Getting Pot-Lucky

Pot (noun) – a container of earthenware, metal, etc., usually round and deep and having a handle or handles and often a lid, used for cooking, serving, and other purposes.*

Luck (noun) – a combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person.*

Potluck (crapshoot) – an event where you have no choice but to eat everything on the table or else people will feel bad that you didn’t try their dish: I gained two pounds this week but if I didn’t try the church lady’s brownies she would have simply lost the will to live I just couldn’t hurt her feelings – and then I ate another just to be sure they were as good as I thought.

Potluck (opportunity) a time make new friends and share the joy of healthy recipes and hearty conversation.

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 Mr. Second Helpings and I recently hosted our second, and now annual, 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 “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 a plate or a bowl 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 goodies and I snapped a few pictures so you could get in on the deliciousness.

Dilled 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!  Mr. Second Helpings and I gladly accepted the leftovers when they were offered. Thanks Ted!

Cucumbers marinated in vinegar and dill

This velvety cup of soup came from our friends Cheryl and Hans who just treated themselves to a Vitamix. Luck 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 spices to use but the veggie blend was right on the money.  Another simple dish that doesn’t “cost” a single point. Love it!

cup of pumpkin soup

Cheryl and Hans also came bearing a heap of 1 Point Plus a piece Double Chocolate Biscotti that would make any Nonni proud. The recipe comes straight from Weight Watchers and if you are on the look out for a great firm, chocolatey, nutty, and full flavored cookie you have to give it a try.

Tin full of chocolate biscotti

And those weren’t the only sweet treat we sampled! There were two light and simple pies from Weight Watchers recipes.

Weight Watchers Pumpkin Pie

I personally started with this crustless Pumpkin Pie. It was soft and sort of 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! (Click this link for the recipe.) Thank you Carol for sharing it with us.

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 and passing along the ones she enjoys. This recipe came to Pam via a meeting member and now the sharing continues with you.

Remains of a Cream Pie

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 synch 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. (Click this link for the recipe.)

The heartiest dish on the table was an Italian Halibut Stew made by Dorothy. I was honestly a little hesitant to try this one.  When it comes to fish soup, I have always been a chowder girl.  Tomato sauce and fish feel a bit dissonant to me.  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.

Bowl of Halibut Stew with bread

This Halibut stew was so good I want you all to have the recipe!

Italian Halibut Stew

Prep time: approximately 15 minutes. Cooking time: approximately 30 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of fresh Halibut – cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced (may substitute garlic salt)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 – 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
  • 1/2 cup of rice – dry, uncooked
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend
  • 1/8 ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley – minced
  • Optional – fresh grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on the top

Method

  1. Cut the Halibut into pieces as noted above. Cover and refrigerate the fish until it is time to add it to the stew.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add cut fish and parsley. Simmer an additional 10 minutes or until the fish has cooked through completely.
  5. Serve hot. If desired sprinkle with a small amount of grated parmesan cheese.

Approximate Nutrition Information (1 TB oil): 239 calories, 5 g. fat, 10 g. carbs, 1.6 g. fiber, 32 g. protein, PP = 5

Of course I put out a selection of nibbles too.  They were simple to make and fun to eat.  They are also coming to this blog – soon! In the mean time, I’ll leave you with this little teaser shot of the Southwestern Sweet Potato Bites.

Appetizers with wontons

 

*definitions of “pot” and “luck” are from dictionary.com

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2 thoughts on “Getting Pot-Lucky

  1. That looks so good and I want to try making it! Did you use white rice? I want to use brown rice but it takes so long to cook that I figured it wasn’t the rice used in this recipe. And my other question is what kind of tomatoes you used– diced or were they larger?

    • Jill you are correct that this recipe uses white rice. I think you could use brown rice. You will probably need to add 1/2 – 3/4 cups of water and cook everything longer. For the tomatoes you could use diced or another cut variety. They should break up a bit during cooking. Enjoy!

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