Crock Pot Lasagna {9 WW+ Dinner}

I had high hopes for this recipe. I tried it once and kinda screwed up (didn't have ricotta on hand so used cream cheese in a pinch). And the results were not pretty. So I was determined to revisit this dish and try again.

Good thing I did cause this meal was mighty tasty! And filling too. Only one serving plus a side salad filled me up and kept me satisfied all night. I most definitely cannot wait till tomorrow's leftovers for lunch. I'm sure this dish will keep me happy two days in a row.

Inspiration: Two Pink Hippos

Crock Pot Lasagna
  • 1 pound uncooked lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
  • 2 ounces fat free mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheeses, shredded and divided
  • 6 dry lasagna noodles, no-cook
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
In a saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine beef, onion and garlic. Break up meat with a wooden spoon while everything cooks, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes more to allow flavors to blend.

In a separate bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, 2 ounces of part skim mozzarella cheese, and 2 ounces of fat free mozzarella cheese.

Spoon 1/3 of beef mixture into a 6-quart slow cooker. Break 2 lasagna sheets in thirds and arrange over beef mixture; top with 1/3 of ricotta mixture. Repeat with two layers and finish with remaining 1/3 of beef mixture.

Cook on low setting for 4 hours. Turn off crock pot.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup of reserved part-skim mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the lasagna. Cover the crock pot until the cheese melts and lasagna firms up, about 10 minutes.

Serves 6 | 9 WW+ Points

Pesto Dill Salmon Burgers {8 WW+ Dinner}

I had some salmon I froze from dinner last week that I wanted to use up this week but didn't quite want grilled salmon again. So I went in search of a yummy alternative. I went to my trusty google reader, filled with tons and tons of recipes from other food bloggers, and settled on this salmon burger from Beantown Baker.

I wasn't quite sure how I'd like it as I'd never had a salmon burger before but was ready for a challenge. I kinda got grossed out when I put the salmon in the food processor but I got through it. the mix came together really well. Next time I may dice my salmon pieces a bit smaller though. Although it didn't change the taste of the burger, the bigger pieces made it harder for the patties to be formed and stay formed.

All in all I thought this burger was quite tasty. Although I may spice it up a bit next time. 

Inspiration: Beantown Baker

Pesto Dill Salmon Burgers
  • 12 oz salmon, diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon pesto sauce
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 Thomas' Light Multi-Grain English Muffin 
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-calorie mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
In the food processor, puree half of the diced salmon.

In a medium bowl, combine the pureed mixture with the remaining diced salmon, dill, pesto, mustard and salt and pepper.

Shape into 4 4oz patties. Make an indentation in the center.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat skillet with oil. Cook the patties for 4-5 minutes per side. Serve on English muffins with spinach and mayonnaise mixed with mustard.

Serves 4 | 8 WW+ Points

WFD? Week of 4/24/2011 {Weekly Meal Planning}

This week I'm doing things a bit differently. For one, because of the holiday yesterday I wasn't able to set aside time to meal plan so I'm doing that today. And secondly, my printer ran out of ink while I was printing coupons so I'm going to post my grocery list for the upcoming week's meals below the meal plan. That way I can "go green" and use the blog as my list instead of a paper list. 
Now don't be deceived. The list below only includes ingredients needed for the week's dinners. It does not include breakfast, lunch or snacks. Those will be carefully planned as well with the help of coupons and sale ads. Maybe if I have time I'll post those later as well.

Week of 4/24/2011
Monday –
Turkey Meatloaf

Tuesday –
Salmon Burgers via Beantown Baker

Wednesday –
Crock Pot Lasagna via Two Pink Hippos

Thursday –
Maple Rosemary Pork Chops via What's Cookin, Chicago

Friday –
Baked Chicken Parm & Spaghetti via Taste & See

Saturday –
Roasted Chicken with Asparagus Risotto via Weight Watchers

2 Onions
2 Bell Peppers

Low fat shredded cheddar
Part skim Mozzarella, shredded
Part skim ricotta

Ground turkey breast
4oz Smoked Salmon
Pork chops

Dry Goods/Herbs & Spices
Dry mustard
Masa harina

Meatballs and Polenta {10 WW+ Dinner}

Wow. I haven't had as tasty a dinner as last night's in a LONG time. Well, at least one that I made. This meal just hit the spot. Definitely a comfort food meal that's perfect for any time of year. The flavors really melded together and the richness of the meat and polenta was spot on. I've only ever tried the already cooked polenta in the log looking thing. And it just wasn't my cup of tea. Joseph didn't much care for it either. But this meal? Yeah, it was perfect.

I did vary a lot from the original recipe. I don't know what overcame me but as I was looking at the original ingredients I knew I could "one up" myself and make a fabulous meatball. And I did. These were tasty and flavorful. I even froze two thirds of the baked batch to use for future meals. I love making extras to use in the future!

Just serve with your favorite veggies, or a large salad, for a completely balanced meal. 

Inspiration: Two Pink Hippos

Meatballs and Polenta
  • 1 pound 99% fat-free raw ground turkey breast
  • 1 pound 85% lean/15% fat raw ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

  • 15 oz canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 cup pre-cooked polenta, dry
  • 2 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 oz mozzarella, shredded, fat free
  • 1/2 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoon regular butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the beef, turkey, egg, bread crumbs, worcestershire sauce, and herbs & spices in a bowl.

Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. Form meatballs about 2" diameter and place them on a baking pan. (I weighed each meatball at 2 oz and got 19 meatballs.) Bake for 25 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, dice your onion and mice the garlic and basil. Saute the onion & garlic until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and basil. Let simmer.

After meatballs are done bake, transfer from the oven to the sauce. Cook for another 10-20 minutes, turning the meatballs occasionally so all meatballs are coated with sauce.

Place chicken broth in a medium pot. Set to medium high and bring to a boil. Once boiling whisk in the polenta. Continue to wisk for 3 minutes or until thick. Add cheese and salt, to taste, and continue to whisk until the cheese has melted and is combined with the polenta. Remove from heat and divide in half on two plates.

Serve meatballs over polenta. Top with a little chopped parsley and grated Parmesan if desired.

1 2oz meatball = 1 serving
1/2 polenta (roughly 1 cup) = 1 serving

2 Servings | 10 WW+ Points

WFD? Week of 4/18/2011 {Weekly Meal Planning}

This week is going to be a week of revisiting and reusing. Since starting to regularly blog again (and regularly meal plan) I've found that we sometimes have too many leftovers to eat up for lunch the next day. So I'm going to start being more aware of the components of each meal to see if I can re-use a portion for the next few nights. Chicken made for one dish can go a long way through the week and add to other dishes. For example, the pesto I made last night for salmon will be re-used tomorrow for some chicken and pasta. The rest will be frozen and added to meals later on.

I really do hate wasting food and have been getting a whole lot better on realizing when I'm starting to waste more. I have even caught a few veggies that were on the verge of being "too old" and just cooked them up right away and ate them for lunch. A few weeks ago I might have just let them go to waste and thrown them away. Not anymore!

So if you see a recipe on my line up that you think I can re-use in another dish please let me know and I'll rearrange things to put it on the menu! Oh, and I totally didn't realize that the last three dinners were from the same source. I have been dying to try the meatballs & polenta but had to pass it off to this week and I really want to give the crock pot lasagna a second chance since my first pass at it didn't go so well. I'll try to mix things up next week.

Week of 4/18/2011

Sunday - Dinner Out
Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries at Crazee Burger

Monday - ?? WW+ Points
Pesto Chicken and Whole Wheat Pasta

Tuesday - 7 WW+ Points
Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti via Emily Bites 

Wednesday-  9 WW+ Points
Leftover Teriyaki Salmon I put in the freezer

Thursday -  10 WW+ Points
Meatballs & Polenta via Two Pink Hippos
Friday - 9 WW+ Points
Shrimp & Crab Cake Burgers via Two Pink Hippos

Saturday - 9 WW+ Points
Crockpot Lasagna revisited via Two Pink Hippos

Country Fried Steak with Gravy {7 WW+ Dinner}

I've finally found a dish I haven't really enjoyed since starting this most recent weight watchers journey. I'll probably try and re-work the country friend steak recipe I've already used to make it more points friendly instead of using this one again. But it was tasty enough to finish the whole meal. I'll give it that much. It just didn't have enough "yum" for me if you know what I mean... and if you don't, sorry.

Inspiration: LaLoosh

Country Fried Steak
  • 1 pound cube steak, trimmed and cut into 4 portions
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal, processed finely in food processor
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free beef broth
  • 1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 egg white, lightly whisked
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place all-purpose flour on a large plate. Place egg whites in a shallow dish. Whisk Fiber One breadcrumbs, whole-wheat flour, the 1/4 cup cornstarch, garlic and paprika in another shallow dish. Season both sides of steak with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Dredge the steak in the flour, shaking off excess; dip in the egg whites, then dredge in the Fiber One/flour mixture.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonfat cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 pieces of the steak; cook until browned on both sides, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer the steak to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces of steak. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add broth to the pan and boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 cup, approx 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk water and the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the left over Fiber One/flour mixture. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in buttermilk; season with the remaining salt and pepper. Serve the steak topped with the gravy.

Serves 4 | 7 WW+ Points

Thyme Chicken & Red Potatoes {7WW+ Dinner}

This is a meal that was pushed back from last week to this week and I'm really glad I didn't cut it. I'm usually hesitant to make crock pot chicken dishes because I've had some really bad experiences in the past (i.e. the chicken was so dry my husband started choking due to the piece being stuck in his throat... but we won't talk about that). So even though the ingredients sounded great I wasn't too thrilled to jump in and make it. But the dish surprised me.

The chicken was moist and flavorful and the carrots and potatoes were sweet and tender. I didn't even need a small sweet for dessert. The fresh parsley and lemon gave a fresh zing to the dish that definitely kicked it up a bit. And while there is a bit of prep beforehand, it's worth it. The sauteed onions and celery just add to the sweetness of this dish.

If I made it again I'd probably stop letting it cook after 6 hours instead of 8 since the chicken was *almost* dry. Good thing I followed my nose and stopped the cooker after 7 hours. The chicken was just right! And next time I'll try and remember to buy sage so I can make the meal according to the original recipe... haha... like I ever do that!

Inspiration: Weight Watchers

Thyme Chicken & Red Potatoes
  • 2 tsp olive oil, extra-virgin
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 2 uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half
  • 1 pound uncooked red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 strip
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Let simmer 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Put the potatoes, carrots, chicken bay leaf, salt, and pepper (in that order) in a 5–6-quart slow cooker; pour the broth mixture over the chicken and vegetables. Cover the slow cooker and cook until chicken and vegetables are fork-tender, 6-8 hours on low.

Discard the bay leaf. Add the parsley, thyme, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the slow cooker; cover and cook on high until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

4 Servings | 7 WW+ Points

Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Mac & Cheese {10 WW+ Dinner}

I was so surprised with how much I enjoyed this dish. I wasn't expecting much although many of my friends gave it rave reviews. I don't know... I guess I've done mac and cheese so much that one other way just didn't seem exciting to me. But this dish is definitely not your typical mac and cheese. It reminded me a bit of an alfredo almost and was definitely tasty. I think Joseph even approved.

Next time I make this version (and I do plan on making it) I'm going to add some broccoli to the mix as well so I don't have to serve a veggie on the side. It's always easier to make a complete meal in one dish. And it makes the broccoli taste that much better... cheese will do that to a veggie!

Inspiration: Cooking Light, March 2010 issue

Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Mac & Cheese
  • 8 ounces uncooked Fusilli pasta
  • 3 slices pre-cooked bacon, cut into small pieces (reserve 1/3)
  • 8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 breast)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces 1% milk
  • 1 can condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup 
  • 1 ounce Trader Joe's light shredded 3 cheese blend
  • 1 ounce Trader Joe's organic shredded mozzarella
  • 2 ounces Trader Joe's shredded pepper jack cheese blend, plus 1/8 cup to reserve
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

Cook chicken in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bacon to the pan and warm through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup, stirring with a whisk; gradually add milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until sauce cools to 155°. Add cheese blend, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in pasta and chicken.

Preheat broiler.

Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and Pepper Jack cheese blend. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Serves 6 | 10 WW+ Points

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread {6 WW+ Dessert}

I was craving sweets yesterday. I needed to bake and it needed to be on-plan. So I went in search of ingredients in the house and found 3 very ripe bananas. And instead of eating them I looked for a recipe that would use them up.

I came across this recipe on the Weight Watcher's website and read the reviews. Most people thoroughly enjoyed this bread so I knew I had to try it. I've tried other banana breads before that were "lighter" but always had problems with the moistness of the bread (I hate that word...). So I added some applesauce to the batter to combat the lack of butter or mass quantities of oil. And I succeeded in keeping this bread tasty! With just a hint of cinnamon and a sprinkle of chocolate chips this was the perfect dessert to enjoy with a cup of coffee.

Inspiration: Weight Watchers

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp canola oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 large egg white, beaten
  • 3 large bananas, ripe
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add oil, applesauce and eggs; mix thoroughly.

In a smaller bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Add bananas and oatmeal to batter. Fold in chocolate chips

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and bake until top of loaf is firm to touch, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Flip out and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes.

Serves 10 | 6 WW+ Points

Chicken Pad Thai {7 WW+ Dinner}

Tonight was one of those nights that I forgot to read the recipe for dinner... and therefore I scoured the rest of the week's meals to find a back up plan. I wasn't too sure about this recipe. I really don't eat a lot of Thai food and definitely don't make it at home. Mostly because Joseph won't eat it. He isn't too adventurous when it comes to food. But I'm glad I was pleasantly surprised. I did miss the peanuts and peanut oil but it's better to have a live husband then to indulge in peanuts. And without the peanuts I reduced this meal by 2 points. How awesome is that?

Now back to the dish... it was fresh, flavorful and very... spring like. Yum. I ate my portion in a small bowl that only held one cup because I knew mentally I'd want another bowl and wouldn't be able to afford 14 points for dinner. So when I was done with my small 1 cup bowl I went and got seconds. And I was satisfied. Not overly full; satisfied. The way I should be.

Inspiration: Weight Watchers

Chicken Pad Thai sans Peanuts
  • 7 ounces packaged rice noodles
  • 1 1/8 pounds uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce, divided
  • 4 cups broccoli, florets
  • juice of 1 lime, divided
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger root, fresh, finely minced
  • 2 sprays cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, fresh, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili oil

Start boiling a pot of water for noodles and a pot of water for steaming broccoli.

Place chicken in a small bowl and cover with 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and sprinkle with some salt and pepper; set aside. Cut up broccoli, shred carrots, mince cilantro, garlic & ginger root; set aside.

Place noodles in boiling water & steam broccoli until crisp-tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another small bowl, combine remaining 3 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1/2 of the juice of one lime, sugar, water and ginger; mix well and set aside.

Coat a large wok or skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium-high heat. When hot, add chicken; cook, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and cover to keep warm; set aside.

Drain noodles thoroughly. Off heat, coat same wok or skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium-high heat. When hot, sauté garlic and carrots until garlic is just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add noodles, fish sauce mixture, and chili oil; cook, stirring, until sauce is mostly absorbed, about 3 minutes. Stir in chicken and broccoli; remove from heat. Add remaining 1/2 of lime juice, bean sprouts and cilantro; mix well. Serve immediately. Yields about 2 cups per serving.

Serves 6 | 7 WW+ Points

WFD? Week of 4/10/2011 {Weekly Meal Planning}

The best thing about weekly meal planning for me is that I have a stocked house. I know that I will have fresh veggies and fruits stocked up and I'll have a good plan should anything happen mid-week and, say, I forget that I planned a crock pot meal and it's 2pm. This happens a lot. So I switch things up and have pizza on Wednesday instead of Saturday. And it's ok because I already shopped and have all of the ingredients on hand. Right? Well...

Sometimes the dish does change a bit when it gets to the end of the week because I either forgot and used some ingredients in another dish (or for lunch) or I swore I already had something at home and forgot a key ingredient. But I don't panic! I just move on with the next meal I have all of the ingredients for or I improvise.

So sometimes you'll see a recipe from the previous week included in this week's line up. It isn't because I absolutely LOVED it and had to have it again... no, it's more likely that I just didn't prepare it the week before but still want to give it a chance. If I STILL haven't made it that second week than I more than likely just drop it off the menu and save it for another month.

Week of 4/10/2011

Sunday - WW+ Points
Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti via Emily Bites 

Monday -  7 WW+ Points
Sage Chicken & Red Potatoes via Weight Watchers

Tuesday -  6 WW+ Points
Bacon, Ranch & Chicken Mac and Cheese via Cooking Light March 2010

Wednesday - 9 WW+ Points
Chicken Pad Thai (minus the peanuts) via Weight Watchers

Thursday - 6 WW+ Points
Country Fried Steak & Gravy via LaaLosh

Friday - 9 WW+ Points
Pesto Salmon Salad (to go - I have an event tonight so I'll be eating on the run)

Saturday - WW+ Points
Meatballs & Polenta via Two Pink Hippos

Shrimp Marinara {9 WW+ Dinner}

I think I just found my new go to when we're out of ground beef and I want spaghetti. This dish was fabulous! I tweaked it a bit to add some more veggies and I decided to use my dutch oven instead of the slow cooker (I tend to have MUCH better luck with the dutch oven than with the slow cooker) and this recipe turned out better than I expected. I didn't have fresh shrimp, just a bag of frozen cooked shrimp from Trader Joe's but it worked great. And I can always keep some in the freezer so consider this an official staple meal in this household!

Inspiration: Two Pink Hippos

Shrimp Marinara
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 28 ounces can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound frozen cooked shrimp, tails off
  • 30 ounces organic spaghetti

Start heating a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.

Add oil to dutch oven and cook on medium high. Add onions, carrots & zucchini. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add tomato paste, spices, & tomatoes into dutch oven and let cook until boiling. Once it's boiling, turn heat to low and let simmer.

Once pasta water is boiling, sprinkle with some salt and add pasta. Add shrimp to sauce. Cook pasta until done and drain. Shrimp will be warmed thoroughly as soon as the pasta is done. Plate pasta and top with shrimp marinara.

Serves 6 | 9 WW+ Points

Olive, Pepperoni and Bruschetta Pizza {6 WW+ Dinner}

You know when you have an awesome idea for dinner and crave it all week. And than something happens and you don't get to put your idea into action? Well that happened tonight. And guess what? Dinner still turned out really well.

I made this weeks dinner list in a hurry. We were busy and in the middle of Joseph's birthday weekend but I still needed a plan. So when the week went by in a hurry and Thursday finally came I just opened the recipe link from the blog for my husband and left it at that. He'd figure it out and I'd come home to a yummy dinner of chicken and potatoes.

Well... we both didn't read past the skillet part to the part where we used the slow cooker to finish the meal. Yup. Joseph waited till one hour before I was supposed to be home to look at the recipe again and realized what had happened. So as I was driving home I asked him to grab the dough out of the fridge... I was going to make some pizza! I had wanted to use Italian sausage but we had to use it for the crock pot lasagna we had earlier in the week so I grabbed some pepperonis. This pizza was super yummy! And the best part? Joseph and my son didn't know there was spinach in there! Always a good thing to get veggies in without their knowledge.

Olive, Pepperoni and Bruschetta Pizza
  • 1 ball Trader Joe's Garlic & Herb pizza dough
  • 1 cup spinach, cut finely
  • 2 ounces Trader Joe's Organic Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2 ounces Trader Joe's Lite Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 6 ounces Trader Joe's Bruschetta
  • 10 (20 grams) Hormel pepperonis
  • 2 ounces sliced olives
Let pre-made or store bought dough rest for 30 minutes before rolling out. While dough rests, place a pizza stone on the bottom of a cold oven and turn the oven to 450 degrees.

Take out all sauce & toppings and have them prepped and ready to go before you start rolling out the dough.

Sprinkle your work space with a little bit of corn meal or flour so the dough doesn't stick.

Take pizza dough and flatten into a disk and then fold the dough into a ball. Start to slowly work and stretch the dough into a flattened circle with your hands. You can roll it out to a larger size with a good rolling pin or continue to use your hands.

Once the dough is to the size you want (I went with 12 inches as suggested on the dough packaging), roll the outer sides inwards to create a thin crust. Brush the crust with a small amount of olive oil.

Once the dough is completely rolled out and the crust is formed take the stone out of the oven. Place the formed dough onto the stone and spoon bruschetta onto the dough and evenly spread it around to the crust rim.

Place spinach, pepperoni and black olives on top of the sauce and then sprinkle the cheese over the toppings. Bake in the oven for 9 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

Let rest 3 minutes on the stone once it's done and then serve with your favorite salad.

6 Servings | 6 WW+ Points

Marble Cake with Whipped Frosting {10 WW+ Dessert}

My husband, thankfully, was very specific with what type of cake he wanted for his birthday this year. Marble cake with light frosting. The trouble was I didn't have  a tried and true recipe for marble cake and had no idea what type of frosting I should make. So I went to the interwebz. And came up with this from Martha Stewart.

Now her marble cake is supposed to be in loaf form. So I changed a few things, doubled a few ingredients and put the batter into two 9" rounds instead of a loaf pan. I think it turned out rather nicely. I went with a whipped frosting. Something I had never made before. But it turns out that it was Joseph's maternal grandmother's favorite frosting! Guess I made a good decision. Next time I'll make a buttercream or custard for the filling instead of using the whipped frosting because the frosting just kind of got absorbed into the cake even though the cake was completely cooled at frosting time.

All in all it was a good cake. Not as light and fluffy as I would have liked and a tiny bit dry but that just means I'll have to experiment some more to get the perfect flavor. But don't worry, I won't be experimenting any time soon. At 9 WW+ points a serving, this cake will be saved for special occasions. I may just try the loaf version soon so I can play around a bit.

Inspiration: Martha Stewart

Marble Cake
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder plus 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter two 9" rounds and layer with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside 1/3 of the batter. (I forgot to do this and had to add the buttermilk after the flour was incorporated)

In a bowl, mix cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the reserved cake batter; stir until well combined.

Spoon batters into the prepared pans in 2 layers, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate to simulate a checkerboard. To create marbling, run a table knife (or wooden skewer) through the batters in a swirling motion.

Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake from pan and cool completely on the rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

16 Servings | 9 WW+ Points

Whipped Frosting
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not over beat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.  

WFD? Week of 4/4/2011 {Weekly Meal Planning}

I didn't have a chance to meal plan yesterday due to some birthday festivities for my husband, Joseph, but I got right on top of it this morning and planned out an awesome week of meals! Take a look at what's ahead: 

Week of 4/4/2011

Sunday - 14 WW+ Points
Hamburgers & Sweet Potato Fries
Monday - ?? WW+ Points
Dinner out at Benihana's for Joseph's birthday (emailed them to see if I could get nutritional information)
Tuesday - 9 WW+ Points
Crock Pot Lasagna via Two Pink Hippos
Wednesday - 10 WW+ Points
Skinny Italian Spinach Meatballs via Gina's Skinny Recipes
Thursday -7 WW+ Points
Sage Chicken & Red Potatoes via Weight Watchers
Friday - 10 WW+ Points
Crock Pot Shrimp Marinara with Spaghetti via Two Pink Hippos
Saturday - 6 WW+ Points
Homemade Pizza

Teriyaki Salmon {9 WW+ Dinner}

I'm always up for a good fish recipe to try during Lent. This Lent I haven't been too adventurous. I've been sticking with tuna noodle casserole and marinated frozen fillets from Trader Joe's. It's simple and easy. And when I get home from work on Friday I need simple and easy.

But I've gotten kind of stuck and wanted to get out of this rut. I LOVE trying out new recipes and really like stepping out of our typical meals. Or taking a typical meal and changing it up a bit. This recipe took something I'd normally do with chicken and used fish. And boy was it tasty!

For those readers on Weight Watchers, if you'd like to reduce the points in this meal you can reduce the fish size to 3 ounces. I just prefer a larger portion of fish when points allow so I feel more full.

I'm hoping to try a few more fish recipes before the end of Lent. If you have any to suggest please do!

Inspiration: What's Cookin, Chicago?

Teriyaki Salmon
  • 4 6 ounce salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 minced garlic cloves

Mix all of the ingredients in a ziploc bag and let marinate in the fridge for 6-24 hours. Preheat grill (or grill pan) and spray with cooking spray. 

Remove the salmon from the bag and place on grill. Cook on each side until opaque and flakey, about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. 

Serves 4 | 9 WW+ Points

Crockpot Salsa Chicken {4 WW+ Dinner}

This is the easiest crock pot dish for those just starting out with their crockpot. You don't have to thaw any meat, you don't have to worry about the chicken drying out, you don't have to worry about the size of your crockpot. The ingredients all meld so well together and taste delicious however you serve it up.

I served the chicken with rice and zucchini but you can put the chicken in tacos, enchiladas or anything else you can think of. I'm already planning on using the left overs on Saturday for enchilada lasagna. I was going to go with beef but have more than enough left over chicken to use up so I'm making it easy on myself and saving the beef for another day. Another great way to use this as left overs is to put it on top of a salad or make a soup out of it.

Inspiration: Crockpot 365

 Crockpot Salsa Chicken
  • 3 chicken breasts (can be frozen)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 2 tablespoons dry taco seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Place the chicken in the crockpot and top with the other ingredients. Set the crock pot to cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Remove the chicken from the crock pot and shred. Place it back in the crock pot and set it to warm while you prepare the rest of your meal (rice, beans, vegetables, etc).

Serves 6 | 4 WW+ Points

You can top with your favorite light sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese for just 2 more points! That's what I did and it was delicious! My whole meal was 9 WW+ points total and included a serving of salsa chicken, a tablespoon of light sour cream, a sprinkle of light shredded cheese, a 1/2 cup of brown rice and a cup of roasted zucchini. It was delicious and filling.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...