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Mozzarella Chicken

8 Mar

This was a simple and easy dish, that I served with rice, because I really like rice with tomato based sauces.  It turned out simple, pretty quick, and yummy.  The best thing about this one is that I have all the ingredients I need on hand at just about any time, so it doesn’t take much planning.

If you like the idea of this Mozzarella Chicken, check out my other Italian Recipes here.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 (6 oz) boneless skinless chicken breast filets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic, or 2 fresh cloves minced
  • 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional- to taste)
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (part skim)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat your oil in a large oven safe skillet, on medium heat.  Add chicken and sear until chicken is golden brown on each side, 2-3 minutes per side.
  3. Remove chicken and set it aside on a plate.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic to skillet. Cook about 1 minute before adding all of the following ingredients: crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper.
  4. Stir everything together well in the skillet, and cook on low about 4 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Return chicken to skillet nestling them into the sauce.
  6. Cover each chicken breast in 1/4 cup of cheese, and carefully place your skillet into a preheated oven.
  7. Bake until chicken is cooked through.  My breasts were on the thick side, so it took a little longer.  I recommend starting at 15 minutes and then checking regularly until internal temp reaches 165. Serve with chicken and 1/4 of the sauce per person.

4 servings= 315 calories each

 

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Penne and Italian Turkey Sausage

8 Feb

This was a quick, easy fix in my Instantpot tonight, but it would be super easy on the stovetop as well.  I’ll leave you directions for both.  This is a great quick and easy meal for a busy  night when you need something low in calories.  The trick is the penne.  I’ve found a low calorie penne (150 cal per 2 oz) at my local grocery store and it comes out tender and delicious just like the regular kind.  Keep in mind that my penne comes in a 12 oz box, and many of the regular types come in a 16 oz box, so you’ll have to adjust the water (if you use instant pot) and calories accordingly if you use the larger box.

Ingredients

  • 3 butterball sweet Italian turkey sausage links, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 12 oz of reduced calorie penne
  • 1 container of pre sliced mushrooms
  • 1 jar of prego light smart pasta sauce (32 oz) or mommy’s on a diet homemade marinara
  • 32 oz of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup white wine* (opt) or water
  • shredded parm and crushed red peppers for garnish (opt)

*white wine not included in calorie count

Directions:

Stovetop:

  1. Fill a large pot with about 4 cups of water, and bring to a boil.  Add penne and cook according to package directions.
  2. While water is boiling, warm 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet.  Cook turkey sausage slices in the skillet until they are browned on the outside and cooked through.
  3. Use about 1/2 cup of water or white wine (opt) to deglaze the pan, meaning, pour the liquid in and use a spoon to scrape all the bits off the bottom so nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add pasta sauce, mushrooms, salt, garlic, and oregano to pan.  cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally while you continue working on pasta.
  5. Once pasta has finished cooking, drain it well.  Once mushrooms have cooked down, add your pasta to the large skillet and toss sauce and pasta together.

Instantpot: 

  1. heat instant pot on sautee function.  Add oil, and then sausages to cook.
  2. Cook sausages in oil just until they are browned on outside.
  3. Literally add all other ingredients in, starting with sauce, then mushrooms, then seasonings, then water.  Don’t stir it up.
  4. Once everything else is in the pot, add pasta.  Poke all pasta down inside the water and make sure no pasta is exposed (it won’t cook if it’s exposed).
  5. Set your Instantpot to manual for 6 minutes.  Quick release as soon as timer goes off.
  6. If there is too much liquid when it’s done, either stir it and then replace cover and leave it sitting covered in the pot for about 5 minutes: or you can stir it up and heat on sautee, adjusting the heat to “less” and stir continuously until sauce thickens.

Makes 5 servings= 378 calories per serving

Low Calorie Homemade Pizza

10 Jan

 

So, this recipe is officially for pizza, but some folks don’t wan to go through the trouble of making sauce or they already have store bought sauce on hand.  Also, everyone likes different things on their pizza.  So I’m going to give you 2 things here.  I’ll give you the recipe for just crust, along with calorie count, and then I’ll give you my recipe for a cheese pizza.  That way if you make your own pizza, all you have to add are the calories associated with whatever toppings you choose to use.  This turned out much better than I expected.  In fact, the family loved it and it’ll definitely be making a return visit to my dinner table.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 single serve containers of plain greek low fat yogurt
  • 3 cups of self rising flower
  • 2 tablespoons of water

That’s it.  Yeah, I know. This sounds crazy, but it’s good I promise. Mix it together, knead with your hands for about 5 minutes, and voila!  Spray a large baking pan with sides down with nonstick spray.  Roll your dough out evenly to the edges of the pan, pressing any extra little dough up against the sides.  Use a fork to poke some holes throughout the crust and top your pizza with everything you want on it before baking. (13 min at 475).  Continue on if you wish to use my sauce recipe.

Pizza Sauce:

  • 2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 tablespoon of granulated garlic (garlic powder)
  • 1/2 tsp of oregano
  • 1/4 tsp of basil
  • just a dash of onion powder if you like it.

Instructions:

Mix ingredients together in a bowl and spread evenly over crust.

To make Cheese pizza:  add 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese and bake at 475 for 13 minutes.

Makes 5 average servings  or 4 pretty large servings. Cut into 15 slices (5 smaller servings, 3 slices each) or 8 large slices (4 servings, 2 slices each)

 

4 servings: Crust only= 345 calories             4 servings: Cheese Pizza = 580 Calories

5 servings: Crust only = 275 calories           5 servings: Cheese Pizza= 464 Calories

 

I used turkey pepperoni, turkey sausage, and fresh mushrooms on my pizza pictured here. Well.. parts of it. The lower bottom right quarter is just cheese for my picky kid:

pizza-2             pizza-1

 

 

 

Italian Meatball Sliders

26 Oct

This is a recipe that I originally tried through a home delivery service.  I ordered it, made it, liked it, but I saw a lot of opportunity to alter it and make it more calorie friendly, so that’s exactly what I did.  This is one we’ve eaten about 3 time in my house now, and the kids love the little surprise of melted cheese in the middle.  The husband loves that he can have a “meatball sub” basically for much lower calorie count. Either way, this one is a winner, and I hope you guys enjoy it too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of lean beef (i used 92%)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese (shreds, not powder)
  • 2 low calorie mozzarella string cheese sticks*
  • 1 cup of prepared pizza sauce
  • 8 mini slider buns*

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with foil.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together: Ground beef, garlic powder, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix thoroughly using a spoon or clean, bare hands.
  3. Place the mozzarella sticks on a cutting board and cut them each into 4 even segments.
  4. Form 8 meatballs from the ground beef mixture you’ve made and spread them evenly over the foil lined baking sheet.
  5. Use your thumb to press a deep well in the center of each meatball, large enough to insert one of the pieces of mozzarella.
  6. Shape the top of the meatball to cover the mozzarella, sealing the cheese in tightly so it reduces the amount of overflow that occurs during cooking/melting.
  7. Bake the meatballs for 25-30 minutes in the oven.
  8. Once meatballs are done, remove meatballs and foil from the pan and place the buns on the baking sheet, tops and bottoms separated from one another so the center of the bun is facing up.
  9. Place the buns into the oven and broil breifly until they are lightly browned.  Don’t take your eye off of them… it doesnt take long to go from lightly brown to “somebody call the fire department!”
  10. In a small skillet, heat the pizza sauce to warm, and place meatballs, cheese side up into the sauce.  Use tongs to move meatballs around just enough to pick up some sauce on the outsides.
  11. Remove buns from oven, and place 1 meatball on each bottom bun.  Spoon a little sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with extra parm if you’ve got it, and place the top bun over the meatball.  Enjoy.

*Editors note:  I used premade slider buns that were 80 calories each. My cheese sticks were 50 calories each.  You can freeze the cheese sticks ahead of time if you feel yours melted too much during cooking.

Serving size= 2 Sliders   446 calories

Serving 1 slider= 223 calories

**NOTE: I am no longer following weight watchers and am no longer comfortable calculating weight watchers points values with any accuracy.  Please feel free to use your ww recipe builder to calculate points if necessary.

meatball

 

Tomato Basil Soup

2 Feb

I have long had an aversion to canned tomato soup.  I’ve hated it since I was a kid, and for a long time I thought i didn’t like Tomato Soup at all.  Then, in college, I discovered tomato basil soup at a local restaurant, and from that point on, I was in love.  I’ve wanted to try this at home for years, but never got around to it.  I try not to eat it too often out anymore, because the calorie count can vary dramatically depending on the use of butter and heavy cream.  So, it seemed like I just needed to skinny up some tomato soup and make it at home.  Last weekend, I finally got around to it and the results are delicious.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Red onion, diced
  • 32 oz (one big box) of Vegetable Stock
  • 3 TBSP of minced garlic, or 3 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed
  • 1 (28 oz) Can of Crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup- 1 cup of half and half
  • About 10 leaves of fresh basil, cut into little pieces
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place red onions in a 4 qt pot with about 1 cup of vegetable stock.  Bring to a Simmer and simmer onions for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic to the onions and continue to simmer about 3 additional minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper into the mixture, and bring to a boil.  Once it begins to boil, reduce heat back to a simmer.
  4. Continue to simmer soup for about 15 additional minutes, stirring periodically.
  5. If you have a great immersion blender, you’ll use it at this point to puree the soup into a smooth blend.  If you do not have a great immersion blender, you can use your regular blender, but listen up here..this is important.  Do not pour the entire pot of soup into the blender at once.  If you do, the boiling soup is going to explode out of the top of the blender and all over you when you hit the button, trust me on this one.  Divide the soup into 2-3 batches, and after blending each one, return them all back to the pot. Your blender shouldn’t be more than 1/2 full with each batch.
  6. Once all your stuff is blended well and back in the pot, stir in your half and half, and your basil and salt and pepper to taste.   Continue to simmer the soup about 10-15 minutes or until it reaches the consistency you enjoy.

My batch used 3/4 cup of half and half, and i think it turned out nicely.  If you use 1 cup, add about 10 calories per serving.

 

6 (1 Cup) Servings= 105 Calories per cup

Approximately 2 weight watchers points plus per cup

Zucchini with Tomato Gravy

24 Jan

This was a yummy side dish that I quite enjoyed.  The sauce is lovely and quite different.  It can be used over baked or broiled chicken or pork chops as well.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 large green zucchini squash, washed and sliced
  • 1 cup of tomato juice or V8
  • 1/3 cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 TBSP light Butter (I use one that’s 50 cal/tbsp)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions: 

  1. Mix half of the tomato juice and all the corn starch in a small bowl and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  2. In a small skillet, mix tomato juice/cornstarch mixture, remaining 1/2 cup of tomato juice, chicken broth, salt, pepper and garlic powder to the pan.
  3. Bring the tomato gravy mixture to a boil.  Reduce Heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, until thick.
  4. Remove tomato gravy from heat and stir in 1 TBSP of light butter.
  5. In a separate skillet, melt remaining 1 TBSP of butter.
  6. Add sliced zucchini to the melted butter, stir and cook for about 5 minutes until zucchini is soft.  Add a little salt and pepper to the zucchini as it’s cooking.
  7. Once Zucchini is cooked, divide into 4 equal servings of zucchini, topped with tomato gravy.


Makes 4 servings= 76 Calories per serving

Appx 1 weight watchers points plus per serving

 

White Lasagna

17 Jan

This is a dish that can very easily be made vegetarian, by using veggie broth and omitting Chicken, so I’m listing it as “vegetarian friendly” and including the calorie count for both versions. This is a “weekend” recipe, meaning, it takes some time and love to put together. It’s not a “quick and easy” but it is yummy, and I hope you enjoy.

NOTE: I made mine ahead, put it all together and let it sit in the fridge assembled for about 1 1/2 hrs before baking. This is an easy “make ahead” meal. It’s also a good “make an extra one to freeze for later” meal. Just use an aluminum pan, and wrap the extra one tightly in saran wrap, then foil. Freeze, and when ready to cook set it out to thaw- then remove all the foil and plastic, cover back with foil, and bake as directed.

OK.  Here we go.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cooked chicken, diced or shredded (optional)
  • 8 oz reduced low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (divided)
  • 1 tsp italian herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 a tsp each)
  • 3 cups of baby spinach leaves, fresh
  • 9 No-boil Oven ready bake lasagna noodles (the long wavy ones)
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, rough chopped into quarters
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Sauce:

  • 3 TBSP light butter or margarine (50 cal per tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced bell pepper (any color)
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp flour (i like seasoned flour. here’s the one I use)
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 of paremsan cheese from list above

Instructions: 

  1. Wash, dry, and cut all veggies as described above, and set each aside for now.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together: Ricotta, half of your paremsan cheese, egg whites, italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  3. Stir your spinach leaves into the ricotta, mix thoroughly, and set the mixture aside for now.
  4. Next, you’re going to make your sauce.  I used a 1 qt sauce pan and a wire whisk.  First thing, melt the butter in the suace pan.
  5. Add onions and peppers, and stir constantly for about 3 minutes until onions are clear.
  6. Mix in your garlic and continue cooking and stirring about 30 seconds longer.
  7. Add flour into mixture, and stir until flour is well incorporated.
  8. Pour milk into mixture and stir until flour mixture is incorporated into milk and there are no lumps.  Add chicken broth and continue to stir and cook until mixture begins to thicken (about 3-5 min).
  9. While your sauce is cooking, fill a 9×13 pan about 1/2 way with hot water and place your lasagna noodles into the pan to sit for 5-8 min (no longer than that).
  10. Once your sauce is thickened a bit, remove from heat and stir in nutmeg a remaining parmesan cheese.

Assemble your lasagna:

  1. Using a 9×9 pan, sprayed with nonstick spray, Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the pan and swirl it around until it covers the bottom.
  2. Trim all of your lasagna noodles to fit inside the pan.  You’ll have to cut about 3 inches off the end of each one. I used kitchen scissors.  Set noodles aside on a paper towel to dry.
  3. Layer the following items on top of the sauce:  3 noodles, side by side, slightly overlapping one another: Spread 1/2 of spinach mixture on top of noodles evenly.  Sprinkle 1/2 of your mushrooms and onions over that.  Next, spread 1/2 of chicken evenly over mixture. Top with about 1/2 cup of sauce poured evenly over top.
  4. Repeat that layer one more time, reserving about 1/4 cup of sauce for the top of the lasagna.
  5. Layer your last 3 noodles over your top layer, creating the top of the lasagna.  Spread remaining sauce over top, and then add mozzarella evenly over the top of the sauce.
  6. Bake, covered in foil for 40 min on 375 degrees.  Remove foil and bake another 12 minutes.

Let lasagna sit 5-10 min before cutting to serve (don’t skip this step or it will be watery)

Makes 6 servings= 300 calories per serving (as written)

255 calories without chicken