Weight Watchers Hoisin Steak Stir-Fry

Skimming through the Weight Watchers Good Deal cookbook for dinner ideas, there was a particular Asian flare dish that really caught my attention. I’m thinking it was primarily due to the fact it was a beef stir fry. I decided it had to be on the dinner menu, so I put the few items I needed to pick up at the grocery store on my shopping list … and dinner was on its way to being created.
I followed the recipe to a T and found it to be rather easy to whip together. Dinner came together in under 30 minutes which was also a bonus.  The beef turned out rather moist, the sauce was just right and the vegetables were perfect – cooked but still had some crunch to them.  The recipe actually calls for the serving of brown rice which I liked to see because most recipes call for one dish, not the accompanying sides. In addition to the rice, I served this alongside some fresh steamed broccoli.
The greatest part? The entire meal was only 6 points plus values! ¾ cup of beef mixture and ½ cup rice.

Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloin Dinner

It has been years since I have been to Cracker Barrel. Truthfully when I hear the words “Cracker Barrel” I automatically think southern style comfort foods which are not the healthiest choices.  Considering I haven’t been to the restaurant in ages, I pulled up their menu online and I have to say I was surprised they had healthier options available.  The one downside is they do not offer nutrition information on their website.  Although, thankfully Weight Watchers has a handful of the restaurants foods listed on their website/app with the associated points plus values.
I decided to order the Grilled Chicken Tenderloin Dinner which comes with 6 marinated grilled chicken tenderloins along with your choice of 3 sides. After scanning over the available side dishes, I opted to go with a side garden salad with fat free honey mustard dressing, a baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli.
The salad was served first and was a classic mix of mixed greens. The salad dressing was of course the show stealer and was exceptionally delicious. When my entrée was served I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at how good the grilled chicken tenderloin was! Typically I am very picky when it comes to getting chicken at restaurants – it’s either too rubbery, not cooked/seasoned to my liking, etc. But this was perfect. Aside from the few pieces of grizzle I found (only because I truly dissect my food when I eat), it was out of this world and the marinade that was used was fabulous. The sweet potato was delicious – cooked perfectly and the broccoli was steamed just right. The meal was flavorful, delicious and overall filling.
I actually enjoyed the meal so much that next time I go back to Cracker Barrel; it’ll be the exact meal I order.  The chicken tenderloin was 6 points plus, the salad dressing was 1 points plus, and I guestimated the sweet potato to be 3 points plus (it could have been 2, but I’d rather aim higher than lower).

Taco Tuesday on a whole new level

Tuesdays are known as “taco Tuesdays” on social media. What does that mean? Well, for starters it means having tacos, in any shape or form, on a Tuesday. I admit I don’t always follow the taco Tuesday form; I merely have tacos whenever I crave them whether it’s a Tuesday, a Thursday or a Saturday.  On this particular day I decided to transform taco junk (see recipe here) into a delicious salad.
What’s pictured is ¾ cup of taco junk, 4 tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole (see review hereand 2 tablespoons of Chi-Chi’s medium chunky salsa, alongside a big salad topped with 1 tablespoon Panera fat free poppyseed dressing.
This whole bowl was only 6 points plus and was ultimately delicious.

Broccoli Garlic Alfredo


Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo is one of those dishes that goes down in the books as one of the best pasta dishes. Granted, the best doesn’t always mean it’s the healthiest for you … unless you decide to make it at home in a lighter fashion. I sometimes keep Ragu’s Light Alfredo sauce in the cabinet for days when I want to throw something together quick without any further thought.  Although for this dish I decided to try out an Alfredo recipe which was available on the Laughing Cow website (see here).
As with most recipes, I did change up the Alfredo recipe just a tad, opting to increase the milk just a bit, skipped on the butter, used their garlic & herb Laughing Cow Cheese and seasoned the sauce up a little differently.  The end result was completely delicious – filling and low in points.
I didn’t have any grilled chicken on hand, so I put some frozen chicken straws in the oven to toast up and topped my pasta with 2 of those, sliced up. The added chicken will increase the points plus of the recipe – in my case the 2 chicken straws were 2 points plus values.
Serves 2. 6 Points Plus/serving.
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups Al Dente Carba-Nada Egg Fettuccine Noodles
  • 3 Light Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges, Garlic & Herb Flavor
  • 1 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli
  • 1 tsp black pepper, (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt, to taste
In a medium pan bring a pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling add in the Carba-Nada pasta and cook until done.
Steam broccoli in the microwave with 2 tbsp of water or use microwavable frozen broccoli.
In a sauce pan, place cheese wedges, milk, parmesan cheese, pepper, salt and garlic powder. Over medium heat gently cook together the sauce until the cheese wedges melt and the sauce thickens. Make sure to stir constantly to avoid burning.
Drain pasta and return back to the pan, toss with cooked broccoli and gently fold in the Alfredo sauce.
Equally divide the pasta into two dishes.
If wanted, top with your choice of chicken.

Sea Cuisine Potato Crusted Cod

A while back when shopping at the grocery store, I noticed a display of fish dishes. Admittedly I’m not the biggest seafood fan, but I do enjoy fried fish once in a while. Since my seafood palette isn’t very diverse I try to stick to the fish options that are known to be less fishy. Just looking at the fish through the package, I figured the crust on the dish looked good enough that it could pass as fried so I decided to give it a try. So, with that I decided to purchase the Sea Cuisine Potato Crusted Cod.
According to the package, the dish is made from wild pacific cod fillets which are coated with a savory potato, cheddar and chive crust.  I cooked the filets per package directions in the oven and found when they were done, they were perfectly crisped. It was crunchy and to my liking reminiscent of the crunch one would get when eating fried fish. The coating was flavorful, but not overwhelmingly so. I actually enjoyed this for lunch alongside a potato and some wax beans. I also made myself a little helping of tartar sauce and found it went with the dish just perfectly. Overall this was a tasty, delicious meal.
A serving is 1 filet (two filets come in a package) which is 250 calories or 6 points plus values.

Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups


I had seen the new Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups posted different places online … so I decided to give it a try when I spotted them at CVS. I’m a Reese lover and was intrigued to see how this paired up against Reese’s and even the classic Butterfinger.
When I think of Butterfingers, I think of a classic chocolate coated crunchy peanut butter flavored bar. Butterfingers aren’t a huge love of mine, I like them, but typically if I’m in the mood for chocolate I go toward my favorites.  The packaging describes the cups as a smooth and crunchy treat.  The cups themselves have a classic smooth chocolate coating and the peanut butter filling is a very unique mixture of smooth and crunchy. It’s got that classic Butterfinger flavor that has small little flakes of the original Butterfinger crunch throughout the smooth peanut butter. It’s definitely a very unique and delicious mixture of the two.
If you’re expecting a Reese’s you won’t love these, but if you enjoy Butterfingers and Reese cups this is a perfect marriage of the two. It’s delicious, chocolaty, peanut buttery goodness which I would repurchase again.
A pack (2 cups) is a serving which is 230 calories or 6 points plus, or you can have 1 cup for 115 calories or 3 points plus values.

Taco Salad

I find myself on “Taco Tuesday’s” reaching for my salad bowl instead of the taco shells. If I’m in the mood for the crunch, I will incorporate something crunchy (a broken up taco shell or tortilla chips) into my salad. This way I’m one in the crowd and I don’t feel I’m missing out on anything.  Other times I simply skip the tortillas and make a “normal” taco salad.
This is one of those bang for your buck type of meals. It’s filled with greens, lean meat and flavorful components (taco seasoning and salsa). For those folks on Weight Watchers you can see there are many power foods in this dish. It’s satisfying, it’s filling and it’s incredibly low in points.
Pictured, I have tossed salad (romaine, baby tomatoes, cucumber and red onion), 3 oz of lean ground beef cooked with taco seasoning, 1 tbsp Trader Joe’s Queso Dip, 1 oz of Trader Joe’s Organic Tortilla Chips, Chi-Chi’s medium salsa and a few jalapenos to balance it all out.  All of this for 6 points plus values!

Mexican “Pizza”

I wanted something different for lunch one day. I didn’t really want a salad and I wasn’t really in the mood for a chicken wrap. So I took the things I would have used and transformed them into a whole different meal.  I made myself Mexican “Pizza” (I just omitted the cheese since I only had American cheese on hand). Seeing it in a different form made it more appetizing. Plus, since pizza is my favorite food it made it fun to eat.
I used 2 Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran, Whole Wheat Tortillas and topped it with chunky salsa as the “sauce”. I then topped it with some Oscar Meyer chicken chunks and baked it off in the oven. When it was done I topped it with some sliced lettuce and tomato, topped it with some jarred jalapenos and a dollop of salsa on top.
It was perfect! Delicious and filling … plus for 2 “pizzas” it was only 6 points plus values.

Evol. Teriyaki Chicken

I have seen the frozen Evol. meals, burritos and quesadillas time and time again when shopping at Target.  I’ve always contemplated picking a few up, but hadn’t for one reason or another. That is until this past weekend when I was running errands and ran more than I anticipated. I needed something for lunch and figured I’d just grab one of the Evol. Teriyaki Chicken since it would be a few minutes in the microwave and lunch would be served.
The meal comes in what looks like a biodegradable bowl which is wrapped up in a plastic. 3-4 minutes in the microwave and it’s done. It’s definitely one of the healthier frozen meals out there considering its all natural, gluten free and low in fat.  The meal itself is made from grilled white meat chicken, brown rice, red and green peppers, snap peas, carrots and broccoli which is then topped with a teriyaki sauce which is not over powering and compliments the dish very well.  It was delicious, tasty and very filling.  Definitely a dish I would repurchase time and time again for on the go type of meals.
The entire meal is 260 calories or 6 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Evol. products? If so, what’s your favorite?

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.