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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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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Chicken Fried Rice – 7 Smart Points

Chicken Fried Rice

One of my guilty pleasures is Panda Express. I love their fried rice and orange chicken. Thankfully, we don’t have a Panda Express in town, so it’s just a guilty pleasure when we go on a long road trip and find one along the way. However, fried rice is something that I really enjoy. I’ve made some really delicious pineapple fried rice (the key to that is that you really do need to add fresh pineapple right at the end), but I thought I’d give chicken fried rice a try this time. Leftover chicken is a staple in our house, since I use it in so many recipes (it’s so easy, healthy and delicious), so I used that and some leftover rice to begin my fried rice. The key to fried rice is that your rice should be cold. I try to plan rice for a side dish with a meal the day or two before and make the extra I need then. Just stick it in the fridge and it’s ready to go when I need to make fried rice. One of the great things with fried rice is that you can make it any way you like. Add all the veggies your heart desires, or substitute the chicken with tofu to make it unique to you. A word of advice with peas in fried rice – use edamame (soy beans) instead of regular sweet peas. While the sweet peas are more traditional, they do tend to turn funny colors if you overcook them. The edamame don’t lose their color and really add a beautiful look to your fried rice.
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Easy Chicken Lo Mein Recipe – 7 Smart Points

Easy Chicken Lo Mein

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I am OBSESSED with Chinese food. Seriously, I can never get enough. But following the Weight Watchers plan, eating Chinese food on a regular basis can get me into some serious trouble! So I regularly attempt to create my own healthier and lighter versions, hence this incredibly delicious Chicken Lo Mein Recipe. It was AH-MAZING. Me, my husband, and both kids loved it. Plus, it was super quick and easy! When adding the veggies for this dish feel free to get creative…I used what I happened to have on hand in the fridge, but next time, I’ll add some mushrooms, bell peppers and maybe some bok choy. Also, if you don’t have access to or can’t find the broccoli slaw, you can use regular broccoli and shredded carrots. I just used the slaw form because my kids are more likely to eat vegetables if they aren’t easily visible. But if you need to get your Chinese food craving satisfied, this Easy Chicken Lo Mein is a WINNER at just 7 Smart Points per serving! Enjoy.

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Huevos Ranchers – 7 Points +

Heuvos Rancheros

You’ve probably figured out by now that I love my Saturday morning breakfasts. During the week my husband and I do our own thing, we’ll have leftovers or just have cereal. But on the weekend, we (well, really, me, but sometimes I can bribe my husband to do it) cook a proper breakfast and we get to eat it in a leisurely fashion before walking the dog. Huevos Rancheros isn’t one that I make very often, but it’s fabulous. I had some avocados recently, so I decided to make it one morning. In fact, I made it twice recently. The first time I just used salsa, and the second time I made this sauce. Let me tell you, the key is the sauce. This sauce is fabulous. You can use jalapenos to it (in place of the chilies), but I like mine to be mild, so I use mild chilies instead. Trust me, this sauce makes this an incredible dish. It’s not something that I make on a morning when I want a quick breakfast – but it’s perfect for a lazy morning, brunch or even breakfast for dinner.

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Thai Stir Fry – 7 Points +

Thai Stir Fry

Pad Thai is a fabulous dish. It’s simple and easy – a wonderful one dish meal. One of the downsides for me, well, actually, there are two. Pad Thai noodles aren’t my favorite, and they tend to make the dish very carb heavy. This incredible Thai inspired stir fry is the answer to that. Skip the rice noodles and just stick with the bean sprouts instead. The key to cooking delicious tofu is to make sure that it’s seasoned well. To do this, you’ll just want to make sure that you let it simmer for quite awhile in the sauce. Then all you have to do is add the shrimp and carrots. I think I’m in love with this one. It’s simple and easy, only one pot is dirtied and it’s full of flavor and nutrients.

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Crockpot Beef Stew – 7 Points +

Crockpot Beef Stew

I feel a like Wendy, I’ve had all of the turkey I can handle for a little while. It’s why tacos (beef tacos) are on the menu this week, along with this delicious beef stew. I love to cook stews and soups in the crock pot. Not only is it easy, but it’s a guaranteed way to make sure that I don’t burn it to the bottom of the pot – like I do with just about everything. The other great thing about crockpots is that you can take just about any meat and make it deliciously tender in the crockpot. This stew is great. You can chop everything up and stick it in the crockpot the night before. Store the crockpot (covered) in the fridge for the night and then in the morning, all you have to do is put the pot into the crockpot base and turn it on. It’s a great one pot meal, with very few prep dishes. But, if you’re looking for a side dish, serve it with a fruit salad or relish tray of veggies to keep those points down. You can also add peas, green beans or any other vegetable you like to have in your stews. This stew is savory, rich and delicious – perfect for a simple and easy meal that warms you up on a cold winter day.
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Teriyaki Meatball Bowl – 7 Points +

Teriyaki Meatball Bowl

I’m going to cut right to the chase here…this Teriyaki Meatball Bowl was amazing! My kids loved it, as did my husband and I. I used ground chicken for the meatballs, but ground pork or turkey would work well too. Baking the meatballs also made for an easier, more hands off cooking process, and that homemade Teriyaki sauce is beyond delicious — hitting all the right flavor notes, sweet, tangy, and salty. SO GOOD! If you want to kick up the heat a bit, feel free to add in some red pepper flakes. I normally use brown rice anytime I make rice, but my son has been begging for white rice, so I decided to treat him. The brown rice would definitely add some more fiber, so that’s what I’d recommend if you are trying to eat healthy. Definitely add these Teriyaki Meatball Bowls to your menu this week…you won’t be sorry!

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Wild Rice Stuffing – 7 Points +

Wild Rice Stuffing

I love rice stuffing. For one thing, I can’t have the bread that’s in the store-bought stuffing mixes, so I love to use rice as a base for stuffing instead bread. I use a rice cooker, so it’s super easy to just toss everything into the rice cooker and turn it on. I come back in an hour and I have delicious rice stuffing ready to go. This one, I added thyme and sage, since those add a woodsy flavor to the stuffing. Adding cranberries and chopped walnuts gives it a delicious holiday flavor that goes so well with turkey. Using vegetable broth allows it to be a great vegan and vegetarian option, and it’s already gluten and dairy free. Most people will be a little hesitant when you tell them all that, but once they taste it, they’ll be asking for the recipe.
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Ramen Chicken Soup – 7 Points +

Ramen Chicken Soup

I’m sure you’ve heard of ramen noodles. In the US, it seems like ramen noodles and mac & cheese are college student staples, or at least that’s the stereotype (I never did like macaroni and cheese out of a box). But ramen noodles aren’t just for broke college kids. Growing up, my mom always had ramen noodles on hand for chicken soup. Of course, she pitched the sauce packet and used real (homemade) chicken broth instead, then we added shredded chicken, onions, hard boiled eggs and other steamed veggies to make a chicken noodle soup. It was one of my favorite meals growing up, and I think it was one of hers too. She knew we all loved it, it was easy and it was healthy. I used carrots, bell pepper and green onions in mine, but you can add any vegetables you want to it, or serve your steamed vegetables on the side. Give it a try with some leftover roast chicken, it’s simple, quick and delicious and the whole family will love it.
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Broccoli Salad Recipe – 7 Points +

Broccoli SaladIf you’ve ever had a Broccoli Salad before, you’ll understand the reason why this salad has become such a popular side dish at parties, buffets, and potlucks – it’s just so flipping GOOD! My spin on this well loved dish uses a few variant ingredients to keep it a bit lighter and more heart healthy. The crunchy broccoli and walnuts are combined with onions and raisins, then topped with a creamy, sweet, and tangy dressing that is insanely delicious. There are lots of variations to this salad, so you can definitely alternate/add/eliminate other ingredients if you want to shake things up. Try it with carrots, bacon, pumpkin seeds, candied pecans, dried, cranberries, kale, or even roasted brussel sprouts.I highly recommend adding this as a side dish to one of your favorite dinners, or adding some grilled chicken to it and serving it as a lunch salad.

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Chickpea Curry with Cauliflower Rice – 7 Points +

Chickpea Curry with Cauliflower Rice

Curry is one of those dishes that is simple and delicious. This curry is even more simple and tasty – and it’s vegan, gluten free and dairy free. Chickpeas are a great food. You can make flour with them (garbanzo bean flour), add them to soups and stews and salads. They’re full of fiber and are a great source of protein. I typically use canned chickpeas, since they’re easy to have on hand and they’re ready to go. I just rinse and drain them and toss them into whatever I’m making. Curry is one that can be a little tough if you’re not careful. Some people like their curries hot enough to light their hair on fire, others prefer a little more mild. If you’re someone (like me) that doesn’t like really hot curry, you can start with half of the curry paste, and then season it to taste. If you accidently add too much, add a little plain Greek yogurt to your curry. The yogurt will help to tame your curry without altering the flavor. This curry is great for an easy and delicious weeknight meal.
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