July 27, 2009

Potato and Greens Torta from Cooking Light

I tried this recipe a while back, so it's really about time I posted it here for everyone else to enjoy. The April issue of Cooking Light where this little gem came from was filled with tons of great springtime recipes and ideas for having Easter brunch that just made me want to cook. I jotted down a lot of recipes from here that I want to come back and try, like Spring Asparagus Risotto, Goat Cheese Grits, and Linguine with Arugula Pesto, and if you remember the Italian tomato tart that I raved about came from this issue too. You won't quite have the springtime setting like the pictures in this issue, but I promise if you make it now, this torta will be just as tasty!


  • 1 1/2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cups packed arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese


  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Place potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Peel potatoes; discard peels. Press cooked potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in romaine, spinach, and arugula; cook 1 minute or until greens wilt, tossing frequently. Remove greens from pan; finely chopped
  • Add greens, milk, fontina, eggs, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to potatoes; stir well to combine. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray; dust with breadcrumbs. Add potato mixture to prepared dish. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with pecorino. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
This makes 6 servings, that are 4 weight watchers points each (214 calories / 9.1 grams fat / 3.2 grams fiber). Personally, I think I would divide the the dish into fourths, and make it roughly a 6-point meal instead, although this smaller portion could be great as a small meal / snack.

Here are a few things I noted / recommend:

  • If you have a "ricer" at home, I salute you. I did not know what this was, but of course my mom knew and she said it wasn't a big deal to just find a way to grate up the potatoes myself. It turns out it looks kinda like a big garlic press. If you want one, check out this one from OXO on Amazon. I have yet to personally invest the money in one, because while it took some serious elbow grease, a good-sized cheese grater ended up doing the trick for getting the potatoes to the right consistency. Also, let's be honest - there's not much keeping you from slicing up the potatoes to make it more like a gratin and it will be just as delicious! Or how about whipping the potatoes... a little shepherd's pie twist? I'll let you be the judge.
  • Personally, I think I would divide the the dish into fourths, and make it roughly a 6-point meal instead, although this smaller portion could be great as a small meal / snack.
  • I loved the greens in it, but I noticed that the bagged romaine lettuce I used had some "stalky" pieces that messed up the texture for me. I think I will use a less crisp alternative, like a spring mix, a bibb lettuce, or more of the spinach and arugula the next time I make it. Also, I used a pair of vegetable / herb scissors to chop up the greens and it made it a lot easier!
  • Don't skimp on the 2% milk, the folks at Cooking Light seem to know what they're doing. So, while I am usually tempted to shave off calories and fat with items like skim milk, I trust that they put the 2% in for a reason, and that the original recipe will end up being more satisfying if I just leave it alone!

July 21, 2009

Recent healthy finds and favorites

I think anyone who watches what they eat goes through phases filled with new ideas and snacks they discovered recently. I think there's also always that re-discovery phase too... you know, when you finally rediscover why you loved a food or flavor that you burnt yourself out on a couple months prior.

So, here are some of the things I've been eating and craving lately. Some aren't that revolutionary by any means, but I just think it's helpful to see what other healthy people are eating because it inspires me to switch it up. I hope some of these give you some new ideas, too :)
  • Cantaloupe and cottage cheese: Such a classic... I've always LOVED melon more than any other fruit, and cottage cheese is rich enough that it makes eating fruit feel more indulgent than just biting into an apple. If you're getting burnt out on snacking on fruit - put some cottage cheese on top and see what you think. (1 cup of melon is 1 point, 1/2 a cup of fat-free cottage cheese is about 1 point too.)
  • Diet lemonades from Chick-fil-A: A large (and I mean large) sized diet lemonade is only 30 calories. It's really tasty, and can really curb my craving for other snacks in the afternoon.
  • Wine and cheese crumbles: I actually saw my friend Libby crumble up cheese to eat while sipping wine once, and it inspired me to find a healthy way to enjoy cheese with my wine, since it is by far one of my favorite, favorite things. Instead of braking off cubes or slices of your favorite cheese, breaking it up into crumbles allows you to "taste" the cheese as you sip, rather than chowing down larger portions as you go. It worked really well for me!
  • Chicken Caesar wraps: Kind of like these chicken pesto wraps I wrote about. Wrap up some mixed greens, a bit of shredded Parmesan and some chicken in a whole wheat tortilla and put some low fat Caesar on the side for dipping. Extremely flavorful and satisfying.
  • Biscotti: I rediscovered how satisfying biscotti is, when I was frequenting GreenBerry's for latte's while packing for the move. Nonni's Biscotti is in grocery stores, and each one is 2 points.
  • Roasted green beans and peppers: This is my new favorite combination of roasted vegetables for small meals, side dishes or snacks. Get a package of pre-washed / trimmed french cut green beans and slice up some red bell pepper, drizzle sparingly with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 until slightly charred or roasted. I use frozen green beans and peppers and to me it's just as good, and super easy.
  • Good old lean cuisines: An oldie, but goodie. I've certainly gotten tired of lean cuisines in years past; both of eating the same meals over and over again, as well as becoming painfully aware that the meal is over as soon as the tray is empty. While generally I do best when I can look forward to several low-calorie meals and snacks throughout the day, there's something to be said for sitting down to a meal. Lean cuisines may not be a hearty meal for some, but for someone dieting, they are just right if you are craving some pasta or a real entree.
Anyone have any other ideas? Anything that's helping you push through cravings lately?

July 15, 2009

Eat This, Not That: Chick-fil-A Breakfast Remix

While it's a little depressing to realize how not-so-great for you the foods you love really are, I just had a come to Jesus with the delicious breakfast I love at Chick-fil-A. My beloved chicken biscuit with hashbrowns on the side is 17 Weight Watchers points, which is really about as many points as I should be eating in an entire day!

Now, I'm all for a splurge from time to time, but I thought we could all benefit from exploring our options on the menu. So here are a few of the nutrition facts for some of the most popular breakfast items
  • Chicken Biscuit: 450 calories / 20 g. fat / 3 g. fiber (10 WW points)
  • Hashbrowns: 280 calories / 19 g. fat / 2 g. fiber (7 WW points)
  • Plain Biscuit: 310 calories / 13 g. fat / 2 g. fiber (6 WW points)
  • Chicken Minis ( 4 ct): 350 calories / 14 g. fat / 2 g. fiber (8 WW points)
  • You can also calculate your own meal on the site: http://www.chick-fil-a.com/#calculator
In honor of the book "Eat this, not that," Here are a few ideas for making it work and some other considerations for when you order:
  • If you want the real deal - the combo - with hashbrowns, go with the chicken minis instead of the full biscuit; a 4 count of the minis instead will save you 100 calories. (hashbrowns + minis = 15 points. Going for the 3 count would be even healthier. All things considered, though, it may not be so terrible when you realize that some Lean Cuisine pizza's are 12 points. I'm just sayin')
  • The chicken biscuit's still better than the sausage biscuit... The sausage biscuit is 590 calories! Which, uhh basically broke the points calculator. It doesn't even register, but just just based on my own estimates, I think with 41 g of fat, it would weigh in at around 14 - 15 WW points on it own, so... actually the chicken ain't lookin' so bad...
  • And of course you could get a multi grain sunflower bagel (220 cal), and a fruit cup (70 cal), but let's be honest... you're at Chick-fil-A... why would you get a bagel and fruit when there's fried chicken to eat?
Go to http://www.chick-fil-a.com/#healthylifestyle for some other good ideas - the chicken breakfast burrito on it's own, for instance, isn't that bad for you!

July 13, 2009

Blog Envy: The Chubby Vegetarian

Since I have been neglecting my blog for about a month now (ok I know I have been milking the move excuse, but hey.... I moved...), I thought my first post back would be an appropriate time to say how jealous I am of a blog I came across today: the chubby vegetarian.

The obvious reason that Justin's blog is good is because, well, he updates it. (I really need to get back into the swing of things!)

But aside from his frequent updates, here are just a couple of things you can look forward to:
If you're looking for some new side dishes, or healthy veggies, revamped please go check out his blog! I know I've added it to my reader.