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!
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!
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 love rice pilaf with seasonings and vegetables, but sometimes it’s nice to have a change. A quick and easy change for pilaf is to use couscous instead of rice. Couscous isn’t gluten free like rice, but it’s really easy to make and has a delicious flavor. It’s originally from North Africa. Couscous is made from durum wheat, and is really easy to make. Once your broth or water is boiling, it just takes 5 minutes to cook the couscous. This particular type of couscous is kind of like grains of sand, it’s tiny and has a mild, nutty flavor. If you want your dish to look a little different, use Israeli couscous. While Israeli couscous has a much larger size, it is similar in flavor and works just as well. This couscous pilaf is a great side dish. It’s so easy to make. It’s a perfect side dish to toss together while you’re waiting for the rest of the meal to finish cooking. [Read more…]
I’m not someone who loves sandwiches, but every once in a while, I get on a kick where I really like sandwiches and really want sandwiches. It’s nice to have some variety for sandwiches though. While I like turkey and swiss with tomatoes and lettuce, I thought I’d really change it up by trying a vegan sandwich that was completely different than my normal one. I think the keys were the hummus and the avocado. The beef hummus not only added a beautiful color to the sandwich, but it also served as the sandwich spread. The avocado added the right flavor and texture to the sandwich, as well as giving it a delicious moistness. While the serving size is only a half a sandwich, it’s easy to pair this with a side salad, a cup of soup or even just some fruit and nuts. It’s a perfect size to really hit the spot and satisfy your bread craving without going overboard. [Read more…]
These Country Potatoes make for a simple, minimalist side dish recipe that is fast and easy to cook, yet has the wonderfully distinct flavor of good old fashioned home cooking! A handful of ingredients are brought together in a perfect, hearty, comforting dish that pairs really well with steak, chicken or fish. In fact, they were so good that my family nearly gobbled them all up before I was able to snap a picture! I love that these potatoes cook up so quickly, and the flavor of all the vegetables aren’t overwhelmed with seasonings or sauces, allowing them to really shine. I’ve also served these as my take on breakfast potatoes a few times too, and they were a real treat alongside some turkey bacon and eggs. At just 5 Smart Points per serving, you’ll get a seriously satisfying side to your favorite main course, without going overboard.
I love salads and vinaigrettes. I recently found a really delicious herbed feta that I wanted to try in a light and colorful tossed salad. Since it was an herbed feta, I knew the salad would have to be light and not over powering. I wanted a dressing that could complement the salad and feta, but not compete with it or overpower it. I started with a balsamic vinaigrette but flavored the dressing with a little Italian seasoning. The Italian seasoning perfectly set the dressing off, it helped to lighten the rich flavor of the balsamic so that it complemented the salad. The baby lettuce is my absolute favorite greens for a salad. They are light and tender, and have more flavor than the regular head lettuce. You can also add any of your other favorite vegetables to this salad. Add chopped mushrooms, or some chopped summer squash for a little more color. Give this delicious Mediterranean inspired salad a try for a light and refreshing lunch on these beautiful spring days.
This thick and hearty vegetarian Lentil Bolognese is not only delicious, but incredibly satisfying. While it doesn’t taste the same as a traditional meat-based bolognese, the unique flavor is wonderful in itself. And with all the fiber and protein this dish delivers, it packs quite a nutritional punch. The sauce is definitely not lightweight…it’s rich and abundant, and does a great job of satisfying your hunger. It’s well worth the 10 Smart Points per serving, as you’ll be full for quite a while. Serve with a light salad or your favorite roasted veggies for a complete meal.