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!
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.
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…]
I really like to use beans in things because it makes it much lower in fat than meat, but it’s still a great source of protein. Beans are also a great source of fiber – which really helps when you’re trying to eat healthy and lose weight. The fiber helps to fill you up and when you feel full longer, you’re less likely to eat as much. They’re also so handy to have on hand. I usually just have a variety of canned beans on hand (several cans of each) so that I have them ready to go when a recipe calls for them. I wanted to do something with fresh garden vegetables, but something with a definitely Mediterranean flavor to it. I ended up combining a couple of recipes, including one with a really tasty oil and vinegar dressing. I used a low calorie pita bread as a scoop and I fell in love with it. It’s easy to put together and right now you can get garden fresh veggies and herbs to put in this. It’s fabulous fresh, and (I think) even better after it’s had a day or two to marinate. While I had it with pita bread the first time, it really wasn’t necessary. It was just as good with a spoon! This will definitely become a favorite salad for my lunch options. [Read more…]
You guys. My kids ate this salad. MY KIDS ATE KALE. A ton of it! If that’s not a selling point for a recipe, I don’t know what is. This kid friendly, Simple Kale salad Recipe is not only a breeze to make, it’s absolutely delicious! The key in this dish, is to NOT be gentle with the kale when mixing everything together, and to let the salad sit for at least an hour. Do NOT skip this step! It’s what helps the kale tenderize a bit, and allows the flavor of the dressing to soak through the strongly flavored kale. Also, because I’m lazy, I used a bag of pre-washed and prepared kale mix that I found at Whole Foods. It just saved me the extra steps of trimming my own kale. And the roasted pumpkin seeds add such a nice extra crunch and nutty flavor. Seriously, sooooo yummy!
Perfect for a light summer side salad, this Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad is not only incredibly easy to make, it’s super tasty! I love the slight crunch of the quinoa along with the fresh, crisp vegetables. And the simple lemon dressing pulls it all together wonderfully. This salad is a great way for me to get my kids to eat some vegetables and healthy whole grains – they love this dish. And any leftovers go great in their lunch boxes the next day. If you have a few Smart Points to spare, I suggest adding in some feta or goat cheese crumbles for an added kick of flavor. It’s sooooooo good! You could also top it with some grilled chicken, and/or add in some extra roasted veggies like bell peppers and zucchini, to make to a complete meal. This Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad works great at BBQ’s, potlucks, parties…you name it. It’s versatile, delicious, healthy, and just 5 Smart Points per serving.
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…]
I’m so grateful that my kids love beans as much as they do. And this 13 Bean Soup Recipe gives me an opportunity to provide them with a healthy and delicious soup that is not only full of nutrients, protein, and fiber, but it’s just 5 Smart Points per serving – which is great for me! It’s also a really filling soup, so perfect for when you really need to satisfy your hunger without going through all your Points. This 13 Bean Soup is also incredibly easy to prepare. You can really use any dry bean mix that you like. I’m personally a fan of Bob’s Red Mill bean soup mix, so that’s what I use. It also freezes and reheats really nicely, so if you have any leftovers, it’s great for lunches or when you need a meal in a pinch.
With the first whiff of Spring this year, I was already beginning to crave cool summer drinks and treats. One of my favorites is this Mint Lemonade Slushy recipe. I fist had one of these drinks on a trip to Israel, where it’s referred to as “limonana”. Under the hot desert sun, I don’t think I’ve ever had a more refreshingly delicious drink! The original recipe uses sugar as a sweetener, but to cut out those calories and Points, I just replaced the sugar with organic stevia. Honestly, I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners of any kind, and I try to avoid them when I can. But there are some times where I just HAVE to have one of these Mint Lemonade Slushies, and I don’t want to blow a ton of my precious Smart Points to have one. So I use the Stevia, and this recipe ends up costing me 0 Points. Yay! When I make it for my kids, I sweeten it with honey instead of the Stevia, and they LOVE it. It’s not hard to see why….it is SO FLIPPING’ GOOD. It’s truly there perfect poolside drink. And if you want add some extra excitement and turn this into an adult beverage, feel free to blend it with some vodka or gin…just be sure to factor in those points. Enjoy!
It’s Cinco de Mayo, and I’ve got nothing but Mexican food on my mind today! So, I’m sharing my favorite, super easy, authentic pico de gallo recipe. Not only do I use this 0 Smart points dish as a dip for tortilla chips, but I use it to top many other foods as well…chicken, fish, salads, sandwiches. My husband will even eat it straight up with a spoon! It may take a few attempts for you to customize this salsa recipe, and have it adjusted to your specific tastes. If you like it spicy, you may want to add a bit more jalapeño and garlic. If you want a slightly sweeter flavor, you may prefer red onion. But you really can’t go wrong with this…experimenting with the recipe is fun and delicious! My kids eat it a lot, so this is my mild version. It tastes so fresh and flavorful, I just can’t ever get enough of it. Good thing it’s 0 Points! Now, if we could just do something about those tortilla chips…
It’s finally spring! I don’t know about you, but with some of our recent weather, I feel like it’s easy to forget that. I thought that called for a recipe to remind me of the warmer weather. Something that is refreshing and fresh and delicious, something that makes me feel cooler in warm weather. These marinated tomatoes were just the thing. I used cherry tomatoes, since that’s what I had on hand, but you can use any type of tomatoes you want. If you like your salad to have a little more juice, definitely use a juice tomato, like a regular beef steak tomatoes or even Romas. One of the things I like about apple cider vinegar is that it doesn’t have quite the same bite as other vinegars. It almost seems a little sweet. It’s perfect for these tomatoes, it adds the kick they need to make your mouth water, but isn’t enough to make your eyes water too. I like to let mine sit on the counter while I’m making the rest of dinner to let the flavors blend together better, but if you like your tomatoes chilled, then refrigerate it overnight and you’ll have one delicious, colorful and refreshing side dish!
I love rice pilaf with seasonings and vegetables, but sometimes it’s nice to have a change. A quick and easy change for pilaf is to use couscous instead of rice. Couscous isn’t gluten free like rice, but it’s really easy to make and has a delicious flavor. It’s originally from North Africa. Couscous is made from durum wheat, and is really easy to make. Once your broth or water is boiling, it just takes 5 minutes to cook the couscous. This particular type of couscous is kind of like grains of sand, it’s tiny and has a mild, nutty flavor. If you want your dish to look a little different, use Israeli couscous. While Israeli couscous has a much larger size, it is similar in flavor and works just as well. This couscous pilaf is a great side dish. It’s so easy to make. It’s a perfect side dish to toss together while you’re waiting for the rest of the meal to finish cooking. [Read more…]