Sunday, March 4, 2012

We Can-nelloni get Tasty and Healthy!

Today was "Cooking for the Week" day.  On the menu?  (1) Honey Mustard marinated Pork Chops, (2) Fruity Meatloaf, (3) Vegetable Beef Barley Soup, and (4) Cannelloni -- all of them fitting into my WW diet.

I recently bought a new cookbook by Canadians Janet and Greta Podleski.  They take everyday recipes and find delicious ways to make them healthier; as well, the book is full of practical weight-loss, anti-aging and healthy-living tips (as well as some of the corniest jokes and puns I've ever read).  I love the girls; and I love what they've done with this "best of" cookbook. (They also have a TV show and a fabulous website.)  This is where my Cannelloni recipe came from today.

Part of my healthy journey is challenging myself to try new foods.  Today I cooked with fennel.  It has a gorgeous licorice smell to it, so I knew I'd like it right away. 
It'll help with my tooting!

Fennel is surprisingly full of nutrients. Aside from being low in calories and fat-free, it's a good source of the B vitamin folate, potassium and even supplies some vitamin C.   It's a rich source of antioxidants, most notably, a good source of a phytochemical called anethole, which has been shown in animal studies to reduce inflammation and even prevent cancer.   The health benefits of fennel include relief from anemia, indigestionflatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, eye care, etc. Fennel, bearing the scientific name Foeniculum Vulgare Miller, or its essence, is widely used around the world in mouth fresheners, toothpastes, desserts, antacids and in culinary.

We start by drizzling olive oil and balsamic vinegar over chopped tomatoes, red pepper, onion, garlic and fennel and then roast this for 45 minutes.  What an aroma!

Once cooled, simmer this with crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil leaves and Italian seasoning for 15 minutes; then you puree.  This is your sauce.

The filling for the cannelloni is made up of ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, parmesan, chopped spinach, an egg and seasonings of basil, oregano, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. 
You lovingly tuck the filling into each cannelloni shell (thanking God the whole time for such things as fennel, balsamic vinegar and ricotta).  I easily filled the whole box of shells - 8 total; and made 2 casserole dishes.  Top with a little shredded cheese and bake.  (I used no-cook cannelloni shells so it was 45 min for mine.) 

How did it taste?  Oh my goodness:  it was divine!  

The filling was cheesy but quite delicate in flavor.  The sauce wasn't thick, but because of all the vegetables, it had texture and substance to it; there was no hint of licorce but it had a slight sweetness and a mellow tomato flavor.  It was a perfect combination!

6 Points Plus for each cannelloni; so with salad and avocado dressing, I'd say I ate 14 points ..... more than I usually eat for dinner but a wonderful meal and well worth saving my day for.



I am so-oo hungry right now. That looks delicious. Going to check out the cookbook and the girls. They sound like my kind of women. CONGRATS to you for motivating yourself to keep with it. Good things will come your way, for sure. I've been ZAFTIG my whole life. Lost MORE weight than you can imagine and gained it all back a couple of times. The key for me to shed was walking 5-8 miles a day. Now that my knees are so bad, it isn't an option. HOWEVER, I have recently lost 25 lbs going off a particular medication that was helping pack on the pounds. You hang in there and keep doing what you're doing. VICTORY will come. Take care.

Pam @ Frippery said...

Mmmmmmmmm filling, spoken with drool ala Homer Simpson.

Sweet Tea said...

Ohhhhh that looks good - diet or no diet! Good for you for sticking with the program. I want to take a look at that cookbook you mentioned. I'm working on losing some lbs too, but it is going oh-so-slowly!

Janet said...

We have the first three cook books by Janet and Greta - Love.Them.

Now I want cannelloni! Not sure if the girls gave you a hint on stuffing those shells (yes, to the oven ready ones), but if you fill a ziplock bag with the filling and 'pipe' it into the shells, it makes the process that much faster and less messy! I have a cookie press I use for stuffing my pasta shells!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Healthy eating can be good as you have proven. Anything home made is always better for you it seems. Great idea getting your cooking done on the weekend!
Hope your Monday is a wonderful one!

Nezzy said...

Ya got me salivatin' sweetie. The dish look worth ever last bite of 14 points...and then some!

Woohoo for you and your healthy dishes!

God bless and have yourself an excellent week!!! :o)

aliceinparis said...

Looks delicious! I love fennel. It is great in salads:)