Category Archives: Weight Watchers

Empty-The-Vegetable-Bin Minestrone

Here’s a simple, hearty vegetable soup that you can make on a Sunday afternoon when you plan to clean out the vegetable bin.  You can put virtually anything you have left over in the soup, along with some vegetable broth, a big can of diced tomatoes, some beans and some pasta.

It’s a family staple around here.

Empty-the-Vegetable-Bin Minestrone

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini or navy) beans, drained
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked ditalini pasta
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • Basil sprigs, garnish, optional

Directions:

In a slow cooker, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Thirty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add ditalini, zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Remove bay leaves and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. Garnish with basil, if desired.

Advertisements

Thanksgiving With a Lighter Touch

For anyone watching their weight, Thanksgiving has become a day filled with potential pitfalls and dietary disappointments. The original Pilgrim celebration of gratitude for having enough food to survive the coming winter has evolved into an all-day, all-you-can-eat extravaganza. Many families spend the day parked on their couches, watching parades followed by football, snacking whether they are hungry or not, before sitting down to an enormous meal.

 

Contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to prepare and serve a light, healthy Thanksgiving dinner without depriving your guests of their traditional favorites or letting them go hungry. By making a few simple changes to your menu, it is easy to make a meal you and your guests will enjoy and remember, without the morning-after regret that too often accompanies this special day

 

Suggestion One:  Cut the fat.

 

The centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner is almost certainly the turkey, which is an easy place to cut fat without cutting flavor. Unless you are entertaining a dozen or more people, a turkey breast may be a better choice than a whole turkey.  White meat is far leaner than dark meat, and turkey cooked on a grill (breast or whole bird) will release much of its internal fat during the cooking process. Brining a turkey can compensate for any moisture lost through decreasing the fat.  This recipe is for a 12-15 pound turkey. If you have a larger turkey, double the brine recipe.

Grilled turkey

Ingredients:

Brine:

1 gallons water

1 ½ cups apple cider

¾ cup kosher salt

1 cups brown sugar

2-3 bay leaves

2 branches fresh rosemary, stripped from the branch

5-10 whole pepper corns

2-3 cloves fresh garlic

Peel of 1 navel orange, coarsely chopped

 

Preparation:

The day before cooking, bring one-half gallon of water and all other ingredients to a brisk boil; immediately turn off the heat, cover and allow the brine to cool to room temperature. Half way through the cooling process, add the remaining half-gallon of cold water.

When the brine is completely cooled, place the turkey, breast side down, in a brining bag, a food-grade bucket or large soup pot.  Pour the brine over the turkey and refrigerate covered for 8-16 hours, turning the turkey over two-thirds of the way through. Leaving the turkey in the brine for more than 16 hours may leave the turkey mushy when finished.

Before cooking, remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry.

 

Dry Rub:

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground white pepper

2 tablespoons granulated garlic

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon Bell’s poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Olive oil in a spray can

 

Preparation:

Start with a dry rub. Wash the turkey and pat dry. Rub the turkey inside and out with this rub or any favorite combination of spices. Spray the turkey with the olive oil, then place it, unstuffed, on the grill with the coals or burners not directly underneath. Include a pan to catch the drippings. Cook the turkey until the legs can be jiggled loosely from the thighs, (180°F on a thermometer inserted into the thigh) or in the case of a breast, until a meat thermometer inserted deep into the meat (but not touching the bone) reads 180° F. Remove the turkey from the grill, cover with foil, and allow to rest 15 minutes before carving.

 

Suggestion Two:  Slow down and enjoy the company.

 

Many families load the Thanksgiving table with multiple options for entrees and side dishes. Dinner begins with the circulation of bowls and platters around the table, allowing each guest to take their portion before passing it on. By the time everyone is served, the food is cold and everyone is tired of waiting to eat.

By serving Thanksgiving dinner in courses, it is easy to fill up on low-calorie, vegetable-based dishes before confronting the tempting entrees and side dishes. An added benefit will be the wonderful conversations your family and guests will have in between each course.

Start with a soup course (a corn soup is perfect for Thanksgiving), serving it in cups or small bowls.  Then serve an autumn salad, made with butternut squash, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and fresh greens, with a tangy-creamy dressing.

Try these recipes, which use traditional ingredients that were used in the 1600s.

Curried Corn Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper

½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper

¼ cup minced shallots

2 teaspoons curry powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups fresh corn or one 16-ounce bag frozen corn, thawed

1 cup vegetable stock

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 cups soy milk, 2% milk or evaporated skim milk, divided

½ cup shredded reduced fat cheese, divided (optional)

 

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the shallots and stir 2 minutes.  Add the curry powder and salt, and stir to combine. Stir in the corn, stock, and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook ½ hour.

Transfer 2 cups of soup to a blender, add 1 cup milk, and process until smooth.  Return the blended corn soup to the soup pot, add the remaining milk, and stir gently until the soup is hot.

Serve immediately, garnished with the optional cheese and some chopped chives or parsley.

Adapted from soyfoodcouncil.com

Roasted Squash Salad with Tahini Dressing

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash

Olive oil spray in a can

½ teaspoon paprika

4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

¼ cup dried cranberries

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 cups spring mix

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

1 ½ tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

½ cup boiling vegetable stock

 

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Peel the squash, halve, remove the seeds, and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Lightly spray a roasting pan with olive oil, spread the squash on the pan, sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper, and spray with oil. Roast 35 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the squash is tender. Put the pumpkin seeds on baking sheet and bake for the last five minutes of the cooking time.

While the squash is roasting, make the dressing:  whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.  Slowly stir in 1-2 tablespoons stock, until the dressing reaches the consistency of buttermilk.

Plate the salad greens, top with the squash, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, feta cheese, and parsley, and sprinkle the dressing on top. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Adapted from redonline.co.uk

 

Suggestion Three:  Limit options and focus on vegetables.

 

In order to make your dinner lighter and healthier, consider limiting the number of options you present your guests, featuring one or two interesting new recipes in which vegetables play the starring role rather than laying out the full cast of customary starchy favorites. No one needs stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole, after all. New flavors may encourage new behaviors, as serving old favorites can entice your guests to heap too-large portions on their plates simply because they are accustomed to doing so.

Here is a vegetable dish that is out of the ordinary, yet made with many of the familiar ingredients of traditional Thanksgiving dinners. It is easy to make, beautiful to serve, nutritious, and much more interesting than the customary green-bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and canned onion rings.  And so much better tasting!

Polenta Dome with Roasted Autumn Vegetables

Ingredients:

4 cups vegetable stock

1 ½ teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons olive oil

Olive oil spray in a can

2 cups diced onions

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

2 cups cornmeal

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and shredded

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped (1 teaspoon dried)

2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Preparation:

In a covered pot, bring the stock and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil.  Spray a medium-sized mixing bowl.

While the stock heats, heat olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat.  Cook the onions, garlic, and remaining salt for about 25 minutes, until the onions are caramelized.  Stir the squash, sage, fennel, and pepper into the sautéed onions and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and cover.

When the stock boils, gradually pour in the cornmeal, stirring vigorously.  Reduce the heat until the thickening cornmeal simmers gently.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is thick (but still pourable), adding hot water as necessary, and tastes done. Fine cornmeal cooks in a few minutes; courser meal takes longer. The consistency is key.

When the polenta is done, stir in the sautéed vegetables and cheese.  Pour into the oiled bowl and set aside to cool for at least 30 minutes, until set.

About a half hour before serving, turn the cooled polenta dome onto a baking pan or ovenproof platter sprayed with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot. Serve on a bed of steamed spinach or Swiss chard and surround with toasted autumn vegetables.

 

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

Ingredients:

Marinade:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

5 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary or sage, chopped

 

Vegetables:

2 medium onions, peeled, cut into 8 pieces

1 cup baby carrots

2 sweet potatoes or ½ seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut to 2-inch squares

2 cup tiny patty pan squash or 2 medium zucchini, 1-inch slices, halved

8 ounces fresh whole cremini, baby portabella or white mushrooms, halved

6 firm, fresh plum tomatoes, halved

 

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a bowl mix together the marinade.  Toss the hard vegetables (onions, carrots and potatoes) in the marinade, and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, turning once. Toss the remaining vegetables in the marinade. Lower the heat to 400°F, place on a second baking sheet and roast another 20 minutes, turning once, and turning the hard vegetables again. Serve on a large platter around the polenta dome.  Watch carefully that the vegetables don’t burn.

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates

 

Suggestion Four:  Change Your Thinking about Stuffing and Gravy

 

Probably the most troublesome parts of the Thanksgiving meal for people endeavoring to eat light and healthy are the stuffing and the gravy. The notion that stuffing and gravy are integral to the meal is deeply ingrained in our consciousness. A simple way to cut some of the fat from stuffing is to bake it outside of the turkey. Likewise, traditional gravy can be made without calorie-laden pan drippings. Even better, try a new approach to stuffing and gravy altogether, replacing bread cubes with high-fiber whole grains such as quinoa or barley and combining interesting new flavors into an almost fat-free gravy.

Wild Mushroom Barley Stuffing

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided

1 ½ cups uncooked pearled barley

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

5 slices turkey bacon

2 small carrots, diced

1 pound fresh wild mushrooms, assorted varieties

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups vegetable broth, heated to a simmer

1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

 

Preparation:

Bring eight cups of water and 1 ½ teaspoons salt to a boil in a large saucepan; add barley.  Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; add onion, bacon, and carrots.  Cook, stirring often, until onion is lightly browned and almost tender, about five minutes.  Add mushrooms and garlic; cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about five minutes more.

Stir in herbs, pepper, remaining salt and olive oil.  Reduce heat to low, stir in broth and barley, toss to coat.  Remove from heat, transfer to a serving bowl, and sprinkle with parsley.

From weightwatchers.com

 

Caramelized Onion Gravy

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

6 cups thinly sliced sweet or Spanish onions

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon dried thyme or ¾ teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

2 cups vegetable broth

¼ cup dry sherry wine

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Preparation:

Warm the oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the onions are coated with oil.  Add the paprika, salt, herbs, and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until the onions are limp and very brown.  You should have about a generous cup of caramelized and very sweet onions.

Add the soy sauce, 1 ¾ cups broth, and the wine to the onions; bring to a simmer.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining broth and mix into the gravy in a slow but steady stream.  Stir constantly until the gravy is thickened.

From Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates

 

Suggestion Five:  Serve smaller plates and individual portions

 

A cherished part of Thanksgiving for many is filling one’s plate with heaps of good food. Slow everyone down a bit by serving your meal on smaller salad plates rather than dinner plates. Your guests will retain the pleasure of combining delicious foods together without committing themselves to more than they can – or should—eat in one sitting. If, by some chance, they are still hungry after cleaning their plate, they are welcome to come back for more.

 

            The same strategy works well with dessert.  Instead of baking a pumpkin pie, bake the pumpkin custard (substituting egg whites and evaporated skim milk to lower the fat) in ramekins.  Serve each guest their own portion with a ginger snap in a ramekin, saving them the fat and calories of the crust and the temptation to eat more dessert than they should.

 

The secret to losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is to make a series of small changes and then be consistent in retaining those changes; but in the end, food and the experience of sharing a meal with loved ones should still be pleasurable. This Thanksgiving, try one or two of these tips to save yourself unnecessary fat and calories without losing any of the enjoyment of spending this special day with the people you love. Who knows? Maybe you will be creating new, healthier traditions for years to come.

Braised Chicken in White Wine Sauce — Weight-watchers Style

I’ve got to tell you about this chicken recipe.  There’s three things to recommend it:  1) it’s about the simplest hearty chicken dish I’ve ever made; 2) because it’s weight watchers, it’s a guilt-free supper, being extremely low in fats and carbs; and 3) it’s so wonderful and tasty to eat that I make it about once a week.  You won’t ever find a more tasty, simple, and filling dish, great for a busy family like mine.

Ingredients

  • 3  slices turkey bacon, chopped
  • 3 1/2  pounds chicken pieces, skin removed
  • 1  onion, chopped
  • 2  celery stalks, chopped
  • 1  head garlic, cloves peeled
  • 1  tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2  pound cremini or white mushrooms, sliced (cremini mushrooms add a wonderful layer of flavor)
  • 1  cup frozen small onions
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz.)   can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2  cup dry white wine
  • 1/2  pound small red potatoes, quartered
  • 4  carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2  tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2  tablespoons water
  • 2  tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat nonstick Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Add chicken to pan in two batches, and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped onion, celery and garlic to Dutch oven; cook, stirring, until vegetables are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add mushrooms and frozen onions; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, wine, potatoes and carrots; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot.
  4. Return chicken and bacon to Dutch oven. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender and juices run clear when chicken thigh is pierced, about 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together flour and water in small bowl. Stir in about 1⁄4 cup of hot stew liquid until blended. Add liquid to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid bubbles and thickens, about 3 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

Morgan and her mom made these incredible spring rolls the other night for company, and they were a huge hit.  I thought they were every bit as good as any I have had at a restaurant.  Fact is, this is a restaurant recipe, from la Patisserie in Birmingham, Alabama, where a large Vietnamese population has resettled after the floods in New Orleans.  There is a wonderful video that accompanies this recipe, for which I will post the link at the end of this recipe.  Try these.  You will need to find a good Asian market to get the rice wrappers, but if you haven’t found one already, you owe it to yourself to find one.  Now.  The one near us is wonderful, and always smells great.  Very nice people, too.

Shrimp Spring Rolls

Ingredients:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 ounces rice vermicelli
24 baby shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
3 leaves lettuce, chopped
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
4 teaspoons finely chopped Thai basil

Preparation:
  1. Whisk vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl. Set the dipping sauce aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with room temperature water. Add rice vermicelli and soak for 1 hour.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in shrimp and cook until curled and pink, about 1 minute. Remove the shrimp and drain. Or you can buy precooked baby shrimp with the tails on.  Defrost and pinch off the tails.   Transfer rice vermicelli noodles to the pot of boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove and drain in a colander. Immediately rinse the vermicelli with cold water, stirring to separate the noodles.
  4. To assemble the rolls, dip 1 rice wrapper in a large bowl of room temperature water for a few seconds to soften. Place wrapper on a work surface and top with 4 shrimp halves, 1/4 of the chopped lettuce, 1/2 ounce vermicelli, and 1/4 each of the mint, cilantro, and Thai basil. Fold right and left edges of the wrapper over the ends of the filling and roll up the spring roll. Repeat with remaining wrappers and ingredients. Cut each roll in half and serve with dipping sauce.

Makes 6 spring rolls

Servings:  1 roll, 2 tablespoons dipping sauce

PP3

Vegetable Pad Thai — Weight-Watchers Style

Here is a vegetarian version of Pad Thai.  It is wonderful, slightly different, and tasty nonetheless.

Ingredients:

4 oz. flat rice noodles

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks

6 scallions, thinly sliced

2 Thai chili peppers or 2 teaspoons Asian red garlic-chili paste

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced fine

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 cup fresh bean sprouts

1/2 container extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped and divided

2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preparation:

1.  Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water; let stand until noodles are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

2.  Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bell pepper, carrots, scallions, chili peppers, and garlic, and stir fry until the vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes.  Add fish sauce, brown sugar, and soy sauce, stir fry until the sugar dissolves, about 30 seconds.  Add noodles, sprouts, half the cilantro, and tofu.  Toss gently to mix all the ingredients and coat everything with sauce and heated through, 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat to a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining cilantro and peanuts.

Serve either hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6

Serving:  1 cup

PP4

Chicken Pad Thai–Weight-Watchers Style

I have a weakness for Asian dishes, and I’m always looking to learn new ones.  Perhaps my all-time favorite Asian recipe is Pad Thai.  I can’t get enough of this dish, but traditionally, made in Thai restaurants, the calorie count is measured in the billions.  Having recently joined Weight Watchers, I now have to “skinny down” some of my faves.  What I’ll present here is an absolutely wonderful rendering of this Thai favorite, but beaten into submission.  This low calorie version has everything you could ask for in this dish, and yet has a much better PointsPlus value than traditional chicken Pad Thai recipes. It’s a great healthy meal idea to help satisfy your craving for Thai food, while still keeping you on track with Weight Watchers.

Pad Thai with Chicken

Ingredients:

6 oz chicken skinless, boneless chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces
4 oz dried rice noodles
1/4 cup egg beaters
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1/4 cup shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp peanut oil
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tbsp chopped dry-roasted peanuts
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp chili-garlic sauce

Instructions

1.  In a large bowl, soak rice noodles in warm water until they are limp and white, about 30 minutes.
2.  Heat oil over high heat in a wok until very hot. Add the shallots and garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 10 seconds.
3.  Add the egg and cook, stirring, until scrambled, about 30 seconds.  Add chicken and stir-fry until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.
4.  Drain the noodles and add to the wok, tossing with tongs until they soften and curl, about 1 minute.
Add bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar , salt and chile-garlic sauce; toss until the chicken is fully cooked and noodles are heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Sprinkle with peanuts and serve immediately.

Cooking time (duration): 45

Serving size:  1 cup

Serves 4

PP 7

Chinese-Style Scallops At the Beach — Lancaster Online

By JEFF THAL, Talking Fresh

 We’ve been driving all day to the beach in Virginia. It’s hot down here — 100 degrees some places on the mainland, and a relatively cool 92 degrees out at the beach. It’s too hot to spend a lot of time slaving over a hot stove, and besides, kids are chomping for some beachy takeout.

Because most of the takeout here consists of deep-fried seafoods, I figure we need to find another alternative on our first day at the beach.

“Chinese!” says one. “Yeah,” hollers the other. “Chinese!”

“At the beach?” I ask. “Really?”

I’m sort of relieved to discover that there is only one Chinese takeout place in this quiet little beach village, and we’ve learned that it isn’t particularly good.

But wait! I have another idea: How about if I whip up something yummy out of what we find here in town?

The idea is met with some skepticism.

Undaunted, I head out to the seafood market down the street from our little rental cottage to see what I can find, and what luck! Big, beautiful sea scallops, the size of ping-pong balls, which were brought in on a boat that day. Both kids really like scallops, which we often broil or sauté with browned butter, lemon juice and garlic.

But the kids wanted Chinese, so I think I’ll give them what they want. I pick up a couple of Asian ingredients from the local market, a piece of fresh ginger and some scallions and voila! It’s a tasty, sweet and spicy Chinese takeout dish, General Tso’s scallops, made with fresh, locally caught sea scallops and some locally grown broccoli.

Sea scallops are a tasty, different kind of seafood, and if you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend you do so. Mr. Bill’s Fresh Seafood on Harrisburg Pike carries some of the nicest, freshest sea scallops around, and the proprietor, Tim Glatfelter, or a member of the staff there will gladly provide you with some terrific tips and advice on cooking them in various delicious ways.

You can also make this dish with shrimp, chicken or beef, but you need to try it.

GENERAL TSO’S SCALLOPS

1 pound sea scallops, washed, drained and dried

1/2 cup rice wine, separated into two 1/4-cup measures

4 teaspoons oyster sauce

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon Chinese chili-garlic sauce

4 teaspoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, finely grated

2 scallions, chopped

2 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces

Combine scallops, 2 tablespoons rice wine, 2 teaspoons oyster sauce and 3 teaspoons cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl; toss to coat. Combine vinegar, sugar, chili-garlic sauce and remaining rice wine from the first 1/4-cup measure, oyster sauce and cornstarch in a separate bowl.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium heat until smoking. Add half of the scallops and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a warm plate. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the skillet and repeat with remaining scallops.

Wipe the skillet with paper towels and return to heat. Add remaining oil and the ginger and scallions and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the second 1/4 cup of wine and the broccoli florets to the skillet; reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the cooked scallops and the ingredients from the second bowl back to the skillet and stir-fry, cooking and stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and the scallops are cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately beside a 1/2 cup of white steamed rice.

And if you want to spice it up a bit, add two or three Asian dried red chilies just before you add the ginger and the scallions, and stir-fry them until they turn black, then proceed as directed.

Email Jeff Thal at talking.fresh@yahoo.com or visit his blog, talkingfresh.typepad.com/blog.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/683610_Chinese-style-scallops-at-the-beach.html#ixzz234GyTEB7

%d bloggers like this: