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New ‘Weight Watchers Cook it Fast’ cookbook makes healthy meals speedy

'Weight Watchers Cook it Fast' features 250 recipes, including Pasta Salad With Apple and Chicken.
'Weight Watchers Cook it Fast' features 250 recipes, including Pasta Salad With Apple and Chicken.St. Martin's Griffin photos

School will be back in session before you know it and with it comes jam-packed family schedules, which sometimes lead to drive-through dinners. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get dinner on the table in as fast as 15 minutes with the new cookbook “Weight Watchers Cook it Fast: 250 Recipes in 15, 20, 30 Minutes” (St. Martin’s Press, $19.99), which was just released last week.

So what can you whip up in 15 minutes? How about Herb-Crusted Filets Mignon, Grilled Chicken Salad With Raspberries and Goat Cheese, Salmon au Poivre With Watercress, or Thai Shrimp and Melon Salad? And lest you think those quickie meals feature a bunch of preprocessed foods, think again. Aside from frozen vegetables and perhaps bottled items like teriyaki sauce, the recipes are all pretty “clean” and whole-food based.

And it’s not just dinners featured in the 364-page softcover book. There are ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and sweets as well as tips for saving time in the kitchen and organizing your meal making.

There’s also a chapter devoted to the weekend, which features more leisurely recipes and a section on slow-cooker recipes that can have dinner ready and waiting as soon as you get home from work or soccer practice.

There are loads of color photos throughout the book, and each recipe has full nutritional information as well as Weight Watchers PointsPlus values. If you’re a Weight Watchers member, you also can search for recipes in the index by time, ingredient or by PointsPlus values.

And hold onto your receipts because an offer for a free 1-year subscription to “Weight Watchers magazine” is included in the back of the book. That offer is good until July 31, 2015.

Here’s a recipe from the new cookbook:

Pasta Salad With Apple and Chicken

  • 6 ounces whole wheat penne
  • ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup diced cooked skinless chicken breast
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag baby arugula
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Cook penne according to package directions, omitting salt if desired. Drain and rinse under cold running water; drain again.

To make dressing, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, mustard, and maple syrup in large bowl.

Add pasta, chicken, arugula, apple, shallot, and pecans to dressing; toss to coat.

Makes 4 servings.

PER SERVING (about 2 cups): 315 calories, 8 g total fat, 1 g sat fat, 29 mg cholesterol, 284 mg sodium, 46 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 19 g protein.

PointsPlus value: 8.