Some nights you just can’t bring yourself to cook dinner. That was me last Friday. I did what any red-blooded American would do — I pulled a frozen pizza from the freezer. Not just any pizza — my dear friend, Marguerite, who lives in Chicago, introduced us to Lou Malnati’s legendary deep-dish pizza during her last visit and we’ve been ordering it online ever since.
Be careful. Be very careful when ordering this pizza. It’s that good. I generally order the spinach pizza, telling myself that it’s healthier (there’s a whole layer of fresh spinach beneath the, um, cheese) but I always add a couple of sausage pizzas to the order…for the family, you know.
So, here’s what I was wondering last Friday: how can I minimize my caloric damage and still enjoy a pizza dinner? Last week my Weight Watcher members had raved about a very low-point soup that recently appeared in the WW Weekly Magazine. I had all of the ingredients but the fresh basil and the barley. I had farro, though, which is a good stand-in, and dried Italian herb seasoning.
Before long the soup was on, the pizza was in the oven and I was really looking forward to dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed one thick slice of cheesy (spinachy) pizza with a big bowl of this soup. I was full.
Last Friday turned out to be a very good day.
2 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 (14 1/2-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley (or farro)
8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used baby portobellos)
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Add onion, carrot and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is light golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add broth, water and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add barley or farro and mushrooms, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is almost tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Stir in zucchini, cover and cook about 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.
Yields 8 cups, about 1 cup per serving
WW Points per serving: 2