Strawberry Froyo

29 Jun IMG_9911

This recipe was time consuming, but the ice cream was pretty yummy. The kids loved it.  I’ll probably make this again, but it’s a weekend recipe (takes some time).  Please keep in mind that this recipe is finicky.  You have to let it freeze just the right amount of time, and it has to be eaten right away, and it’s a lot of work… but i’m glad i made it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups 1% milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP Splenda no-calorie sweetener
  • 1 Cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 TBSP honey

Directions:  

1. Place strawberries in a small food processor and puree until only small chunks remain.

2. Combine yogurt, splenda, vanilla and honey in a bowl. Mix in strawberries and 1/2 cup milk.

3. Pour mixture into a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag. Lay the bag flat, and spread the mixture into an even layer pressing to eliminate air pockets. Close the bag and lay it flat on a shelf in the freezer.

4. Freeze the mixture 3-4 hours

5. Remove the bag from thee freezer and break the mixture into small pieces.

6. Place the pieces in the bowl of a food processor; add remaining milk and blend until smooth.

7. Pour ice cream into an 8×4 bread pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer.

8.  Freeze for 1-2 hours, and serve immediately.  If you freeze it longer, and it gets too hard to scoop, let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes or until it’s scoopable.

Editors Note: I actually added 1 drop of red food coloring before freezing the first time.  You don’t have to, but i liked the color :)

Makes 8 servings= 85 calories per serving

appx 2 weight watchers points plus


Enchilada Verde Chicken Casserole

25 May IMG_9690

This was pretty family friendly, and it’s derived from a recipe i found in cooking light.  They suggested making one of these in a glass pan for now, and one in an aluminum pan to freeze for later.  I’m always looking for something easy and handy on a busy night of piano, or girl scouts, or t-ball, so that’s exactly what I did. I haven’t reheated the frozen one yet to see how it turned out, but if you want to do this too, simply take the one you want to freeze out of the oven after 10 min, let it cool entirely, Cover tightly with foil and freeze for “upto 2 months.”  Bake it uncovered at 400 for 45 min.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (separated into 2 1 tbsp portions)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, (divided into 2 even 3/4 cup portions)
  • 4 scallions, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (1 cup ish)
  • 7 medium sized fresh tomatillos, quartered
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 15 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Directions:

1. Bring 2 cups water, pepper, 1 tbsp garlic, and bay leaf to a boil in a large saucepan. Add chicken to pan and reduce heat and simmer, 15 minutes. Stir every 5 min or so.  Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks.  Place chicken, salt, 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, and scallions in a bowl and mix well.

2. Place 1 tbsp minced garlic, cilantro, tomatillos, and chiles in the blender or food processor and “puree” until finely chopped. Add milk and cream cheese; process until smooth.

3. Coat 2 (8-inch) square glass or ceramic baking dishes with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup tomatillo sauce in the bottom of each dish.  Cut each of 15 flour tortillas in half.

4. On top of the sauce, arrange 5 tortilla halves (place 4 around edges, flat side against each edge of the pan, and one in middle). Top each dish with one-fourth of chicken mixture. Top each layer with 1/4 cup tomatillo sauce again.

5. Repeat layers once more:  Tortillas, remaining Chicken, 1/4 cup tomatillo sauce.   Finally, top each pan with one last layer of  remaining Tortillas, and remaining tomatillo sauce.

6.  Spread remaining 3/4 cup of Monteray Jack Cheese evenly over the top of both pans.

7.  Cover pans in foil and Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.

Garnish with plain greek yogurt and diced tomatoes if desired (not captured in calorie count here)
Makes 8 Servings= 320 Calories per serving
appx 9 weight watchers points plus
 

Pasta Carbonara

22 Apr IMG_9512

So, I was super excited about this dish.  Not even because Pasta Carbonara is delicious, but because, it’s a little more complicated, as far as cooking goes.  If you don’t do this just right you’ll end up with spaghetti and scrambled eggs, so, listen up and read the directions carefully :)  I hope you guys enjoy this as much as we did. Be careful about the bacon you buy. you should get a package that’s no more than 70 calories for 2 slices (my favorite is 50 cals).

Ingredients: 

  • 4 Slices of Center cut bacon
  • 4 TBSP finely chopped onion
  • 12 oz of pasta (i used fettuccini, but spaghetti works too)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup 1% milk
  • 2/3 Cup Shredded parmesan and Romano cheeses (i used a mix of Parm/romano/asiago)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 12 oz Boneless, skinless chicken
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste (for chicken)

Directions:

  1. Season chicken, and get it on the grill.  When it’s done grilling, pull it off and set it aside for now.
  2. Cut bacon slices into little pieces using kitchen scissors, about 1/4 inch square.
  3. In a large skillet, cook bacon on medium high heat until it’s crispy.
  4. Start a pot of boiling water for your pasta, and once it boils, toss the pasta in to cook.
  5. While Bacon is cooking, mix the following items in a large bowl:  Eggs, Milk, Salt, Pepper, cheese.  Whisk until everything is smooth and well incorporated. You need to do this while the bacon is cooking.  The egg mixture needs to be ready to go when the pasta finishes cooking.  You don’t want to let the pasta sit.
  6. When bacon is finished cooking, remove bacon bits and set aside.  Leave grease in pan and use it to sautee the onions until soft, then set the pan, with onions and grease, to the side.
  7. When pasta has finished cooking, remove 1/3 cup of the water before draining.
  8. Very slowly poor the pasta water into the egg mixture, while whisking constantly.  If you’re pouring the water too fast, or not stirring you may end up cooking the egg, which you don’t want yet.
  9. Once Pasta water and egg mixture are well combined, drain your pasta.  Don’t let it sit and dry out or cool down. It’s alright if you don’t get all the liquid out entirely.
  10. Put the pasta into the bowl and mix with egg mixture.  You need to be stirring constantly.
  11. Pour egg and noodle mixture into the pan with bacon grease and onions.  Stir over low heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. The sauce should begin to thicken.
  12. Once sauce has reached a good consistency (silky and smooth), mix in bacon and divide evenly into 4 plates or bowls.
  13. Slice chicken and divide among dishes.

Garnish with crushed red pepper or fresh parsley if desired.

Editors note: Seriously. don’t stop stirring, and don’t turn the heat up too high once you get everything in the pan! You’ll end up with scrambled eggs, which is not what we’re going for here :)

Makes 4 servings= 550 Calories per serving

Approximately 14 weight watchers points plus per serving

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

21 Apr IMG_9508-0

Um. Bacon.  Yes please!  I happen to also love fresh Brussels sprouts, so for me, this is a match made in Heaven.  Turns out Bacon, by itself, is really high in calories, but if you just use 2-3 pieces to cook with, it’s not so bad.  Also, I like to buy the center cut bacon, because it tends to have less fat, and be lower in calorie.  At any rate, I never buy bacon that has more than 80 calories per 2 slices.  You have to be careful.  Some of the get up to 120 calories for 2 slices.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs of fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 4 Slices of bacon
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons light butter or margarine (50 cal per tbsp.)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • (Optional) 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Cut the ends off each Brussels sprout, and then cut each Brussels sprout in half, vertically. Go ahead and quarter the really big ones.
  2. Cut Bacon into tiny pieces (I use kitchen scissors),and place them in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, reserving bacon grease in the skillet.  Set bacon bits aside for later.
  4. Melt Light butter or margarine in same pan with bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add onions and Brussels Sprouts and stir to coat them.
  5. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sprouts begin to soften, about 10-15 minutes. They will have some char to them, which is good. Once they’re softened to your liking, Stir in salt and pepper, vinegar (optional) and  bacon. Serve immediately.

Editors note: I like to cover the pan with a see through lid during the last half of cooking so the steam softens the sprouts a little more. 

 6 servings= 105 Calories per serving

6 Servings= appx 2 weight watchers points plus per serving

 

 

Roasted Squash and Zucchini

20 Apr IMG_9503

This is one of my favorite summer side dishes.  I could literally eat a bowl full for dinner. I love this stuff. I hope you do too!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 green zucchini sliced (about 2 cups worth)
  • 1-2 yellow squash, sliced (about 2 cups worth)
  • 1/2 a purple onion, sliced in large “chunks” (basically quarter 1/2 an onion)
  • 2 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp  black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475, and place a large baking sheet In the oven while it heats.
  2. Mix sliced vegetables, oil, salt and pepper.  I like to just throw them into a big ziplock freezer back and shake them around until everything’s covered.
  3. Spray the baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  4. Spread veggies in a single layer and bake for 15-20 min, turning once about halfway through.

Makes 4 Servings= 65 Calories per serving

1 serving = 1 weight watchers points plus

Chocolate coconut cookies

19 Apr IMG_9491

These little gems were super low calorie, and pretty delicious! I think next time I’ll add a tsp of almond extract and call them “almond joy.”

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. Sift together confectioners sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa and flour. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix egg whites until soft peaks form.
  1. Slowly mix in cocoa mixture a little at a time until incorporated.
  2. Stir in coconut.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Using a 1 tbsp cookie scoop, place batter on sheet about 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake at 325 for 22 min.
  6. Cool completely before serving.

1 cookie= 45 calories

2 cookies= 90 calories

1 cookie= appx 1 weight watchers points plus

2 cookies= appx 3 weight watchers points plus

 

Vegetable Beef Soup

18 Mar IMG_9223-1

Hi Friends!  Winter is winding down here in Kentucky, so I thought I would take this last cool week (i hope) to make a pot of Vegetable soup.  Now, Veggie soup is something I’ve made since, well, I don’t even remember when.  But, for whatever reason, I never thought to post it here.  Veggie soup is so versatile, which is one of the things I love about it.  For instance, nobody in my family ever made meatless vegetable soup, but I cooked it for 10 years during my vegetarian days.  My mom always included stew meat, and my granny always made it with ground beef.  Today, we’re going to go the ground beef route, but if you’re a vegetarian, you could easily just leave the beef out, so I’m going to mark this one “vegetarian friendly” over there on the categories column as well.

One of the characteristics I always found interesting in my granny’s soup, was her ability to get the ground beef to break up into a very fine texture.  I asked her how she did it like that, and she just said she didn’t really know.  So, after years of experimenting (including a couple of years where i literally poured a whole lb of ground beef into a blender) I finally got my own technique that works.  You’ll notice the “boil and stir” method in my directions below.  If you like big chunky ground beef, you can skip that and omit the broth altogether.  This is not my Granny’s recipe per-se, but it combines her beef technique with my mom’s addition of chopped cabbage, which is my favorite thing about her soup. So this is the best, of both.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 can of beef broth
  • 2 cans of original “Veg-all”
  • 1 Large can of V8 juice (use the whole thing- 46 oz)
  • 1 can (15 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chopped raw cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, on the stovetop, combine 1 lb ground beef and 1 can broth.  Cook on medium, and stir the heck out of the beef until it all breaks up into a weird beefy sludge. (appetizing, i know…but this is how you get the really fine beef I talked about).  Continue cooking on stovetop, and stirring, until all the beef has browned.  Then drain the beef in a colander over the sink.  You don’t even need the broth. It’s strictly for beef-texture purposes.
  2. Now, combine all those other ingredients, including beef, into a crockpot or a large pan on the stove top.  If you’re using the crock pot, cook on low for 5-6 hours.  If you’re doing the stovetop, just simmer it for an hour or so until the cabbage is nice and done.

Makes 10 cups of soup

1 cup = 145 calories per serving

Approximately 3 weight watchers points plus 





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