Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

As my husband and I are eating less and less red meat, I’ve been turning to turkey to fill some of the gaps.  Hence, for example, the Turkey Burgers  post last month.  The trick, as I noted then, was to counter turkey’s bland flavour by adding spices and other ingredients to enrich it.   

In this recipe, the flavour of ground turkey is enhanced primarily by quinoa, fresh sage, and a little bit of tomato paste.  The result is a tasty, healthy meatloaf, high in protein and low in fat.

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8-10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix with hands until ingredients are well combined.
  3. Taste mixture to see if it requires additional seasonings. 
  4. Spray a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and fill it with meat mixture. 
  5. Bake in a 350° F oven for 75 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center reaches at least 160° F.
  6. Drain liquid and let cool for 10 minutes.

For Weight Watchers: Your points depend on your serving size.  Cut your serving and weigh it, counting 1 point per ounce.  Then add .5 point for the quinoa and egg if you’ve made 8 or more slices. Good for both the Points and PointsPlus plans.

(This recipe was adapted from “Turkey and Quinoa Meatloaf” by Drew at allrecipes.com.  You can also check out the 13 custom versions by other chefs at that page.)

Crustless Chicken/Turkey Quiche

My husband and I have a small cabin cruiser, called the Outrageous, which we use as a moveable cottage in the lakes near Ottawa.  We’ve been boating for 20 years and love to anchor or tie up somewhere and enjoy the sun, nature, wildlife, and living without a computer for a few days.

So, you’re asking, what does this have to do with refashioning food? 

Well, to make a long story short, the boat’s galley (kitchen) is the size and shape of a shower stall.  (In the photo, the 2nd porthole in the bow of the boat is the galley’s window.) In it is a scaled-down refrigerator, a microwave, and a cooktop with three burners, except that I can only use one burner at a time because our inboard generator can’t handle more.  Not surprisingly, I prepare as much food as I can at home beforehand, such as washing salad greens, making a quick bread, steaming broccoli, mixing up a batch of spaghetti sauce, and so on.

After a recent trip for which I had roasted a plump chicken, we came home with leftovers.  Needless to say, the allure of chicken had worn quite thin so I decided on a gustatorial disguise—a crustless quiche made with Swiss chard, mushrooms, and sheep romano cheese. Voilà!  The rich, dark taste of the vegetables and the sharpness of the cheese completely overpowered the white and dark chicken meat hidden within.  Oh, and it was delicious too!

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Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 8 oz. cooked chicken or turkey
    • 1 bunch Swiss chard or spinach (I used Swiss chard and had 8 cups worth)
    • 1 cup water
    • ½ cup of chicken broth or 2 tbsp. chicken broth powder + ½ cup water
    • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
    • 1 small yellow onion, diced
    • 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms, any type
    • Spices of your choice (I used 2 tsp. of chopped fresh sage)
    • 1 cup liquid egg substitute (approx. 4 regular eggs)
    • ½ cup sheep romano cheese, grated
    • ¼ – ½ cup soy milk or other alternative milk, if necessary
    • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Chop cooked chicken into small pieces and put in a large bowl.
  2. Prepare chard by soaking in cold water to clean and removing hard stems.  Drain and then cut in two steps: first lengthwise (creating ribbons); then crosswise, chopping coarsely.
  3. Put chard in a saucepan, add 1 cup of water, and cover.  Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat until leaves are wilted.  Drain and press out additional water.
  4. In a non-stick frying pan, heat chicken broth until bubbling.  
  5. Sauté garlic, onions, mushrooms, and spices in broth until soft.
  6. In the bowl containing the chicken, add all other ingredients: drained chard, sautéd onion and mushroom mixture, egg substitute, and cheese.  (If your mixture seems too thick, you can add ½ cup of milk.)
  7. Spray 10″ x 10″ pan and pour mixture into it. (I wasn’t sure I could fit the mixture into a 10″ pie plate.)
  8. Bake in 350°F oven and cook for 40-45 minutes or until dish is set and edges are brown.

For Weight Watchers: One serving is 4 points on the Points plan and PointsPlus plans.  Note: If you want to add milk, the addition will not significantly affect the point count.

(Adapted from “Swiss Chard and Mushroom Squares” at Kalyn’s Kitchen blog.  Thank you, Kalyn!)

Potato-Crust Quiche, with Broccoli and Mushrooms

Quiche—that heavenly blend of crust, eggs, milk, and whatever filling—has been off my radar for years because of my lactose-intolerance.  I would go out with friends and watch with envy as they ordered the quiche and salad special for lunch.  Sigh (many times over). 

But now, no more self-pity, thank you very much!  Thanks to a helpful post from Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily on how to build a quiche, I began to re-consider my quiche options: potato instead of flour crust, soy milk instead of regular milk, liquid egg substitute instead of regular eggs, lower-calorie romano cheese instead of higher calorie other cheeses, and lots of vegetables. 

My most successful experiment, thus far, has been quiche with broccoli, mushroom, and onion, and this is what I am posting today.  In this quiche, I follow Shirley’s lead by using grated potato for the crust.  However, you could also use use mashed potatoes or potato slices.  If you do, please do some Internet research on how those crusts are prepared and cooked.

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Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
    • 1 bunch broccoli florets
    • 2 tbsp. chicken broth powder plus ½ cup water
    • 1 small yellow onion, diced
    • 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms, any type (in the quiche in the photo above, I used enoki mushrooms)
    • ¾ cup liquid egg substitute (approx. 3 regular eggs)
    • 1 cup sheep romano cheese, grated
    • ½ cup soy milk or other alternative milk
    • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Grate potatoes (you should have approximately 2 cups).
  2. Spray 9″ or 10″ pie plate with cooking spray.
  3. Using your fingers, spread the grated potatoes around the pie plate and as far up the sides as possible.
  4. Spray completed crust with cooking spray.
  5. Bake crust in pre-heated 425° F oven for 15-20 minutes until crust is brown and crusty around the edges. 
  6. While crust is in the oven, make the filling.
  7. Steam broccoli until soft (about 10 minutes) and then chop florets into small pieces.  You should have about 1 cup of florets.
  8. In small frying pan, heat chicken broth-water mixture until bubbling.  
  9. Sauté onions and mushrooms in broth-water mixture until soft.
  10. In a large bowl, mix together egg substitute, ½ cup of the cheese, milk, broccoli, onions, and mushroom. (If your mixture seems too thick, you can add another ¼ cup of egg substitute or milk.)
  11. Pour into cooked potato crust.
  12. Top with remaining ½ cup of cheese.
  13. Bake in 425° F oven for 10 minutesLower heat to 350° and cook for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For Weight Watchers: One serving (1 of 8 pie slices) is 2.5 points on the Points plan and 3 points on the PointsPlus plan.  Note: If you want to add ¼ cup more egg substitute or milk, the addition will not significantly affect the point count.

Faux Lasagna, with Tofu and Carrot Noodles

This faux lasagna tastes like the real deal: tomato-y, cheese-y, and just plain delicious.  It was inspired by a lasagna that I saw at a vegetarian restaurant in Ottawa, The Table.  To make it gluten-free, the chef had replaced lasagna noodles with long carrot slices. 

For the first time, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a lasagna that would not upset my food sensitivities or have a calorie count in the stratosphere.  All I had to do was re-think the usual ingredients.  The result not only has carrots in place of noodles, it also has soft goat cheese in place of ricotta and tofu instead of ground beef.  Plus, in the spirit of “vegetables are good,” I added grated zucchini and sliced mushrooms to the tomato sauce.

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Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large, fat carrots, sliced lengthwise (I used a Japanese mandolin slicer to achieve long, wide slices.  Since only the middle of the carrot yields that kind of strip, you’ll end up with a number of extra strips.  I cooked all of them and used the extra as just cooked carrots.)
  • 2 tbsp. chicken broth powder and ½ cup water, mixed together
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 9 oz. medium tofu, diced small
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 90 grams soft goat cheese
  • ½ cup grated sheep romano
  • 1-2 tbsp. sugar, if grated carrot has not sufficiently reduced acidity of tomatoes (although it usually does)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Tomato sauce: In a large saucepan over medium high heat, begin tomato sauce by sautéeing onions and spices in chicken broth-water mixture.  (Add more water if pot goes dry.) When onions are just tender, add crushed tomatoes, grated zucchini, grated carrot, and sliced mushrooms.  Bring to boil and then lower heat until sauce is simmering.  Taste and add 1-2 tbsp. of sugar if tomatoes are too acidic.  Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  2. Carrot noodles: While tomato sauce is cooking, create the carrot noodles.  Cook carrot strips until tender.  (You should be able to easily pierce the carrot slice with a fork.)  I put mine in a glass baking pan with some water and covered with plastic wrap, microwaving them for 10 minutes.
  3. Goat cheese: Using a knife, spread one side of each of the 8 best carrot slices with goat cheese.
  4. Constructing the lasagna: Spray a shallow baking pan (mine is 10″ by 10″) with cooking spray.  Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of tomato sauce, then put down 4 carrot slices covered with goat cheese.  Sprinkle with ¼ cup of sheep romano cheese (see photo).  Add the next layer of tomato sauce and then the remaining 4 carrot slices covered with goat cheese.  Cover with tomato sauce and sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of sheep romano on the top.  (Note: I had about 1 cup of leftover tomato sauce so I should have added more in the layers.)
  5. Bake in 325º F oven for 30-40 minutes, or until mixture is bubbling and cheese on top has melted.

For Weight Watchers: The only ingredients with point-values in this dish are the tofu (total value: 6 points), goat cheese (total value: 6 points), sheep romano (total value: 4 points), and sugar if you’ve added it to the tomato sauce.  I needed 2 tbsp. of sugar (total value: 2 points) because (confession!) I had forgotten to add the grated carrot as I usually do. 

  • With only carrot and no sugar: Each of the 4 servings is 4 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plans. 
  • With 2 tbsp. of sugar: Each of the 4 servings is 4.5 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plans. 

Eggplant Strata with Minted Yogurt

Once again I succumbed to the discount rack and recently brought home four marked-down eggplants.  I could make eggplant soup out of two of them, but what about the other two?  I couldn’t make a vegetable pie because I had no mushrooms. Time for research!

I cruised my cookbooks and the Internet for eggplant dishes, and found that most were heavy on oil, cream, and/or cheese.  However, in this delicious and low-calorie version, the oil is replaced by chicken broth, the cream by yogurt, and the cheese toned down to a sprinkling of sheep romano. 

The key to this dish is the fresh mint which provides a subtle, Middle Eastern backdrop to the vegetables. The original recipe called for 3 tbsp. of chopped fresh mint.  I used 4 tbsp. or ¼ cup.  If you love mint, I suggest adding more!

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Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup goat or sheep yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup chicken broth powder
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 large onion, sliced into rings
  • 1-2 unpeeled eggplants (about 1½ lbs. total), sliced into ¼” slices
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup grated sheep romano cheese

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, mint, garlic, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, mix together chicken broth and warm water.
  3. Using a large nonstick skillet, pour in ¼ cup of chicken broth-water mixture.
  4. Over medium-high heat, saute onions until tender.  Remove to a plate.
  5. Add ¼ cup of chicken broth-water mixture.
  6. Saute eggplant slices (in batches), turning them once, until softened but not falling apart.  Add more chicken broth-water mixture if pan dries out.
  7. In a shallow baking dish, overlap ½ eggplant slices to form a layer.
  8. Layer on ½ tomato slices and then ½ onion rings.
  9. Repeat eggplant-tomato-onion layering.
  10. Drizzle yogurt mixture over the surface until it is covered.
  11. Sprinkle with cheese.
  12. Bake in 350° F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until strata is hot and bubbly.

For Weight Watchers: I cut the strata into six pieces because this recipe has only 6 points total on both the Points and PointsPlus plans.  Therefore, each serving (approximately 1-1½ cups) was worth 1 point.

(Adapted from “Middle Eastern Eggplant Baked with Yogurt and Fresh Mint” in Lighthearted at Home by Anne Lindsay.)

Quinoa-Sorghum Carrot Bread

This fragrant, light, and moist quick bread is not only delicious, its success is an inspiration for me to continue experimenting with alternative flours.  

The original recipe called for ¾ cup each of white flour and whole wheat flours.  Recently, after some searching, I managed to find sorghum flour and decided to try it in a blend with white rice and quinoa flours.  The result is a bread with a lovely, cake-like texture.  (If you can’t find sorghum flour, you can substitute white rice flour or brown rice flour.  I suspect either of these will alter texture and taste slightly; however, it would not change the Weight Watcher point count per slice.)

Another benefit of sorghum flour: For gluten-sensitive dieters, it is, like quinoa flour, a low-calorie alternative to the basic white and brown rice flours. (Check out its Weight Watcher point value. )

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Cooking tip: This recipe is like the others I’ve made using alternative flours.  The original recipes don’t add enough moisture, and I ended up with a thick ball of dough.  To arrive at a thick batter, I needed ¾ cup soy milk.

Makes 8 slices

Ingredients

  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • ½ cup artificial sweetener
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. olive or canola oil
  • ¾ cup goat or sheep yogurt
  • ¾ cup soy milk or other alternative milk, as needed (see tip above)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. In medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients: 3 flours, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, nutmeg, salt.
  2. In large bowl, beat egg until well mixed.
  3. Add oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, and carrots.
  4. Gradually add flour, mixing as you go.
  5. Add milk, if necessary. (Dough should be thick but not in a ball.)
  6. Spray a 9″ x 5″ bread pan with cooking spray, and scrape in dough, levelling the surface.
  7. Bake in 350° F oven for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

For Weight Watchers: each slice is 3.5 points in the Points plan and 4.5 points on the PointsPlus plan.

(Adapted from “Cinnamon Carrot Bread” in Lighthearted at Home: The Very Best of Anne Lindsay by Anne Lindsay)

Curried Chicken with Yogurt

This dish is a tangy, spicy, and low-calorie way to dress up chicken, and I’ve been making it since the 1970s so it’s tried and true.  It was a dish much beloved by my children when I served it with pasta and, particularly, when I made it with thighs and legs which tend to be more tasty than the breast. 

Under my gluten-free and Weight Watcher regime, however, I now make it with chicken breasts, halve them for portion control, and serve the dish over a carbohydrate such as quinoa or rice, which is shown in the photo. 

I also like to add a sprinkling of sheep romano cheese (which is not in the photo) to each serving.  It’s interesting how an Italian cheese can enhance the flavour of an Indian dish. 

Because I love the sauce, I have always doubled the quantity that was made in the original recipe.  Feel free to cut back if you wish.

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Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1½ – 2 lbs, chicken pieces, bone-in and skinless
  • 1 cup plain goat or sheep yogurt
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. each ground coriander, ground ginger, and salt
  • 2 tbsp. chicken-broth powder and ½ cup water or ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1½ cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-6 tbsp. non-cow parmesan or romano

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, spices, and salt.
  2. Roll each chicken part in the yogurt mixture and then place in a pan.
  3. If you leftover yogurt mixture, pour it over the chicken.
  4. Let coated chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  If you make do this early in the day and won’t be cooking it until dinner, cover the pan with clear wrap and put in the refrigerator.
  5. In heavy casserole pot, bring chicken broth-water mixture to a boil.
  6. Add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes until soft.
  7. Add tomatoes and bay leaf and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Add chicken with yogurt mixture, and stir to combine.
  9. Bring mixture to a boil.
  10. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer about 30 minutes.  If you’ve reduced the sauce, turn pieces over one or twice, while cooking.  Chicken will give off liquid over time and increase sauce quantity.
  11. Put each piece over rice or pasta and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. cheese

For Weight Watchers: The only point values in this dish are in the chicken, the yogurt, and the cheese.  This dish is also very flexible.  You can choose what chicken to use, how much, and cut back on the sauce if you like.  Therefore, it’s impossible to calculate how much sauce you will have.  In my recipe, the total point value for the sauce is 4 points in both the Points and PointsPlus plans.  Whatever your sauce WW points, just remember to add in the value of the cheese and your chicken!

(Adapted from a very old Weight Watcher cookbook whose name is long gone.)

Mushroom-Eggplant Vegetable Pie

BEFORE

BEFORE

Hurray!  After some interesting experimentation, I have arrived at a delicious, extremely low-cal vegetable pie.  It’s rich with mushroom flavour that is complemented by the tang of romano cheese and is filled with interesting textures from soft to crunchy.

 

 

AFTER

AFTER

 

 

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Makes 4 servings

Recipe update: I recently added 4 oz. of soft, herbed goat cheese, spread just above the mushroom layer, when making this dish for a dinner party.  Very, very delicious.  But remember, if you do this, to add to the Weight Watcher points value.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ yellow onion, sliced into onion rings
  • ¼ cup (2 oz.) sheep romano cheese, grated
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Dried thyme, to taste
  • Cooking spray
Creating the pie crust

Creating the pie crust

Directions

  1. Spray 10″ pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. Create pie crust with eggplant slices (see picture).
  3. Spray interior of pie crust with cooking spray, particularly the scalloped top edges of the eggplant.  This will keep them from wilting and turning brown.
  4. Fill pie with sliced mushrooms.
  5. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder and thyme.
  6. Layer onion rings over the mushrooms.
  7. Layer tomato slices over the onions.
  8. Again, sprinkle generously with garlic powder and thyme.
  9. Add a top layer of grated cheese.
  10. Bake in 400° oven for 30 – 40 minutes until the eggplants are thoroughly tender.
  11. Cut pie into 4 pieces, using a serrated knife.
  12. Remove 1 piece and then drain mushroom liquid out of pie plate.
  13. Ready to eat or store for the next day.

For Weight Watchers: Only the cheese has a points value in this pie for a total of 2 points.  This makes a ¼-pie serving worth .5 point in both the Points and PointsPlus plan.  (If you have points to spare, consider doubling the cheese.)

Pumpkin-Romano Risotto

Elegant enough for a dinner party, this risotto is smooth and creamy, enriched by pumpkin and romano cheese, but made without the traditional oil, cream, and wine—all ingredients which move it way out of the dieter’s range.

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Makes 4 1-cup servings

 Ingredients

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. chicken broth powder and ½ cup water
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1¼ cups pumpkin purée, unsweetened
  • 6 tbsp. sheep romano cheese, grated
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • Artificial sugar and salt to taste
  • 

 Directions

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan and then reduce heat, keeping it at a simmer.
  2. Using a large, non-stick pan, heat chicken broth powder–water mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
  4. Add rice and cook, stirring, until the outer shell is translucent, about 1 minute.
  5. Add 1½ cups of broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Continue to add broth ½ cup at a time, stirring each time until it is absorbed, until rice is just tender.  This should take about 20 minutes of steady stirring.  If you run out of broth, add warm water by ½ cups.
  7. Lower heat to medium.
  8. Mix in pumpkin purée, cheese, and spices.
  9. Taste and add artificial sugar and salt if necessary.
  10. 

For Weight Watchers: 4 points for a 1-cup serving on the Points plan and 5 points for a 1-cup serving on the PointsPlus plan.

(Adapted from “Pumpkin Risotta” in Best of Weight Watchers Magazine.)

Lentil Lover’s Soup

 A hearty and filling peasant soup chock full of lentils, tomato, and spinach that is fast and easy to make.  The original recipe also called for 2 Thai, cayenne, or serranco chiles—that’s too hot for me, but might be perfect for you.

 A great accompaniment to this soup is either Yummy, Tummy-Friendly, Sugar-Free Cornbread or Sweet Quinoa Cornbread

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Full of lentils, tomatoes, and spinach.

Full of lentils, tomatoes, and spinach

 

  Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  •  1 tbsp. minced garlic
  •  2 cups of cooked lentils
  • 4-6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups of diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 2 (8-10 oz.) bags of spinach, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • Salt

Directions

 

  1. In large pot, mix onion, garlic and lentils with 4 cups of chicken broth.
  2. Heat to boiling and then simmer.
  3. Add tomatoes (and chillies, if desired).
  4. Cover pot and simmer until flavours are blended, about 15 minutes.
  5. If soup is thick, stir in 1-2 cups of broth.
  6. Stir in spinach and simmer until wilted.
  7. If necessary, add more chicken broth if the soup is still too thick for you.
  8. Salt to taste.

For Weight Watchers: Only the lentils have a point-value—a total of 8 points for the entire pot of soupon both the Points and PointsPlus plans.  I ended up with 12 cups of soup so a 1-cup serving would be .5 points.

 

(Adapted from “Lentil-Spinach Soup” in Best of Weight Watchers Magazine.)