I’m not a pill popper, more of a homeopathist, so diet pills are out of the question. Diets themselves, require structure, and that would mean rules, and I’m too in love with food to resist it. But if ever I were to start and continue a diet, it will be, Weight Watchers. Founded in 1963 by Jean Nidetch, Weight Watchers has survived the test of time and surpassed any diet, anywhere.
I don’t believe you have to eliminate most of the food groups to be healthy (as most of the new diets on the market try to sell you). It’s simple math. I have a friend who competes in triathlons and she said, “Exercise, and the weight and food will take care of themselves.” It’s true. Diet AND Exercise are the key to getting in shape. Why do we delude ourselves into thinking that we can do one or the other and succeed for any length of time?
So here it is. The beginning of The Vintage Cook’s Weight Watchers Recipe Revival! My intent is to bring these old recipes back to life, modernize or revive the ingredients, and HEY, maybe even reduce the calories just a little bit more.
The first recipe reigns from the 1984 Quick Start Program cookbook. I made a few necessary changes. I thought I would change the tomato to grape or cherry tomatoes but once I tasted the final product, I realized that wouldn’t have been an improvement. The soft texture of a roma or regular tomato goes best. I got rid of the “instant chicken broth and seasoning” and replaced it with just salt. Eliminated the ground ginger and replaced it with fresh grated, this gives the flavor we need. Fresh ginger root wasn’t available in the grocery stores back then, and I’m sure it was pricy if it was. I also reduced the olive oil in half. I used golden raisins because that’s what I had, but don’t leave the raisins out, they are the sweet highlight against the ginger and lemon. This is my, “I-hope-summer-gets-here-soon recipe!”
- 1½ cups water
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
- ⅓ cup Bob's Red Mill tri-color pearl couscous
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
- ½ cup each carrot and zucchini, grated
- ¼ cup onion, chopped fine
- Romaine lettuce leaves
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Stir the water, 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, couscous, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the ginger, salt and raisins into a one-quart non-stick saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, and cook until water is evaporated out, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, stir together the other teaspoon of olive oil, lemon juice, tomato, carrot, zucchini and onion. Stir in the cooled couscous mixture.
- Cover and let marinate for at least two hours or over night. Serve on lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.