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.
Of course you’re all familiar with my never ending quest to have new and yummy banana recipes. This one fits the bill. It’s perfect for my brother too, who is lactose intolerant. It’s made with light coconut milk, but it’s not an overpowering flavor. Combined with the sweet banana pieces and the tender tapioca pearls, it’s a wonderful dessert. I garnished it with another sliced banana, but you could also whip a little coconut milk and garnish it with a dab of that on top of the bananas. It’s a great dessert that really isn’t labor intensive. It’s perfect if you want to serve something elegant and delicious for your dinner party, or just end a family dinner with a sweet treat. You can chill the pudding in one large bowl, or, if you’re looking for a great way to make cute individual desserts, scoop the warm pudding into small ramekins and chill the pudding in those. [Read more…]
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.
With the chilly weather finally in full force here in SoCal (and by chilly, I mean 60 degrees), I’ve been ALL about the soups. I find that they are a great way to use up extra veggies before they go bad. So last week, when I found a head of cauliflower in my vegetable drawer that i had forgotten to roast as a side dish one evening, I decided to use it in a quick, easy, and very light Cauliflower Soup Recipe. There are many ways to make cauliflower soup….but this is one of the easiest and fastest. If you want to add an extra flavor boost, try roasting the cauliflower and garlic before adding to the pot! Sooooo good. At just 4 Smart Points, this simple soup makes a great side dish for a chilly day.
Well, it’s the time of the year when the remaining garden produce is needing used. It’s kept pretty well until now, but if I want it to taste good, I need to use it pretty quickly. Since we have a few apples left, I thought it was a perfect time to make chunky applesauce (and an apple crisp with the rest of them). We had a variety of apples from my in-laws, but the specific apples you use doesn’t matter too much. The key to delicious applesauce, apple, butter, apple crisps or apple pies is the variety. Use a variety of apples – three or four different types of apples. Use apples that are sweet, soft, tart and firm. The varieties will really meld together to make a delicious finished product. When it comes to applesauce (especially chunky), you want to make sure that you use one apple that is tarter (and more firm) that will add a little zip to your sauce, and will keep its shape once it’s cooked. I love this applesauce. It’s perfect for breakfast, just for part of breakfast or to top crepes or pancakes. But it’s perfect for a snack or dessert as well.
This time of year, there are fresh cranberries readily available. This means that I get to start putting cranberries into 9/10ths of my recipes! This quinoa pilaf was the first one I wanted to try. I really like quinoa. It’s gluten free, it’s easy, delicious and a nutritious option. I like to cook up a batch of it in my rice cooker and then store it in the fridge to have it for quick lunches the rest of the week. It’s fabulous with an orange mint dressing and some diced chicken. Just toss, heat and eat. This quinoa pilaf is easy to put together, but it’s much better made with fresh quinoa. When you’re cooking the quinoa, add the fresh cranberries so they have time to cook up and burst into the quinoa. It makes the flavor so much better. If you need to use dried cranberries, you can, but make sure they’re unsweetened. All in all, this is a savory and sweet pilaf that’s a great side dish, but it’s almost enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. It’s not really a dessert, but with the cranberry and orange, sweetened with a tiny bit of maple syrup, it’s just enough to satisfy a craving. The best part is that it’s a much better option than chowing down on the cookies, or Hershey’s kisses that are so tempting to me – it’s packed with good nutrition that makes it a better, and more filling, snack choice.
One of my favorite breakfasts is whole grain granola with yogurt and fruit. It’s something that I never get tired of, and granola is easy to take with me. It’s a great snack and perfect for a healthy breakfast when I’m traveling if I’m not sure whether or not the breakfast is something I can eat – you can almost always get yogurt. I like to add fresh fruit to it, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches – whatever I happen to have on hand. In less than 5 minutes I’ve got a delicious breakfast that’s full of protein fiber and healthy fats. One of my favorite granolas is a gluten free one from Van’s foods. I love it because it’s soft and chewy, but it’s also expensive. This granola recipe is just as good, cheaper to make and something I can whip up in no time! I keep a very close eye on mine so that I don’t overcook it. It’s fine when it’s crunchy, but my preference is the soft and chewy granola, so I don’t cook mine for very long. If you prefer a little crunchier granola, just cook it a little longer. This is perfect for breakfast or a snack, it’s filled with essential fats and has 3 grams of fiber per serving!
This roasted asparagus is simple and delicious. It’s a great side dish to add to your meal, since it adds color, texture and nutrition . Since, it’s roasted, this asparagus is easy to stick in the oven and have it done in time for the rest of your meal, with a minimum of fuss and effort. I always try to find the tiniest asparagus spears I can, since those are the most tender (and the only ones I like). It also helps if you break off the tough ends of the stalks. Just bend the stalk and it will break in the right spot so you can discard the hard end. You don’t have to, but those tough ends aren’t very good to eat. The balsamic reduction the asparagus is cooked with adds a rich and delicious flavor to it. You can also roast the asparagus (or grill it) and then serve it with the reduction drizzled over the top – it’s great both ways.