Weight Watchers – Week 10

Easy Beef Stroganoff – 6 points (1/4 recipe, 1/2 lb beef, 3/4 cup light sour cream, reduced fat soup).  Serve over rice (3 points for 1/2 cup), noodles (3 points for 1/2 cup) or crusty bread (2 points per slice). Serve with a salad, fruit or veggie side dish.  Add-ons for family could include bread and/or dessert.

Pork ribs & sauerkraut – 6 points (4 oz of rib meat).  You can cook the potatoes in the slow cooker, cutting them in chunks and putting them in first, but I prefer to cook them separately. I like to put the sauerkraut over the potatoes, so you get a bite of combined potato and kraut.  If you don’t like sauerkraut, try this anyways.  During the cooking the kraut becomes much milder tasting and the meat picks up a great taste.

Chicken Fingers – 3 points (4 oz meat, 1/2 tablespoon oil per serving). Cut chicken breast into strips and coat with Louisiana Crispy Fish Fry  mix (no other seasoning needed).  The link is there to show you what the package looks like – it can be found in most grocery stores. Fry briefly in a small amount of oil (only takes a few minutes). You could also bake them with a spray of Pam. This is a sure-fire winner with both kids and adults. Add a salad or raw veggie tray with homemade Ranch dressing (2 tablespoons are 1 point), oven fries ( 6 points for medium potato + 1/2 tablespoon of oil), or rice (1/2 cup is 3 points). Family add-ons could include bread and/or dessert.



Easy Breaded Shrimp – 4 points (4 oz shrimp per serving).  I made this for Kayte and I, using some fairly small shrimp she had on hand and Panko bread crumbs.  We didn’t have the lemon called for so I used lemon pepper instead.  They were delicious, but would have been even better with larger shrimp.  I also used a good spray of Pam on both sides of the shrimp instead of olive oil, and turned the shrimp when the bottoms got brown.  We served it with a raw veggie selection with homemade Ranch dressing (1 point for 2 tablespoons). Family add-ons could be rice, potatoes, bread, potato salad, cole slaw, and/or dessert.  (This is low enough points you could choose to have something from this list, too.)

Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili – 6 points. (1/4 recipe without toppings).  Add avocado (2 points for 1/4), light sour cream (2 points for 2 tablespoons), cheese (2 points for 1/2 oz) or other toppings.  Rachael made this and her family loved it, including the leftovers.  Read the blog post for more information.  Add ons for family could be tortilla chips, crusty bread, and/or dessert.

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup – 5 points (1/8 recipe).  This is one of the best soups ever (and I usually don’t like soup)!  I made it on top of the stove instead of in the slow cooker.  I substituted diced tomatoes and their juice for the tomato sauce and used broccoli rabe, but you could easily use other greens such as spinach or kale, and other veggies.  Add ons for family could be crackers, biscuits, bread, and/or dessert.
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Frugal Friday: Shopkick

Do you have a smart phone? Put it to good use! Over a year ago, I posted on how to get more bang for your buck using a few different apps. One of these apps was shopkick, a phone app that rewards you for going to the store. 
Shopkick is a phone app that rewards you for simply going into the store. You receive points every time you walk into a participating store. You can also receive extra points for “scanning” items. I’ll be honest, I never scan. You can use your points for gift cards. So far I have used Shopkick to redeem $60+ in gift cards. My favorite store to get points at and redeem gift cards is Target.

Generally speaking, you get about 35 points for entering any store. On bonus days some stores will have 150 to 200 or more points for just walking in the store. I go to Target on a regular basis, at least twice most weeks. It’s almost no extra working, considering my phone is already out because I have my shopping list on it, and I use Target coupons, and cartwheel. Give it a try here

If you’re wanting to be super frugal, and perhaps a bit competitive – a friend of mine used to shopkick to spice up what would otherwise be a boring errand run with her significant other. They had a contest of who could scan the most items, the quickest. A modern day scavenger hunt if you will…….free gift cards and bragging rights??? 

[There are a few more check-in type apps out there. I have given a few of them a try, but have yet to receive any rewards. I’ll be sure to write about them when I do. Are there any apps you use? We’d love to hear about it!]
 

Chipotle Butternut Squash Chile

One of my greatest loves during the fall and winter months is soup. Not broth. but chunky, hearty, filling soup. It’s easy, comforting and warms you up down to your toes. Soup leaves the kitchen smelling homey. It is easy to double or triple a batch for company. Easy to store, reheat and freeze…and you can cook it so many ways. If you search our posts, we have no shortages of soup here. While I can’t complain about the winter being warmer this year, it has left me less in the mood for soup.

Last week, though, I found myself craving a bowl. I ransacked my fridge to see what I had. Last year I made a delicious butternut squash black bean and quinoa chili, but have since lost the recipe. In my search, I stumbled upon this Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili with Avocado from Cookie & Kate. I already knew that butternut squash and black beans were an excellent combination, and I felt that you can’t really go wrong with chipotle and avocado, especially since I had recently learned to pick a perfectly ripe avocado. So I gave it a go…

Look at this deliciousness —- just screaming eat me

The results were far better than I hoped. We ate it back to back meals, and leftovers. My hubby was quite disappointed when it was all gone. The recipe calls for about an hour of cooking time and a half hour of prep, but I cut this way down, by throwing everything in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. To adapt it for the pressure cooker, I started by sauteing onions, bell peppers and squash in a pan with olive oil. (Costco sells pre-cut squash!). Once soft, add garlic, chili powder, chipotle, cumin and cinnamon and just enjoy the fragrance. Add the bay leaf, black beans, tomatoes, and broth, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. At this point I simmered my chili for about 10 minutes until it was reduced, in the future I will put less liquid… though truth be told, I think pureeing it in a blender for a hearty creamy soup would also be absolutely scrumptious

There are notes on the original recipe, that you may be able to cook this in the slow cooker also.

You can top the chili with corn tortilla strips/chips, avocado, cheese, sour cream, red pepper flakes, cilantro, hot sauce or whatever else you think would be good. I topped mine with cheese, sour cream and avocado. Find the recipe here; and let us know what you think!

Chipotle Butternut Squash Chile

One of my greatest loves during the fall and winter months is soup. Not broth. but chunky, hearty, filling soup. It’s easy, comforting and warms you up down to your toes. Soup leaves the kitchen smelling homey. It is easy to double or triple a batch for company. Easy to store, reheat and freeze…and you can cook it so many ways. If you search our posts, we have no shortages of soup here. While I can’t complain about the winter being warmer this year, it has left me less in the mood for soup.

Last week, though, I found myself craving a bowl. I ransacked my fridge to see what I had. Last year I made a delicious butternut squash black bean and quinoa chili, but have since lost the recipe. In my search, I stumbled upon this Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili with Avocado from Cookie & Kate. I already knew that butternut squash and black beans were an excellent combination, and I felt that you can’t really go wrong with chipotle and avocado, especially since I had recently learned to pick a perfectly ripe avocado. So I gave it a go…

The results were far better than I hoped. We ate it back to back meals, and leftovers. My hubby was quite disappointed when it was all gone. The recipe calls for about an hour of cooking time and a half hour of prep, but I cut this way down, by throwing everything in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. To adapt it for the pressure cooker, I started by sauteing onions, bell peppers and squash in a pan with olive oil. (Costco sells pre-cut squash!). Once soft, add garlic, chili powder, chipotle, cumin and cinnamon and just enjoy the fragrance. Add the bay leaf, black beans, tomatoes, and broth, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. At this point I simmered my chili for about 10 minutes until it was reduced, in the future I will put less liquid… though truth be told, I think pureeing it in a blender for a hearty creamy soup would also be absolutely scrumptious

There are notes on the original recipe, that you may be able to cook this in the slow cooker also.

You can top the chili with corn tortilla strips/chips, avocado, cheese, sour cream, red pepper flakes, cilantro, hot sauce or whatever else you think would be good. I topped mine with cheese, sour cream and avocado. Find the recipe here; and let us know what you think!

Quick Tip Tuesday – Easy Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing tends to be very popular, especially with kids.  It is really easy to make your own, and it tastes even better than when made with the packet from the store, not to mention much less expensive.  I make four times the seasoning recipe and keep it in a small jar with the instructions written on the top.  To make the dressing, add the mix to buttermilk, mayo and sour cream.  If you use light mayo and light sour cream, 2 tablespoons is only 1 Weight Watcher point.  Using it as a dip is a great way to get your family (and you) to eat more raw veggies.

Ranch Dressing

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  •  1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch dried dill weed
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together until well blended.
  2. Refrigerate for several hours (or even better, overnight) to allow flavors to meld together.
  3. Keep refrigerated; use within seven days.
 To make 4 times the amount of the seasoning mix, use:
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1 teaspoon garlic powder
·         1 teaspoon onion powder
·         1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
·         1/2 teaspoon black pepper
·         1/8 teaspoon dried dill
·         1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
 
Mix together in a small jar.  To make the dressing, use 1 teaspoon of the mix to 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup of mayo and 1/4 cup sour cream.  Whisk together, and let set for at least 30 minutes before using.
*Buttermilk freezes great.  I always end up with a lot more buttermilk than I can use before it goes bad, so I freeze small portions in freezer-safe mason jars.  Do not try to freeze sour cream.

Weight Watchers – Week 9

Our goal is to test each recipe before sharing it here, and this week we were able to try four out of the six.  All of them were winners! In real life, we don’t eat six new dishes a week, but I love coming up with lots of options for everyone.

Beef Stir-fry Noodles – 7 points. (1/4 recipe with 1/2 the amount of noodles and lots of added veggies, no oil). This is very good but to make it filling, add a generous amount of veggies.  I cut the recipe in half and added a small crown of broccoli, five large mushrooms (sliced), about a cup of leftover kale salad, and 6-7 baby carrots cut into thin matchsticks.  It would also be good with thinly sliced peppers, snow peas, shredded cabbage and just about any other veggie you might have on hand.  I used 2 oz. of ramen noodles from the Asian market, but spaghetti or other  pasta would certainly work, and it doesn’t  need much. Family add ons could be bread, biscuits, and/or dessert.

Blackberry Sage Pork Chops – 7 points (1/4 recipe, sugar free jam). This is really good and simple to make. If you use thicker chops, return the chops to the skillet with the sauce to finish cooking. Serve with 1/2 cup rice (3 points), cauliflower rice, green salad, roasted veggies, or other veggie side dish.  Add -ons for family could be crusty bread, rice, buttered noodles, potatoes, and/or dessert.

 


One Skillet Chicken & Broccoli – 3 points (4 oz of chicken per serving). Serve with rice (1/2 cup is 3 points). I made this for Kayte and I, adding more veggies (mushrooms, red peppers) and without the celery because we didn’t have any.  I also substituted Thai Sweet Chili Sauce for the Sriracha, and it gave it a great taste.  Kayte agreed but said she would probably double the amount next time. Family add-ons could be more rice, potatoes, crusty bread and/or dessert.

Honey Sriracha Salmon – 8 points (1/4 recipe). Serve with roasted veggies, a green salad or the Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodle Salad (1 point for 1/4 recipe including all the optional ingredients) talked about in the blog post. Family add-ons could be sweet or white potato fries, rice, bread and/or dessert.

Taco Torte – 8 points (1/6 recipe, substituting 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, corn tortillas, 3 cups of beans). If you eat 1/4 recipe, it would be 12 points. A green salad, some raw veggies or fruit on the side could make it more filling. We haven’t had a chance to try this one, yet, but it is bound to be good. Add ons for family could be Spanish rice, tortilla chips, a side of refried beans, and/or dessert.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup – 5 points (1/8 recipe). We haven’t had a chance to try this one but it looks like it would be good.  If you make it, let us know how it turned out.  Unfortunately, I do not like butternut squash (gasp!) so I am leaning on Kayte or Rachael to try it out.  Rachael just made Butternut Squash Chili (recipe coming next week), so  this week they were both eating that. Add ons for family could be bread and/or dessert.

Honey Sriracha Salmon

We have Salmon once or twice a month in our house. We’ve cooked it a few different ways, but typically end up with some type of herbed crusted salmon (like this) or salmon BLTs (recipe coming soon). This week we tried something completely new, and it was amazingly delicious.

This Honey Sriracha Salmon, comes from The Pickled Plum. First the salmon is lightly seasoned with salt & pepper and pre-baked for about 10 minutes. While the salmon is baking, you make the glaze, combining oil, garlic cloves, sriracha, soy sauce, honey and vinegar. Once it’s been thickened and reduced, add in the sesame oil and seeds, then brush on top of the salmon. Bake until the salmon is cooked through, another 10 minutes. 
I searched the internet for different ideas of sides, but I wasn’t finding anything that really spoke to me until I came across this recipe for cold sesame cucumber noodle salad from Ambitious Kitchen. I used my spiralizer to cut cucumber into noodles. I combined them with garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, water and sesame seeds. This website did also feature a Sriracha salmon, but it used different ingredients that I did not have, and I was partial to the recipe I had found first. 
Look at those noodles!