Pumpkin Alfredo Recipe – 7 Smart Points

Pumpkin Alfredo

With the weather FINALLY starting to cool down, I’m in a constant state of comfort food craving. And a rich, creamy, fettuccini alfredo recipe was exactly what I wanted last week. Now, typically, I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin, or pumpkin flavored foods and drinks. But I had this one can of pure pumpkin on hand, and I wanted to find something to incorporate it in. Considered it’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients, I thought it might be a great way to give my fettuccini alfredo a healthy boost. This, this Pumpkin Alfredo Recipe was born. Any way you slice it, an alfredo dish is going to be very heavy in fat and calories, so I had to find a few smart ways to trim down this dish without sacrificing flavor. The biggest thing I did was sub out regular pasta for Miracle Noodle Fettuccini noodles, which I am a regular user of when I want a light pasta dish. They offer a delicious, guilt free way to indulge in a decadent pasta dish for a LOT less calories and carbs, compared to regular pasta. Even my picky husband loves them, so they are a staple around here. A few other alterations, and my Pumpkin Alfredo was a success! Creamy, rich, flavorful, and easy, this dish makes a divine Weight Watchers Fall Recipe to indulge in.

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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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Couscous with Pomegranates & Butternut – 7 Smart Points

Couscous with Butternut

Here is a seriously delicious combination of pomegranate, butternut and orange. It’s a simple and easy meal that can be tossed together in no time. I love the fact that I can make it up really quickly. Squash can be sliced in half, and baked for about 10 minutes. It’s easier to peel and cube then. It’s also easy to freeze it then and I can have it all year. Roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper until it’s tender. It’s a great way to make squash without loading it up with butter and brown sugar. I highly recommend baking it for a few minutes first. I learned last fall with my pumpkins (when I was canning a whole bunch of them, about 30 or 40 quarts) that if you bake the pumpkin (or squash in this case) for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, it looses the skin and seeds enough that they are easy to remove. Then just stick your squash in a ziploc bag and it’s ready to be baked when you need it. Since I don’t always have quinoa on hand, and it takes longer to cook, couscous is a great alternative to that. It doesn’t take long to cook, has a much more mild flavor and is less expensive. It’s a great combination with the crunchy and juicy pomegranate seeds. This is a bright, colorful and delicious salad that is simple to put together to complement your meal tonight. [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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Pasta with Spinach Pesto – 6 Smart Points

Pasta with Spinach Pesto

Pasta dishes are one of my favorite go-to meals when I’m in a hurry and need dinner fast. I can my own pasta sauce, so I always have a few jars of that on hand so I can mix up a meal of spaghetti if we’re in a hurry. However, I thought I’d try something a little different for this one. I love pasta with pesto, but I saw a recipe on Pinterest for one with spinach, and I just had to try it. The original called for far more oil (and a far more expensive oil), but I used olive oil, and it worked fine and tasted fabulous. Since the nuts tend to make their own oil when they’re processed for long enough, I started with that and let it go for a few minutes. After a couple of minutes, I drizzled in a little olive oil at a time until it reached the right consistency. Combined with whole grain pasta, some garden fresh tomatoes, you’ve got a simple and delicious meal ready to go.
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Spaghetti with Ragu – 7 Smart Points

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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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Asian Garlic Noodles – 5 Smart Points

Asian Garlic Noodles

Asian noodles are one of my favorite ways to whip together a quick lunch for myself when there aren’t any leftovers. I love the flavors of the soy sauce, chili sauce and sesame oil combined with the rich and spicy garlic. My favorite part of these noodles is how easy they are to put together. I used buckwheat noodles in this recipe, but you can use any type of noodle you want. I will frequently use a gluten free spaghetti noodle, because it’s what I have on hand. Add more of your favorite vegetables and even toss in some leftover chicken breast to add more protein to the dish. The dark noodles, bright and cute pepper rings and tender zucchini noodles are perfectly seasoned. It’s a delicious meal that’s ready in no time!

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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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Lentil Bolognese Recipe – 10 Smart Points

Lentil Bolognese

This thick and hearty vegetarian Lentil Bolognese is not only delicious, but incredibly satisfying. While it doesn’t taste the same as a traditional meat-based bolognese, the unique flavor is wonderful in itself. And with all the fiber and protein this dish delivers, it packs quite a nutritional punch. The sauce is definitely not lightweight…it’s rich and abundant, and does a great job of satisfying your hunger. It’s well worth the 10 Smart Points per serving, as you’ll be full for quite a while. Serve with a light salad or your favorite roasted veggies for a complete meal.

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Zucchini Pasta with Feta – 5 Smart Points

Zucchini Pasta with Feta

Vegetable pasta is all the rage right now and one of my favorites is zucchini. It’s easy to do and has such as mild flavor that it goes with just about anything. It’s also a great way to add color to my meal without adding lots of carbs from regular pasta. Plus, I get another serving of vegetables, which is something I’ll never complain about. I wanted a pasta dish that is light and refreshing and doesn’t take too much work. I really was looking for a quick and easy lunch meal, and this fit the bill perfectly. While it’s not necessary to cook the zucchini before, I like to cook it a little in the olive oil and garlic so that it’s tender. The lemon juice really brightens the flavor and makes the whole dish seem light and fresh. It’s simple and delicious – perfect for a quick and healthy meal. [Read more…]

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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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