Mandy's Marvelous Meals

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

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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Milkshake for Dinner!!


That’s right…I ate a milkshake for dinner! No, I don’t feel bad about it….thanks to my Slimmed Down version…a protein shake disguised as a milkshake!

Sometimes I crave ice cream…Cold Stone Creamery…McDonald’s Milkshakes or Wendy’s Frosty or Dairy Queen Blizzard….mmmmm.

Unfortunately I have to face the fact that I am no long 19 years old and giving in to these cravings is a really bad idea.  Especially eating these things as a meal (which in my younger years I’ve been known to do…Ben & Jerry’s for lunch anyone?). When I get these cravings, though, I just really don’t want anything else to eat. A friend of mine who is also a dietician told me once that these are called “food jags” and that this behavior starts in childhood…it is quite common for toddlers…but I guess there are those of us out there that never outgrow it. She blamed it on my parents for giving in to these jags…sorry mom & dad…but hey as long as it’s not my fault and it’s not totally abnormal! I mean, it’s not like I sit around 365 days a year eating ice cream products (wow, I’d probably weigh 700 lbs!!) for every meal. Don’t worry I go through all kinds of jags (it was Lucky Charms a few months back) and I don’t eat the same thing for every meal, even though sometimes I might want to.

Protein shakes are a good meal replacement so by adding a little candy and blending it with ice, I feel like I’m drinking a milkshake. I usually use regular Whoppers, but since it’s Easter I grabbed a bag of seasonal malted milk balls.

If you want to eat it as just a snack you can always omit the protein powder. The cottage cheese and milk makes a great base so the sky’s the limit when it comes to different flavors.

So how about you? Do you still have food jags? What is your biggest weakness when it comes to food?

 

“Whopper” (Malted Milk Ball) Protein Shake (WW Points Plus = 8)

1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese

1/2 cup almond milk

1/4 cup water

2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbsp. malted milk powder

1 cup ice

1/4 tsp. Xanthan Gum

3-4 malted milk balls candy, crushed (or 6 “Whoppers Mini Robbin Eggs”)

1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder

2 tbsp. Splenda

  1. Place the candy in a small ziploc bag and seal. Gently crush the candy with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Set aside.
  2. Add all other ingredients to a blender and blend until ice is crushed and desired consistency is reached.
  3. Stir in the crushed candy.
  4. Serve and enjoy.
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D.I.Y. Microwave Popcorn


Ok, so why am I just now finding out that you can make your own microwave popcorn?  When I saw this on the Dr. Oz Show I was so surprised that this wasn’t a well known fact (or maybe it is & I am just behind the times?). I immediately tried this out and now that I have, I will never buy microwave popcorn again.

After a little research I did come to learn that this is considered “air popped” popcorn and so if you don’t add any oil or butter it is an extremely healthy snack. In regards to Weight Watchers, this version of microwave popcorn is actually less points (well only 1 less, but every little bit counts when you’re trying to lose) than the 94% Fat Free microwave popcorn available in stores.

As for taste….I can honestly say it tastes freakin’ awesome!!  So much better than the chemical-laden kind I’m used to buying. I do actually like it completely plain, but for a little added flavor I sometimes add a little bit of salt and  some “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Buttery Spray.

As for my recipe below (you really don’t need a recipe, but for those of you who feel better with one…which is ok, trust me I’ve been there….I’ve included it) it should make about 3 cups, but depending on your microwave and if all the kernels actually pop or not will make the difference, so you may need to adjust the amount of kernels you are using. I chose to only try to make 3 cups because 3 c. equals only 2 WW Points Plus. Which is a decent size snack for such a small points amount. If you use ¼ cup of kernels you’ll have about a regular size bag of microwave popcorn (5-6 cups).

One last note…this is an official “Hubby-Approved” snack! Made it for Hubby (with the salt and buttery spray) and he thoroughly enjoyed it. No more store bought, chemically altered, fattening microwave popcorn for this family!!

Microwave Popcorn (WW Points Plus = 2)

2 tbsp. popcorn kernels

1 brown paper lunch sack

Salt, to taste

10 sprays, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Buttery Spray

  1. Add popcorn kernels to the brown paper bag and fold over 2-3 times.
  2. Place bag upright and set microwave for 3 minutes on high. Popcorn will probably be done within 2-2 ½ minutes, but it’s best to set it for longer and pay close attention to when the popping stops. When popping is down to 1-2 seconds between pops, remove from microwave. (If you leave it in too long it will burn, just like the store bought kind.)
  3. Add salt to bag and shake.
  4. Spray 5 sprays of the buttery spray on popcorn and shake. Spray 5 more times and shake.
  5. Pour in a bowl and serve.
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Celebrate Good Times with Slimmed Down Milkshakes


Today is a good day. “Why?” you ask. Well I’ve lost 10 pounds over the last four weeks! Only 30 more to go! Initially, when I weighed-in this morning, all I could focus on was that I only lost 1 pound this past week. I felt totally disappointed because I had been losing 2 to 2.5 per week. But then I told myself to get a grip and look at the big picture. I then realized I had lost 10 lbs. in one month, thus making me feel much much happier.

So to celebrate, today’s Slimmed Down Sensations are some easy and tasty milkshake recipes.

No celebration is complete without cake & ice cream, right?! I had been seeing cake batter this and cake batter that all over Pinterest and did an internet search on my own to find a cake batter milkshake. The one that looked the best to me was this one from Betty Crocker.

Of course, it had way too many calories for me to be able to enjoy and still stick to my diet, so I played around with it and came up with the version in this post.

And speaking of cake…has anyone tried the special edition Birthday Cake Oreo?

As soon as I saw them I knew I had to try them, but I put it off because I am trying to be a good girl and Oreo’s are not only one of my favorites but are one of my biggest weaknesses. To have a pack of Oreo’s in the house would not be pretty (could probably eat half the pack in one sitting, at least!). Today, however, I gave in and decided to pick up a pack anyway. These are 2 WW Points Plus per cookie, but soooo worth it!  Sooo goood!

I already make an Oreo milkshake, which is basically made the same as the Cake Batter Milkshake with a few minor modifications. Decided I would just substitute one birthday cake Oreo for the reduced fat one I normally would use. This bumped up the WW Points Plus from 4 to 5, but still not bad for such a yummy treat!

So here’s to shedding my first 10 lbs!  Yummmmmmmm!!!

Slimmed Down Cake Batter Milkshake (WW Points Plus = 4)

½ cup almond milk

1/3 cup fat free vanilla ice cream

2 tbsp. vanilla (yellow or white) cake mix

2 tbsp. sugar free vanilla syrup (i.e. Torani or DaVinci)

1 cup ice

1 tbsp. rainbow sprinkles

2 tbsp. fat free whipped cream (optional)

  1.  Combine all ingredients except for sprinkles in a blender and blend until smooth and ice is crushed.
  2. Pour into a glass and stir in half of the sprinkles.
  3. Top with whipped cream and remaining sprinkles.
  4. Enjoy!

Slimmed Down Oreo Milkshake (WW Points Plus = 4)

½ cup almond milk

½ cup fat free vanilla ice cream

2 tbsp. sugar free vanilla syrup (ex. Torani or DaVinci)

1 cup ice

1 Reduced Fat Oreo Cookie

2 tbsp. fat free whipped cream (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until ice is crushed and desired consistency is reached.
  2. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Slimmed Down Birthday Cake Oreo Milkshake (WW Points Plus = 5)

½ cup almond milk

½ cup fat free vanilla ice cream

2 tbsp. sugar free vanilla syrup (ex. Torani or DaVinci)

1 cup ice

1 Birthday Cake Oreo Cookie

2 tbsp. fat free whipped cream (optional)

  1.  Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until ice is crushed and desired consistency is reached.
  2. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
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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!
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Slimmed Down Sensation: Sirloin Steak Salad (Friendly’s Copycat)


I am not ashamed to admit that I enjoy eating at Friendly’s once in a while. I know quite a few adults who LOATHE Friendly’s!

But sometimes you just crave some high fat high calorie fried comfort food…and of course you can’t eat there without getting ice cream. So if you’re trying to eat even a little bit healthy this is not the place to go. My current favorite dish is the Bleu Moon Sirloin Salad. Sometimes I just sit at home and crave it…I must have it!

Friendly's Bleu Moon Sirloin Salad

It’s actually one of their more “adult” meals with crispy romaine lettuce topped with Sirloin steak, pepper, carrots, cherry tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles and crispy onion strings. Served with a dijon vinaigrette….ok I am drooling just writing out the ingredients. Of course, like most “entrée salads” at chain restaurants, this yummy dish comes at a costly (including salad dressing) 860 calories, 40 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 83 carbohydrates (23 WW points plus). Sometimes I am willing to indulge in this as long as it is my “Faturday” and it won’t send me over my “Points” limit, but then I got to thinking…why don’t I save some money and some calories and make my own?

Of course, this does not taste as good as the original, but it is pretty darn tasty…and when I think of all the calories and fat I am saving, it makes it taste even better! I am still working on getting the dressing to taste like Friendly’s…can’t quite get that one down yet, but the Dijon Vinaigrette I’ve listed in the recipe is still really good on this salad or any salad, for that matter.  One word of caution, though, it is a bit on the thin side and so it’s a bit runny. The best way to use it is to put your salad in a container or bowl with a lid and shake it up. This way it will get distributed throughout and you’ll see that this small amount really goes far.

As far as the steak you can use whatever type you like, as long as it is a fairly lean cut and is trimmed of fat. I suggest sirloin strip, but the steak in the picture above was a filet mignon. Be sure to weigh your steak before cooking it to make sure you are following the appropriate portion size.

As far as Weight Watchers points, the great news is that my version is only 6 points!

Friendly’s = 23; Mandy’s  = 6!!!!!!

Holy Cow, that is a BIG difference!! It means, I can still have some light ice cream along with it and not feel so bad!

Slimmed Down Sensation: Sirloin Steak Salad (Friendly’s Copycat)

(WW points = 6, this is for the whole salad including the onion crisps & dressing)

3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

1 carrot, sliced or shredded

¼ of green pepper, sliced (more if you really like green peppers)

4-6 cherry tomatoes

3 oz. sirloin steak, trimmed of fat

salt & pepper to taste

2 tbsp. reduced fat blue cheese crumbles

¼ serving, Onion Crisps (recipe follows)

2 tbsp. Dijon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (recipe follows.)

  1. Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Cook steak either on the grill or under the oven broiler to desired doneness. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Slice into strips or cut into cubes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the salad by putting the lettuce, carrots, and pepper in a bowl or container with a lid. Add the dressing and shake well to coat all the vegetables.
  3. Transfer to large bowl or plate and top with steak, blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes and onion crisps.

 

Onion Crisps (WW points plus = 1)

1 small onion, sliced thin

¼ cup fiber one cereal, crushed

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

¼ cup refrigerated egg substitute (i.e. egg beaters)

  1. Slice onion in very thin pieces, preferably with a mandolin slicer.
  2. Crush the cereal by either placing in a plastic Ziploc bag and crushing with a rolling pin or use a blender/food processor.
  3. Put the cereal, salt & pepper in a Ziploc bag.
  4. Put the egg beaters in a bowl and dip the onions shaking off excess. Once you dip the onions place in the bag with the cereal. Once all pieces have been dipped in the egg beaters and added to the bag, shake to coat.
  5. On a non-stick baking sheet, spread out the coated onions and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until crispy.

 

Dijon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (1 Serving = 2 tbsp.; 2 tbsp. = 1 WW points plus)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

¼ cup chicken stock

1/8 tsp. onion powder

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. olive oil

  1. Combine all ingredients, except for olive oil, in a blender and blend until well combined. Add the olive oil slowly into the running blender to emulsify.
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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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