Spinach, Artichoke, and White Bean Soup Recipe – 6 Smart Points

Spinach, Artichoke, and White Bean Soup

We are still in the midst of summer, but savory fall foods are already filling up my brain, and I’ve already started working on some new seasonal recipes! A recent one that I whipped up is this Spinach, Artichoke, and White Bean Soup. I’m a HUGE fan of artichokes, and this soup definitely delivers their amazing flavor. Every spoonful is bursting with their unique flavor, but softened a bit by the creamy, mild beans and velvety broth. It’s a pretty quick and easy recipe to make, which is great when you don’t have much time or energy on your hands. But it’s hearty enough to be satisfying, and can easily be served as a main dish or a side. Loaded with protein, fiber and iron, this Spinach, Artichoke, and White Bean Soup is as nurturing as it is delicious. Enjoy!

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Moroccan Spiced Shrimp Over Garbanzo Bean Salad – 4 Smart Points

Moroccan Spiced Shrimp Over Garbanzo Bean Salad

With the beautiful summer weather we’ve been having, my husband has been outside grilling food on a very regular basis. And today’s recipe for Moroccan Spiced Shrimp Over Garbanzo Bean Salad was actually inspired by 5 year old who LOVES shrimp! On a recent beach excursion, we stopped to have lunch at a local, seaside restaurant, and my daughter was begging to order anything with shrimp. We opted to get her this dish, and she absolutely loved it. I tried my best to replicate the version from the restaurant, and I’m pretty pleased with the results…it turned out delicious and very light at just 4 Smart Points per serving. Of course, the final approval came from the harshest critic, my little girl herself, and she vehemently approved. So if you are looking for a new grilling recipe to try this summer, get this one on your menu ASAP!

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Carrot Cake Pancakes with Blueberries – 5 Smart Points

Blueberry Pancakes

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…]

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Couscous with Pomegranates & Butternut – 7 Smart Points

Couscous with Butternut

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…]

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One Pot Moroccan Chicken Rice and Potatoes Recipe – 9 Smart Points

One Pot Moroccan Chicken Rice and Potatoes Recipe

On those nights when you want a complete meal in one pot, this One Pot Moroccan Chicken Rice and Potatoes Recipe is a breeze, and it delivers a delicious and filling meal with minimal effort. By cooking all the food together in one pot, the chicken juices really help to add amazing flavor and tenderness to the rice and potatoes. And the Moroccan spices make it all just taste soooooo good together! This recipe was taught to me by my amazing Moroccan friend who makes this meal at least once a week. The first time I had it served to me at her house, I assumed this was a dish she slaved over all day. But to my surprise, it’s a pretty easy, hands off meal that comes together perfectly! And who doesn’t love having just 1 pot to clean up afterwards?

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Strawberry Cake Roll – 7 Smart Points

Strawberry Cake Roll

Around the holidays last year I made a couple of Swiss cake rolls. I really enjoyed making the cake rolls. It turns out they’re not as difficult as I thought they were. The trick is to roll them while the cake is still warm, then they can be unrolled, filled and rerolled fairly easily. I used parchment paper to roll my cake and it worked perfectly. With some leftover fresh strawberries, I decided to try a strawberry cake roll – and it was fabulous. I started with my favorite frosting recipe – cool whip and low fat cream cheese. While I prefer to use real whipped cream, I can get almost the same flavor with cool whip, but without the fat! Then I added fresh chopped strawberries for my filling. I went the easy route and used a plain box mix for the cake. You can use any flavor you like – white, yellow, funfetti, chocolate – whatever you prefer or whatever you have on hand. The box mix makes this easy to make and really light and fluffy. It was fun, delicious and looks beautiful and elegant. Since my husband doesn’t like chocolate – it’s even better! It’s now one of my favorite non-chocolate desserts! [Read more…]

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Asian Noodles – 7 Smart Points

Asian Garlic Noodles

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…]

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Pasta with Spinach Pesto – 6 Smart Points

Pasta with Spinach Pesto

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.
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Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad Recipe – 5 Smart Points

Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad

Perfect for a light summer side salad, this Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad is not only incredibly easy to make, it’s super tasty! I love the slight crunch of the quinoa along with the fresh, crisp vegetables. And the simple lemon dressing pulls it all together wonderfully. This salad is a great way for me to get my kids to eat some vegetables and healthy whole grains – they love this dish. And any leftovers go great in their lunch boxes the next day. If you have a few Smart Points to spare, I suggest adding in some feta or goat cheese crumbles for an added kick of flavor. It’s sooooooo good! You could also top it with some grilled chicken, and/or add in some extra roasted veggies like bell peppers and zucchini, to make to a complete meal. This Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad works great at BBQ’s, potlucks, parties…you name it. It’s versatile, delicious, healthy, and just 5 Smart Points per serving.

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Peruvian Chicken Stir Fry Recipe – 4 Smart Points

Peruvian Chicken Stir Fry

This Peruvian Chicken Stir Fry recipe is one of my favorite, and incredibly reliable chicken recipes that deliver an absolutely delicious dish with minimal effort. Sautéed bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes are so flavorful, and the simple stir fry sauce is low in Smart Points, but big on taste. This is a great healthy dinner recipe that you can get on the table in less than 30 minutes, looks lovely, and is a big hit with the entire family. My kids love this over some steamed brown rice, but when I have a few extra Points to spare, I serve it over baked french fries, as is the traditional Peruvian way. Just 4 Smart Points per serving, this Peruvian Chicken Stir Fry will steal your heart the same way it’s stolen mine. Enjoy!

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Spaghetti with Ragu – 7 Smart Points

spaghetti-787043 (1)

This year for New Year’s day dinner, my in-laws had an Italian theme. One of the recipes we ended up with was a lasagna made with a homemade Ragu. I fell in love with it. The flavor of the Ragu was so delicious. It was rich, but not overpowering and wasn’t tomato based. Most of my pasta sauces are tomato or cream based, so this one was a breath of fresh air. I got the recipe and have made it several times since then. It makes a lot, so I tend to freeze part of it or I end up with too much sauce to use before it went bad. The only downside of this recipe for me, is that you need to simmer it for a couple of hours. I don’t care for wine, so I simmered mine for at least 2 hours to make sure no wine flavor remained (don’t worry, all the alcohol has burned off by then). I’ve also found that the wine adds a depth to the flavor that the Ragu is really lacking without the wine. So, just plan ahead and make this Ragu on Saturday or Sunday (or any day you have the time to do the prep) and then store it until you use it later in the week. If you can’t find the pancetta, just use bacon as a substitute. This is perfect for spaghetti (or any other kind of pasta), or you can use it as your sauce for a lasagna. Any leftovers you won’t use within a week, just put it in a bag and freeze it for the next time. It’s rich, but not overpowering, and incredibly delicious. It’s my all-time favorite pasta sauce, and I love that I get to toss the veggies in the food processor to make the prep really easy. [Read more…]

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Rosemary Roast Potatoes – 3 Smart Points

potatoes-721076

Now that I live in the Midwest I’ve learned to love potatoes. In fact, we have a lot of potatoes now. And we have them just about every way imaginable. But when I’m doing mashed potatoes or roast potatoes like this, I really like to use Yukon Gold potatoes. Their golden color makes them look like they’re filled with butter, when they’re really not. I pan fried my potatoes in a little butter because I wanted a little brown on the edges of the potatoes. But since I didn’t want to fry them with that much butter, I them baked them until they were tender. This gave me the best of both. They were a little crispy and had beautiful golden brown edges but weren’t so soaked in butter that I could feel my arteries hardening while I ate them. I added my usual garlic and a little crushed rosemary to give them a little woodsy flavor. If you don’t care for rosemary, you can also use a little ground or crushed thyme for a similar flavor. The result was delicious potatoes that went perfectly with roast pork loin. These were quite simple to prepare and incredibly delicious – all without breaking the points bank. [Read more…]

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