Mexican Quinoa – 8 Smart Points

mexican-quinoa

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.

Mexican Quinoa
Print Recipe
Everything gets tossed in one pot - it's easy and simple to make. It's packed with nutrients and flavors, and is great for a quick and delicious dinner.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Mexican Quinoa
Print Recipe
Everything gets tossed in one pot - it's easy and simple to make. It's packed with nutrients and flavors, and is great for a quick and delicious dinner.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  2. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  3. Add the quinoa, broth, beans, corn, chili powder and cumin.
  4. Cover and cook over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
  5. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper and tomatoes.
  6. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  7. Stir in the avocado, onion and cilantro, and serve immediately.

Entire recipe makes 6 serving
Serving size is about 1 cup
Each serving = 8 Smart Points
PER SERVING: 301 calories; 9.9g fat; 1.4g saturated fat; 44.6g carbohydrates; 2.8g sugar; 11.5g protein; 10.8g fiber

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Homemade Chipotle Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise – 3 Smart Points

Homemade Chipotle Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise

The funny thing about mayonnaise, is that I always hated it as a kid. For some reason, I could never get on board with the flavor. Nowadays, as a an adult, I am full-fledged, car carrying mayo lover. If it wasn’t so high in Points, I’d eat it straight out the jar with a spoon. In fact, my love for mayo has led me to get a little experimental in making my own, homemade mayonnaise recipes. Recently, I tried making a cholesterol free version, using just the egg white instead of the whole egg. And I used less oil. For added kick, I added in some chopped up chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This turned out to be the BEST DECISION EVER. I cannot even begin to tell you how good this is. Im actually eating a grilled ham and cheese sandwich right now, with some if this Homemade Chipotle Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise because just writing about it was driving me mad. I needed to eat it…NOW. Super easy to make, and though its not as low in Smart Points as I wanted it to be, it is still cholesterol free and absolutely delicious. Totally worth the 3 Points per serving. Treat yo’self!

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Basic Egg White Salad Recipe – 2 Smart Points

Basic Egg White Salad

When trying to eat a high protein/low fat diet, it’s no secret that egg whites can play a huge a role in your eating plan. I always keep a big bowl of prepared, hardboiled eggs stashed in my refrigerator for quick and easy access. Eating the yellow part of the egg does provide a lot of nutrients, healthy fats, and cholesterol, but when I want to keep my Smart Points low, I stick to just the whites. One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in this Basic Egg White Salad Recipe. It has all the beloved flavors of a traditional egg salad, but with a lot less fat, sugar and calories. At just 2 Smart Points per serving, this egg white salad goes great on a sandwich, on top of a salad, or straight out of the bowl! You can’t go wrong with this reliable recipe.

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Chickpea “Salsa” – 3 Smart Points

Chickpea Salad

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…]

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Simple Kale Salad Recipe – 2 Smart Points

Simple Kale Salad

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!

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Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad Recipe – 5 Smart Points

Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad

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.

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Rosemary Roast Potatoes – 3 Smart Points

potatoes-721076

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…]

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Colorful Roasted Vegetables – 3 Smart Points

vegetables-1042659

I love to roast vegetables. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables. It makes the flavors so much richer and more delicious than just steaming the vegetables. I also like to roast them because I can have them ready to go in the oven for Sunday dinner and have the oven set to go on at a specific time. That way they’re ready to go when we get home from church and I have very little prep to do for Sunday dinner. I decided to branch out a bit for these roasted vegetables. I typically do potatoes and carrots, celery and maybe some peppers, so I decided to really make these bright, colorful and different. I started with some very young and tender asparagus. I broke the tough ends off (just bend the stalk and the tough end will snap off, you’ll be left with tender asparagus spears). Then added two colors of carrots, beets, bell peppers and broccoli. I added my usually olive oil and garlic, but then added some rosemary and basil with my salt and pepper. I usually just mix it on the pan (so I don’t have to wash another dish) and then stick it in the oven. You can roast them immediately, or do a delay start (if your oven has one) so that they’re ready to go when you get home. I wouldn’t recommend leaving them all day, but they’re find for an hour or two. I loved the bright colors and different textures of the vegetables. They’re perfect with roast chicken, beef or even pork. Really, they’re perfect with just about anything. I love to add them to my meal when I know that the rest of my meal isn’t going to be colorful and pretty, since they not only add fiber and texture to my meal but make the whole table seems colorful and festive. [Read more…]

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Couscous with Tomatoes – 5 Smart Points

Couscous with Tomatoes

Couscous is something that I don’t make often, but I do occasionally make a batch of couscous. I prefer quinoa (I like the flavor and it’s gluten free, unlike couscous), but my husband doesn’t like the flavor of quinoa. As a result, sometimes, I’ll put together one of my favorite quinoa recipes with couscous to make a treat for him. This one was perfect. All of the fresh vegetables are perfect for this recipe. The dressing is one that I adapted from a citrus salsa recipe for salmon. It’s light and refreshing, and perfect to mix with couscous (or quinoa). The fresh herbs are what make the dressing come alive, but they go perfectly with the fresh and juicy tomatoes. I like the scallion in here, although green onions will also work. I find scallions to be more mild than regular onions and a little sweeter. For me, it makes the flavor a little less powerful and tends to blend in with the rest of the flavors without being overpoweringly onion-y. If you like a little bit of zing with your foods, add a healthy dose or crushed red pepper flakes. I typically leave them out, since I find the flavors of the citrus, scallion and mint to be perfect, but it’s really personal preference. Couscous is quick and easy to cook, so I like to prepare the dressing ingredients while the couscous is cooking. You can also add some garden fresh veggies, oven roasted root veggies or a piece of grilled chicken breast to make this a full and satisfying meal.

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Mint Lemonade Slushy – 0 Smart Points

Mint Lemonade Slushy

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!

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Garlic Dip – 1 Smart Points

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Garlic Dip

I’m not ashamed to admit that brussel sprouts are one of mine (and my children’s) favorite vegetables. I make them A LOT, and to keep them from getting too boring, I try to find new ways to prepare them. One of my favorites, is this Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Garlic Dip Recipe. The creamy, tangy, and refreshing dip is the perfect complement to the salty, smoky, bitterness of the brussel sprouts. Plus, the dip can be made in a pinch, so it’s a great way to jazz up your vegetable side dish with little effort. Calculating only the dip and the oil for roasting, this dish clocks in at just 1 Smart Point per serving! That’s pretty hard to beat for something so tasty. If you are in need of a healthy, vegetable side dish recipe that is sure to impress, these Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Garlic Dip are sure to be a hit. Enjoy!

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Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe – 0 Smart Points

Pico de Gallo

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…

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