Weight Watchers Under 20 Cookbook Haul


With the new Simple Start Weight Watchers plan rolling out, that means new products … and new cookbooks!  I’m a sucker for Weight Watcher cookbooks. So when I saw the new Under 20 at my meeting, I wanted to give it a go.
The cookbook is geared more towards Simple Start, which for those who’ve been members prior to this new roll out – it’s ultimately Simply Filling recipes. I’ve wanted to try simply filling in the past, but for one reason or another – the idea of making simply filling meals that my family and I could enjoy collectively was always mind boggling. I’m not sure why, but something about looking at a list of foods (power foods) and trying to come up with a meal was daunting. Not sure why, but it was.
So, I picked up the cookbook to jump start me into getting my thinking cap on tight. Seeing these meals ultimately made things “simpler” in my mind. Plus having a meal on the table in under 20 minutes is sometimes the way I like to roll!
The book has 200 dishes in it, which range from meats (beef/pork/etc.), to poultry and fish, to vegetarian dishes and even small plates (tapas). Ideally there is something for everyone in the book and I’m looking forward to giving a few of the recipes that caught my eye a go. Once I do try those out, I’ll gratefully share my thoughts/review on it.
QUESTION:
Have you purchased the new Under 20 cookbook in your Weight Watchers meeting?

Polish Potato Pancakes

Polish Potato Pancakes are one of my favorite “comfort foods” but they’re definitely one of those foods I only have once in a blue moon.  My grandmother made these often when I was a kid and as the tradition goes, my mother made these throughout my childhood into adulthood once in a while.
They’re actually quite easy to make, meaning the ingredients needed are very few, but the grating of the potatoes takes effort. Typically two potatoes in, my arm is sore and I’m wondering what I got myself into (haha).  There are many different graters on the market but the one I use is my grandmother’s old school potato grater (which I admit are hard to find, but can be found if you search for them), which essentially pulverizes the potatoes into little starchy potato “clouds”. While it pulverizes the potato I have to be VERY careful to not let it nick my hand because it’s not a pretty sight if it does.
These can be enjoyed any which way you like. Plain, with sour cream, or my absolute favorite way: with ketchup!
While I did calculate the points plus values for these, I was able to do so by measuring the oil I used in the beginning and measuring the oil I had leftover at the end. I assumed the oil that wasn’t present was absorbed into the end product.
Serves 10. 6 Points Plus per serving. (Serving size varies based on the amount made – I was able to make 20 pancakes making a serving 2 pancakes).
Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds peeled potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste
Place a grater over a large bowl and grate potatoes. Feel free to grate to your desired consistency. I prefer the old style grater which pulverizes the potato into a pillowy substance.
Place a skillet with ½ cup vegetable oil over medium heat.
Strain some liquid from your potato mixture. When the potatoes are grated they let off water, using a gentle hand allow the water to strain from it but do not push the liquid out of the potatoes because you want it to retain some moisture.
Combine egg, baking powder and ½ cup of flour into mixture. Combine, then add in the remaining ½ cup. You want the mixture to be loose but thick.
Using a heaping tablespoon, spoon the mixture into the hot oil and allow cooking until lightly golden on one side, flipping and cooking on the other.  Flip the pancakes over to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes per cooked side.  I find the pancakes need to be cooked additionally on each side before removing from the pan otherwise the inner pancake is raw and gummy.
When cooked, remove from the oil and set on a paper towel lined tray. Sprinkle with salt.
Continue cooking until all batter is used.

Raspberry Peanut Butter Balls / Buckeyes

This year I decided to make cookie trays for family and friends. Initially peanut butter balls weren’t on my list of things to make, but when my original idea using my PBCrave Razzle Dazzle Peanut Butter didn’t fit the bill, I decided to whip up a quick batch of these “test run” peanut butter balls.
Truth be told they were SO good, I made a second batch two days later and ended up incorporating these delicious desserts into my trays … and they were one of the show-stopper desserts. They’re your classic peanut butter ball but with a unique twist which makes them truly remarkable.
In case you’re not aware, Razzle Dazzle is sold and made by PB Crave.  The peanut butter itself is a natural peanut butter, which is a blend of red raspberries, wild honey, white chocolate and a delicious dark chocolate flavor.  Unlike typical natural butters this one is actually relatively thick and doesn’t need to be stirred together to reincorporate the oils into the butter.
The points plus/calories associated with each ball truly depends on the amount made. The first batch I got roughly 45 balls, whereas the second batch I made, I got over 60.
Serves 60. 3 Points Plus Values.
Ingredients:
  • 1 16 oz. jar PB Crave Razzle Dazzle
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Crisco
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl add in butter and the full jar of Razzle Dazzle peanut butter. Using a handheld mixer, beat the mixture together until smooth and fluffy.
Drizzle in vanilla and add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Blend until the mixture forms a thicker batter.
Line a tray with wax paper, pick up a large rounded teaspoon amount of mixture and roll into a ball. Place the balls on the wax paper and repeat until all mixture is incorporated into balls.
Place the tray into the refrigerator to harden for at a minimum 1 hour.
Before removing the peanut butter balls from the refrigerator, in a microwave safe bowl, combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips and Crisco. Microwave in 30 second intervals, blending the mixture together with a spoon in between.  I found after 3 trips into the microwave, my chocolate mixture was perfectly melted.
Using a toothpick, pierce the balls and dunk in the chocolate. Return the ball to the tray – repeating until all balls are coated. You can use another toothpick to smooth over the pierced holes or you can leave as is.
Return the tray filled with dipping peanut butter balls to the refrigerator to harden. Allow to harden for a minimum of 1-hour.

Turkey Pie

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Transforming leftovers into a completely different dish is something I enjoy. I admit eating the same leftovers can be a little boring.  On Christmas Eve there was an abundance of leftovers and one of the things leftover was a turkey. Since there wasn’t much turkey leftover at Thanksgiving, I decided to whip up a quick turkey pie for dinner and to put one into the freezer to have another night within the next couple months.
My go to turkey pie recipe is something my mother always made. We like to keep it simple because sometimes simplicity is its best. Growing up whether my mother made our turkey pies or purchased them we’ve always had pies that didn’t have a bottom crust to them  The great part is this recipe takes under 10 minutes to put together and then it’s into the oven or freezer.
Serves 5. 8 Points Plus Values.
Ingredients:
  • 9 oz. cooked turkey breast, without skin, cut into small chunks
  • 1 can diced peas and carrots
  • 1 ½ cans (roughly 2 cups) of Campbell’s turkey gravy (I prefer Campbell’s because it’s nice and thick in consistency)
  • 1 Pillsbury Pie Crust (whole round sheet)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove pie crust from the refrigerator and let sit out at room temperature for a few minutes.
In a round disposable metal pan or round metal pie pan toss together turkey, peas & carrots and canned turkey gravy.  When the mixture is well combined, unroll pie crust and gently place over the filling. Gently fold the outer edges in to create a crust.
Cut 2 slits into the top of the pie to help the steam escape.
Place into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the crust is nice and golden brown.

Spaghetti Squash Bake with Turkey Meatballs

I have developed a true love for spaghetti squash, although I will admit having it the same way over and over again can get a little redundant and boring. So with that I ended up switching it up a bit, using the same ingredients but adding some cheese atop. It turned out absolutely perfectly. The spaghetti squash crisped up just slightly on the outside and the cheese was a perfect touch. Considering this was using some of my leftover meat sauce I had made it was also a great way to use up some leftovers in a new and unique way.
My meatballs are actually frozen turkey meatballs from Trader Joe’s.  I pick these up every once in a while at Trader Joe’s because my boyfriend and I just genuinely like these! I’m usually not a frozen meatball fan (I prefer homemade) but these are tasty and perfect for a quick meal. I’ve heard from a few that the sodium level is too high for their liking – but I feel as though these aren’t an item I eat all the time, so a higher sodium level isn’t going to be a damper.
To make my spaghetti squash bake, I layered spaghetti squash into the bottom of a small baking dish. I layered ½ cup of homemade meat sauce over the top, then sprinkled the top with 1/3 cup of fat free mozzarella.  I then baked it in the oven for roughly 15-20 minutes until the cheese was nice and melted.
The greatest part was my entire meal was only 9 points plus!
QUESTION:
Have you ever had spaghetti squash bake?

Weight Watchers Your Success Kit Haul

Every time Weight Watchers comes out with a new plan (this year it’s “Simple Start”) the new products roll out as well. I purchased the kit last year primarily for a few of the items within the kit … and this year the same thing went for the Your Success Kit!  Although there were a large number of items I was looking forward to giving a try.
The first thing that drew me in was the bag – which doubles as a lunch bag.  They come available in 3 shades – a zebra print with a brown flap, a gorgeous psychedelic pink with swirls running throughout it, and a classic blue plaid. I went back and fourth, for what seemed like an eternity, and decided on the plaid. I truly wanted the pink but decided to play it on the “safer” side of the fence.
The second thing that drew me in was the cookbook.  I am a sucker for Weight Watchers cookbooks … but the fact this cookbook was geared more towards simple start/simply filling I was intrigued. Simply filling (or as it’s being coined now: simple start) has always been an option with Weight Watchers. Many members follow that portion of the program and have found success with it. I’ve never dabbled in it for a few different reasons – one of those reasons being figuring out a menu which would be enjoyable for all in my family. With a cookbook, I could gather ideas and make it simpler than going to the drawing board with a blank mind.
The third item that drew me in was the Find Your Fingerprint book. This book is very much like the success book which was available in the prior kit. It’s a book that has available spaces to write in answers to the questions being posed regarding your individual successes/speed bumps/etc. It’s like a Mad Lib but a serious one which is coined towards your individual success regarding your weight loss. The prior success book pulled me out of a slump I was going through the prior year so it’ll be a fun learning tool to use this time around.
The fourth item which really captured my attention was the steaming bowl. I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets (the collapsible measuring cups totally sold me last time around!) so this was pretty exciting. Being able to bring fresh veggies with me on the go, adding a bit of water to the bowl and having them freshly steamed for me? Score!
The final item that truly sealed the deal for me was the pack of workout “playing cards”.  This is an ingenious little tool to include in the kit. It’s your “classic” playing card which lists the area the workout will target, while when you turn the card over, it demonstrates and explains a workout to target that area of the body.  The workouts can be done anywhere – at home, at the gym, on the go, etc. It really pulls away the excuse to workout, even for 10 minutes, from the comfort of your own home.
Of course there are the staple Points Plus value stickers and Power Food stickers, the $45 worth of coupons (that can be used in your grocery store or WW meeting location – a coupon being for a free calculator and calculator sticker cover [which if you already have you can get a free box of bars … but I feel a free cookbook or something would’ve been a better incentive]), and the 12-week Plan & Track book.  The Plan & Track books are being sold separately at meeting locations for those folks who paper track. I happen to be an online or mobile device tracker, so this is something I’ll keep around and perhaps one day dust off and give paper tracking a go.
So far, I’m happy with my purchase.
QUESTION:
Have you or are you planning on purchasing the your success kit?

Tortilla Pizzas

Pizza is undoubtedly one of my favorite foods. I’ve made pizza like this for myself in the past, but on the night I made these, I was glad I had tortillas on hand. Why? Well, I purchased the wrong prepared pizza crust (I wanted the thin crust but bought regular crust) so I made a pizza for my boyfriend and made a “point comfortable” pizza for myself – or rather TWO pizzas! The only thing I was missing was the classic thick pizza crust, but nonetheless the flavor was there and that’s all that matters!
Making tortilla pizza is truly simple and they can be versatile depending on the flavors you’re looking for. I’ve used bell peppers, onions, banana peppers, turkey pepperoni, turkey sausage and hamburger. This time around I used fresh bell pepper, fresh red onion, and turkey pepperoni. I garnished it wit a sprinkle of oregano and a tiny dash of garlic powder.
I used ¼ cup of Barilla Traditional Pasta Sauce on each tortilla round and split 1/3 cup Kraft fat free shredded mozzarella over each tortilla, then doctored up with my pepperoni and veggies.
The greatest part? Both pizzas were only 6 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Do you like homemade lower point/calorie stabs at pizza?

Trader Joe’s Mini Gingerbread Men

Aaahhh … Trader Joe’s Mini Gingerbread Men cookies! One of my FAVORITE limited edition snacks at Trader Joe’s this time of the year! I first stumbled upon these cookies last year while shopping. I originally wasn’t sure I’d like them, but one of the employees at the time graciously opened the pack to let me sample … and I was sold. So sold, that I picked up another box this year!
The cookies are miniature gingerbread men which definitely have a gingerbread flavoring to them. They’re not as overwhelming as some gingerbread cookies can be, but these do have an underlying ginger flavor that is noticeable on the palette especially as you’re chewing and/or are done chewing. The cookie is crispy, yet as you chew it, it’s got a bit of a slight chewiness to it. The backside of the cookie has a white fudge icing on it to give it a hint of sweetness. I will say these can be a bit of double hitter – meaning you want to eat more than the serving size.  I’ve found when I take out my cookies, I shove them into the way back portion of the cabinet and work on “forgetting” they are there.

A serving is 3 cookies, which is 120 calories of 3 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Have you ever tried Trader Joe`s Mini Gingerbread Men?

Sandwich Bros. Turkey Sausage & Cheese

A number of month’s back I noticed these little frozen sandwiches that popped up on my local grocery stores freezer shelves. There are occasions where I enjoy convenience foods either as a meal or for a quick snack.  After trying the Angus Burgers and Gyro’s I was in the breakfast mood during my last trip through the store and opted to pick up the Sandwich Bros. Turkey Sausage & Cheese.
As with all the Sandwich Bros. line the sandwiches come in small moderately thick pita bread. The sandwiches are cut in half, with the top of the pita bread having space to add condiments (if you wish) to your sandwich. Taste wise I find these to be perfect – the cheese is your average yellow American cheese, while the turkey sausage is reminiscent of a pork sausage patty. The sandwiches themselves come individually wrapped and after a 40-45 second trip in the microwave (wrapped in a napkin) your sandwich is piping hot and ready to eat. They’re a perfect size for a snack, but they’re also a great addition to a meal alongside some fresh fruit or even a Greek yogurt.
A serving, 1 sandwich, is 140 calories or 4 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Sandwich Bros. products?

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Thomas’ Limited Edition Cranberry English Muffins

After trying out the Thomas’ Limited Edition Cranberry Bagels I decided to give the Thomas’ Limited Edition Cranberry English Muffins a try.  I admit bagels are more of my “thing” over English muffins, but I do enjoy a good English muffin now and again.
Thomas’ comes out with limited edition products based on the season. As we know with winter/Christmas … cranberry is all the rage. The one major difference I noticed is the cranberry bagels have a slight sweetness in taste and smell to them (they smell along the line of a blueberry bagel).  Whereas the cranberry English are along the tarter side of the equation and have a rather distinct cranberry scent to them. Texture wise they are your classic English muffin, which has a flakey soft inside, which thanks to the cranberries is slightly moist.  They toast up perfectly and are tasty with a bit of spray butter or even cinnamon butter on them.
A serving, 1 muffin, is 150 calories or 4 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Thomas’ Limited Edition products?