Steak Tip Salad


All year round, Steak Tip Salad is my “go to” food whenever we are having steak.  I also order steak tip salad while out at restaurants, because it’s a nice twist from the normal (and occasionally boring) grilled chicken salad.  Sirloin is very flavorful and I find even with it on a plain ole garden salad, it gives it such a new and different flavor.  Sometimes when I’m feeling “fancy” I add feta cheese to it – in that instance I don’t need salad dressing because it’s flavorful enough with the 2 extra added toppings.
This particular dinner consisted of a tossed salad (lettuce, tomato, red onion, carrots and cucumbers) alongside 3 ounces of grilled sirloin steak tips with some grilled onions.  I topped it with 2 tablespoons of fat free poppyseed dressing.  My entire dinner was a delicious 6 points plus values!
Here’s a little tip I use while eating out.  In my mind I know the points plus values for a 3 ounce serving of sirloin (as well as grilled chicken) – so my trick is, when ordering out, I’ll ask the waiter how many ounces the meat is cooked (not raw). This way, even without a scale, I can figure out the points that way instead of trying to judge how many ounces visually, while failing miserably (because I have portion distortion).
QUESTION:
Do you like steak tip salad?

Dinner: Carba-Nada Pasta with Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs

It’s been a while since we had pasta and I really had a hankering for it.  Since we were having pasta, I decided to try out two Trader Joe’s products I had picked up for a pasta night – turkey meatballs and garlic marinara sauce.
I’ve grown into quite a loving fan of Carba-Nada pasta. 1 ½ cups of pasta is only 3 points plus which is quite a bang for my buck, points wise.  Not only am I getting a bigger serving of pasta, but I’m getting it all for almost half the points of regular pasta.  I made myself two servings of pasta – one to have for dinner and the other to have as leftovers the following day. Of course, we made regular Barilla pasta for my boyfriend to have with his serving of pasta.
I had some red peppers on the countertop that I had picked up at the grocery store. I typically like to boost up my pasta with extra flavors, so I sliced up a whole red pepper, a medium onion and put it into the oven to roast.  When the pasta and onions were done, I simply tossed them into my cooked pasta dishes.
I tossed the pasta with servings (1/2 cup) of Trader Joe’s Garlic Marinara Sauce.  The sauce is thick and sticks to the pasta.  Each ½ cup serving is 2 points plus. The sauce is incredibly flavorful and adheres to the pasta nicely.  Nothing is worse than runny sauce on pasta that just makes a soupy mess.
 
As a side to our pasta, I cooked the Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Turkey Meatballs in the oven. I let the outside brown until heated throughout and then garnished the pasta dishes with the meatballs on the side.  A serving size is 2 meatballs which calculate out to 3 points plus values. I decided to have a double serving for 5 points plus values.  The meatballs are totally delicious – my boyfriend quite enjoyed them and they were a hit. So much of a hit, I repurchased a bag on my last Trader Joe’s trip. They don’t have that “frozen meatball” flavor that I find frozen meatballs typically have.
The whole dish shown was only 10 points plus values! Quite a steal for a boatload of delicious food!
QUESTION:
What is your favorite way to have pasta?

Dinner: Homestyle Stuffing Chicken Breast w/ Potato

For the first time in a while, my boyfriend made a dinner request – stuffed chicken breast. So that’s what we planned on having and that’s exactly what we had!  I have to admit, it was a super easy and quick meal, but it was also delicious.
Barber Foods sells boxed stuffed chicken breasts which are raw. Basically, you remove the chicken breast from it’s individual packaging, put onto a baking sheet and bake it in the oven for the designated amount of time until cooked through.  I’ve been a fan of this brand for along time – their broccoli and cheese being one of my personal favs. But since Barber Foods makes a lot of their chicken with cheeses in them – it really limits what we can purchase since my boyfriend is not a fan of cheese.  The Barber Foods Seasoned Raw Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Homestyle Stuffing is a hot commodity and pretty hard to find sometimes. It’s a simple seasoned chicken breast, which is stuffed with homestyle stuffing.  They are delicious, moist and just a super quick and easy way to get dinner on the table without the extra work if you were to assemble stuffed chicken breast on your own.
While the chicken was cooking, we “cheated” and cooked the potatoes in the microwave.  We also used canned green beans as a side and unsweetened natural applesauce.  Dinner was done and plated in less than 35 minutes.
My entire plate shown was 9 points plus.  6 points plus for the Homestyle Stuffing Chicken Breast, 3 points plus for 5.5 ounce of potato, green beans and ¼ cup apple sauce.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Barber Foods chicken breasts?

Boca Spicy Chik’n Veggie Patty Sandwich

I have always been a Morning Star girl but decided to give these Boca Spicy Chik’n patties a try after I heard they were delicious. I actually picked this particular box of veggie patties up at Target for free since they were n clearance for 78 cents and I had a $1 off coupon.
I heated the patty through, wrapped in a napkin, in the microwave per the box directions.  They would definitely be crispier and even more delicious if heated through in a convection oven (per box directions as well).  The flavor of the patties is perfect.  It’s spicy, but not overpoweringly.  The texture is truly spot on – you would have NO idea you were not eating a real spicy chicken patty.  As a meat eater, I know the texture of frozen processed chicken patties and this is not quite the texture, it’s smoother, but the taste is fabulous.
I served this on a half of a fresh pita bread, stuffed with some bagged salad.  I topped the patty with spicy brown mustard, some reduced sugar ketchup and a pinch of fat free ranch dressing.  Utterly perfect and only 4 points plus per patty (7 points plus if you’re hungry and want 2), while the bread was 2 points making it a 6 pointplus meal!
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Boca products? If so, what is your favorite?

My version of an Authentic English dinner


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We have a local English butcher/market in town which has been in business for 60+ years.  The butcher makes and sells some of the freshest meat you can find.  One of the things they sell is homemade sausage.  Originally they started out selling only English pork sausage (Bangers) and they branched into selling a smaller breakfast version and went into flavored sausages – Greek, tomato, hot, cheese, etc.  I enjoy many of the sausage flavors they sell but the traditional pork banger sausages are my all-time favorite.  Then again, I grew up eating these.
In England, bangers are served with peas and mashed potatoes.  Growing up my mother always made macaroni and cheese as a side for this dish.  My father enjoyed it this way and it’s what’s “normal” for me to have with it.  I typically don’t eat pork sausage because it’s so high in fat (and WW Points plus values) but to have something you really want and enjoy once in a while is totally worth it.
The sausages are raw, so to cook them I put in about ¼ cup water into the bottom of a pan, place the sausages in and cover them up.  I let them steam in the water, removing the lid to turn them and let them simmer down.  When the water was almost evaporated I added some more because they certainly would not have been done yet.  I followed the process through again and when done I let the casings brown on each side before removing them from the pan.
I cooked my Kraft macaroni and cheese per the box directions, skipped on the butter and milk, added a tiny bit of spray butter, the cheese packet and some black pepper.  I served this along side some no-salt added peas.
Points Plus value wise this meal was 19 points plus.  Yes, that’s a lot, but I don’t have this all the time.  The sausage was 11 points, the mac and cheese was 7 and the peas were 1.  It was so filling I could only eat half and ended up eating the other half a few hours later.
QUESTION:
Have you ever had English pork bangers before?

Roasted Potatoes, Chicken Sausage and Peppers

Two weeks ago I went ahead and tried out a Skinnytaste recipe I had printed out after a recommendation and decided to try it out.  I’ve had sausage with potatoes and peppers a million times before – but most of those times were pre-Weight Watchers.  Typically when I make roasted sausages with peppers and onions in the oven, I eliminate the potato and just cook everything up in the oven until done.  I have to say, adding the potato made it seem like it was a dish that was “bad for you” which made it so much better!
I weighed out and measured all the ingredients needed for the dish and was quite surprised at how MUCH there was in the pan and how little servings there were.  The entire pan was to be separated out into four servings.  Four GIGANTIC servings might I add.  It was so delicious that I will be making this again.  It cooked up so quickly in the oven.  Next time I’m going to switch out the sausage for a different flavoring to change it up a bit (the original was delicious but I know I have a few other sausage flavorings in the freezer).
I followed the recipe (http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/10/roasted-potatoes-chicken-sausage-and.html) as described except I eliminated the rosemary since I didn’t have any so I substituted for minced garlic (along with the powder garlic) and some oregano.  I love changing things up to my liking ;).  The ¼ of the serving was 8 Points Plus.
Overall two thumbs up.  Totally worth making again!  This would even be good to save half a serving to go along with some eggs in the morning!
QUESTION:
Have you ever made a Skinnytaste recipe?

Pizza in a Pan

After trying a cheeseburger casserole last week I got to thinking what could I do with the remaining pasta I had leftover to make a delicious, simple dish.  Well, pizza is my utmost favorite food so that sent my mind into over drive.  Typically when ordering pizza I like to get a loaded veggie pizza – but my boyfriend only eats pepperoni pizza so we typically settle for pepperoni pizza so we don’t have to buy TWO pizzas, which is craziness.
I pulled up my handy dandy Weight Watchers recipe builder and started adding ingredients I’d want in this dish and was surprised to see how point friendly it was.  I jotted down the 2 ingredients I didn’t have at home to pick up at the market and off and running I went.  The great thing about this dish is you can really prepare the meat sauce beforehand – whether it be the day before or even a few hours before whipping together.  Remember the longer a sauce sits, the more flavorful it becomes!
The great thing about this dish is you get the dough action from the pasta, you get the cheesiness and you get a ton of meat and a nice blend of vegetables to make it a healthy and hearty meal.

Serves: 10
Points Plus Values (w/ cheese): 6 Points Plus
Points Plus Values (w/o cheese): 5 Points Plus
Serving size: 1 Cup
Ingredients:
– 1 1/8 pounds 93% lean ground beef
– 1 large onion (or 2 mediums), diced
– 2 small red peppers, diced
– 2 tablespoons minced garlic
– 4 ounce Hormel turkey pepperoni, quartered
– 8 oz uncooked Rotini pasta
– 2 tablespoons tomato paste
– 1 Jar Light Ragu – Tomato & Basil
– 1 can diced tomatoes (drained of almost all liquid)
– 1 cup Reduced Fat Sargento 4-Cheese Mexican (you can use mozzarella but I had this leftover from a previous recipe)
  Italian seasoning (to taste)
 Garlic powder (to taste)
 Black pepper (to taste)
 Sea salt (to taste)
Instructions:
Cook hamburger with onion and garlic in a non-stick skillet until cooked through. Break up hamburger as finely as possible while cooking.
Place red peppers in a baking dish, spritzed with Pam and bake at 350*F for about 10 minutes, until peppers are softer.
Add red peppers, quartered pepperoni, canned tomatoes and jar of Light Ragu sauce to the pan and stir to combine.  Season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper and sea salt to taste.  I tend to not measure my dry seasonings so I eyeball … but if I had to guestimate I’d taste 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper.
Add in tomato paste and stir to combine, let simmer for approximately 2 minutes.
Set a pan of water onto boil, seasoned with a little bit of salt (to prevent sticking).  Once boiling add in 8 ounces of pasta and cooked until your liking.  I tend to go with al dente which is usually done in 10 minutes (I use Barilla pasta so it takes a little longer to cook).
Drain pasta and combine with cooked sauce.  Stir to combine.
Transfer contents to a large baking dish, sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese.  Place pan into a 350 degree oven and bake for roughly 10 minutes until cheese is cooked through.

All that’s left to do is enjoy!
 meat sauce
 Pasta w/o cheese
 w/ cheese

Dinner: Cajun Chicken Pasta


I was on the hunt for something new to eat for dinner and after searching the Skinny Taste website I decided to try the Cajun Chicken Pasta because I was in the mood for chicken and since I hadn’t had pasta in a long while it sounded perfect.  I went to the market and picked up the few essentials I’d need to make the meal and back home I went to cook up a fabulous meal.  And I can say this is ABSOLUTELY fabulous!  I did make a double batch of the recipe (which was a mistake because my boyfriend wouldn’t eat any because it was a “white sauce”) so I ended up giving some away and eating it for lunch and dinner for days on end.
I followed the recipe but ended up adding extra Cajun seasoning and a little black pepper, but other than that the recipe was word-for-word.  The one thing I will say is I let my pasta sit in the pan I combined it all in for about 30 minutes and the sauce (at first it was swimming in liquid) soaked up into the dish.  This is a recipe I highly recommend … it taste as though it would be HIGHLY unhealthy for you, but it really was anything but.
If you want the recipe, check the Skinny Taste website if you think this is something that you’d enjoy:  http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/02/cajun-chicken-pasta-on-lighter-side.html
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Skinny Taste recipes?  If so, what’s your favorite so far?
 

Asian Pork Tenderloin

I wanted to make something different for dinner and after pre-planning most of the meals for the week I decided we’d have pork for dinner. I wanted to use the crock pot but outside of that general idea I didn’t have a specific recipe in mind.  I opted to go with a classic Asian style “marinade” to incorporate into the dish.  I grabbed some of the items I would typically use while making stir fry and then experimented with the rest with fingers (secretly) crossed behind my back that the end result was a tasty one.
Thankfully – it was a success!  It was so delicious and something I am going to undoubtedly continue to make when in the mood for pork loin.  Since cooking the pork in the crock pot it was tender and melt in your mouth delicious.  The vegetables were perfect and the sauce was a perfect addition to spoon over white rice.
Here’s how I made the dish:
Sauce:
1/3 cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
¼ Hoisin sauce
Tablespoon Gulden’s spicy mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
Tablespoon fresh minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Sprinkle black pepper
Main ingredients:
2 extra-lean pork loins (~1 pound each – I used the Hormel Original pork loins)
One medium fresh onion, sliced
One large red pepper, sliced
Bag fresh baby carrots
Bag frozen Asian Veggie Medley (typically contains broccoli, carrots, pea pods)
2 cans sliced water chestnuts
Directions:
Add all ingredients for the sauce into a bowl and mix to combine.
Place pork loins in the bottom of your Crock pot (feel free to remove any visible fat the Hormel brand has a small amount of fat which I removed).  Pour sauce mixture over the meat.
Place baby carrots, sliced onion and red pepper into the crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours (you can also cook on high it would probably be done in 4-6 hours).
30 minutes before serving add in the frozen vegetables and the water chestnuts.  Stir in, cover and let cook for an additional 30 minutes to bring the frozen vegetables up to temperature.
I calculated it to be 5 Points Plus Values for 4 ounces of pork loin and a helping of vegetables.  I paired it with a side of white rice (1 cup for 5 Points Plus values) making it a simple and easy 10 PPV meal!
QUESTION:
Do you like to use your Crock pot to cook meals?

Dinner: Chicken Ranch Tacos


I made Chicken Ranch Tacos for dinner on Friday.  I had wanted to make these for a couple months now because I saw it on Laaloosh (a Weight Watchers recipe blog)– had purchased the taco and ranch seasoning but just never got around to it.  I preplanned some of my meals for the week and decided I was going to make this since I was home on Friday.  I had my boyfriend clean the chicken for me (I have this thing about raw chicken – I can’t handle touching it (outside of just moving I from a container to a pan) or cleaning it.  So I took the trimmed and rinsed chicken and placed it in the bottom of my crock pot, then topped it with a packet of taco seasoning mix, a packet of ranch dressing mix, a tablespoon of minced garlic and 2 cups of chicken broth.  I looked into the crockpot and decided it needed a little more taco seasoning so I sprinkled some of my McCormick Taco seasoning on top of it.  I then turned the crock pot onto high and walked away for 6-hours.  When I returned I took the chicken out of the pot, shredded it and returned it back to the pot, stirring to get the juice mixture over all the meat.
The original recipe calls for 12 ounces of chicken – I used 2 pounds, added in the garlic and extra taco seasoning.
I served this with shredded lettuce and diced tomato, with a tiny bit of medium taco sauce.  My boyfriend’s tacos are on regular taco shells and I enjoyed mine on wheat flax tortilla.  I enjoyed it so much it was my lunch on Saturday and ended up being my lunch today as well.  It’s a really unique and different way to have a taco!
I had 4 ounces of shredded meat which I calculated to be 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus.