Friday, January 27, 2012

FOOD FOOD FOOD!

So as you know I've been on Weight Watchers for the past 6 months, and one of the things I have enjoyed most is finding recipes that are low in points but ever so delish! I've come across a lot of winners and would like to share some of them with you! 

HERE WE GO! 

---------------------- Cheesy Chili-Mac -----------------------
Image & recipe from Weight Watchers 

1 spray cooking spray 
2/3 lbs uncooked lean ground beef 
2 medium uncooked onions, chopped 
29 oz canned stewed tomatoes, mexican-style (undrained) 
2 1/2 cups canned tomato juice 
4 oz canned green chili peppers, diced, drained 
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 servings uncooked macaroni, elbow size
30 oz canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained 
1/2 cup low fat shredded Cheddar cheese 

  • Coat a large skillet with cooking spray; set over medium-high heat. Cook beef and onion until meat is browned, stirring and breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 10 minutes; drain off fat.

  • Stir in undrained tomatoes and their juice, tomato juice, chili peppers and chili powder; bring mixture to a boil.

  • Stir in macaroni and beans; return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until macaroni is tender, about 15 minutes. Spoon chili into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

  •  Yields about 1 cup chili and 1 tablespoon cheese per serving.

  •  7 points plus per serving 



---------------------- Pasta with Asparagus -----------------------
Photo and recipe from Skinny Taste 

  • 1 lb thin asparagus, cut into 2" pieces (tough ends trimmed)
  • 6 oz uncooked pasta such as Ronzoni Smart Taste or Dreamfields
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large pot boil 4 cups water with salt. When boiling, add asparagus and cook 3-5 minutes, until tender crisp. Drain asparagus in colander reserving 1 cup liquid before draining.


Fill pot with salted water, cover and boil for pasta. When water boils cook pasta according to package directions for al dente.


Meanwhile, in a sauté pan heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until golden, addasparagus, salt and pepper and sauté about 1-2 minutes, tossing with oil and garlic.


In a small bowl combine egg yolk, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1/4 cup reserved asparagus liquid, salt and pepper. Mix well. After pasta is drained return to pot andmix with egg mixture. Cook on medium-low about 2 minutes, until sauce thickens and sticks to pasta. Toss in asparagus and mix well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. If pasta seems too dry add more reserved liquid a tablespoon at a time.

Serve with additional grated cheese.

Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup   Points+: 6 pts



---------------------- Spinach Lasagna Rolls -----------------------
Picture and Recipe from Chef Mommy

9 lasagna noodles, cooked (I only made/used 8)

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and fresh pepper
32 oz tomato sauce
9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded



Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.


Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.


Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls.


To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

Serving size 1 roll. 6 points plus per roll. 

-------------------- Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili ---------------------
Picture and Recipe from Skinny Taste

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz can black beans
  • 1 16-oz can kidney beans
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • chili peppers, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


    Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro. Also try it with low fat cheese and sour cream (extra points).

    Servings: 10  Size: 1 1/4 cups   Points+: 5 pts

    ---------------------- BBQ Chicken Pizza ----------------------- 
    Picture and Recipe from My Baking Addiction

    1 store bought pizza crust or refrigerated crust (I used Boboli Thin Pizza Crust 1/6th of pizza = 1 serving)
    1/2 cup barbecue sauce 
    1 cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, shredded
    1/2 cup sliced uncooked red onions
    1 medium orange bell pepper diced
    1 3/4 cups shredded reduced-fat monterey jack cheese 

    Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Place pizza crust on foil-lined baking sheet. (or directly on oven rack for really crispy crust!) 

    Spread barbecue sauce on pizza crust. Add shredded chicken, onion, and bell peppers on top. Top with cheese. 

    Bake 12-15 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown. Cut into slices and garnish with cilantro. 

    Pizza cut into 6 slices = 7 points plus per slice 

    ---------------------- Chicken Fajitas ----------------------- 
    Picture and Recipe from Skinny Taste 

    • 16 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 bell pepper, cut into strips
    • 1 poblano chile, cut into strips
    • 1 onion, cut into strips
    • 3 tbsp lime juice
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • ancho chile powder or chipotle chili powder, to taste
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 4 low fat, low carb tortillas (La Tortilla Factory or Mission)


    Marinate the chicken with lime juice, and season with chile powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin.


    Season vegetables with salt and pepper and toss with olive oil.


    Heat George Forman grill. Grill chicken until well browned, but not hard to the touch. Transfer to a plate when done. Cut into strips. Grill vegetables until tender (about 15 minutes). Once cooked, combine with chicken. Serve immediately with tortilla and toppings.


    Optional 0 point toppings: Salsa, chopped serrano chiles, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onions.

    Servings: 4 servings  Points+: 5 pts

    ---------------  Low Fat Peanut Butter Banana Muffins --------------

    Picture and Recipe from Skinny Taste 

    • 3 ripe medium bananas
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
    • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 large egg whites
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 10 tbsp Better'n peanut butter* (divided into 8 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons)

    Preheat oven to 325°. Line a muffin tin with 12 liners. 

    Mash bananas in a bowl, set aside.

    In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.


    In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, bananas, apple sauce, vanilla, and 8 tablespoons better'n peanut butter, and beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

    Add flour mixture, then blend at low speed until combined. Do not over mix.

    Pour batter into muffin tin halfway, then add 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining better'n peanut butter into each muffin well.  Top off each muffin with remaining batter, andbake on the center rack for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Servings: 12 • Size: 1 muffin • Points+: 4 pts

    * I found Better'n Peanut Butter at a Whole Foods market. 

    Favorite Sites for Healthy Food Finds! 





    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Thoughts on Death

    Before the holidays a co-worker of mine lost a family member, and now just recently a great nephew of hers was in an accident. Such tragedy is never easy to deal with, especially when its around the holidays when you're suppose to be cheerful and the rest of the world just keeps moving while yours has stopped completely.
    This got me thinking about how I would react to such sadness when it occurred to me that I have never actually lost a part of my family. My great-grandmother passed away a few years ago at the age of 100 but for some reason that didn't bring up an incredible amount of emotion. Maybe because she had said years ago "I never want to live to be 100! that's too old!" She was funny.
    About a year after we started dating my fiance's grandfather passed away, but again I didn't really know him, and it was harder to watch Eric grieve than to accept the fact that his grandpa was gone. A few years after that, Eric's cousin passed away. This was much harder, being he was only a few years older than us, and I did know his family and had talked to him a few times before. But again, what I felt was more emotion towards his family, his younger siblings, and his parents...but maybe that's all part of it.
    My wedding is about 8 months away, and sometimes I can't help but have these visions where someone I love and is a big part of my life suddenly isn't there anymore and I'm left alone. Whether it be Eric, my mom, my dad, grandparent, sibling, friend, I just get these horrible images in my head and I have to shake it off and say "stop it!" otherwise I'll think about it all day.  I will just be laying in bed, start picturing these tragic situations, and before I know it I'm crying.
    I know that death is unavoidable, and there will be a time in the future where I am morning the loss of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents. Hopefully that isn't for a long long time, but you just never know.

    So for now I am just saying thanks, thank you God for blessing me with a life thus far void of tragedy and true saddness. And please bless my friends, and family and keep them and their own friends and family safe and away from  harm.