I can’t believe that the weekend is already half over! I’ve had a good one so far, but it has been a bit busy. As a result, I spent plenty of time cooking yesterday, but I have yet to tell you what I made. To make up for my tardiness, I have two really great recipes to share today. Then… I need to get busy making my “big batch” food for this week! I also need to remind you that today is the last day to submit your entries for this week’s BSI. If you haven’t checked out all of the awesome black bean recipes that have been submitted so far, you can do that by scrolling to the bottom of the post at this link. I’m very excited about all of the great dishes!
A friend of mine came over for dinner and a movie last night. This friend is usually pretty game to try out my healthy fare, and last night was no exception. I had some beautiful Swiss chard from last week’s Merry Produce Wednesday box, and I wanted to build a dish around that. I love goat cheese or blue cheese along with chard. There is something about the combination of the slightly tangy cheese with the earthy flavor of the chard that I just really love. I also love how pretty the chard is. As you can see in the picture at the top of the post, there are bright flashes of color amidst the green. It almost seems like something out of Dr. Seuss! It is really good for you, and very delicious in addition to being beautiful. Perfect! Here’s the recipe for the dish that we enjoyed last night. It was an easy one, and one that can be done in little more than the time it takes to boil the pasta!
Just Sweet Enough Swiss Chard Pasta Toss
2 ounces of uncooked rotini (I used Barilla Plus in calculating points)
Water and salt (for boiling the pasta)
Nonstick Cooking Spray
1 Link of Hot Lean Italian Turkey Sausage
1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 pound of Swiss chard, stems thinly sliced and leafy parts chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
3 Tbsp. soft type goat cheese
Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, immediately drain it and set it aside.
While the pasta is cooking, spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place it over medium high heat. Brown the turkey sausage in the skillet, chopping it into small bits as it cooks. When the sausage is browned, add the chickpeas to the skillet and cook for an additional 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the sausage and chickpeas from the skillet.
Spray the skillet with nonstick cooking spray again, and place it on the stove at medium high heat. You could use olive oil, of course, but I was trying to save a point or two. I find that nonstick cooking spray works just fine. Add the Swiss chard to the skillet in batches until it all fits, stirring frequently. Add the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Allow the chard to wilt down and become tender. This will probably take four or five minutes, but you will know it is ready when it looks wilted, and has shrunk quite a bit in size.
When the chard is nicely wilted, add the sausage and garbanzo beans back to the skillet along with pasta and give it stir. Heat through for about one minute.
Divide the mixture into two serving bowls, top each with half of the goat cheese, then sprinkle half of the pine nuts on top of each bowl. Enjoy!!
This makes 2 servings at 7 unofficial WW points each.
I was very happy with this dish. There are so many flavors and textures at play, and I think they work together quite well. I also think that it is a good example of a dish where I used higher points value ingredients more sparingly (the pasta, sausage and pine nuts), and mixed them in with some lower points items (the chard, chickpeas and goat cheese) in a way that let me enjoy some of my favorite flavors, while having a filling dinner at the same time. I also think you can’t go wrong with toasted garbanzo beans, toasted pine nuts and goat cheese. Yum!
Dinner was really good, but I was most excited about dessert! Not surprising, right? After last week’s pavlovas, I was itching to make another favorite that involves nice fluffy egg whites– angel food cake. As usual, I was concerned about finding myself with an entire cake sitting on the cabinet that needed to be eaten, frozen or given away. I really don’t worry that I’m going to eat the whole cake myself. I’m careful with my daily points, and that isn’t much of a problem for me. I just hate getting to “Angel Food Cake: Day 12” and having some really old cake that I hate to waste, but that isn’t really worth eating.
I decided to see if I could make a very small batch of angel food cake batter and bake them up cupcake style. I’m SO happy! I looked at a few different recipes on-line to get an idea of the basic cake ingredients, did some math, and tweaked things a bit. I ended up making a batch of nice fluffy angel food cupcakes, and my recipe just makes four!! I’m happy to report that, after last night’s dinner and movie watching, there were no survivors.
You might think it seems like a lot of trouble to go to for four cupcakes. You could certainly double, triple or quadruple the recipe if that’s the case. I find that my daily eating can’t keep up with my love of cooking so I don’t mind making small batches like this if it means that I get to avoid “Angel Food Cake: Day 12” and enjoy some quality time with my Kitchen-aid. I think fresh baked goods are the best! So, without further adieu, I give you:
Just Sweet Enough Angels with Strawberries on Top
Ingredients For the Cupcakes:
1/4 cup cake flour
4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
3 egg whites at room temperature
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 of a vanilla bean
3 Tbsp. sugar
Ingredients for the Glaze:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. butter, melted
4 strawberries, cleaned and chopped
Directions for the Cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place four paper cupcake wrappers on a baking sheet and set aside.
2. Sift the cake flour and powdered sugar together into a bowl and set aside.
3. Beat the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and the seeds scraped from the inside of the vanilla bean at high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
4. At the soft peak stage, continue beating the egg white mixture while adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until the mixture becomes firm and glossy.
5. Sift about half of the flour mixture over the egg whites and gently fold the flour in using a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour. Of course, it is important to be gentle in order to keep as much air as possible in the egg whites.
6. This was the really fun part! Scoop the mixture into the four cupcake cups, and continue piling the batter on until it has been fairly evenly divided them. They are going to be very tall, and you may feel as though you are operating the soft serve machine at Dairy Queen. Trust me on this one.
7. Place the cupcakes in the oven and bake for 20-23 minutes or until the cakes are golden on top and spring back when pressed lightly with your finger.
8. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
Directions for the glaze:
Place the chopped strawberries in a small bowl and use a fork to mash them well. Then, sift the powdered sugar on to the berries, add the melted butter and stir it well. Divide the glaze among the four cooled cupcakes and allow it to set for 5-10 minutes.
This makes 4 cupcakes at 3 unofficial Weight Watcher points each.
Here are a few photos from the process. This is a picture of the batter piled up on top of the cupcake cups. It may look precarious, but it will work out just fine! It did make me hungry for soft serve. I love the little black flecks of vanilla bean!! So sweet!
Before the baking:
Here are some before and after berry photos from the glaze making:
I thinned my glaze with a little orange juice this time, and it got a bit too thin. I think that it would have been fine without any extra liquid, so I’m not recommending that you add any. I just thought I should explain in case you find yourself with a thicker glaze than what you see in the photos. That’s a good thing if you do!
I’m so excited about the cupcakes, and I’m already thinking of all sorts of variations that I can make in the future. Yum! There were just enough sweet little angels to satisfy my sweet tooth and my love of baking without leaving me with endless leftovers!! Yay!!
Before I go, I have a few contests to tell you about, including the one I’m hosting to celebrate my 50th post. If you are interested in entering to win some yummy snacks previously featured in my Friday weigh-in/snack posts, please go to the this link and follow the directions. Good luck!!
In addition, you should check out all of these great contests:
Jessica is giving away a very cute Kath Eat’s (KERF) t-shirt at Johnstone’s Vin Blanc
Lindsay is giving away some very awesome prizes (but you only have until 6 p.m. today to enter) at For the Love of Oats
Michelle is giving away Barney Butter (which I’ve been dying to try… don’t enter… I want to win!) at Lucky Taste Buds
Katie is giving away a whole BOX of Jocolat bars at Chocolate-Covered Katie
I’m going to get busy on this week’s “big batch” now, and I hope to tell you about it tomorrow. I think that carrots are going to be my featured ingredient, but we’ll see. Have a lovely Sunday!!