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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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!

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.

Weight Watchers – Week Eight


Hamburger Hash – 9 points. My mother used to make this, and it is quick and easy when you are out of inspiration and time.  Crumble and brown 1/4 lb ground beef for each serving, along with a generous amount of chopped onions (about 1/2 cup for 4 servings).  While meat is browning, peel and cut one medium potato per serving into thin slices.  When meat is brown, drain any extra grease, add potatoes, mix well, and add 1/2 cup of water.  Cover pan and simmer until water is gone and potatoes are tender. Serve with green or fruit salad or veggie side dish.  Add ons for family could be bread, biscuits, and/or dessert.
Bubble & Squeak – 8 points (2 links turkey breakfast sausage). This is an old English recipe I have been making for years.  Put link sausages in a skillet with about 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook until water is gone and sausage is done. Peel and quarter a small potato (138 grams) for each serving.  Cut a cabbage into wedges.  Boil potatoes and cabbage until just tender and drain.  Remove sausage from skillet and add potatoes and cabbage (spray skillet with Pam if needed) and continue to cook briefly, turning as they start to brown. Add sausage back to skillet, cover and remove from heat.  Let set for a minute or two (it loosens the brown bits on the bottom of the skillet). I like to sprinkle a little apple cider vinegar on my serving before eating.  Add ons for family could be bread and/or dessert.


Thai Sauteed Chicken with Basil – 4 points (1/4 recipe). Serve over 1/2 cup of rice (3 points). This recipe calls for both fish sauce and oyster sauce, which can be found at most grocery stores.  However, if you have access to an Asian store, get it there for a fraction of the price. Asparagus would be even better than green beans, but I only buy it when it is in season (early spring).  I used red pepper flakes instead of the Thai chili, and dried basil instead of fresh (about a tablespoon). Add ons for family could be extra rice, bread, and/or dessert.

Tuna salad sandwiches – 4 points (1/2 recipe).  Drain one 5 oz can water-packed tuna. Add one chopped hard-boiled egg, 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions, 2 tablespoons dill relish or chopped dill pickles, 4 tablespoons light mayo and 1 teaspoon of mustard.  Mix well and serve over shredded lettuce or as a sandwich filling.  I also like to add about a tablespoon of sunflower seeds (1 point) for some crunch. Add-ons for family could be chips, bread, French fries, and/or dessert.

Weeknight Enchiladas – 9 points (2 enchiladas).  If you cut the cheese in half, it would bring the points down to 7.  Use fat-free refried beans, or better yet, make your own – they are easy and much tastier. For a more authentic Mexican taste, use crumbled feta instead of pepper jack cheese, waiting to add the cheese on top until after baking.  Serve with salad.  Add ons for family could be Spanish rice, tortilla chips, and/or dessert.
Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup – 5 points (1/8 of recipe, includes 1/4 ozs parmesan sprinkled on top). This is a real keeper, and the point count is low enough you can easily add a slice of crusty bread or some crackers.  The recipe calls for it to be made in a slow cooker, but I did it on top of the stove, simmering it for several hours to fully develop the flavors.  However, it could be made in about 30 minutes if you are short on time. Add ons for family could be garlic bread, crackers, and/or dessert.

Weight Watchers, Week Seven

Meatballs and gravy – 9 points. (3 meatballs, 1/2 cup gravy). Prepare meatballs and fry, then drain off the grease and add one can of fat-free cream of mushroom soup and one soup can of water (this is for 12 meatballs, making 4 servings).  Bring to a boil and then simmer for up to an hour until sauce is thickened and meatballs are cooked through. Serve over cauliflower rice, and with a salad or veggie side dish.  Add-ons for family could be rice, noodles, bread, additional meatballs, and/or dessert.

Pork chops baked in mushroom soup – 6 points. (3 oz of meat per chop, fat free soup.) Brown the chops on both sides with a little Pam if needed. Put in an oven-proof dish and top with one can condensed cream of mushroom soup.  Add one soup can of water to the skillet you used to brown the chops, stirring to dislodge any brown bits.  Add to dish with meat and soup, stirring a bit to mix (it will still be lumpy).  Bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour or until chops are done and sauce is thickened. The sauce is great over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes. Serve with roasted veggies or a roasted sweet potato. Add ons for family could be rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, crusty bread, and/or dessert.
Chicken Stir Fry – 6 points. (Serves 4, using 1 lb of meat and 4 Tablespoons oil).  Cut raw chicken breast into bite sized pieces and marinate in soy sauce and chopped garlic for about 30 minutes.  While chicken is marinating, chop a variety of raw veggies into bite sized pieces.  I like to use a combination of any of the following but let your imagination be your guide: mushrooms, green onions, broccoli, green peppers, thin sliced carrots, snow peas, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, sliced zucchini, and any kind of greens. Divide the veggies into categories according to how long they take to cook.  For example, broccoli, peppers, onions & carrots together (start with them), then mushrooms, snow peas, zucchini (they are second), and then bean sprouts, water chestnuts and greens.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy pot, and briefly stir fry the veggies starting with those that take the longest.  After a minute or two, remove to a bowl, add another tablespoon of oil and briefly stir fry the next veggies, removing after a minute or two.  Continue until all the veggies are cooked, then add the last tablespoon of oil and cook the chicken (don’t add the marinade).  Stir fry the chicken for a minute or two, then add all the veggies back to the pot, cover and cook for a couple of minutes.  Remove the lid and add soy sauce. This is great on its own, but you can also serve over rice.  Add-ons for family could be rice, bread, and/or dessert.

Rosemary Ranch Salmon – 6 points. (4 oz of salmon).  I haven’t tried this because I don’t like salmon (long story), but I will definitely be trying it with cod.  It sounds delicious and very kid-friendly.  Serve with cole slaw (2 points) or another veggie dish or fruit salad.  Add-ons for family could be potatoes, rice, potato salad, bread, and/or dessert.


Tex-Mex Spaghetti Squash – 7 points.  This recipe says it serves two, but you would have to be a really big eater.  Kayte and I fixed it and it can easily feed 4.  We used  2 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese instead of the Pepper Jack called for, 2 Tablespoons of sliced black olives, and baked the squash without adding oil.  I would recommend using twice the amount of all the seasonings and add salt and pepper to the stuffing mixture.  Be sure and add the reduced fat sour cream (we used crumbled feta cheese) when serving. This is meatless but would be good with the addition of ground beef or turkey. Add-ons for family could be crusty bread, meat, and/or dessert.

Tomato Cheddar Soup – 7 points. This is with regular cheese and without the croutons, but the point total is low enough you could add them if you wanted to.  I would recommend using the regular sharp cheddar cheese, not the low-fat, because you want the creaminess and melting qualities. Add-ons for family could be crusty bread, a sandwich, fresh fruit and/or dessert.

Pancake Bites

Breakfast for dinner, and weekend brunches, are some of my favorite meals to cook. These pancake bites are a favorite way to mix it up. They are the perfect breakfast finger food; very toddler-friendly.

The idea for these came from Bakerella and are inspired by her mini maple pancake muffins.  Of course, Bakerella makes her from scratch. I don’t usually have time for scratch. The first time I made these, I used low calorie pancake mix and followed those directions for regular pancakes. Then added sugar & vanilla (for lighter/fluffier pancakes according to the box). Like the recipe I added 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. I overfilled my muffin pan so mine required slightly longer (about 12 minutes to bake). They were superb. I took loads of pictures.

This is yet another recipe that allows for a bit of flexibility. Use any mix you want, or make it from scratch. (I can’t wait to try this high protein kodiak mix). Use apple sauce in place of all or some of the butter. Use blue berries in place of chocolate chips. Add banana chunks, and nuts. Dip in syrup, agave syrup, or take a page from Jamie Oliver and dip in yogurt and honey! Bakerella currently has a post with a blueberry and oat version. I have this pan and highly recommend using pam for baking so these babies pop right out – trust me, you don’t want to be scraping out a mini muffin pan.