Dairy Free Hot Chocolate – 5 Points +

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

I absolutely love chocolate, but I can’t drink that much milk – it makes me sick. So, I made this fabulous dark chocolate hot cocoa with almond milk. It’s rich and delicious, and my favorite hot cocoa. It’s made from things I always have on hand, so it’s easy to throw together for a cup of hot cocoa when I need a pick-me-up on a cold fall day. I love the nutty flavor of the almond milk, and I like to top mine with a dollop of whipped coconut milk or coconut ice cream. The dry mix you can have ready to go and then just add it to almond milk to heat and serve. One cup of almond milk needs about 4 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa and sugar mix. You can also just whisk the cocoa mixture into the cold almond milk, or remove some of the hot almond milk and mix the cocoa mixture into that. It works best if you start with a little bit of almond milk to make sure you’ve got all the lumps out before you add it in (just like cornstarch or flour in gravy). The next cool fall day that you’re craving some hot chocolate – give this simple and delicious dark chocolate hot cocoa a try.
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Chickpea Curry with Cauliflower Rice – 7 Points +

Chickpea Curry with Cauliflower Rice

Curry is one of those dishes that is simple and delicious. This curry is even more simple and tasty – and it’s vegan, gluten free and dairy free. Chickpeas are a great food. You can make flour with them (garbanzo bean flour), add them to soups and stews and salads. They’re full of fiber and are a great source of protein. I typically use canned chickpeas, since they’re easy to have on hand and they’re ready to go. I just rinse and drain them and toss them into whatever I’m making. Curry is one that can be a little tough if you’re not careful. Some people like their curries hot enough to light their hair on fire, others prefer a little more mild. If you’re someone (like me) that doesn’t like really hot curry, you can start with half of the curry paste, and then season it to taste. If you accidently add too much, add a little plain Greek yogurt to your curry. The yogurt will help to tame your curry without altering the flavor. This curry is great for an easy and delicious weeknight meal.
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Creamy Polenta with Herbed Mushrooms – 7 Points +

Creamy Polenta with Herbed Mushrooms

Polenta was one of those things that I wasn’t a huge fan of the first time I tried it. I don’t remember exactly how I made it, but it involved premade polenta, slicing it, frying it and topping it with something. It wasn’t great. However, when you make your own polenta and it’s creamy with a little cheese, it’s really delicious. Then you can use it as a base for just about everything – herbed mushrooms, spicy Cajun shrimp, meatballs, and anything else you can think of. It really doesn’t take long to make. You just have to bring the milk and water to a boil and then stir in the polenta. Make sure to keep stirring the polenta or it’ll burn to the bottom of the pan. Polenta is a great option for vegetarians as well as folks who can’t have gluten. Since it’s made from corn, it’s naturally gluten free. You can also mix it into quinoa and add berries and honey (plus a little vanilla and skip the cheese) to make a delicious breakfast cereal. But for now, try this delicious creamy polenta topped with sautéed herbed mushrooms.
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Beef Tacos – 9 Points +

Beef Tacos

I love using the crockpot for meats and soups. It’s a great way to cook things without my having to attend to them every second. The meat that is cooked in the crockpot is tender, moist and delicious. Crockpots are my favorite way to cook up a chicken that I’m going to debone and then chop up and freeze. This fabulous beef taco recipe is another one that’s perfect in the crock pot. Sure, you can simmer it on the stove in the sauce for about 2 hours until it’s tender, but it’s so much easier to just stick it in the crockpot, turn it on and walk away. The meat turns out delicious and tender every time. Once you’re ready to eat, serve these with your favorite toppings. I love to pile on the veggies (especially since they’re zero points plus) and a dab of sour cream and cheese.

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Yogurt & Oat Banana Muffins – 4 Points +

Yogurt & Oat Banana Muffins

Wendy’s on a one dish kick right now (who can blame her, nobody likes dishes, and these are fabulous recipes), and I’m back to finding new recipes to use ripe bananas for. Since bananas are only eaten fresh in our house if they’re still green, sometimes we have an overabundance of bananas to use. These muffins hit the spot. It’s a very simple recipe, all you need is a blender or food processor to mix it in, and you’re ready to go. It doesn’t even require flour since it uses oats that are ground up while you’re mixing up the batter. The yogurt gives it protein and a delicious richness. These muffins are seriously fabulous. I’m going to have a hard time eating just one, I think my husband might have to hide the rest!
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Autumn Hummus – 3 Points +


Autumn Hummus

As it’s cooler now, the garden produce is pretty much done, although we’ve had a pretty warm fall. Thankfully, one of the things (or rather, two of the things) that are still keeping great since we brought them in are the pumpkins and squash. And with this hummus recipe, it’s perfect. Pureed pumpkin and squash combined with chickpeas and delicious seasonings to create a fall hummus. This hummus is wonderful on pita chips, but it’s also fabulous on carrots sticks as well. It’s a great snack and it holds well in the fridge for several days. Since it has chickpeas in it (also called garbanzo beans), it’s packed with fiber, which means it helps to keep you full longer. It’s definitely a little spicy with cayenne pepper and chili powder, but you can always season it to taste. If you’re baking pumpkin and squash, you can puree it before hand, or simply weight out 8 oz of chunks and puree them with the garbanzo beans. The reason why I recommend pureed pumpkin and squash is that is ensures a smooth texture, and that there won’t be any chunks in the hummus. Give this delicious fall hummus a try. It’ll give your day just the kick of flavor it needs!
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One Pan Cheesy Chili Mac Recipe – 9 Points +

One Pan Cheesy Chili Mac

Have I mentioned before how much I adore one pan meals? With 2 young kids, 3 cats, and a husband who acts like a teenager, they just make my life SO much easier. This One Pan Cheesy Chili Mac Recipe was a HUGE hit and I’m really excited to share it. I used extra lean ground beef in this, but you could easily substitute ground chicken or turkey if you prefer. The tender, perfectly seasoned meat is cooked in one skillet along with whole wheat macaroni noodles, and then it’s all topped with gooey, melty Mexican cheese. Try this recipe, and I’d be surprised if your family didn’t love it as much as mine.

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Wild Rice Soup – 5 Points +

Wild Rice Soup

Fall is a perfect time to enjoy rich and delicious soups and stews. This wild rice and chicken soup is hearty and creamy, it’s perfect to finish a cool fall day. I love creamy chicken and rice soups, they have such a rich and wholesome flavor. This one is no exception, the wild rice adds a wonderful color and texture to the soup that makes it’s a delightful meal. It’s an easy one to stick in the crockpot too. Just saute the veggies, thicken the broth and stick it all in the crockpot. Add the milk 20 to 30 minutes before serving. This warm soup is comforting, delicious, simple and beautiful. And the leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day. [Read more…]

One Pan Quinoa Taco Skillet – 7 Points +

One Pan Quinoa Taco Skillet

As much as I love cooking, there’s nothing more I hate than doing the dishes and cleanup afterwards. Most of my cooking tools and pots and pans need to be hand washed, so depending on the complexity of my recipe, that can lead to a LOT of post-cooking work. Which is why I have become a huge fan of one-pan/pot meals – they are super easy to cook, and require a lot less cleanup. This One Pan Quinoa Taco Skillet Recipe has become a recent favorite in our home. Made with quinoa instead of rice and lean ground turkey instead of ground beef, it’s a lot healthier and absolutely delicious. Top with shredded cheese, red onion, avocado, roasted corn, shredded lettuce – or whatever your taco-loving heart desires. Just make sure to count the extra Points Plus you may incur. Enjoy!

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Honey Dijon Chicken – 4 Points +

Honey Dijon Chicken

Next to grilling, I like baking chicken the best. It’s a great way to keep it moist and tender, not to mention easy. I like having my main dish baking, since I can get the rest of dinner finished while my main dish is baking. This honey Dijon chicken is fabulous. The glaze is just enough to give some flavor to the chicken and it helps to keep the juices in the breasts while baking them. The red pepper flakes are really optional, but add a delicious spice to the chicken. It’s a great main dish to serve with a side of brown rice pilaf filled with vegetables. If you’re not a big fan of spicy foods, just leave the red pepper flakes out, or use less. It’ll still be delicious, but it won’t be spicy. You can also grill the chicken, just spread the glaze on chicken once it’s been grilled. We’ll sometimes grill extra chicken breast, just to have it on hand (and because grill marks on chicken are pretty to photograph). Then all I have to do is add the glaze and pop it in the oven, covered, until it’s hot through. It’s a great way to have lean protein on hand that I can just chop up and add to a salad for lunch. This delicious chicken breast is perfect for a weeknight, since it takes less than 30 minutes to have tender, juicy and flavorful chicken ready to eat.

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Ginger Walnut Bundt Cake – 7 Points +

Ginger Walnut Bundt Cake

One of the gifts that we got for our wedding was a Bundt pan, along with a recipe book with Bundt pan recipes. Several years later, I’ve used it for the first time and this recipe is a keeper. Ginger is a delicious spice – that sweet and spicy flavor is just fabulous. Combined with the rich brewed coffee and crunchy walnuts, it’s a delicious combination. I tweaked the recipe a bit, since the original called for a cup of canola oil – which I thought was overkill. I substituted applesauce for it, and it worked perfectly. It was moist and delicious. Top it with a dollop of whip cream or a little frozen yogurt or ice cream and it’s a perfect dessert. If you don’t have cake flour, you can use all purpose flour. I used cake flour because its lighter and more finely ground that all purpose flour, but either one will work. This cake is a delicious fall dessert that is a perfect end to a meal with grilled chicken breast, salad and baked potatoes. In fact, it’s so delicious, it’s the perfect end to any meal.

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Tuna with Mango Salsa – 4 Points +

Tuna with Mango Salsa

My husband and I recently went tuna fishing with his parents. It wasn’t the best fishing trip. I don’t have the patience for fishing (it’s so boring), and the seas were a bit rough, so half of us got seasick. We also didn’t catch anything. What it did do, was give me the desire to have some grilled tuna. The first recipe I wanted to try was this one with mango salsa. Fish and fruit go well together since the fish is usually mild and the sweet and juicy fruit sets it off nicely. This is really wonderful and so simple to make. Just make sure you don’t over cook the tuna. It’s easy to do, and it’ll turn out really dry. The center of the tuna should be a little pink still. Give this tuna and mango salsa a try. It’s perfect for a date night with your significant other – add some grilled vegetables and you’ve got an elegant and delicious meal.

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