Category Archives: side dish

potato focaccia is one of the few websites that spurs me into immediate action. ¬†Nordstrom happens to be the other one ūüôā ¬†I read this recipe Sunday morning, and 15 minutes later the dough was rising. ¬†Our family loves potato pizza¬†, so I thought this would be a nice treat for lunch. ¬†I served it with a homemade vegetable soup (0 PointsPlus) to rave reviews.

I’m on a baking kick, since this Tuesday is the due date for the biscotti entry for the Puyallup Fair. ¬†I am finalizing my recipe…hopefully it will be a winner! ¬†Stay tuned.

Potato Focaccia

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (.25-oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water, warm (100-110F)
  • 3 ‚Äď 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • approx 1 lb cooked potatoes, cooled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp herbs de Provence
  • 2 tsp coarse kosher salt or sea salt

Combine sugar, yeast and warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 1/2 cups flour and salt.  Add liquid and combine.  Using a bread hook, knead for 3-4 minutes, adding up to an additional cup of flour, until a smooth ball forms.  Place dough in a bowl coating with olive oil or non-stick spray, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Line a jelly roll pan (12×18 pan) with parchment or spray with non-stick spray. ¬†Pour dough onto pan and using your fingertips, press and spread dough into a rectangle approximately 10×16. ¬†Brush with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. herbs de Provence. ¬†Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice cooked potatoes 1/4 inch thick.  Arrange potatoes on top of dough, pressing down lightly.  Brush potatoes with 1 Tbsp. oil and sprinkle with remaining herbs and salt.  Let rise for 30 minutes.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.  Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Recipe from

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder:

12 servings = 5 PointsPlus each

16 servings = 3 PointsPlus each


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lite blue cheese dressing

This recipe comes straight from Gina at¬† If you’ve never checked out her website, it is a treasure-trove of WW Points and PointsPlus calculated recipes.

Lite Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 6 oz. 0% Plain Greek yogurt (I use Fage)
  • 1 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, mash together blue cheese and Greek yogurt with a fork.  Whisk in remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Makes 1 cup. calculates each 2 Tbsp. serving as having 1 PointsPlus!!


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romesco sauce

Romesco is a smooth, rich sauce made from roasted red peppers and almonds.  This sauce can turn an everyday meal into a Wow! meal.  My carnivore used it on top of his flank steak.  My vegetarians used it on top of broiled cod.  I used it on top of broiled asparagus and salad greens.  It would be great on a baguette!

Romesco Sauce

  • 2¬†Tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 2 (3/4 ounce) slices whole-grain bread, torn into 2 inch pieces
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 (7 ounce) bottle roasted red bell pepper, drained
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Preheat broiler to low.  Arrange almonds and bread on a baking sheet and broil for 1 minute or until lightly browned (watch carefully!).  Add almonds and bread to a food processor and process until coarsely ground.

Heat olive oil, garlic, and paprika in a small skillet over medium heat.  Cook for 1 minute or until garlic begins to brown.  Add garlic mixture, vinegar, bell peppers, and salt to bread mixture and process until smooth.  Makes 1 cup.

Recipe from Cooking Light, December 2011.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, 1 1/2 Tbsp. sauce has 1 PointsPlus.


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broccoli salad with tahini and cashews

The kids are back in school today after Spring Break.¬† We had¬†a “stay-cation”, since the “Italy-cation” is fast approaching.¬† We took a day trip to Pike Place Market, watched some movies and made homemade gnocchi (recipe coming soon).

So now that I have the house back to myself, I’ve spent the past three hours on my hands and knees scrubbing my hardwood floors.¬† They desperately need to be refinished, but all resources are going to our European vacation.¬† So I scrubbed away, humming “cinderelli, cinderelli, night and day it’s cinderelli…..”¬† If only I had some small creatures to help me.¬† Oh wait a minute, I do.¬† But they just went back to school ūüôā

Marc has also been giving me updates from his dad’s progress¬†in the Boston Marathon.¬† The temperature is in the 80’s and the officials have¬†requested runner’s not to race today due to the heat, so his dad is just going to take it easy (as if running a marathon could ever be easy!).¬† After many years of trying to qualify for Boston, he’s not going to let this one go.

Even though I will never run a marathon, this salad makes me feel healthy enough to attempt it (if the feeling of health was the only thing standing in my way).

Broccoli Salad with Tahini and Cashews

  • 1 lb. broccoli florets,¬†cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup tahini (ground sesame paste)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • thinly sliced purple onion, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • freshly ground black pepper

Steam broccoli for 3 minutes, or until crisp tender.

In a small bowl, combine tahini, olive oil, salt, and garlic.  Pour over broccoli and stir to combine.  Add onion, cashews, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve room temperature or cold.  Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from For the Love of Food.

Using the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder, each 2/3 cup serving has 5 PointsPlus.


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hot cross buns

We saw some hot cross buns at a local gourmet grocery store last week.¬† I’ll call it gourmet due to the fact that even if I check out in the 15 and under lane, the total is¬†always over $100.¬† The bag of 6 buns was $4.99, which I scoffed at.¬† I’m willing to shell out money for some things, but it felt like a challenge.¬† I knew if I made it myself it would most likely be tastier, not to mention, actually “hot” out of the oven.

My husband’s one request was to use a light hand with the icing on the top.¬† So imagine my excitement when I came across this recipe from¬† It uses a paste of flour and water to make the crosses, instead of more sugar.¬† And frankly, who needs more sugar around this holiday?¬† One look at a Peep and my blood sugar spikes.

The house smells delicious from the baked buns.¬† ¬†It was a welcome for my husband when he¬†walked in from work.¬†Since he didn’t mention¬†a thing about the absence of icing, ¬†I quizzed him¬†on¬†what made them special¬†.

Silence.¬† Mainly due to the fact that his mouth was full, but we’ve been together for 24 years, so I’ve seen him talk with his mouth full plenty of times.

He didn’t even remember making the request.¬† “Well, the most important thing is that YOU remembered.” ūüôā

Maybe I’m not the one with the memory problem after all.

Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, as the cross is a symbol of the crucifixion.  Happy Easter!

Hot Cross Buns

  • 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm¬†water (100-110 degrees F)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1¬†tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. each¬†of ground cloves, nutmeg, and allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup¬†unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup currants or raisins
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cold water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar, and warm water.  Let stand 5 minutes (until foamy).  Stir in 2 cups flour, buttermilk, egg, spices, and salt.  Add an additionally cup of flour and the butter and stir until the dough starts to come together.  Add remaining cup of flour and dried fruit.  Knead for 5 minutes.  Turn out on a floured surface and knead several times until dough is smooth and elastic.  Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate by pressing gently.¬† Divide into 16 equal pieces.¬† Shape each piece into a ball and place in a lightly greased 9×9 baking pan.¬† Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for 30 minutes.¬† Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Right before putting the pan in the oven, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup flour and cold water.  Scrape into a Ziploc sandwich bag and cut a small hole in the corner.  Pipe continuous lines vertically and horizontally through the rows to form crosses.

Bake 30-35 minutes, until buns are dark golden brown and an internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F.  Cool in pan.  Makes 16 buns.

Recipe barely adapted from Baking Bites.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, each bun has 5 PointsPlus.


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potato and egg breakfast casserole

You know that hash brown¬†casserole that you find at brunch potlucks?¬† The one with the corn flakes¬†on top?¬† I have good news and bad news for you.¬† I calculated¬†a random hash brown¬†casserole from and came up with a total of 99 PointsPlus for the 9×13 pan, with each serving having 22 grams of¬†fat!¬† That’s the bad news, for both you and your cholesterol level.¬† The good news is that I have a lightened up version that will satisfy the “I need something cheesy and potatoey for breakfast” craving.¬† The whole recipe has 39 PointsPlus, and each serving has less than 3 grams of fat.¬† Yeah!

The only down-side to this recipe is that it needs to cook for a little over an hour in the oven.¬† Not the most convenient weekday breakfast.¬† Lucky for me, we have a new “houseguest” named Wilbur who gets 5 am walks with my daughter and husband.¬† I assembled the dish the night before and then¬†had¬†Marc put the casserole in the oven before their walk.¬† The rest of the house woke up to a hot breakfast an hour later ūüôā

I made mine pretty plain, with just saut√©ed¬†onions.¬† Try adding a cup of¬†mushrooms or red peppers (saut√©ed with a little non-stick spray).¬† The PointsPlus don’t change!¬† Or add 3 ounces of turkey bacon, crumbled (will increase the PointsPlus by 1 per serving).

Potato and Egg Breakfast Casserole

  • 16 ounces frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 12 ounces fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion, saut√©ed in non-stick spray until browned and soft
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 ounces low-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.¬† Coat a 8×8 pan with non-stick spray.¬† Layer hash browns, saut√©ed onions and cheese (and other vegetables or turkey bacon if using).¬† In a small mixing bowl, combine evaporated milk, egg whites, and salt.¬† Pour evenly over ingredients.¬† Cover and bake for one hour.¬† Uncover and bake another 5 minutes or until top is slightly browned.¬† Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from Heart Healthy Recipes.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder:

8 servings= 5 PointsPlus

6 servings= 6 PointsPlus

4 servings= 9 PointsPlus.


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apple-cabbage slaw

This salad is great on its own, or it makes a great base for add-ins.¬† Try cubed chicken or turkey, dried cranberries and/or¬†slivered almonds (add-in’s will increase point value for the salad).¬† I ate it for lunch three days in a row and it was fantastic.

Apple-Cabbage Slaw

  • 1 small¬†Granny Smith¬†apple, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 head Napa¬†cabbage, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp.¬†vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper

In a serving bowl, toss apple slices with lemon juice.  Add cabbage, carrots, and green onions.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oils, ginger, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.  Pour dressing over slaw.  Toss and serve, or chill for up to an hour.

Recipe adapted from Shape, January 2012.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder:

6 servings= 2 PointsPlus

4 servings= 3 PointsPlus


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