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Archive for January, 2010

Healthy Eating

Remember my post about my mom cooking it up in the 1950’s with margarine, Velveeta cheese, tang, and Spam? Well guess what the new rage was in the 1960’s? It was a new support group called Weight Watchers and my mom was nearly a charter member. After all that “healthy” high fat food in the fifties, Weight Watchers was a timely shift in lifestyle.

In my younger days I thought all meat had to be prepared in a skillet, via flour dredge and oil. Now, with Weight Watchers on the scene, out came the BBQ and we actually discovered the broiler in our oven. Meat could actually be grilled and broiled! And a salad, wow, it became more than iceberg lettuce and a tomato with thousand island dressing.

This was great timing for me personally because I was in my teens and just learning to cook. Thus to this day, for the most part, I have an aversion to fried foods (well, except for French fries). I really credit this in part to the change in my mom’s cooking habits during these years.

Now even though my mom made this great change, old habits are hard to break, and since my mom was a great cook and could deep fry the tastiest chicken around, Weight Watchers came and went more than a few times in our home during the next couple of decades. But, I am still thankful that my mom, by example, taught me good nutrition and healthy cooking, a great deal of which she learned at Weight Watchers.

Here are just two of the early Weight Watcher recipes that my mom brought home from meetings. I believe these were before the days of any sort of printed Weight Watchers cookbook.

Vegetable Lasagna

2 medium zucchini sliced lengthwise 1/4″ in thickness (like a lasagna noodle)
1 1/4 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach defrosted and well drained
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 cup cauliflower steamed and pureed
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon garlic powder
4 ounces mozzarella cheese sliced thinly

Par broil zucchini until slightly brown turning once to grill each side lightly.
In a small bowl mix ricotta cheese, spinach, parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spray 9×13 inch glass dish with non stick spray. Line bottom of dish with zucchini, then spread ricotta mixture evenly over zucchini followed by a layer of cauliflower, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. Finally, top with tomatoes and garlic powder. Bake at 375 degrees until warm and bubbly through out. (30-40 minutes).

Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

2 cups steamed broccoli
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
dash of salt, pepper and nutmeg
1 cup steamed and pureed cauliflower
1 cup skimmed evaporated milk

Remove stems from broccoli and puree coarsely. Melt butter and saute green onion, add flour stirring constantly, making a rue. Using a wire whisk,add broth, spices, and then gently stir in with a wooden spoon the vegetables and milk. Stir well, heating slowly, but do not allow to boil. Serve with a sourdough roll.

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