Sunday, March 18, 2018

Eggplant Tomato "Stuffing" Bake

Hold the phone... stop what you're doing... and try this. I'm not going to lie, when my Weight Watchers leader Julie was raving about this recipe yesterday I was a bit skeptical. She compared it to stuffing. Now, stuffing is one of my favorite foods in the whole world... and the key to stuffing is bread. But this recipe doesn't contain any bread. It only contains vegetables. As I bought the ingredients I was doubting Julie... but as I began to prepare this I saw the potential.

Now, I will never be someone who will tell you sugar free jello mix and Greek yogurt tastes EXACTLY like cheesecake, so I'm also not going to tell you this tastes exactly like stuffing. But the texture is spot on and the taste is fabulous. It's like an Italian stuffing... the eggplant bakes down soft and almost bread-like (especially if you let it get crisp which I did)... the other vegetables and the breadcrumbs work well together, and parmesan cheese if life, so this was amazing. A must try. I'm even going to make it for Easter because I think it's that good.

Source: Adapted from my WW leader Julie, who got it from a member named Dawn

2 Weight Watchers Freestyle Points for about 1/6 of this (about 1 cup)


2 Large unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, then roughly diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Roma Tomatoes chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup of bread crumbs or panko
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp dried parsley

1- Preheat oven to 400°
2- In a large skillet , add a little bit of olive oil over medium heat; saute onion, red pepper, and garlic until onion is softened, 5 to 10 minutes.
3- In large bowl, combine tomato, eggplant, eggs, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and seasonings (except the dried parsley). Then stir in onion & pepper mixture until fully combined.
4- Spray Pam in a casserole dish. Then add mixture and cover with foil.
5- Bake in the preheated oven until eggplant is fork tender - about 40 minutes.
6-Remove foil and bake for additional 15 minutes until crispy. Stir. Return to the oven under the broiler for about five minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn.
7- Top with dried parsley and serve.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sweet Thai Shrimp Stir Fry

Confession: I like my shrimp overcooked. There. I said it. Now we can move on. I always knew I didn't like my shrimp the way most people did but this stir fry sealed the deal. As we were eating it John was raving and I thought they were too "juicy" so I cooked my shrimp more, probably to what most would consider rubbery haha, and loved them!

Weeknight meals are and always will be a challenge. With prioritizing my health it is not always easy to find weeknight meals I can get on the table and actually enjoy. This stir fry was perfect. It was full of flavor and easy to make. You can substitute any protein if you don't like shrimp, but you must try this!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

2 Weight Watchers Freestyle Points for 1/2 the recipe

1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
1 bag of frozen stir fry veggies (or substitute fresh), cooked
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp sweet Thai chili sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 lemon

1- Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the shrimp. Cook on one side and then flip to the other.
2- Meanwhile in a bowl stir together the soy sauce, chili sauce, garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper.
3- After the shrimp are fully cooked stir in the sauce and the veggies. Mix well. Squeeze the lemon over the skillet and stir.
4- Serve hot.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Turkey Breasts in an Orange Pan Sauce

I think I've mentioned before how much I'm loving "The Essential WW Freestyle Cookbook" from the WW centers (it's much cheaper in centers than at the link above, but you can get it on Amazon). There's a few recipes in there using turkey breast cutlets and I can honestly say I've never used turkey cutlets before. I had bought a pack with intentions of making a recipe in the cookbook and at the last minute just wasn't in the mood for it. A quick app search and I stumbled upon this recipe. I had everything on hand and just went with it. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! I don't know what I was expecting (I mean, I like turkey!) but this was very good. The sauce was tasty but tricky to work with. Mine got super thick so I had to thin it with additional broth (the recipe below reflects the amount I used). This whole dinner took 15 minutes to make so it's perfect for a busy weeknight....and it's delicious!

Source: Adapted from the Weight Watchers app

2 Weight Watchers Freestyle points for 1 /4 of the recipe

1 pound of turkey breast cutlets
Garlic powder
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half an orange
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp cornstarch (I'd think you can even use less)
3 Tbsp chopped green onions

1- Season the turkey breasts well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
2- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the turkey and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through (about 2 minutes per side for thin cutlets). Remove from the heat.
3- In a bowl combine the juice, zest, broth, and cornstarch. Wisk well. Pour the sauce into the skillet and stir often. Stir in the green onions and add the turkey back into the sauce, flipping so it coats both sides.
4- Serve hot

Monday, February 19, 2018

Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I have been committing to Weight Watchers for over two months now and I am down 18.8 pounds. I am happy with my progress, happy with my fitness (I was really out of shape and am getting back-slowly- to increasing my endurance), and happy with how I feel about the journey. One area I've needed to work to increase my happiness is with my food. I have made great choices but I have missed some of my old comfort foods. I decided I really needed to find ways to work my favorites in (hello cheese... pasta...bread...BACON!) and work to lower the points on these items. This chicken is a perfect example of this.

This chicken was indulgent tasting. The flavor was incredible but the points were low. With the exception of the bacon this is a recipe I always have all the ingredients for on hand so it's an easy weeknight meal. 

4 Weight Watchers Freestyle Points per breast

3 slices of center cut bacon
2 6oz chicken breasts (not the thin ones)
2 wedges of Garlic and Herb Laughing Cow cheese
2 tsp grapeseed oil (or any oil)
1/4 cup Cornflake crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1- In a large frying pan cook the bacon. Remove from the pan and crumble. Clean out the pan to remove the grease.
2- Preheat the oven to 375. 
3- Take each chicken breast and slice it in half in the middle so you can open the breast. Do not slice it all the way through, leaving it connected on one side.
4- Spread one wedge of Laughing Cow cheese on each breast.  Top with half the crumbled bacon.
5- Close the breast so the filling is covered. Dip the chicken into egg and the cornflake crumbs. Season with salt/pepper/garlic powder. 
6- Heat the oil in the skillet. Add the chicken and allow it to brown. Flip and allow to brown on the other side. 
7- Transfer to an oven safe dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Asian Chicken Pineapple Lettuce Wraps

It's not often that I make a meal and feel I need to blog it immediately, but this... this is one of those meals. Actually, as I'm typing this John is in the background finishing off this whole recipe... I think he's on his 6th lettuce wrap. Yup... it's that good. The peanuts add a great crunch, the pineapples add a great sweetness, the sauce is flavorful and just so good. I can pretty much assure you this will be a staple in our house. I'd happily serve it with rice, as lettuce wraps, or just in about any way you can imagine this!

The original recipe calls for mango but we prefer pineapple so I did make the modification, but you can swap out the pineapple for mango.

3 Weight Watchers Freestyle points for 2 wraps (4 servings total of 2 wraps per serving, 8 wraps for the whole recipe)

Source: Adapted from "The Essentials WW Freestyle Cookbook"

1 pound of chicken, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
8 large Bibb lettuce leaves
1/4 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped

1- Toss the chicken with flout and salt. Stir well.
2- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and begin to cook. While it's cooking stir the soy sauce and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
3- Add garlic, ginger, and scallions to the skillet. Stir. Add the sauce and continue cooking until the sauce coats the chicken and the chicken is cooked.
4- Stir in the pineapple and peanuts.
5- Remove the chicken mixture to a bowl. Divide evenly between 8 lettuce leaves.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Chicken Basil Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

Lately meal planning has been a really daunting task. I can't figure out why. I'm someone who loves to eat and cook, but for some reason lately the pre-planning is making me nuts. Someone at my Weight Watchers meeting was raving about the new "The Essential WW Freestyle Cookbook" sold at meeting centers so I decided to pick it up. I figured any inspiration would be a good thing.

The first recipe I tried was this stir fry. The original recipe calls for turkey but I chose to substitute chicken. Overall I kept the recipe pretty identical except I added more noodles because my store had a limited option with the noodles and I ended up buying a pack of precooked "heat and serve" rice noodles. This recipe was very good. I think next time I'd add some sriracha to give the sauce some heat, but otherwise we all loved it.

Source: Slightly adapted from WW Freestyle Cookbook

6 SmartPoints on the WW Freestyle program (per 1 3/4 cup serving)

7 ounces thin rice noodles, cooked
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/4 tsp salt
4 teaspoons grapeseed oil (or canola)
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups broccoli florets
2 small orange bell peppers, thinly cliced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into thin strips

1- Whisk together the broth, soy sauce, and corn starch. Set aside.
2- Sprinkle chicken with salt. Heat pan with 2 tsp oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the chicken and stir-fry until browned and cooked. Set aside on a plate.
3- Wipe out the skillet and add remaining oil. Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add broccoli, bell peppers, and scallions until veggies are tender-crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
4- Add the chicken, basil, and noodles to the skillet. Whisk broth mixture again and pour over skillet. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat until the sauce thickens.

Makes 4 servings, about 1 3/4 cup each.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Baked Chicken and Onion Rice

Well, hello out there! I've been chugging along on my Weight Watchers train but I haven't really been making anything new in the kitchen. Last week I feel into a dangerous habit- I didn't meal plan. I had stuff in the house, plenty of low point options, but I didn't plan. You know the old saying... "When you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Well, I was NOT looking to fail, but I definitely set myself up for a hard week. Every night was a battle to try to figure out what to make. Nothing I made last week was worth blogging, but I can finally say I committed to meal planning this week and have some good stuff coming your way.

The original title of this recipe is "Mom's Chicken and Rice" from Daily Dose of Pepper but it felt kind of... wrong... calling it that when this isn't MY mom's recipe haha. I made this a few weeks ago and it was everything I'd hoped for. It was carbs and more carbs, coated in sauce... carbs and sauce are pretty much my thing... so this was good. I also loved how easy it was to prepare. Sundays have become a bit of a meal prep marathon around here so I assembled this first and then stuck it in the fridge while I assembled everything else. So easy. This is husband approved, kid friendly... a winner.

4 Freestyle Smart Points for 1 heaping cup

1 10.5 oz 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 10.5 oz can of water
1 cup white rice
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast , raw
1 packet lipton recipe secrets onion soup mix (dry)
Cooking Spray
Salt & Pepper

1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2-Chop up chicken breast into small, uniform bite-size pieces.
3- In a large bowl, add chicken breast, soup mix, cream of chicken soup, water, and rice. Mix well until combined.
4- In a lightly sprayed casserole dish, add the chicken and rice mixture. Cover with tin foil.
Bake into the oven for 1 hour. Be sure to leave the foil on tight the whole time to properly cook the rice.