Lightened Up: Green Bean and Corn Casserole

Um, did everybody know that Christmas is 4 days away? I wish somebody would have told me – I’ve just been assuming I have plenty of time! I guess that’s why the husband and I spent a few hours wrapping gifts last night…but at least we had A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer to keep us company and get us me in the Christmas spirit!

So now that the shopping is completely almost done, it’s time to focus on the food – not that I haven’t been focusing on food for the past month, but you know, food for Christmas day!

I think we all know that it’s okay to give in a little since “it’s the holidays” and all – but if you can still make something tasty and the recipe doesn’t start with 2 sticks of butter, then why  not save yourself a few calories to use on something sweet or a festive cocktail?

So here’s a recipe that’s been floating around my family for a while now – but I found a way to lighten it up and make it WW friendly! It seems like a lot of ingredients, but it’s super easy to throw together. (Fair warning – I made a double batch to take to a work potluck – so do not be deceived by the pictures!)

Green Bean and Corn Casserole (Serves 8 – 4 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients

1 can ( 15 oz.) french cut green beans

1 can (11 oz.) white shoepeg corn

1 can (10.5oz) condensed cream of celery soup, reduced-fat

1 cup sour cream, fat-free

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, fat-free

3 medium ribs of celery, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, add your chopped onion and celery.

Chopped Veggies

Drain green beans and corn and add to the bowl. Then add salt, pepper, sour cream, soup and shredded cheese. Mix until blended.

Sour Cream and CheeseMix

Pour mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish. Top with corn flakes and spray with butter spray. (The original recipe calls for crushed Ritz crackers, 4 Tbsp. melted butter and sliced almonds – but beware added points!).

Topping

Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes until bubbling. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.

Baked

Also, if you have a party to attend or just want something healthier to snack on between big meals – might I suggest an adorable Christmas tree vegetable tray that I made (inspired, of course, by Pinterest!) last weekend for our party. It was quite the hit…

Veggie Tree

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and get to spend some quality time with friends and family!

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Wasabi Shrimp Bites

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m starting to feel the pressure!

I absolutely love this time of year but it can really be stressful – I just feel like there isn’t enough time to get everything done. Figuring out schedules, bringing food to parties, organizing lists, planning parties, baking, getting gifts ordered, wrapping gifts…oh, and trying not to gain 10 pounds if you can help it!

Well, I can’t take care of your Aunt Mildred’s gift or tell you what to do with that door prize you won at the office, but I can at least arm you with a delicious dish to take to your parties that you can snack on without any guilt! (Okay, well, maybe a little guilt since you might show up the store-bought deli tray and the shady looking jello mold…)

I actually found these on the Weight Watchers website over a year ago and they are now a family favorite. I’ve modified them slightly to make them even easier to prepare, but they are seriously delicious and easy to make – and nobody can even tell they are “diet-friendly.”

Wasabi Shrimp Bites (Makes 24 pieces / 2 pieces = 1 WW point)

Ingredients

24 small-medium cooked shrimp (1/2 pound should work)

1 cucumber

1 avocado

1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise

1 tsp. Wasabi paste

1 tsp. soy sauce

Begin by mixing together your mayonnaise, soy sauce and wasabi paste. Adjust according to taste – I usually add a little more wasabi for more of a kick. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Soy

Rinse shrimp and remove tails.

Slice your cucumber into 24 slices and cut avocado into 24 small pieces.

CucumberAvocado

To assemble, spread about 1/2 tsp. wasabi-mayo mixture on each cucumber slice. Add a piece of avocado and top with 1 shrimp.

Top

Refrigerate until ready to serve, and then dig in…

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Hope you all have a great weekend!

Roasted Vegetable Strudel

So this week, I’ve been determined to get into the Christmas spirit. The 70 degree weather makes it incredibly difficult. I want gloves and scarves and pea coats people! I shouldn’t have to crank the AC down to convince myself it’s cool enough for a hot chocolate, right?

Last weekend, we got our tree. Which is beautiful. It’s also giant – so halfway through putting up lights, we had to run out and buy more. This was after spending the afternoon balancing on a ladder hanging giant ornaments and outdoor lights, so we postponed the actual decorating of the tree until the next night…because I wanted to be able to enjoy decorating, which comes complete with an ornament draft and a viewing of Love Actually.

Ornaments Tree

Now, we’re entering the portion of the month full of holiday parties. I think they are fun on the weekends – but let me tell you, during the week – they can just be exhausting! As in, I get home and don’t want to move. Or cook.

Luckily, I have a great recipe that’s pretty easy to prepare. It’s filling, but not as rich as that cheese ball or creamy dip your co-workers make – and it’s the perfect way to load up on your veggies this holiday season. Don’t be intimidated by the point value – it’s great as a big dinner, or you can divvy it up for snacks!

Roasted Vegetable Strudel (serves 2 / 14 WW points per serving)

Ingredients

1 medium eggplant, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 small red onion, sliced

1/2 package frozen artichoke hearts

1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. olive oil

“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray

10 tsp. reduced-fat Parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese

2 oz. Goat cheese crumbles

10 sheets Phyllo Pastry Sheets

Salt and pepper

2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning

1/2 cup marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 425. In a deep baking pan, toss vegetables with olive oil, garlic and a few dashes of salt and cracked black pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes.

Seasoned veggies

While your vegetables are roasting, it’s time to play with Phyllo! Get a sheet of wax paper or aluminum foil and spray with a little non-stick spray (the sheets tend to stick the longer they sit!).

You will need 5 sheets of phyllo for each strudel. Lay your first one down and spray with butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Repeat with each layer. When you get to the final layer, add crumbled goat cheese and shredded mozzarella about 2/3 of the way down the sheet, leaving a 1 inch border on the sides and end.

Phyllo layer Cheeses

When your vegetables are cooked through, add to the top of the cheese. Also reduce oven temperature to 400. (You will probably have some leftover vegetables – they are great for a leftover lunch served with a little crunchy bread!)

Roasted Veggies

Starting from the end with the cheese and vegetables, begin to roll your strudel. This is where you will be glad you used a little non-stick spray! Place strudel seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spray tops with a little more butter, sprinkle with additional Parmesan and add some Italian herb seasoning. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is lightly browned.

Rolled Baked

Slice and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

inside

Seriously, why can’t all vegetables look this delicious?

Close Up Bite