McDonald’s Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken

While running a bunch of errands I was away from the house initially a lot longer than I anticipated. When my stomach started grumbling I realized it was well past lunch-time and I needed to eat something before a case of hangry set in. So pulling into McDonald’s parking lot, I parked my car and pulled up my Weight Watchers app on my phone. To avoid just ordering whatever sounded tasty on the menu I looked thru the menu on my phone for something that was point comfortable and ultimately decided on the McDonald’s Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken.
The salad itself is served as McDonald’s salads typically are – mixed greens and shaved carrots. It’s presented alongside fire-roasted corn, black beans, roasted tomatoes and poblano peppers, cheddar and jack cheese, chile-lime tortilla chips, and grilled chicken all alongside a fresh lime wedge. The salad is a pretty decent size, is pretty to look at due to the vibrant colors and is mighty tasty and filling. The salad has a little bit of spice to it, but there’s nothing overwhelming or uncomfortable about it.
The salad typically is served with Newman’s Own Southwest Dressing but I find that to be a little spicier than I prefer my dressing to be … so I opted to go with the Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette. Drizzling about ¼ of the package over my salad, I found it to be more than enough.
The salad with grilled chicken is 290 calories or 7 points plus values. With my choice of dressing my whole meal was 8 points plus values. Quite worth it for lunch out on the go!

Sautéed Banana topped French Toast, Eggs & Sausage

French toast is one of my favorite breakfast dishes, but it’s also a breakfast dish I don’t have very often. Typically I make it when I’m craving it … and one night I decided to make French toast for dinner for my boyfriend and I. I of course, make my French toast using lighter ingredients (light bread and egg substitute).  It comes out perfectly, is delicious and is filling.
I placed a little more than 1/3 cup of egg substitute in a bowl, added in 2 tablespoons of skim milk, a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Beat it together, then dipped three slices of light bread and cooked it up in a nonstick skillet.  Since I had a banana that was well past ripe, I decided to make myself a quick sautéed banana cooked in a non-stick skillet with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Once done I layered that over my French toast.
The remaining egg mixture (I used ½ cup total) I decided to make myself a little scrambled eggs and served the dish alongside 3 turkey sausage links.
It was a delicious meal which was only 7 points plus. Quite a bang for my buck!

Scrambled Egg w/ Peppers and Onions, Hash Brown & Bacon Breakfast Wrap

Back in the day, I used to occasionally order a McDonald’s Sausage Burrito before heading into work.  It was 300 calories worth of egg, sausage, peppers and cheese on a white tortilla. Now that’s the calories for 1 sandwich (which is awfully small might I add). So because of its size I would typically order 2, plus a side of hash browns. The sandwiches were “filling” in the moment, but 2 or so hours later I felt hungry again.
These days I create healthier alternatives to breakfast items at home (which I have also been known to eat as a lunch). The sandwiches can be eaten when prepared and/or even brought out with me on the go.  The greatest part is they’re filling, healthier and I know exactly what’s in it.
These wraps are made on Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas. The filling is made with ½ cup fat free egg substitute (Egg Beaters) tossed with diced onion and green pepper, 2/3 cup Simply Potatoes Diced Potatoes, and 1 ½ slices of bacon.  Topped off with sriracha for an added bit of spice/flavor.
The entire meal (both tortillas) are only 7 points plus. Not bad for a filling and delicious meal!

Pot Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash

One day while shopping at Trader Joe’s I noticed they had an acorn squash which was stuffed with pot pie filling, turkey and had a golden flakey crust on top of it. I wanted to purchase it, but it had 2 or 3 servings in it and I felt cutting it to share with someone would make the inside just ooze out. So I put my thinking cap on and decided I’d make my own version at home.
Since I had all the ingredients at home, I decided to make this for myself for dinner one night. It was so easy to put together because I roasted my acorn squash beforehand and baked off my chicken breast. Admittedly this does take a bit of time to put together … but the end result is well worth it!  After that it was just combining ingredients, and returned it back to the oven to finish baking and to cook off the crescent roll.
The entire dish was only 7 points plus values!
Ingredients:
½ cup Libby’s mixed vegetables
½ cup chicken gravy
1 Purdue Simply Portioned chicken breast, seasoned & baked
½ roasted acorn squash
1 sheet reduced fat crescent roll, rolled out
Cut acorn squash in half, remove the seeds and place onto a baking sheet – cut side up. Season with salt and pepper and place into a 350 degree oven for roughly 30-40 minutes until you can poke the top with a fork gently.
Season raw chicken breasts with poultry season and bake in a 350 degree oven for roughly 25 minutes until chicken breast is cooked completely.
Cut up 1 chicken breast into chunks and combine with vegetables and gravy. Toss then spoon into the center of the acorn squash.
Gently roll out 1 serving of a crescent roll and place that over the top of the squash.  Cut a few slits into the top of the crescent roll and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the crescent roll is cooked through completely.

Jamaican Jerk Pork w/ Carrots & Roasted Butternut Squash

Whenever I have a pork roast out to cook … it ultimately means one thing: Jamaican Jerk Pork. I can’t think of making anything else with it (I mean I could, but pork roast and jerk seasoning go together like flour and water in my book) and it’s one of those dishes that I love and enjoy quite a lot.
For my plate, I decided to cut out the carb (rice) so I went with fresh steam carrots and a roasted butternut squash, which I seasoned up with some spray butter and a tablespoon of brown sugar.
The whole dish was perfect. Filling, fresh and packed with flavors.  I’ve learned the trick with jerk pork or chicken is to use a very small amount of seasoning (incase you’re wondering I use the Mild Grace Jamaican Jerk Seasoning). The seasoning itself is packed with flavor and spicy pepper so a small amount will pack on the flavor but not make it too hot to handle.  The sweet squash helped balance out the flavors. Ultimately it was a wonderful dish and a perfect dinner.


The greatest part it was only 7 points plus values (1 for the brown sugar, 6 for 4 oz of pork)!

McDonald’s Holiday Pie

McDonald’s makes one of the best apple pies which has been a staple on their menu for as long as I can remember.  A number of years ago McDonald’s started offering limited edition pies depending on the season. I know that they had offered a S’Mores pie (which is gross), a pumpkin pie (which is fabulous), and Strawberry & Cream pie (which is alright, but nothing to write home about). But I had never known that they had offered a McDonald’s Holiday Pie up until a few weeks ago.
On the way home from running a few errands, I swung through McDonald’s and decided to pick up a holiday pie to give it a try. Incase you’re not familiar; the holiday pie is a vanilla custard pie which is held inside a flaky, crusty and then topped with a bit of sugar and rainbow sprinkles.  The pies are served warm as is the case in all McDonald’s dessert pies. It’s a holiday party in a little handheld pie … and upon the first bite it brings that party to your mouth.
It reminded me of a Boston Cream donut without the chocolate atop of it. If you go into it with an open mind, not expecting to taste an apple pie, it’s truly delicious.  Secondly, if you enjoy custard in any way, I think you’d find this to be a slam dunk.  My mother tried it and since she truly only likes the apple pie and typically is a fan of flan or coconut custard pie, she wasn’t a fan. But regardless … this was a slam dunk for me.
A pie is 270 calories or 7 points plus values.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite pie at McDonald’s?

Lunch: Po-taco


What is a Po-tacoyou ask? Well, it’s what I call the Frankenstein dish you get when you combine a baked potato and ground taco meat. I enjoy this because it’s filling, a unique flavor and I truly don’t miss the taco shell, tortilla chips or the soft tortillas.
Typically on taco nights I have a salad, but this is a nice shake up in the general gist of things. I had mixed up a batch of ground turkey taco meat for dinner, and I happened to use some of the leftovers for this – so this is what I ended up having for lunch the following day.  I cooked a potato in the microwave (7 ounces) and when done I cut it down the middle, seasoned with black pepper then loaded it with 3 ounces of turkey taco meat, then topped it off with 2 tablespoons chunky salsa.
The entire thing was only 7 points plus values and it was very satisfying and filling.
QUESTION:
How do you enjoy your tacos?

Banana Pepper Ring Pizza

There are times when you want pizza … but you don’t want the “typical” toppings that come on pizza. In that case, you order a Banana Pepper Ring Pizza!
We have a local pizzeria in town which is essentially Little Caesar’s prime competition. The pies are slightly smaller but they’re made the same, etc.  The one unique thing about this pizza shop is that they offer a variety of toppings and one of my all time favorite pizzas has banana pepper rings on it.  Banana pepper rings are a mildly hot pepper, which can come off as tangy versus hot. They take a plain cheese pizza and truly transform it into a delicious and different treat.
Typically with pizzas that I don’t normally have I will put a slice on my scale, get the ounces or grams and find a similar pie on e-tools. And with these, it’s comparable to Little Caesar’s so it was 7 point s plus for a slice.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite pizza topping?

Pepperoni, Sausage & Green Pepper Pita Pizza

Last week my boyfriend and I were in the mood for pizza … but I particularly wanted a lighter pizza.  Since we had some leftover pita bread from a local Lebanese bakery I decided pita bread pizzas were in order. So that’s exactly what I whipped up for us.  Since the bread is thinner than your average grocery store pita bread, the crust becomes a thin and crispy crust.  The pita is pretty large in size, so it makes the illusion of a small/medium sized pizza.
If you don’t have homemade pita bread available in your area, you can substitute using tortillas, thin crust pizza shells (Biboli or Archer Farms brand – but these will make multiple serving pizzas), or Flat Out thins.
I used a whole pita, ¼ cup Ragu Robusto spaghetti sauce, ¼ cup fat free mozzarella, 3 slices of Hormel turkey pepperoni (diced), ¼ cup Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles, and 4 slices of bell peppers diced.
It was perfect, filling and delicious.  The greatest part is the whole pizza was only 7 points plus values!
QUESTION:
Do you like making lighter versions of pizza at home?

Dinner: Chili topped Potato


The other night I honestly wasn’t in the mood to cook – I had a pretty rough day and throwing together a meal was the last thing I wanted to put the time or even thought into. Because I wanted to make good food decisions I opted for taking some of my homemade beef and bean chili (see the recipe here) out of the freezer.  I plunked it into a large pan with about ¼ cup of water and let it melt down and come to a light boil over medium heat.  When just about done, I opened a 4 ounce can of tomato sauce and added it in, stirred it up and dinner was served.  Very little effort, truly no thinking and it was exactly what I needed.
I washed a potato and put it into the microwave to cook up. 5 minutes later, my potato was done, so I cut it up into pieces, added it into a trivet, sprinkled it with pepper and a dash of salt, then topped it with 1 cup of beef and bean chili. I threw a serving of garden salad alongside the dish, topped it with 1 tablespoon of fat free dressing and dinner was served.  Simple, delicious and overall easy!
The greatest part was the whole meal was only 7 points plus. Worth it!
QUESTION:
Do you rely on frozen leftovers when you’re in a bind?