Cauliflower Pizza


I have heard so much about cauliflower pizza but was always a little skeptical. The typical gist when it first became an internet sensation was that the crust wasn’t crunchy enough. So I waited … and I finally found a recipe that I decided I’d give a try.  I changed up the recipe just a tad because I used what I had on hand and seasoned it a bit more with what I liked.
For the most part I followed the general recipeexcept I used reduced fat parmesan and did my own blend of spices within the pizza crust.
The most tedious part of this pizza was cutting up the cauliflower and pulverizing it in the food processor. Then again, I have a little peanut of a food processor so I had to do small little handfuls at a time. But once that was done, it was easy-peasy. Cooking the cauliflower in the microwave and straining the water out of it was simple. Although I will say, trying to get little rice size bits of cauliflower off a white kitchen towel was an interesting feat.  The greatest part?
The ENTIRE crust alone was only 8 points plus values! If the serving is cut down into 2, half the crust is 4 points plus values. Quite a drop in stats considering the calories/Weight Watchers points plus associated with pizza crust!  Here’s how I doctored my crust up a bit:
Ingredients:
          ¼ cup reduced fat parmesan cheese
          ¼ cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
          1 egg, beaten
          1 small head uncooked cauliflower
          ½ tsp salt
          ½ tsp black pepper
          1 ½ tsp garlic powder
          1 tsp oregano
          ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
When the crust was done I decided to top the pizza with ½ cup Barilla traditional spaghetti sauce (because it’s what I had on hand), 1/3 cup Kraft fat free mozzarella, 6 slices of Hormel turkey pepperoni, a few slices onions and peppers and some banana pepper rings. I returned the pizza to the oven just for the cheese to melt and when done, I cut it up to serve.
After all the toppings my entire pizza was 11 points plus values! Quite a steal considering 1 slice of your average take-out pizza is 7 points plus values.
Final verdict? The pizza was quite good … the crust wasn’t as crispy and crunchy as regular pizza crust and you could definitely tell it was cauliflower but it wasn’t bad.  Would I make it again? Sure, thing.

McDonald’s Southwest Grilled Chicken Premium McWrap

I was awarded a Klout perk to try the new McDonald’s Southwest Grilled Chicken Premium McWrap. I was interested in trying it because I’ve tried the Sweet Chili Grilled Chicken McWrap and found I quite enjoyed that one. I figured with “southwest” in the title, it was going to be spicy.
The McWraps come in both grilled and crispy (fried). I always opt for the grilled version because I just find that to be more satisfying. The grilled sandwich itself is described as “Grilled chicken breast with cilantro lime glaze, crunchy tortilla strips, fresh spring greens, sliced tomato, shredded cheddar jack cheese, and a spicy, creamy habanero ranch sauce — wrapped up in a soft, warm flour tortilla.” Upon ordering my McWrap I opted to order it without cheese and tortilla strips because it was just a personal preference.
Bringing my sandwich home I unwrapped it and was anticipating it to be a little spicy … after all McDonald’s slogan on their nutrition page for the sandwich says “add a little spice to your day.” Now, I’m not a wimp when it comes to spice – I can pretty much handle my own.  I took one bite and it was okay, but rather plain because the sauce wasn’t on that part. I took another bite and whoooooo-weeee! It was spicy. I took another bite and my mouth was on fire.  After taking a fourth bite my nose was running, my mouth was in a blaze (I felt like I could breathe fire), and I was just overall uncomfortable. McDonald’s calls this sandwich spicy? This sandwich takes that statement to a WHOLEnew level. In fact this should come with a warning because this is not for the faint of heart … nor is it for those who, like me, enjoy a pretty moderate level of spice in their food.  It was too spicy to be enjoyable, let alone palatable.
One day while out with my mother she mentioned something about the new McWrap.  She’s not a spice lover, so I told her to not even bother. I actually told her, I feel this sandwich could be fed to people on Fear Factor – except those folks would have to eat 5+ of these before their head blew off their shoulders from all the internal “steam”.
The grilled southwest McWrap as is without any substitutions is 520 calories or 14 points plus values.
The grilled southwest McWrap as I ordered it without cheese and tortilla strips is 430 calories or 11 points plus values.
If you wanted to order it without cheese but with the tortilla strips it would be 470 calories or 12 points plus values.
I can’t say I’d ever order this again … in fact, I’ll stay as far away from it as I can.
QUESTION:
Have you given the new Southwest McWrap a shot? If so, how’d it fare on your taste buds?

<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>

McDonald’s Deluxe Quarter Pounder


I was sent a $5 McDonald’s Gift Card from Klout to use to purchase any of my favorites from McDonald’s.  One night, my boyfriend and I decided to head to McDonald’s and I originally went in wanting the grilled chicken ranch McWrap but upon arriving I was told that they didn’t have any grilled chicken.  Weird, right?  So, instead of driving well across town to the other McDonald’s, I decided to just order the Deluxe Quarter Pounder without the normally added cheese and mayonnaise. The Deluxe Quarter Pounder is a newer addition to the McDonald’s menu.
Low and behold when I got home, I realized my sandwich was without lettuce, and mustard but it did have a helping of bacon (which I kindly removed and discarded).  Since I can’t eat burgers plain, I added a little ketchup and mustard onto my sandwich and ate it as such.
I have to say it’s not the greatest thing on the planet, but its okay for a burger you’d order from McDonald’s. I wouldn’t run out and order another one, but if in the future I was in the mood for a McDonald’s burger and I wanted to make a meal out of it, I’d probably order another … of course without cheese and mayonnaise but I’d ask for an extra helping of veggies.
It is hefty on the points plus scale.  The sandwich, sold as is (with cheese and mayonnaise added) is 540 calories which calculates out to 14 points plus values.  The sandwich as I ordered it (without cheese and mayonnaise) was 440 calories and 11 points plus values.
Granted, as I admitted high particularly when you can have a bigger (and essentially better) burger at home – but if out on the go and McDonald’s is the chosen fast food joint and you want to be one in the crowd, it’s an option. Just as anything in the world is.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the new McDonald’s Quarter Pounders?

Chinese food for dinner in 15-minutes or less!

This is a very quick and easy dinner we had after running a few errands. After deciding grabbing something out was not really on our idea of tasty, we opted to rather eat something at home … so eat something at home we did.  Since nothing was out and ready to cook, we went to the handy dandy freezer and grabbed a few items that could be cooked up and served.  This is totally an “on the fly” type of meal, but regardless it was tasty.
The greatest part was that the entire meal was super easy and quick to throw together.  Dinner was ready and served in 15 minutes or less … much quicker than the pizza delivery guy!  The rice and pork could be cooked in the microwave or on the stove top. After prepping the dish, I decided to use canned green and wax beans as our vegetable side.  The entire meal was 11 points plus.  Even with the added sodium from this being a frozen meal, it was filling, tasty and did the job!
I had 1 cup of InnovAsian Cuisine’s Caramelized Ginger Pork for 7 points plus.  I had 1 cup of Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice for 4 points plus and I had a little under 1 cup of canned green and wax beans.
The pork was surprisingly pretty good – I was a little hesitant thinking it was going to be chewy and tough, but it wasn’t.  The sauce was flavorful with a little zip in the background from the ginger.  The rice is delicious – it’s one of my favorites and is constantly a repurchase item from Trader Joe’s.  Overall, this meal got 2 thumbs up,.

Quick “Chinese” food at home!

 


I love Chinese food … but I don’t necessarily like the unnecessary amount of fat and calories that come with some of my favorite dishes. With this I’ve learned to make some of my favorite Chinese dishes at home, to my own liking and I’ve also found some frozen items at the grocery store that I like to have on hand when I’m looking for something different.  This is a dinner we whipped together in under 25 minutes (it took that long because the chicken had to bake in the oven).
Mandarin Orange Chicken is one of the dishes I would like to get at a local Chinese buffet so when I saw this bag at Aldi, I picked it up to store in the freezer.  We baked them off in the oven and when done covered it in the mandarin orange sauce.  It was quite delicious because the chicken was more along the lines of a chicken finger.  The mandarin orange bringing a nice citrusy sweetness to the dish.  I had a 3 ounce serving for 6 points plus values.
The Vegetable Fried Rice is a frozen vegan (don’t be scared!) rice I had picked up at Trader Joe’s.  I normally make my own fried rice, but that takes preparation because the rice has to be stored in the fridge overnight to make it nice and cold.  So with a frozen fried rice, I can stir fry it up and we’re good to go.  This particular rice had me use a tablespoon of olive oil and stir fry it up in a pan.  It was quite delicious and will definitely be something I repurchase. A 1 cup serving is 4 points plus – 5 points plus if you consider the olive oil used to fry it up.
Of course with any meal I added in some steamed frozen broccoli because no dinner is a dinner without some sort of a fresh vegetable.  11 point plus for it all – far less than it would have been if we went out and got this dish at a restaurant.
QUESTION:
Do you make quick “Chinese” food at home?

Jamaican inspired dinner

This is a meal I whipped up one night when we had sirloin tips out to eat, but I wasn’t too sure what we were going to do with them or what to have with them.  My boyfriend, the only Irish person on the face of the planet (I kid) is not a fan of potatoes.  He’ll eat them once in a while if they’re made a certain way, but I’m big into baked potatoes … so veggies have to be included it’s going to be a potato going into the rubbish after dinner.
After some thinking I decided to do some stewed steak – but I took the lazy mans way out and did it in the oven.  I cooked up the trimmed sirloin (cut into chunks) with sliced up onions and peppers and seasoned with minced garlic, powder garlic, black pepper, McCormick steak seasoning, a pinch of sea salt, a splash of teriyaki sauce, a squirt of ketchup, and a squirt of BBQ sauce.  I don’t measure when I season my meats because one thing I’ve learned from watching both my father and mother cook is they season with their hands and their noses.  My dad can take anything out of a cabinet or refrigerator, mix it up and make the best tasting marinade or sauce ever – as can my mom.  So I’ve graciously adapted this skill into my life.  I throw what I think is necessary into a pan, mix and smell.  I then adjust seasonings purely based on the scent of the mixture.  If I think it needs something, I go in search of whatever it may need and add it to the pan.
I bake the meat in a 350 degree oven for roughly 15-25 minutes (depending on how much is in the pan).  The one great thing is it creates a bit of a “stew” in the pan which are just the juices or “gravy” which are delicious.  Normally in a Jamaican dish you’d cook this oven an open flame in a pan and create a thickened gravy or “stew” to spoon over your meat and your side dish.
I simple cooked my potatoes in a very quick and easy fashion I’ve grown to love – wash your potato and toss them in the microwave.  Cooking times vary based on the size of the potato and the amount of potatoes you’re cooking – but I’ve cooked a smaller single serving once in 4 minutes, whereas I’ve cooked 8 potatoes in the microwave in ~20 minutes.  You know when they’re done when you can pierce them easily with a fork.
After I started cooking I got an immediate craving for some Jamaican dumplings.  Jamaican dumplings are a hard dough dumpling.  They’re dense, harder, chewy and just delicious.  I’m a quarter Jamaican, so I’ve grown up eating these with a meal or just straight in a bowl with a little bit of butter or gravy on them.  It’s a mixture of flour, salt and water.  You knead the mixture until it’s really well combined (which feels like it takes forever) and not sticky.  You then roll them out into balls and flatten slightly OR you can roll them into log form (which is what I do with soups).  You then boil these in salted water until they begin to float … usually take about 20 minutes or so.
I then went the lazy mans way out and made canned corn and carrots.  Nothing wrong with canned veggies!
Overall dinner was 11 point plus.  3 for the potato, 1 for the corn, 5 for the sirloin, 4 for the Jamaican dumplings.  Completely delicious and amazing!
QUESTION:
Have you ever made a dish similar to this one – if not, would you?