My Favorite Weight Watchers Recipes- Feel Full with Big Portions!
I haven’t been skinny since I was 4 years old and almost died of pneumonia. It was a struggle to stay within my weight standards my entire military career. Weight Watchers Quick Start Cookbook was my salvation. I always returned to this great resource when I needed to drop more than a couple pounds. Some of the recipes have become diet staples. I modified many of the recipes, which I will share with you in a series. The first group of recipes I’d like to share is the group of recipes that offers hardy portions.
When I first started with my Weight Watchers cookbook, I had to lose about 15 to 20 pounds. After “the new wore off” of the program, one of the toughest things for me? I missed feeling truly full and satisfied! It’s hard to be satisfied with “enough” when you’re used to eating “more than enough”. I just wanted to feel full.
If you’re a big eater too, don’t despair. You can eat healthy, lose weight, yet feel full. Check out these low calorie, low fat, and relatively low carb recipes. These recipes are my modifications of Weight Watchers Quick Start cookbook recipes.
Weight Watchers Tomatoes, Beef, Cabbage and Pasta
I tweaked recipe ingredients according to how many bread and meat servings I was targeting, usually 4 bread servings and 5 proteins per day. WW recommended a minimum of 2 vegetable servings per day. I consider non-starchy vegetables unlimited- the more the better. This includes vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, salad greens, and zucchini. These non-starchy vegetables are the key to having a sizeable portion.
My terminology and servings are based on the old Weight Watchers exchange program. You could get a copy of the Quick Start book. You can see my original hub for some insight into how flexible a diet can be and still be successful. I also included some very basic information on what constitutes a serving in my original hub. Women’s daily exchanges are 3 fruit, 2 milk, 2 bread, 3 fat, 6 protein and at least 2 vegetables. (As I indicated before, I tweaked my program a bit per my food preferences.) Men get 4 fruit, 2 milk, 4 bread, 3 fat, 8 protein, and at least 2 vegetables.
So for you big eaters out there, enjoy these recipes that offer hardy portions.
Beef, Cabbage & Pasta
Cabbage, Ground Beef, and Pasta
This is one of my favorite cabbage dishes, my modification of WW Skillet Ground Veal ‘n Cabbage. I adjusted the recipe for 2 protein, 1 bread, and 1 fat serving. I don’t track the vegetable servings, though I would guess this recipe to have 3 or more (the cabbage cooks down). I like a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. If you want more cheese, allow 1 protein and 1 fat per ounce of cheese.
1 T olive oil
1 ½ c or 1 large chopped onion
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (optional)
3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
14 oz lean ground beef (target is 12 oz after cooking, 2 oz per serving)
1 T Lawry’s seasoned salt
8 cups shredded cabbage (or one medium head, or one bag)
1 large can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 cup pureed carrots (Optional; I do this for most tomato-based dishes, to add extra nutrients.)
1 can tomato sauce
Italian spices such as basil, oregano, and parsley
3 cups cooked elbow macaroni (allow ½ c per serving)
1- Sauté onion, garlic and mushrooms in oil.
2- Add browned and drained hamburger. If you use a super lean ground beef or veal, you can just brown with the onions, garlic and mushrooms, with no need to drain.
3- Add tomatoes, tomato juice, and seasonings. Mix thoroughly with other ingredients.
4-Simmer 40 minutes to soften the meat.
5- Add cabbage and pureed carrots. Stir to combine. Simmer another 40 minutes, or until cabbage is done to your liking.
6- Add macaroni. Stir to combine. Heat an additional 10 minutes.
7- Serve with cheese if desired.
Yield: 6 serving of 1 bread, 2 protein, ½ fat, 3-4 vegetables. Add 1 protein and 1 fat for 1 oz cheese, or ½ protein and ½ fat for ½ oz of cheese.
This is based on WW Baked Veal-Stuffed Eggplant, with minor modifications.
2 eggplants, about 1 ¼ lb each
1 T plus 1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
3-6 cloves minced garlic
2 c sliced mushrooms
10 oz ground beef (target is 8 oz after cooking, 2 oz per serving)
1 c crushed tomatoes
1 tsp basil
1 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
2 c cooked macaroni
4 oz mozzarella cheese
1 T plus 1 tsp parmesan
1- Cut eggplant lengthwise. Blanch. Cool slightly and scoop out pulp. Set shells aside, cut side down. Chop eggplant pulp.
2- Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven and add onions and garlic. Sauté 1 minute on medium. Increase heat and add mushrooms and sauté about 3 minutes. Mixture should be mostly dry (Cooking mushrooms at low heat essentially simmers them in their own liquid.)
3- Add in hamburger. If you use extra lean ground beef or veal, you won’t need to drain.
4- Preheat oven to 375º.
5- Stir in tomatoes, eggplant pulp, and seasonings into meat mixture. Simmer 10 minutes.
6- Add macaroni. Stir to combine.
7- Divide mixture evenly into the 4 eggplant shells. Top with 1 oz mozzarella each.
8- Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Top each with 1 tsp parmesan cheese.
Yield: 4 serving of 1 bread, 3 protein, 1 fat, 4-5 vegetables each.
Stir Fry with Chicken
The Quick Start cookbook has a recipe for Chicken Lo Mein, and Beef Stir-Fry. Neither has cabbage, the primary ingredient of my stir-fry. There are obviously numerous ingredients that can go in stir-fry. We keep it pretty simple at our house: cabbage, mushrooms, and onions. We usually have it with grilled chicken strips, or sometimes with chicken and shrimp. You could also use beef or pork strips. Serve with rice, and you have fried rice. Serve with noodles and you have Lo Mein. I have also eaten it without pasta or rice, just the vegetables and meat. I’ve also eaten it with rice and no meat.
1 bag of shredded cabbage
1 large onion, cut in thin half slices
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
Any of your favorite stir-fry vegetables will work: snow peas, sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, sliced celery, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts
4 tsp oil suitable for stir-fry (high temperature oils like canola, peanut, or unrefined coconut oil)
Ginger, salt, black pepper, Chinese Five Spice, other favorite spices
3 oz of cooked chicken, shrimp, beef, or pork per serving
1 cup of cooked rice or pasta per serving
I typically sauté each vegetable and set aside. Use 1 tsp of oil per pan full of vegetable. “Float” the oil in as much chicken or vegetable broth as needed. This works surprisingly well. Add spices to each batch of vegetables. I usually add one or two spices to each batch, such as pepper to the onions, salt and Chinese Five Spice to the cabbage, and ginger to the mushrooms. This seems simpler than adding a bunch of spices to each batch.
1- Sauté cabbage with spices in hot skillet or wok until tender crisp, 2-3 minutes. Pour into large bowl.
2- Sauté onions with spices for 2-3 minutes. They should not need much broth. Pour into bowl with cabbage.
3- Sauté any other favorite vegetables. Pour into bowl.
4- Sauté mushrooms spices last when the pan is hot. The pan needs to be hot and “fast”, otherwise the water will accumulate from the mushrooms and they will simmer.
5- Mix vegetables in the large bowl to combine.
6- Serve vegetables over rice or pasta in individual bowls.
7- Top with baked chicken cut into strips, or other preferred meat, and soy sauce to taste.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings of 2 bread, 3 protein, 1 fat, and 3-5 vegetables each.