As the title suggests, this post is going to be all about making fruits and vegetables more exciting. If I went back in time and told 5-year-old me that someday I would LOVE fruits and veggies, I would think I was crazy. But it turns out... they can be tasty if you know what to do with them!
FIRST: Apple Chips!
I can't promise you'll never eat potato chips again, but these things are pretty good. Start by preheating the oven to 200 degrees. Then all you do is slice an apple or two into really thin slices (I like to use my Progressive International Multi Slicer to make the process easier and faster), lay the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and sprinkle with some ground cinnamon and Splenda or the no-calorie sweetener of your choice. The hardest part is waiting... you have to leave them in the oven for at least 2 hours or longer depending on how crispy you want them.
One apple doesn't really make enough to share, so if you're trying to feed your family, use a few apples. But trust me, it's worth the effort and worth the wait. Just look at them... I know your mouth is watering. Oh, and the best part i: they're 0 PointsPlus!!
SECOND: Herb-Crusted Tilapia with Steamed Vegetables!
The recipe for this delicious 6 PointsPlus dish can be found in the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. I can't even begin to explain how delicious the crust made of parsley, basil, olive oil, breadcrumbs, lemon juice, and lemon zest is. On top of that, the steamed carrots and zucchini are coated with just a touch of butter that adds just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the meal. My whole family LOVED it! And it's one of those bargain meals, where you get a lot of food for not so many PointsPlus!
THIRD: Steamed Carrots!
So of course a few days later I was REALLY craving steamed carrots coated in butter, but all we had in the house were baby carrots. No worries - I just chopped them up like you would whole carrots. Depending on how many carrots you have, take a medium or large saucepan and add an inch of water. Put your steamer basket in the pan, and bring the water to a boil. Add the carrots, cover with a lid, and cook for about 5 minutes, depending on how many carrots and how soft you like them. (I like them VERY soft.) To keep mine 0 PointsPlus value, I used some I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray and then added just a pinch of salt. Let me tell you - these were so good I've made them twice since then!
Fourth: Roasted Eggplant!
Nothing special here really, but I love roasted eggplant, and everyone else should too. Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the eggplant into about 1/4-inch slices, then quarter those slices as shown (feel free to skip this step and leave them as whole slices, but I find I feel more satisfied if I have more smaller pieces on my plate than fewer big ones). Place eggplant pieces on a baking sheet (I like to line mine with Reynolds Wrap Release Non-Stick Aluminum Foil because it makes clean-up faster.) Spray the tops of the eggplant with PAM All Natural Original No-Stick Cooking Spray (instead of olive oil to make the eggplant crisp). Sprinkle some salt, pepper, and whatever herbs you like or have laying around the house. Put them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, flipping half way through. Then enjoy! And again - 0 PointsPlus!!
Fifth: Caesar Salad!
I came up with this one morning when I was getting ready for work, and I realized I didn't have anything to take for lunch. I put some lettuce in a Tupperware, added some chopped mushrooms we had in the fridge, sprinkled 1/3 cup of Weight Watcher's Reduced Fat Shredded Mexican-Style Cheese (2 PointsPlus), and topped with 2 TBSP of Newman's Own Lighten Up Caesar Dressing (2 PointsPlus). It doesn't seem like a lot, but it's enough to hold me over until I get home from work. And this is just a base - add onions, peppers, croutons, etc. (FiberOne Original is a great crouton substitute at just 2 PointsPlus for 1/2 cup.)
Last, but certainly not least: Eggplant Rollatini!
This Weight Watchers recipe can be found here. Two rolls equals 5 PointsPlus, which is a great deal, but this recipe is a lot of effort. Maybe it's just because I cut the eggplant too thick and it was hard to actually roll the eggplant slices - but clearly mine doesn't look like the picture with the recipe. I don't know if I was just really frustrated by the time the meal was ready, but I didn't feel it was worth the stress. On the other hand, my family and boyfriend liked it - but just LIKED it, not LOVED it.
I don't think I'll be working at Olive Garden any time soon, but as long as it tastes good what does it matter if it looks like this:
So there you go... 5 easy ways to make fruits and vegetables taste good, and one really stressful way to make eggplant rollatini. On the menu for this week is BAKED ZITI - it's not all that healthy, but the point of Weight Watchers is too eat the foods you like, right? So I can't wait for that.
Until next time... Happy Eating!
- Steph :)