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!!
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!
As it starts to cool down this fall, I feel a lot more like making and eating soups. One of the reasons that I love soups is that they are so quick and easy to put together. Chili is one that always ends up in our crockpot, along with minestrone and a few others. I typically do a chicken noodle soup, but decided to leave the noodles out this time. I just combined chicken broth, chicken and vegetables into a healthy and delicious soup that was ready in less than 30 minutes. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken, or the leftover turkey we’ll all have in a few weeks. This soup isn’t one of those super hearty, “stick to your ribs” kind of soups, but this is a lighter soup that is perfect with half a sandwich for lunch or a light dinner. Since it is lighter, I really like to have it with half a sandwich, since that’s perfect for a meal for me without being too much food all at once. One of the other nice things about this soup is that it’s easy to add in whatever vegetables you like or have on hand. I used peas, carrots, onion, kale and turnip. [Read more…]
Even 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…]
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…]
Here is a seriously delicious combination of pomegranate, butternut and orange. It’s a simple and easy meal that can be tossed together in no time. I love the fact that I can make it up really quickly. Squash can be sliced in half, and baked for about 10 minutes. It’s easier to peel and cube then. It’s also easy to freeze it then and I can have it all year. Roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper until it’s tender. It’s a great way to make squash without loading it up with butter and brown sugar. I highly recommend baking it for a few minutes first. I learned last fall with my pumpkins (when I was canning a whole bunch of them, about 30 or 40 quarts) that if you bake the pumpkin (or squash in this case) for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, it looses the skin and seeds enough that they are easy to remove. Then just stick your squash in a ziploc bag and it’s ready to be baked when you need it. Since I don’t always have quinoa on hand, and it takes longer to cook, couscous is a great alternative to that. It doesn’t take long to cook, has a much more mild flavor and is less expensive. It’s a great combination with the crunchy and juicy pomegranate seeds. This is a bright, colorful and delicious salad that is simple to put together to complement your meal tonight. [Read more…]
Fourth of July festivities are just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about some low Smart Points meal options that you can serve or bring. And this Mediterranean Baked Tilapia Recipe is a great option! While everyone else is slaving over a hot grill, you can pop these tilapia fillets in the oven and forget about it! It’s super easy to make, and the wonderful herbs and spices help to give the mild tilapia a most amazing flavor. The fish fillets are roasted in an incredible buttery lemon sauce, making it perfectly moist and flaky. At just 3 Smart Points per serving, serve this Mediterranean Baked Tilapia with some salad, steamed veggies, and potatoes, and you’ll STILL have some Points left for dessert!
I love baked chicken. It’s so easy and simple, a great and healthy way to prepare chicken. As long as I don’t overbake it, then it’s juicy and moist. I like to check the local grocery ads, and stock up on chicken when it’s on sale (legs, thighs and breasts). That way I have some in the freezer and can just stick it in the oven for dinner that night. Citrus and chicken go so well together that I thought I would combine them with a little honey, some garlic and rosemary. I made a basting sauce with broth, lemon juice, honey, garlic and Italian seasoning. I added some extra cloves of garlic and sprigs of rosemary while baking the chicken. The end result was delicious. It was a little tart, garlicy and succulent. I will definitely be doing this again. Browning the chicken before baking it ensured the juices were sealed in during baking. The flavors of the lemon and garlic work so well with the juicy chicken. This is simple and delicious. Serve it with a salad or roasted vegetables to round out this fabulous chicken. [Read more…]
Since last weekend was a 3 day weekend with Memorial day, my in-laws came down for the weekend. We had a couple of projects to work on while they were here (the guys had a couple of projects, I was just hoping to get out of as much work as possible), so it worked perfectly. I like to have everything planned out and everything I possibly can prepped before a weekend like that. It makes life so much easier and less stressful. I also love food and cooking, so it was a perfect opportunity to take advantage of 2 extra mouths and make some delicious food! I had a beef roast (just a regular chuck roast) that desperately needed to get out of the freezer and used, so I decided to do BBQ beef. I wanted to do it in the crockpot, since it’s easy and turns out really delicious meat. I also wanted to do a Carolina inspired BBQ sauce. Since some of our close friends are from the Carolinas (he’s originally from the North and her from the South), they’ve introduced us to some really delicious BBQ. This sauce is just perfect. It’s a combination of the traditional ketchup based sauces that I’m used to (being from the North), but it’s got the tangy apple cider vinegar that really gives the sauce a robust flavor. It’s not as sharp as distilled white vinegar and is almost a little sweet. I skipped the hot sauce (Since none of us like it really hot), but added it here so that you can adjust it to your taste. I love this BBQ beef, it’s definitely going to be a great recipe for the summer. I don’t have to use the oven and it goes so well with potato salad, coleslaw, veggie trays or any other summer sides I want to serve it with. [Read more…]
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…]
Lately, I’ve been a bit behind with my meal planning and food organizing. Things have been really chaotic for my family these last few months, and sometimes, life just gets in the way. Unfortunately, this had let to a lot of eating out, less cooking at home, and poor food choices. However, during this tumultuous time, the few times that I have managed to cook a healthy meal, I’ve been lucky enough to have a few quick and easy recipes up my sleeve to rely on. Meals that I can prepare on the fly and require just a handful of ingredients. This Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks is a hit with the family EVERY TIME. I’m not kidding! It’s incredibly flavorful and tender, and really helps to satisfy everyone’s sweet and salty cravings. Serve over a bed of fluffy, steamed brown rice and with a side of roasted veggies, and you’ve got a delicious meal in a pinch. Enjoy!
Serve up this Broccoli and Cheddar Crustless Quiche at your next Sunday brunch, and it’s sure to become a family favorite! Most quiche recipes are meant to be healthy and light, but the addition of a high fat crust can often overshadow all the positive nutritional elements of the dish. By ditching the crust, we keep this quiche light and nutritious. The key is to make sure that the eggs are enhanced with delicious flavor to makeup for the lack of crust. I highly recommend using an extra sharp cheddar if you can find it, as it really kicks up the flavor! At just 4 Smart Points for 1/6th of the quiche, this dish is the perfect addition to any brunch, dinner, or potluck.