Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hearts, Flowers...Chocolate?

By Anne McFarlane

Valentine's Day is one of those special occasions when it’s tough to stick to putting only healthy food in your mouth. So, I say, indulge a little. But don’t bring anything into the house that’s going to linger past Feb. 14. Ask for something red and naughty instead of chocolate from your significant other. I bet he’ll be happier with that choice, too.

So, what to make for a special dinner for just the two of you? Here’s a recipe for Beef Stroganoff from Weight Watchers that I’ve been making for over twenty years and it’s GOOD!


8 ounces beef steak, cut into strips
1 tablespoon margarine
1/4 cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Dash each, salt & pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoons each Dijon style mustard and tomato paste
2 packets instant beef broth and seasoning mix
3 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons parsley
2 cups cooked noodles (hot)


1. Coat a non-stick 9-inch skillet with cooking spray and brown the beef strips, cooking until done in the middle; set aside.
2. In skillet, heat margarine until hot and bubbly.
3. Add onion and garlic, and sauté briefly, about 1 minute (DO NOT BROWN).
4. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with flour and stir quickly to combine; gradually stir in water.
6. Add mustard and tomato paste, and broth mix and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened.
7. Reduce heat, add sour cream and parsley, and stir to combine.
8. Add steak and cook until just heated through. Serve over hot noodles.

6 points per serving (about 300 calories)

You can easily double this recipe to feed four.

Now dessert poses a special challenge. You want to indulge a little bit, but you still want to feel good in that something red and naughty your partner has given you. I would suggest buying a couple of single slices of your favorite cheesecake or carrot cake at the bakery – or maybe something to share. That way you limit yourself to a single serving and you aren’t tempted to eat the entire cake or pie that’s sitting in the fridge calling your name.

However, maybe the kids will be around and they can help you eat the leftovers. So here’s a recipe that will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth:


1 (4-serving sized) package fat-free, sugar-free, instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
1 3/4 cups fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 of an 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 of an 8-ounce container frozen light whipped cream (like Cool Whip)
1 (6-ounce) reduced-fat, chocolate-flavored crumb pie shell
1 cup fresh raspberries or blackberries
1 tablespoon grated semi-sweet chocolate

In medium bowl, prepare pudding mix as directed on package using the 1 3/4 cups milk. Stir in vanilla extract; set aside. Place cream cheese in large microwaveable bowl, uncovered, on high, for 15 seconds. Stir. Microwave on high for another 15 seconds. Beat cream cheese with mixer on medium for 15 seconds. Add half of the pudding mix; beat until smooth. Add remaining pudding mix; beat until smooth. Fold in half of the whipped cream topping. Spread mix in pie shell. Chill for 4 hours or until set.

Top servings with remaining whipped topping, berries and grated chocolate.

Only 180 calories per slice and 8 grams total fat. 4 points.

Anne MacFarlane is an aspiring romance writer living on the east coast of Canada. You can follow her writing journey at


Michelle Butler on February 14, 2010 at 10:43 AM said...

Thanks, Anne! I've tended to like the WW versions of stroganoff, and I look forward to trying this one.

One of my many Weight Watchers cookbooks from the 90's (the weight watchers complete cookbook & program basics) had a year-round holiday recipe bonus section. It's suggested Valentine's Day menu skipped right over dinner and just focused on dessert: chocolate banana pate, chocolate mousse pie and chocolate walnut baklava.

I had a dinner party last year for Valentine's Day and invited a bunch of single girl friends. I pretty much stayed in my points for the meal, and dessert was chocolate covered strawberries. Meal was curried parsnip and lentil soup (starter - heavy one admittedly), French chicken in a pot, roasted potatoes and asparagus.

You really can have a great meal and stay in your points/calories if you work at it. Thank you for your recipes, Anne!

Anne MacFarlane on February 14, 2010 at 11:42 AM said...

Michelle, I love the idea of skipping dinner and going for the desserts.

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