Make Ahead Sweet and Savory Breakfast Muffins

I’ve seen the idea a lot lately, from friends, food blogs, the Food Network, and Weight Watchers meetings and materials of making breakfast early in the week to eat the whole week. I was hesitant to give it a try until recently. Why you ask? Because I am so predictable and OCD organized that I sometimes fight against adding more rituals. So I didn’t want to be boring and eat the same thing for breakfast everyday! (Also, something I mix up my shower routine on purpose just to convince myself I’m not predictable). I was scared I’d tire of eating the same thing and then it would go to waste and that’s a big no no! But, in Weight Watchers our instructor gave us a bran muffin recipe that actually looked edible!




I loved them! I used Kroger brand strawberry yogurt. And that should be 1/4 cup of Parkay Spray margarine. I used the optional oat, splenda and cinnamon topping and they were pretty! I plan on experimenting with these by making pumpkin bran muffins! I’ll update you when I do :). These are just 3 points a piece and not your typical cardboard bran muffins.

So, these opened my mind to the prepare breakfast for the week idea, which lead me to today’s creation! I’m not sure whether to call them Egg Muffins or Crustless Quiche. Looking at recipes I saw both. I encountered the concept from a friend doing South Beach Diet. They are apparently a big South Beach Diet thing. Weight Watchers version were called Crustless Quiches. I think I like that better because it sounds fancy! These could easily be served as a party food too. I based my recipe off of this recipe, but completely made it my own. I didn’t use wonton wrappers and my recipe is 1 points for 2!!

Crustless Mini Quiches

Ingredients with points: 
1 cup egg beaters (4)

3 tbsp bacon bits (3)
3 tbsp reduced fat Parmesan grated topping (3)
1 can (1 1/2 cups) fat free evaporated milk (12)
6 slices deli honey smoked turkey (1)
2 slices fat free american cheese (2)

“Free” Ingredients:
1 small vidila finely chopped
1/4th tsp salt
1/8th tsp pepper
1/8th tsp onion powder
1/8th tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chives
1 tsp parsley
(I actually have no ides on the measurements of the spices and herbs, so just do it to taste and look!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions until just almost translucent and set aside to cool. Whisk together egg beaters, milk, spices and herbs. Add bacon bits and Parmesan cheese, whisking together. Finely chop deli turkey and stir in. Stir in cooled onion. Finely chop 2 slices of fat free american cheese and sprinkle in (you could sub any cheese you like or have). If you have mini muffin liners, use them! If not, be sure to spray your pan well. I didn’t have them and they came out fine! Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are puffed up and golden brown.

Let them cool in the pan for just a few minutes. They will deflate a little. Run a butter knife around the edge of each to remove and place on a cooling rack to cool. It makes 36 mini muffins. Made like this, they are only 1 point for 2!! They keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, reheat well and freeze well!

Zucchini Noodle "Alfredo" Lasagna

So, I’m not sure if technically speaking we can call this lasagna. I am a nerd and looked up to definition. Lasagna does specifically refer to the pasta, BUT other people call it that so we can too!

I was inspired by a friend who tried something similar, the fact that I had a HUGE fresh zucchini from my Pawpaw’s garden and Hungry Girl’s recipe. I pretty much used her recipe as a big base and made it my own. I used sun dried tomato basil laughing cow cheese wedges instead of just the swiss. I didn’t use any noodles at all. I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta. I added ground turkey instead of mushrooms and spinach (because it’s what I had). Lastly, I topped it with just Parmesan and no mozzarella (because I didn’t have any).

So I give you what I’m calling…

Zucchini Noodle “Alfredo” Lasagna

Ingredients with points:
4 sun dried tomato laughing cow cheese wedges (4) or substitute any of the low fat Laughing Cow varieties
1 cup FF cottage cheese (3) or can substitute 1 cup fat free ricotta (5)
3/4 cup fat free sour cream (3)
1/4 cup egg beats (1) or can substitute 1/4 cup liquid egg whites / 1/4 cup egg beaters (1)
1 lb ground turkey (24)
6 tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan topping, divided (6)


“Free” ingredients:
1 extra large zucchini or 3 small zucchini, end removed
1 medium vidilia onion
2 small bell peppers (I used 1 yellow and 1 green)
2 tsp. chopped garlic, divided
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper, divided
1 tsp Italian seasoning


Directions:
Preheat oven to broil on low. Slice zucchini. I used my mandolin on the thin setting slicing length wise. You can also cut it in half widthwise, and then slice each half lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and begin broiling zucchini slices in batches to get a lot of the moisture out. 


While zucchini is broiling add thinly sliced onion, bell pepper, and 1 tsp of garlic to a heated pan sprayed with olive oil cooking spray (if you aren’t counting points like I am, you can use olive oil, just be aware it will rise the nutrition facts). I added a couple of tablespoons of water to help the veggies cook down. I also sliced my onion and bell pepper on thin with my mandolin. You can also chop them if you’d like. I just like how pretty the round thin slices are. Add 1 tsp of Italian seasoning and sprinkle with salt. Add lean ground turkey. I used 85/15 BUT I rinsed it with warm water after to get the extra oil out. Drain (and rinse if you didn’t have the leanest meat) and set aside. 


In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, egg beater (or egg whites), other tsp of garlic, oregano, basil, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Stir in ground turkey and set aside. To make the sauce, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine sour cream with cheese wedges, breaking cheese wedges into pieces as you add them. Stir in 2 tbsp. Parm-style topping, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Microwave in 30 – 45 seconds intervals, stirring in between until very warm. Stir until smooth and set aside. 


Change oven temperature from broil to 425. Spray an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray. Blot your zucchini slices to remove any excess moisture. Evenly place 1/3rd of the cooked zucchini strips on the bottom. Spread half of the cottage cheese-turkey mixture on top. Evenly top with a thin layer of zucchini, followed by 1/3rd of the sauce. Repeat layering with the same amounts of zucchini, cottage cheese-turkey mixture, and sauce. Evenly top with remaining zucchini, followed by remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 4 tbsp Parm-style grated topping. Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until bubbly and cheese starts to brown.

You can add salt and pepper to taste if you’d like. I served it with a side salad. 




6 servings / 7 points a serving!

The Perfect Summer Wake Ups

I love coffee. Love love love. But I’m weird and I can’t drink hot things when it’s hot outside. I also can’t eat soups. Soups, hot coffee, cider, hot cocoa, chilli, they just belong in cooler weather for me. I’ve shared the cold brew coffee recipe previously. It is a great one and I love it! Perfect for iced coffee. But what’s better than iced coffee?? BLENDED COFFEE! I love frappucinnos, frappes, whatever they are called at their different stores. BUT they are way too expensive and not as low in points as I’d like them! All you need are a few things and you can make these for only 2 points and right in your own home!

Vanilla Caramel Frappe


What you need:
-a blender (I just have a mini one and it works fine)
-1 cup skim milk
-1 cup ice cubes
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tsp Splenda
-2 tsp of Splenda sweetened caramel coffee syrup like these (I am actually going to order all of the flavors this week and experiment! But you can buy the caramel and vanilla at Wal-mart or Kroger right on the coffee isle.)
-1 to 3 tsp of instant coffee (I actually just use the Wal-mart brand! But Folders and other brands have them too at any Wal-mart or Kroger.)

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend! I use 2 tsp of coffee, but I like a strong coffee flavor. If you like it weaker use less, stronger use more. I like sweet coffee too, but if you don’t nix the extra teaspoons of Splenda! (Also, if you don’t have the caramel syrup and need a cold coffee fix NOW add 4 tsp of Splenda. Or maybe for some crazy reason you don’t like caramel, that’s acceptable.. I guess. Hehe.) You could also top this with a little fat free Cool Whip or Reddi Whip if you want to get really fancy! All you have to count as points is the 1 cup of skim milk which is 2 points (unless you use A LOT of Cool Whip or Redi Whip or a non-fat free version of either). I have one of these every morning! I can’t wait to get the other syrups in and try peppermint mocha, white chocolate raspberry, mocha coconut and endless possibilities! And don’t worry, I will share all my magnificent combinations with you :).

Need some ideas of what to eat with your new yummy coffee beverage? Breakfast is an important meal! Don’t skip it. People who eat breakfast are far more successful with weight loss and maintenance than those who don’t. The possibilities are endless! You don’t have to box yourself into only eating cereal or oatmeal for breakfast! Make it fun with iced, blended and spiced up coffee, but don’t forget to add some substance! I heard on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss this week that when you don’t eat breakfast it sends a message to your body to store fat!! Do you want any extra fat stored?! I sure don’t! I’ll share a few things I love.

  • Whole wheat bagel thins for 3 points (like a bagel but not nearly as many points and just as yummy!) with 2 tbsp1/3 less fat (2 points) or fat free (1 point) strawberry cream cheese. You could use any flavor of cream cheese you like or a laughing cow cheese wedge variety for 1 point. 4-5 points total. 
  • Whole wheat light English muffin for 3 points toasted with 4 slices of Oscar Myer precooked bacon for 2 points and a slice of 2% cheese for 1 point. SOO yummy! Microwave the bacon (usually 35 seconds) then build the breakfast sandwich and microwave for just 20 second to melt the cheese. 6 points total. 
  • Add fruit (strawberries, bananas, blueberries, peaches) or nuts to your cereal or oatmeal. Most oatmeals, unless you get one of the outrageously sweetened ones, are low in points. Most cereals, however, are not! So choose wisely. All the Special K varieties are good choices. I also love puffed wheat! It’s like sugar smacks without the sugar but I always add Splenda and fruit. 1 cup is 1 point! As compared to most cereals that are 4-5 points for 3/4th to 1 cup. 
  • Cinnamon toast – Toast 2 slices of Sara Lee 45 calorie bread (I use multigrain, and you could use any bread, but I like the Sara Lee because it’s 3 points for 2 slices vs. the 4 points of most breads). Spray each side with Parkay spray butter for 0 points. Sprinkle with Splenda and cinnamon! 3 points total. 
  • Banana sandwich – This is sooo filling! It will definitely take you all the way to lunch. 2 slices of 45 calorie bread toasted for 3 points. Spread with 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter on each side for 2 points. Slice a banana and build the sandwich! 5 points total. 
  • Weight Watchers shakes – You can buy the Weight Watchers shake packets from any Weight Watchers class. They are 2 points if you use water, 4 if you use skim milk. I keep the chocolate on hand at all times, but they do have other flavors too. I always use milk to get in my 2 dairy servings for the day. I have made mine in the blender with frozen strawberries as ice cubes. YUM! I’ve also made them with 1 cup of ice and 3 tsp of instant coffee granules. 
  • Egg Mugs – Oh my gosh these are amazing and sooo easy! If you have a refrigerator at work you could just always keep a carton of egg beaters there to always be able to make this for breakfast! You can find tons of recipes here, here, here, here, or here. Hungry Girl does these and they are just brilliant! Most are 2-3 points depending on what ingredients you add. It’s scrambled eggs in a cub basically! My favorite ways are with sundried tomato basil laughing cow cheese and either bacon bits or sliced deli turkey meat and green onions. I always add salt, pepper and onion powder to mine too. 
Feel free to post some of your own ideas and favorites. If you don’t get Hungry Girl’s emails you should! She sends Weight Watchers friendly, healthy, easy, practical recipes a few times a week. 

Friday Night Dinner

There is something I love about cooking dinner just for myself on Friday night. I’m not sure why, but it just feels like a treat. Tonight’s selection was super yummy! I’ve been trying to cook fish more. It’s such a low point selection and super yummy and filling. I recently got a bag of frozen tilapia filets at Sam’s. So now it’s time to experiment!


Tonight’s experiment was a pesto tilapia served with a maltagliata pesto and caramelized vidalia onion pasta and a grilled watermelon salad with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese. 


Baked Pesto Tilapia
4 frozen tilapia filets
2 tbsp pesto (I got mine from Sam’s, you could also make your own)
salt
olive oil cooking spray


Preheat oven to 425. Rinse frozen filet and place each on a foil lined olive oil cooking spray sprayed baking sheet. Lightly salt each side (I used kosher). Spoon 1/2 tbsp of pesto on each filet and rub on the top. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Fish should flake when ready. 


4 oz tilapia filet is 2 pts, 1/2 tbsp of pesto is 1 pt. 3 points per 4 oz filet! Not bad.


Maltagliata Pesto & Caramelized Vidalia Onion Pasta
Okay, so I totally made up this pasta and the name. I bought lasagna noodles but had no intention of making lasagna. I wanted to experiment with them. So through some google searching I found out the term for poorly cut past is maltagliata pasta. It was for sure poorly cut by me! I boiled it like normal then sliced them in half down the middle (hamburger fold) and then in half again (hot dog fold). And viola… maltagliata pasta!


1 pkgs of whole wheat pasta of your choosing (I used lasagna and wanted a “messy” pasta, but you can use anything! Just don’t call it maltagliata hehe)
8 tbsp pesto
1-2 vidalia onions
minced garlic (optional)
olive oil spray 
1/2 cup of water or chicken stock
salt


Prepare your pasta per package directions. Never ever forget to salt your pasta water! It’s the only chance you get to season the pasta. If you use lasagna and want to make a maltagliata, cut it to your liking. I wanted thick noodles, but you could cut it even smaller. While you’re cutting up your pasta (or while it’s boiling if you aren’t cutting it), place thinly sliced vidalia onion in a heated and olive oil cooking spray sprayed pan. I sliced my vidalia on the thin blade of my mandolin. I used one but next time I’d probably use two bc I LOVE sweet caramelized onions. Let the onions get nice and limp. If the pan starts to get to dry add more cooking spray. Cook them to a caramel/tan color. I also sauteed them with some minced garlic. This is optional since pesto already has garlic in it, but I never mind garlic. As long as I’m single anyway, hehe. I added the pasta and tossed it with the onions then began adding the pesto 1 tbsp at a time, tossing and coating the pasta in each layer. Once I had half the pesto added, I added about 1/2 cup of water (could use chicken stock). I added the rest and let it cook down until the liquid was gone. Top with Parmesan and serve!


1 cup is 7 points. 


Grilled Watermelon Salad
I roughly used this recipe. I grilled mine on my grill/panini maker. I used olive oil cooking spray instead of olive oil. My one suggestion is be sure that your slices are thick enough so they don’t cook too much. Mine got a little to limp. I liked the bits that still had the crunch. I used blue cheese instead of goat cheese, and not nearly 1 cup. I just sprinkled a bit on each salad. The balsamic reduction was my favorite! So easy. You litterally just reduce balsamic until its a syrup. It’s actually sweet! I want this on every salad! I also served mine atop romaine and not spicy salad greens (A. it’s what I have and B. it’s what I prefer). 


The only points you count are for whatever cheese you use!


Dips and Sauces

This post is all about some of my go-to dips and sauces. In the words of my dear friend Stacy, “if there’s dip, it’s a party!”

Pumpkin Pie Dip

(from skinnytaste.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (Splenda would work too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
  • 6 oz fat free Greek yogurt (I used Kroger brand)
  • 8 oz cool whip free (or Kroger brand fat free whipped topping)
  • cut up apples to dip

DIRECTIONS:

Mix pumpkin with brown sugar, vanilla and spices, blend well. Mix in yogurt. Fold in cool whip and chill in refrigerator until ready to eat. Makes about 6 cups. 3 points for 1/2 cup serving.

Tzatziki Sauce

(from skinnytaste.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 oz fat free greek yogurt
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded (1 cup grated and drained)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Strain yogurt using a metal strainer or a coffee filter for a few hours to remove as much liquid as possible. Set aside. Scoop seeds out of peeled cucumber with a spoon. Place cucumber in a mini food processor or grate with a box cheese grater. Drain the liquid from the  cucumber in ametal strainer and sprinkle with a little salt (this helps release the liquid). You may want to use the back of a spoon to help squeeze out any excess liquid. Combine strained cucumber, garlic, yogurt, salt, pepper, lemon juice, dill, chives and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Makes about 2 cups. Store in refrigerator for about a week. ¼ cup is is 0 points! ½ cup is 1.

Bleu Cheese Dressing

(from skinnytaste.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 6 oz fat free yogurt
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Smash the blue cheese and yogurt together with a fork. Stir in mayo, lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic powder until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 1 cup. 2 tablespoons is 1 point! It’s also really yummy with a baked buffalo chicken recipe I altered.

Baked Buffalo Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 (4 ounce) chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoom vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of parkay spray butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (it called for celery seed but I didn’t have it)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup above blue cheese dressing 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken and cook 4 minutes each side until browned. Place chicken in an 9X13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine hot sauce and next 4 ingredients. Pour over chicken and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve with bleu cheese dressing.

Okay so, bake buffalo chicken isn’t a dip, but it has a killer homemade buffalo sauce AND is best served with homemade bleu cheese dressing.

And then there is the ever faithful staple in my fridge – dry ranch + 16 oz of fat free sour cream = 1 pt per 1/4 cup! Never choke down boring raw veggies. If there’s dip, it’s a party! 

Chicken Likes to Play Dress Up

Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken. It’s a lean mean you eat a lot if you try to eat healthy. It can get boring if you’re only making chicken the same ways every time. It likes to play dress up! The possibilities are endless. Challenge yourself to not cook chicken the same way for a month or even 3!


Coconut Chicken
3 (5 oz) chicken breasts cut into 3 tenders (9 tenders)
6 tbsp shredded coconut
1/4 cup crushed puffed wheat cereal crumbs (can also use panko or bread crumbs
2 tbsp crushed bran flake crumbs (can use cornflakes)
1/3 cup egg substitute or egg whites
salt, pepper, chicken magic
olive oil spray


Mix together crushed puffed wheat, bran flakes, and coconut. Season chicken. Dip each tender in egg and then in coconut mixture. Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Lightly spray the rack and place tenders on the cooling rack. You can place them directly on the baking sheet, but I find when you are looking for a crispy texture using the cooling rack works better. Lightly spray the tenders with olive oil cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until cooking through, turning once. 


I mixed together honey mustard and spicy brown mustard for a yummy dipping sauce. It’s only 8 points for 3 tenders. 




Chicken Cordon Bleu
Well, a lighter “fake” version, but supper yummy! And only 3 points per piece.


4 (5-6oz) chicken breasts
24 deli thin slices of ham
6 wedges of lite Laughing Cow swiss cheese
Chicken Magic
Cooking spray
Toothpics


Slice each chicken breast into 3 thin cutlets, which gives you 12 pieces. They should look like the second picture here. My recipe is adapted from this one, do not exact. Mine is less points and less work! And everyone loved it.


Season each side of chicken with chicken magic (or salt and pepper if you prefer). Places two slices of ham on chicken and smear have of a wedge of the cheese on top. Roll the chicken and secure with toothpicks. See third picture of that blog’s recipe for example. If you wanted to do breading at this point you could, but I didn’t. It would increase the point value.


Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish and place chicken seam down. Lightly spray each roll up and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Low Fat Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients
1 lb chicken – 15 pts
olive oil cooking spray
1 onion
1 tbsp lime juice
chicken Magic
salt and pepper
cumin
8 low-carb tortillas – 16 pts
1 1/2 cups low fat cheese – 12 pts
1/4 cup Brummel and Brown low fat yogurt buttery spread stuff – 4 pts.
1/4 cup flour – 4 pts
15 oz of chicken broth
1 cup ff sour cream – 4 pts
1 can green chilies

Total = 55 points divided by 8 enchiladas = 7 points per enchilada (big and stuffed enchiladas!)

Directions
Liberally spray pan with cooking spray. Chop and saute chicken and chopped onion. Sprinkle chicken and onion mixture with chicken magic seasoning, salt, pepper, and cumin (I eye ball it, just liberally coat the top of the mixture with each, if I had to guess I’d say start with 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp of chicken magic, 1/8 tsp of cumin). Once chicken is mostly cooked, add about 1-2 tbsp of lime juice (again, I eyeball it, but it’s to taste really. Lime is the secret ingredient than makes Mexican dished taste Mexican).

Allow mixture to cool enough to touch it. Divide mixture into 8 equal parts. It’s usually a heavy 1/4 cup.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 tbsp of cheese (3/4 cup divided) inside each enchilada. Roll the chicken mixture and cheese in each tortilla. Place them seam side down in a 9 x 13 sprayed baking dish.

Let 1/4 cup of the low fat buttery spread melt in a a sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup of flower to melted butter and wisk until smooth (making a roux). Add chicken brown and wisk until smooth. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of fat free sour cream and 1 can of green chillies. Pour sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining 3/4 cup of cheese and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until sauce at edges is bubbly and cheese is melted.

These make HUGE enchiladas. One really is enough. If you’re really hungry 2 will for sure fill you and 14 points for two is not bad either for that much food. I’d suggest 1 with a veggie side or even brown rice. You can lighten it even more with fat free cheese instead of reduced fat, but it was too rubbery for me! I also tried making the sauce with just chicken stock instead of flour and water and I do not recommended that!

A Catch Up Involving No Ketchup!

A. I’m so behind! I have so so so many recipes to share. So in order to catch up, I’m strictly going to post recipe after recipe for a bit, no fluffy commentary. But don’t you worry! Fluffy commentary will be back. 

B. I have nothing against ketchup, I quite like it actually. I’m just currently stuck on mustard. It’s 0 points and super yummy! Currently in my fridge you can find 5 different kinds!  1. Regular Yellow Mustard 2. Spicy Brown Mustard 3. Southwest Mustard 4. Honey Mustard 5. Dijonaise Mustard. 

Okay, down to business! I’m gonna post a few of my new favorite things here that have become staples for me! I’ll try to group recipes in categories for the next few posts so it’s not a huge overload in one post. 


My new favorite way to make Iced Coffeehttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/dining/276drex.html?_r=1! It keeps longer because it’s cold brewed and it’s sooo worth the effort (which isn’t much). I made a double batch and let it cold brew in a mason jar. I set my strainer over a bowl and lined it with two coffee filters. Strain once, rinse out jar, rinse out the strainer, pour bowl coffee back into jar, set up strainer with two more coffee filters, and strain again. I pour it right back in the jar and kept it that way. To sweeten mine I’m a BIG fan of Splenda sweetened coffee syrups. I plan to collect them all, but only have the sugar free caramel right now. I also tried coffee ice cubes! Take 1 part cold brewed coffee concentrate and 1 part water and freeze in ice trays! No more watered down coffee.


I made my favorite pot roast recipe found in a  previous post again this week. It never fails to be amazing! And good news for Weight Watchers, the only points you count are for the roast! I used some left over roast to make a super yummy roast beef sandwich! Toasted the bread, spread some spicy brown mustard, piled on 4 oz of roast beef, topped with green onions and a little blue cheese. I dipped it in some of the left over juice. So good!  


Spiced Carrots! My new favorite side. Carrots are, of course, 0 points on Weight Watchers. I used to love making “candied” carrots with brown sugar and cinnamon and butter. Well now… I make a just as yummy substitute! I have used frozen crinkle carrots and fresh baby carrots, both work well. I just put the carrots in a pan with some water, not enough to cover them completely, cover them about half way. Then I spray about 20 sprays of Parkay 0 Calorie butter spray. When they start to cooked down I liberally sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and a few packets of Splenda on them. The perfect side to any meal and 0 points!


My other favorite side that is a staple, particularly when I  cook for my RAs (they always request them!) is Italian Green beans. I buy the steam in the bag whole green beans and cook them per package instructions in the microwave. Once finished, I put them in a heated pan and pour fat free Italian dressing all over them. For 1 bag I’d use about 1/4 of the bottle. Cook them for a bit until the dressing starts to bubble and the liquid decreases. Very flavorful and about 1 point per serving. 


Some other fun staple Weight Watcher friendly products I’m a fan of: 

1. Brummel and Brown Natural Yogurt Spread. It’s only 1 point per tbsp! I sat in the grocery store and measured all the different ones. It’s definitely the lowest and really yummy! Great to substitute for butter or margarine in recipes. 

2. Fat Free Cool Whip: Walmart does not have a generic brand but Kroger does! 

3. Strawberries with melted semi sweet chocolate chips. Such a satisfying dessert fix! Strawberries are 0 points and 1 tbsp of chocolate chips are 2 points. 

4. Cottage Cheese: Okay, so I THOUGHT I didn’t like cottage cheese, but decided to give it another try. I LOVE IT! I love it with pears and peaches, BUT I love it in savory ways too. I love it on my salads! 1/4 cup of fat free cottage cheese is just 1 point. I’ve also tried it on baked potatoes, which is also super yummy! Cheap and you get in one of your dairy servings for the day. 

5. Sugar free pudding and jello: I always keep a made up batch of sugar free pudding of some flavor and sugar free jello mixed with no sugar added can fruit in my fridge. The sugar free pudding is just 2 points per serving. I also often make them into a mousse if it’s the right flavor. The sugar free lemon makes a yummy mousse mixed with fat free cool whip. They have so many flavors! Pistachio, lemon, vanialla, french vanilla, chocolate, cheesecake, etc! Sugar free jello is 0 points! The fruit is 0 also. I like to add fruit because it stretches it and makes it more exciting. My favorite combos are orange jello with pineapples, lime jello with fruit cocktail, and strawberry jello with peaches. 

6. Mandolin: Okay, not a food item, but a life saver! I discovered that if I wash, slice, and store all of my produce when I get it home from the store, it lasts longer! I don’t know if it actually lasts longer or if I just eat it quicker, but whatever the case, it works! Makes preparing a salad or packing a lunch so quick and easy. Last weeks selections were green onions, cantaloupe, apples,  strawberries, and cucumbers. Also had grape tomatoes washed and read in the fridge. 

7. Good tupperware: Again, not food, but vital! It makes storing your produce fun, keeps everything fresh, and makes for easy portion controlled lunches and snacks. I discovered a secret to making the BIG cheaper bag of lettuce from Sam’s last longer. Buy it it’s own big tupperware. Wet and wring out paper towels to line the tupperware with, place lettuce in tupperware, cover with more damp paper towels. My super big bag of romaine (for $2.98 at Sam’s) lasts completely through my two week grocery period. I LOVE my new tupperware. Got it from Sam’s for $19.98. It’s a 50 piece rubbermaid set with the locking lids! The lids actually lock to the bottom of the container.

And I leave you with a picture of my OCD organized refrigerator. That’s the big lettuce container guy on the bottom. 1.5 gallon. 


Grilled Cheese and Jesus

Not to be confused with Glee’s craziness, Grilled Cheesus. Love that show, but not that episode! But Jesus and sandwiches have been a big part of my life lately. My job challenges me daily. My RAs are amazing young women who love the Lord and make me want to love him more and more. We’ve been going through the book of Roman’s together and it’s just been so rewarding.

I love love love my job. I love my life! Being surrounded by a positive atmosphere makes such a difference in my life. Since February 1st I’ve lost 19.6 lbs! I’m a much healthier person all around. I’m LOVING Weight Watchers. It’s somehow like magic to me. It really works! Because they are an easy, light lunch or dinner, I have been eating a lot of sandwiches lately. If you make them right they can be really substantial, not a lot of points, and yummy! I use Sara Lee 45 calorie multi-grain bread. It’s 1 point per slice instead of 2! My bread, and yours, can be a blank canvas for a yummy and satisfying meal!

Some of my favorite additions…
-1 wedge of Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb cheese spread on one side (1 point). Their are also lots of other varieties, Chipotle, Blue Cheese, Sun-dried Tomato and Basil. I intend to try them all! A 3 pack at Sam’s is $6.
-Honey Mustard, Spicy Brown Mustard, any variety of mustard (0 points).
-Slivers of red onion (0 points).
-Thin slices of Granny Smith apple (0 points).
-Lettuce, Tomato, or pickles (0 points).

AND my favorite addition to any sandwich that just seems to take it from a blah sandwich to a perfect meal…

I spray the outside of the bread with Parkay spray butter (0 points), sprinkle the bread with dried parsley, basil, and a little bit of reduced fat parmesan and toast it! I use an electric panini grill. You can use a sandwich maker or just a skillet! I promise, try it! Paint a beautiful picture on the bread canvas. Yes sandwiches are going to be boring and no fun if you eat the same old plain sandwich every day!

Tell me that doesn’t look good?! That whole yummy sandwich is just 5 points! That particular one has lettuce, granny smith apples, red onion slivers, garlic and herb cheese, honey mustard, and mesquite deli turkey with the ungraded bread. Served with a salad of romaine, cottage cheese, tomatoes, green onions, deli turkey, sun-dried tomato dressing, and fat free cheddar and the rest of the granny smith apple on the side. Total meal = 9 points.

Another fun WW friendly recipe I’ve tried recently is an open face tuna melt. It was sooo yummy! I did it exactly like this recipe: Skinny Tuna Melt.

Last favorite tip of the day. A lot of fresh veggies are 0 points. I LOVE 0 point things. But there’s only so many bites of raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or celery you can take before it feels like you are forcing yourself to chew and swallow. So a simple thing I always keep in my fridge now to make fresh veggies an enjoyable snack is fat free ranch dip! Who doesn’t love those veggie trays and dipping your veggies in yummy ranch? If you make it with a dry ranch packet and a 16 oz container of fat free sour cream it’s only 1 point for a 1/4 cup. It may not sound like a lot, but that amount is perfect for a good portion of carrots or celery or broccoli or whatever you like!

A diet can be boring and feel depriving and make you hungry and angry and defeated! Don’t diet. Make simple, yummy, exciting lifestyle changes that you look forward too. A spiced up sandwich and salad really are more filling than any combo meal you can get at a drive thru. Change some things up! Low fat, fat free, or Weight Watcher friendly foods do not mean tasteless, boring meals! Be brave. Be bold. Let food be an exciting adventure. Experiment!

Recipes, Recipes, Recipes

More recipes! My lovely friend, Sam Jones, has requested quite a list of the listed recipes. I could just email them to her… Or I could post them here for everyone to enjoy! I chose that option.

Chicken Ranch Cheeseball

  • Difficulty: EASY
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 big can of canned white meat chicken
  • 1 package of dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 small package of nuts (I liked chopped pecans or sliced walnuts best)

DIRECTIONS:

Drain chicken and shred in a bowl with a fork, it comes out of the can in chunky pieces. Mix thoroughly with cream cheese and ranch mix. I use a fork and just stir and smash and stir and smash until it all looks the same. Now… get messy! Scoop all of it up with your hands and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball up in plastic wrap and let chill as long as you can. You can do it as little as 30 minutes or as long as overnight. Roll it in the nuts before serving. If transporting roll in nuts and cover with plastic wrap again. Serve with crackers or toast.

I bring this to almost every potluck or party food type thingy I go to. So easy and EVERYONE loves it.


SCALLOPED POTATOES

I didn’t change this recipe in the slightest. I know it sounds weird and not like traditional scalloped potatoes and like it won’t be cheesy but oh my stars it’s good! Don’t change it! The thyme and nutmeg make it. It’s so good! Perfect for a Thanksgiving side dish. AND I mean… hello… Tyler Florence made it! My once-upon-a-time-future-husband-until-I-realized-he-was-married made it!

Please DO NOT try to slice all these potatoes by hand! I started doing that, and then realized my cheese grater has a slicer on the slide. Use a slicer! There is no way you can get them as thin as they should be by hand plus it is way quicker!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/scalloped-potato-gratin-recipe/index.html


Stuffed Turkey Burgers

  • Servings: 2-3
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • seasonings
  • 1 egg
  • bread crumbs (or crushed crackers)
  • sliced onion
  • sliced mozzarella (or any cheese you like)
  • spinach leaves
  • mushrooms
  • whatever you want to stuff with!

DIRECTIONS:

1 lb makes two BIG burgers or 3 medium burgers. 4 are doable, but they are really small and hard to form with the stuffed stuff (that’s fun to say). Mix meat and what ever seasonings you like (I used Tony’s, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley flakes). Use seasonings generously. Turkey is blander than ground beef. Mix in the egg and a little bread crumbs to make it stick and hold. If you are making 2 burgers, separate meat into 4 equal sections. If you are making 3 burgers, separate into 6 sections. Flatten our each section. Take one section and top with a slice or wedge of cheese, sliced onions, spinach leaves, etc. Don’t use too much! It won’t close if you do. Take another flattened section and place it on top. Fold and mash the edges together until all the stuffed stuff goodness is packaged inside the meat. You can grill these or bake them. I’ve done it both ways. If you bake, bake at 350 for 30ish minutes. You have to judge your oven. Turkey is poultry so make sure it is done, but don’t overcook. Just watch it close. On the grill 7-10 minutes on each side. Yummy on a bun or without! I like them with A1 too. Good with homemade onion rings or sweet potato fries or potato salad!


THE SECRET LIFE OF HUMMUS

So… I LOVE hummus. Like, I know you say you love hummus, but I REALLY LOVE hummus. The Sabra brand in the store and one other are the only ones that compare to real Mediterranean hummus (or the restaurant versions I’ve experienced). They are supper yum and I could eat the whole container with a spoon, BUT it’s still not as good as the restaurant one. I’ve attempted to make hummus before, and it was okay, but just not as good. I discovered a year or so ago that tahini is the secret to hummus. Since that discovery, I have been on the hunt for tahini. Who knew it was so hard to find where I live?! I finally found it at a gas station, of all places, in Slidell that sales Mediterranean food. It looks like a jar of liquidy peanut butter. I followed the recipe I found exactly except for one fun fact the guy at the gas station told me!

This very nice Mediterranean man told me the secret to great hummus! It sounds crazy… but it works! So follow the recipe but make two small adjustments. Before you dump the chick peas in the food processor, heat them up just a little bit. Maybe like 45 seconds. Just enough to give them a little warmth. And then… the secret! Add 1 cup of ice. Yes ICE! It sounds crazy but somehow it works! It makes is silky smooth just like they serve it in Mediterranean restaurants. Mix all the ingredients with the ice in the food processor until all the ice is crushed. It should be a creamy, smooth, velvety texture. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and sprinkle with paprika or salt and pepper to make it all pretty! Serve with warm pita bread or pita chips or spoons! Okay well only serve it with spoons if I’m there. I told Mr. Nice Mediterranean man that I’d keep the secret, but he gave me permission to share.

http://www.food.com/recipe/hummus-11424


Roasted Pinenut and Feta Couscous

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: EASY
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of couscous
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 2 ounce bag of pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of feta cheese
  • juice of two lemons (4 tablespoons)

DIRECTIONS:

Bring chicken stock, salt, and olive oil to a boil. Add couscous, stir, and remove from heat. Cover for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork. Add pine nuts (you could toast them first if you wanted), lemon juice, and feta.


TWICE BAKED POTATOES

 Instead of using 4 big potatoes I used 8-10 small red potatoes. I did it exactly like the recipe. Be careful when you scoop not to break the shell/skin since it holds the filling. I also used Real Bacon bits instead of bacon. These are really good! They are really pretty as well. I topped mine with green onions.

http://www.food.com/recipe/best-twice-baked-potatoes-79595


Hashbrown Casserole

  • Difficulty: EASY
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds frozen hash browns
  • 1/2 cup melted margarine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 2 cups grated cheese (I use sharp cheddar)

DIRECTIONS:

Thaw potatoes. Mix first 8 ingredients together and place in a 9×13 casserole dish. Add topping. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. You can use low fat soup and sour cream and 2% cheese for a lower calorie casserole.

This recipe makes a lot! Perfect for a potluck or side disk. I made it for me with baked apples for dinner. I ate leftover MANY times and still had quite a bit to freeze.

Stay tuned! More recipes requested by Sam (and posted for everyone to enjoy) to come!