Granola with Raisins – 9 Smart Points

Granola with Raisins

I love granola with yogurt for breakfast in the morning. I’m not a big morning person, so any weekday breakfast that is quick, easy and delicious is a winner for me. This granola is perfect. It’s light and delicious, but isn’t overwhelming. I can add any fruit I want to in my yogurt and it goes perfectly with the granola. I liked how much it made, it was plenty for a couple of weeks, but since it’s granola, it holds well in an airtight container for a month or more. If you’re concerned, just refrigerate or freeze the airtight container. The honey and raisins add all the sweetness I thought it needed, but for me, coconut adds a little more sweet that is a richer flavor. The cinnamon and vanilla really serve to pull the whole combination together so that the flavors work well with each other. If you like softer granola, just make sure to keep an eye on it so you can pull it out when it gets to the right consistency. If you like crunchy granola, leave it in for the full 20 minutes and then let it sit out for an hour or more to get more crunchy. [Read more…]

Strawberry Shortcake – 8 Smart Points

Strawberry Shortcakes

Everyone needs to have dessert on a regular basis. Or at the very least, everyone needs a treat on a regular basis. In my experience, if you don’t splurge and indulge your craving, you’ll end up out of control one day. I like to have a variety of dessert recipes on hand so when I see the ingredients, or get the craving, I can put something together and have a treat. For me, the trick is to make sure there are individual servings of the dessert, so I don’t go overboard with the piece of cake or brownie that I cut. Strawberry shortcake is perfect for that. When I bake with wheat flour, I really like to use a very light whole wheat flour. It looks, tastes and feels like regular all-purpose flour, but it packs a lot more nutrients into each serving. These shortcakes came out perfect – tender and light. When you top them with whipped topping and sweet strawberries, you can’t go wrong. Since the strawberries are zero points, that’s where I splurge and add a few more to satisfy my sweet tooth. If you don’t like fat free whip topping, go with a creamy fat free Greek yogurt, and flavor it with a little vanilla. Whichever topping you use, these are definitely a family favorite! [Read more…]

Country Potatoes Recipe – 5 Smart Points

Country Potatoes

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.

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Asian Chicken Buns – 7 Smart Points

Asian Chicken Buns

A few years ago, my aunt sent me a steamer basket. It’s a beautiful wooden steamer basket with several layers, so you can steam veggies, leftover rice and meat all at once. I decided it was finally time to break it out to try these steamed chicken buns. These delicious little buns are very similar to pot stickers, but the outside is slightly different. Pot stickers are usually made with wonton wrappers, but these buns are made with a homemade yeast dough. I wanted to make these a little healthier than the original recipe, so I used half whole wheat flour. I’ll admit, since this is a yeast dough, it’s a little more involved than I would typically do for an appetizer type recipe, but it was definitely worth it. The outside is tender and savory, and the filling is delicious. For the filling, I started with ginger and ground chicken (or turkey). Add the bamboo shoots and shallots adds to the savory flavor for the filling. Then the filling is rounded out with the delicious seasonings that make the whole bun just delicious. While these are supposed to be an appetizer, if you’ve got a little extra time to make the dough, these are delicious for appetizers or even for a main dish. Serve them with some steamed, fresh or stir fried vegetables to make this a complete meal. You can also make a little extra of the seasoning sauce to use it for a dipping sauce. These are absolutely delicious – well worth waiting for the dough to rise! [Read more…]

Mediterranean Salad – 3 Smart Points

Mediterranean Salad

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.
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Classic French Macarons – 6 Smart Points

Classic French Macaron

I don’t typically have desserts around since I just want to eat them, but sometimes, it’s nice to have some desserts. I had some coconut macaroons recently, and they were delicious, but I wanted something a little lighter, so I went with these macarons. These are classic French meringue based cookies that are just delightful little things. They are light and just a little sweet, but not overpowering. You can serve them with frosting in the middle, which is traditionally how they’re served. Or, you can serve them with some frozen yogurt, pudding or some lemon curd instead. These cookies are naturally gluten free, and are really quite easy to make. I dyed my several colors (just separate the batter to do that), so I had a little more variety without making tons of cookies. Be careful not to over handle the batter though, or they might end up falling. Also make sure that you beat the egg whites in a glass or metal bowl. Plastic bowls tend to hold on to grease residue, and that will prevent the egg whites from becoming a meringue. But with those two tips, it’s easy and simple to make these delicious little cookies. [Read more…]

Lentil Bolognese Recipe – 10 Smart Points

Lentil Bolognese

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.

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Broiled Miso Ginger Salmon Recipe – 6 Smart Points

Broiled Miso Ginger Salmon

This Miso Ginger Salmon is one of my most favorite dishes at a local Japanese restaurant. It’s the perfect blend of salty and tangy, and works like a dream with the slightly sweet and smoky salmon. Ideally, I’d cook this on a grill, but when I’m too busy (or lazy) to head out to my grill, a simple broiling in the oven works fantastically! I love giving the fish a nice charred edge, and marinating the salmon before hand really helps give it excellent flavor. Serve over steamed rice alongside some roasted vegetables or your favorite Asian-style salad.

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Veggie Pilaf – 4 Smart Points

Veggie Pilaf

I tend to get stuck in a rut when it comes to veggies. So I recently combined a couple of my favorite veggie sides to try and get a fresh flavor from an old favorite. I posted about my favorite spice combination for vegetables. I decided to use the same seasoning for my favorite vegetables, but make it into a pilaf. I typically use what I have on hand for veggies for a rice pilaf. This time was no different. It’s a beautiful side dish that is so easy to put together. I have found that it’s easiest to use cooked rice, just like when you make fried rice. I try to plan ahead so I can have my rice cooked and ready to go. It works the best if I start my rice when I start the rest of my meal prep. That way, when the meal is almost ready to go on the table, I can mix the rice and sautéed veggies. If you’re looking to do something even more low carb, use cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. Either way, this is a light and delicious vegetable side dish. [Read more…]

Zucchini Pasta with Feta – 5 Smart Points

Zucchini Pasta with Feta

Vegetable pasta is all the rage right now and one of my favorites is zucchini. It’s easy to do and has such as mild flavor that it goes with just about anything. It’s also a great way to add color to my meal without adding lots of carbs from regular pasta. Plus, I get another serving of vegetables, which is something I’ll never complain about. I wanted a pasta dish that is light and refreshing and doesn’t take too much work. I really was looking for a quick and easy lunch meal, and this fit the bill perfectly. While it’s not necessary to cook the zucchini before, I like to cook it a little in the olive oil and garlic so that it’s tender. The lemon juice really brightens the flavor and makes the whole dish seem light and fresh. It’s simple and delicious – perfect for a quick and healthy meal. [Read more…]

Vegan Quinoa Chili Recipe – 8 Smart Points

Vegan Quinoa Chili

With El Nino in effect, we’ve been getting a few chilly and rainy days here in SoCal, so I’ve been using that as an opportunity to whip up some tasty, hot soups and chilis. Since I am making it a goal to eat less meat, I’ve been really into making new Weight Watchers vegetarian recipes, and this Vegan Quinoa Chili was a hit! By simply substituting quinoa for the meat, I was able to put together a super easy chili that tastes just as hearty and delicious as a traditional, meat-based chili. The quinoa and beans provide a lot of protein and fiber, so this chili will definitely leave you feeling full and satisfied. Feel free to add your favorite fixin’s on top like cheese, sour cream, diced red onion, avocado…whatever your heart desires. Just make sure to add them into the total Smart Points value! This chili also reheats and freezes really well, so make sure to store some extra in the freezer for lunches or quick weeknight dinners. Enjoy!

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Lemon Pepper Vegetables – 1 Smart Point

Lemon Pepper Vegetables

One of my favorite ways to make vegetables is to steam or sauté them and then season them. I found a grill seasoning once that was really delicious, but it used dried rosemary and sometimes the twigs would get stuck in your teeth. I decided that since I loved the flavor, but not the rosemary, I would try my own seasoning. I found a perfect combination that I love to use when I want some steamed or sautéed vegetables, but want to add some extra flavor. One of the key ingredients is lemon pepper. It seems to add a little brightness to the flavor that really sets the vegetables off. I love to season steamed cauliflower and carrots this way. It’s a healthier way to add some flavor to them without adding cheese or butter and brown sugar. But this time I sautéed some mixed veggies and added my favorite spices. I loved the result. It added a delicious flavor to the vegetables and really spiced them up without adding extra calories. It’s quick and easy, and you can even mix up the spices ahead of time in a large batch to make it easier. [Read more…]