok to high heat and add chicken mixture.  Cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked, then add cabbage/celery until slightly soft.  Drain noodles.  Add cashews and drained noodles and stir fry over high heat for a minute or two.  Top with sesame seeds.
*For the recipe for the Egg Flower Soup that goes along with it, check out "My Alter Ego is Asian." 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

100th Post - Red and Green Blue Cheese Cabbage Salad

Red and Green Blue Cheese Cabbage Salad
This morning, I logged into my blog and realized something sort of big...this is my 100th post on Newly Domestic! 

This post has been live since July of 2011, making it about 18 months old.  This being the 100th post, that means I average 5.5 posts/month, or about 1.2 posts/week (yes, I did that math all by myself!).  This being a fun little hobby I started nearly a year and a half ago, I'm pretty happy with that number!

Over the last 99 posts, I have talked about painting a piano, living on a houseboat, finding my grandma's secret Caesar recipe, hosting a hot dog party, and building a railroad tie staircase off the side of the cliff. But I've also been able to share some of my favorite, often reduced fat and Weight-Watcher friendly, recipes with you!

So, why would today be any different?  I have been saving this recipe for a special occasion.  Why?  Because it's a family recipe.  Well, sort of.  What I mean by "family recipe" is, we had this salad at the North Woods Inn in California.  My dad ate there over and over until he was able to copy the recipe, stole it, and then made it our own.  I, then stole the recipe from my father, made it prettier, and am now publishing it to my blog for my own gain.  Yes, we are a Recipe Mafia of sorts.  Restauranteurs, beware!

So, the basis of this recipe is this:  Take a blue cheese salad on iceburg lettuce, and top it with a cabbage vinaigrette salad.  It is oh-so-yummy.  BUT, let's say you are hosting a Christmas dinner, and you want to impress your crowd.  How can you make it better?  By making it red and green using red cabbage, red onion, radishes, and pomagranate seeds.  Here's how:

Red and Green Blue Cheese Christmas Cabbage Salad


Green Salad
Iceburg lettuce
Red Onion (thinly sliced cresents)
Green Onion Scallions from three stalks
Pomegranate Seeds  (how to de-seed a pomegranate)
Radishes (thinly sliced rounds)

Blue Cheese Dressing
1C Mayo
1C Sour Cream
6 - 12Oz of Blue Cheese Crumbles (cheapest at Trader Joes or out of the Deli Cheese case)
1TSP Red Wine Vinegar
1/ 2TSP Pepper
1/2TSP Garlic Salt
2TSP Worcestershire sauce
Fresh Parsley (Chopped)

Cabbage Salad
1/2 Head of Green Cabbage
1/2 Head of Red Cabbage
2 Part Olive Oil
1 Part Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper


1. Pre-cut the red onion, green onion, and radishes.  Add the pomegranate seeds and set aside.

2. Chop green and red cabbage and mix together in a bowl.  Add two parts olive oil, one part red wine vinegar, plus salt and pepper to cabbage until evenly coated.  Set aside and allow to marinate at least one hour.

3. Prepare the blue cheese dressing in a mason jar or bowl with a lid by combining mayo, sour cream, blue cheese, red wine vinegar, pepper, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley. Shake well.

4. When salad is ready to be served, chop one head of iceburg lettuce and place in a large bowl. Add blue cheese dressing and mix well.  Then add onion/radish mixture and mix again until evenly coated.

5. Serve by placing 2/3 blue cheese salad, 1/3 cabbage salad on a plate.  Add blue cheese crumbles and pepper for appearance.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chicken Cordon Brie with Fresh Thyme

Here's the trouble with Costco.  I go there, I find something delicious at a good price, and...I end up with a pound of brie and nothing to do with it.

So many of my holiday recipes called for brie this year, I thought for sure I'd use it all.  So when I found the pound block for $7.99, I thought I was getting quite a deal.  But a week later, and too many ham and brie, turkey and brie, and brie and cracker sandwiches, it was time to finish it off once and for all.

All I had in fridge beside leftover turkey and ham was some chicken breasts, so I decided to make a modified Chicken Cordon Blue, and instead, do a Chicken Cordon Brie.  Honestly, I liked it better!  So I decided to share.

Chicken Cordon Brie with Fresh Thyme

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 2 - About as basic as chicken comes!

Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 3.5 - This chicken really depends on the freshness of your ingredients.  Frozen chicken vs. fresh, dried thyme vs. fresh thyme, and the quality of the ham and brie will dramatically affect the deliciousness of this dish.
Serving Suggestion: I served with broccoli pan fried with olive oil and garlic, rice pilaf, and dinner rolls.  AuGratan potatoes would also be good...but rich.


Four Chicken Breasts
1/2 Pound of Ham, thickly sliced
Brie, thickly sliced
8 Thyme Sprigs
Olive Oil
Garlic Salt (optional)


Slice two slots into the thickest part of the chicken breast.  Season inside with olive oil and garlic salt. In the bottom slot, stuff slices of brie and ham. In the top slot, place a smaller slice of brie and two sprigs of thyme.  You may want to secure with toothpicks.

Rub breast with a spritz of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in a greased pan and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

De-Seeding a Pomegranate

Strawberry Pomegranate Salsa
A lot of my holiday recipes this year included using fresh Pomegranate.  For example, Pomegranate Seeds in Spumante', my Red and Green Holiday Cabbage Salad (recipe to follow), and my Kickin' Holiday Chicken Balls in Spicy Pomegranate Sauce.

But, if you've ever tried to de-seed a pomegranate and ended up with nothing but red-stained fingers and bitter-tasting white membrane covering the seeds, you understand that this is a labor of love!

Luckily, I've found the secret and I am ready to share!  Red fingers no more!

How To De-Seed a Pomegranate

1. Cut a slit into the belly of the pomegranate (the opposite direction you cut an apple), until the slit is large enough to break the pomegranate in half.

2. Slam the halves of the pomegranate on a hard surface (skin/stem side down) to loosen the seeds.

3. Turn the pomegranate upside down so seeds drop into a bowl of water filled with ice.  If necessary, loosen seeds further by tapping the skin of the pomegranate with a spoon, or working the half in your hand. 

4. Don't worry if the white membrane falls into the bowl with the seeds.  Its density is smaller than the seeds' density, so the membrane will float to the top of the bowl while the seeds sink to the bottom.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the white membrane.

5.  Drain using a colander or slotted spoon.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Playing Hostess: Christmas Holiday Luncheon

Christmas dinner - been done.  Cocktail hour - done.  Christmas morning brunch - also been done.  But what about a Christmas Eve luncheon?
Turkey, Brie and Strawberry Salsa Sandies on Rosemary Bread

Kickin' Holiday Chicken Balls in Spicy Pomegranate Sauce
I got this idea because so many of our friends and family arrive into town on Christmas Eve and are looking for something to do.  Granted, we host a big Christmas Eve dinner, where we open stockings, watch Christmas movies, and enjoy a bottle of Port before winding down and waiting for Santa.

But this year, we had a much smaller group for Christmas Eve, and contrary to my usual starving of the guests before dinner, I decided to host a Christmas Eve Lunch and invite friends and neighbors to join us for some holiday cheer mid-day.  This meant serving a much lighter and simpler Christmas Eve dinner, but I think it made the entire day more enjoyable.  After all, what's there really to do on Christmas Eve?

Because I'm in my fifth month of pregnancy, I'm afraid I do not have as much energy, nor zest for cooking, than I usually do.  But that's ok...I'm pretty good at faking it.  The entire lunch took a matter of minutes to prepare, especially because I pre-cut everything.

The inspiration for this menu came from one trip to Costco.  Sometimes I find that wandering around Costco, Trader Joe's or World Market can inspire an entire meal.  So, two days prior to the 24th, and at a complete lapse for ideas, I pushed my way down the aisles of Costco until I stumbled upon a Pomegranate Habenearo sauce and I thought, "How festive!  What can I do with that?"  And then I remembered seeing some Cranberry Chicken and Jalapeno Chicken Meatballs in the meat aisle, which coincidentally is the same brand as my favorite Weight Watcher-friendly chicken burgers.

The final component - the Turkey, Brie, and Strawberry Sandwiches - were inspired by what happened next.  Starving, and with an hour to spare before my doctor's appoint, I headed to the local Village Bakery for a sandwich.  For some reason, this brie and turkey sandwich stood out to me.  It sounded fresh, yet festive, and OMG!  It was the best sandwich ever.  So I copied the recipe to best of my taste buds, made them open-faced, and broiled them in the oven for my own Newly Domestic twist!

Ok, so now that I've bored you with my culinary adventures during my Costco trip, I will cut to the are two great recipes for holiday hosting.

Turkey, Brie and Strawberry Salsa Sandies on Rosemary Bread


Strawberry Salsa -
1 Bag Frozen Strawberries, thawed
1 - 2 TBSP Cilantro, chopped
3 Green Onions, chopped

Sandwich -
1 Loaf of Rosemary Bread (I used snack-sized slices fresh from the bakery at Fred Meyer)
1lb Deli Fresh Smoked Turkey, thinly sliced
1 Round of Brie, cut into thick slices
1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
1 Red Onion, thinly sliced into slivers


In a medium bowl, mix together thawed strawberries, cilantro, and onions.  Mix together until strawberries start to bleed juices, almost to a jam consistancy.

Grease a shallow cookie sheet with olive oil, and line rosemary bread.  Spread a thick coat of mayo on the slices, followed by a 1/4" of strawberry salsa jam.  Then top sandwhiches in this order: turkey, cucumber, onion, salt, pepper, brie.

Broil for a few minutes, until brie is just beginning to melt.  Enjoy!

Kickin' Holiday Chicken Balls in Spicy Pomegranate Sauce


1 Package AmyLu Kickin' Cranberry Chicken Meatballs (Costco)
1 Jar of Robert Rothschild Cherry Pomegranate Habanero Sauce (Costco)
Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
Red Onion, diced
1 Fuji Apple, diced
4 Green Onions, sliced


Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low until meatballs are warm in center.

A Kind of White Trash Weight Watchers Recipe

As mentioned in an earlier post, as a kid there were certain things we were never allowed to eat: hot dogs, meatloaf, and sloppy Joe' name a few.

So in my college days, I sort of fell in love with some of this unsophisticated "white trash" food.  As it turns out, my mom was probably right not serving these foods, which are often high in fat and have all sorts of mystery ingredients.

But three years ago, on my first go with Weight Watchers, I discovered Turkey Sloppy Joe's, which made me feel like I was "cheating" on my diet, while actually being really low in points.

So, here's a white trash, low-in-points version of the turkey sloppy Joe, inspired by a Pillsbury commercial for the "Unsloppy Joe."  With a three-year old in the house, this recipe was a hit.  Plus, placing the Joe in a roll really helps control portions, and makes for a great work lunch the next day.

Lower Fat, Unsloppy Turkey Joes

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 2

Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 3.5
Serving Suggestion: Make with a large salad to complete the meal.

Weight Watcher Points - About 5 Weight Watcher Points per Joe (1/4C of Turkey - 2.5pts plus Crescent - 2.2pts plus cheese/tomatoes).


1Lb Lean Ground Turkey
1Tube Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls
1Packet of Sloppy Joe Mix
1Can of Tomato Paste
Chopped Onion and Garlic (Optional)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 


1. Cook turkey until browned in a skillet.  Drain.
2. Add Sloppy Joe Mix, Tomato Paste and follow instructions on sloppy Joe packet.  Finish off by adding chopped onion and garlic, if desired.
3.  On a baking sheet, stretch out individual crescent rolls.
4. In each crescent, add about 1/4C of turkey Joe mix, top with a light sprinkle of cheese, and then wrap up crescent until sealed like a burrito. 
5. Cook according to crescent roll instructions.