Strawberry Shortcake – 8 Smart Points

Strawberry Shortcakes

Everyone needs to have dessert on a regular basis. Or at the very least, everyone needs a treat on a regular basis. In my experience, if you don’t splurge and indulge your craving, you’ll end up out of control one day. I like to have a variety of dessert recipes on hand so when I see the ingredients, or get the craving, I can put something together and have a treat. For me, the trick is to make sure there are individual servings of the dessert, so I don’t go overboard with the piece of cake or brownie that I cut. Strawberry shortcake is perfect for that. When I bake with wheat flour, I really like to use a very light whole wheat flour. It looks, tastes and feels like regular all-purpose flour, but it packs a lot more nutrients into each serving. These shortcakes came out perfect – tender and light. When you top them with whipped topping and sweet strawberries, you can’t go wrong. Since the strawberries are zero points, that’s where I splurge and add a few more to satisfy my sweet tooth. If you don’t like fat free whip topping, go with a creamy fat free Greek yogurt, and flavor it with a little vanilla. Whichever topping you use, these are definitely a family favorite! [Read more…]

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Arugula Chicken Salad – 6 Smart Points

Arugula Chicken Salad

I’m always looking for new and delicious dressing recipes. I love to have salads, and one of the ways I like to keep my salads fresh and interesting is by changing up my dressings. I typically make my own dressing, since I can alter it however I want, and make enough for just a couple of salads. I wanted to try a tangy mustard dressing, and this one fits the bill. I like the tangy Dijon mustard and cider vinegar that is rounded out with the delicious shallots. I tried it with arugula, chicken breast and strawberries. It’s a delicious combination that is light and refreshing. The strawberries add enough sweet to complement the dressing perfectly, the arugula is light and fresh and the chicken adds the savory protein to help get you through to the next meal. It’s a simple and delicious salad that’s great for a quick lunch during the week. [Read more…]

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Tossed Salad with Pears – 4 Smart Points

Tossed Salad with Pears

I am someone who isn’t a big fan of blue cheese. I can handle it if there isn’t too much of it and it isn’t too strong. But I thought I’d give this salad a try, and figured I could always pick the cheese out if I needed to. Turns out, I didn’t need to. I was surprised that the strong and sharp flavor of the blue cheese worked so well with the balsamic vinaigrette and the sweet pears. It turned out to be a delicious salad. While the recipe calls for fresh pears, canned pears (canned in juice, then drained), could be chopped and added just as easily. Dress the salad and sprinkle on the blue cheese just before serving, or the cheese can overpower the flavor of the dressing and the pears. The tender and mild baby lettuce leaves were perfect to balance out the rest of the flavors. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t care for blue cheese, or can’t have it, you can leave it out, or substitute a feta (or similar cheese) for it. [Read more…]

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Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit – 7 Smart Points

Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit

I enjoy breakfast cereals, but I like to have my breakfast cereals a little “spruced up”. I like my oatmeal to have plenty of fruit added for sweetness and for flavor. I love to add rhubarb sauce to my oatmeal, bananas, blueberries, strawberries or anything I happen to have on hand. I decided to switch up my breakfast cereals a little bit by making some quinoa. I like quinoa but I usually make it with chicken broth. I made it with milk this time and then sweetened it with a little bit of honey. Add fresh fruit on top and you have a delicious breakfast that is packed with protein, fiber and flavor. I added blueberries, bananas, apples and a few almonds to mine, but you can use any fruit you have on hand. If you like quinoa, make up a couple of cups and then put it in the fridge. Just heat it and add your toppings for a quick breakfast. If you’re not a huge fan of quinoa, but like the change from the typical oatmeal, mix the quinoa and rice to make a risotto. It lightens the flavor of the quinoa, but you still get a delicious change from the typical breakfast cereals.
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Green Olive and Apricot Chicken Recipe – 7 Smart Points

Green Olive and Apricot Chicken

Heaven on a dish, this delightfully easy chicken recipe packs a tremendous flavor punch. The sweet and salty flavors of the olives and apricots are a dream, and the bit of caramelization from the chicken just makes this meal melt in your mouth. If you aren’t a fan of apricots, this dish would work well with dried prunes or figs too. And I love how simple it is to prepare! I literally had it in my fridge within 5 minutes, then I just let it sit overnight, so by the time the next evening rolled around, I simply had to toss it in the oven and forget about it. Serve with your favorite salad or steamed veggies, and serve atop some warm, while wheat couscous if you have a few extra Points to spare.

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Banana Coconut Pudding – 5 Smart Points

Banana Coconut Pudding

Of course you’re all familiar with my never ending quest to have new and yummy banana recipes. This one fits the bill. It’s perfect for my brother too, who is lactose intolerant. It’s made with light coconut milk, but it’s not an overpowering flavor. Combined with the sweet banana pieces and the tender tapioca pearls, it’s a wonderful dessert. I garnished it with another sliced banana, but you could also whip a little coconut milk and garnish it with a dab of that on top of the bananas. It’s a great dessert that really isn’t labor intensive. It’s perfect if you want to serve something elegant and delicious for your dinner party, or just end a family dinner with a sweet treat. You can chill the pudding in one large bowl, or, if you’re looking for a great way to make cute individual desserts, scoop the warm pudding into small ramekins and chill the pudding in those. [Read more…]

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Lemon Glazed Greek Chicken – 3 Smart Points

Lemon Glazed Greek ChickenChicken is one of my favorite meats. It’s such a great source of lean protein and it goes so well in so many different dishes. The downside is that I tend to get stuck in a little rut and fix the same things over and over again. It’s hard to get out of that and try new things. But this Lemon Glazed Greek Chicken sounded great. It’s a combination of several different recipes, since many of the Greek chicken recipes I’ve seen use a lot of olive oil. This one is more tzatziki chicken, with a yogurt based marinade. Lots of garlic and lots of lemon with those classic Greek spices, and you’ve got a delicious chicken in no time. You can use any cut of chicken you like for this, but I’d recommend removing the skin first, since the marinade will be able to soak in much better. It’s delicious with a side of roasted baby potatoes and a side salad with some grilled asparagus. [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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Blueberry Mango Yogurt Pops – 2 Smarts Points

Blueberry Mango Yogurt Popsicles

I love blueberry and mango together. It’s one of my favorite smoothie flavors, so I usually have frozen blueberries and mangos in the freezer. They’re great for smoothies, and blueberries are perfect to add to pancakes, scones and muffins. This makes it perfect to have blueberries and mangos on hand to make some really delicious frozen yogurt pops. I don’t have the actual popsicle molds, but paper cups (avoid the ones with wax coating if possible) and wooden sticks work just as well. These are a great treat for me, they provide the sweet treat that I often crave in the afternoons. However, since it’s full of fruit and low-fat yogurt, it’s a much better option that candy or ice cream. These are just a great treat and they’re perfect for all the kids – the little ones and the big ones! [Read more…]

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Chunky Applesauce – 2 Smart Points

Chunky Applesauce

Well, it’s the time of the year when the remaining garden produce is needing used. It’s kept pretty well until now, but if I want it to taste good, I need to use it pretty quickly. Since we have a few apples left, I thought it was a perfect time to make chunky applesauce (and an apple crisp with the rest of them). We had a variety of apples from my in-laws, but the specific apples you use doesn’t matter too much. The key to delicious applesauce, apple, butter, apple crisps or apple pies is the variety. Use a variety of apples – three or four different types of apples. Use apples that are sweet, soft, tart and firm. The varieties will really meld together to make a delicious finished product. When it comes to applesauce (especially chunky), you want to make sure that you use one apple that is tarter (and more firm) that will add a little zip to your sauce, and will keep its shape once it’s cooked. I love this applesauce. It’s perfect for breakfast, just for part of breakfast or to top crepes or pancakes. But it’s perfect for a snack or dessert as well.
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Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins – 5 Smart Points

GF Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Lemon poppy seed muffins are classic. Everyone needs a good lemon poppy seed muffin recipe. I decided that I needed a light and delicious lemon poppy seed muffin recipe that was gluten free. I’ve found over the years that when it comes to baked goods, yogurt is a great way to go. Want the lightest, fluffiest and most delicious gluten free biscuits? Use yogurt in place of the milk (even buttermilk). Use the same amount (2/3 cup buttermilk is 2/3 cup yogurt). Then let them sit for a few minutes and you’ll be amazed at how delicious they are. So I gave it a shot with these lemon poppy seed muffins. Fabulous! I substituted applesauce in place of the traditional butter, since they’re much lower in fat that way. With quick breads (like muffins, banana bread and cakes) you can substitute unsweetened applesauce for the butter. This is great for those recipes that call for 1 cup of oil (seriously, just reading it is enough to give me a heart attack). These muffins are delicious. They’re easy to make and wonderful – light and fluffy. They’re definitely a new favorite around our house.
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Spinach & Pear Salad – 6 Points +

Spinach & Pear Salad

Even though I love salads, I really love salads for two reasons – they’re pretty and I can pack in the goodies. I’m not someone who just serves a bag of mixed lettuce and calls it a salad. My salads have lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, craisins, cheese and nuts in them. They’re beautiful and packed with flavor. Next to mixed baby lettuce, spinach is about my favorite green to use. Not only is it a great way to add nutrients to a smoothie, but it’s a wonderful base for a salad. Since we’ve got lots of fresh pears right now, I thought I’d add some pear to this spinach salad. I’ll be honest, goat cheese sounds great, but it can be a bit strong. If you get a more mild goat cheese, it’s much better, or you can just use feta cheese. When it comes to salad, feta is typically my go to cheese, so when I make this for a quick weekday lunch, I’ll probably use feta most of the time. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, add blue cheese instead of goat cheese. The balsamic vinaigrette is a powerful flavor, so it can balance out any cheese you want to try in there. This delicious salad is perfect for a healthy lunch. It’s packed with flavor and nutrients. It’ll also help keep you satisfied, since it’s packed with fiber.
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