Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hashbrown Casserole

This is my all time favorite, go-to breakfast casserole recipe. I've never met anyone who didn't love it, and I usually get asked for the recipe. Whenever we have company, I always make this for breakfast and its also a Christmas morning favorite around our house. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser no matter what occasion you choose!



Hashbrown Casserole
  • 1 bag frozen, shredded hash browns
  • 1 stick light butter/margarine, melted
  • 16oz fat free sour cream
  • 1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
  • 2C reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a sprayed 9x13 baking dish.
Bake for 45 mins - 1 hour until top is golden brown.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Finds: Litehouse Salad Dressing

I am in LOVE with this salad dressing! The Lite Salsa Ranch flavor is my favorite, but their Lite Ranch is quite tasty as well. This goes perfectly on taco salads (recipe coming next week!) and it's a fantastic dip for nachos. In addition to great stats (60 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 2 carbs per 2T) its also gluten free. Bonus! Also just a tip, you'll find this in the refrigerated produce section, near the salad mixes.

Read more here!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Balsamic Zuchinni and Grape Tomatoes

With fresh veggie season right around the corner, I decided to pull out this old favorite! Its so easy that you don't even need measurements, you just throw it all in the pan and it does the rest. This is a fantastic side dish and even a satisfying meal if you're trying to keep it super light! If I have my way with my garden this year, grape tomatoes and zucchini will abound and this will surely be a summer staple. Enjoy!


Balsamic Zuchinni & Grape Tomatoes
  • zuchinni, chopped
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • cooking spray
  • balsamic vinegar
Directions:
Spray a large skillet with cooking spray.
Saute garlic for a few minutes to soften, then add vegetables.
Cook until tender and during the last few minutes of cooking, put a few dashes of balsamic vinegar in the skillet and toss to coat vegetables.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Creamy Cheesecake

Alright, if you're a dieter look away. Look far, far away. One slice of this cheesecake is over 20 WW points. I told you to look away. This is your last chance!


However, if wish to gorge yourself on the best cheesecake EVER, weclome and continue reading! I was hesistant to try cheesecake again after my flop last year on Valentine's Day when I left out the sugar. Yes, that really happened. No, I don't want to talk about it. I didn't get it completely right again this go around, but I figure that's just incentive to try once more. Third time being the charm and all, and hey, it gives me an excuse to make another cheesecake!


The cheesecake part was divine, heavenly...perfect. The crust was a little soggy because I didn't wrap the springform pan as well as I should have when I put it in the water bath. My springform pans are practically brand new so I didn't think leaking would be an issue. Wrong. It was still very, very edible though! Not to mention gorgeous.


I'm accepting volunteers who would like to come over and finish this off for me so it will quit staring at me. Anyone?


Creamy Cheesecake
 
 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese (NOT low-fat or fat-free), softened
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 c. sour cream (NOT low-fat or fat free)
CRUST:
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c. white sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Combine crust ingredients and very gently pat into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Set aside.
Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth then add the eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Add in the sugar, salt, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high for 3 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides and making sure the mixture is completely smooth. Add the sour cream and mix well. Pour batter into pan and wrap the pan with aluminum foil or a turkey roasting bag. Place the wrapped pan into a larger baking or roasting pan and fill the larger pan with water so it comes up about 3/4 of the side of the springform pan.
Bake for 35 minutes or until filling is custard-like. The center shouldn’t be completely set–it should kind of jiggle like firm Jello, but it shouldn’t be liquidy, either. Just don’t overbake. Turn off the heat and crack the oven and allow to stand for another 20 minutes or so. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours. DON’T remove springform sides until cake has set for 8 hours. Makes 10-12 (or more!) servings.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Asian Glazed Chicken

This recipe takes a little patience, but the end result is worth it! The sauce takes quite a while to thicken up, but I promise it happens eventually. So save this one for a weekend, but make sure you save it, its delicious! Of course, being me, I had to change at least one thing about this recipe. It calls for chicken drumsticks, but I never have those on hand because we prefer boobies, so thats what I used. I'm sure its fine with either. So the next time you think about Chinese take out, try this instead, you won't be sorry!



Asian Glazed Drumsticks
recipe via Gina's Skinny Recipes
8 medium chicken drumsticks, skin removed
Pam spray oil
1 cup water
1 Tbsp
Sriracha hot sauce (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tsp
agave nectar (or sugar)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ginger, grated
2 Tbsp chives or scallions, chopped
1 tsp sesame seeds

In a heavy large saucepan, brown chicken on high for 3-4 minutes with a little spray oil. Add water, balsamic, soy sauce, agave, garlic, ginger, hot sauce and cook on high until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. Remove cover and bring heat to high, allowing sauce to reduce down, about 8-10 minutes, until it becomes a thick glaze, turning chicken occasionally. (Keep an eye on glaze, you don't want it to burn when it start becoming thick) Transfer chicken to a platter and pour glaze on top. Top with chives and sesame seeds and serve.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Finds: Falafel Chips

These are awesome! If you like falafel (me!) then you'll love these. Dipped in hummus? Heaven. Totally satisfies the falafel craving without consuming anything deep fried!

Check them out here!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spicy Roasted Edamame

Edamame is one of my all time favorite snacks, and its so incredibly nutritious. I normally eat edamame right out of the little pods, sprinkled with a bit of sea salt. Don't you love it when one of those beans goes flying across the room at fifty miles per hour and smacks your toddler in the head? Good times.


Upon my recent mission of roasting every vegetable known to man, edamame was next on the list. If is is possible for it to taste even better, it does! It takes on a nutty flavor and a bit of a crunchy texture, which goes perfectly with the spicy coating. This one's a winner!


Spicy Roasted Edamame
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • cooking spray


  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400.
    Pat edamame dry with paper towels.
    Place in a bowl and give the edamame a few squirts of cooking spray and toss to coat.
    Add in spices and mix well.
    Spray a baking sheet and arrange edamame in a single layer.
    Roast for 20-30 mins, flipping a few times during cooking.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Eggplant Parmigiana

    Alright, I'd like to know who is responsible for keeping eggplant away from me my entire life? Hmm? Anyone care to step up and admit it?


    Seriously people, HOW have I missed out on this for the past 27 years??? Its not cool. Since veggies are your friend while trying to slim down, I'm always looking for new ones to try. Eggplant is a winner! So is this recipe at only 5p's for 1/3 of the whole pan!


    Eggplant Parmigiana
    source: weightwatchers.com

    cooking spray
    1/3C Italian style breadcrumbs
    1T Parmesan cheese
    1tsp Italian seasoning
    1/4t garlic powder
    1 medium eggplant, raw
    2 large egg whites, slightly beaten
    1.5C canned tomato sauce
    1/2C shredded mozzarella

    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 X 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

    • Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in a medium-size bowl; set aside. Remove skin from eggplant and trim off ends; slice eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
       
       
    • Dip eggplant first into egg whites and then into bread crumb mixture. Bake eggplant on a nonstick cookie sheet until lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes, flipping once.
       
       
    • Place a layer of eggplant on bottom of prepared baking dish, then add 1/3 of tomato sauce and 1/3 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers in same order. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling, about 10 minutes more. Slice into 4 pieces and serve.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Purple Popcorn

    You probably have no idea where I'm going today with a title like "Purple Popcorn," but its really just a dressed up old favorite. Roasted Cauliflower has become one of my most favorite snacks, and I wanted to come up with a way to change it up a little. While browsing in the produce section the other day, I came across purple cauliflower. I'd seen it before but never tried it and I saw the potential for a unique dish so I grabbed some.


     
    You can certainly do this with regular old white cauliflower, and it would probably look more like actual popcorn if you did, but "Purple Popcorn" has a fun little ring to it, right? My two-year old insisted on calling this "candy flower" instead of cauliflower, and who am I to spoil her fun? For this recipe all you need is a good popcorn seasoning, like one of these:
     
     
    Although, I'd advise against a sweet flavoring, I'm not sure how well that would mesh with the cauliflower. I used white cheddar for my popcorn and it was delicious! Make this for your next family movie night and you'll be surprised to see your little ones gobble it up just like they would regular popcorn!


     
    Purple Popcorn
    • 1 head of purple cauliflower
    • Popcorn seasoning
    • Butter flavored cooking spray
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 425.
    Cut cauliflower into popcorn sized florets.
    Spray foil lined pan with butter flavored cooking spray and spread out cauliflower.
    Spray again and sprinkle on the popcorn seasoning. Toss to coat.
    Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping once during cooking.

     

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Nutella Fudge Brownies

    Alright, alright, this recipe isn't exactly going to get you the most for your points, BUT there is good news. First of all, these are the chewiest, fudgiest, chocolatiest, most decadent brownies I've ever tasted. Please look past all the words I just made up in that sentence. Second, the recipes only makes six brownies (or 12 mini muffins sized brownies) so surely your family will devour most of them leaving you with no choice but to only eat one. I love portion control!


    Besides, what kind of life would it be if we couldn't indulge once in a while? That's one of the reasons I absolutely love Weight Watchers, because nothing is off limits. You can basically eat anything you want in moderation, if you plan for it. So, plan to work these brownies into your week!




    Nutella Fudge Brownies
    6 servings @ 5p's
    • 1/2 cup Nutella
    • 1 large egg
    • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (I didn't have hazelnuts, so I used pecans for some and left some plain. We actually decided at my house that we liked them better nut free!)
    Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
    Put the Nutella and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add the flour and whisk until blended.
    Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
    Bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11-12 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
     

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Friday Finds: Brummel and Brown

    This is for all you butter lovers out there who swear that there is no substitute for butter, other than butter. Now, there is! No really, its true. I've tried all kinds of light butters, margarines, spray butter...you name it I've tried it. This stuff is for real. It melts well, goes in recipes well, but my favorite use is slathered on a piece of bread. Or just scooped out of the tub with a spoon. Just kidding! Sort of...

     At half the fat and calories of regular butter (and 1pp per tablespoon), Brummel and Brown had me at hello!

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Cheesy Garlic Pull-Aparts

    Since I've given you two cheesy, Italian dishes this week, I thought it only fair to give you the perfect bread accompaniment to go along with them! This is a super fast and simple recipe that is perfect as a side dish, but could even be used as an appetizer!

    How could you go wrong with cheese, bread, butter and garlic? Not possible! This is my favorite way to prepare garlic bread now, we have it with almost every Italian meal at my house. You can play around with it and add different things to it to mix it up if you want. Maybe some pepperoni or bacon, or use cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella. Enjoy!

    Cheesy Garlic Pull-Aparts
    6 Servings at 3 points
    • 1 - 7.5oz can of buttermilk biscuits
    • 1T grated parmesan cheese
    • 3/4C shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1/8t garlic powder
    • 1/2t parsley flakes
    • 1.5T Brummel and Brown Spread
    Directions:
    In a pie plate, add butter spread, parsley and garlic salt.
    Microwave for 30-45 seconds until melted, swirl the dish around to mix.
    Cut each biscuit into 4 sections and place in the pie plate, tossing to coat with butter/garlic mixture.
    Top with 3/4C of  mozzarella cheese and sprinkle 1T of parmesan on top.
    Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Spaghetti Pie MAKEOVER

    Since I'm on a diet, I decided to start digging up some of my old favorite recipes and putting them on a diet as well. After all, when you're trying to lose weight there is no need to deprive yourself of your favorite foods, especially when just a few small changes can make it fit into your new lifestyle!


    You all remember Spaghetti Pie, right? If not, where have you been? I'll forgive you if you promise to try this new and improved recipe out. You won't even miss the fat, or the flavor! The exciting part of this recipe is that you get to eat 1/6th of the whole pie for only 9 points! If you decide to make it 8 servings, the points get even better at only 7 points per slice. Personally, I like a lot of food! With a salad or veggie on the side and maybe a piece of garlic toast, its a completely satisfying meal!


    Spaghetti Pie
    • 8oz whole wheat spaghetti
    • 2C Hunt's Traditional Marinara Sauce
    • 1lb lean Italian turkey sausage
    • 1C part-skim mozzarella cheese,shredded
    • 1/4C grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/2C fat free ricotta cheese
    • 3 egg whites
    • Italian seasoning

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375.
    Brown turkey sausage in skillet with Italian seasoning and cook noodles according to package directions.
    Mix all ingredients together except for the shredded mozzarella cheese.
    Once well combined, pour spaghetti mixture into a pie plate spray with nonstick spray.
    Top with 1C of mozzarella cheese.
    Bake for 40 minutes, broiling the top for the last 5 minutes if you want a crunchy cheese topping!

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Lasagna

    I have to admit, when I tried this recipe out of the Just 5 cookbook, I was skeptical. A recipe for lasagna? With measurements and stuff? Huh? I've never gone by a recipe when I've made lasagna in the past, I just know how to make it and I throw it all together. And I use lots of cheese. LOTS and lots. Cheese in between every layer. When its all said and done I probably use at least four cups of shredded cheese. I told you it was a lot.

     

     
    When I saw that this recipe only called for shredded cheese on top, I thought #1, there is no way this will be good, and #2 there is no way its going to stay together without cheese as a binder. Well, I was wrong and wrong! After the first bite, I was so excited at the thought of having leftovers for lunch the next day. Ha! My family devoured the entire pan! Everyone had at least seconds, and one person who shall remain nameless had thirds.

     

     
    Since I seem to have an allergy to following recipes as written, I changed some things about this recipe. In the cookbook its called "Beef and Ricotta Lasagna," which is funny because those are the two items I changed! In my Italian dishes I've come to much prefer Italian turkey sausage to beef, every time. Its already seasoned and it just plain tastes better. I've also been a long time fan of cottage cheese over ricotta in lasagna. I'm not sure what it is, but it adds sort of a sweetness to the flavor of the lasagna, not to mention its much cheaper than ricotta. It would really be good with either, so choose what you like best (but don't forget to recalculate your points!). The book lists this as 10 points for 8 slices, but I got it down to 10 points for 6 slices!

     

     
    Lasagna
    • 12 no cook lasagna noodles
    • 4C Hunt's Traditional Marinara Sauce
    • 1C part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 2C fat free cottage cheese
    • 1lb lean Italian turkey sausage
    • Spices (I like to add Mrs. Dash's Tomato/Basil/Garlic seasoning to my meat)

     
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375.
    Brown turkey sausage in a skillet until cooked.
    Spoon 1C of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, then top with 4 lasagna noodles.
    Add 1/2 of the meat, then dot with 1C of cottage cheese, top with 1C of sauce.
    Place 4 more noodles on top, the rest of the meat mixture, the rest of the cottage cheese and 1C of sauce.
    Finally, top with the last 4 noodles and last cup of sauce, finishing with 1C of shredded cheese.
    Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover dish.
    Bake for 40 minutes, remove foil and bake another 10-15.
    Broil the last 5 minutes if you wish.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Friday Finds: Coconut Caramel Fudge Bars

    Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you've all had a great week. Here is a little something to help you get through your weekend without falling off the wagon.

    I've sworn off Girl Scout cookies this year, telling myself that they have been around for decades and they'll be around for decades more. This year is about losing weight and Girl Scout cookies are not invited to that party. I was a little bummed because I am a Samoa lover and I look forward to getting my fix every year.

    Then I found these:



    Oh. My. The resemblance to Samoa cookies is uncanny, almost a little bit freaky. At only 3 points per bar though, you can actually afford to eat one! And, you can eat it all year long, not just when Girl Scout cookie sales are going on! I'm beyond excited about this find. Give them a chance, you will be shocked!

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Upside Down Baked Oatmeal

    I came up with this recipe for my friend Jamie when she was in a breakfast slump and bored of her usual oatmeal in a bowl. This is really easy to make and super low in points, which is how I like my breakfasts to be! You can use any fruit you want for this oatmeal, I went with bananas.


    This is also an awesome time to put your Capella Flavor Drops to use! I added about ten drops of the French Toast flavor to this batch of oatmeal...heaven! There are two really exciting things about this recipe. Number one is that it freezes beautifully, you can cut up equal portions, individually wrap them in plastic wrap and grab them and go in the mornings! The other exciting fact is that no matter how you slice this thing, the points cannot be beaten. By my ingredient list six servings would be approximately 3 points a piece, and four servings (1/4 of the ENTIRE pan!) would only be about 5 points. If you cut them even smaller at eight servings you're only looking at 2 points! You could even make them into muffins! All very reasonable numbers for your morning meal. Top it with more fresh fruit or fat free cool whip, maybe even a drizzle of sugar free syrup. Yum!



    Upside Down Baked Oatmeal
    •  2 bananas (or other fruit of your choice)
    • 2 c. uncooked oats
    • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
    • 1/2 t. salt
    • 1 c. lowfat milk
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/4 c. Splenda
    • 1 t. vanilla extract (or Capella Flavor Drops of your choice!)
    • 1 t. ground cinnamon
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
    Slice bananas and arrange in the bottom of the pan.
    Combine wet ingredients and then add in dry ingredients. Mix well.
    Pour mixture into pan, and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Adapted from:
    http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/breakfast-ideas-phase-2/83187-baked-oatmeal.html
    and
    http://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/?p=12247

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Green Bean Fries

    You can't see me, but I'm actually jumping up and down right now. As I type. Its quite a difficult feat to accomplish, you should all be very impressed. I am so incredibly excited about today! I've been on a major snack kick lately. As we all know snacking can be very dangerous when trying to lose weight. One chip turns into three, which turns into thirty. Not good.


     
    So I've been on the hunt for some tasty zero points snack items that I can grab when I have the munchies but can't afford to eat a whole bag of chips. Green beans are something I never (ever) buy fresh. To me they taste like dirty, grimy earth. I grew up on canned green beans and I much prefer them over fresh. Blame my mama if you want to (but don't say anything bad about her, or I'll have to hurt you), but its just the way I feel! When I came across this method, I knew there would be no way canned green beans would work for this because of the moisture in them.


     
    It was going to have to be fresh, so I bit the bullet, marched into Fresh Market (if you've never been there, you need to go to their website ASAP and see if there's one near you!) and walked out with two pounds of fresh green beans. These "fries" were SO good! They don't really taste like green beans at all, granted they don't taste exactly like french fries either, but still they totally satisfied my munchies. I make these several times a week, and especially on the weekends when the urge to snack is especially high. They are an amazing zero point snack!

    Green Bean Fries
    • fresh green beans, with the ends snapped off
    • sea salt
    • cooking spray

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 425.
    Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and toss green beans around (you may have to give them a little spray too.)
    Sprinkle with sea salt.
    Bake for 20-30 minutes until browned, flipping halfway through.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Spinach-Artichoke Flatbread

    Since discovering Cauliflower Pizza Crust, I've been experimenting with all sort of different toppings. I came across this recipe and it originally called for a store bought pizza crust. Pfft! We don't buy those anymore, its cauliflower all the way at my house. I did some tweaking, to make this more points friendly and I was shocked at how delicious the final product was.



    This is a mixture that you could use as a dip if you wanted, or you could just eat it with a spoon. You should just eat it with a spoon. My husband, who is always very candid about his feelings for my cooking (which I appreciate!) told me that this tasted just like spinach dip from a place like Outback. He gets to stay! So whether you try this as a flatbread or just as a dip, you won't be disappointed either way!




    Spinach-Artichoke Flatbread
    (8 servings @ 3pts a piece if you use the cauliflower pizza crust)

    • 1 cauliflower pizza crust, prebaked (or store bought pizza crust if you prefer)
    • 1T chopped garlic
    • 10oz frozen, chopped spinach - thawed and drained/squeezed dry
    • 14oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
    • 4oz reduced fat cream cheese
    • 8oz fat free sour cream
    • 1/2C parmesan cheese

    Directions:
    Prepare pizza crust and prebake.
    Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray.
    Saute garlic for 3-4 minutes, then add spinach and artichokes, cook for another 5 minutes.
    Add in parmesan cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and salt/pepper to taste.
    Allow mixture to come together for about 10 minutes.
    Spread the mixture evenly over the crust and bake for 8-10 minutes. You can add extra shredded cheese on top if you wish, but I personally don't think it needs it!

    Linked: Monday Mania

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Friday Finds: Capella Flavor Drops

    These things are amazing! I ordered a sampler of flavors from their website a few weeks ago:
    Vanilla Custard
    French Toast
    Chocolate Fudge Brownie
    Coconut
    Cinnamon Danish Swirl
    Caramel
    Pomegranite-Blueberry Water Flavoring


    These drops are highly concentrated and contain none of the bad stuff! Sugar free, fat free, gluten free, calorie free, artifical sweetner free, sodium free....I'll be honest, I don't know if I want to know what the drops are made of, but I do know that they are wonderful for a dieter!

    A few of the ways I've used them thus far include French Toast flavoring in baked oatmeal (which will be posted soon!). I added the coconut flavoring to fat free cottage cheese and mixed in some pineapple for an awesome Hawaiian treat. I also love adding the Blueberry-Pomegranite flavoring to my sparkling water, it tastes so fancy!

    The possibilities are endless with these drops, and so are the flavor choices. They have tons and tons to choose from. I feel like they should totally be throwing me a few free samples with all the free advertising I'm giving them right now!

    Go to Capella Flavor Drops for more info.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Bacon and Blue Cheese Pizza

    Let me start out by saying I hate blue cheese. I want to like it, I really do, but every time I order anything containing blue cheese I am sorely disappointed, and kicking myself because I knew better Alas, I never seem to learn my lesson and I keep ordering the stuff figuring one day I'll force myself to like it. Don't ask why I feel the need to like something I don't really like, just keep reading.

    While on our honeymoon in the Bahamas last month, there was a little outdoor pizzeria (I know, pizza in the Bahamas?) where you could sit on comfy sofas and look out at the ocean while eating. Aside from the killer view, the pizza was amazing! We were shocked! Every day they had a new special, or you could just order whatever toppings you normally like. It became one of our favorite lunch spots for the week we were there. Who couldn't get used to this? Sigh...

    On our last day there, about thirty minutes before we had to catch the bus back to the airport I decided we should get one last pizza to go. It was right around lunch time and airport food is crazy expensive, so I stepped up to place my order and was told that bacon and blue cheese was the special of the day. Awesome, I hate blue cheese, sign me up! So we got our pizzas, headed to the airport and after checking in we sat there eating our pizzas waiting for our flight. I was reluctant and positive that after one bite I'd have to find a second, more palatable lunch, but it was honestly one of the best pizzas I'd ever had! I was so bummed that I could have been eating those all week long! So of course I had to come home and recreate the masterpiece.

    Bacon and Blue Cheese Pizza
    Your points will be determined by what size crust you use and how much of the toppings/sauce you put on the pizza. Get your calculator and measuring cups out!
    • personal pizza crust (you could use cauliflower pizza crust, store bought, or Naan which is what I used here. Its higher in points, but one of my most favorite pizza canvases. Calculate points accordingly!)
    • blue cheese
    • bacon bits
    • fat free sour cream
    • mozzarella cheese
    • marinara sauce

    Directions:
    Spread marinara sauce over pizza crust.
    To soften the strong flavor of the cream cheese, I mix a little sour cream in with the crumbled blue cheese, mash it together with the back of a fork, and drop small spoonfuls onto the pizza crust. Spread around.
    Top with bacon bits and mozzarella cheese.
    Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted.




    Linked:
    http://www.foodonthetable.com/blog/
    http://kellythekitchenkop.com/category/real-food-wednesdays

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Stuffed Potatoes

    Carbs are often thought to be an extreme no-no when you're trying to lose weight. I have found that by eliminating carbs from my diet that I do drop weight more rapidly, but that I'm also a cranky witch. In addition the minute I eat another carb, I gain back all the weight lost by skipping the carbs in the first place.


    The one thing I love the most about Weight Watchers is that nothing is off limits. Absolutely nothing. I ate a piece of 22 point cheesecake the other day and still lost weight for the week! It's all about planning, planning, planning. Since carbs happen to be one of my favorite food groups, I love that I can still lose weight and eat them to my heart's content!


    Stuffed Potatoes
    Points for this recipe will depend on the weight of your potatoes, weigh them after cooking for accurate ounces!
    • 2 potatoes (points for this recipe will depend on the weight of your potato!)
    • 2T fat free sour cream
    • 2T Brummel and Brown Butter Spread (Or you can use fat free spray butter)
    • 1/2 reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
    • 2t bacon bits
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:
    Cook the potatoes in the microwave until fork tender.
    Slice in half and scoop out the insides of the potato, leaving some around the edges.














    Mix together potato, sour cream, butter, cheese and salt/pepper using the back of a fork to smash everything together.
    Divide the mixture between the potato halves.
    Top with bacon bits.
    Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Skinny Big Mac

    Oh yeah. We're going there. Now, to be honest, I'm not a huge Big Mac fan but I do love burgers. This is super quick and easy and satisfies my burger craving without costing me a day's worth of points. The trick to this one is a really low point veggie burger and Montreal steak seasoning. The seasoning really makes the veggie burger taste beefy and flavorful. Now, don't laugh at me, but when I made this I didn't have any hamburger buns, but I did have hot dog buns. So, I used that instead and just cut the burger in half! It worked perfectly and the buns I use (Whitewheat) are actually one less point for a hot dog bun than a hamburger bun. Score! (Since writing this I've since learned that Sara Lee Delightful Buns are the best bargain out there, two points for hamburger or hot dog!)


    I also really love the sauce that goes on this burger. I got the idea from my friend Sheree who passed on a Hungry Girl newsletter outlining how to make your own Mac Snack Wrap. I loved the idea of the sauce using ranch dressing and mayo. I also added a little ketchup in the mix and it was fabulous! I'm going to start mixing it up to go on everything. This is definitely going to be one of my new go-to lunches/dinners (hell, why not breakfast?) when I need something low point and fast. As in, a quick FIX. (P.S.that was a hint to the points value of this meal, if you use the brands I've listed, but as always, double check for yourself!)


    Skinny Big Mac
    • 1 Orginial Vegan Boca Burger
    • 1 slice of FF american cheese
    • 1 Whitewheat hot dog bun OR 1 Sara Lee Delightful Hamburger Bun
    • Montreal steak seasoning
    • 1t light mayo
    • 1t light ranch (I like Litehouse Lite Ranch - found in the refrigerated section with the salads)
    • 1t ketchup
    Directions:
    Preheat a skillet on medium and spray with cooking spray.
    Place veggie burger in skillet and sprinkle both sides with Montreal steak seasoning.
    Cook on both sides until done, melt cheese on top.
    Spoon sauce onto bun and add burger. (If you're using a hot dog but, cut the burger in half)
    Wipe out the skillet and spray once more with cooking spray.
    Place the entire sandwich in the skillet for about 1-2 mins per side to lightly toast the bun.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Friday Finds: Spring Rolls

    With the start of Weight Watchers, Friday's are going to be slightly different around here. Every Friday I'll be sharing a low-point food find that I'm really excited about! If you have recommendations, please feel free to share them!

    Without further adieu, today I bring you Lean Cuisine Spring Rolls. They come in three different flavors, as shown. I've tried the Thai style and the Fajita variety. Both were a-m-a-z-i-n-g! They come with a little crisper sleeve to use when you microwave them and I swear they taste just like spring rolls from an authentic Chinese restaurant! They are even the same size. The only downside is that there are two servings per box, you get three spring rolls per serving (I hate it when something is seemingly packaged as one item, but you can't eat the whole thing). They are packaged in three's though, so that makes it somewhat easier not to eat the whole box! They also advertise right on the front that the box contains two servings, which I appreciate. On Lean Cuisine's website as well as on the box they are listed as four points, but I've found that most of them are five points plus, the packaging just hasn't changed over yet. I highly recommend them!



    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Cauliflower Pizza Crust

    Ladies and Gentleman, I'm about to blow your mind. I know you probably think I've totally lost my marbles at this point after reading the post title today. When I first heard about this recipe from my friend Jamie (go say thanks to Jamie on her blog!) I thought it was impossible. No way will that be good. Well, it is. Really really good. Like, the week I first tried it, I ate pizza every night for dinner. Don't judge.


    Now, I'm not going to lie. You're going to have to want this one. It takes a tiny bit of effort, and a food processor. I know, you're very confused. This blog is supposed to be filled with recipes you can make in your sleep. The bonus is that if you rice a whole of head cauliflower (I had a huge one), you could potentially get six to eight cups of "dough" to work with. That means you could potentially get four or five pizzas out of this recipe! You could even freeze it for future use.


    Sometimes (okay, fine, most of the time) when I make this, I eat the entire pizza by myself. The points are phenomenal, the crust by itself is a mere 1+2, if you know what I mean, and topped with zero point veggies its a huge bargain. Although at those points you can afford to put just about anything on it! I am just over the moon with excitement about this recipe and I really hope that even though it sounds weird, you guys will give it a chance. I promise you won't be disappointed!


    Cauliflower Pizza Crust
    • 2C riced cauliflower
    • 1t garlic salt
    • 1/2t italian seasoning
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/2C reduced fat mozzarella cheese
    • toppings of your choice, also remember if you add more cheese on top to count it!

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 425.
    Cut cauliflower into small chunks and pulse in food processor until rice like consistency is met. It should look almost identical to rice.
    Place in microwave safe bowl (after ricing) with plastic wrap on top and microwave for 1-2 minutes.
    Mix cauliflower with remaining ingredients.
    Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and form mixture into desired shape (spray it WELL, it has a tendency to stick).
    Make sure its not too thin, somewhere around 1/4 an inch thick.
    Bake for 15 minutes until slightly browned.
    Remove and add your sauce and toppings.
    Bake for another 5-10 minutes to melt cheese and cook toppings. You can also broil it at this stage if the edges of the pizza are looking too dark.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Portabello Pizza

    Do you like eating a lot of food and still having little pants? Then today is for you! I made these one night for myself when the rest of the family was having pizza. Homemade pizza, but still more points than I wanted to spend on dinner, so I made these pizzas instead. I really love portabello mushrooms, they are so versatile and delicious! Be on the lookout for more points friendly portabello recipes soon.


    This meal is so filling and delicious and I think you will be pleased with its points value. Make sure you only use zero point veggies as a topping unless you want to count the extra points. I can't tell you the exact points or the WW police will come after me, but I can tell you that by my calculations (and with the specific brands I used) for the recipe as written (BOTH pizzas!), the points value rhymes with hive. And dive. Wink.




    Portabello Pizzas
    • 1/2C reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1/4 cup marinara or pizza sauce (I used Prego Traditional)
    • 2 portabellos
    • toppings (unless you are using 0 point vegetables, make sure you count any additional points added by your toppings!)
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400.
    Scoop out stem and gills from the inside of the mushroom cap.
    Spray a foil lined baking sheet with cooking spray.
    Place mushrooms top side down on the sheet and divide marinara sauce between the two caps.
    Finish with cheese and toppings.
    Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    White Chocolate Cheesecake (And an annoucement! And...)

    Happy Valentine's Day! I just couldn't fit all that in the post title. Whew.

    Okay, announcement first. The Pie Hole is going on a little diet in hopes to drop some of that honeymoon weight, plus a few extra pounds. We have a family beach trip planned in July and by then I hope to lose at least 20 pounds, who's with me? Don't all raise your hands at once. What if I promise you can still eat stuff like this:


    Does that convince you to stick around?
    All this really means is that there will be more figure friendly recipes posted around here in the coming months, but not to worry, I'll still indulge you too, especially since I have many, many recipes waiting in the queue that were there long before this whole diet (blah) thing took effect. Most of these recipes will be centered around the Weight Watchers program, my go-to plan when I am serious about dropping some pounds. But, even if you aren't following the plan (or looking to lose weight) I can promise that these meals will still be delicious!



    Getting on with your regularly scheduled program. You're probably asking yourself, "Self, did she just say she's going to post healthy recipes and the post of the day is White Chocolate Cheesecake???" You are correct! This recipe makes two servings, perfect for you and your Valentine this evening. The other exciting thing about this recipe is that its really more of a method. I recently learned of mixing yogurt and sugar free, fat free pudding mix together to make a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert. Its divine! I don't really even like yogurt, but I'm addicted to this. The flavor combinations are endless and it tastes more like a mousse than a yogurt. I made this one out of pistachio pudding!


    I chose to mix part cheesecake pudding and part white chocolate pudding into my yogurt for my "cheesecake" to make it White Chocolate Cheesecake. But you could do chocolate + cheesecake, strawberry + cheesecake, banana + cheesecake. Go crazy!

    White Chocolate Cheesecake
    • 2T graham cracker crumbs
    • 1tsp I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light
    • 1tsp splenda
    • 1.5C non-fat plain yogurt
    • 1tsp (heaping) sf/ff cheesecake flavored pudding mix, dry
    • 1tsp (heaping) sf/ff white chocolate flavored pudding mix, dry
    • 2 muffin cup liners 
    Directions:
    Crust
    Preheat oven to 350.
    Melt butter in a small bowl.
    Mix in splenda and graham cracker crumbs. (If you find that you need more butter, spray a couple squirts of fat free butter spray in there!)
    Divide graham cracker crumbs between the two muffin cup liners and gently press.
    Bake for 8-10 minutes.

    Cheesecake
    Whisk together yogurt and pudding mixes and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minute to an hour.
    Once crusts are cooled, divide the cheesecake mixture into each cup. (This crust is not a dense crust, so it will likely be easier to just eat it right out of the cup with a spoon instead of trying to take it out of the paper, but see what works for you!)
    Top with cool whip or a strawberry!


    Note: If you use Fiber One yogurt, it might be possible to take this down one more point, but I'm not sure. Let me know if anyone tries it!

    Nutrition Info: Fat 1.3, Carb 8.0, Fiber 0, Protein 5.6