If you are looking for a healthy Thanksgiving side dish recipe this year, these Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes are a fantastic alternative to candied yams. Yes, I know traditional candied yams are swimming in butter and melted marshmallow and nothing can quite compare to that, but these sweet potatoes are a LOT better for you and a great way to help you stay on track this holiday season. Plus, they are incredibly easy to prepare, requiring just 3 steps and a small handful of ingredients…most of which you probably already have on hand. And they are so delicious, you won’t be making them just at Thanksgiving. 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.
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. [Read more…]
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!
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.
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…]
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!
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.
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…]
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…]
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.
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!