Thursday, May 24, 2012


This recipe is ridiculously easy.  You mix everything together, and then you let it sit.  That's it.  Its perfect for a cozy winter day, and it's great to make in advance for a quick weeknight meal.  I like to make it on the weekends if I know I'll be short on time later in the week. 

My mom has made this recipe for years.  She makes a massive amount at once, so we have it for meals all week, and then another batch gets frozen for later.  Leftovers get used to make chili dogs, nachos, or just a quick snack on the go.   We've always had it with shredded cheddar cheese on top, but its good with sour cream, tortilla chips or saltines as well.


Makes 8 servings
4 p+ per serving

1.5 lb 93% lean ground beef
1 large can (16oz) red kidney beans (I use B&M brand)
1 large can (28oz) crushed tomato in tomato puree
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp curry powder

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef. Drain out any excess grease.

Mix together all the ingredients in a large pot.  Stir thoroughly.  Cover, and let simmer for at least 1 hour over low-medium heat.  Serve hot.

Note:  The longer you let it simmer, the more flavor will soak into the meat.  That's another one of the reasons we like to make it in advance... we aren't sitting around smelling it and getting hungry!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Apple Pie Cupcakes

I've seen a lot of methods out there to 'lighten' up cupcakes/cake recipes.  The most common is using diet soda in place of all of the other ingredients.  Just a box of cake mix + 1 can of soda, and bake as directed.  And voilĂ .  Cupcakes!

There are other substitutions out there.  You can use applesauce in replace of the oil.  Or instead of a can of soda, you can use pineapple, or pumpkin.  I saw the idea of using apple pie cake mix on pinterest. Unfortunately, it was a dead link.  So I couldn't find the original site to find out what exactly the poster, or creator, did to make this recipe. 

These cupcakes were deliciously moist, and the chunks of apple were a nice addition.  They were a nice combination of the two flavors, and managed to maintain each flavor individually, in addition to blending them together.

Apple Pie Cupcakes
recipe inspired by this pin

makes 24 servings
3 points+ per serving

1 box classic yellow cake mix
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
1/4 cup all natural applesauce (no sugar added)

Preheat oven as directed on the box of cake mix.  Like 24 cavities in 2 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.

If apple pie mix is already in small chunks, proceed to the next step.   If they are larger chunks, crush or cut into smaller pieces.  The brand I used was in apple slices, so I had to cut each one into numerous smaller pieces.

Mix together the cake mix, pie filling, and applesauce until thoroughly blended.  Batter will be thick, and have the chunks of apple in it.

Spoon batter into cupcake tins, filling each tin approximately 2/3.  Cook as directed on back of cake mix box.  Let cool for 3-5 minutes, and then enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lasagna Rolls

I'm not a big fan of lasagna.  I find it to be too heavy, and not worth the points.  This recipe, however, is light, cheesy, and extremely points+ friendly.  I paired them with a veggie, and 1 roll was more than enough for dinner.

One of the best things about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time.  We made the rolls the night before, and then added the sauce and baked them for an easy weeknight dinner.

Lasagna Rolls
recipe inspired by SkinnyTaste Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Makes 9 servings
6 points+ per serving

1 tsp olive oil
1 1/3 cup ground chicken, cooked
4 cups spinach, chopped
,4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups FF ricotta cheese
3 T grated parmesan cheese
1 cup FF mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp parsley
1 cup pasta sauce
9 T pasta sauce

Bring a large pot of water to boil, and add the olive oil.   Make sure the pan is wide enough to fit the length of the lasagna noodle.  I had to use a shallow pan, and boil the noodles in two batches.  Cook the noodles as directed on the box.  When the noodles are done cooking, remove them from the pan.  Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and lay the noodles out to cool.  Make sure they are flat, and not overlapping.

While the noodles are cooking, place another saucepan over medium heat.  Coat with non-stick cooking spray, and cook the spinach and garlic.  The spinach will cook down to about 1 cup when its done. 

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta with the chicken, and the spinach and garlic. Beat the egg in a separate dish, and add that to the mixture, blending well.  Add in the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and the spices.  Stir the mixture until it is well blended.

Place approximately 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture onto each of the cooled noodles.  Spread it out so that there is an even layer coating the whole noodle. Roll up the noodles, using toothpicks if necessary to hold them together.

When you are ready to cook the lasagna rolls, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, and then pour the 1 cup of sauce over the bottom.  Place the lasagna rolls in the pan, and top each one with 1 T of sauce.  I used Prego chunk garden, onion and garlic sauce. Bake the rolls for 35 minutes, or until hot in the center. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chicken Fried Rice

This is an outstanding recipe.  It's fairly easy to prepare, and even easier to double or triple in order to make more servings or bigger portions.  It's a really good recipe to make for a crowd, or to prepare and divide into tupperware for go to lunches all week.  It's just as delicious as leftovers as it is fresh off the stove top.

This recipe makes 7 generous servings, all with a good amount of chicken and vegetables.  It's filling, and a reasonable amount of points+ for each of those servings.

Chicken Fried Rice
recipe adapted from Weight Watchers recipe

Makes 7 servings
6 points+ per serving

1 1/2 pounds raw chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/3 cup diced scallions, white and green portions
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large carrots, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 small can corn (about 1 cup)
3 cups brown rice, cooked
5 T reduced sodium soy sauce

Coat a saucepan with nonstick cooking spray.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, and brown the chicken until it is almost cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Re-coat the pan with cooking spray, and place over heat.  Scramble egg and egg whites until thoroughly blended, and pour onto hot saucepan.  Cook egg mixture, keeping the scrambled consistency.  When cooked through, remove from heat and set aside.

Re-coat the pan for the 3rd time.  Pour the scallions and garlic into the pan, and cook for about 1 minute, until the garlic starts to brown and becomes fragrant.  Add in the chicken and carrots.  Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the carrots soften and the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the rice, corn and egg.  Pour the soy sauce over the mixture, and combine well.

Each serving is a generous 1 cup scoop.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cranberry Cookies

My mom cut this recipe off the back of a Pillsbury Cranberry Quick Bread box years ago.  Since she found it, it has been one of our family favorites.  The recipe was a favorite from the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest 38.  I've tried to find it online, but have been unsuccessful, so I'm glad we still have the cutout from the box.

This is a very tasty recipe.  It has the sweetness of the sugar, blended with the tartness of the cranberries. It's quick and easy to make, because the mix is already prepared.  It's also a little more sophisticated than your regular chocolate chip, so I find it to be a good recipe to bring along if I'm going to be eating at someone else's house.  If you want to add a little crunch, you can add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.  

Cranberry Cookies
from Pillsbury quick bread recipe
makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies (1 per serving)
2 points+ per serving

1 package Pillsbury Quick Bread mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
2 T sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Combine bread mix, egg and butter.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place 3 inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Pour the sugar onto a small plate.  Using a glass, flatten a ball of dough, then dip the bottom of the glass in the sugar.  Press the glass back down on the cookie, and press down to get the cookie to a 1/8th inch thickness.  Repeat with the rest of the balls of cookie dough.

Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes, until the edges begin to turn a light golden color.  Don't wait until they become crispy, or the cookies will be overcooked. You want them to be soft so they are somewhat chewy, rather than crunchy. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet, and put them on a wire rack to cool.

note the light, golden edges

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Apple Muffins

I love the flavor of apples and cinnamon.  Whether its just a fresh apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, homemade applesauce, or baked goods.  I baked an apple into a batch of my cinnamon sugar donuts the other night, and it was a great addition.

My mom makes this recipe as an apple raisin bread.  Equally as good.  However, I don't really care for raisins. I also prefer to use muffin tins versus a bread pan.  You tend to get more servings (which ultimately lowers the points+ value ;) )  So I took her recipe, made a few alterations, and came out with these delectable muffins.  They can be served as a breakfast or as a dessert.  If you want to make it as a bread, it would work out the same way.  You can also substitute one of the cups of apple for a cup of raisins.

Apple Muffins
recipe adapted from Mom's Apple Raisin Bread recipe

makes 24 servings
2 points+ per serving

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 T vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup natural applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups diced apples

Preheat oven  to 375 degrees.  Line 2 muffin tins with 24 muffin liners, or coat with a nonstick cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients.  Add in all the remaining ingredients except for the apples. Mix thoroughly.  The batter will be thick.  Stir in the apples.

Scoop a spoonful of batter into each muffin tin.  Bake for 18 minutes, until a toothpick placed in the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I've never really liked white potatoes.  Even as a baby, my parents couldn't feed me mashed potatoes.  I was a teenage before I started eating French Fries, and now I will eat home fries or roasted potatoes, but only if they they are loaded with garlic and salt, and even then I dip them in ketchup.  I'm actually afraid of mashed potatoes.  I can't explain it, but they creep me out.  I know... it's weird. 

The way my mom got around this was with sweet potatoes.  I love them.  I would refer to them as orange potatoes growing up. Whenever she made baked potatoes, she would throw one of these in for me. Or she would steam them and then bake them with maple syrup.  Delicious, but not WW friendly in the slightest.  While I'm not a fan of the fact that sweet potatoes have points, I still love them, and we usually have them on the menu a few times a month.   

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
recipe adapted from Sweet Potato Fries

Makes 2 Serving
6 points+ per serving
Contains 1 oil and 1 veggie GHG per serving

1 pound sweet potatoes, cut into small pieces
2 tsp olive oil
2 T grated parmesan cheese 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil, and coat with nonstick cooking spray.

Pour olive oil over potatoes, and stir to get them coated.  Add the cheese, also making sure to coat the potatoes.  Add the garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper.  Note that the paprika and cayenne pepper can produce quite a kick, but we like it that way.

Pour potatoes onto cookie sheet, and cook for 20 minutes.  Flip potatoes, and cook for an additional 15 minutes.  They may need more (or less) time depending on the size of the pieces, and the desired softness. Just keep an eye on them. Ours cook for about 35 minutes total. 

Tips for next time:  This is a favorite for both of us.  We've played with the seasoning, and this is just how we like it!