Now that temperatures are starting to heat up here in California (sorry, East Coast), I’ve been craving meals that are fresh and light, as opposed to rich and comforting. One that I tried recently was this delicious Italian Chicken Bruschetta. Bruschetta, if you’ve never had it, is kinda like Italian salsa. It’s a simple blend of fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic. It is incredibly easy to make, but the flavor is wonderfully bright and complex. I decided to use it on top of some simple grilled chicken breasts, and the result was divine! You can grill your chicken, roast it, or pan fry it — whichever you prefer. The fresh bruschetta on top is the perfect complement. This is also magnificent as a sandwich with some fresh Italian bread and some creamy goat cheese – one of my most favorite sandwiches ever! The flavors are so bold and mouthwateringly good. So grab some tomatoes and basil, and give this chicken bruschetta recipe a try….you’ll be so glad you did!
If you’ve never had it/heard if it before, picadillo is a traditional and popular dish that is a staple in Cuban cuisine. It’s basically a tender stew of ground beef and tomatoes, with cinnamon and/or raisins added for sweetness, and olives added for salt. It’s typically served over rice, but also works great as a stuffing for empanadas, quesadillas or wraps. It smells and tastes heavenly, and is the ultimate in Cuban comfort food. This recipe is favorite of my kids’ and always gets gobbled up. They eat it with the rice, and my husband and I just ate it as is. To keep it healthy and Weight Watchers friendly, I just used an extra lean ground beef and used cinnamon instead of raisins. It was incredibly fast and easy to make, and was absolutely divine. Truly a satisfying and indigent dish that is totally guilt free. I highly recommend giving this one a try!
On a trip to Israel a few years ago, my husband and I stopped at this amazing Arabic restaurant in Jerusalem. And of all the fantastic foods I got to try on my visit, I will never forget the fattoush salad I had there. IT WAS AMAZING. I know that may sound crazy…to be so blow away by a salad, but the incredible flavor combination of this traditional arabic salad was divine. Fresh mint and parsley, combined with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and warm toasted pita bread, then topped off with a tangy vinegar garlic dressing and crumbled feta cheese. So good!! Bit the best part about this salad was the addition of a popular Middle Eastern spice called sumac. This is what sealed the deal and made this Arabic Fattoush salad so incredibly delicious! At the restaurant, I was introduced to the owner’s friend who runs an online casino, Casino Arbi. We had a great chat about some foods and seasonings that were central to Arabic culture, and as soon as I returned to the states, I got into the kitchen to try and recreate some of the fantastic foods that I enjoyed and learned about. Sumac has since become a staple in my kitchen now. I love it on salads, meats, and on tops of steamed rice. So today, I’m sharing my recreation of the Arabic Fattoush salad….and it’s just 2 Smart Points per serving. This one is a must try!
Well, my favorite team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl (so close, though!), but that doesn’t mean I won’t partake in Super Bowl festivities! And where there’s a Super Bowl party, there’s food…lots of yummy food. To keep myself on track, I like to bring along a big pot of this delicious Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili to share. It is SO good, and always a hit on game day. When I take it to a party, I bring along a bag of tortilla chips with it, along with diced onions, avocados, shredded cheese, and sliced jalapeños…some of my favorite taco toppings. This give people the option of dipping the chips in it, or just eating it like a traditional chili – straight out of the bowl. And everyone LOVES it! It’s a Weight Watchers Super Bowl recipe that is super easy to make, freezes wonderfully, and tastes incredible. If you want to feel like you are indulging without actually indulging, this Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili Recipe will do the trick. It’ll definitely be on our game day menu this year!
With the cold, rainy weather we’ve been having in here in SoCal lately, I have been a soup making machine! My kids LOVE soup, and it’s very helpful for me, because it fills me up, is easy to make, and is great to freeze for when I need a quick snack or meal. A recent soup I just made to go with my daughter’s favorite lunch (grilled cheese sandwiches) was this Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup. Oh Em Gee….this was SO delicious! The soup was made entire from scratch, with all whole food ingredients. It was light, brightly flavored, and wonderfully fresh. I’ve made homemade tomato soup from scratch before, but the real trick here is the roasting of the vegetables. It adds such a slightly smokey flavor, and really helps to bring out the flavor of the vegetable. And the best part? It’s just 1 Smart Point per serving! You’ve gotta give this one a try ASAP.
Well, here we are…the last day of 2016. And I’m full steam ahead in the kitchen prepping for weeks of healthy eating and holiday binging detox! Today’s recipe is one that is a HUGE help to me when I’m trying to cut calories…Stuffed Cabbage Soup. Growing up, my mom would often make stuffed cabbage rolls for dinner. I remember that they were really tasty, but that we didn’t have them often because the recipe required a lot of steps and it was quite time consuming to make. So to get the flavors of traditional stuffed cabbage rolls without all the work, I prefer to make my “lazy mom” version, which basically combines all the ingredients in a soup rather than the rolls. It’s WAY easier, and it tastes wonderful! So bright and fresh, but still hearty and satisfying. I eliminated the rice to save some calories, and I honestly didn’t miss it at all. If you still feel like you need the rice, you could always try Miracle Rice, which is zero calories, so it won’t affect the Smart Points count at all. I actually just made a huge batch of this soup, and am freezing individual portions of it, so I can have it on hand when I’m hungry or hangry (so hungry that I’m angry). It prevents me from eating food that isn’t a part of my healthy eating plan which can derail my progress. If you love stuffed cabbage rolls, I highly recommend this leaner, lighter, soup version instead! Enjoy. And Happy New Year!!
With 2016 almost at an end, it’s time to get back on track and detox from all the holiday goodies. Gyros have always been one of my favorite guilty indulgences, and today I’m sharing my favorite healthy makeover of a traditional Greek gyro. First of all, I subbed out the fatty, high cholesterol lamb meat with tender chicken breast marinated in an amazing blend of Greek spices, lemon juice and yogurt which helps to tenderize the breasts while giving them fantastic flavor. Also, by making my homemade tzatziki sauce, I was able to lower the calories while also bringing in some more incredible tastes. Trust me when I tell you that after making your own tzatziki sauce, you will never want to buy the pre-made store bought kind again. Finally, everything is served on top of a whole wheat pita, and topped with fresh red onion and tomato slices. It is so good. SO GOOD! And at just 7 Smart Points each, these healthy chicken gyros make a great Weight Watchers lunch idea.
Chili has always been one of my favorite cold weather foods – there’s just something so comforting and soul warming about it. And my Chipotle Chicken Chili Recipe has an extra boost of flavor heat to warm you up! Made with crumbled ground chicken and Italian sausage, this chili is packed with protein and is incredibly satisfying. I’ve made this recipe many times, and it’s always well received. It can feed large crowds and is relatively inexpensive to make. And at just 7 Smart Points per serving, this Weight Watchers chili recipe tastes like a splurge, but is absolutely guilt free. If I have the time, I will let this cook for 3-5 hours….because the longer it cooks, the tastier it is. I also love serving it with a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese, and some fresh chopped red onions. Soooooo yummy. Need a dish for game day or Super Bowl Sunday? This Chipotle Chicken Chili is it! Enjoy.
Baby, it’s cold outside! Warm up with this tasty Weight Watchers Winter Lentil Vegetable Soup Recipe that’s packed with fiber to help you feel full, and Vitamin C to help ward off those seasonal viruses. The flavors of this vegan soup recipe are bright and fresh, and are the perfect anecdote to the winter blues. And with all that damage you’ll end up doing with holiday goodies, this is a dish you can really feel good about, as each hearty serving is just 3 Smart Points each. Freeze leftovers in pre-portioned containers for a quick lunch or snack to have on hand when you are feeling hangry! :) 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.
With the beautiful summer weather we’ve been having, my husband has been outside grilling food on a very regular basis. And today’s recipe for Moroccan Spiced Shrimp Over Garbanzo Bean Salad was actually inspired by 5 year old who LOVES shrimp! On a recent beach excursion, we stopped to have lunch at a local, seaside restaurant, and my daughter was begging to order anything with shrimp. We opted to get her this dish, and she absolutely loved it. I tried my best to replicate the version from the restaurant, and I’m pretty pleased with the results…it turned out delicious and very light at just 4 Smart Points per serving. Of course, the final approval came from the harshest critic, my little girl herself, and she vehemently approved. So if you are looking for a new grilling recipe to try this summer, get this one on your menu ASAP!
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.