Mandy's Marvelous Meals

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

It’s Been A While…


Well to say it’s been a while is pretty much an understatement. It has been almost exactly 6 months since I posted my last blog. I wish I could say that my life was so busy and amazing that I just didn’t have the time….but the truth is I just didn’t do it!

So I have no important life events or amazing news to share…but I can share that over these past few months I’ve been trying my best to work towards a healthier lifestyle. My focus now is to lose weight (hmmm….didn’t I say that before??), but overall I have come to a point in my life where I want to be healthy and stick around till I’m old and dyed blonde (no grey hair here!). To really make this lifestyle change I am approaching it with baby steps. I have adopted the attitude that every little thing helps….so even if it is just one little change it is still a change and that’s what matters. One of the first things I’ve started doing is trying to cut out as much processed food as possible (although I am starting to think I need a support group to break my Diet Coke addiction). Another step I’ve taken is to try different “health foods”. One of the foods I’ve fallen in love with is the now trendy “Quinoa”. It is very healthy and if you’d like to see why you can read it here…sorry I just don’t feel like going over why it is so good for you! I am overall a picky eater and have a lot of issues with food textures (where was Early Intervention when I was a kid??) so even though I kept seeing Quinoa recipes everywhere I turned, I was hesitant. I finally took the plunge and it’s a keeper. I use it in my salads, replace it for rice & pasta, and use it for breakfast foods like protein bars and “oatmeal” (quinoa in place of oats), etc.

Tonight I decided to modify my Creamy Chicken Piccata recipe and not only make it a “slimmed down version” but to replace the pasta with quinoa. It was so delicious…..I was inspired to sit down and get back to blogging!!!! Woohoo!!

So here it is….a slimmed down healthier version of, ironically my last post…and unfortunately since Hubby was working late I only made this for one person so the serving size is one, but you can easily alter the ingredients to make as much as you want.

Creamy Quinoa Chicken Piccata

(Serves 1)

For the chicken:

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

salt & pepper, to taste

1/4 -1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

For the Quinoa:

1/2 tbsp. light butter

1/2-1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup fat free half & half

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tbsp. capers

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

To make the chicken, sprinkle both sides with the lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper & garlic powder. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and add the garlic. Brown the garlic in the butter for 30 seconds to 1 minute and add the lemon juice.

Whisk in the half & half and bring to a slow boil, whisking frequently for about 5 minutes until heated through and slightly thickened (may take longer than 5 minutes).

Add the basil, salt & pepper.

Remove from heat and whisk in the parmesan cheese. At this point, if you want a thicker sauce, return to heat and simmer until slightly more thickened. You can also add more cheese if you like.

Stir in the quinoa and the capers. Serve on a pasta plate.

Slice cooked chicken into thin strips and place over the quinoa. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese, if desired and serve.20130222-204624.jpg20130222-204638.jpg20130222-204653.jpg

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Creamy Chicken Piccata


So like many bloggers…and many many women out there…I am obsessed with Pinterest. I have found such great ideas, recipes, clothes, tips, etc. Today’s post is for one of the very first recipes I found on Pinterest and tried out. Like any recipe it required some adjusting to get it just right, but last night when I made it Hubby & I both agreed that I had hit the mark! The original recipe, “Creamy Grilled Chicken Piccata”, calls for you to grill the chicken but since I didn’t plan ahead to make this I didn’t have a chance to marinade the chicken and thus I just decided to go ahead and make it in a pan. I used all fresh ingredients (no dried herbs, please!!!!) so if you do substitute dried you can just add the dry herbs (ex. basil, garlic powder) directly to the flour, rather than blending them like the directions below. I’ve also made a “slimmed down” version of this which tasted great, as well.  Hubby didn’t even know it was “healthified”, which is my test for how good my “slimmed down sensations” really are (trust me, he usually can tell right away when I make it low-fat). Too make it healthier use whole wheat pasta, fat free half & half, light butter, and only 1/2 cup of cheese and you can use a non-stick pan to eliminate the need for olive oil, or you can grill your chicken like the original recipe calls for.

Make this for a quick and easy weeknight meal or for date night in with your Honey! You won’t be disappointed!!

Creamy Chicken Piccata

(Modified from Plain Chicken)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx. 8 oz. each)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters (or 1 egg)

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 lemons

2 cups fresh pasta, such as penne or gemelli (if you don’t want to make your own it is available in the dairy or deli refrigerated section of the grocery store)

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. capers, rinsed & drained

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup asiago cheese (or other cheese of your choice)

  1. Prepare the chicken by pounding to about 1/4″ thick. In a shallow dish or plate combine the flour, salt & pepper. Combine the juice of 1 lemon, the egg substitute, 1/4 cup basil, and 1 clove of garlic in a blender. Blend on high for a few seconds to combine all ingredients, making sure the garlic is finely chopped. Pour this into another shallow dish or plate.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  4. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, making sure to coat well and shaking off any excess. Next, dredge the chicken through the egg mixture, shaking off any excess.
  5. Place the chicken in the heated oil and cook for about 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. (If chicken gets done before sauce cover with foil and place in an oven on the “warm” setting (around 170 degrees F).
  6. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat (I used the same pan that I used to cook the pasta). Add 1 clove of minced garlic and cook just until fragrant (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Add the juice of 1 lemon. Next add the heavy cream by whisking in and continuing to whisk until heated through. Whisk in the cheese, stirring until cheese has melted. Once sauce has thickened (should just coat the back of a spoon) add the capers and basil and stir until just combined. If sauce is too thick add some of the reserved pasta water a little bit at a time until you reach desired consistency. Last, add the pasta and stir to coat well.
  7. Serve about 1 cup of pasta in a bowl and place one chicken breast over the top. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
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Chicken Thighs in the Slow Cooker


Wow, I can’t believe how much I’ve slacked off on my blogging! First I hadn’t been feeling well…even having to call out sick from work, which I haven’t done in over 2 years!! Then life just got busy with a party for Hubby’s Motor Cycle Club & a girl’s getaway to Atlantic City…the Blog had to take a back seat! Anyway, despite my illness, fatigue and busy schedule, I still managed to cook a few good meals and even snap a picture here and there.

So what’s the best kind of meal to make when you don’t feel like cooking?? A Crockpot /slow cooker meal, of course!  My inspiration for this recipe is from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummand. The original recipe, Penne with Chicken Thighs, call for the thighs to be cooked in the oven for 1 ½ hours, so I figured why not just throw it in the Crockpot. Be careful with how long you cook this in the slow cooker, though. Even with the low heat of a slow cooker chicken can and will get dried out if left in too long. So, I wouldn’t recommend this as one of those that you start in the morning so it’s done when you return home. It will only take about 2 hours on high (or low if your crockpot runs a little hot…which mine does.) After 2-3 hours use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken has been cooked through. Remember cooking times are approximate and you can never be sure if meat is cooked thoroughly without taking the temperature. Serve the chicken thighs with any pasta that you like or have on hand. I recommend using my Marina Sauce, but you can use jar spaghetti/marinara if you want to.

Crockpot Chicken Thighs

4 bone-in chicken thighs

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Marinara Sauce

¼ cup parmesan cheese

  1. Season the chicken thighs with the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the chicken thighs on both sides (about 3-5 minutes per side).
  3. Transfer to the slow cooker and add the marinara sauce. Cook the chicken thighs in the slow cooker for 2 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low (this depends solely on your slow cooker).
  4. When chicken is cooked through serve over cooked pasta of your choice and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

 

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Ranch Chicken Grilled Pizza


Here is another delicious grilled pizza recipe. For this recipe I did not use my usual “go to” pizza dough recipe, but used one that is a little bit thinner and has a good texture for cooking it on the grill. It is so easy to work with and shape and it’s not sticky at all. When you put it on the grill it may puff up a little but this goes down and ends up nice and crispy. For the chicken you can pretty much make it however you want or use leftovers, but personally I like to make my Grilled Ranch-Style Chicken.  Also, you can use whatever cheese you like, but based on previous attempts at making this I think mild cheddar is the way to go, as it does not overpower or clash with the ranch dressing. Also, I’ve included measurements in the recipe, however they’re just guesstimates so just go ahead and adjust them based on your own tastes. Remember to follow the last step of completely removing the dough from the grill to add the toppings. If you do not do this you will run the risk of burning your pizza!!

 

Ranch Chicken Grilled Pizza

Pizza Dough:

  • 2 tsp. instant/rapid rise yeast
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 – 3 ½ cups flour
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

 ¼ to ½ cup Ranch Dressing

4 oz. cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed (I use Ranch Style Grilled Chicken)

2-3 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled

1 to 1 ½ cups of mild cheddar cheese, shredded.

  1. Combine all the pizza dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on low-medium speed until well combined. Increase the speed and continue to mix until dough forms a smooth ball and no longer sticks to the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into four. Place on a baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes. (If you let it “rest” for longer it’s ok; it will not affect the end result of the dough)
  2. Meanwhile, gather and prepare all other ingredients. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
  3. After the dough has rested for at least 15 minutes, roll out each piece as flat as possible (be careful not to rip it).
  4. Place the four pieces of dough on the grill for about 2 minutes. Remove the dough completely from the grill (grilled side down) and add the ranch dressing, chicken, bacon and cheese. Return to grill for 3-4 minutes until dough is crisp, toppings are heated through, and cheese is melted.
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Grilled Ranch-Style Chicken


There is truly nothing like going out to your garden and getting the fresh herbs that you need for a recipe, which is exactly what I did when I made the marinade for this ranch-style grilled chicken. This recipe works best with fresh herbs but you can definitely substitute dried, just remember to use less.  Also, I like to put my marinades in the blender (I have the Cuisinart CPB-300 SmartPower 15-Piece Compact Portable Blending/Chopping System, so it’s pretty convenient) when I am using fresh herbs, personally I think it helps get all the flavors into the meat better, plus sometimes I get a little bit lazy and don’t really feel like chopping everything up, so blending it takes care of that!  So you can either just chop everything up and mix it together or throw it all in the blender. Totally your choice! I called this “ranch-style” because it is not your typical creamy ranch, but I still used all the seasonings from my Ranch Dressing.

Grilled Ranch Style Chicken

10 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast

2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. white vinegar

Salt & pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients except for chicken in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined (or put it all in a blender and blend for a few seconds). Place chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Seal. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Grill chicken over medium high heat for about 20 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

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Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza


Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza

For those of you who read my posts regularly, I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I love to grill!  I will attempt to grill everything! One of my favorite things to make on the grill is pizza and bread. Grilled pizza has become quite popular over the last few years and with good reason…it tastes great! So here is a really quick and easy meal that everyone will love. Typically this is one of the meals I throw together when I have leftover chicken, but you can always cook your chicken right before making the pizza. If you’ve read how to make grilled pizza you may have been told to oil your dough, but that is actually not necessary. I usually always oil my grill grates because it does help prevent foods from sticking but it also keeps the grates in better condition, however this is also not necessary for pizza. Once the dough firms up it will come right off the grate with no problems. I never measure my ingredients for this so although I’ve included measurements for each ingredient in the recipe ultimately you can just put the toppings on to your own preference.

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza

1 Pizza Dough (homemade or store bought is fine)

1 cup Barbecue Sauce

1 cup Mozzarella Cheese

1 cup Cheddar Cheese

2 slices of cooked bacon

1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded

 1/4 cup chopped red onions

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.

  2. Divide dough into four and flatten using a rolling pin or your hands.

  3. Place each piece of dough on the grill for 3 minutes over direct heat.

  4. Remove the dough from the grill to add toppings. On the cooked side of the dough, place about 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce, 1 tbsp. onions, 2 tbsp. of shredded chicken over each piece of dough. Crumble the bacon over the pizzas and add the cheese (about 1/4 cup of Mozzarella & 1/4 cup of cheddar on each pizza).

  5. Return the dough to the grill uncooked side down and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes over direct heat. Then continue to cook the pizzas over indirect heat until the toppings are heated through and the cheese is melted.

  6. Cut into slices or squares and serve!

 

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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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Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches


 

There is nothing like the smell of something wonderful cooking in the crockpot all day. There is also nothing like throwing some meat and ingredients into the crockpot and coming home to a cooked meal.

French Dip is probably one of my favorite foods to order at a diner. Since I’m trying to cut back on eating out I decided to try it at home. This recipe is great for cheap cuts of beef since it cooks all day. The meat comes out extremely tender and super flavorful. I picked up some round eye steak since a whole roast was a little too much for just me and Hubby (although I could’ve bought a small roast and cut it down, but quite frankly I didn’t feel like going through all that work of slicing it and freezing it into smaller portions). I used two steaks which weighed a total of just about 2 lbs. but I didn’t change any of the amounts of the ingredients for the rest of the recipe.  Make sure you use low-sodium soy sauce or your meat and juice will be way too salty. To me, Crockpot meals are all about being quick and convenient so I just used dried herbs and spices but you could always substitute fresh since fresh is always better; just remember that you will need to increase the amount (rule of thumb: use three times the amount of fresh for dried). You can slice the meat thin or shred it. I prefer to shred it…there’s no particular reason for this, I just like it that way. Use “Mandy’s Marvelous Sandwich Rolls”, cutting in half and adding some garlic butter to each side and toasting before adding the meat.

 

French Dip Sandwiches in the Crockpot (Makes 12 servings)

1 4 lb. boneless beef roast

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 cup beef stock or low-sodium beef broth

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. garlic powder

12 Sandwich Rolls

12 slices provolone cheese (optional)

 

  1. Trim beef of all visible fat and place in Crockpot.
  2. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, beef stock, bay leaf, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder.
  3. Pour mixture over beef and cook on Low Heat for 8-10 hours (cook longer for thicker cuts of meat).  If desired, in the last hour of cooking, take out the meat, shred and return to Crockpot to allow flavors to soak through.
  4. Remove meat from broth and reserve broth for dipping.
  5. Distribute meat on rolls and top with cheese, if desired. Serve with small individual dishes of broth for dipping.
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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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