Mandy's Marvelous Meals

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

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.

2 for 1: 12 Spice Dry Rub Mix and Sweet & Tangy Barbecue Sauce

Grilling season is in full effect and I am loving my new grill!! Since tomorrow is Saturday and the weather is supposed to be nice again I’m going to attempt to make smoked baby back ribs. In preparation, I’ve made a nice big batch of barbecue sauce to go with them. My inspiration for this recipe comes from Monica at The Yummy Life.  The recipe calls for her 14-spice dry rub mix, so I’ve also included my modified version of this recipe as well (ergo the “2 for 1”), which is actually a 12-spice dry rub mix which can be used on pork or chicken and can also be used in sauces, such as the barbecue sauce I’m sharing with you today.

Stay tuned for my smoked ribs adventure…it’s going to be an interesting journey into unknown territory! 🙂 Until then whip up this tasty barbecue sauce and throw some meat on the grill!!!

Sweet & Tangy Barbecue Sauce (Makes approx. 2 1/2 cups; Weight Watchers Points Plus = 1 for 2 tbsp of sauce)

Source: “Barbecue Sauce” @ The Yummy Life

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. yellow mustard

2 tbsp. honey

2 cups ketchup

2 tbsp. 12-spice dry rub mix (recipe follows)

1 1/2 tsp. liquid hickory smoke

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in a plastic container in the refrigerator.

12-Spice Dry Rub for Pork or Chicken (Makes approx. 1 3/4 cups)

Source: “14-Spice Dry Rub Mix” @ The Yummy Life

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. salt

1/2 cup smoked paprika

1 tbsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tbsp. celery salt

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. dried sage

1 tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. ground mace

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

  1.  Place all ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk until well combined.
  2. Keep rub in an air-tight container and use as desired.
  3. For use on chicken or pork sprinkle rub on meat and rub in on all sides. For best results, wrap seasoned meat in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove meat from refrigerator and sprinkle a little bit more of the rub onto the meat.
  4. Cook meat as desired (grill, bake, broil, etc.).

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)


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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Chicken Fajitas


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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Time to Throw in the Kitchen Towel!?!?

Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you thought they would.

Whoa! That is one big kitchen disaster!

Have you ever had one of those days in the kitchen where you think you’re doing such a great job and then the result is something like the picture above? I’ve always been a good baker, but I suppose that is because I’ve always been one to follow directions and follow them well. But now that I’ve been getting more adventurous and trying things on my own either by altering a recipe or attempting my own recipe I am finally seeing that it’s not as easy as I thought it would be.

Yesterday I was so motivated to try out some new stuff and serve Hubby a great Friday night dinner. I was actually excited that I had lots of extra time to spend in the kitchen. I started by attempting a new muffin recipe, but the result, as seen above, was quite scary. I didn’t let it get to me though…I tried again and this time the result looked pretty good.

Moving along to make dinner I  decided to try this recipe for Vinegar Braised Chicken which I came across in Food & Wine Magazine.  I made Hubby chicken thighs as stated in the recipe and followed it pretty much exact except that I did not add the Leeks. For mine I used boneless skinless chicken breast and substituted lighter ingredients (such as no butter, only 1 tsp. of olive oil and fat free sour cream instead of creme fraiche). It seemed like things were going along ok, but then as I began to cook and the kitchen started filling with a smoky haze it seemed like everything was beginning to go down hill. My attempt at making a side of pasta (which I’ve made before) tasted strange so I ended up throwing it away and just threw some Green Giant veggies & sauce in the microwave.

Whenever I make something new I always ask Hubby to rate it on a scale of 1-5.  I’m sure a lot of husbands out there would not dare tell their wives what they really thought about certain meals, but my Hubby has always been completely honest with me about it. I love this about him…even though I may get a chip on my shoulder for a minute or two I like to hear what he says and see how I can improve.  When we ate dinner last night, I could tell he really didn’t like it and this was confirmed when he said his rating was about a 2.8 (and I’m thinking he was just being generous rating that high). Disappointment overwhelmed me and I don’t know why….I never considered myself a perfectionist. I’ve never really excelled at anything…I was always just average and completely happy with that. But over the years when it comes to cooking I’ve started to become a little neurotic. I can’t even remember the last time Hubby gave me below a “3” rating and I always strive for at least a “4”. Nonetheless, I got over it.

Personally I thought the chicken was ok….it did have a unique flavor due to the tarragon and incase you didn’t know Tarragon tastes like black liccorice….so this dish may not be for everyone.

When we were all done I said to Hubby,  “well at least you’ll enjoy dessert.”

Or so I thought…

Hubby took one bite and made a face. I asked him what was wrong and he said he didn’t like it. He put a paper towel over it and pushed it away. Wow, really? That was a first and that was the point I became absolutely defeated.

You may be wondering why did I share this harrowing story of cooking disaster? I guess to reach those of you out there who have had “bad kitchen days” and to remind you and myself that when you fall off the horse you have to get back on. Don’t give up…there’s no need to go back to ordering pizza every other day…you can do it!

So today is a new day and I’m already thinking about what I will make to redeem myself. Remember…one bad day in the kitchen doesn’t mean you’re not a great cook…

Shake it off and try again.


Slimmed Down Sensation: Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla

This is a really quick, filling, and downright delicious low-cal dish! I often make this for dinner or make it at night and pack it in my lunch…it’s actually not so bad reheated in the microwave. I serve it with a salad or a very large side of seasoned steamed green beans. In the picture below, I used Mission 96% Fat Free wheat tortillas, but the low carb whole wheat tortillas are actually better in regards to calories and carbs and are less WW points.  I picked these up because they were on sale :).

Also pictured is my really old school kitchen scale (purchased at the Dollar Tree for $1!!). This scale has served me well for many years and I am sad to report that it just broke on Sunday! It has now been replaced by a more upscale digital version. I had to replace it quickly since a scale is one kitchen gadget I cannot live without.  If I have learned anything about eating healthy…even when you’re not trying to lose weight, but want to maintain that girlish figure…it is that you should always measure your food. Portion control is so important and especially crucial for losing weight. I know you have heard this before, but I am telling you as someone who has learned from experience. I didn’t always measure everything because I thought I had pretty good judgment of what the serving size of something should be…and with practice I actually do have good judgment, but nothing compares to actually measuring it out. I now even keep measuring cups and measuring spoons at work for times when I eat things that can be kept at the office (i.e. salad dressing, cereal, milk, etc.). Yes, my co-workers look at me like I’m weird, but I don’t care! This time around on WW I religiously measure and/or weigh everything! So far this seems to be working out quite well as I’ve been losing weight at an average of 2 lbs. per week.  Save using your “best judgement” for eating out.

Some of you may wonder, “Should I measure fruits and vegetables?” I typically do not measure veggies because on WW you can basically eat as much as you want, but it is good to know what an actual “serving” of veggies is. For instance, did you know that a serving of asparagus is only about 6 stalks? I sure didn’t…I probably usually eat 20 in one sitting! But veggies have been my savior this time around in my weight loss quest. I fill up on a huge salad or a large side of veggies along with my other food at both lunch and dinner so that I am not hungry. As far as fruit goes, yes it is a better alternative to picking up that candy bar, but it still has sugar, so I do measure my fruit. Remember, the dietary guidelines for fruit is 2-4 servings per day and a serving is considered ½ cup or 1 whole apple, banana, orange, etc.

Ok, ok…that concludes my advice for this post….let’s get back to the good stuff! This amazingly large and yummy quesadilla!

Word of caution…this will be sloppy when eaten!

Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla (Makes 1 serving; 5 or 6 WW points plus, depending on type of tortilla used)

1 Whole Wheat Tortilla

1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle Cheese

2 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked, shredded

½ cup fat-free salsa

1 tbsp. black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp. fat free cheddar cheese, shredded

  1. In a bowl, combine the salsa, chicken and black beans. 
  2. Spread the Laughing Cow cheese over the tortilla. 
  3. Spread the salsa/chicken mixture on half of the tortilla and top with the cheddar cheese. 
  4. Fold over the other half of the tortilla and press down gently, being careful not to push out any of the filling. 
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Place the quesadilla in the pan and carefully turn over after 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom of the tortilla is browned and crisp. Cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes until heated through and the bottom of the tortilla is brown and crisp. (Alternately you could bake this. I usually make mine in my Nu-Wave oven and it comes out just as crispy and delicious!)
  6. Remove from pan and using a pizza cutter, carefully cut the quesadilla into 4 pieces. 
  7. Serve with extra salsa and fat free sour cream on the side. Don’t forget plenty of paper towels!

Slimmed Down Sesame Chicken

So as I mentioned yesterday, I had a craving for Chinese food. Not exactly the best thing to be eating when you’re trying to lose weight! I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to try one of Hungry Girl’s recent recipes, “Sweet ‘n Sticky Sesame Chicken”. She has come up with some amazing recipes and I highly recommend you watch her show and pick up a few of her cookbooks! (Can you tell I’m a huge fan?!)

Anyway, I initially made the recipe exactly as written and it was pretty good but it was just a little bit on the bland side. I played around with it a little bit and came up with this modified version. For those Weight Watchers users out there this recipe is 7 points and makes one serving. Serve with ½ cup brown rice.

On a more personal note, I have successfully made it through three weeks of Weight Watchers…down 2.5 more pounds at today’s weigh-in. Thank goodness for all those other great bloggers out there dedicated to sharing tasty recipes that are low fat, low calorie, and healthy. I love finding great recipes that fit into my diet and I love sharing the ones I come up with as well! So, if you’ve been enjoying my posts please “Like” my Facebook Page.

I’m getting hungry….think I’ll make some more of this yummy chicken!

Slimmed Down Sesame Chicken (Makes 1 serving; 7 WW Pointsplus)

(Source: Hungry Girl)

1/8 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. fat free liquid egg substitute (i.e. Egg Beaters)

5 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

2 tbsp. whole wheat flour

2 tbsp. chicken stock

1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. sugar-free pancake syrup

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1/2 tbsp. ketchup

1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce

1/4 tsp. sesame oil

1/4 tsp. crushed garlic

1/2 tsp. sesame seeds

1 scallion, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl combine the onion powder, garlic powder, soy sauce, vinegar and egg substitute. Add the chicken and make sure all the pieces are covered. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Add the flour in a shallow dish or bowl and dredge the chicken pieces in it, coating all sides. Place chicken on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining chicken stock with cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Heat over medium heat and add syrup, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic. Stirring often, cook until the sauce becomes thick.
  5. Add chicken to sauce and toss to coat.
  6. Serve and top with sesame seeds and scallions.
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Craving Chinese: Sesame Chicken & Pork Fried Rice

Ever wonder why Chinese food tastes SOOOO good? And no matter how hard you try you just can’t make it yourself as good as they do at a Chinese Restaurant. I’m pretty sure it has to do with all the oil and MSG they put in everything. 😉 So, when I had a Chinese food craving I decided we’d have to settle for second best and I’d make it at home…ordering Chinese is just not diet friendly (stay tuned for the slimmed down version in tomorrow’s post!).When it comes to Chinese food, even items that seem like they might be “healthy” usually are not. Of course, some restaurants now offer healthy options, but let’s get real….if you’re going to order Chinese the last thing you’re thinking about is healthy….I mean if I wanted steamed broccoli, I’d just make it myself!

So here is a recipe that is pretty close to being as good as the real thing. I always bake the chicken, but the original recipe calls for you to deep fry it.  You definitely could fry it if you’re not being health-conscious, but personally I think baking it tastes much better. If you do want to fry it, be sure to add the flour with the first ingredients to make a wet badder, instead of dredging it in the flour, as is listed in my version.

As for the rice, you can substitute pretty much any meat for the pork, but since I had left over pork loin, I used that. Chicken, bacon, and ham are all good alternatives. Also, you can add more or less vegetables to your preference.  Fried rice is definitely the best way to use up leftover rice and if you have leftover meat it’s a double bonus. Of course if you don’t have leftovers and don’t feel like making the fried rice, this Sesame Chicken tastes great with plain white or brown rice, just pile the chicken and sauce on top!

Sesame Chicken (Serves 3-4)

(Modified from “Perfect Sesame Chicken” on

1/4 cup flour

2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. water

1 tsp. vegetable oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

½ cup chicken stock

½ cup sugar

1 tbsp. white vinegar

1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp. sesame oil

½  – 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicy)

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp. cornstarch

¼ cup water

1-2 tbsp. sesame seeds

4 scallions, chopped

  1. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, water and oil.
  2. Add the chicken to the bowl, making sure all the pieces are coated with the batter. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place the flour in a shallow dish or bowl and dredge the chicken pieces coating all sides.
  4. Place chicken pieces on a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Bake chicken at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.
  6. Meanwhile, make the sauce by bringing the chicken stock, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper flakes, and garlic to a boil.
  7. Dissolve the 2 tbsp. of cornstarch into ¼ cup of water, and stir into the boiling sauce. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens and turns clear. Reduce heat to low and keep the sauce warm.
  8. Add the baked chicken pieces to the completed sauce and stir to coat.
  9. Serve chicken and sauce topped with the sesame seeds and scallions.

Pork Fried Rice (Serves 4)

1 tbsp. sesame or olive oil

½ cup pork loin, cooked and chopped into small pieces.

3 scallions, chopped

1 egg

½ cup frozen peas, partially thawed

2 cups cooked white rice, cold

2 tbsp. soy sauce

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add the pork and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Add the scallions and stir fry for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and stir until completely scrambled/cooked.
  5. Add the peas and stir fry for about 2 minutes until heated through.
  6. Add the rice to the pan, breaking up any clumps, and cook for a few minutes until heated through.
  7. Add the soy sauce and stir until well combined. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  8. Serve & enjoy.

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Spicy Honey Chicken Thighs

This is a really flavorful & quick chicken dish…perfect for a busy week night meal. You can use either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or regular thighs.  I have a Nu-Wave Oven, which is how I made the chicken in the picture above, but you can bake them in your regular oven and broil for the last few minutes to get them just as crispy.

I originally saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine and modified it to suit my own taste. Serve with mixed veggies, rice, or roasted potatoes.

Spicy Honey Chicken Thighs (Serves 3-4)

Modified from Cooking Light Magazine

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs or 6 regular chicken thighs

6 tbsp. honey

2 tsp. cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the garlic powder, chili powder, salt, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a large ziploc bag. Add chicken to bag, seal and shake, coating the pieces of chicken.
  3. Place chicken in a glass baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 20-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.
  4. While the chicken is baking, combine the honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well.
  5. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from oven. Set oven to broil.
  6. Brush chicken pieces with half of the honey mixture.
  7. Broil 1-2 minutes.
  8. Remove chicken from oven and turn pieces over.
  9. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture.
  10. Broil 1-2 minutes or until chicken is crisp.

Slimmed Down Sensation: Chicken Piccata

Yesterday I posted a basic chicken piccata recipe. This is a dish I’ve made many times and this past Saturday I made it again. And…since weekends I am more lenient with what I eat and drink (what Dr. Oz calls “Faturday”….love that term!) I decided that I would indulge in some as well. To turn the recipe from full fat to slimmed down, all I did  was modify the amount of oil and butter, as well as cut back the amount of flour and parmesan cheese. My modified version is 8 pointsplus (Weight Watchers)…and let me tell you…it was SO GOOD! Even the Hubby enjoyed it and didn’t know it was “slimmed down” (until I told him, of course! 🙂 ). It tasted just as good as the original version, if not better because it didn’t have all that heaviness that comes from a lot of oil and butter.

One thing I would recommend with the slimmed down version, however, is that for the sauce you should start with the juice of only one lemon (or 1 tbsp. lemon juice) and allow it to cook for a few minutes. Then taste it as you go to see if you need more. One problem I did encounter was that it was a bit tangy from too much lemon (but it still tasted awesome!). Probably because it didn’t have as much butter as the original recipe to cut the tang!

Be sure to check out yesterday’s post “Chicken Piccata”  for some more tips on how to make this dish even more delish!


Slimmed Down Chicken Piccata (Makes 2 servings; 8 WW pointsplus)

10 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 1 small breast)

Salt & pepper, to taste

Garlic powder, to taste

2 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated

½ tbsp. olive oil

¼ cup white wine

½ cup chicken stock

Lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons or 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. parsley

2 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp. light butter

  1. Prepare the chicken by cutting it in half lengthwise to make two filets, approximately 5 oz. each.  Pound each piece to 1/4” thick, using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or bottom of a heavy pan.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. In a shallow dish or plate, combine the flour and parmesan cheese.
  4. Heat the pan over medium heat and add the oil. Allow oil to get hot.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the flour/cheese mixture and place in the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes and flip, cooking until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pan and cover it with foil to keep warm.
  7. Using the same pan, add the wine, scraping up any bits of meat that may be stuck to the bottom.
  8. Add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Turn heat up to medium high and allow sauce to reduce, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has reduced to your preference (remember the longer you reduce the thicker the sauce…but don’t reduce too long or you won’t have enough sauce for the chicken.) remove from heat and swirl in the butter until melted. Stir in the parsley and capers.
  9. Pour the sauce over the chicken (I used 2 tbsp. for mine, and poured the rest over my hubby’s) and serve.

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