Dining In

Food For Fighting Fat

By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist   

It doesn’t take much to get church members in a stew, as I’m sure many of you know. Our church is no exception.        

I am enrolled in an eight-week Weight Watchers program at my church. About 20 women, in various stages of roly-poly and in a wide assortment of ages, meet every Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the church to work collectively on trimming down. Even the preacher’s wife comes.

This did not come about easily. Our parish nurse had to point out what anyone who reads anything anytime would know. We Americans are too fat. Obesity is a major health problem. For those churches, like ours, that are offering not only spiritual but health guidance, the class was a no brainer.

But it took weeks to get our governing body to agree. And as I left the church last week, one of the elders was still grumbling about “money changers in the temple.”

He was skinny, of course. Nothing like a skinny man to tell you how easy it is to lose weight — just eat less. I’ve lived with a skinny man for years who offers that advice regularly and, amazingly, still lives. But, oh, how he has tempted me  to take up the weapon my mother often threatened to use — a frying pan.

This is not my first venture with Weight Watchers. None were successful in the past, but I think this one is going to be. Why? Because I hated those meetings. Those meetings were with complete strangers — our church meetings are with friends who enjoy our little weekly visits. This is fun. Not something I dread. I was told we were going to have to have a prayer to make it legit, but so far there hasn’t been a public prayer. I think I could safely say there are a lot of prayers going on as we each take our turn on the scales.

How we’re doing it: Some of the recipes Weight Watchers has provided have been amazingly good. I even took one to a sick neighbor who is a tiny little thing, but the soup was good enough that I thought she would enjoy it. She said she did.

Weight Watchers, since my last attempt, has changed to a point system — much easier to follow.

The Garden Vegetable Soup has zero points. That means you can eat two gallons if you like! Have to admit I changed it some and threw in some “point items” like corn, but it was pretty close to “pure.”

The Crock Pot Chicken was delicious and easy. Skinny husband even liked it. Chicken the next night may have been overdoing it, but Apple Curry Chicken was also good, especially over couscous. I adapted it for my diet by eliminating the chutney.

Apple Curry Chicken


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

11⁄2 t curry powder, divided

1⁄4 t salt

1 apple, peeled and chopped

1⁄2 cup onions, chopped

2 T raisins

1⁄3 cup water


*Optional 1⁄2 cup mango chutney

Directions: Heat skillet and spray with nonfat spray. If breasts are thick, pound with meat mallet or similar utensil to flatten. Sprinkle breasts with half of the curry powder and the salt. Add chicken to skillet. Top with apple, onions, raisins, water and remaining curry powder. Cover skillet. Cook about 15 minutes until apple and chicken are done. If using chutney, add with other ingredients. Serves 4.

Crock Pot Chicken


1 lb. chicken breast, boneless and skinless, frozen

10-oz. can fat-free mushroom soup

1 cup (8 oz.) fat-free sour cream

2 T onion soup mix


Directions: Place chicken in slow cooker. Top with remaining ingredients. Cook on low, covered, for 6 to 7 hours or until done. Serve over rice. Serves 4.

Garden Vegetable Soup


1 carrot, sliced

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups fat-free broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)

11⁄2 cup sliced cabbage

4-oz. can tomato paste

1 can tomatoes (any size)

Basil, oregano and salt to taste

1 small zucchini, sliced 

Directions: Place all ingredients in Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are done. Makes 4 servings.


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