Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole Recipe – 7 Smart Points

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

It’s in the 90’s this week, here in Orange County, CA, and yet, I’m making a creamy, comforting Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole. That’s weird, right? It’s too hot! But when I have a craving, not even a heat wave will stop me. And what I’ve been craving, is a rich, decadent, filling casserole that combines meat, veggies, and carbs all in one dish. Because sometimes, I just don’t feel like preparing side dishes. This week, I made a Weight Watchers casserole recipe that was absolutely heavenly. It has all the flavors and textures I wanted, and came out to just 7 Smart Points per serving. If broccoli isn’t your thing, zucchini, mushrooms, or carrots and peas would all work really well too. I’ve also made this with chicken thighs instead of breasts, which was even better. So if you can spare the extra Smart Point, try it with chicken thighs. And one word of advice – don’t skip the bacon/almond meal crumble on top…it’s what really makes this dish!

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One Pan Crispy Parmesan Chicken Recipe – 7 Smart Points

One Pan Crispy Parmesan Chicken

We are winding down to the last few weeks of the school year, and I am running out of steam. That means I need fast and easy weeknight dinners that are healthy, and Weight Watchers friendly. This One Pan Crispy Parmesan Chicken Recipe is perfect for the days when I want a fabulous, home cooked meal, without requiring a lot of effort. Another fabulous one pan meal for dinner, means a lot less dishes to wash after dinner! This Crispy Parmesan Chicken recipe was a home run with the whole family. The baked chicken was so juicy, and the crispy parmesan coating had a nice hint of garlic and Italian seasonings. Having the veggies coated in the same delicious mixture made them absolutely delectable, and my kids ate every last bite. My son even took leftovers to school for lunch the next day! It’s so good, and so easy to make, you will not regret adding this dish to your meal plan. Enjoy!!

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Open Faced Chicken Gyro – 7 Smart Points

Open Faced Chicken Gyro

With 2016 almost at an end, it’s time to get back on track and detox from all the holiday goodies. Gyros have always been one of my favorite guilty indulgences, and today I’m sharing my favorite healthy makeover of a traditional Greek gyro. First of all, I subbed out the fatty, high cholesterol lamb meat with tender chicken breast marinated in an amazing blend of Greek spices, lemon juice and yogurt which helps to tenderize the breasts while giving them fantastic flavor. Also, by making my homemade tzatziki sauce, I was able to lower the calories while also bringing in some more incredible tastes. Trust me when I tell you that after making your own tzatziki sauce, you will never want to buy the pre-made store bought kind again. Finally, everything is served on top of a whole wheat pita, and topped with fresh red onion and tomato slices. It is so good. SO GOOD! And at just 7 Smart Points each, these healthy chicken gyros make a great Weight Watchers lunch idea.

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Chipotle Chicken Chili Recipe – 7 Smart Points

Chipotle Chicken Chili

Chili has always been one of my favorite cold weather foods – there’s just something so comforting and soul warming about it. And my Chipotle Chicken Chili Recipe has an extra boost of flavor heat to warm you up! Made with crumbled ground chicken and Italian sausage, this chili is packed with protein and is incredibly satisfying. I’ve made this recipe many times, and it’s always well received. It can feed large crowds and is relatively inexpensive to make. And at just 7 Smart Points per serving, this Weight Watchers chili recipe tastes like a splurge, but is absolutely guilt free. If I have the time, I will let this cook for 3-5 hours….because the longer it cooks, the tastier it is. I also love serving it with a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese, and some fresh chopped red onions. Soooooo yummy. Need a dish for game day or Super Bowl Sunday? This Chipotle Chicken Chili is it! Enjoy.

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Gluten Free Zucchini Texas Sheet Cake – 7 Smart Points

GF Zucchini Texas Sheet Cake

I don’t know about you, but our garden is winding down. I love to have the fresh garden vegetables all summer, but there comes a point when I get tired of it (particularly of the 1 billion cherry tomatoes when my husband doesn’t eat them). So, I’m always a little bit glad to see the garden slow down and not have to come up with any new recipes for cherry tomatoes, squash, zucchini, eggplant, and whatever else I might have growing like mad. But I wanted to give one last recipe a try. Actually, I wanted to create on last recipe. One of my favorite cakes is the Texas sheet cake. I love the flavor and texture of that cake, it’s rich but not too sweet and the frosting is just delicious. There are two problems with it – it’s dry when I make it gluten free, and it’s not exactly healthy. So, I thought I’d try a gluten free healthy makeover version. And it was definitely a success! Chocolate zucchini cakes are always really nice and moist, and applesauce is a great way to replace oil or butter in a cake (ONLY cakes and quick breads, not everything). So, I got to work. I found a very low sugar frosting recipe (not quite the same, but seriously amazing). I think adding the zucchini and the applesauce really makes a difference when it’s gluten free. Quite often, I find that if I’m not really careful, my gluten free cakes tend to turn out a little drier than I like. This one was perfect. And if you don’t need gluten free, just substitute a plain wheat flour, cup for cup. [Read more…]

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Asian Noodles – 7 Smart Points

Asian Garlic Noodles

I love pasta. It’s one of my many weaknesses. I think I enjoy it so much because it’s something that I can do quickly, it tastes great and I’ve found some really good gluten free noodles that taste wonderful. I love to make garlic noodles. I used to just do noodles with my favorite seasonings. I’ve been adding a variety of vegetables. With the fresh garden vegetables right now, this is just perfect to add your favorite vegetables to whip up a quick and easy pasta dish. I like my noodles with just a little bit of spice, so I use sweet chili sauce. However, if you like a little more spice, use Sriracha instead of sweet chili sauce. [Read more…]

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Spaghetti with Ragu – 7 Smart Points

spaghetti-787043 (1)

This year for New Year’s day dinner, my in-laws had an Italian theme. One of the recipes we ended up with was a lasagna made with a homemade Ragu. I fell in love with it. The flavor of the Ragu was so delicious. It was rich, but not overpowering and wasn’t tomato based. Most of my pasta sauces are tomato or cream based, so this one was a breath of fresh air. I got the recipe and have made it several times since then. It makes a lot, so I tend to freeze part of it or I end up with too much sauce to use before it went bad. The only downside of this recipe for me, is that you need to simmer it for a couple of hours. I don’t care for wine, so I simmered mine for at least 2 hours to make sure no wine flavor remained (don’t worry, all the alcohol has burned off by then). I’ve also found that the wine adds a depth to the flavor that the Ragu is really lacking without the wine. So, just plan ahead and make this Ragu on Saturday or Sunday (or any day you have the time to do the prep) and then store it until you use it later in the week. If you can’t find the pancetta, just use bacon as a substitute. This is perfect for spaghetti (or any other kind of pasta), or you can use it as your sauce for a lasagna. Any leftovers you won’t use within a week, just put it in a bag and freeze it for the next time. It’s rich, but not overpowering, and incredibly delicious. It’s my all-time favorite pasta sauce, and I love that I get to toss the veggies in the food processor to make the prep really easy. [Read more…]

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Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Bolognese Recipe – 7 Smart Points

Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Bolognese

Sometimes, I just want a big, heaping plate of spaghetti with a rich, flavorful meat sauce. But the Smart Points in a typical bolognese could end up adding up to a whole days worth of Points! So in order to satisfy my craving without ruing my diet, I created this simple, no-frills Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Bolognese Recipe. I just sub out the carb heavy spaghetti noodles for the light, nutritious, and 0 Smart Points oven-roasted spaghetti squash. Topped with a decadent, lightened up turkey bolognese sauce, this recipe is one seriously satisfying meal! When I have a few extra Points to spare, I’ll also add some grated Parmesan on top – soooooo good! Serve with your favorite salad or roasted veggies, and even a slice of garlic bread, for a meal that is sure to fill you up.

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Double Chocolate Banana Muffins – 7 Smart Points

Chocolate Banana Muffins

This banana muffin is probably my all time favorite banana recipe. It is moist, delicious and very easy to put together. I’ve made it about a dozen times and it has yet to fail me. The original recipe was for a banana bread, but I rather dislike making banana breads. They take so long to bake and a piece of banana bread isn’t nearly as convenient as a muffin. I almost always make my quick breads into muffins. In fact, I love to make these as mini muffins. The mini muffins are just perfect for a couple of bites of a snack without going overboard. As much as I love mini muffins, I left this one as regular sized muffins for this recipe. These regular muffins are great for me as a treat after a walk or bike ride, or as a mid afternoon snack with some fruit or veggies. I always make mine gluten free with a baking mix, but you can use regular all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour just as easily with no substitutions. Use up your leftover bananas with these delicious muffins. The moist, rich chocolate muffin won’t disappoint.

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Lasagne with Bolognese Sauce – 7 Smart Points

Lasagna with Bolognese Sauce

One of the best parts of pasta in my opinion is the sauce. There is nothing like homemade pasta sauce, whether it’s a cream sauce or a red sauce. The flavors of homemade sauce are so much more vibrant and rich than canned pasta sauce. I’ve found that it’s worth my while to make my pasta sauce. Lasagna is one of those pastas that is truly delicious when topped with a homemade pasta sauce. This simple Bolognese sauce is just what it needs to really be delicious. I decided to try a lasagna without cheese this time, so I needed the sauce to pick up any slack from the missing cheese. And this sauce did just that. It was really quite easy to prepare and the end result was something that was really rich and the flavors were vibrant. Since it’s homemade, you can tweak the flavors to fit your individual taste preference. This lasagna with Bolognese sauce is a little more work, but the flavor in the end makes it worth every minute. [Read more…]

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Pulled Pork Salad – 7 Smart Points

Pulled Pork Salad

Who doesn’t love a beautiful salad? Salads are a great meal. They are light and refreshing and since spring is in full swing, it’s the perfect meal to feel like you’re taking full advantage of the warm weather. This salad is delicious. The mixed baby greens provide a delicious base for this salad. Add in frozen or fresh green peas, some onion and a little mint and you have a salad packed with flavor and nutrients. With plenty of fiber, as well as iron, baby greens are a great way to feel full for much longer. I decided to give this salad a refreshing twist with the dressing as well. Cilantro and lime go together so well that they make a perfect dressing. I put everything in the blender to make it smooth and easy. If you’re one of those people that doesn’t like cilantro, you can omit the cilantro and olive oil, and use half an avocado instead. The flavor will definitely be different, but just as delicious. For me, this is a great way to make something new and fresh with leftovers. Leftover pork (roast or chops) shredded work perfectly for this. [Read more…]

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Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks Recipe – 7 Smart Points

Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks

Lately, I’ve been a bit behind with my meal planning and food organizing. Things have been really chaotic for my family these last few months, and sometimes, life just gets in the way. Unfortunately, this had let to a lot of eating out, less cooking at home, and poor food choices. However, during this tumultuous time, the few times that I have managed to cook a healthy meal, I’ve been lucky enough to have a few quick and easy recipes up my sleeve to rely on. Meals that I can prepare on the fly and require just a handful of ingredients. This Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks is a hit with the family EVERY TIME. I’m not kidding! It’s incredibly flavorful and tender, and really helps to satisfy everyone’s sweet and salty cravings. Serve over a bed of fluffy, steamed brown rice and with a side of roasted veggies, and you’ve got a delicious meal in a pinch. Enjoy!

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