Chickpea Puttanesca over Polenta – 6 Smart Points

Chickpea Puttanesca over Polenta

In an effort to eat less meat (the reason why is a whole looking other blog post for another time), I’ve been experimenting with more vegan and vegetarian Weight Watchers Recipes. A friend of mine cooked this for me one day, and it was so good, I knew I had to recreate it at home! The mild, soft polenta is topped with a tangy puttanesca sauce that’s to die for. Now, because you all know I love shortcuts, I used a prepared log of Trader Joe’s Organic Polenta. If you want to make your own from scratch, you absolutely could. I just often have my hands full while cooking dinner, so I try to save time wherever I can. But even with the pre-made polenta, this traditional Italian recipe is divine! You get a hint of the salty brine from the olives and capers, and the sweet and tangy tomato sauce balances it all out. It’s loaded with protein and fiber and is incredibly satisfying. A real bargain for just 6 Smart Points too! Enjoy.

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Pasta with Spinach Pesto – 7 Smart Points

Pasta with Spinach Pesto

Pesto is a delightful way to dress pasta that’s a little different than your typical red or white pasta sauce. It usually just requires a lot of fresh basil, pine nuts and olive oil. This is one that mixes that up a little bit. The spinach is mild enough, but the basil adds the classic “pesto” flavor. Not only that, spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. This is also one of my favorite types of recipes – quick and easy to put together – just stick everything in a food processor. If your pasta is ready too soon, just rinse in cold water (helps to minimize the sticking) and then leave it drained. When you’re ready to serve, just reheat the pasta by running under hot water. If you’ve got extra of the pesto, it should keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. The tomatoes add a beautiful pop of red to the dish and the flavor complements the pesto perfectly. [Read more…]

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Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Recipe – 6 Smart Points

Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

If you’ve ever been to Olive Garden’s all-you-can-eat soup, salad and breadsticks lunch special, then you are going to love today’s recipe! I’ve been a fan of their Zuppa Toscana soup for as long as I can remember, but with all the fat and calories, indulging in this delicious dish at Olive Garden could easily cost me almost an entire day’s worth of Smart Points – and that’s before we factor in the breadsticks and salad. Yikes! So, I’ve come up with my own lighter version at home, and it is fantastic. It’s a simple, slow cooker recipe that turns out incredibly tasty, yet with just 6 Smart Points per serving. Admittedly, I was feeling quite lazy and made this with pre-cooked Italian sausage links from Applegate Farms. Ideally, you could use ground Italian chicken sausage for a more authentic flavor. But you will need to brown that sausage first before adding it to the slow cooker. By using the precooked sausage, I saved a step (an an extra pan to wash). Plus, Applegate’s sausages are really tasty! No harm, no foul. This copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana recipe is a real win for any Weight Watcher. Enjoy!

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Zucchini Lasagna – 8 Smart Points

Zucchini Lasagna

Who doesn’t love lasagna? It’s a favorite meal of mine, and one that I can easily make gluten free (just use gluten free noodles). It’s a great meal to stick in the freezer when I know I’m going to be out of town, so that my husband can just stick it in the oven after work. I thought I’d give our traditional lasagna recipe a low-carb makeover. Zucchini works so well as noodles in other traditional pasta dishes, so why not lasagna? It turns out this is delicious. I’m pretty picky about how I like my zucchini (especially cooked), but this was delicious. It was tender, but not overpowering with the rest of the delicious sauce. Give this one a try for one of your next family meals. It’ll be a definite hit!
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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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Eggplant Parmesan – 6 Points +

Eggplant Parmesan

Some of my friends are incredible cooks. In fact, there is one couple in particular who are really good cooks and make the best eggplant parmesan. I’ve tried it a couple of times, but I decided that it was better if I just had it when we were at their house. My first attempt was really awful. I’m someone who really has an issue with texture, so I’m very picky about my eggplant parmesan. But, I decided to give it one more shot, and I’m glad I did – this is delicious. I’ve found that the trick is to peel the eggplant and fry it after coating it with the breadcrumbs. The other major issue I ran into was the seeds. If the eggplant is too ripe, then the seeds are big and the flavor isn’t good. The skin should be tender and glossy, and the eggplant shouldn’t be too big. Then, just peel it, bread it and fry it. Frying the eggplant gives it a crispness and enhances the flavor. Once you’ve got the eggplant layered with the pasta sauce and cheese, you’ll never be able to tell that this isn’t made with regular pasta. Even the skeptics turn out loving this absolutely delicious eggplant parmesan.

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Butternut Squash Risotto – 7 Points +

Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that I really enjoy making. It’s rich and delicious without being overwhelming, plus it really “dresses up” my meal and makes it seem classier than it really is. One of the downsides I usually have with risotto is serving it with things like pork or chicken breast. It all tastes great, but it’s pretty monochromatic. This fabulous butternut squash risotto fixes that. The butternut squash adds flavor, fiber and color to the risotto. Since you bake the rice, it’s easy to fix the rest of the meal while the risotto is cooking. Be careful with your pans though – you want to make sure you can fit both the pan with the squash and the pan with the rice in the oven at the same time. This risotto is also vegetarian and gluten free, so it’s a great for company of any kind. If you don’t care for cooking with wine, substitute reduced fat milk for the wine. It’ll be just as tasty.

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Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Ragu – 9 Points +

Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Ragu I love to have quick and easy meals that I know I can make anytime because I have everything on hand. Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Ragu is one of those meals for me. I know that I keep everything on hand, so it’s easy to make during the week when I don’t know what else to cook. I’ve found that the key to this delicious sauce is a little bit of red wine. The red peppers and tomatoes work so well together, and the spices in the Italian sausage and oregano enhance the sauce flavor. But the wine adds a depth of flavor that is richer and deeper. The sauce isn’t as tomato tasting, but instead has a more well rounded flavor. I personally am not a huge fan of wine and don’t drink it, so I make sure to simmer my sauce for long enough that the alcohol is completely evaporated. By that time, the wine has really cooked into the sauce and made it just perfect. [Read more…]

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Garlic Herb Shrimp – 4 Points +

Garlic Herb Shrimp

Shrimp scampi is a popular restaurant dish. It’s made with garlic and oil or butter then broiled. It’s delicious, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also pretty unhealthy. Anything broiled in butter, doesn’t exactly lend itself to being healthy. However, this garlic herb shrimp is a perfect substitute. It’s delicious and full of flavor, but without the broiling in butter – you’ll love it. I usually saute the shrimp in a skillet, but you can also grill the shrimp. If you’re pining for some pasta to go along with your garlic herb shrimp, add zucchini noodles to it. It’s simple and delicious.

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Zucchini Alfredo – 5 Points +

Zucchini Alfredo

I really enjoy Italian food. There is a wonderful flavor that comes from all of those fresh onions, tomatoes, herbs and garlic. One of the foods that’s always a little bittersweet for me is fettuccine alfredo. It’s wonderful – don’t get me wrong. But it’s so high in calories (not to mention the fat!) that it’s hard to really enjoy it. I searched for weight watchers alfredo, but the first one I found was one that had been altered to be healthier – and it was still 12 points +! That was never going to work, so I came up with this one instead. It’s still rich and delicious, but it’s got a little twist. Instead of noodles (which are so high in carbohydrates that everything else pretty much doesn’t count), I used a spiralizer to slice zucchini noodles. If you don’t have a spiralizer, just thinly slice zucchini into fettuccine sized pieces. I was pleasantly surprised that this alfredo makeover tasted really delicious.

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Quinoa and Chicken Stuffed Peppers Recipe – 7 Points +

Quinoa and Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers were always a staple in my house, growing up. My mom usually made them once every other week, and I can still remember the taste of that delicious beef and rice filling! My healthier version consists of a quinoa and ground chicken filling. It’s mixed with a tangy tomato sauce, seasoned with Italian herbs and topped with a bit of mozzarella cheese. It’s delicious, filling, and just 7 Points + for 2 stuffed pepper halves! And I have to say, it is SOOOOO good. Even better than the one my mom makes — but please don’t tell her that. :) My kids love it too which is a HUGE plus. I also love how quick and easy this is to prepare, so it’s great for a busy weeknight dinner. I usually pair this with some fresh roasted vegetables and or a salad for a complete meal.

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Chicken Bruschetta – 5 Points +

Chicken Bruschetta

When it starts to get this time of year, two things are growing in abundance in the garden – tomatoes and basil. That means its time for garden fresh chicken bruschetta. Bruschetta is a wonderful aromatic dish that has the whole house smelling delicious for hours afterwards. Traditionally, bruschetta is served on fresh french bread, but this recipe doesn’t use french bread. It’s much lower in carbohydrates and points, and you won’t miss the french bread either.

*There was an error in the previous nutrition information. This recipe has been updated.

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