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!!
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure about split pea soup. It doesn’t sound very appealing and it definitely doesn’t look appealing. However, it’d been awhile since I’d done anything in the crockpot, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ll admit, there are still more appealing looking meals out there. A large bowl of green soup isn’t top pretty. But the rich and delicious flavor of the soup more than makes up for it. I love how simple it was to put together. Just stick it all in the crockpot and turn it on. Once you’re ready to serve it, just use an immersion blender to puree it to your desired consistency. This is a great way to use up the ham bone from the Sunday dinner. What I really loved about this whole meal was how easy it was to to make! Everything went in the crockpot in the morning and got turned on. In the evening, all I had to do was puree it and decide what sides to serve with it. If you want to make it a little prettier, add a few pieces of chopped ham to the top of the bowl, or add a little sour cream to make it a little more creamy.
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.
I always enjoy spicing up the same old dishes. It’s fun to take something that we have on a regular basis and make it in a new and different way. My two favorite ways of making pork chops is to grill them or bake them and then smother them in either apples and onions or with homemade applesauce. However, it’s kind of fun to do something different and I really enjoy one dish meals, where I can just toss everything in together and then just put together something quick and easy for the side dish – like a side salad or some steamed broccoli. For us, it’s the perfect Sunday dinner, ready for us when we walk back in the door after church. The pork chops turned out succulent and juicy. Full of flavor but and moist! One of the tricks of this, I’ve found, is to sear the meat first in a fry pan and it helps to seal in the juices. In my experience, bone in pork chops also helps with this. Then just mix together the apples, potatoes & spices and bake it all. Once it’s done, add your favorite vegetables (or whatever you happen to have on hand) and you’ve got a delicious meal ready to go. [Read more…]
This Peruvian Chicken Stir Fry recipe is one of my favorite, and incredibly reliable chicken recipes that deliver an absolutely delicious dish with minimal effort. Sautéed bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes are so flavorful, and the simple stir fry sauce is low in Smart Points, but big on taste. This is a great healthy dinner recipe that you can get on the table in less than 30 minutes, looks lovely, and is a big hit with the entire family. My kids love this over some steamed brown rice, but when I have a few extra Points to spare, I serve it over baked french fries, as is the traditional Peruvian way. Just 4 Smart Points per serving, this Peruvian Chicken Stir Fry will steal your heart the same way it’s stolen mine. Enjoy!
Sometimes, I just want a big, heaping plate of spaghetti with a rich, flavorful meat sauce. But the Smart Points in a typical bolognese could end up adding up to a whole days worth of Points! So in order to satisfy my craving without ruing my diet, I created this simple, no-frills Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Bolognese Recipe. I just sub out the carb heavy spaghetti noodles for the light, nutritious, and 0 Smart Points oven-roasted spaghetti squash. Topped with a decadent, lightened up turkey bolognese sauce, this recipe is one seriously satisfying meal! When I have a few extra Points to spare, I’ll also add some grated Parmesan on top – soooooo good! Serve with your favorite salad or roasted veggies, and even a slice of garlic bread, for a meal that is sure to fill you up.
One of the best parts of pasta in my opinion is the sauce. There is nothing like homemade pasta sauce, whether it’s a cream sauce or a red sauce. The flavors of homemade sauce are so much more vibrant and rich than canned pasta sauce. I’ve found that it’s worth my while to make my pasta sauce. Lasagna is one of those pastas that is truly delicious when topped with a homemade pasta sauce. This simple Bolognese sauce is just what it needs to really be delicious. I decided to try a lasagna without cheese this time, so I needed the sauce to pick up any slack from the missing cheese. And this sauce did just that. It was really quite easy to prepare and the end result was something that was really rich and the flavors were vibrant. Since it’s homemade, you can tweak the flavors to fit your individual taste preference. This lasagna with Bolognese sauce is a little more work, but the flavor in the end makes it worth every minute. [Read more…]
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.
One of the things that I always look for on sale is chicken. I get it on sale and then freeze it until I come up with a delicious recipe that I want to use I for. This baked chicken is just the thing. I used chicken legs that still had bones and skin. I cooked them that way to help keep them moist and tender, but then removed the skin to eat them. Citrus goes so well with chicken, so the dressing is just perfect. A little lemon with a little tangy Dijon mustard and some garlic drizzled over the top. If you like a little more of the dressing flavor in your chicken, use skinless chicken and just bake it covered to keep it moist. I added a few vegetables, just to make it a little more appealing and have another serving of veggies for the meal. I also kept my rosemary whole, since I’m not a big fan of picking the twigs out of my food. That way, the flavor of the rosemary is added to the dish, but I can take it out before serving, just like bay leaves. [Read more…]
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.
Through some research on my part one of the things that I discovered, is that a lot of low fat cream of broccoli soup recipes have a potato in them. At first I wasn’t sure why, but I figured it made the soup a little richer and creamy. I decided to give it a try and see what I thought. Normally, I’d be pretty picky about my soup. I like my broccoli soup to be really cheesy and rich. This one was really delicious – and it’s so healthy! The avocado and potato really do add to the rich and creamy texture of the soup. It’s packed with broccoli and cauliflower, and just a little bit of cheese for flavor and richness. The result is a delicious soup that’s healthy and really easy to make. I think I’ll probably freeze a little for a quick meal later, but it’s so good, I’m not sure it’ll last that long!