Another gem from the way back machine! These are great ideas for your Thanksgiving gatherings!
Potlucks are a wonderful time to learn about new foods, recipes, and cooking techniques. Sharing a meal can be the vehicle that turns strangers into acquaintances and acquaintances into life long friends. Gathering together with people to share food should be a joyful part of building community. Unfortunately traditional potlucks can be a nerve-wracking experience for people striving to make the healthiest food choices for their body.
It was for all of these reasons, and a few more, that Mike and I recently hosted our second, and now annual, Weight Watchers Recipe Exchange Potluck! It was such a fun experience the first time around we knew it had to happen again. A few weeks ago we set a date and invited our fellow Weight Watchers meeting members to bring, a Weight Watchers Recipe or “Points Plus friendly” dish.
Just in time for lunch last Saturday we had the kitchen scrubbed and ready for company. One by one our meeting friends arrived excited to share what they made.
Each dish was discussed in detail and celebrated for its healthy highlights. Sharing food with fellow healthy eaters is not the same as sharing with family and friends who may not eat as mindfully. It can be more than a little deflating to see your thoughtfully prepared quinoa salad hidden behind a 7 layer bean dip or a bucket of crispy chicken legs.
Everyone grabbed plates and bowls to taste a bit of this and a bite that. In the end we all had a happy mouths and just-full-enough tummies. We were treated to some great Weight Watchers Recipes. I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pictures so you could get in on the deliciousness.
Marinated Cucumber Salad
Sliced cucumbers simply marinated overnight in rice wine vinegar, with sliced onion, salt, pepper, and lots of dill. I don’t know what was better the crisp fresh taste or that they won’t set you back a single Point! Mike and I gladly accepted the leftovers when they were offered. Thanks Ted!
Vitamix Pumpkin Soup
This velvety cup of pumpkin soup came from our friends Cheryl and Hans, who just treated themselves to a Vitamix. Lucky ducks! To make this soup grab a Vitamix and toss in some peeled pumpkin chunks, a celery rib, a couple handfuls of baby carrots, add 1 1/2 cups of water, spices and blend for 5 minutes. How awesome is that! If you, like me, don’t have a Vitamix – simmer the ingredients on the stove and puree them once they have softened. We were on the fence about the best spices to use, but the veggie blend was right on the money. Another simple dish that doesn’t “cost” a single point. Love it!
Weight Watchers Chocolate Biscotti
Cheryl and Hans also came bearing a heap of 1 Point Plus a piece Double Chocolate Biscotti that would make any Nonni proud. This is an original Weight Watchers recipe. If you are on the look out for a great firm, chocolatey, nutty, and full flavored cookie you have to give it a try.
The biscotti wasn’t the only sweet treat we sampled! There were two, low calorie, easy pies from Weight Watchers recipes.
Weight Watchers Crustless Pumpkin Pie
I started with the crustless pumpkin pie. It was very soft to the point that it lost its shape going from the dish to my plate. The flavor, on the other hand, was just what I hoped for. Creamy, pumpkiny, spicy, and sweet and 15 Points Plus for the entire pie. Yum! Yum! Thank you Carol, for sharing this lovely dessert.
No-Bake Key Lime Pie
The second pie I tried was this No-Bake Key Lime Pie. It was made by our meeting leader, Pam, who is great about trying new recipes then passing along the ones she enjoys. This recipe came to Pam via another meeting member and the sharing continues here.
It was a fluffy lime Jell-O cloud in a graham cracker crust. I liked the fluffy texture combined with the crunchy graham cracker bits. The recipe looks like a cinch to make and it comes in at approximately 4 Points Plus a serving. I would probably change it up just a little and make the filling in individual dishes. Simply crumbling a graham cracker (or ginger snap) over the top would have texture similar to the pie crust with less calories.
Italian Halibut Stew
The heartiest dish on the table,Italian Halibut Stew, was not a Weight Watchers recipe but a family favorite from our friend Dorothy. I was honestly a little hesitant to try this one. When it comes to fish soup, I have always been a white chowder girl. Tomato sauce and fish feel a bit dissonant to me. Now, I have been schooled. This stew was rich and flavorful with a creamy texture. It was full of chunky bits of fish and vegetable to give you the sense that you are eating something much heavier than the totaled Points Plus reflect.
This Halibut stew was so good and Dorothy graciously let me share her recipe!
- 2 pounds of fresh Halibut (or other firm white fish)- cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil (for sautéing)
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced (may substitute garlic salt)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ½ - 1 cup chopped green bell pepper - bite sized pieces
- 2 cans of tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato juice (unsalted)
- 1 cup white wine (water may be substituted)
- 1 9oz package of frozen Italian green beans
- ½ cup of rice - dry, uncooked
- 1 beef bouillon cube
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend
- ⅛ ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley - minced
- Optional - fresh grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on the top
- Cut the Halibut into pieces as noted above. Cover and refrigerate the fish until it is time to add it to the stew.
- On the stove top - heat a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot to medium high heat. Add oil and sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and green pepper until soft and fragrant.
- Add tomatoes, tomato juice, wine, beans, rice, bouillon cube, Worcestershire sauce, Italian herbs, and black pepper. Cover and simmer over medium/low heat for 15 minutes.
- Add cut fish and parsley. Simmer an additional 10 minutes or until the fish has cooked through completely.
- Serve hot. If desired sprinkle with a small amount of grated Parmesan cheese.