Warm Mushroom and Lentil Salad Recipe – 5 Points +

Warm Mushroom and Lentil Salad

This savory and satisfying side dish is a breeze to prepare and goes great with just about any meal. The tender lentils and pan fried mushrooms are incredibly delicious and packed with nutrition. And I love this unique salad that doesn’t feature the leafy greens as its star….they are merely a supporting character in this dish. I used baby kale in mine, but arugula or spinach would work really well too. The earthy flavors make this hearty Weight Watchers recipe a delicious dish that is sure to make an impression, while still keeping those Smart Points in check.

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Banana Coconut Pudding – 5 Smart Points

Banana Coconut Pudding

Of course you’re all familiar with my never ending quest to have new and yummy banana recipes. This one fits the bill. It’s perfect for my brother too, who is lactose intolerant. It’s made with light coconut milk, but it’s not an overpowering flavor. Combined with the sweet banana pieces and the tender tapioca pearls, it’s a wonderful dessert. I garnished it with another sliced banana, but you could also whip a little coconut milk and garnish it with a dab of that on top of the bananas. It’s a great dessert that really isn’t labor intensive. It’s perfect if you want to serve something elegant and delicious for your dinner party, or just end a family dinner with a sweet treat. You can chill the pudding in one large bowl, or, if you’re looking for a great way to make cute individual desserts, scoop the warm pudding into small ramekins and chill the pudding in those. [Read more…]

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Cucumber & Tomato Salad – 2 Smart Points

Cucumber & Tomato Salad

One of the reasons why I love side salads is that it’s a great way to add veggies (and nutrients) to my meal. It’s also a great way to add a pop of color to my meal that just makes it seem more fun and interesting. Fresh salads are just great anyway. They are so refreshing and light that they’re always tasty. This one is full of color with the green cucumbers, red tomatoes and radishes, yellow bell peppers and red onions. The dressing is simple and delicious – one of those vinaigrettes that I love. I always use a little canning jar with a lid to mix up my dressing ingredients. I just toss everything in it and then screw on the lid and shake it up. If you’d like to mix up this salad a bit more, use yellow tomatoes and a red pepper, or a mix of red and yellow tomatoes.
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Quinoa Pilaf – 6 Points +

Quinoa Pilaf

This time of year, there are fresh cranberries readily available. This means that I get to start putting cranberries into 9/10ths of my recipes! This quinoa pilaf was the first one I wanted to try. I really like quinoa. It’s gluten free, it’s easy, delicious and a nutritious option. I like to cook up a batch of it in my rice cooker and then store it in the fridge to have it for quick lunches the rest of the week. It’s fabulous with an orange mint dressing and some diced chicken. Just toss, heat and eat. This quinoa pilaf is easy to put together, but it’s much better made with fresh quinoa. When you’re cooking the quinoa, add the fresh cranberries so they have time to cook up and burst into the quinoa. It makes the flavor so much better. If you need to use dried cranberries, you can, but make sure they’re unsweetened. All in all, this is a savory and sweet pilaf that’s a great side dish, but it’s almost enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. It’s not really a dessert, but with the cranberry and orange, sweetened with a tiny bit of maple syrup, it’s just enough to satisfy a craving. The best part is that it’s a much better option than chowing down on the cookies, or Hershey’s kisses that are so tempting to me – it’s packed with good nutrition that makes it a better, and more filling, snack choice.
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Wild Rice Stuffing – 7 Points +

Wild Rice Stuffing

I love rice stuffing. For one thing, I can’t have the bread that’s in the store-bought stuffing mixes, so I love to use rice as a base for stuffing instead bread. I use a rice cooker, so it’s super easy to just toss everything into the rice cooker and turn it on. I come back in an hour and I have delicious rice stuffing ready to go. This one, I added thyme and sage, since those add a woodsy flavor to the stuffing. Adding cranberries and chopped walnuts gives it a delicious holiday flavor that goes so well with turkey. Using vegetable broth allows it to be a great vegan and vegetarian option, and it’s already gluten and dairy free. Most people will be a little hesitant when you tell them all that, but once they taste it, they’ll be asking for the recipe.
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Balsamic Roasted Asparagus -3 Points +

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

This roasted asparagus is simple and delicious. It’s a great side dish to add to your meal, since it adds color, texture and nutrition . Since, it’s roasted, this asparagus is easy to stick in the oven and have it done in time for the rest of your meal, with a minimum of fuss and effort. I always try to find the tiniest asparagus spears I can, since those are the most tender (and the only ones I like). It also helps if you break off the tough ends of the stalks. Just bend the stalk and it will break in the right spot so you can discard the hard end. You don’t have to, but those tough ends aren’t very good to eat. The balsamic reduction the asparagus is cooked with adds a rich and delicious flavor to it. You can also roast the asparagus (or grill it) and then serve it with the reduction drizzled over the top – it’s great both ways.
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Dairy Free Hot Chocolate – 5 Points +

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

I absolutely love chocolate, but I can’t drink that much milk – it makes me sick. So, I made this fabulous dark chocolate hot cocoa with almond milk. It’s rich and delicious, and my favorite hot cocoa. It’s made from things I always have on hand, so it’s easy to throw together for a cup of hot cocoa when I need a pick-me-up on a cold fall day. I love the nutty flavor of the almond milk, and I like to top mine with a dollop of whipped coconut milk or coconut ice cream. The dry mix you can have ready to go and then just add it to almond milk to heat and serve. One cup of almond milk needs about 4 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa and sugar mix. You can also just whisk the cocoa mixture into the cold almond milk, or remove some of the hot almond milk and mix the cocoa mixture into that. It works best if you start with a little bit of almond milk to make sure you’ve got all the lumps out before you add it in (just like cornstarch or flour in gravy). The next cool fall day that you’re craving some hot chocolate – give this simple and delicious dark chocolate hot cocoa a try.
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Chickpea Curry with Cauliflower Rice – 7 Points +

Chickpea Curry with Cauliflower Rice

Curry is one of those dishes that is simple and delicious. This curry is even more simple and tasty – and it’s vegan, gluten free and dairy free. Chickpeas are a great food. You can make flour with them (garbanzo bean flour), add them to soups and stews and salads. They’re full of fiber and are a great source of protein. I typically use canned chickpeas, since they’re easy to have on hand and they’re ready to go. I just rinse and drain them and toss them into whatever I’m making. Curry is one that can be a little tough if you’re not careful. Some people like their curries hot enough to light their hair on fire, others prefer a little more mild. If you’re someone (like me) that doesn’t like really hot curry, you can start with half of the curry paste, and then season it to taste. If you accidently add too much, add a little plain Greek yogurt to your curry. The yogurt will help to tame your curry without altering the flavor. This curry is great for an easy and delicious weeknight meal.
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Autumn Hummus – 3 Points +

 

Autumn Hummus

As it’s cooler now, the garden produce is pretty much done, although we’ve had a pretty warm fall. Thankfully, one of the things (or rather, two of the things) that are still keeping great since we brought them in are the pumpkins and squash. And with this hummus recipe, it’s perfect. Pureed pumpkin and squash combined with chickpeas and delicious seasonings to create a fall hummus. This hummus is wonderful on pita chips, but it’s also fabulous on carrots sticks as well. It’s a great snack and it holds well in the fridge for several days. Since it has chickpeas in it (also called garbanzo beans), it’s packed with fiber, which means it helps to keep you full longer. It’s definitely a little spicy with cayenne pepper and chili powder, but you can always season it to taste. If you’re baking pumpkin and squash, you can puree it before hand, or simply weight out 8 oz of chunks and puree them with the garbanzo beans. The reason why I recommend pureed pumpkin and squash is that is ensures a smooth texture, and that there won’t be any chunks in the hummus. Give this delicious fall hummus a try. It’ll give your day just the kick of flavor it needs!
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Couscous Stuffed Bell Peppers – 3 Points +

couscous stuffed bell pepper

Stuffed peppers are something that I really enjoy, especially when I make them with pepper jack cheese. The spicy cheese adds a little spice and makes them delicious. The downside of my original stuffed pepper recipe is that it’s not healthy, not with all the meat and cheese in it. So, I went about trying to make a healthier, vegetarian version of these peppers. Well, it’s not exactly the same, but they’re delicious all the same. I used couscous, since it’s a light and fluffy way to fill these, and since my husband doesn’t like quinoa. The lemon juice, olive oil and parsley provide additional flavor in these peppers. And once you’ve got them in the oven, you can take the time to finish the rest of dinner, not to mention the leftovers are perfect for lunch.
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Asian Marinated Vegetable Skewers – 2 Points +

Asian Vegetable Skewers

Whenever I decide to grill something, I always like to have as much of the meal grilled as possible. That means less dishes to do, and it also means that my husband will make the whole thing. These vegetable skewers are just the thing. They go so well with a simple grilled chicken breast and some grilled spicy potatoes tops of the meal. It’s important to marinate these vegetables, but I like to do that while I’m thawing the chicken breast and prepping the potatoes. While it’s possible to marinate these for up to 12 hours, I’m usually not organized enough to get that done. And since the veggies are basted with the leftover marinade while they’re being grilled, they are still just as tasty even when they’re only marinated for 30 minutes. You also get to have a whole bunch of vegetables for only 2 points plus!

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Lemon Pepper Vegetables – 1 Points +

Lemon Pepper Vegetables

Our garden hasn’t done great this year, but I’ve still enjoyed cooking with the produce we’ve gotten out of the garden. These delicious grilled lemon pepper vegetables are a wonderful side. The easiest way to make these is by using a grill pan, but you can also wrap them in aluminum foil to grill them. Or they can be baked or stir fried. They are bright and colorful – which is one of the (many) reasons why I love to add a side of vegetables to every meal. Vegetables are so easy to make in so many different ways. They add color and texture to the meal, not to mention flavor and nutrients. One of the best things about these vegetables is that you can change it up with whatever you happen to have on hand, they’ll be just as tasty.
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