Sundried Tomato & Basil Clover Rolls – 5 Smart Points

Sundried Tomato & Basil Clover Rolls

I was recently asked to design a recipe with frozen basil in it. I decided to go with classic clover rolls, and then add sundried tomatoes and basil to it. They were delicious! They were light and fluffy (provided you don’t over bake them like I did with my first batch), and had just the right blend of tomato and basil flavor. I find the sundried tomato flavor is often too strong when just mixed into salads and pastas, but with this, the basil seemed to temper it a bit. They were perfect with some spaghetti and a side salad. My original recipe used all purpose flour, but you can substitute whole wheat and get a little more fiber and whole grain nutrition in them. I’ve also made them with gluten free flour. They didn’t rise quite as well, so they were a little denser, but were still delicious. Give these clover rolls a try – you won’t be disappointed with their elegant flavor. [Read more…]

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Ciabatta – 4 Smart Points

Whole Grain Ciabatta

Oprah has said what everyone else is thinking – it’s possible to lose weight without giving up anything. One of the keys to loosing weight and keeping it off is to find a way to compromise. To find a way to enjoy your favorite foods while not going overboard. For many people I know, one of those things you want to keep enjoying is bread. Baked goods are something that just about everyone loves. Whether you’re try to lose weight, diabetic and counting carbs or gluten intolerant, there is something about a chewy and delicious piece of bread that can’t be replaced. One way to make bread healthier is to use whole wheat flour. Just make sure that the flour is finely ground. If your flour isn’t finely ground, your bread could be grainy. Whole wheat flour adds a richer texture and flavor to these traditional Italian rolls. Ciabatta are rustic Italian rolls that are chewy with a crispy crust. They are made with a starter, biga, that is fermented overnight. The dough is very wet, almost more like batter than dough. Letting the dough sit before kneading allows the flour to absorb the water so the dough is the right consistency. These rolls do take longer than normal to make, but the delicious texture and flavor definitely make it worth while to make a batch of these for a special occasion.
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Classic French Macarons – 6 Smart Points

Classic French Macaron

I don’t typically have desserts around since I just want to eat them, but sometimes, it’s nice to have some desserts. I had some coconut macaroons recently, and they were delicious, but I wanted something a little lighter, so I went with these macarons. These are classic French meringue based cookies that are just delightful little things. They are light and just a little sweet, but not overpowering. You can serve them with frosting in the middle, which is traditionally how they’re served. Or, you can serve them with some frozen yogurt, pudding or some lemon curd instead. These cookies are naturally gluten free, and are really quite easy to make. I dyed my several colors (just separate the batter to do that), so I had a little more variety without making tons of cookies. Be careful not to over handle the batter though, or they might end up falling. Also make sure that you beat the egg whites in a glass or metal bowl. Plastic bowls tend to hold on to grease residue, and that will prevent the egg whites from becoming a meringue. But with those two tips, it’s easy and simple to make these delicious little cookies. [Read more…]

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Broccoli and Cheddar Crustless Quiche – 4 Smart Points

Broccoli and Cheddar Crustless Quiche

Serve up this Broccoli and Cheddar Crustless Quiche at your next Sunday brunch, and it’s sure to become a family favorite! Most quiche recipes are meant to be healthy and light, but the addition of a high fat crust can often overshadow all the positive nutritional elements of the dish. By ditching the crust, we keep this quiche light and nutritious. The key is to make sure that the eggs are enhanced with delicious flavor to makeup for the lack of crust. I highly recommend using an extra sharp cheddar if you can find it, as it really kicks up the flavor! At just 4 Smart Points for 1/6th of the quiche, this dish is the perfect addition to any brunch, dinner, or potluck.

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Baked Ratatouille – 3 Smart Points

Baked Ratatouille

A couple of years ago, my sister convinced me to watch Ratatouille. It’s an adorable animated film about a little rat who is a fabulous chef. I loved it. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to make Ratatouille. Ratatouille is traditional French, a vegetable side dish stewed with herbs and spices. I thought I would try a baked version though. The baked version I tried is much less labor intensive than the traditional one, since you don’t have to watch it and stir it. Just season it, pop it in the oven and fix the rest of the meal. I love side dishes (and main dishes) like that. It gives me time to set the table and get caught up on the dishes. Not to mention that when you layer the vegetables into the pan like this, they turn out so beautifully, you can just serve it in the pan. If you’d like, add some red and green bell peppers to the vegetables. I really enjoyed this. I think next time I’ll try the traditional method of cooking it on the stove. But for now, a delicious, simple and elegant side dish that is a low in points. [Read more…]

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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread – 4 Smart Points

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I’m not sure about everyone else’s house, but we almost always seem to have bananas that are getting overripe. As a result, I’m frequently making something that requires overripe bananas. Well, to be perfectly honest, I frequently make things like banana bread, but I also usually have a half a dozen bananas in the freezer. If your bananas are getting ripe, and you don’t have time to make something, just stick them in the freezer. Those bananas are perfect for making this banana bread. The number of bananas, along with the way that the liquid is reserved and then reduced from the bananas adds to the rich banana flavor and also the incredibly moist texture of this banana bread. I typically cover the banana bread with foil about half way through cooking. This helps the center cook without the top getting too brown. Really, this is a fabulous recipe. If you’re not a fan of chocolate (like my husband), just use walnuts instead of chocolate chips. I love this for breakfast and quick snacks – it’s so moist and delicious.

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Berry Crisp – 5 Points +

Berry Crisp

There’s always those days when you just feel like you need a dessert. One of the tough things to find is a dessert that is packed with flavor, nutrition and doesn’t have too many points. This fruit crisp is just the thing. Since it’s packed with berries – it’s also packed with fiber and vitamins. You can use frozen or fresh fruit, but I typically use frozen since that’s what I have on hand. Just keep in mind that frozen berries will be a little more juicy. Since there’s some brown sugar in the crisp part, I don’t add extra to the berries, but you can sweeten the berries with a bit of sugar. You can garnish the crisp with a little whipped cream, yogurt or ice cream. This dessert has everything – simple and easy to put together, delicious, nutritious and something that everybody loves.

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Frittata – 6 Points +

Frittata

When we left from my in-laws after Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law gave us some farm fresh eggs. Since we’ve had some company this week, I’ve been up making delicious egg-filled breakfasts every day. The first morning was omelets filled with veggies and ham, and next up was a delicious frittata. I love quiche, but there are three things that always get to me – the pie crust, the baking time and the high fat. I’m not terribly good at making gluten free pie crusts, and pie crusts are so high in fat that I really don’t like to use them. Not to mention that it takes forever to bake the quiche! The last one I made took more than an hour. The answer is the frittata. It’s just baked scrambled eggs filled with any vegetables and meat you’d like to add. It’s quick to cook and even quicker to put together. You don’t have to put together a pie crust, so it’s much lower in fat and carbohydrates as well as being a great source of breakfast protein! I used the ground turkey sausage I had on hand and threw in the vegetables I had available, but you can use anything you’d like. You can use ham or bacon, or go without the meat and use any vegetables you like. It’s a delicious breakfast that is ready in no time while still being elegant and tasting amazing! [Read more…]

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Yogurt & Oat Banana Muffins – 4 Points +

Yogurt & Oat Banana Muffins

Wendy’s on a one dish kick right now (who can blame her, nobody likes dishes, and these are fabulous recipes), and I’m back to finding new recipes to use ripe bananas for. Since bananas are only eaten fresh in our house if they’re still green, sometimes we have an overabundance of bananas to use. These muffins hit the spot. It’s a very simple recipe, all you need is a blender or food processor to mix it in, and you’re ready to go. It doesn’t even require flour since it uses oats that are ground up while you’re mixing up the batter. The yogurt gives it protein and a delicious richness. These muffins are seriously fabulous. I’m going to have a hard time eating just one, I think my husband might have to hide the rest!
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Ginger Walnut Bundt Cake – 7 Points +

Ginger Walnut Bundt Cake

One of the gifts that we got for our wedding was a Bundt pan, along with a recipe book with Bundt pan recipes. Several years later, I’ve used it for the first time and this recipe is a keeper. Ginger is a delicious spice – that sweet and spicy flavor is just fabulous. Combined with the rich brewed coffee and crunchy walnuts, it’s a delicious combination. I tweaked the recipe a bit, since the original called for a cup of canola oil – which I thought was overkill. I substituted applesauce for it, and it worked perfectly. It was moist and delicious. Top it with a dollop of whip cream or a little frozen yogurt or ice cream and it’s a perfect dessert. If you don’t have cake flour, you can use all purpose flour. I used cake flour because its lighter and more finely ground that all purpose flour, but either one will work. This cake is a delicious fall dessert that is a perfect end to a meal with grilled chicken breast, salad and baked potatoes. In fact, it’s so delicious, it’s the perfect end to any meal.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – 2 Points +

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I typically don’t make too many desserts, because, well, we have to eat them once they’re made. Cookies are frequently the exception to that rule. With cookies, they’re so easy to just keep a few out and stick the rest in the freezer. Then I can take out a cookie or two when I really need something sweet. These peanut butter cookies are just perfect for that. They’ve only got five ingredients, so they’re made in no time. I completely forgot to make the traditional peanut butter cookie cross hatch in them before I baked them, and they still turned out fine. The baking soda and the amount of oil in the peanut butter help these cookies to spread. If you’re having trouble with that though, baking soda helps cookies to spread and baking powder helps them to puff, so just add a little of whichever you need. I enjoy these cookies for a little mid afternoon pick-me-up. I’ll start to get tired, and I’ll get the munchies when I’m struggling to concentrate. These are just perfect, with only 2 points + per cookie, a little fiber and a little protein, they’re a great snack for me without me going overboard.

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Pumpkin Cornbread Recipe – 4 Points +

Pumpkin Cornbread

Fall is officially in full swing, and like everyone else, I’m on a pumpkin craze. There are SO many amazing pumpkin flavored goodies and treats available right now, it’s insane! In addition to trying out some tasty looking products I find at the store, I’ve also been in the kitchen whipping up some homemade, healthy pumpkin recipes too. Though it’s been over 100 degrees here this week (boo for California in the fall!), I’ve been working on a Pumpkin Cornbread Recipe that I hope you love as much as I do! Moist, delicious, slightly sweet cornbread that bakes up light and tender boasting a traditional corn flavor, but with a hint of pumpkin and spice. Goes AMAZINGLY well with chili or soup, and if you want to spend the extra points, is best when topped with hot butter. So get on the pumpkin craze bandwagon and give my Pumpkin Cornbread recipe a try this fall. Each serving is just 4 Points Plus!

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