Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Grilled Veggies


This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer and it also means “Grilling Season” (although for those of us who love to grill I’m sure this started already!).

For those of you who have been following my blog and are more interested in some of my “healthier” posts, I just wanted to say that despite my lack of posting about my weight loss journey and Slimmed Down Sensations, I am still going strong (just not as quickly as I’d hoped)!  I’m still filling up with lots and lots of veggies and made this side the other night with dinner. It does have a higher Weight Watchers Points Plus value because of the oil, but I’ve played around with it a bit and found that this was the minimum amount of oil I could use to get that great flavor. Throughout the meal I couldn’t stop mentioning how awesome the veggies were! I completely cleaned my plate!!

 For me to rave about vegetables is MONUMENTAL!! This makes a really big portion and is very filling. I used a grill basket to put everything in. You could do this on foil, but you won’t get the same chargrilled taste. Also, if you are very particular about the texture of your veggies you may want to add the different veggies based on the length of time they’ll take to get done…for instance the carrots, broccoli and eggplant will take a little bit longer than the asparagus & onions. I put everything on at the same time and the asparagus, onions and even the broccoli were a little bit softer than they should have been, but this really didn’t bother me because the overall flavor was so good I didn’t even think about the texture. You could also par-boil the carrots to soften them up and they won’t need to be on the grill for so long.  You can pretty much add whatever veggies you want, but for me the veggies listed in the recipe have been the best combo I’ve tried so far.

 So without further ado…here is my grilled veggie recipe (modified from an Emeril recipe ).

Cheers to Grilling Season!!!!

Grilled Veggies (Makes 4 servings; 1 serving = 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus)

(Source: Emeril Lagasse)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 small eggplant, cubed

4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

6-8 asparagus spears, cut into 1″ pieces

1 small head of broccoli, chopped

1 small onion, sliced

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh herbs.
  2. Prepare vegetables as stated above and add to a large Ziploc bag.
  3. Pour marinade over vegetables and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Preheat grill to medium heat and place vegetables in a grill basket over direct heat for about 10 minutes.
  5. After the first 10 minutes move grill basket to indirect heat for another 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
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Slimmed Down Cakes!!


Well, as expected, this week’s weigh-in was not a pleasant one….gained 2 lbs. Although I am not surprised between feeling lousy (stupid allergies!) and eating badly (it had to be the all you can eat meat buffet I took Hubby to for his b-day or the ice cream cake I made him!) I’ve just had a rough week. I’m really hoping I can get my butt back in the saddle ASAP because summer is quickly approaching and I am nowhere near where I want to be. I just have zero motivation…even the things that normally motivate me are not…just feeling kind of blah.

So I’m wondering what those of you out there do when you feel this way? How do you keep up your motivation? I really could use some advice. It’s so disheartening when I was doing so well and I thought I was really changing for the better…here I am 2 lbs heavier…:(

Anyway, enough of that pity party nonsense. Let’s get to something more interesting…like CAKE!

So as I mentioned in Sunday’s post I wanted to share some “Slimmed Down” cake recipes. I do not actually have my own recipe that I’ve come up with but I can tell you what I’ve found to be the tastiest recipes from others. Hungry Girl offers this information for cake mix and I’ve tried the pumpkin, diet soda, and yogurt versions. I have to say that my favorite is the pumpkin. It is the truest to tasting like whatever flavor cake mix you are using and has a nice texture and remains moist. The yogurt is pretty good too and the diet soda version is just “ok.” It makes an unusual texture (but stays moist) and depending on what flavor combo you use (for example: vanilla cake mix with lemon lime soda) you can taste the flavor of the soda.

Cupcake Made from Yellow Cake Mix and Diet Lemon-Lime Soda

Then there’s microwave cakes…I’ve seen so many different ways to make microwave cakes either from scratch or with a cake mix & have tried most of them, that it’s hard to even keep track of which is better than which. However, I have to say my favorite at this point is a recipe I came across on the Taste of Home website Community Boards called 3-2-1 cake (If you do a google search for this you will find a gazillion bloggers have already blogged this so I’m not sure where the recipe originated). First and foremost it’s only 2 Weight Watchers Points Plus (most of the other individual microwave cakes are 3 or 4 WWPP) and second it is the easiest to make. Basically you combine a box of angel food cake with any flavor cake mix in a large Ziploc bag. Then when you want cake you simply measure 3 tbsp. of the angel food/cake mix mixture into a small microwaveable dish, then add 2 tbsp. of water stirring until all the lumps are gone and then microwave for 1 minute! Comes out perfect and tastes great!

Another one of my favorites is to make a pumpkin cake in the microwave using 2 tbsp. of yellow cake mix, 1 tbsp. of pumpkin, and ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice. This cake is great with a scoop of fat free vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. The individual cake is also only 2 WWPP.

Last month when I made Hubby his Cadbury Cupcakes, I made a slimmed down version using devil’s food cake mix and pumpkin. Below is the recipe to make 4 cupcakes and a slimmed down frosting (will make enough for the four cupcakes). You will need a food scale to weigh the ingredients of the cupcakes. This is the best way to figure out the appropriate amount for a small batch of cupcakes. If you want to make the Cadbury cupcakes like the ones pictured, just add one mini Cadbury Crème Egg to the batter. This will make the WWPP go up to 4.

 

Slimmed Down Devil’s Food Cupcakes (Adapted from Hungry Girl)

Makes 4 cupcakes (WWPP = 3)

3 oz. devil’s food cake mix

2.5 oz. canned pumpkin

  1. Combine cake mix and pumpkin in a bowl and mix until well combined. Mixture will be thick, but do not add water!
  2. Divide batter into a muffin tin.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree F preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Slimmed Down Vanilla Frosting(Makes enough for 4 cupcakes, approx. 1 tbsp per cupcake. WWPP = 1)

2 tbsp. fat free Cool Whip, thawed

1 tsp. Sugar Free Fat Free Instant Vanilla Pudding

1 tsp. fat free or skim milk

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined and smooth.
  2. Top each cupcake with approximately 1 tbsp. of frosting.
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Slimmed Down Caesar Salad Dressing


Wednesday was my Week 9 weigh-in with a loss of .5 pounds. Happy to see that I lost this week after last week’s stand-still. I’m still moving at a snail’s pace, but I am ok with that…as long as I keep losing that’s all that really matters.

Remember last week how I went on to preach about how I can feel my bad habits and lifestyle changing (much to my own amazement!)? Well here is another example…the other day I ran to the grocery store for a few random items that we were out of and ended up with a huge basketful of mostly all fresh veggies! I was in total shock when I noticed this as I placed everything on the belt at the checkout.

I never go to the grocery store and only get the one or two things I need…I always end up buying  extra things…things like snacks, candy, cupcakes, chips, etc. This time, I didn’t even give those things a second thought but was compelled to go a little overboard in the produce section! The best part about this was that I genuinely just thought “oh that looks good.” Not, “I guess I’ll get some broccoli and force myself to eat it because it is healthy.” The next best part…I wasn’t even thinking about the goodies that I was bombarded with throughout the store (you know those bright & colorful displays of cookies, cakes & donuts?!).

Now some of you may be thinking, “so what? I always stock up on produce.” But for a junk food junkie like me this is amazing! I feel so proud…this is such a big accomplishment. So for those of you who can relate…don’t give up! Just keep working to break those bad habits and before you know it you’ll be over-spending in the produce section instead of the bakery!!

So to commemorate this special event…here is my recipe for Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. This is probably my favorite kind of salad….but as I’m sure those of you who are watching what you eat know…Caesar dressing is loaded with fat (especially the “creamy” version)! So to make the dressing a little healthier I’ve altered my usual Caesar dressing by decreasing the oil and adding chicken stock to make it go a little bit further. The chicken stock does make the dressing a bit more runny than regular dressings, but if you add the dressing to the salad and shake it up in a container with a lid, you’ll never even notice that it’s thin…you’ll just taste the great flavor. You can pretty much make your Caesar salad however you like but I’m including how I make the whole thing. I’ve only included the Weight Watchers Points Plus for the salad dressing, though. If you follow WW I’m sure you can figure out the points value based on the amount of chicken you use along with any other ingredients you may add.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Slimmed Down Caesar Dressing

2 oz. grilled or baked boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned with salt, pepper & garlic powder

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

4 Fat Free Caesar-style croutons

2 tbsp. “Slimmed Down Caesar Dressing”

  1. Chop or slice grilled chicken breast.
  2. In a large bowl with a lid add the lettuce, cheese, and chicken.
  3. Add dressing and place lid on bowl. Shake to coat.
  4. Place salad on a serving plate and top with croutons.

Dressing: (Makes 6 servings; 1 serving = 2 tbsp. Weight Watchers Points Plus = 2)

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. orange juice

4 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

½ cup chicken stock

2 tbsp. olive oil

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. Combine all ingredients, except for the olive oil and parmesan cheese, in a food processor or blender. Blend until well combined.
  2. While the blender is running on low, slowly pour in the olive oil to emulsify.
  3. Add the parmesan cheese and run for a few more seconds to incorporate the cheese.
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Whole Wheat Pancakes


Are you sick of breakfast posts from me yet???

This is my last one, at least for a while. I thought it would be good to do a “theme” this week. 🙂

Today’s post is for whole wheat pancakes. I love making these in advance and then freezing them in individual servings. Be sure to make them small enough to make 15 pancakes. You can then eat three pancakes for only 3 Weight Watchers Points Plus! They are filling and the sight of three pancakes on my plate (even though they are small) makes me feel like I am eating a whole lot. I like these just as is, but of course you can add fruit or chocolate chips.

Breakfast Foods Rule!!!

Whole Wheat Pancakes (Makes 5 servings; 1 serving = 3 pancakes; WW PointsPlus = 3)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup almond milk (original, unsweetened)

2 tbsp. Splenda

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

¼ cup refrigerated egg substitute (i.e. Egg Beaters)

  1. In a medium bowl whisk the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, & salt), then add wet ingredients and mix well.
  2. Poor about ¼ cup pancake batter onto a pre-heated griddle or non-stick frying pan. When batter forms bubbles on top, carefully flip the pancakes and cook for another minute until cooked through and golden brown.
  3. Serve with fresh fruit or ¼ cup sugar free pancake syrup.
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Chocolate Chip Yogurt Waffles


So yesterday’s post was for some really good waffles made with Carbon’s Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour. Today is the “Slimmed Down” version I have promised you all. This recipe is so tasty and filling! This makes one large Belgian waffle, so I eat half as a serving and it is definitely enough. If you have a smaller waffle maker this may make more than one waffle, so you’ll need to adjust your serving size accordingly.

The key ingredient in this recipe is to replace the egg and butter with nonfat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great substitute for many things and is great in baking, as well as in pancakes and waffles (check out this substitution chart I came across on Pinterest). I do add just a teaspoon of olive oil, but this is completely optional. I think it gives it that little extra something and it doesn’t change the Weight Watchers Points Plus value. Also, you can omit the chocolate chips and have a plain waffle or add fruit to it instead.

If you don’t have Carbon’s you can probably substitute Bisquick or another pancake/waffle mix. When I don’t have any Carbon’s on hand, then I use this recipe for Almond Flour Yogurt Waffles as my next favorite waffle. It is also extremely delicious and it is low-carb and gluten free. This blog, All Day I Dream About Food, has a lot of good low-carb recipes, so I would definitely recommend checking it out. Another thing that I do that really comes in handy is that I make a big batch and then divide it into single servings and freeze (usually freeze in Ziploc freezer bags or my Foodsaver). That way, I can just grab one for breakfast whenever I want.

Which brings me to the “advice” part of this week’s “slimmed down” post…

This time around on my “diet” I make sure to eat something different for breakfast, lunch & dinner pretty much every day. From what I’ve read and now have experienced first hand, it is important to keep your body guessing what’s coming next varying the foods you eat and the amount of calories at each meal. This may be something you’ve heard before, which I had, but being the picky eater that I am…not to mention the food jags I experience from time to time, I never paid it much attention. For me, it became clear this time around because I had some comparison. This time around (using Weight Watchers) I have been consistently losing weight each week (except for this past week, but I already knew that was coming I’m just glad I didn’t gain!) and I have not been growing tired of eating the same thing or same types of foods. My comparison is from two years ago when I decided that Nutrisystem might be a good diet option for a lazy person like myself. The first month of food I ordered, I made sure to order all different foods and even try things that I normally wouldn’t eat (such as soup..ick!). Well, after a few weeks I tired of certain things pretty quickly (mainly because the food is just not that good) and when it would be time for me to place my next month’s order I would start ordering more and more of the same foods because I was having a hard time liking some of the other stuff. So, for example, the first month I lost 10 pounds right off the bat, but then the second month I started eating the same things for breakfast (usually muffins), lunch (chicken Caesar salad) and dinner (pizza) and barely lost anything (I think I lost about 2 pounds). My body got used to eating the same thing over and over not to mention that I just got fed up with the food and just quit even trying…and probably if I try really hard to remember I would end up just binging on food I wasn’t “supposed” to be eating in the first place. Although, at the time losing 15 pounds was a good amount for me (I only weighed 158 when I started that one…this time my starting weight was 174! Yikes!) it seemed ok that I only “dieted” for those 3 or 4 months. However, I never met my goal weight nor did I learn any type of good eating habits or how to change my lifestyle.

Even though I said early on when I started doing my “slimmed down” posts that my main focus right now was just getting the weight off and that later I’d worry about eating “healthier”, as much as I hate to admit it…I am learning healthy habits with Weight Watchers…just like the commercials said I would. My family & Hubby are probably shocked to hear me admit this…being the stubborn feisty woman I am…but it is true! I am much happier this time around and even when I am starving I usually reach for an apple or a fruit slushie rather than a candy bar…this may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but this is HUGE for me! I’ve never gotten to a point where I felt that I could just have an apple and be happy and fulfilled…in the past that apple represented being denied junk food and having to sacrifice.  (Who remembers “LA Weight Loss”? Of course I did it…I’ve tried EVERY diet…and it worked great, lost 25 pounds in 4 months…but I was miserable and would literally break down into tears because I was hungry…I just wanted a cupcake or something delicious! Anyway…) Now I never deny myself anything and I am able to only take a little bite of something that’s less than healthy (cheesecake anyone?) and if I’m still hungry fill up on fruits and veggies. I finally feel like maybe I can live like this for the rest of my life….and I’ll maintain a healthy weight, looking and feeling a lot better! I actually have “hope” that this will be the last time I have to lose an excessive amount of weight.

So, why do I share all of this with you?? Because I know there are probably some people out there who’ve felt like I have…that you’ll never be able to change that you’ll always have to do some sort of diet…that you will always have to be denied the things you love…but it’s not true…even the most stubborn junk-food addicted person can change…I am living proof!

Now, if I can just start exercising….. 😉

Baby steps!!

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Waffles (Makes 2 servings; 3 Weight Watchers PointsPlus per serving)

1/3 cup Carbon’s Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour

¼ cup nonfat greek yogurt

¼ cup water

1 tsp. oil (optional)

1 tbsp. mini chocolate chips

  1. Combine the flour, yogurt, water and oil in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Cook waffle in a waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  3. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or 2 tbsp. sugar free pancake syrup.
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Girl Scout Cookie Fix & Why Slow Weight Loss Wins


Today was my Week 7 weigh-in with a loss of another 1.5 lbs. bringing my total loss so far to 13.5 lbs. Even though I strive to lose 2 lbs/week that has not been happening…and after indulging in some Panera Bread (why do they offer a ‘side of bread’ when you order a sandwich? I swear I wanted to say ‘apple’ but a craving for refined carbs took over!!) on Monday I thought for sure I’d only lose another pound so I was pretty excited to see that extra 1/2 lb. on the scale.

In last week’s weigh-in post I mentioned that it was probably time for me to start exercising….so some of you may be wondering how that is going….well it’s NOT!!! What can I say? I’ve been so worn down and have had allergy-related migraines for the past 3 days so it’s been a struggle just to make it to work each day. Hopefully I’ll start to feel better and I’ll have no more excuses! And hopefully that will help me get back to 2 pounds per week.

Even if it doesn’t….I am ok with that. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself. I read this article “Why Slow Weight Loss Wins” on the Weight Watcher’s website and it is a nice little reminder how losing weight too quickly will pretty much guarantee that you’ll put it back on. I can definitely relate to this because I’ve been through many diets and with a lot of them I lost pretty fast, but yet here I am back to my larger self….so obviously something went wrong. Maybe all those cliche’s are right…”slow and steady wins the race”, “one pound is better than no pounds”??

Anyway…on to the good stuff: Girl Scout Cookies! I am proud to say I survived Girl Scout Cookie Season unharmed…even though everywhere I turned there were cute little girls outside of stores asking me to buy and my co-workers had boxes perched on their desks…I did not eat any!! What is in those things anyway? Some form of Girl Scout crack?!?!

My favorite kind is Thin Mints and so when I came across Edy’s Light Thin Mint Ice Cream (Available for a limited time only!) at the grocery store I grabbed it and it tastes awesome!

I pair it up with Fiber One Brownies  for a “brownie sundae” that is low-fat, low-cal heaven! Have you tried these brownies? I was a little skeptical at first, but they are only 2 WW PointsPlus so I gave them a try and was blown away by how good they taste. They are sooooo chocolatey!!

So here is my recipe for a quick and tasty snack with a total WW Points Plus value of 4! Enjoy

Thin Mint Ice Cream/Fiber One Brownie Sundae(Makes 1 serving; 4 WW PP)

1 Fiber One Fudge Brownie

1/4 cup Edy’s Thin Mint Light Ice Cream

  1. Unwrap brownie and place in a bowl. Scoop out 1/4 cup of ice cream, place on top of brownie and indulge!!!

 

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Homemade Hamburger Helper….Slimmed Down!!


So who out there is going to own up and admit they like Hamburger Helper?

Ok, I’ll start…I like Hamburger Helper…ok, ok…I love Hamburger Helper!

I love Hamburger Helper and I am not ashamed to say it!!!

Now, doesn’t it feel good to come clean about these things? 😉

Hamburger Helper has been around for about 40 years now (According to Wikipedia it was first introduced in 1971). If you were lucky like me as a kid you got to eat it for dinner once in a while and you probably loved it. If you have kids now and you are cool enough to serve them Hamburger Helper they probably love it as well. Even in adulthood I’ve never tired of the ease of browning some ground beef and adding a few ingredients and coming out with a quick and tasty meal. Now when I say “tasty” I really mean salty and processed. As a child I never realized that this yummy food was any different than when my mom cooked a real meal, but as I got older this meal became a guilty pleasure knowing that it is basically a box of chemicals and salt. I even started adding broccoli to it, to make it “healthier”. LOL!! (Don’t you just love how easily I can rationalize things?)

So this past weekend when I did my meal planning (yes, I started planning all of my meals, as well as Hubby’s dinner, a week in advance) for the week and knew I’d be getting home late from work one night I put Hamburger Helper on the menu. It’s perfect for a busy night because you can just throw everything together in no time and still say you “cooked”! Then the guilt started to set in….I mean it’s not a very Weight Watchers friendly food…or a healthy food in general. So, I got to thinking…someone out there must have come up with a “homemade” version.

After a quick search on Google, I found this blog. Awesome!!! Not only does she give you the “base” for the helper recipes, she gives you all different varieties. There are also instructions for making your own “packets” to keep on hand just like the boxed variety. Genius!!! The recipe I’m sharing with you today is a slimmed down slightly altered version of her recipe for the cheeseburger macaroni flavor.

Here is where I have to warn you…I thought it was pretty good, but immediately noticed a difference between this and the real thing. Hubby didn’t like it at all. I’ve determined, however that the reason it seems so different is because it is a lot less salty. I did up the salt a little bit in my recipe but I’d suggest starting with 1 tsp. and then tasting it as you go along and add more if you feel the need to do so. My recipe calls for broccoli but you can omit it if you want or you can be creative and add other veggies.

Also, it freezes quite well so I made up bags of 1 cup portions with my Foodsaver (you could use freezer bags or plastic containers, but it won’t be as good or last as long) and then freeze them. I pack them in my lunch and this has become a much better option than buying those expensive microwave meals (Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, WW Smart Ones, etc.). I just open the pack, put it in a bowl with a splash of fat free milk and microwave it. Tastes great and I don’t have to feel bad about eating food with all kinds of sodium and other additives…and since it’s “Slimmed Down” it is a satisfying meal for only 5 WW points plus.

So go on and try my version and you will no longer have to be ashamed that you like Hamburger Helper!! Here’s to guilty pleasures… 🙂

Slimmed Down Cheeseburger Macaroni “Hamburger Helper”

(Makes approximately 8 cups; 1 serving = 1 cup; 5 WW Points Plus)

Adapted from Chickensintheroad.com

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

1 cup whole wheat macaroni

1 cup hot water

2 cups fat free milk or unsweetened almond milk

1 seasoning packet (see below)

2 cups chopped frozen broccoli

1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

~Seasoning Packet:

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. paprika

1 ½ tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

  1. In a small bowl or Ziploc bag, combine all the ingredients for the seasoning packet.
  2. Brown the ground beef and drain any excess grease.
  3. To the browned ground beef, add the hot water, milk, macaroni, and seasoning packet. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for a total cooking time of about 12 minutes, being sure to stir frequently. Add the broccoli after 7 minutes and the cheese at 10 minutes, stirring until the cheese is melted and well combined.
  4. Remove from heat and serve.
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Italian Classic Slimmed Down


So I have finished week 6 on Weight Watchers with a total loss of 12 lbs. Not too bad although my weight loss has slowed a bit. I’m afraid to admit that I might be forced to start exercising regularly. I know I should be doing this anyway, but I’m not going to lie…I pretty much hate exercise. I’ve done it in the past because I know it is important not only for weight loss but for your overall health, but I’ve never been able to stick to any type of exercise plan. So this upcoming week my goal is to start moving a bit…wish me luck!!!

At least the eating part of losing weight has started to get easier. There are days when I’m still hungry, but not like before. I’m getting more and more creative with ways to “slim down” my favorite foods. I have to say this makes life a lot easier. There is nothing worse than the feeling of deprivation. Even if I can’t come up with a slimmed down version of something, I do not deprive myself. I actually can eat just a small amount and feel good about it. I have definitely surprised myself this time around with my change in thinking….before it was “well I already had one bite of cheesecake so I’ve ruined whatever good I’ve done; might as well go ahead and eat the whole piece.” But now I genuinely am happy to only have one small sliver of cake, or only one cookie, or one piece of candy. I’ve heard this many times before and I’m sure you have too. For some reason I could just never control myself when it came to treats or “junk food” and when I say control myself I mean I would always want more and more and more. I could not just eat one or two so I thought it was better to just avoid it all together. Ultimately though I would always end up over-indulging….and I always thought this was just the way I am. I really never thought I could change.

If this sounds familiar, I am here to tell you that you actually can change your thinking and maybe you think you have no will-power but it is within you….you just have to find what works for you. This is coming from someone who thought they would never be able to change and would never be satisfied with just one small bite of something.

Now, if I can just change my thinking when it comes to exercise…..

Until then here is a Slimmed Down Sensation for Chicken Franchaise (sorry about the quality of the pics. Forgot to take some so snapped a few on my phone before we ate). A favorite Italian dish of mine, which like a lot of dishes uses lots of oil and butter. So, this was a pretty easy one to slim down since it’s mostly about cutting down on the “bad stuff.” The whole recipe, including the lemon pasta is only 10 WW Points Plus. Serve with a big heaping of veggies on the side and you’ll feel like you just ate at a fine Italian Restaurant.

Slimmed Down Chicken Francaise (Serves 1; WW points plus = 10)

Chicken:

4 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded to about 1/4″ thick.

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1 tbsp. refrigerated egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters)

1/4 tsp. salt

1 pinch black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp. white wine

2 tbsp. chicken stock

1/2 medium sized lemon, sliced thin

1/2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

Lemon Pasta:

1/2 cup cooked whole wheat spaghetti

1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. seasoned bread crumbs

salt & pepper, to taste

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

  1. Cook spaghetti per package directions. Set aside.
  2. Prepare chicken by pounding it to about 1/4″ thickness with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of chicken.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil.
  4. Place the flour and egg substitute in two seperate shallow bowls.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the flour, coating well on both sides, shaking off any excess. Then dip the chicken in the egg substitute making sure to drip off any excess.
  6. Add to the hot oil and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer to determine if the chicken is fully cooked. It should read 180 degrees F.
  7. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside, covering loosely with foil to keep warm.
  8. To the pan, add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Next add the wine, chicken stock and the slices of lemon. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until reduced slightly.
  9. Pour sauce over chicken.(Remove lemon slices, if desired. The flavor will still be in the sauce)
  10. To prepare the pasta, add the olive oil, lemon juice, bread crumbs, salt & pepper, garlic powder and parsley. The pasta can be served hot or cold. If your spaghetti is cool heat over low heat for a few minutes, being careful not to scorch.
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Slimmed Down Sensation: Cadbury Creme Egg Martini


For those of you who celebrate Easter, there are probably many of you who have been slaving away preparing the food for Easter Dinner tomorrow or getting the kids’ baskets ready. So today’s post is a yummy adult beverage for you to indulge in. Put the kids to bed, kick off your shoes, put your feet up and sip on this creamy martini as a reward for all of your hard work.

For those of you who are like me and did not have to do any Easter preparations…well who needs an excuse to have a martini!

I love Cadbury Eggs and so when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it. Of course, it called for too many bad (but oh so good…”cream” for instance) ingredients, so I decided to make it a “Slimmed Down Sensation.” And you can trust me when I tell you…this is sensational!!

Now, because I didn’t have the liquor listed in the original recipe (Bailey’s Caramel & Crème De Cacao) I decided to improvise with what I had. If you’re making this for others or you don’t care about calories, you can always use regular caramel syrup, regular chocolate syrup and light cream (some people just aren’t a fan of sugar-free and low fat ingredients…go figure!). The Weight Watchers Points Plus value for this cocktail is only 6 points!

Now, here is the big question….Does it really taste like a Cadbury Crème Egg? Unfortunately I’d have to say no, but it does taste very similar to the Cadbury Caramel Eggs. I’m not a huge fan of these as I feel the need to remain loyal to the original creme egg. However, it really really tastes good and goes well with the little Cadbury mini crème eggs that I used to garnish my martini glass! 😉

No matter, it definitely tastes like all those delicious chocolate goodies that the Easter Bunny likes to drop in our baskets! I may have to rename this for next year, but I am just drawing a blank right now. Those of you who try it I’d love to know your suggestions or modifications to make it actually taste like the Cadbury Creme Eggs.

One last thought…if you try this and think it has too strong of a caramel flavor you can decrease the caramel syrup to only 1 tbsp. and increase the half & half to 3 tbsp. I tried this as well in an effort to make it taste more like a Cadbury Egg and both tasted good, but I preferred the one with more caramel flavor.

I never thought I’d get to a point in my life where I’m enjoying Easter Martini’s instead of chocolate bunnies…but hey, I guess you need to grow up sometime!

Slimmed Down Sensation: Cadbury Crème Egg Martini (Makes 1 serving; WW Points Plus = 6)

Source: SheKnows

Ice

1.5 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream

1 oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

2 tbsp. Fat Free Half & Half

1 tbsp. Hershey’s Lite Chocolate Syrup, plus more for glass

2 tbsp. Sugar Free Caramel Syrup (ex: Torani or DaVinci)

1 mini Cadbury crème egg

Put all ingredients into a shaker. Shake until well combined and pour into a martini glass. Garnish rim of glass with Mini Cadbury Egg and Chocolate Syrup, if desired.

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Chicken Fajitas


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Even though I am not technically calling this a “Slimmed Down Sensation” it is a healthy low-fat dish and it’s definitely not lacking in the flavor department. This recipe is a little different from other Fajita recipes that I’ve come across which require a marinade. This one is like the pre-packaged mixes you get at the grocery store…only better because you know exactly what is going into it and there is not as much sodium.

This is a great weeknight meal that tastes great, but requires little effort….guaranteed to please the entire family.

Prepare the seasoning mix ahead of time and pull it out when you need a quick meal!

Chicken Fajitas (Makes 4 servings, WW Points Plus = 5, not including tortilla)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

1 c. water

4 flour tortillas (white or whole wheat)

Fajita Seasoning:

1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. chili powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. parika

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. chicken bouillon powder

½ tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add chicken and cook until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F. About 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the Fajita Seasoning by mixing the cornstarch, chili powder, salt, paprika, sugar, bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked through, add 1 cup water and seasoning mixture. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add the green pepper and onion. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender.
  7. Serve on flour tortillas with Mexican style shredded cheese, if desired.
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