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.

Rotisserie Turkey Dinner

I had a Shady Brook Farms Rotisserie Turkey Breast Tenderloin in the freezer that I had picked up at the grocery store. While meal planning for the week I decided it’d be a great opportunity to give the turkey tenderloin a try. Granted, I had never tried it before, but since I enjoy the brands turkey sausages I figured this couldn’t be bad. It turned out to be quite delicious!
The packaging listed it could be put onto the grill or baked in the oven. Since I had a few cooking bags on hand, I decided to cook the tenderloins in a cooking bag to keep as much moisture in the turkey as I could. It turned out absolutely perfect. The turkey browned, it was flavorful and it was very moist.
As with most turkeys it was very low in points. A 4 ounce serving was 3 points plus, or a 5 ounce serving for 4 points plus.
Here’s what I had for dinner (which might I add was delicious, filling and a homerun):
5 ounces Rotisserie Turkey Tenderloin (4ppv)
½ cup garlic mashed potatoes (3ppv)
¼ cup Heinz fat free turkey gravy (0ppv)
2 tbsp cranberry sauce (1ppv)
French cut green beans
Steamed Brussels sprouts

Roast Beef with Potatoes and Carrots (Crock Pot meal)

I picked up a roast beef at the grocery store figuring we were in the need of a different meal. I noticed we haven’t been having beef very often so onto the meal agenda it went.  Typically when I have roasts (roast beef or pot roast) I cook it in my crock pot. I use the same recipe and it comes out absolutely perfect every time.
My crock pot recipe is very different from other recipes. I use 2 ingredients: Lipton onion soup mix and a can of diced tomatoes. No water, no additional seasons – nothing. Whether I’m making roast beef or pot roast it comes out absolutely perfect and flavorful every time.  You can brown your meat in a skillet before placing it in the crock pot, that’s based on preference … but I skip that step.
After the roast is done and removed – along with the vegetables, there is gravy in the bottom of the crock pot. This can be discarded, spooned over the dish when served, or even transferred to a pan on the stove and thickened up with a little cornstarch and water.
I figure out my points plus values based on what I eat. Typically I have 5 ounces of potato, a few carrots, 3-4 ounces of roast and a few onions. That comes out to 8 points plus values.  If you ate more, or less the PPV would differ.
Ingredients:
  • 2 lb roast (eye round)
  • 2 lb potatoes, peeled, wedged
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, chunked
  • 1 large onion, wedged
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Place roast into the bottom of the Crock Pot. Sprinkle with the Lipton onion soup mix.
Add in the onion, potatoes and carrots. Top mixture with the tomatoes.
Cover and cook on high for 6-7 hours.

 

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.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache

I was struck with inspiration when thinking about what I wanted to do for my boyfriend’s birthday. Should I buy a cake or make a cake?  Buying a cake is an easy way out, even though it is a nice gesture, but premade cakes at bakeries can get pricey. Whereas making a cake shows you’ve put work in. I think it means a lot more and it’s a lot cheaper to make your own cake than to buy one.  With the back and fourth in my head, I finally decided on making a cake.  The only golden rule I went by was the cake base had to be chocolate because that’s my boyfriend’s favorite.  The rest was up to me to get creative with … and I ran with that creativity.
Lately we’ve both been on a peanut butter kick. So I thought, why not bring two delicious worlds together? Peanut butter and chocolate? I decided on making a peanut butter cream cheese frosting … but that in itself wasn’t enough, so I decided to make a chocolate ganache for the top of the cake to help draw together the whole cake and to cut on the sweetness of the frosting.
The end result was a delicious, perfect harmony. The cake was moist and delicious, the frosting was spectacular and the chocolate ganache truly held it all together and kept it from being sickeningly sweet.  We had family and friends over for dinner and all were equally impressed with the cake and I even got a few “you made that?!”
If you’re a peanut butter and chocolate fan … I highly suggest you give this a try. It’s quite simple to pull together!
8 Points Plus Values. Serves 12.
Ingredients:
  • 1 box, Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 12 oz can Diet Coke (or Diet Pepsi or any diet clear colored soda of your choice)
  • 8 oz. 1/3 Less Fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 9 TBSP PB2 (Powdered Peanut Butter)
  • 1 1/3 cup powder sugar
  • ¼ cup fat free skim milk & 1 TBSP
  • 3 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Non-stick cooking spray
Allow cream cheese to warm to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or per box directions based on your cooking pan coloring).
In a large bowl combine cake mix and can of diet coke. Mix well until all combined.
Spray two cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Distribute combined batter to each cake pan as evenly as possible.  Place pans into oven and bake per box directions.  When cakes are done allow them to cool completely.
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, powder sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk. With an electric mixer blend until smooth. Frosting will be very thick so begin to add the 1/3 cup of water 1 tablespoon at a time. The frosting should be thick, but smooth and not runny.
Transfer frosting to a bowl, cover with a lid and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to “harden” up a bit.
When cakes are cool, smear roughly 1 tsp of frosting to the bottom of a cake dish to hold the bottom layer cake. Place cake cooked side up face down and smear top of cake with roughly ¼ of the frosting.
Remove additional cake from pan and invert. Place bottom of cake to the frosted cake – then frost top and sides with remaining frosting.
In a medium bowl add in semi sweet chocolate chips and ¼ cup milk and place into the microwave for 20 seconds. Remove from microwave, blend chocolate and milk together and return to the microwave in 20 second increments until the mixture is smooth.
Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for roughly 2 minutes, until almost luke warm then begin to smooth onto the cake. Start at the center and gently blend outward. Don’t go all the way to the edge of the cake. Continue gently smoothing until all chocolate is spread to the top of the cake.
Cover the cake and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (I left mine in the fridge almost 24-hrs) before serving.
Cut into 12 equal pieces and enjoy!

Sheppard’s Pie

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Sheppard’s Pie is a dish I grew up eating. I know there are many different ways to make it … but like many of the dishes I’ve grown up eating, I’ve adapted this recipe along the lines of how my mother made it. That is only cutting a few corners to make it “lighter” but still have that same classic Sheppard’s pie flavor I remember from growing up. This is actually a really simple and easy dish to throw together; it can even be assembled the night before and popped into the oven the next day to heat through.  Since I do like the top of the mashed potatoes to crust up a bit, I do cook it for 5-10 minutes longer.
Serves 8.  8 Points Plus Values/serving.
Ingredients:
          1 ¾ lb 93% lean ground beef
          2 ¾ lb potatoes, peeled and chunked
          1 medium onion, diced
          ½ cup skim milk
          1 tsp minced garlic
          1 tsp McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
          1 ½ tsp salt, divided
          1 ½ tsp black pepper, divided
          1 ½ tsp Imperial margarine
          14 oz. Del Monte Sweet Corn Cream Styled, No Salt Added
          14 oz. canned corn, no salt added, drained
Fill a large pan with water, season with salt and place onto medium high heat. Add peeled, chunked potatoes to water and allow water to come to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender.
In a nonstick skillet, add ground beef, onions and garlic. Break up beef as it cooks, season with McCormick Steak Seasoning, salt and pepper.  When beef is cooked through strain of any excess water/fat.
When potatoes are fork tender, strain and return potatoes back to the pot. Season with remaining salt and pepper, add in 1 tablespoon margarine and milk. Mash until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large casserole dish, layer beef and onion mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle meat with strained corn kernels, then top with canned cream style corn. Gently begin to pile mashed potatoes onto the mixture. I find it’s easier to add it in “glops” of mashed potatoes and fill in any holes as you go. If you try to smooth the mixture before all potatoes are added, the creamed corn will just move along with it.
One all mashed potatoes are in place, dice up remaining ½ tbsp margarine and add chunks over the top of the mashed potatoes.
Place assembled sheppard’s pie into preheated oven and bake for 25-35 minutes.
Once cooked, allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into 8 equal sized pieces.

Trader Joe’s Roasted Rosemary Boneless Chicken Breast with Wild Rice Pilaf


I spotted this Trader Joe’s Roasted Rosemary Boneless Chicken Breast with Wild Rice Pilaf in the prepared foods section of my local Trader Joe’s and was intrigued. It looked good, it sounded good, so I decided to give it a shot.  I had it in the fridge for a few days, and then decided on having it for lunch with a small side salad.
I pierced the film and put it into the microwave, took it out when it was done and measured out my serving.  I initially raised an eyebrow at the chicken and realized the skin was still on it. Now, I don’t eat skin on any meat so it grossed me out just a bit –but I ended up pulling the skin off and chucking it in the garbage. Granted the removal of the skin would lower the points and calories, but since I wasn’t able to recalculate I left it as is.  The meal was quite filling with a small side salad.  The chicken was moist and the pilaf was delicious and packed with flavor and vegetables. It was one of the better heat and eat rice pilafs I have had.
Price wise these come in at right below $6, which truly isn’t bad for a convenience meal for two people.  A serving is half the container (255 grams), which is 310 calories or 8 points plus values.
QUESTION:
What is one of your favorite prepared meal at a grocery chain?

Pot Roast Dinner

I had some beef eye round steaks in the freezer, so I decided to use them in a pot roast bag to make dinner a lot simpler.  I’d been in the mood for pot roast so this was going to be a perfect dinner. I trimmed the edge of fat off the steaks and I have to say, I was a little surprised to see how lean they were. I’ve never had or cooked eye round steaks.
I opened up a McCormick Pot Roast bag, layered in the steaks, added in one cut up onion, some baby carrots and potatoes. I mixed up the seasoning mix with water, poured it over the mixture and found it wasn’t quite enough liquid. So I used half a pack of onion soup mix, mixed it up with water and poured that in. closed up the bag and baked it for 1 hr and 20 minutes.
It came out perfect. There wasn’t a lot of “gravy” in the bag but I think it’s due to my choice in using a leaner cut of beef and it not releasing a lot of water during the cooking process. It was a great dinner that provided leftovers for the next day!
The whole plate pictured was only 8 points plus!

Dinner: Baked Eggplant Cutlets w/ Meat sauce & Carba-Nada

This was one of the delicious dinners I pulled together using the baked eggplant cutlets (see here) and the meat sauce (see here) I had made.  I wanted to enjoy the taste of the fresh eggplant without loading it up with a bunch of sauce and cheese.  I planned on making eggplant parmesan with some of the leftovers – but with it fresh out of the oven, simplicity was the best route.
I cooked up a 1 ½ cup serving of Carba-nada pasta and tossed it with ¼ cup meat sauce when done.  I then served that with my 3 slices of baked eggplant cutlets and topped it with ¼ cup meat sauce.  It was a perfect combination and a delicious meal. Filling, yet light.
The entire plate shown was only 8 points plus values!  Not bad for a take at a classic Italian meal at home.

Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Honey Citrus Chicken

I was awarded a Klout perk, so I was mailed a coupon to try out the new Lean Cuisine Honestly Good line. While shopping at Walmart, I browsed through the selection available and decided to pick up the Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Honey Citrus Chicken. I decided to have it for lunch.
What struck me as interesting at first was that the meal came with a number of step by step directions to follow before consuming. Unlike most frozen meals, this isn’t one of those you just throw in the microwave and retrieve in 5 minutes.  Inside the container there is a packet of sauce – you have to remove the plastic, retrieve the sauce and submerge it in a cup of water to thaw.  Putting the film back on the meal, you place it in the microwave for 3 minutes.  When done, remove the plastic, pour the sauce over the meat and return back to the microwave to finish cooking.  There are implicit directions that state the sauce MUST be cooked before consuming.  So when after 2 minutes, my food was still a little cold I put it in for another minute.
Looking at the meal after it came out of the microwave, I could tell the summer squash was soggy – but since there weren’t too many pieces, it was okay. Taste wise the meal is ok but it is nothing to brag about. Oddly enough, I found the pasta to be the best part – it was cooked al dente and seasoned just right. The chicken was rather soft and being a texture person that kind of weirded me out.  The sauce wasn’t bad, it blended the meal together.
I will say, these Honestly Good frozen meals are pricey as far as frozen dinners are concerned (roughly $4). You could essentially get two Smart Ones or two regular Lean Cuisine meals for the same price.  I wasn’t terribly impressed with this one, so I’m not sure if I’ll dabble into trying anymore.  By the way, the meal is 320 calories — 8 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Lean Cuisine Honestly Good meals?