Notch-yo average nacho (see what I did there?), these healthy Cauliflower Nachos are an absolutely decadent treat that are completely guilt free. Nachos are one of my favorite guilty indulgences, and just by making a couple of healthy changes, I can enjoy a big heaping serving of them. In this recipe, we are simply switching out the high fat, high calorie tortilla chips, and substituting them with Mexican spiced, roasted cauliflower slices. Cauliflower has such a mild, neutral flavor, that when you smother it with seasonings, cheese, salsa, red onions, etc, it takes on the flavor those foods, and you don’t really notice it. Granted, it doesn’t have the “crunch” of tortilla chips, but let’s face it…the chips are just a vehicle for all those nacho toppings! Feel free to go crazy and add other toppings like black beans, ground chicken or beef, carne asada, diced peppers…you get the idea. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy this recipe makes me. It’s a MUST try!
I love a sweet treat. They’re something that I frequently like to have around the house. It’s absolutely true that you shouldn’t overdo it, but I’m a firm believer in treating yourself. Cheesecake is one of those things that my husband and I both love (especially my husband). However, cheesecake isn’t something that’s great to have around the house. A tiny sliver of cheesecake is full of points, and really just tastes like more. I thought I’d try and find a much lighter version of a cheesecake. Something that is more fluffy, and healthier. I’ll admit, my whole motivation for this is being able to have a larger piece but not sacrificing more of my points for it. This recipe is perfect. Since it’s so light and fluffy, it’s more of a cheesecake mousse. It’s delicious. It’s so light that it’s not nearly as rich and decadent as regular cheesecake – but it’s so satisfying. I love the fluffy texture and I really feel like I actually get to have a treat. It’s enough that I’m satisfied when I’m done, but I don’t have to sacrifice extra points for it. What I found was the solution was just a little bit of gelatin. The gelatin helps it to have the structure that the mousse needs and helps it to hold up. But this also enabled me to use lighter ingredients and not nearly as much cream cheese. The result is a light and fluffy confection that is satisfying but not too rich or overwhelming. This one is definitely a keeper in our house. It’s delicious, easy to make, beautiful and I can make it in a large dish or individual serving containers to switch it up. [Read more…]
I don’t know about you – but I’m ready for fall. Here in our little corner of the Midwest, the weather can’t make up it’s mind. It’ll be in the 50s on day and the upper 70s the rest of the week. Since fall and winter are two of my favorite seasons (actually the only one I don’t like is the really hot part of summer), I’m always eager to get them here a little quicker. One of the ways I can do that is with a little squash soup. I’m pretty picky about my squash soup. I’ve had good squash soup, and I’ve had horrible squash soup. I typically like my squash with butter and brown sugar (not the best option for me), so I’ve been learning how to do it other ways. I’ve learned with the right seasonings and a little sour cream, the squash soup is pretty wonderful. I had to process a lot of pumpkin last fall, and after getting incredibly frustrated trying to peel it, my mom suggested a wonderful trick – bake it! I was in the process of canning the pumpkin, so I didn’t want it to be mush before I put it in the jars, but it doesn’t need long. About 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of the pumpkin) at 350 degrees F. All I did was wash them, cut them in half and stick them in the oven. The skin peeled off (just like when you dunk peaches in hot water) and the seeds came out easily too. It’s the perfect way to make anything with pumpkin and squash when you need to peel it. When it comes to this soup, the easiest way to finish it off is with an immersion blender. However, since I don’t have one, I can assure you that a regular blender works just fine. [Read more…]
Fal and football season are already in full swing, and I can’t stop fantasizing about Super Bowl foods! With buffalo wings using being one of the key dishes on any Super Bowl Sunday table, I decided to try out a lighter, healthier take on that popular recipe. My Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich is not only super easy to make, but because it uses skinless bombers breasts, it’s way lighter and healthier than the wings. Plus, it’s a lot less messy. And making a sandwich out of the meat makes it a much more filling food. If I have an extra Point or two to spend, adding a tbsp of blue cheese dressing to this sandwich is absolutely DELISH, and I highly recommend it.For this recipe, you’ll want to use whole wheat buns that are around 90 calories each. And if you want to skip the buns altogether, you can use the buffalo chicken meat on top of a salad, which would eliminate 3 Smart Points per serving! Either way, this Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich Recipe is as delicious as it easy, and is a must try for any buffalo chicken wing lovers. :)
Whenever I feel like I need a break from cooking for the evening and we don’t have leftovers – I ask my husband to grill something. Sometimes it’ll be something really simple like hamburgers or grilled pork chops, but other times (when I warn him early enough), he marinates something. This time the marinade was really simple – a fat free Italian dressing. We marinated the chicken for about 1 hour, then threaded it on the skewers with the veggies we wanted. We brushed a bit more dressing over the top and grilled it. It was perfect. It’s simple but adds a zesty flavor to the chicken skewers. It’s easy to add a bright and colorful salad, whipped up while the chicken is grilling. We added squash, mushrooms, tomatoes and little red onions to our skewers. We also tried grilled plantains, since my husband wanted to try them (we weren’t fans). Another great thing about these skewers is that I can heat up the leftover skewers and add them to couscous, quinoa or a whole grain pasta for lunch (or dinner). [Read more…]
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…]
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.
Couscous is something that I don’t make often, but I do occasionally make a batch of couscous. I prefer quinoa (I like the flavor and it’s gluten free, unlike couscous), but my husband doesn’t like the flavor of quinoa. As a result, sometimes, I’ll put together one of my favorite quinoa recipes with couscous to make a treat for him. This one was perfect. All of the fresh vegetables are perfect for this recipe. The dressing is one that I adapted from a citrus salsa recipe for salmon. It’s light and refreshing, and perfect to mix with couscous (or quinoa). The fresh herbs are what make the dressing come alive, but they go perfectly with the fresh and juicy tomatoes. I like the scallion in here, although green onions will also work. I find scallions to be more mild than regular onions and a little sweeter. For me, it makes the flavor a little less powerful and tends to blend in with the rest of the flavors without being overpoweringly onion-y. If you like a little bit of zing with your foods, add a healthy dose or crushed red pepper flakes. I typically leave them out, since I find the flavors of the citrus, scallion and mint to be perfect, but it’s really personal preference. Couscous is quick and easy to cook, so I like to prepare the dressing ingredients while the couscous is cooking. You can also add some garden fresh veggies, oven roasted root veggies or a piece of grilled chicken breast to make this a full and satisfying meal.
Fresh strawberry muffins are one of my favorites. About a year ago, my mother-in-law gave me a recipe for fresh strawberry muffins that I fell in love with. They were so tender, delicious and moist. The fresh strawberries made them really tasty. My only problem with them was the fact that they were a little involved to make. The way to get them to turn out perfectly involved sifting dry ingredients, creaming butter and sugar, and so on. I’m someone who likes to toss baking recipes together all in one bowl, mix and be done. So I went on the search for a simple and delicious replacement for my favorite strawberry muffins. I found these blender muffins that were just perfect. Originally, they had bananas in the recipe, so I tried it without first and just added the strawberries. They’re OK that way, but the bananas add the extra moistness that they really needed to be tasty. Everything, except the fresh strawberries, gets tossed in the blender (or food processor), pureed and then fold in the strawberries. They’re ready to go in just a few minutes, and bake in a few more minutes. Fresh out of the oven they are just amazing. I’m really enjoying my new strawberry muffin recipe, especially since if I use gluten free oats, they’re gluten free, and have no need for me to adjust flours. They’re easy, tender, moist and really delicious. They’re perfect for breakfast or snack – whether they’re fresh and warm or leftover.
I love baked chicken. It’s so easy and simple, a great and healthy way to prepare chicken. As long as I don’t overbake it, then it’s juicy and moist. I like to check the local grocery ads, and stock up on chicken when it’s on sale (legs, thighs and breasts). That way I have some in the freezer and can just stick it in the oven for dinner that night. Citrus and chicken go so well together that I thought I would combine them with a little honey, some garlic and rosemary. I made a basting sauce with broth, lemon juice, honey, garlic and Italian seasoning. I added some extra cloves of garlic and sprigs of rosemary while baking the chicken. The end result was delicious. It was a little tart, garlicy and succulent. I will definitely be doing this again. Browning the chicken before baking it ensured the juices were sealed in during baking. The flavors of the lemon and garlic work so well with the juicy chicken. This is simple and delicious. Serve it with a salad or roasted vegetables to round out this fabulous chicken. [Read more…]
I’m so grateful that my kids love beans as much as they do. And this 13 Bean Soup Recipe gives me an opportunity to provide them with a healthy and delicious soup that is not only full of nutrients, protein, and fiber, but it’s just 5 Smart Points per serving – which is great for me! It’s also a really filling soup, so perfect for when you really need to satisfy your hunger without going through all your Points. This 13 Bean Soup is also incredibly easy to prepare. You can really use any dry bean mix that you like. I’m personally a fan of Bob’s Red Mill bean soup mix, so that’s what I use. It also freezes and reheats really nicely, so if you have any leftovers, it’s great for lunches or when you need a meal in a pinch.
I’ll admit I’m kind of addicted to Pinterest. As someone who not only write recipes and meal plans for a living, but also sews, quilts and knits, I can spend hours looking at projects and ideas. When I saw a recipe for peach dumplings, I just had to try it. I ended up combining several recipes, since I wanted to use fresh peaches, not canned peaches. I love how easy these were to make and they were so delicious! They’re a cute little dessert that goes so well with ice cream (at least for the family and friends). But they go just as well with a dab of fat free cool whip or a little non fat Greek yogurt. If you’re looking for a little twist, these can also be made with wonton wrappers, and be just as cute and delicious. Just be sure to keep an eye on them, since they may not take as long to bake. If using wonton wrappers, you should also brush them with a beaten egg white so they turn that beautiful golden brown. But no matter what you use for the wrapper, these are definitely keepers for my family, they’re so simple and elegant but incredibly delicious. [Read more…]