Let’s face it – Olive Garden is a danger zone. From the breadsticks and salads to the heavenly entrees and desserts, there is Weight Watchers un-friendly deliciousness at every turn. This is why I try to avoid going there at all costs, because I have absolutely no control as soon as I lay eyes on that food. So I found a way to re-create a healthier version of one my favorite Olive Garden dishes – the Tuscan Chicken. Their menu describes it as “a flavorful blend of herb-seasoned chicken breasts sautéed with oven-roasted garlic, sweet roasted red peppers and spinach, served in a white wine and garlic cream sauce.” Sound good? You bet it does! But the restaurant entree is laden with way too much fat and calories, thus making it too many Points Plus to justify spending on a regular basis. My lighter version, which tastes AMAZING, has just 9 Points + per serving. Still not a super light dish, but a lot lighter than what the restaurant will serve you. And more nutritional too. This light Tuscan Chicken Recipe is a wonderful alternative that still delivers all those amazing flavors you are anticipating. Now….if I could just make a low carb Olive Garden breadstick, the world would be a perfect place.
Sometimes, you just gotta have a big, juicy, manly, hearty burger. Last week, I had one of those days. So I put together this Blue Cheese Burger Recipe that was seriously out of this world. Each burger came out to just 9 Points +, which wasn’t bad considering how big and satisfying it was. I probably could’ve used a sandwich thin, or some other low carb hamburger bun, and shaved off an extra Point or two, but this time, I needed something BIG and carb-y. So I went with a thick, hearty, whole grain hamburger bun from Udi’s. The meat was so juicy and flavorful, and the pungent blue cheese was the most perfect complement. The next time you need a burger that is so divine it feels NOTHING like diet, food, this Blue Cheese Burger is your ticket!
Vegetarians, you may just want to marry me after eating this burger. It is UNBELIEVABLY good. I am not a vegetarian, and I’d eat this quinoa burger a million times over again. Granted, this is a 9 Points Weight Watchers Recipe, BUT, because the burger patty is made with quinoa and white beans, it’s incredibly filling. I also used a real brioche bun, to give it that added gourmet flair. You could shave off another Point or two by using a sandwich thin or another light bread roll. The caramelized onions really give it a that extra something special, and the chipotle lime mayo ties it all in perfectly. It’s truly a unique Weight Watchers Quinoa Recipe like you’ve never had before. Pair it with a light salad, roasted veggies or a low calorie soup for a complete meal. This vegetarian burger recipe is a must try, folks.
Living in Southern California, I am constantly exposed to endless amounts of the most fantastic Mexican food. But to keep myself from going overboard on the calories and fat that these delicious foods come with, I often make my own, healthier, Weight Watchers version at home. This Crock Pot Chicken Verde Tacos Recipe is one of my staples…it’s sooooo easy, requires minimal prep, and is ridiculously delicious. And it’s very versatile too — you can play around with a variety of toppings, or serve over rice, instead of the tortilla, for a more substantial dish. I’ll even serve it over a bed of fresh greens for a light and delicious Mexican salad. It’s really such a fantastic, reliable recipe that you can’t go wrong with. And 9 Points + for two loaded tacos is a pretty good bargain. The chicken and bean mixture does make a lot, so if you wanted to spread this out to 6 servings (12 tacos in total), you absolutely could. Though, you would need to factor in four more tortillas. This easy Crock Pot Chicken Verde Tacos Recipe is a must try for any Weight Watchers who love low calorie Mexican food recipes.
An all-in-one meal, these Crock Pot Chicken Taco Bowls are truly a satisfying dish. Each bowl is loaded with quality ingredients that taste AMAZING and will help give you energy while keeping you full. By cooking the chicken in the crock pot with salsa, it allows for the chicken to become, tender, juicy and oh-so flavorful. Each bowl is 9 Points +, which isn’t bad when you figure all that’s packed inside that bowl. And because it’s so filling, you really don’t need any side dishes with this. It also freezes really well! So double the recipe if you want to store some in the freezer for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or for lunches. The kids love topping their own bowls with all their favorite condiments, and I love how incredibly delicious and healthy these Chicken Taco Bowls are! This is Weight Watchers Crock Pot recipe that is a family favorite and gets made again and again.
In continuation of our series of guest recipes and interviews, we are featuring Anne-Marie Nichols of This Mama Cooks! On a Diet. Anne-Marie has gained popularity for her light, family-friendly recipes, some of which are healthier or more family-friendly versions of recipes obtained from well-known chefs.
In July, Anne-Marie had a medical scare resulting in brain surgery and so is not posting as many original recipes until she recovers. However, she took the time to speak with us and to give us one of her delicious adaptations of a meal taken from Hugh Acheson’s A New Turn in the South: Saffron Braised Celery and Grilled Fish with Hot Sauce Buerre Blanc for a total of 9 PointsPlus (8 PointsPlus for the fish and 1 PointsPlus for the celery). The points for the fish were calculated based on using tilapia, though Anne-Marie state that any mild, white fish can be used, including Yellowtail or Mahi Mahi.
A couple of weeks ago at my Weight Watchers meeting, we talked about the importance of healthy fats and why your body (and your weight loss success!) depends upon them. I know that we all like to keep our Points low in the Weight Watchers Recipes that we make so that we can eat more foods throughout the day, but every now and then, it is important to spend those Points on some good, healthy fats. One of my favorite recipes to do this with, is my Shells with Sausage and Broccoli Pesto Recipe. It is loaded with fiber and protein, hunger-busting carbs, and a delicious flavor. Most of the fat in this dish comes from the olive oil, which is a wonderful healthy fat, and a necessary ingredient to create the right texture for the pesto. By adding broccoli into the pesto, I was able to give the sauce some more substance and nutrients, without adding extra fat or calories. Traditional pesto sauces are made with nuts, which you can certainly do with this recipe too, but I wanted to try and keep it as Weight Watchers friendly as possible, so I relied only on the Parmesan and olive oil for fat in the pesto sauce. The end result was a beautiful and delicious meal that clocked in at 9 Points + per serving. This Weight Watchers Pasta Recipe was a huge hit with my family, and we’ll be making this nutritious dish again for sure. Enjoy!
If you are in the mood for a bit of a Points splurge for a an absolutely delicious and decadent breakfast recipe, then this Baked Egg Bread Boat Recipe is just the ticket. I came across this recipe at Spoon Fork Bacon, and decided to play around with it a bit to make it more Weight Watchers friendly. Just a few small changes, and my Baked Egg Bread Boat turned out SO good! For 9 Points + you get an entire sourdough demi baguette filled with baked in egg whites, cheese and veggies. Seriously delicious. It’ can be a little tricky getting the right cut into the bread…I plan on attempting this recipe a few more times to see if I can do it better and get a better picture. But overall, it’s really an easy breakfast or brunch recipe to make and the flavors and textures are incredible. I can’t wait to make this again! This is a wonderful Weight Watchers breakfast idea for those days when you need your carb fix. Enjoy!
photo credit: yummy tummy cooking
Need a quick and healthy dinner recipe in a pinch? Try this No-Bake Macaroni and Cheese Recipe! It’s loaded with fiber and healthy ingredients and is a great dish to serve to the whole family. Each serving has 9 Points +, which isn’t bad at all for 1 1/4 cups of cheesy macaroni goodness. Pair it with a 0 Points Plus Salad Recipe, and you’ve got an amazingly yummy and filling meal that is very Weight Watchers Friendly. I also found this dish to be a great way to help get kids to eat more vegetables. Creamy, yummy and really quite flavorful, this No-Bake Macaroni & Cheese is not only super easy, but it’s the perfect, healthy alternative to traditional macaroni and cheese recipes that clock in at an average of 16 Points Plus per serving.
photo credit: taste defined
Lately, I’ve had a non-stop craving for Weight Watchers Thai food recipes, and I’ve managed to find a much healthier version of one of my favorite Thai food staples – Chicken Pad Thai. It’s a pretty simple recipe that really tastes amazing and even though it’s 9 Points + per serving, it has waaaaaay less fat and calories than the traditional Pad Thai recipes. I could have made it a few points less, but it was important to me to keep the peanut oil and peanuts, so as not to lose the flavor integrity of the dish. And if you’d rather have a Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe, just sub out the chicken for tofu or shrimp. So if you need to get your Thai food craving satisfied, give this recipe a try!
photo credit: real simple
Treat your family to a delicious and healthy Italian dinner, and while still staying on track with your Weight Watchers goals, by trying out this easy Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe with Broccoli! By making a few small substitutions, and adding in a veggie, we raised the fiber and protein while lowering the fat and calories. And it’s just as creamy and fabulous and the traditional fettuccine Alfredo recipes you’ve tried before. Each serving has 9 Points +, which is not bad for a nicely sized 1 1/2 cup serving. At most restaurants, that dish would cost you about 25-38 Points Plus, making this low calorie fettuccine recipe is a pretty darn good swap. So the next time you are craving some creamy Italian pasta, try out this slimmed down version instead of throwing caution to the wind, and hitting up your fave Italian bistro.
photo credit: pinch my salt
Good, healthy casserole recipes are not always easy to find, but this new spin on a traditional Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe lets you enjoy the benefit of making a quick and easy meal, while still providing a healthy, low calorie dinner. By making a few substitutions, this Tuna Noodle Casserole maintains it’s delicious flavor, and creamy, cheesy texture, but with a lot less fat and calories, thus making it lower in WW Points +. Each nicely sized serving is just 9 Points +, and is loaded with fiber and protein. Good served alone or with some low PointsPlus side dishes, this casserole recipe makes a GREAT meal for any Weight Watcher!