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…
I always love ordering chicken tortilla soup at my favorite Mexican restaurant. But depending on how it’s prepared, this dish can be dangerous in terms of Weight Watchers Points. Adding in your favorite fixin’s can really rack up the extra fat and calories too. After a bit of work in the kitchen, I came up with own version that is a LOT healthier than the restaurant version, but very healthy and low in Smart Points. And don’t worry – my chicken tortilla soup recipe still includes the cheese and tortilla strips. By using a hand blender to puree the soup, it helps to give the soup a creamy, velvety feel, without adding any high fat milk or cream. My kids love it too, because they have no idea they are eating so many vegetables! And you can top it with fresh red onion, jalapeños, or avocado for an extra boost of flavor, if desired. At just 8 Smart Points, this satisfying soup will fill you up and thrill your tastebuds too. Enjoy!
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…]
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 think that everybody has those favorite easy meals. The ones that you gravitate to when you’re home by yourself for the night. For my husband, one of those meals is a tuna salad sandwich. I thought I’d try and make a slightly more elegant version of a tuna salad sandwich with these tomatoes. It works great. The larger tomatoes, like beefsteak tomatoes, have lots of seeds and pulp on the inside that are easy to scoop out. Once the insides are removed, you can use it as a little bowl for just about anything. In my case, that was a rather delicious tuna salad. I lightened it up a bit by using fat free mayonnaise and non fat Greek yogurt, but didn’t sacrifice anything in the flavor. Be sure to use white or light tuna canned in water and then drain it before flaking it into the salad. I added the hardboiled egg because I had a couple on hand, but I’ve also tried it without, and it’s just as tasty. It’s a great way to really make a classic favorite a little more sophisticated. A keeper in our house! [Read more…]
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.
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…]
I am someone who really enjoys soup in the winter. There’s something about a bowl of rich and delicious soup that is comforting and definitely helps to warm you up on a cold night. Well, today wasn’t actually cold (it was a January warm “snap”), but I still love roasted red pepper tomato soup. Plain tomato soup really isn’t my thing. I’m not a huge fan of the flavor, but roasted red peppers add something to the tomato soup to make it really delicious. I like to make up a huge batch of this and then freeze several quart bags of it, once it’s cooled down. It’s a great way to have a really fast, delicious and homemade dinner ready to go. I usually serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches, but you can just put a few croutons in the soup if you’re watching your carbs. I like the sour cream in this soup. It seems to add a little more creamy flavor without quite as much fat as some options. I typically use Daisy light sour cream, since it doesn’t have all the extra ingredients. You can skip the sour cream to keep the fat down, but it adds the creaminess that you really need to put this soup over the top. [Read more…]
Quinoa is one of those things that I just love. It’s gluten free and packed with nutrients, so I really like to mix up my normal routine and have it as the base of different dishes. These stuffed peppers are a fabulous little snack, side dish or appetizer. It’s a little more work because of all the chopping (especially all those little peppers), but it’s totally worth it. If I don’t already have quinoa made up, I’ll chop all of the veggies and do all the prep while the quinoa is cooking. While the recipe calls for cocktail tomatoes (also called Campari, they’re typically the “tomatoes on the vine” you find), you can use Roma tomatoes, instead. I wouldn’t recommend grape or cherry tomatoes, since they don’t chop up into small pieces as easily. Also, you have to remember that the mini peppers you’re using are tiny – so chop small. I ran into that problem, and had to do a little more chopping. You can also take a couple of the peppers and chop them into the quinoa mixture (like I did). These peppers are great to take to a potluck or have at a party. They’re small, tasty and easy to handle. I love these little peppers, they’re pretty and delicious! [Read more…]
If there’s one food I could eat everyday for weeks without tiring if it, it’s tacos. That’s partly because there are SO many different ways to prepare them, and I’d never get bored. For this chicken tacos recipe, I used cabbage leaves instead of traditional taco shells to help cut carbs and calories. I also added some swiss chard leaves for added nutrition and for it’s aesthetics. The fresh, raw corn salsa is such a unique flavor too…which I adored. My husband said he would have preferred that the corn was roasted first, so if raw corn isn’t for you, just roast the cob in the oven or on the grill first. But the real show pony of this recipe is the chipotle sour cream!! I could NOT get enough of it! These tacos were a total hit…my 6 year old devoured them….even with that cabbage shell. And at just 5 Smart Points per taco, you are getting one seriously delicious and nutritious dish!
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!
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.