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.)

Cumin-Cinnamon Chicken

This family favorite—a spicy chicken dish with a rich tomato and peanut sauce—is delicious served over a bed of basmati rice. 

This dish cooks quickly so it’s a good idea to prepare the ingredients in advance. 

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Makes 9 1-cup servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. chicken broth powder mixed into ½ cup of water for a thick sautéeing sauce, or ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 lbs.), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • 

Directions

Prepare the chicken

  1. Mix cumin and cinnamon and put into a plastic bag.
  2. Add chicken pieces to bag.
  3. Close bag and shake until pieces are coated with spices (You may find it easier to do ½ of the chicken and spices at a time.)

Prepare the sauce

  1. Put all the liquid and ½ the tomatoes from the can of tomatoes into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add peanut butter, lemon juice, and garlic.
  3. Blend or process until smooth.

 Make the dish

  1. In a large pot, sauté onions and spice-covered chicken in broth, stirring frequently so that chicken pieces don’t stick to the pan.
  2. When the chicken has given off its own juices (about 8-10 minutes), add sauce and rest of canned tomatoes.
  3. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Salt to taste.

For Weight Watchers: 4 points per 1-cup serving on the Points plan and 4.5 points per 1-cup serving on the PointsPlus plan.

Nutritional Information for a 1-cup serving:

  • Calories 115 (29.2 from fat)
  • Protein 14 grams
  • Fat 3.5 grams
  • Carbohydrate 7.3 grams
  • Fibre 1.6 grams
  • Cholesterol 3.3 mg
  • Sodium 194 mg

This food is a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Protein and Niacin.

(Adapted from “Spicy Peanut Chicken” in 500 Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender.)

“Free Spirit” Fried Rice

"Free Spirit" Fried Rice with Asparagus and More Carrots

Tasty, nourishing, and filling—this rice and vegetable dish is for “free spirits” who like to experiment.

You'll like us in your stir fry!

You'll like us in your stir fry!

It can be expanded indefinitely with other fresh vegetables (I’ve provided a list of those I’ve used below) as well as firm tofu (cubed), or cooked shrimp, chicken, or turkey if you want a main meal.  In the picture above, I added leftover Sesame Asparagus with Carrots to the basic recipe.

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Cooking tips:

  • This dish cooks quickly so you should have all your ingredients prepared and measured beforehand.
  • If you add additional vegetables, you may have to increase the amount of soy sauce if your pan gets too dry.

Makes 4 servings of 1 cup each

Basic Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup liquid egg substitute (equivalent of two eggs)
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup scallions, sliced
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • ½ cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup low-sodium or other no-wheat soy sauce
Other Vegetables You Can Add
  • ½ pound daikon, chopped
  • 2 cups bok choy (any type), shredded
  • 2 cups napa, Chinese, or regular cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup enoki mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 bunch asparagus

Directions

  1. Spray large non-stick fry pan with cooking spray.
  2. Warm pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add liquid egg substitute, tilting pan so that the liquid covers the bottom.
  4. Scramble the eggs and then break them into pieces (2-3 minutes).
  5. Remove eggs onto a plate and set them aside.
  6. Take pan off heat and spray again with cooking spray.
  7. Put back on medium-high heat.
  8. Add carrots and scallions (tofu and other fresh vegetables should also be added at this time).
  9. Cook until crisp-tender (2-3 minutes).
  10. Stir in rice, peas, and soy sauce.
  11. Cook until heated through, stirring once or twice (1-2 minutes).
  12. Stir in egg (and any cooked meat or shellfish).

For Weight Watchers: The basic recipe yields 4 servings of 1 cup each.

  • Points plan: The total count is 15 so each cup is worth approximately 4 points.
  • PointsPlus plan: The total count is 18.5 so each cup is worth approximately 4.5 points.

Notes:

  1. If you add more vegetables, you will add quantity but no other points.  Therefore, you’ll be lowering your point count per cup.
  2. If you add tofu, meat, or shellfish, you will have to add on its value to each serving.

Nutritional Information for a 1-cup serving:

  • Calories 200 (13.5 from fat)
  • Protein 10 grams
  • Fat 2 grams
  • Carbohydrate 42 grams
  • Fibre 3 grams
  • Cholesterol .3 mg
  • Sodium 1106.5 mg

(Adapted from “Easy Fried Rice” in the 2010 Weight Watchers Points Plus Getting Started booklet.)