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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Peanut Butter Apple Slices – 4 Points +

Peanut Butter Apples

Quick and easy snacks are my favorite. Anytime that I can have a healthy snack ready in less than 5 minutes, I’m happy. We’ve still got quite a few apples left from my in-laws, so these apple slices with delicious toppings are perfect. The thing I like about these apple slices (other than the fact they look beautiful) is that my toppings are more controlled. When I just slice an apple and remove the cores, then dip it in peanut butter, I tend to eat a lot more peanut butter than if I spread it on the apple ring like this. I also use powdered peanut butter that I reconstitute. It’s so much lower in fat that it’s worth it for me. That means I can add a few chocolate chips, raisins, or any other topping I like without going overboard for this. The amount of protein and fiber helps to make this snack something that will last longer than just 20 minutes. These are simple, delicious, beautiful and nutritious.
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Peanut Butter Fruit Dip – 4 Points +

PB Fruit Dip

I love fresh fruit, but I really like fresh fruit with a yogurt dip. The first dip that I made was quite a few years ago and it was half cream cheese and half marshmallow crème. Don’t get me wrong – it tasted great, but the next weekend we had a friend come to visit who has diabetes. It meant that the recipe got it’s first makeover. It became half cream cheese and half yogurt with a little vanilla and honey to taste. It’s still just as good but it’s not nearly as unhealthy. This one is just slightly different. I skipped the cream cheese and used a little peanut butter instead. It’s perfect for things like bananas and apples that go so well with peanut butter to begin with. You can also switch out the peanut butter for almond butter or sun butter if you need to – it’s just as good. A lot depends on the yogurt. I have a favorite honey vanilla yogurt that I use and then I don’t bother adding more vanilla and honey. If I’ve got it handy, I’ll use powdered peanut butter (just reconstitute it first). It cuts the fat down, but still gives you protein and flavor. It’s a great snack – for adults and kids. And it’s something the kids can help to make before chowing down.
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Quinoa Pilaf – 6 Points +

Quinoa Pilaf

This time of year, there are fresh cranberries readily available. This means that I get to start putting cranberries into 9/10ths of my recipes! This quinoa pilaf was the first one I wanted to try. I really like quinoa. It’s gluten free, it’s easy, delicious and a nutritious option. I like to cook up a batch of it in my rice cooker and then store it in the fridge to have it for quick lunches the rest of the week. It’s fabulous with an orange mint dressing and some diced chicken. Just toss, heat and eat. This quinoa pilaf is easy to put together, but it’s much better made with fresh quinoa. When you’re cooking the quinoa, add the fresh cranberries so they have time to cook up and burst into the quinoa. It makes the flavor so much better. If you need to use dried cranberries, you can, but make sure they’re unsweetened. All in all, this is a savory and sweet pilaf that’s a great side dish, but it’s almost enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. It’s not really a dessert, but with the cranberry and orange, sweetened with a tiny bit of maple syrup, it’s just enough to satisfy a craving. The best part is that it’s a much better option than chowing down on the cookies, or Hershey’s kisses that are so tempting to me – it’s packed with good nutrition that makes it a better, and more filling, snack choice.
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