Rosemary Roast Potatoes – 3 Smart Points

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Now that I live in the Midwest I’ve learned to love potatoes. In fact, we have a lot of potatoes now. And we have them just about every way imaginable. But when I’m doing mashed potatoes or roast potatoes like this, I really like to use Yukon Gold potatoes. Their golden color makes them look like they’re filled with butter, when they’re really not. I pan fried my potatoes in a little butter because I wanted a little brown on the edges of the potatoes. But since I didn’t want to fry them with that much butter, I them baked them until they were tender. This gave me the best of both. They were a little crispy and had beautiful golden brown edges but weren’t so soaked in butter that I could feel my arteries hardening while I ate them. I added my usual garlic and a little crushed rosemary to give them a little woodsy flavor. If you don’t care for rosemary, you can also use a little ground or crushed thyme for a similar flavor. The result was delicious potatoes that went perfectly with roast pork loin. These were quite simple to prepare and incredibly delicious – all without breaking the points bank. [Read more…]

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Colorful Roasted Vegetables – 3 Smart Points

vegetables-1042659

I love to roast vegetables. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables. It makes the flavors so much richer and more delicious than just steaming the vegetables. I also like to roast them because I can have them ready to go in the oven for Sunday dinner and have the oven set to go on at a specific time. That way they’re ready to go when we get home from church and I have very little prep to do for Sunday dinner. I decided to branch out a bit for these roasted vegetables. I typically do potatoes and carrots, celery and maybe some peppers, so I decided to really make these bright, colorful and different. I started with some very young and tender asparagus. I broke the tough ends off (just bend the stalk and the tough end will snap off, you’ll be left with tender asparagus spears). Then added two colors of carrots, beets, bell peppers and broccoli. I added my usually olive oil and garlic, but then added some rosemary and basil with my salt and pepper. I usually just mix it on the pan (so I don’t have to wash another dish) and then stick it in the oven. You can roast them immediately, or do a delay start (if your oven has one) so that they’re ready to go when you get home. I wouldn’t recommend leaving them all day, but they’re find for an hour or two. I loved the bright colors and different textures of the vegetables. They’re perfect with roast chicken, beef or even pork. Really, they’re perfect with just about anything. I love to add them to my meal when I know that the rest of my meal isn’t going to be colorful and pretty, since they not only add fiber and texture to my meal but make the whole table seems colorful and festive. [Read more…]

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Couscous with Tomatoes – 5 Smart Points

Couscous with Tomatoes

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.

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Strawberry Blender Muffins – 5 Smart Points

Strawberry Muffins

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.

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Mediterranean Baked Tilapia Recipe – 3 Smart Points

Mediterranean Baked Tilapia

Fourth of July festivities are just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about some low Smart Points meal options that you can serve or bring. And this Mediterranean Baked Tilapia Recipe is a great option! While everyone else is slaving over a hot grill, you can pop these tilapia fillets in the oven and forget about it! It’s super easy to make, and the wonderful herbs and spices help to give the mild tilapia a most amazing flavor. The fish fillets are roasted in an incredible buttery lemon sauce, making it perfectly moist and flaky. At just 3 Smart Points per serving, serve this Mediterranean Baked Tilapia with some salad, steamed veggies, and potatoes, and you’ll STILL have some Points left for dessert!

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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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Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry – 6 Smart Points

Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry

In college, Chinese takeout used to be a staple of mine. But now that I eat lighter and smarter, creating healthier versions of my favorite Chinese fast foods became a top priority.
Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry was a meal I used to eat a lot, because I assumed it was one of the “healthier” choices, having chicken and broccoli in it. Little did I know. But now I can make my own light and healthy Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry for a lot less Points and with minimal effort. This stir fry tastes authentically delicious….even my kids gobbled it up! And at just 6 Smart Points per serving, I’m able to enjoy one of my favorite Chinese foods without ruining my day.

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Cilantro Lime Baked Sole Recipe – 3 Smart Points

Cilantro Lime Baked Sole[Read more…]

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Baked Lemon Chicken – 5 Smart Points

Lemon Baked Chicken

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…]

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Asian Shrimp Stir Fry – 6 Smart Points

Asian Shrimp Stir Fry

I’m not a huge fan of shrimp, but I do try to cook it every once in a while. As usual, I fell back on an Asian inspired shrimp stir fry. I’m someone who thinks you really can’t go wrong with stir fry veggies and some really delicious Asian seasonings. This one really exceeded my expectations. For me, the sweet chili sauce was what made this a little different than my normal stir fry. For my normal stir fry I use soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar. I didn’t want to add the really rich and dark flavor of the hoisin, but the sweet chili sauce added a really delicious flavor without overpowering the flavor of the whole dish. I’m not a fan of spicy foods, but the sweet chili sauce adds just a little bit of spice to really bring the whole dish alive. The shrimp is light and a great source of healthy, omega fatty acids. Shrimp is also a great source of lean protein, and the crisp-tender vegetables are a perfect complement to the succulent shrimp.

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Strawberry Banana Oat Smoothie – 9 Smart Points

Strawberry Banana Oat Smoothie

One of the best things about June, in my opinion, is that there is so much produce that comes into season. It’s perfect for all sorts of delicious, seasonal and healthy food. Smoothies are something that I really enjoy. They’re a quick and easy breakfast or snack. Since I’m usually the only one to eat the smoothie, I’ll make up the whole recipe, then leave the other half of the smoothie in the fridge for a snack later on in the day, or breakfast for the next day. One thing I noticed with this wonderful strawberry banana smoothie is that it’s important to make sure you let the blender blend for quite a while. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to start with the oats, pulse them into a flour and then add the rest of the ingredients. The first time I tried it, I just tossed everything in together (like I always do for smoothies). But between the oats and the frozen strawberries, it wasn’t as delicious and creamy as I was expecting. The next time, I blended the oats first then added everything else and it worked much better. Give this one a try – with sweet and juicy strawberries, protein packed yogurt and heart healthy oats, you can’t go wrong. [Read more…]

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Fresh Blueberry Muffins – 6 Smart Points

Blueberry Muffin

In addition to some projects we were working on last weekend, my in-laws also brought us some really delicious, fresh, ripe blueberries. I love blueberries. Growing up, my grandparents lived on the coast of Washington. Grandma had the most amazing blueberry patch ever. It was about 6 feet by 10 feet and completely encased in a large chicken wire cage, to keep the birds out. The only downside was the bugs, because we could go in there and have as many blueberries as we could eat. Each summer, I try to get some fresh blueberries so that I can freeze them to add to sauces, muffins and all sorts of other things the rest of the year. A few blueberries have to be saved to be eaten fresh, and a few have to be used in a special recipe. This years special recipe was fresh blueberry muffins.

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