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…]
I’m not someone who loves sandwiches, but every once in a while, I get on a kick where I really like sandwiches and really want sandwiches. It’s nice to have some variety for sandwiches though. While I like turkey and swiss with tomatoes and lettuce, I thought I’d really change it up by trying a vegan sandwich that was completely different than my normal one. I think the keys were the hummus and the avocado. The beef hummus not only added a beautiful color to the sandwich, but it also served as the sandwich spread. The avocado added the right flavor and texture to the sandwich, as well as giving it a delicious moistness. While the serving size is only a half a sandwich, it’s easy to pair this with a side salad, a cup of soup or even just some fruit and nuts. It’s a perfect size to really hit the spot and satisfy your bread craving without going overboard. [Read more…]
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.
I tend to get stuck in a rut when it comes to veggies. So I recently combined a couple of my favorite veggie sides to try and get a fresh flavor from an old favorite. I posted about my favorite spice combination for vegetables. I decided to use the same seasoning for my favorite vegetables, but make it into a pilaf. I typically use what I have on hand for veggies for a rice pilaf. This time was no different. It’s a beautiful side dish that is so easy to put together. I have found that it’s easiest to use cooked rice, just like when you make fried rice. I try to plan ahead so I can have my rice cooked and ready to go. It works the best if I start my rice when I start the rest of my meal prep. That way, when the meal is almost ready to go on the table, I can mix the rice and sautéed veggies. If you’re looking to do something even more low carb, use cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. Either way, this is a light and delicious vegetable side dish. [Read more…]
With El Nino in effect, we’ve been getting a few chilly and rainy days here in SoCal, so I’ve been using that as an opportunity to whip up some tasty, hot soups and chilis. Since I am making it a goal to eat less meat, I’ve been really into making new Weight Watchers vegetarian recipes, and this Vegan Quinoa Chili was a hit! By simply substituting quinoa for the meat, I was able to put together a super easy chili that tastes just as hearty and delicious as a traditional, meat-based chili. The quinoa and beans provide a lot of protein and fiber, so this chili will definitely leave you feeling full and satisfied. Feel free to add your favorite fixin’s on top like cheese, sour cream, diced red onion, avocado…whatever your heart desires. Just make sure to add them into the total Smart Points value! This chili also reheats and freezes really well, so make sure to store some extra in the freezer for lunches or quick weeknight dinners. Enjoy!
One of my favorite ways to make vegetables is to steam or sauté them and then season them. I found a grill seasoning once that was really delicious, but it used dried rosemary and sometimes the twigs would get stuck in your teeth. I decided that since I loved the flavor, but not the rosemary, I would try my own seasoning. I found a perfect combination that I love to use when I want some steamed or sautéed vegetables, but want to add some extra flavor. One of the key ingredients is lemon pepper. It seems to add a little brightness to the flavor that really sets the vegetables off. I love to season steamed cauliflower and carrots this way. It’s a healthier way to add some flavor to them without adding cheese or butter and brown sugar. But this time I sautéed some mixed veggies and added my favorite spices. I loved the result. It added a delicious flavor to the vegetables and really spiced them up without adding extra calories. It’s quick and easy, and you can even mix up the spices ahead of time in a large batch to make it easier. [Read more…]
A couple of years ago, my sister convinced me to watch Ratatouille. It’s an adorable animated film about a little rat who is a fabulous chef. I loved it. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to make Ratatouille. Ratatouille is traditional French, a vegetable side dish stewed with herbs and spices. I thought I would try a baked version though. The baked version I tried is much less labor intensive than the traditional one, since you don’t have to watch it and stir it. Just season it, pop it in the oven and fix the rest of the meal. I love side dishes (and main dishes) like that. It gives me time to set the table and get caught up on the dishes. Not to mention that when you layer the vegetables into the pan like this, they turn out so beautifully, you can just serve it in the pan. If you’d like, add some red and green bell peppers to the vegetables. I really enjoyed this. I think next time I’ll try the traditional method of cooking it on the stove. But for now, a delicious, simple and elegant side dish that is a low in points. [Read more…]
There are two things about this recipe that I love – salad and Asian. This salad is filled with Asian flavors, from the garlic and sesame dressing to the seasoned tofu. Tofu was an acquired taste for me. Growing up, my mom would make it, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the texture, so it took a long time before I tried it again and realized that I actually like it. The key to really tasty tofu is to make sure it’s seasoned well. Typically, you can’t stir it much, or it will disintegrate, so just simmer it for a while (15 – 25 minutes) in some seasoned broth and you’ll have a seriously tasty meal when you’re done. It’s something you can add to Oriental soups (like a chicken noodle), Asian noodles (even just spaghetti with a peanut dressing and tofu) or serve it on top of rice. I used what I had on hand for vegetables, but feel free to change up the veggies to suit your personal tastes. I like to salad the best when the tofu is still warm, but not hot (or cold). I think it has the best flavor. It’s a simple salad that doesn’t take long to make, but it’s delicious and packed with fiber.
In an effort to eat less meat (the reason why is a whole looking other blog post for another time), I’ve been experimenting with more vegan and vegetarian Weight Watchers Recipes. A friend of mine cooked this for me one day, and it was so good, I knew I had to recreate it at home! The mild, soft polenta is topped with a tangy puttanesca sauce that’s to die for. Now, because you all know I love shortcuts, I used a prepared log of Trader Joe’s Organic Polenta. If you want to make your own from scratch, you absolutely could. I just often have my hands full while cooking dinner, so I try to save time wherever I can. But even with the pre-made polenta, this traditional Italian recipe is divine! You get a hint of the salty brine from the olives and capers, and the sweet and tangy tomato sauce balances it all out. It’s loaded with protein and fiber and is incredibly satisfying. A real bargain for just 6 Smart Points too! Enjoy.