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).

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!

Eating Out @ The Chateau

I was asked if I’d be interested in picking up dinner at a local restaurant, The Chateau (if you’re unfamiliar it is an Italian restaurant). I knew what I would have ordered in the past (chicken parm with fried ravioli) but since I don’t just order impulsively anymore, I pulled up the menu on my phone. Browsing through it I noticed the restaurant had an “Under 598 calories” menu option. It intrigued me so I took a peek … and turned out that one dish in particular really stuck out to me.
Granted, I was in the mood for sirloin so sirloin is what I ordered. The great part is the menu gave the sirloin weight pre-grilling, which meant it would seemingly shrink 2-3 ounces on the grill which was exactly the case. Unfortunately my steak was cooked wrong (I wanted medium-well, I was served medium & since my order was a to-go order I couldn’t have it cooked to enjoy at once) so I took 2 bites of my steak and packaged the rest up to bring home to finish cooking off.
I ordered a side garden salad with Low Fat Zinfandel Vinaigrette as well as the grilled sirloin steak (8 oz – raw) alongside fresh grilled vegetables. Screw up aside while cooking – the meal itself was delicious.

Eating out @ Subway – Foot Long Black Forest Ham

Subway is one of my favorite fast food chains because I can get a delicious sandwich, exactly how I like it (loaded with all the fresh veggies I love). Admittedly I don’t go to Subway very often, but when I do I have a few options available for myself and I know the points plus values associated with whatever I’d like to order.  This particular night Subway wasn’t on my particular menu, but after going back and fourth trying to figure out what we’d like to get “subs” were said at the same time … so subs it was!
Since I had the points and hadn’t had a decent meal I opted to go with the foot long black forest ham, no cheese, on whole wheat – toasted of course. After toasting it up, I pretty much had every vegetable offered put on it – lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, green pepper, cucumbers, spinach, banana pepper rings, a few olives, salt, pepper, oregano, a little yellow mustard and to top it off since my Subway carries it – crushed hot peppers.
The sandwich was delicious, filling and hearty. Definitely worth the 15 points plus values!

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.
What is your favorite pizza topping?

McDonald’s Baked Pumpkin Pie

McDonald`s makes hands down the best fast food pies – at least in my opinion. I do enjoy them, but I do not have them often – maybe once or twice a year. I’m a fan of their apple pie, and I am also “guilty” of occasionally sampling some of their seasonal pies. There have been some flops, but the McDonald’s Baked Pumpkin Pie is definitely a win-win for me.
I was surprised with how yummy their pumpkin pie is! It had real pumpkin filling in it and it wasn’t very sweet.  All around it was delicious. The pumpkin pie tasted like you took a slice of pumpkin pie, wrapped it in McDonald’s signature pie crust and served it up luke warm.  I find these little pies to be handy especially since it’s not always easy to find single servings of pumpkin pie in the market. Having one of these gives the flavor of pumpkin pie, but without having a whole pie sitting in your house.  A yummy treat without any added temptation.
Calorie wise a pie is 240 calories which is equal to 6 points plus.

Have you tried the McDonald`s pumpkin pie?

McDonald’s Deluxe Quarter Pounder

I was sent a $5 McDonald’s Gift Card from Klout to use to purchase any of my favorites from McDonald’s.  One night, my boyfriend and I decided to head to McDonald’s and I originally went in wanting the grilled chicken ranch McWrap but upon arriving I was told that they didn’t have any grilled chicken.  Weird, right?  So, instead of driving well across town to the other McDonald’s, I decided to just order the Deluxe Quarter Pounder without the normally added cheese and mayonnaise. The Deluxe Quarter Pounder is a newer addition to the McDonald’s menu.
Low and behold when I got home, I realized my sandwich was without lettuce, and mustard but it did have a helping of bacon (which I kindly removed and discarded).  Since I can’t eat burgers plain, I added a little ketchup and mustard onto my sandwich and ate it as such.
I have to say it’s not the greatest thing on the planet, but its okay for a burger you’d order from McDonald’s. I wouldn’t run out and order another one, but if in the future I was in the mood for a McDonald’s burger and I wanted to make a meal out of it, I’d probably order another … of course without cheese and mayonnaise but I’d ask for an extra helping of veggies.
It is hefty on the points plus scale.  The sandwich, sold as is (with cheese and mayonnaise added) is 540 calories which calculates out to 14 points plus values.  The sandwich as I ordered it (without cheese and mayonnaise) was 440 calories and 11 points plus values.
Granted, as I admitted high particularly when you can have a bigger (and essentially better) burger at home – but if out on the go and McDonald’s is the chosen fast food joint and you want to be one in the crowd, it’s an option. Just as anything in the world is.
Have you tried any of the new McDonald’s Quarter Pounders?

Fit For You Mushroom Bleu Top Sirloin @ 99 Restaurant

My boyfriend and I decided we were going to go out to eat one night, so we opted for the 99 Restaurant – which is a local chain restaurant that can be found scattered around the East Coast.  The 99 happens to be one of my boyfriend’s favorite chains, so when we do go I tend to order off the “Fit For You” menu, which offers meals under a specific amount of calories.  The 99 does offer their nutrition information on their website, which is helpful in aiding me in deciding what I’m going to eat when we go there.  I have to admit, some of the dishes are completely shocking so I tend to go with what I’m craving that day.
On this particular night I really wanted a piece of steak so I ordered the Fit For You Mushroom Bleu Top Sirloin.  According to the menu the dish is 420 calories and is “a 6 oz. top sirloin steak is flame broiled and crowned with fresh sautéed mushrooms and a sprinkle of bleu cheese crumbles. Served with a grilled tomato and fresh broccoli.”
Seemed like it would be delicious and it was – although I believe next time I will order it with the bleu cheese on the side. The cheese gave the steak and mushrooms a nice kick, but I’m typically sensitive to salt and the natural saltiness in the cheese was more than enough to make me shiver. The sirloin was delicious, cooked perfectly and relatively lean.  The broccoli was perfect, as it always is and the grilled tomatoes were really a unique twist on a naturally cold side.
The whole dish was 10 points plus. Well worth it for a meal out on the go.
What is your favorite dish to order while eating out?

Strawberry Banana Froyo

I met up with a friend – a fellow Weight Watchers member for frozen yogurt while I was in the city for a doctors appointment. I was supposed to bring my handy dandy 1/2 cup measuring cup BUT alas I was running late for my appointment and completely forgot the cup at home.

Measuring cup fail aside, I went into the frozen yogurt experience with a plan. I knew I was going to have at least 6 points worth of frozen yogurt (which according to Weight Watchers e-tools would be about 1 cup of plain frozen yogurt). Low and behold upon arriving to the yogurt shop they actually had the nutrition information on the screen. This excited me beyond words. You mean, I could pick any flavor I wanted because I could know the points plus associated with it beforehand? Epic kid in a candy store moment! They had at least 10 different flavors ranging from plain to strawberry, cookies and cream to peanut butter. The gentleman who was working in the shop asked if I’d like to sample any of the flavors, but I declined realizing that my BLT’s (bites, licks and tastes) would still add up.

My boyfriend is the one who actually decided to have strawberry banana frozen yogurt. Typically when we buy a half gallon of frozen yogurt, that’s the flavor I tend to choose because I enjoy it. So I calculated the points plus and was floored to find it was only 4 points plus for a full cup of froyo! SCORE!

I picked my cup (opting for the shallower, wider bowl) and tried to center my froyo into the center and eyeballed as close as I could to what I assumed would be a cup. I added an additional point incase I was off by any. Then came the decision factor … toppings! Ice cream sundaes and froyo are known for their delicious and not always health conscious toppings. Trying to play it as safe as possible I opted for a few colored jimmies (sprinkles), fresh strawberries, fresh mango and of course a few tiny pieces of cut up Snickers. I guestimated possibly 3 points for toppings and off I went to pay for my delicious treat.
The frozen yogurt was delicious. Nicely flavored, refreshing and it was perfect with or without the toppings. Plus, having the nutrition information at my fingertips really made the experience a lot easier to swallow.
It was nice going out for froyo, enjoying myself, having wonderful conversation with a friend and being on plan. Goes to show you can go out and enjoy yourself as long as you plan for it ahead of time. This way there are no surprises or “freebies.”

What do you typically get at the frozen yogurt or ice cream shop?

Eating out … and getting exactly what you WANT!

I went out to eat at a local restaurant which is known for their seafood. I’m not a big seafood fan BUT I do enjoy fried seafood (primarily fish and clams) every once in a while. I knew the restaurant sold a staple grilled chicken dinner (which I have had in the past) but … I really wanted fried haddock.
Decisions, decisions. I had enough points in the day to have the fish and not feel guilty about it. Plus, since it’s what I really wanted, I knew if I didn’t have it, I wasn’t going to be satisfied with the chicken dish – so I decided to just order the fish. Although, I knew if I ordered the haddock basket I would eat every single French fry and the container of cole slaw … because I know me, I just would.
I noticed under the salads section on the menu there was an option to add ether chicken, steak, shrimp or baked fish to the salad for an additional cost.  I asked if I could substitute the baked fish for fried haddock and was told “of course, no problem!” So that’s exactly what I did.  I ordered a large garden salad – without croutons, with raspberry vinaigrette on the side (the waitress advised that this was the lowest calorie option they had available, so I went with it – using the “dip” method – dipping the end of my fork into the dressing before eating the salad).  And I ordered my fried haddock along with it.
My meal came out; I had my fish (and my tartars sauce!) and was completely satisfied and happy.  I took half my fish and salad home and ate it later on in the evening.
I estimated the haddock filet to be 13 points plus values, the tartar sauce to be 4 points plus values and the teeny tiny amount of dressing I may have used to be 2 points plus values.
Was it worth it? Every point, bite, lick and taste!  Why? Because I wanted it, I tracked it and it satisfied me.  And guess what?  I stepped on the scale the next day and was down 3 pounds!
Are you comfortable going out to eat and having what you want but in a way you’re comfortable having it?