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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Zucchini Lasagna – 8 Smart Points

Zucchini Lasagna

Who doesn’t love lasagna? It’s a favorite meal of mine, and one that I can easily make gluten free (just use gluten free noodles). It’s a great meal to stick in the freezer when I know I’m going to be out of town, so that my husband can just stick it in the oven after work. I thought I’d give our traditional lasagna recipe a low-carb makeover. Zucchini works so well as noodles in other traditional pasta dishes, so why not lasagna? It turns out this is delicious. I’m pretty picky about how I like my zucchini (especially cooked), but this was delicious. It was tender, but not overpowering with the rest of the delicious sauce. Give this one a try for one of your next family meals. It’ll be a definite hit!
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Spaghetti Pie – 8 Smart Points

Spaghetti PieThe winter holidays of Christmas and New Year’s are always a little crazy for my husband and me. Christmas is usually spent with my family and then New Year’s with his family. When my family all descends on us, I have to have everything planned to within an inch of it’s life. Every meal is planned, shopped for and prepped as much as I can. It makes life so much easier, and I’m able to enjoy time with my family that way. But when my parents came back and spent a few days with us after New Year’s, I had nothing ready. So my mom suggested this delicious spaghetti pie recipe. Sure, I’d heard of spaghetti pie, but I just assumed it was noodles and sauce mixed together and baked in a pie plate. I was pretty skeptical of this recipe, but it was absolutely delicious. I used gluten free pasta, and it worked just as well as wheat pasta. Just be careful not to use a bigger pie plate than 9 inches or you won’t have enough crust. It was really pretty easy to put together, since I had meat sauce in the freezer that I just thawed out. It was simple and delicious. While the pie was baking, it gave us plenty of time to put together a salad and steam some peas. Beautiful, delicious and loved by everybody!

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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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One Pan Cheesy Chili Mac Recipe – 9 Points +

One Pan Cheesy Chili Mac

Have I mentioned before how much I adore one pan meals? With 2 young kids, 3 cats, and a husband who acts like a teenager, they just make my life SO much easier. This One Pan Cheesy Chili Mac Recipe was a HUGE hit and I’m really excited to share it. I used extra lean ground beef in this, but you could easily substitute ground chicken or turkey if you prefer. The tender, perfectly seasoned meat is cooked in one skillet along with whole wheat macaroni noodles, and then it’s all topped with gooey, melty Mexican cheese. Try this recipe, and I’d be surprised if your family didn’t love it as much as mine.

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Swedish Meatball Saute – 8 Points +

Swedish Meatball Saute

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I go to IKEA, I get excited beyond a normal amount, to hit up their cafe and indulge in those amazing Swedish meatballs! There’s just something about them that tastes soon good and soon comforting. Of course, I know that they are not the healthiest fare, which is why I decided to create a more nutritional version at home. Also, sometimes, I’m just lazy. And I don’t always feel like making meatballs. So I thought that maybe I could do a sauté version that would be just as tasty, but super easy. And it was a great success! I served it over some egg noodles, and the kids, the husband, and I all loved it. Super easy and suer delicious. Though next time, I’ve gotta make sure I get some IKEA Lingonberry sauce to serve with it, because it’s just not the same without it. Enjoy!

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Rustic Vegetable Pasta – 3 Points +

Rustic Vegetable Pasta

Pasta is one of those things that I struggle with on Weight Watchers. It always seems so high in points that I have a difficult time justifying having it with a meal. The solution for me is quite often using zucchini noodles. But this delicious rustic vegetable pasta is just as wonderful – and only 3 points! The trick is to use whole grain pasta. It’s much higher in fiber than regular durum wheat pasta, which makes it fewer points. Topping the pasta with grilled and seasoned vegetables means that it’s filling without adding on a lot more points. Grilling the vegetables adds a delicious flavor as well as making the vegetables look beautiful. The lemon juice and Italian seasoning add light and delicious flavor, especially when they’re paired with the balsamic seasoned vegetables. Adding lemon juice (or lime juice) to vegetables makes them bright and beautiful.

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Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Ragu – 9 Points +

Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Ragu I love to have quick and easy meals that I know I can make anytime because I have everything on hand. Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Ragu is one of those meals for me. I know that I keep everything on hand, so it’s easy to make during the week when I don’t know what else to cook. I’ve found that the key to this delicious sauce is a little bit of red wine. The red peppers and tomatoes work so well together, and the spices in the Italian sausage and oregano enhance the sauce flavor. But the wine adds a depth of flavor that is richer and deeper. The sauce isn’t as tomato tasting, but instead has a more well rounded flavor. I personally am not a huge fan of wine and don’t drink it, so I make sure to simmer my sauce for long enough that the alcohol is completely evaporated. By that time, the wine has really cooked into the sauce and made it just perfect. [Read more…]

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Grilled Steak Salad – 9 Points +

Grilled Steak Salad

I don’t know too many guys who don’t consider salads chick food – especially here in the Midwest. But this salad is going to be a hit with the men too. It’s grilled, so it’s perfect for summer. You don’t have to heat up the kitchen with anything at all, you can just cook the pasta and grill the rest of the steak and corn on the cob. The grilling adds a wonderful flavor that you don’t get when you’re cooking inside too. The dressing is wonderfully refreshing and the lime juice makes sure that everything in your salad is bright and beautiful. Give this one a try, and it’ll become a sure hit.

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Penne with Sausage & Vegetables – 7 Points +

Penne with Sausage & VeggiesWe all have rushed evenings when you need something tasty in a hurry. This Penne with Sausage & Vegetables fits the bill perfectly. It’s full of flavor, nutrients and color. For me, it’s a quick meal because I’m able to multi-task. The first thing is to get the pasta on, then the sausage while the pasta is cooking. While the pasta and sausage are cooking, chop the vegetables. I also like to have vegetables (especially peppers) already chopped to save time during the week. The leftovers of this are perfect for another quick meal or for lunch. [Read more…]

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese – 5 Points +

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This baked macaroni and cheese recipe is easy to prepare as well as low fat. I have many variations for this traditional baked macaroni and cheese dish and this is the one I most recently prepared. The cayenne pepper adds a little spice and I prefer freshly ground pepper as well. I will serve this as a light main meal with a side salad for lunch or dinner. This recipe was prepared as a side dish to chicken loaf (a.k.a. meatloaf) or pork chops.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese – 5 Points +

I have loved baked macaroni and cheese since I was a kid. It’s the perfect comfort food. This is a healthy version and very tasty.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry macaroni (Dreamfields Elbows is used for this recipe)
  • 3/4 cup evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese (Horizon Organic: Low-fat Small Curd Cottage is used for this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (Reduced fat – Cabot’s Sharp Cheddar is used for this recipe)
  • 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare macaroni according to instructions on the box.
  3. In a saucepan, heat milk over low heat.
  4. Add the cheeses (except Parmesan) until melted, stirring constantly.
  5. Drain pasta and place in a 2 quart casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.
  6. Remove the cheese sauce from the heat then pour on top of cooked pasta.
  7. Stir and mix cheese and pasta well.
  8. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  9. Bake the casserole for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and the top is browned.

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet tags: Low calorie, Reduced fat

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

Calories: 212

Fat: 3.3

Protein: 16.2

Entire recipe makes: 4 servings
Serving size is about: approximately 1 cup
Each serving = 5 Points +

PER SERVING: 212 calories; 3.3 g fat; 27.9 g carbohydrates; 16.2 g protein; 0.7g fiber

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Arugula and Mushroom Pasta Recipe – 9 Points +

Arugula and Mushroom Pasta

When I want to indulge in a hearty, satisfying pasta dish that doesn’t skimp on portion size, this Arugula and Mushroom Pasta Recipe is one of my favorites. The simple wine sauce is light and delicate, allowing for the wonderful earthy flavors of the mushrooms and peppery arugula to come through. This Weight Watchers pasta recipe also offers a very satisfying serving size, which I love. I often like to top it with a bit of grated parmesan, but if you prefer to keep it vegan, you can skip it. The colorful vegetables will help bring out some fantastic flavors, so you won’t miss the meat. But if you insist on adding some additional protein, this dish works great with shrimp, chicken or scallops.

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