On the Menu This Week

Greek Style Cheeseburgers
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
Roasted Cornish Hens with Quinoa and Broccoli

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recipes of the Week 7/19/09

Peanut Chicken Soba Salad

Serves 4
Points 6 per serving
Cook time 20 minutes


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp roasted peanut oil
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cooked soba noodles (about 4 oz uncooked)
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
  • lime wedges (optional)


Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan, and discard peppercorns, bay leaf and cooking liquid. Shred chicken, place in a large bowl.

Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk. Pour over shredded chicken; let stand 5 minutes. Add soba noodles and the next 4 ingredients (through basil) to chicken mixture, and toss well. Sprinkle with peanuts. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (approximate)
Serving size: 1 cup

Calories 265
Total fat 10g
Saturated fat 2g
Protein 24g
Carbohydrates 20 g
Fiber 2.5g

This dish ended up tasting fabulous. Might be a bit on the light side for dinner (I served it with stir fried bok choy) but it would make a fantastic lunch. Tastes great hot and cold.

Savory Chicken Couscous

Serves 6
Points 7 per serving
Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes (much of it walk away time)


  • 1 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 4-6 garlic cloves (to taste) minced or put through a press
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 turnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups defatted chicken stock
  • salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 1/2 pound zucchini, sliced
  • 3-4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (more to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups cooked whole wheat couscous


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic, stirring, until the onions are tender, about 5-10 minutes. Add the carrots, turnips and celery, and sauté another couple of minutes.

Add the chicken, cumin, ginger, tumeric, bay leaf, white wine, chicken stock, and salt to taste; stir together and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is very tender. Add the paprika, chick peas, saffron, zucchini, and lemon juice; simmer another 15 minutes, until the zucchini is tender but still bright green. Taste and add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Stir in the cilantro and parsley just before serving.

Ladle the chicken and vegetables and some of the broth over each plate of couscous, being careful not to drown the couscous in broth. Leave enough broth in the pot so each person can get an extra ladleful to mix with spic harissa and ladle over the couscous.

To season with the harissa, stir a very small spoonful into a ladleful of broth and spoon over the couscous (1/8 tsp in a ladleful of broth will be mildly hot, 1/4 tsp will be hot, and more will be very hot.)

Nutrition Facts

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (approximate)

Calories 355
Total fat 6g
Saturated fat 2.5g
Protein 25g
Carbohydrates 50 g
Fiber 4g


Makes about 1/3 cup
Points 1 per serving


  • 1 oz dried hot red chili peppers
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 garlic gloves, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil


Place the dried peppers in a bowl and pour on hot water to cover. Let soak for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, grind the spices together in a spice mill.

Drain the peppers, pat dry with paper towels, and chop. Then grind or mash together with the garlic, spices, and salt in a spice mill or mortar and pestle until you have a thick paste. Add the water and 3 tablespoons of teh olive oil, mix well, and transfer to a jar. Spoon the remaining olive oil over the top, cover tightly, and refrigerate. It will keep for months.

Nutrition Facts

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (approximate)

Calories 35
Total fat 4g
Protein 0g
Carbohydrates 1 g
Fiber 0g
I love this recipe. I have been using it for almost 15 years. I got it from Mediterranean Light by Martha Rose Shulman. It's pretty easy to prepare once you have done all the chopping. It also re-heats very well.

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My Plan

I did WeightWatchers once before in 2004-2005. I lost 50 pounds. I gained some back going through my divorce but the good news is I kept off 20 of them until I restarted WeightWatchers in January 2009.

For the first time, I have found a plan that was easy to stick to. Something just felt right this time. Before embarking on WeightWatchers I re-read some books I had found helpful in the middle of my last journey. The books are listed under "Weight Loss" Books on the side bar, and a blog post about them will follow soon. These books helped get me mentally prepared to lose weight and they are the reason I think I am finding losing to be less of a struggle. I am not letting myself get discouraged by small gains and I am seeing far more consistent results.

WeightWatchers gives you a points target based on weight and basic daily activity level. Every food has a points value based on calories, fiber and fat. Then its like a checkbook you start with your daily balance, subtract for foods eaten and add for activity done which can earn you points. Exercise=More Food. Each food point is roughly 50 calories and each activity point is worth roughly 100, I use a heart-rate monitor to calculate my activity points earned.

You also get 35 weekly points to use as you want anytime during the week. For me the most successful both mentally and on the scale is to use most of those points on Saturday night for a splurge and to then stick to my daily points fairly closely the rest of the week. It helps me to know my favourite foods are only a week away if I want them. People can manage the plan however they want but for me this is the most successful. When I'm working out a lot I try to eat some of those activity points as well. Ironically I get much smaller losses the weeks I don't eat those points on Saturday, maybe it shakes up my metabolism, who knows I just know it works

Finally my last key to my plan is attending meetings. It helps keep me accountable and on track.

Weight Loss Slideshow