Thursday, January 30, 2014

SkinnyMini Corn Dog Muffins

Are you ready for some football?!?!! I mean, I'm totally not, but who doesn't love Superbowl Sunday?! Even I do. Maybe it's the commercials... maybe it's all the football butts... but more than likely, it's the food.

We have a busy little weekend ahead, but the mister literally has me planning events around the "are you gonna have enough time to cook?" thought process, including the "I'll just drop you off at home, so you can start cooking, and I'll run back out"  -- I'm flattered, really. 

So what I'll do for you tonight, is share what's on our Superbowl Super Menu that I am trying to keep at least halfway WeightWatchers conscious. First up... these little delights. Hotdogs + Cornbread... say what?! I'm totally making chili too, so that makes these even more exciting.

Stay tuned for what else is on tap.

SkinnyMini Corn Dog Muffins

Recipe courtesy of Pinterest, of course, but originated from Simply Nourished Living

ingredients:

1 small package  cornbread mix (6.5 ounces/6 muffin size)
1 egg (or 2 egg whites )
⅓ cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 fat free hot dogs, each one cut into 6 even pieces 

instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the muffin mix, milk, melted butter, and egg just until moistened. The batter will be lumpy. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups, filling them about ⅔ full.
  3. Insert a piece of hot dog into the center of each muffin cup.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. until golden brown
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with your favorite corn dog muffins condiments.

notes:

  • Nutrition: 83 calories, 2.2 g fat, 8.3 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 2.3 g protein
  • WeightWatchers PointsPlus Values: 2 PPV+

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Man oh man. Now just forming the thought of cornbread and chili got my tastebuds working. Next up as a new little appie is this concept that I heard about on TFN's new show "The Kitchen" {which I find hilarious, b-t-dubs}

Anywho, what is your first reaction when I say: Buffalo Cauliflower? Really, I'm curious to know. Because my insides did a little dance. Maybe that's because I am mildly obsessed with buffalo anything, and to know that there is a higher being out there that would allow me to eat a spicy Superbowl snack that is not a deep-fried chicken wing, makes me so happy. {Note: I heart deep-fried chicken wings. A lot. They don't love me or my scale}

So they started talking about this as an app on this past weekend's show, and I couldn't find it anywhere on their site... so I had to do a little digging. Thankfully, skinnytaste.com came to my rescue {obvs} - and I am super stoked to make these, and tt actually didn't turn his nose up! Score!

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
with homemade "Skinny" Blue Cheese dressing

Recipe credit goes to skinnytaste.com 

ingredients:

For the Cauliflower
1 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp garlic powder
22 oz (6 1/2 cups) cauliflower florets
3/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce
1 tbsp melted unsalted butter

For the Dressing
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
6 oz fat free Greek yogurt
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper

instructions:

For the Cauliflower {makes 6 appx 1 cup servings}
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a large non-stick baking sheet with oil.
  2. Combine the water, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined.
  3. Coat the cauliflower pieces with the flour mixture and place on the baking sheet; bake for 20 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower is baking, combine the hot sauce and butter in a small bowl.
  5. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the baked cauliflower and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with skinny blue cheese dressing and baby carrots/celery sticks.
For the Dressing {makes 1 cup, serving size 2 Tbl}
  1. In a small bowl, mash blue cheese and yogurt together with a fork. 
  2. Stir in mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic powder until well blended. 
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

notes:

  • Cauliflower Nutrition: Calories: 119.4 • Fat: 2g • Protein: 4g • Carb: 21.4g • Fiber: 3g • Sugar: 0.2g • Sodium: 1172 mg • 3 PPV+
  • Skinny Blue Cheese Dressing Nutrition: Calories: 46.8 • Fat: 3.0g • Protein: 2.8g • Carb: 2.2g • Fiber: 0.3g • 1 PPV+
  • If you are watching sodium intake, don't use Frank's -- the sodium is pretty high in that brand of hot sauce. I'm sure there are low sodium options out there. You can also 1/2 the buffalo sauce. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Kale + Quinoa Superfood Salad

Jamaica is 5 weeks away... and that number on the scale is not going down. Probably because I'm not doing anything overly zealous to make it happen. That's all about to change. I'm hunkering down and making a real commitment to healthy living: eating clean, no drinking {eek} and actually working out {eek even more}

We made a plan for the week, breakfast, lunch and dinner along with snacks. And this little guy is going to be filling up our bellies at lunchtime, and I'm pretty excited about that. I came across this recipe a while ago.. no idea where I found it, probably on fitsugar.com or in one of the emails I get from them. I've been holding onto it, waiting for the right time, and to tell you the truth, it really does feel like the right time! I haven't tried the whole combo together yet, but that dressing...oooh baby. I pretty much wanted to drink it. 

So without further ado...

Kale + Quinoa Superfood Salad

ingredients:

For the salad
   1 cup quinoa
   1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
   1 medium carrot, grated
   1/2 cup slivered almonds
   1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
   1 cup blueberries, washed
   Nori, sliced thinly

For the dressing
   1/4 cup EVOO
   1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
   1 Tbl low-sodium soy sauce
   1 clove garlic, chopped
   1 Tbl honey or brown sugar
   1 Tbl peeled and minced ginger
   1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
   1 Tbl water

instructions:

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a mason jar. Shake and set aside. {can be blended together if desired}
  3. Combine 1 Tbl of dressing with sliced kale in a large bowl and toss to coat. 
  4. When quinoa is cool, add to kale, along with remaining ingredients except nori. Add more dressing if desired. Top with sliced nori and serve. 

notes:

  • Recipe as above makes appx 3 servings of salad with 10 Tbl dressing. 
  • Salad {one third of recipe} 377 calories, 9.6g fat, 60.4g carb, 8.5g fiber, 14g protein {10 PPV+}
  • Dressing {per tablespoon} 57 calories, 5.5g fat, 2.4g carb, 0 fiber, 0.1g protein {2 PPV+}
  • I doubled the recipe and divi-ed up into 10 mason jars for me and tt's lunches for this week. I layered kale, tomatoes, carrots, blueberries, almonds and then quinoa. Kept the nori and dressing separate to avoid sogginess. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Spaghetti Pie

What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the words "spaghetti" and "pie" in the same sentence? For me, I instantly go back to the first meal I made for tt! Very special memory for me. I also associate it with being somewhat of a treat, although my slightly lightened up version didn't add up to be an obscene amount of points, luckily. 

It's oh so easy to make, and oh so easy to enjoy. My only caveat is that you must use frozen meatballs. I know, that sounds gross.. but trust me, as I trust my mother, on this one. {she has made it using real meatballs, and apparently it was a complete disaster- I forget what actually went wrong but in my distant memory, it was greasy and never set up the way it's supposed to. Either way, I remember that fresh/homemade meatballs are a BIG no-no for this recipe.. which ultimately makes it way easier}


Spaghetti Pie


ingredients


1/2 box/8 oz spaghetti {lighten up! use whole wheat pasta}
2 Tbl butter, melted
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese {lighten up! use reduced fat version}
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella {lighten up! use a little less, and go for a reduced fat/fat free version}
1 lb frozen mini Italian meatballs, cut in half {appx 30 meatballs- enough to cover the top of the pan}

instructions

  1. Cook the pasta as directed, and preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix drained pasta with eggs, butter and parm cheese.
  3. Spray a pie pan with non-stick spray, and place pasta mixture into pan.
  4. Cover with sauce and add 1 1/2 cups mozzarella.
  5. Arrange meatballs over the top of the cheese, cover the entire surface.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, sprinkle remaining cheese on top, and bake another 5 minutes
  7. Let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

notes

  • WeightWatchers PointsPlus+ Values: makes 8 servings. For original recipe, 10 PPV per serving / for lightened up version, 8 PPV per serving
  • I made a lightened up version but used regular pasta instead of whole wheat - this actually doesn't change the 8 PPV per serving - I was informed by my WW mentor, Stan, that swapping whole wheat pasta doesn't make enough of a difference to not splurge on regular pasta. There are plenty of other areas to save points.
  • Definitely let it rest - everything needs to cool just slightly in order for it to stay in "pie" form. Believe me, I couldn't wait, and I had a spaghetti and meatball mess on my plate as you can see below..

  • That's the only advice I can give, other than you should probably make this recipe this week! Greatest part is, most of these items are staples in everyone's kitchen! {frozen meatballs tend to always be in my freezer.. I don't even eat them really, but they always manage to end up there.. hehe} Enjoy duckies! 


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

{WeightWatchers} Filet Mignon with Bearnaise

Date night is a special night in our house. For two people who are go go go all the time, while I typically do cook every night, we can usually be found eating in front of the TV, bent over the living room coffee table. This drives me crazy on a day-to-day basis, but apparently not enough to start forcing myself to eat at the table. I have a gorgeous new dining room table, and I think it has been used maybe 3 or 4 times in the course of the last few months. Hopefully that will change, and if I had meals like this one to eat on a regular basis, I can tell you I would spend much less time on my couch!

In my family, there is a New Years tradition that involves Filet Mignon. The tradition was created by accident a million years ago. My dad, the amazing man that he is, braves the elements at any time of year to grill. In blustery upstate NY, you can imagine what the weather is like on New Years. Long story short, the glass on said grill exploded while the steaks were being cooked. My guess is because of the temperature difference between the ice cold air and the warm grill. Thankfully no one was hurt, other than the filets, and we of course picked out the glass and enjoyed the steaks anyway. Thus, the endearing meaning of the term "Filet O'Glass". 

So to carry on this tradition, I decided to make filets for me and the mr. on our last NYE as singles!! It must have been fate, because I signed onto the WW website and low and behold, one of the new/trending recipes was this one! I was so excited! I read the reviews and like 99% of people said it was super easy and restaurant quality... sold. It was the perfect addition to our fancy date night meal. Hope you enjoy as much as we did! I served the steaks with Roasted Confetti Fingerling Potatoes and haricot verts, which is really just a fancy way to say green beans. The Bearnaise is delicious over those as well. 




Filet Mignon with Bearnaise Sauce


ingredients


1/2 tsp each Salt + Pepper, divided
1 lb lean beef filet mignon {ideally 4 4oz pieces}
1 large uncooked egg yolk, at room temperature
1 Tbl water, at room temperature
2 1/3 Tbl unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 Tbl fresh minced herbs {I used fresh chives and parsley and probably used more than 2 Tbl in the end}

instructions

  1. Rub salt + pepper on steaks.
  2. Coat a grill pan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Heat the pan until almost smoking.
  3. Cook the steaks 5 minutes on one side without turning. Flip and cook another 4-6 minutes on the other side to achieve medium doneness. 
  4. Place steaks on cutting board to let rest for 10+ minutes. Loosely cover with foil. The steaks will continue to cook slightly under the foil.
  5. Bring a small saucepan one-third full of water to a boil, to create a double boiler. 
  6. In a metal or glass bowl, beat the egg yolk with 1 Tbl water until frothy; set bowl over saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, until the yolk thickens, appx 3-5 mins.
  7. Remove egg yolk from heat and slowly whisk in melted butter. Stir in lemon juice, remaining S+P and herbs. 
  8. Serve steaks with sauce - yields appx 3 oz steak and 1 Tbl sauce per serving.

notes

  • WeightWatchers PointsPlus+ Values: makes 4 servings at 6 PPV per serving
  • I actually threw my steaks in a ziplock baggie with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I find that the little bit of oil gives the steaks a little more flavor. Note: this increases the PPV of the steaks slightly. 1 tsp of olive oil = 1 PPV 
  • Make sure you have everything prepared for the sauce before you start making it!!! This is crucial to it working, as timing is everything. Chop your veggies, get your butter melted, and have everything portioned out before you start on the sauce. Trust me, you will be thanking me later!
  • To ensure the egg yolk is brought up to room temperature, I recommend taking it out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to start cooking. At this point I also got my Tbl of water on the counter too.


{WeightWatchers} Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

I love potatoes. I particularly love fingerling potatoes because they are just totes adorbs. Even more adorable, if you could believe it, are the mixed or "confetti" fingerling potatoes.. a super fun mix of little red, yellow, and gorgeous purple potatoes makes your dish look as lovely as it tastes. 

What I enjoy most about fingerling potatoes, is how quickly they cook up, even if they are left whole. I usually halve or quarter the bigger ones, to make sure they cook evenly, but either way. This particular recipe only takes 30-35 minutes from start to finish, based on how big/small your potatoes are. Of course, the larger the potato, the longer they will take to cook. Science!

I started with the general concepts of a WeightWatchers recipe called Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Herbs and Garlic, and added my own twist. Hopefully the link brings you to the original recipe, although I think my jazzed up version is probably better and adds 0 PointsPlus+ to the recipe ;o)




These potatoes were a very special part of me and tt's fancy date night in for NYE. They were served alongside Filet Mignon with Bearnaise Sauce, also a WeightWatchers recipe, and haricot verts. 




{WeightWatchers} Roasted Fingerling Potatoes


ingredients


1 lb fingerling potatoes, chopped to keep size mostly uniform {I used mixed/confetti potatoes}
2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped into chunks
2 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2+ tsp fresh herbs {I used chopped parsley, chives, and dill}
1/2 tsp lemon zest

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 500° and warm your baking dish in the oven as it preheats. 
  2. In a large bowl, toss potatoes and onion with 1 1/2 tsp oil and salt. Set bowl aside.
  3. Reduce oven to 425° and remove hot pan from oven. Spread potatoes and onions into pan and roast for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine garlic, herbs, pepper and lemon zest in the original bowl. 
  5. After 20-25 minutes of baking, remove the potatoes and toss in the bowl with the herb mixture. Return to baking dish and place back in oven for 5-10 minutes more cook-time. Ultimately you want to create a crispy outside and soft inside. 

notes

  • WeightWatchers PointsPlus+ Values: makes 4 servings, at 3 PPV per serving.
  • Make sure your onions are not cut too small, the first onion I chopped I sliced a little too thin and so they crisped up a lot more. Personally, I don't mind that flavor, so it worked out just fine.
  • Double up your recipe and use the potatoes for home fries the next morning! I cut them all up into chunks and threw in a skillet with a little more oil, paprika and garlic powder. So yum!


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