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General Tso’s Cauliflower

I am always on the lookout for lighter ways to prepare food. I know that I can make cauliflower with a sauce that tastes like a General Tso's sauce, but I really wanted to make a coating that is like that typically found on a General Tso's Chicken. And, I wanted to avoid frying.

So, I made a batter that would have worked quite well for a deep fried method, but I baked it in the oven. The results were very good.

Light Pancakes

When I first decided to make a light pancake, I did what I always do: I searched on-line. The first thing I found was a recipe that used oats, bananas, and milk. This created something that looked like a pancake, but was spongy and somewhat crunchy because of the oats. Even worse, it was much heavier than what I came up with here: 3 points for 2 "pancakes", which isn't terrible, but also not as good as these babies. I spent the first 3 paragraphs of the post I started just explaining what they were. Then, I decided to start over.

I did see recipes that used eggs in what looked like a huge proportion: 2 whole eggs for each banana?? No wonder one reviewer remarked that the pancakes tasted like "banana omelets". So, I decided to try again, but take out the thing that makes eggs taste "eggy" in a recipe: the yolk. I then went an extra step by whipping the egg whites into a froth to add air to the batter.

Finally, one thing I missed in the oat cakes was a total lack of crispness. No matter how long I cooked those, they never got crisp. I know, the first thing you do with pancakes is smother them with syrup, but I want them to be somewhat firm on the surface so they don't turn into a pile of mush. So, I added a small amount of flour to these. This is the only source of points it the recipe, so you could try excluding it if you like.

Wait...there's more. Some recipes show vanilla extract and sweetener as optional ingredients. I feel that they're essential. Otherwise, you'll have a tasteless pancake. Again, I know they you're going to have them swimming in syrup anyway. But, if you have tasteless pancakes, you might as well just pour the syrup on a plate and eat it that way. You will notice the difference.

Shrimp Gumbo

This is a lighter take on my Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo recipe, which was quite a dilemma for me. A gumbo can be created without a roux - theoretically - but this is against the opinion of several in New Orleans that I interviewed when I visited last year. Having made it both ways, I have to say I agree. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, except that the word-of-mouth says I need to make a roux from oil and flour to start the gumbo. To lighten things up, I used half as much oil and flour, but added okra as a thickener. I also ground my own chicken andouille sausage. I'd say that this hit all the notes I expect to hit with a gumbo: it's spicy, rich, and hearty, with that subtle fried flavor that the roux brings.

NOTE: the ground chicken is seasoned to create an ultra lean andouille sausage (liquid smoke, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper).

Falafel Patties

The patties in this recipe can certainly be rolled into a ball, as per the traditional recipe. NOTE: using canned chickpeas will result in a denser texture than using fresh ones.

Asparagus Tikka Masala Soup

This started out as an asparagus soup. I decided to add some Indian seasonings to it rather than making it the way I usually do. That evolved into full-blown tikka masala seasoning, but it was still green, because it was still basically an asparagus soup. Then, I added tomatoes and yogurt, and this is what resulted.

Salmon Rutabaga Croquettes

This recipe replaces potato with rutabaga, which makes it slightly sweeter...and a lot lighter.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka is one of those wonderul recipes that doesn't require any adjustment at all to be ultra healthy, and also faithful to the proper recipe.

Air Fried Egg

This is a healthier take on the Classic deep fried egg. You will actually need more flour and bread crumbs on the plate, but the amount in the recipe is the amount you actually use.

Beef Bourguignon ala Pressure Cooker

Beef Bourguignon doesn't have to be an all-day affair, and it also doesn't have to be unhealthy. This method cuts out the extra oil and flour, but still delivers a delicious meal.

Bacon, Brussells Sprouts, and Cheddar Frittata

I don’t know why took me so long to get around to making one of these. They are easy, delicious, and very healthy. Best of all, this isn’t much different from how I would’ve made it before joining Weight Watchers (only 2 points per piece).

If you want a fancy restaurant feel, serve it with fat-free balsamic vinaigrette. It pairs beautifully with the brussels sprouts.


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