Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review of Crock Pot Pork and Cabbage Goulash and Dill Dumplings WW 10PTS

This was intended to be cooked in a dutch oven and baked for one hour. I chose the crock pot route. I added the cabbage and onion to the bottom of the pot and the added the pork cubes dusted with Paprika on the top. I added 2 cups of the broth and the tomato paste and seasoned with salt. Then I covered it and came back 5 hours later (I cooked it on high) Then I moved it to a large stock pot and added the last cup of broth and brought the whole mixture to a boil. I made my own dumplings my way so see the recipe below.

Serving size is 1 dumpling with 3/4 cup of cabbage broth  10pts.
From the Family Style WW Cookbook

3/4 boneless pork shoulder, trimmed
cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 TBSP paprika
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth.
1 TBSP tomato paste
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

Here is where I really deviated I used my own dumpling recipe. They say to use low fat Bisquick, but I found it has an entirely different flavor. I used my own egg dumpling recipe:
Egg and dill dumplings

1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder.
3/4 cup milk
1 TBSP dill (about 1/2 if you are using dried)
1 egg (or egg beaters)
1 tsp salt

Mix all of the ingredients in the bowl and add by tablespoons to the broth. Bring down to a low and cover. Simmer for 10-12 minutes without peeking. The dumplings will be huge!
When I initially tasted this I thought it needed something. But with the addition of the dill dumplings, the flavor was elevated. I am not sure how the point total is so high? You are using pork which is very lean. All in all I thought it was pretty good.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Crock Pot Pearl Barley Risotto 5 WW PTS.

3/4 cup. Barley Risotto
I love risotto which can be made with a number of pastas, rice, and grains. Today I am trying the WW recipe for Pearl Barley Risotto. This is absolutely one of my favorite dishes to get when I dine out. Bartolotta's has an amazing one. Even better this one is made in the crock pot. I found Pearl Barley at our store called the Outpost. This also can be found at most grocers. I find it cheaper when you buy in bulk though.

The ingredients are pretty simple too. I've been to wine tastings but still don't consider myself a wine pro. I went to a liquor store today and the guy didn't know much about wine either. They say to cook with a good wine you would like to drink. I chose this Rooster white wine. Tastes good to me lol I am going to try to coax my 3rd shift hubby out of bed today to grill some chicken on our new grill. I also froze some asparagus a few weeks ago and will be adding a bag of that towards the end.

Pearl Barley Risotto (From WW Family Style Cookbook) 3/4 cup serving =5pts.

1/2 cup white wine
1 cup pearl barley rinsed
2 3/4 chicken stock or veggie stock
1 onion diced (book says 2 shallots)
1 cup peas or veggie of your choice frozen
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt

Add all of the ingredients in the crock pot and leave. Don't add the veggies and parm until about 25 minutes before serving.  It did say to cook on low for 4-5 hours but I found the liquid wasn't evaporating quickly enough. I set it to high and kept stirring it. I did stir mine about every hour. I started on low and at the half way mark it looked like the liquid wasn't evaporating enough. I then turned it to high for the remainder.

The taste was good but the texture is really different than rice. My house smelled really good though.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review of WW Tuscan Lamb with Rosemary Gremolata

Tuscan Lamb with Rosemary Gremolata

1 serving is one lamb shank and 3/4 cups beans and sauce for 9 pts. I added potatoes and will figure out the points for those.

4 6 oz lamb shanks
1/4 tsp. salt
1 onion finely chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
1 14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
10 kalamata olives pitted and chopped
1/2 cup water (omit if crock pot)
1 15oz can navy beans rinsed and drained

For the gremolata
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove minced

I only used two lamb shanks. Here in WI we don't have butchers like in other big cities. I had to settle for frozen ones and they are quite pricey at about $7.00-10.00 each. This is of course not something I would make every day but perfect for a weekend long roast in the crock pot or oven. I also added some new potatoes and some leftover squash.

I plan on serving it over couscous. The recipe says serving is one shank but I don't think that's possible. The shanks are pretty big and I just plan on shredding the meat off the bone. This makes it a little hard to count points. The house does smell great though.

Problem one. The shanks wouldn't fit into my crock pot. The suggested method is roasting for 1 hour twenty minutes. The time is longer for the crock pot. I have them in there with tin foil over the top. It seems to be going pretty good. I first started the shanks on the stove in some very hot olive oil. I seasoned the shanks with sea salt and pepper. They browned for around 8-10 minutes. I next added the onion and celery and let them get soft for around 5 minutes. I then added the wine and deglazed the pan. I brought it up to a boil and scraped  I poured the sauce over the shanks in the crock pot and let them go in the crock pot for around 6 hours on high. I checked periodically and switched the lamb over so both sides would cook. I also didn't add the extra water. There was plenty of liquid with the tomato juice and wine. I in-fact had to drain out some of the liquid several times.

I shredded the meat off of the bone instead of giving everyone a shank. Be sure to remove the rosemary sprigs. There was a lot of meat. I also served it over couscous. Instead of making the gremolata, I added the rosemary and garlic to the braising liquid. I thought the taste of the dish was very good. But at 9 pts. (not including the couscous or potatoes) It's a lot unless you are using your extra points. We still have a lot left over.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My First Tortillas

As you may know, I am a Mexican food lover. A few weeks ago my hubby purchased a tortilladora for me. It's basically a tortilla press. Today we went to El Rey in search of some steak carnitas and a comal. A comal is plate type of cookware that you can cook the tortillas on. Kind of like a griddle.

After coming back from the store, I tried my hand at making some tortillas. The dough was pretty simple. The difficult part is pressing them thin enough. The baking powder makes them rise too. I had a few bad ones but finally got a hang of it. This recipe says it makes 24 balls of dough but really it takes two balls together to make one tortilla. I ended up with 12 tortillas.

Note: If you don't have a tortilladora, use a rolling pin to make the tortillas.

Flour Tortillas

4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP lard
1 1/2 cup water
cooking spray
plastic wrap

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. I used a pastry cutter to cut the lard into the flour. You will have little granules. Then add the water. Here's the sticky part. Use one hand to mix the dough. It will be very elastic. Once it's all incorporated, flour your hands and make medium sized balls like meatball shape and place on a baking sheet.

Once made spray you tortilladora with cooking spray and begin pressing out the dough. I had to press down 3-4 times until the dough was thin enough.  It helps if you have one person pressing out the dough and the other manning the stove. Set the heat on the stove to medium and begin browning the tortillas. They cook about 2 minutes per side or until no longer doughy.

Serve warm or place in a tortilla warmer until serving.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Oxtails in Tomato Gravy

I am not a Southerner but I wish I was! Don't worry, I am doing good on my Weight Watchers. I have extra points I can use for days like these. It's snowing here in WI again! This recipe bakes long and slow and sticks to your ribs. Don't know what ox meat tastes like? It tastes just like rib meat. Just like ribs you have to work at the piece a bit to get to the meat. I forgot the carrots this time but you can add them too. In my pack there was two big pieces and a whole bunch of little ones. The little ones are for the kids.

Oxtails and Tomato Gravy

1 pkg of oxtails (ask your butcher)sometimes they are frozen
fresh out of the oven
1 12 oz can tomato sauce
3 cups beef or chicken broth
bay leafs 2-3
hot sauce 10 shakes
salt and pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 cup good red wine
3 potatoes reserved and then cut into 4ths
1 onion reserved for the end with the potatoes
3-6 TBSP olive oil
Note: I wish I had a heavy cast iron baking dish. However I do I have a large stock pot and a casserole dish I use.

Place the olive oil in the large stock pot.Liberally season the pieces of oxtail and brown on all sides. Remove the oxtails and in the same pot place the tomato sauce, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil and add the oxtails back in or pour the sauce over the oxtails in the casserole. Cover with a heavy oven proof lid or tin foil. Bake for 2-3 hours. (2 should be fine) Carefully place the meat and sauce back into the stock pot along with the onion and potatoes.Here you could add carrot too. Boil for 15 minutes. Serve over rice with the sauce.