Squash Soup – 5 Smart Points

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…]

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Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe – 6 Smart Points

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes

If you are looking for a healthy Thanksgiving side dish recipe this year, these Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes are a fantastic alternative to candied yams. Yes, I know traditional candied yams are swimming in butter and melted marshmallow and nothing can quite compare to that, but these sweet potatoes are a LOT better for you and a great way to help you stay on track this holiday season. Plus, they are incredibly easy to prepare, requiring just 3 steps and a small handful of ingredients…most of which you probably already have on hand. And they are so delicious, you won’t be making them just at Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

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Chipotle Shrimp Tacos Recipe – 4 Smart Points

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

Oh, how I adore these tacos. This quick and easy Chipotle Shrimp Tacos Recipe is not only a perfect weeknight dinner recipe that can be prepared in a pinch, they are incredibly delicious. The rich, smoky chipotle cream sauce is the star of this dish. The amount of chipotles in adobo sauce will affect how spicy these are, so if you can’t take too much heat, stick with just 1 tbsp. However, if you can handle spicy, then add as much as you’d like. I actually doubled the recipe so that I could have some for lunch the next day. One thing to pay attention to is the tortilla size. The ones I used in this recipe were the “slider” size. If you use a larger tortilla, it may add an extra Point. Serve with black beans, and roasted corn on the cob or other roasted veggies for a complete meal. Enjoy!

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Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich Recipe – 5 Smart Points

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

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. :)

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Grilled Reuben Sandwich Recipe – 8 Smart Points

Grilled Reuben Sandwich

One of my all time favorite sandwiches, is this slimmed down version of a grilled Reuben sandwich. Just by using high quality, but lower fat/calorie ingredients, I was able to transform a traditional Grilled Reuben Sandwich into one that’s very Weight Watchers friendly at just 8 Smart Points for the whole sandwich. All the beloved flavors are in there – melty Swiss cheese, earthy rye bread, salty corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, and creamy Thousand Island dressing – but it’s waaaaaaay less Points than a restaurant version. I cooked mine in a panini press (hence the grill marks), which is fantastic to use if you have one, but the instructions are for pan grilling. If you want a hot, melty sandwich that won’t blow your Points budget, this 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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Crockpot Split Pea Soup – 2 Smart Points

split-pea-soup

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure about split pea soup. It doesn’t sound very appealing and it definitely doesn’t look appealing. However, it’d been awhile since I’d done anything in the crockpot, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ll admit, there are still more appealing looking meals out there. A large bowl of green soup isn’t top pretty. But the rich and delicious flavor of the soup more than makes up for it. I love how simple it was to put together. Just stick it all in the crockpot and turn it on. Once you’re ready to serve it, just use an immersion blender to puree it to your desired consistency. This is a great way to use up the ham bone from the Sunday dinner. What I really loved about this whole meal was how easy it was to to make! Everything went in the crockpot in the morning and got turned on. In the evening, all I had to do was puree it and decide what sides to serve with it. If you want to make it a little prettier, add a few pieces of chopped ham to the top of the bowl, or add a little sour cream to make it a little more creamy.

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Chicken Skewers – 5 Smart Points

chicken-skewers

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…]

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Chicken and Broccoli Slaw Salad with Almond Butter Dressing – 6 Smart Points

Chicken and Broccoli Slaw with Almond Butter Dressing

When I want a quick and easy salad recipe for lunch, this Chicken and Broccoli Slaw Salad with Almond Butter Dressing is one of my absolute favorites. I don’t know about anyone else, but I get so tired of traditional lettuce based salads all the time. This salad has broccoli slaw as the base, which packs in a ton of nutrition and crunch! Over the weekend, I’ll often cook a few chicken breasts to keep on hand during the week so that I can throw this salad together for myself on a busy day. And did I mention how delicious the Thai-inspired dressing is!?! If you don’t like/have almond butter, you can use peanut butter. I just personally prefer the flavor and health benefits of the almond butter. But regular peanut butter works just fine. And at just 6 Smart Points per serving, you get a delicious and satisfying salad without an ounce of guilt!

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Roasted Eggplant Salad Recipe – 1 Smart Point

Roasted Eggplant Salad

In my opinion, eggplants are one of the most under-used vegetables. This Roasted Eggplant Salad is perfect example of how easy they are to use and flavorful the eggplant is. By roasting it, the eggplant develops a beautiful, smoky flavor. Combine it with the crunchy, fresh bell peppers and onions, then finish it off with fresh lemon juice and olive oil, and you’ve got one amazing mouthful of deliciousness. And since the only ingredient that’s counted in this recipe is the olive oil, each serving comes out to just 1 Smart Point per serving. I’ll use this salad as a topping for my chicken, a dip for my pita, or I’ll add a chopped hardboiled egg to it for protein packed side salad. It’s so versatile and so flavorful, you’ll find yourself making it over and over again.

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Portobello Eggs Benedict Recipe – 4 Smart Points

Portobello Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is always my go to brunch choice when dining out. I am absolutely obsessed with it, and I love all the different varieties out there! Seriously…soooooo many good ones. Occasionally, I’ll make it at home for myself, and when I do, I use my homemade hollandaise sauce which helps to save a ton of extra fat and calories. If an effort to make my eggs benedict even more light and healthy, I created this Portobello Eggs Benedict Recipe that is just 4 Smart Points (including the hollandaise!) and is absolutely delicious. Plus, it’s a great way to get those veggie servings in. Enjoy!

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Mexican Quinoa – 8 Smart Points

mexican-quinoa

CEven though not everyone in the house likes quinoa, I do. I like to make up a batch in my rice cooker and then make simple, nutritious and delicious lunches with it. It provides a nice change from salads on some days. However, I’m a huge fan of one pot meals. Anything that I can do that doesn’t have the kitchen covered in dishes is great (my husband is even more a fan, since he does the dishes when I cook!). This one is great. All those delicious Mexican flavors that I love – black beans, corn, onions, cumin, garlic and cilantro all wrapped up into one delicious dish. Since avocadoes were on sale recently, and we had a perfectly ripe one, I sliced up avocado to put on top after it was done cooking. My favorite part was how easy it was. I just put everything in a pan, covered it with a lid and waited. [Read more…]

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