With the chilly winter weather in full swing, I just cant get enough soup! Chicken noodle soup has always been one of my family’s favorite comfort foods, but the traditional egg noodles that are used can really add up the calories. By simply subbing out the egg noodles with “noodles”, which is just zucchini that has been spiraled, I was able to make my homemade chicken noodle soup recipe a LOT lighter and healthier. Now I can indulge in a big bowl of delicious chicken soup for just 3 Smart Points! It’s so delicious and satisfying, and absolutely guilt free. Spiraled zucchini can be used in so many recipes, and it’s really quite fast and easy to do. If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend one. The one I have (THIS one) is small, cheap, and does a great job…no need for anything fancy. If you love chicken noodle soup but have been avoiding it because of the high calorie noodles, this recipe will win your heart.
I don’t know about you – but I’m ready for fall. Here in our little corner of the Midwest, the weather can’t make up it’s mind. It’ll be in the 50s on day and the upper 70s the rest of the week. Since fall and winter are two of my favorite seasons (actually the only one I don’t like is the really hot part of summer), I’m always eager to get them here a little quicker. One of the ways I can do that is with a little squash soup. I’m pretty picky about my squash soup. I’ve had good squash soup, and I’ve had horrible squash soup. I typically like my squash with butter and brown sugar (not the best option for me), so I’ve been learning how to do it other ways. I’ve learned with the right seasonings and a little sour cream, the squash soup is pretty wonderful. I had to process a lot of pumpkin last fall, and after getting incredibly frustrated trying to peel it, my mom suggested a wonderful trick – bake it! I was in the process of canning the pumpkin, so I didn’t want it to be mush before I put it in the jars, but it doesn’t need long. About 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of the pumpkin) at 350 degrees F. All I did was wash them, cut them in half and stick them in the oven. The skin peeled off (just like when you dunk peaches in hot water) and the seeds came out easily too. It’s the perfect way to make anything with pumpkin and squash when you need to peel it. When it comes to this soup, the easiest way to finish it off is with an immersion blender. However, since I don’t have one, I can assure you that a regular blender works just fine. [Read more…]
As it starts to cool down this fall, I feel a lot more like making and eating soups. One of the reasons that I love soups is that they are so quick and easy to put together. Chili is one that always ends up in our crockpot, along with minestrone and a few others. I typically do a chicken noodle soup, but decided to leave the noodles out this time. I just combined chicken broth, chicken and vegetables into a healthy and delicious soup that was ready in less than 30 minutes. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken, or the leftover turkey we’ll all have in a few weeks. This soup isn’t one of those super hearty, “stick to your ribs” kind of soups, but this is a lighter soup that is perfect with half a sandwich for lunch or a light dinner. Since it is lighter, I really like to have it with half a sandwich, since that’s perfect for a meal for me without being too much food all at once. One of the other nice things about this soup is that it’s easy to add in whatever vegetables you like or have on hand. I used peas, carrots, onion, kale and turnip. [Read more…]
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure about split pea soup. It doesn’t sound very appealing and it definitely doesn’t look appealing. However, it’d been awhile since I’d done anything in the crockpot, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ll admit, there are still more appealing looking meals out there. A large bowl of green soup isn’t top pretty. But the rich and delicious flavor of the soup more than makes up for it. I love how simple it was to put together. Just stick it all in the crockpot and turn it on. Once you’re ready to serve it, just use an immersion blender to puree it to your desired consistency. This is a great way to use up the ham bone from the Sunday dinner. What I really loved about this whole meal was how easy it was to to make! Everything went in the crockpot in the morning and got turned on. In the evening, all I had to do was puree it and decide what sides to serve with it. If you want to make it a little prettier, add a few pieces of chopped ham to the top of the bowl, or add a little sour cream to make it a little more creamy.
Even though not everyone in the house likes quinoa, I do. I like to make up a batch in my rice cooker and then make simple, nutritious and delicious lunches with it. It provides a nice change from salads on some days. However, I’m a huge fan of one pot meals. Anything that I can do that doesn’t have the kitchen covered in dishes is great (my husband is even more a fan, since he does the dishes when I cook!). This one is great. All those delicious Mexican flavors that I love – black beans, corn, onions, cumin, garlic and cilantro all wrapped up into one delicious dish. Since avocadoes were on sale recently, and we had a perfectly ripe one, I sliced up avocado to put on top after it was done cooking. My favorite part was how easy it was. I just put everything in a pan, covered it with a lid and waited. [Read more…]
Saturdays I usually make a delicious brunch. Pancakes are one of my favorite things to make on days like that. I recently found a carrot cake pancake recipe and thought I’d give it a try. I really liked it. The carrot is a mild flavor that adds moisture to the pancakes – much like zucchini in chocolate cake. I topped mine with fat free Greek yogurt and fresh blueberries. I added a little bit of maple syrup for a little extra sweet – and it was delicious. Be sure to grate the carrots by hand, the store-bought grated carrots are just too coarse and you’ll end up feeling like you’re eating carrot stick pancakes. Hand grated carrots are much more fine and tender, so they just melt into the flavor of the pancake. Give these delicious dessert-like pancakes a try – you won’t be disappointed! [Read more…]
Growing up, my mom had the best teriyaki chicken recipe. Every time we all get home, she makes us a massive batch of teriyaki chicken. I decided to tweak her recipe a little bit this time and do some sweet and sour teriyaki chicken. Adding a sweet and sour sauce to the traditional teriyaki sauce lightened the flavor and made it more of a sauce than a marinade. So, I made my typical stir fried chicken and vegetables and added this delicious sauce. You don’t need to use the same broccoli and peppers that I did, toss in what you have on hand or whatever you like in your stir fries! Add some carrots, baby corn, water chestnuts, edamame, snow peas or anything else that you enjoy. All those veggies are great add ons since they don’t cost you an additional points. If you feel like you want a bit of carbohydrate or side dish, brown rice or whole grain pasta is a great choice. [Read more…]
I recently was in Costco and had a sample of a chicken and apple slider. It was delicious, so I set out to make a similar recipe that I could do at home. I’m not sure if these are exactly the same, but they are delicious all the same, so who cares? I like how easy these are to make. I can make them up ahead of time and freeze them. Then I can just cook up a couple of them for lunch or dinner. When I need a quick meal, they’re ready to go. All I have to do is broil them for a few minutes. I like to pair these with an Asian coleslaw with a copycat Applebee’s salad dressing and some sweet potato fries. It’s a delicious, simple and healthy meal that’s ready to go in less than 20 minutes. This is perfect for our busy weeknights, or when I simply don’t know what else to make! These sliders are definitely keepers in our house! [Read more…]
Here is a seriously delicious combination of pomegranate, butternut and orange. It’s a simple and easy meal that can be tossed together in no time. I love the fact that I can make it up really quickly. Squash can be sliced in half, and baked for about 10 minutes. It’s easier to peel and cube then. It’s also easy to freeze it then and I can have it all year. Roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper until it’s tender. It’s a great way to make squash without loading it up with butter and brown sugar. I highly recommend baking it for a few minutes first. I learned last fall with my pumpkins (when I was canning a whole bunch of them, about 30 or 40 quarts) that if you bake the pumpkin (or squash in this case) for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, it looses the skin and seeds enough that they are easy to remove. Then just stick your squash in a ziploc bag and it’s ready to be baked when you need it. Since I don’t always have quinoa on hand, and it takes longer to cook, couscous is a great alternative to that. It doesn’t take long to cook, has a much more mild flavor and is less expensive. It’s a great combination with the crunchy and juicy pomegranate seeds. This is a bright, colorful and delicious salad that is simple to put together to complement your meal tonight. [Read more…]
I love pasta. It’s one of my many weaknesses. I think I enjoy it so much because it’s something that I can do quickly, it tastes great and I’ve found some really good gluten free noodles that taste wonderful. I love to make garlic noodles. I used to just do noodles with my favorite seasonings. I’ve been adding a variety of vegetables. With the fresh garden vegetables right now, this is just perfect to add your favorite vegetables to whip up a quick and easy pasta dish. I like my noodles with just a little bit of spice, so I use sweet chili sauce. However, if you like a little more spice, use Sriracha instead of sweet chili sauce. [Read more…]
Pasta dishes are one of my favorite go-to meals when I’m in a hurry and need dinner fast. I can my own pasta sauce, so I always have a few jars of that on hand so I can mix up a meal of spaghetti if we’re in a hurry. However, I thought I’d try something a little different for this one. I love pasta with pesto, but I saw a recipe on Pinterest for one with spinach, and I just had to try it. The original called for far more oil (and a far more expensive oil), but I used olive oil, and it worked fine and tasted fabulous. Since the nuts tend to make their own oil when they’re processed for long enough, I started with that and let it go for a few minutes. After a couple of minutes, I drizzled in a little olive oil at a time until it reached the right consistency. Combined with whole grain pasta, some garden fresh tomatoes, you’ve got a simple and delicious meal ready to go.
One of my favorite breakfasts is a parfait. I don’t always layer it nicely in a pretty glass bowl, but I love to combine fresh fruit, yogurt and granola. It’s quick and easy, always delicious and packed with nutrients. I like to have low fat yogurt on hand and a whole grain, low sugar granola as well so I can toss it together. It helps provide me with a great breakfast with minimal effort, so I get a great breakfast even when I’m too lazy to do much for breakfast. With this one, I sprinkled in my favorite granola, as well as some chia seeds and ground flaxseed. This gives me lots of fiber to start the day out with too. The protein and fiber help me to last longer and I don’t get the munchies as bad (my munchies are typically cravings for chips, candy, and other things like that). One way that I changed this parfait a little was to mash some fresh blueberries with a mini potato masher so that I had a layer (or two) or fruit sauce. It’s a great way to sweeten the low fat plain yogurt without adding any extra sugar to it.