On a trip to Israel a few years ago, my husband and I stopped at this amazing Arabic restaurant in Jerusalem. And of all the fantastic foods I got to try on my visit, I will never forget the fattoush salad I had there. IT WAS AMAZING. I know that may sound crazy…to be so blow away by a salad, but the incredible flavor combination of this traditional arabic salad was divine. Fresh mint and parsley, combined with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and warm toasted pita bread, then topped off with a tangy vinegar garlic dressing and crumbled feta cheese. So good!! Bit the best part about this salad was the addition of a popular Middle Eastern spice called sumac. This is what sealed the deal and made this Arabic Fattoush salad so incredibly delicious! At the restaurant, I was introduced to the owner’s friend who runs an online casino, Casino Arbi. We had a great chat about some foods and seasonings that were central to Arabic culture, and as soon as I returned to the states, I got into the kitchen to try and recreate some of the fantastic foods that I enjoyed and learned about. Sumac has since become a staple in my kitchen now. I love it on salads, meats, and on tops of steamed rice. So today, I’m sharing my recreation of the Arabic Fattoush salad….and it’s just 2 Smart Points per serving. This one is a must try!
I love fresh fruit, but I really like fresh fruit with a yogurt dip. The first dip that I made was quite a few years ago and it was half cream cheese and half marshmallow crème. Don’t get me wrong – it tasted great, but the next weekend we had a friend come to visit who has diabetes. It meant that the recipe got it’s first makeover. It became half cream cheese and half yogurt with a little vanilla and honey to taste. It’s still just as good but it’s not nearly as unhealthy. This one is just slightly different. I skipped the cream cheese and used a little peanut butter instead. It’s perfect for things like bananas and apples that go so well with peanut butter to begin with. You can also switch out the peanut butter for almond butter or sun butter if you need to – it’s just as good. A lot depends on the yogurt. I have a favorite honey vanilla yogurt that I use and then I don’t bother adding more vanilla and honey. If I’ve got it handy, I’ll use powdered peanut butter (just reconstitute it first). It cuts the fat down, but still gives you protein and flavor. It’s a great snack – for adults and kids. And it’s something the kids can help to make before chowing down.
When I need something to snack on, I try to reach for fresh, raw vegetables. Mainly because they are incredibly good for me, but also because their high fiber content can fill me up and prevent me from getting down and dirty with a not so Weight Watchers friendly food. So when you eat fresh veggies as much as I do, you are constantly on the lookout for delicious, exciting, and low calorie dips to dunk them in. And this Red Pepper and Eggplant Dip Recipe has become one of my favorites! The roasted bell peppers and eggplant add a lovely smokey flavor, while the garlic and lemon juice tie it all together with a brilliant zing. And each 1/3 cup serving is just 2 Points Plus, so I don’t need to feel guilty about my heavy dipping. This Red Pepper and Eggplant Dip makes a fantastic dunk for not only fresh veggies, but pita wedges, crackers, cheese…just about anything, really. You can also smother roasted vegetables or meats with it too, if you are looking for a way to give those foods an extra kick. You really can’t go wrong with such a light and healthy dip!
For those of us trying to eat low carb, these Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups are a perfect carb-free recipe that is super easy and quick to make, but also tastes absolutely amazing. Ground chicken breast is sautéed with wonderful Thai spices and are then served atop fresh, chilled lettuce leaves. I used romaine leaves with this, so it’s more like Thai Chicken Lettuce Boats, but butter lettuce and iceberg lettuce also work really well if you want more of a “cup-like” form. Each 2 lettuce boat/cup serving is just 5 Points +. On e word of caution…these Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups are incredibly addictive, and you may fid yourself craving that at 1am while watching Netflix…just sayin’.