Trader Joe’s Beer Battered Onion Rings

These Trader Joe’s Beer Battered Onion Rings are frankly the best frozen onion rings I have ever had.  You can say that statement alone saying a lot!

In my opinion, most frozen onion rings are rather, well, disgusting, or if they’re not, they’re truly mediocre. These particular onion rings have stolen the show from the moment I’ve tried them because they are just plain delicious. They’re crunchy, they’re sweet, they’re nicely battered.  They truly remind me of the onion rings I get at my local beach (which are dipped in a pancake batter and fried).  These give me that same flavor without all the added fat and calories.

To make these, I simply pray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray, layer out my onion rings and I spritz the top of them with spray.  As the bag suggests I bake them halfway through, then flip and cook an additional 7-10 minutes.  They come out nice and crispy, the onion inside the ring is plentiful, soft, sweet and not overpowering.  A little sprinkle of salt when they’re done, a little ketchup to dip them in and I’m a happy camper!  They’ve been a continuous staple in my freezer since I first tried them.

A serving is 3 ounces (which usually means 5 rings), which is 140 calories or 4 points plus values.

Chobani Flip Key Lime Crumble


When Chobani Flips started popping up on my local grocery store shelves, I in turn started seeing them posted all over social media outlets. I admit, I was intrigued by some of the flavor options but in a way, talked myself out of purchasing right away because in the past I have found Chobani Greek yogurts to be a lot sourer than my taste buds enjoy. I admit, I had found a few flavored Chobani yogurts that I enjoyed, but overtime even those began to make my face pucker.
Just recently while at the store, I spotted the Chobani Flip Key Lime Crumble which is the flavor I initially wanted to try first but couldn’t find. This particular flip is a delicious blend of key lime low-fat yogurt which comes with a side of graham crackers and white chocolate bits. The yogurt itself is mildly sour on its own, but once the graham crackers and white chocolate bits are folded into the yogurt it becomes a deliciously yummy experience. All the flavors blend together perfectly and make for a scrumptious breakfast, snack, or even a dessert.  Way to go, Chobani!
A container is 180 calories or 5 points plus values.

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!

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissants

Whenever I’ve been in Trader Joe’s I’ve noticed one of their decadent desserts in the freezer section, but had always passed it by … until I finally bit the bullet and purchased the Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissants. Low and behold I’m not sure why I ever waited so long.
The croissants are sold packaged in a box of 4 and are housed in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s.  They are certainly a dish one must plan to have because the croissants have to be placed onto a baking sheet to proof for 9-hours. I decided to sit them out overnight and I baked them off the following morning. The croissants have to be placed pretty far apart from one another because they do balloon do nearly triple the size when thawed and fully proofed. Since my oven is on steroids my croissants baked up to a fabulous brown color in 13 minutes.
I transferred the cooked croissants to a dish and allowed them to cool. A few hours after they were done I enjoyed one and they’re perfect. They’re flaky, soft, chocolaty and totally delicious. They’re rather decadent and one of the best chocolate croissants I have ever had (I want to be honest and say I do not have a local bakery/restaurant that sells homemade croissants so I’ve always had packaged chocolate croissants). They’re good the following day as well … although they’re at their peak of freshness anywhere from after baking to 4-hours into cooling.  Admittedly, they are that good that I’ve purchased another box to tuck away in the freezer!
Each croissant is 320 calories or 9 points plus values.

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.

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole

I’m not sure what’s taken me so long to post about this wonderful find I’ve purchased from time to time at Trader Joe’s. I thought I posted about this dish eons ago, but I didn’t … so here we go!  Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole is one of the most delicious guacamole’s I have had to date. Granted, I’m not the biggest fan of guacamole, but this is just a slam dunk.
The guacamole is creamy, thanks to the Greek yogurt, yet it has subtle chunks of veggies and avocado mixed throughout it. There is a noticeable cilantro flavor in the dish, but it’s not overwhelming on the taste buds. Admittedly, cilantro isn’t one of my favorite flavors, but it’s mild enough that it boosts the flavor and is really refreshing on the palette. Overall, I find the dish balances itself out quite well with all the flavors. I enjoy this with tacos, over chicken burgers or hamburgers, over salad, with nachos, etc. It’s versatile and a huge favorite of mine.
A serving is 2 tablespoons which is 30 calories or 1 points plus. Here’s a little fun fact for you … you can have 4 tablespoons for 60 calories and its still 1 points plus!

Garden Lites Southwestern Soufflé


Last week I made a special trip to Target to pick up a few Garden Lites, While there, I decided to buy a few soufflés I haven’t tried in the past. One of the “newbies” I picked up was the Garden Lites Southwestern Soufflé. What truly sold me was the photo on the front of the box.
According to the box, the soufflé is a blend of vegetables, black beans, corn and spiced with a chipotle spice blend. The soufflé makeup is food items I typically enjoy, so I had high hopes for this … and it played out to be exceptionally good. The soufflé itself was light, but the outside crust has a bit of bite to it. It’s not watery or soft, it’s baked perfectly on the outside and the inside is still airy and delicious. Flavor wise it’s your classic southwestern flavor, mildly spiced but not overwhelming with the chipotle seasoning.  It’s filling, flavorful and made for a delicious breakfast, but it would also be a great lunch with a small side salad.
A container is 180 calories or 4 points plus values.

Banana Oatmeal

This is undoubtedly my favorite breakfast at the moment: Banana Oatmeal which is cooked in 2 ½ minutes in the microwave. It’s delicious, it’s plentiful and it truly keeps me satisfied all morning. I enjoy oatmeal, but before this, I truthfully never ate it very often. I include oatmeal in baked goods and I love it in overnight oats, but when it comes to eating oatmeal for breakfast, I would typically reach for a pack of instant oatmeal. Instant oatmeal is quick and easy, but I’ve found it’s usually not filling enough for me and it is a points plus “hog”.

A friend of mine and a fellow Instagrammer posted her favorite way to have oatmeal. I noticed the post, was intrigued and decided to give it a try one day. One morning when it started to snow, I decided the breakfast I planned for the day before wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted something warm and homey … so I gave the oatmeal a shot and have been obsessed/hooked since. It is filling, it’s thick, it’s reminiscent of banana bread, and it’s without doubt one of the easiest things to throw together. I truly crave this oatmeal … and that fact alone is astounding.
The greatest part? Its super low in points plus values! If mixing it with skim milk, it’s 3 points plus, if you mix it with unsweetened almond milk it’s only 2 points plus values. It’s low in point yet highly satisfying and delicious.
  • 1/3 cup quick cook oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (I use vanilla)
  • Banana, sliced
  • Sprinkle of Cinnamon
  • Artificial sweetener packet (optional)
Slice a banana into a bowl, top it with oatmeal, cinnamon and almond milk. Microwave for 1 minute 15 seconds. Stir, and then place back into the microwave and heat for an additional 1 minute 15 seconds.
Top with your favorite fruit and enjoy!

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 Junk

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Ahh, Taco Junk! I never knew how amazing this dish was until I finally gave it a try. I’ve tried trashy taco soup in the past, but that was soup and not like “taco mix”. I stumbled upon this thanks to Pinterest. There was a picture pinned of canned food items lined up alongside taco and ranch seasoning, so I clicked on it because I was curious.  And I’m glad I did.
Not only is this dish exceptionally easy to whip together, but it’s cooked in the crock pot and the end result is utterly delicious. So delicious that I’ve been asked on multiple occasions (in a week’s time frame) as to when I was going to make it again.  It’s that good; that I’m pretty sure it’s going to be on this upcoming week’s dinner menu.
The original recipe has all canned ingredients being used with your choice of either ground beef or turkey, but I switched it up just a little bit as I do with all my cooking.  I added in onion and McCormick Montreal steak seasoning, opted for frozen fire roasted corn and decided to not use the salsa that was listed in a few recipes.  The end result was a nicely thickened taco mixture, which as it sat away from heat got thicker and even more delicious. Definitely a winner for all taco lovers alike!
Serves 13. 3 Points Plus. ½ cup serving size.
Ingredients:
  • 20 oz. 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp McCormick Montreal steak seasoning (optional)
  • 14 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 ½ cups frozen fire roasted corn (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 1 packet Taco seasoning, reduced sodium
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix
In a non-stick skillet combine onion, ground turkey and Montreal steak seasoning and cook together until browned and no longer pink.
Transfer meat and onion mixture to a crock pot. Add in taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, drained and rinsed beans, canned diced tomatoes and frozen corn.  Roughly 2 hours in give everything a gentle stir to get everything nicely incorporated.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.  Stir to combine all ingredients.
Serve immediately or allow to cool for 20-30 minutes to thicken up slightly.