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Weight Watcher Foodies - March Forth into Spring Edition--March 2013 [OLD]

With the warmer weather looming, I feel like it's time to redouble my weight loss efforts. The thought of what I call "The Great Unwrapping" (removing figure friendly coats and wrappings) coming with the spring has inspired me anew.

What interesting and inspirational things are you cooking to help you stay on plan?

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  1. I picked up Indian Cooking without Fat yesterday at the library. I scanned through it last night after dinner, but didn't see a lot of recipes i can use from it... well amend that... I have questions.
    A lot of the chicken dishes are marinated in yogurt. I'm allergic to dairy, so can I use soy yogurt or would you skip the yogurt altogether?
    A lot of the other recipes have ground nuts. since I also have a nut allergy, that's not going to fly. I'm not sure what purpose the nuts serve, other than flavor, so I'm not sure how to replace them. Any advice you all can provide would be great! :)
    I really want to continue trying new recipes this spring, to keep us interested and on track.

    10 Replies
    1. re: jujuthomas

      Hmmm. Maybe Indian food isn't your best bet for low fat cooking. I just bought Every Grain of Rice, which is the COTM, because several people mentioned that it's possible to make a lot of the recipes very diet-friendly. Maybe try that one from the library?

      1. re: roxlet

        thanks, I'll look in to it. :) amazon is my bff for looking up titles, the library descriptions are so sad.

        1. re: roxlet

          I scrolled to the bottom of the screen and found a recipe for Spinach Dal - no dairy - looks delish. If I make that, I'd get to eat it all myself, as DH doesn't eat spinach. :)

        2. re: jujuthomas

          My parents are South Asian and I am very familiar with at least a few of the different regions so can probably help!

          The yogurt is used most often to tenderize meat and does add a little bit of tang. I'm not familiar with soy yogurt, but I would definitely give it a shot. To replace the flavor, you could try using a sprinkling of amchoor (dried green mango powder), but I would probably just omit that step and see if it needs tang at the end and if so, would add lemon juice or some (soy) yogurt tempered with a bit of the sauce.

          The nuts are usually used to thicken sauces and add richness. There are a few things you can do with this, but it does depend on the dish, especially if you're using more "sweet spices" (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, mace, etc.). Assuming the dish calls for chopped onions, you can blend them with a bit of water and then saute that until it gets some color and then proceed with the recipe. Light coconut milk or rice milk can also be used to thicken, although the coconut milk will definitely change the flavor of the end product. If the dish calls for both ground nuts and the addition of water, I might try using rice milk in place of the water. If the dish calls for potatoes and is saucy, add 1/2 of one 15 minutes before you add the rest. This one will melt and thicken the sauce.

          One other tip - the "bhuna" stage (when the spices are cooked in fat) - is where the most fat is added. What I do to cut the oil is to lightly toast the spices in a skillet separately before cooking and then when cooking, when the spices start to stick (from not using as much oil as I should), add little bits of hot water as needed. The flavor of the spices really are developed and deepened during this stage, but the pre-toasting will help.

            1. re: jujuthomas

              You're welcome and please report back if you find anything good! :)

              1. re: adrienne156

                i will! there's a recipe for lamb keema on skinnytaste I've been wanting to try... and i want to make aloo ghobi.
                tomorrow I'm meeting a girlfriend for the real deal tho. :)

                1. re: jujuthomas

                  Thanks!

                  Skinnytaste's keema recipe is almost identical to my mum's version. The only differences are that she uses whole garam masala (cinn stick, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom), canola instead of ghee, and a split serrano instead of the chili powder. I make this with ground turkey all the time.

                  Dishes like aloo ghobi are really easy to healthy up. I use less fat and then do the majority of the cooking with the top on to keep the moisture in and the veg from burning.

                  Also, I use nonstick. I have one deep, wide-bottom wok/frying pan that I use for S. Asian food specifically bc the spices really do get into the nonstick.

                  1. re: adrienne156

                    i wondered if I could make that keema with ground turkey! oh boy. gonna have to check the ingredient list and make that on sunday. :)

          1. re: jujuthomas

            I don't think soy yogurt would have the same tenderizing effect as normal yogurt or buttermilk. The one time I had soy yogurt 1) taste and texture were awful 2) used stabilizers to make that texture. So just skip the yogurt is my guess. I always forget whether it is the north or south region but one is more heavy with dairy and one is not. My bff's mom rarely cooks with cream or even paneer (sigh) but her food still comes out delicious. You can most likely omit the dairy in many dishes. Whenever I eat there the meal consists of

            1) veggie main course (stir fried, parboiled if need be, with spices)
            2) rasam (usually tomato, Dal) served on top of
            3) rice

            Maybe replace the nuts with coconut. It is a different flavor obviously but it could mimic the texture/bite in the dish. Good luck.

          2. Nothing, just setpping up the cardio!

            1. just marking my spot, but I did just receive comfort food makeovers from cook's illustrated and i'm working on upping my cardio.

              1. This has been a tough weekend, and I am hoping that my points have stayed within range. First, there was the T-bone steak last night, and today my husband lit the big smoker and made ribs and chicken. I had chicken for my dinner, but I couldn't resist a rib...or two, as it happened. I know WW says a rib is 5 points, but my husband said that the ribs he makes are much meatier than "spare ribs." I still counted 10 points for the two...

                1. I'm trying this recipe out tonight. I'm making it as 4 servings and serving with cilantro lime rice, instead of the lettuce wraps. http://bevcooks.com/2013/02/chipotle-...

                  Each serving of the chicken mixture is only 260 calories, so I can't imagine the points would be that much, especially if you do the lettuce wrap route.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: juliejulez

                    looks good! can't wait to hear how you like it.

                    1. re: jujuthomas

                      It was really good, and a pretty dish too, very colorful. I wish I had taken a photo. I used 3 chipotles so it was very very hot. It would have been better if I had more rice... I didn't make enough. I had planned to have 1 cup with each serving but silly me, I only ended up with a 1/2 cup for each serving. If I had the extra rice it would have calmed it down for sure. To eat the leftovers I'll probably pick up some flour tortillas to use as a wrap.. a local brand here has delicious ones for only 110 calories. The lettuce if you do a wrap would help too... or you could just use 2 chiles instead of 3 :)

                      Oh, and I only ended up with 14oz of chicken, and I didn't need 3tbsp of olive oil, only 2 (which was in my original calculation... a lot of recipes overestimate how much oil is needed to cook I think). Total calories in the end was only 242.