Friday, November 23, 2012


Between our family blog and food blog we have exceeded our photo space at our current address. Instead of throwing in the towel we have decided to move to a new address. These posts will all still be available (as far as I know) but any new posts will be at our new address.

You can follow along by clicking here: All Betz Off @

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Potato and Canadian Bacon Chowder

Soups seem to be on our menu a lot lately. It must be the time of year, the weather, the idea of having a meal that is warm and cozy. Who knows. All I know is that most of these soups are easy to make, tasty, and filling.

I have made a few different potato soups in my day. I really like how this one is very chunky, not watery at all, and has the texture of the barley mixed in with the potatoes, carrots, and ham. I like soups that are more on the chunky side instead of the sipping side.

Easy, tasty, low cal. A winner all around. Enjoy!

Potato and Canadian Bacon Chowder
Source: Weight Watchers

2 cups uncooked potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large uncooked carrot, diced
1 cup uncooked leek, white part only, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked barley
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
2 ounces fat-free half-and-half

In a slow cooker, combine potatoes, carrots, leek, garlic, broth, barley, bay leaf, thyme, pepper and bacon; cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Stir in evaporated milk and half-and-half; heat through, uncovered, about 10 minutes.

Makes about 6 servings   (1 serving = 4 points on weight watchers points plus)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Salted Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin carving in our house is not complete without caramel apples! As we get older we are less inclined to bite into a gooey apple covered in caramel. If we come across a caramel apple we often times will cut it into wedges so that we can neatly eat it. A few years ago, instead of making actual caramel apples to go with our pumpkin carving I just started making caramel sauce to dip our apples into. Much neater and very yummy!

Of course, I'm probably the one that eats the most apples with caramel. Hubby would be the next most likely and will usually wait for me to eat my portion and then he will finish off the pan. The little guy would rather just have the apple wedges and forget about the caramel. Again, sometimes I would wonder what family he belongs to if I hadn't given birth to this boy!

This sauce is very easy to make and tastes great! I haven't made a low fat/low cal caramel sauce before so I'm not sure if the somewhat grainy texture is due to not using a full fat cream or just the fact that I didn't wait long enough for the sugar to dissolve completely. Either way, texture aside the taste is amazing!

**One little side note: When you are waiting for the mixture to brown don't let it go too long. By about 8 1/2 minutes I was getting a little nervous because my mixture was not turning a brown/gold color. I gave it a quick stir and realized that all the color was happening beneath the top layer. Thank goodness it didn't burn while I was waiting for that top layer to turn color.**

Salted Caramel Sauce
Source: Weight Watchers

1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
2 tablespoons light stick butter
1/4 teaspoon fine or coarse sea salt
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
4 apples (Gala work great), cut into wedges

Combine half-and-half, butter, and salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is hot, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine sugar and water in a large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and bring to boil, washing down sides of pan with pastry brush dipped in cool water to dissolve any sugar crystals. Boil, without stirring, until caramel turns dark amber, about 10 minutes.

Immediately remove saucepan from heat; let caramel cool 1 minute. Wearing long oven mitts to protect your arms and being careful to avoid any splatters, slowly whisk in half-and-half mixture, whisking until smooth. Transfer caramel to small bowl. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Serve warm with apple wedges.

Makes about 6 servings (1 serving = about 4 teaspoons of sauce)(1 serving = 4 weight watchers plus points)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Who knew that vegetables had some many uses! Well, I guess I did, but still . . . this was my first attempt at making a meatless version of lasagna and it turned out pretty well.

We had some friends over for dinner and one of our guests was vegetarian. Last time we had them over for dinner she ended up bringing a little something for her main dish. This time though I wanted to be able to make everything for dinner and not have to have her bring her own food. Since Fall is now here it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a winter squash lasagna dish.

I wasn't sure how I should cook the squash. Some recipes called for baking it, some steaming it, some boiling. I tried microwaving it for a very short timeframe but soon gave up on that idea. I peeled it, cut it into chunks, and threw it in a pan with a bit of water to steam it soft. It worked great! Once the squash was steamed I threw it in the blender and pureed it smooth. All this was happening while the noodles were boiling.

It came together smoothly and tasted great. I think the leftovers may have been even better than the first round. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Source: Weight Watchers

10 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles (about 12 noodles)
24 ounces butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1 inch squares
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups fat-free evaporated milk
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Boil lasagna noodles to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Place diced butternut squash into a large skillet. Pour 1/2 cup the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor/blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Place flour in a small saucepan and very gradually whisk in milk and garlic. Warm over low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce simmers and is thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Spread 1/4 cup of cheese sauce over bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass or metal pan. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles; top with 1/3 of squash and 1/2 cup of cheese sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of raisins. Cover with 3 more lasagna noodles and spread with 1/3 of remaining squash and 1/2 cup of cheese sauce; sprinkle with 1/4 cup of raisins. Cover with 3 more lasagna noodles and top with remaining squash and raisins; cover with last 3 lasagna noodles, pressing sheets firmly down. Top with remaining cheese sauce; sprinkle with pine nuts and remaining mozzarella cheese

Bake until lasagna bubbles around edges and is browned on top, about 30 minutes.

Makes 8 servings  (1 serving = 9 points on weight watchers points plus)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

I have made many, many cheesecakes over the years. I have always shied away from any cheesecake recipe that uses low fat or fat free ingredients. I just always figured that if I'm eating cheesecake then I might as well en joy it. Right? I can't believe how wrong I was.

I decided to make a low fat cheesecake a few weeks ago for a potluck at work. I found the recipe while perusing the Weight Watchers site. Yep. Weight Watchers. I decided that I needed to reset my normal so this was one way to do it. I still wanted to provide a dessert so I decided to find a recipe that I could enjoy that also got rave reviews. This recipe fit that description on both accounts.

I was a little hesitant when I started making the crust and it didn't use any butter to bind the cookie crust. In all other cheesecake crusts I've made there is always a healthy dose of butter and sugar added to the cookie crumb mixture. I was afraid the crumb crust would move around when the batter was poured in, but I was pleasantly surprised when it stayed put in the pan.

The other thing I wasn't sure about was the mixture of fat-free and low fat cream cheese. I wasn't sure they were going to come together as well as they did. I've also never pureed cottage cheese but I was amazed at how smooth it became, almost like sour cream.

This recipe was easy to make and it tasted great! My husband and son ate it up even though at least one of them knew it was "diet" food. In fact, that one said that if this was healthier and tasted good I could make it any time. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
Source: Weight Watchers

10 cream filled chocolate sandwich cookies
8 1/2 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
8 ounces low fat cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg whites
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Crush cookies; spread evenly over bottom of pan.

Using a mixer, beat together the cream cheese on lowest speed until well blended.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and flour; add to cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth.

In a food processor or blender, puree cottage cheese until smooth. Add cottage cheese and vanilla extract to cream cheese mixture; beat until smooth. Add egg whites; beat until well blended. Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake until cheesecake puffs and center is almost set, about 60 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Run a knife around sides of pan to loosen; release pan sides. Cover and chill overnight. Cut into 12 slices and serve.

Makes about 12 servings  (1 serving = 6 points on weight watchers points plus)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Split Pea Soup

Oh no, another abandoned post! My poor neglected blog. I guess you can see what takes a back seat when life gets busy. :)

So . . . I tried a healthified version of split pea soup. I don't know that it was really a healthier version compared to my other split pea soup but it definitely did not involve pureeing the cooked peas to make it the typical smooth, thick pea green soup. Also noteworthy, this version has no meat. Just in case you missed that it is split pea and not split pea and ham. That is somewhat noteworthy for me because I really like ham in my split pea soup. Besides that though it was an enjoyable dish. Enjoy!

Split Pea Soup
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried split peas, rinsed well
1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed well
1 bay leaf
7 cups water
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 potato, diced
2 tablespoons dried (or 4 tablespoons fresh) parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt

In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the onion and garlic in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add the peas, rice, bay leaf, salt, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, celery, potato, parsley, basil, thyme, pepper, and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Makes 6 servings

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peach Tart

Pinterest, the treasure trove of ideas! A photo of miniature fruit tarts in teeny mason jar lids caught my eye right away. How can you resist something so small and cute? Individual portions, an unusual baking pan. This one definitely got pinned on my board.

I just had to find the perfect time to bake it. I didn't want to bake a whole batch and have all of them for just my little family to eat. I didn't have time during the summer between all of our trips to here and there. How about in the Fall? How about a dessert for book club? Perfect!

While my picture is nowhere near as cute as the one on pinterest (and the original blog post), it was very, very tasty. I would definitely make these again. Enjoy!

Peach Tart in a Mason Jar Lid
Source: Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body

Pastry Crust:
Recipe from Ina Garten

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water
Peach Pie Filling (recipe below - can be made ahead of time and refrigerated)

For the pastry, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and blend until it is in small bits the size of peas. Pour ice water and mix just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray your mason jar lids with nonstick spray. (I also used parchment paper between the crust and the lid.) Pull clumps of dough (about 2 tbsp for each mini tart) from the large dough ball and smoosh them into each lid. Push the dough so it covers the bottom and sides of each lid.

Prepare the pie filling, if not already prepared.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the pie filling starts to set. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out.

Peach Pie Filling:

5 cups diced peaches
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 of a lemon, juiced

Toss all of the ingredients into a large pot; mix until the flour is distributed evenly. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Turn the heat on medium-high. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Bring mixture to a boil and lower to low/medium heat. Stir occasionally. Keep over the heat for about 30 minutes, until it begins to thicken. Pour into a container, cool, then store in the fridge until ready to use or pour into pastry crust.

*Can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 12 mini tarts