I had a big long spiel about weight and body image issues all typed out but then I realized that 1. that’s TMI and 2. blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately, we all have experience with this; what’s new? And so, I’ll just say that I’m working on weight and health this year, which means a drastic decline in my cream and sugar intake.

Wah, wah, wah.

As a consolation prize, allow me to offer some recipes I’ve tested and enjoyed recently:

Quick Vegetarian Chili
adapted from Weight Watchers
4 servings/9 points each

1 tsp grapeseed oil   
1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced   
14 1/2 oz fire-roasted tomatoes
15 oz canned black beans   
15 1/4 oz canned yellow corn, drained   
15 oz canned tomato sauce   
1 Tbsp chili powder   
1/2 tsp dried oregano   
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes   
1/4 cup(s) onion powder   
1/4 tsp black pepper   
4 Tbsp low-fat, shredded sharp Cheddar cheese 

Heat oil in a large, nonstick, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until aromatic. Add tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes, “smashing” them with the back of your spoon. Add beans, corn, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, onion and pepper; stir well.

Increase heat to high and bring chili to a boil; cook, stirring frequently, until thick, about 5 minutes. If chili is too thick, add tomato sauce or water. Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese. Yields about 1 1/4 cups chili and 1 tablespoon cheese per serving.

Chinese Pineapple Chicken with Black Bean Sauce
adapted from Weight Watchers
4 servings/9 points each

1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
20 oz. pineapple, cubed*
1/4 cup black bean sauce
few Tbsp soy sauce
few Tbsp water
2 cups cooked brown jasmine rice

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned on all sides, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Add pineapple (with any juice), black bean sauce and soy sauce to skillet; bring to a simmer. Taste and add some water if needed for consistency. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

Divide rice among 4 shallow bowls and spoon chicken mixture over top. Yields about 1 cup of chicken and 1/2 cup of rice per serving.

*The original recipe calls for canned crushed pineapple, but I didn’t use that because … well, yuck. So to cut down on the “robustness” of the black bean sauce that results from the lack of other liquid, I added soy sauce and a little water. You could experiment with adding hoisin or oyster sauce too. 

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