Taco Salad

I’ve mentioned numerous times how much I enjoy salads because they are so versatile. I’ve learned I can build a salad with unlimited ingredients for as little points plus values or as many as I wish.  Nothing is worse than a “plain ole salad” day in and day out.  This is a salad I tend to go for whenever it’s taco night in my house if I don’t feel like having tacos soft shell tortillas.
This entire salad is only 3 points plus values!  With that I’ve got a bed of garden salad, topped with 3 ounces of cooked ground turkey taco meat (seasoned with a Taco seasoning packet and onion). My salad is topped with chunky medium salsa and for a little spice kick, I garnished with jalapeño slices.  I find with my taco salads the salsa acts as a dressing, so there is no need to layer the salad with a salad dressing.
One thing I do tend to enjoy is occasionally eating my taco salads with a side of fresh soft tortillas (I buy the Joseph’s band wheat flax tortillas) to aid in “scooping” some of the salad into.  Or sometimes I jazz my salads up with a bit of Trader Joe’s Queso and garnish the plate with some tortilla chips.
Possibilities are quite endless which is why I love taco night at home!
What is one of your favorite ways to dress up a salad?

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chucky Guacamole

I picked up this Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole at Trader Joe’s after hearing that it was pretty good.  I checked out the nutrition label and was duly impressed, so I made sure to bring it home with me to try out.  Guacamole is typically higher in fat and calories when made the regular way – but Trader Joe’s found a way to make it a friendly food by incorporating the dish with greek yogurt.
Trader Joe’s really does impress me with some of the items they come out with – needless to say, this is one of them.  I can’t say I’m a huge guacamole fan, but this particular guacamole easily became my favorite (I don’t love avocados).  I was incorporating this into my nachos, chicken burgers, or plain right alongside some tortillas/crackers. It’s a smooth and creamy guacamole which is packed with flavor. There are smaller chunks of vegetables (and even pieces of avocado if you’re lucky) running through the guacamole with a cilantro, lime flavor in the background.  I don’t find it to be spicy even though the label does state there are jalapeno’s in the dish. It’s creamier than your average guacamole, which I feel is to be expected because there is Greek yogurt in the dish.
Amazingly, a 2 tablespoon serving is only 1 points plus values!  Definitely worth a shot if you’re even remotely a guacamole fan OR just living life on the edge!
Have you tried the reduced guilt guac?

Smart Ones Chicken Fajitas

I picked up the Smart Ones Chicken Fajitas when I spotted them at the grocery store in the freezer section.  I was intrigued because, even though I don’t eat a lot of Smart One meals, I do have a few favorites and I enjoy trying some of the new items the brand comes out with.  I love fajitas, so at purchase I felt this was a score all around.
The box describes the meal as grilled white chicken with seasoned peppers & onions with a side of rice and beans along with 2 tortillas.  The whole meal is only 7 points plus, which I also felt was quite a steal (particularly for a frozen dish).
I heated this up for a late lunch because I was absolutely starving.  But I felt as though this was simply … just food.  The meal was very bland and rather boring.  There was nearly not enough seasoning in any of it. The rice was bland, the chicken fajita was bland. If I was to ever eat this again, I would need to load it with some hot sauce or salsa – just something to give it flavor.  But with that … I probably will not repurchase this.  I do have the pork variety in the freezer to try out at some point.  But I’ll stick with my homemade fajitas that are less points and far more satisfying (filling and flavor wise).
Have you tried any of the new Smart One dishes out there?

Trader Joe’s 99% Fat Free Bean & Rice Burritos

I picked up a pack of these 99% Fat Free Bean & Rice Burritos from Trader Joe’s and finally decided to take them out of the freezer to enjoy.  Burritos are a delicious treat for me, but typically the points plus values associated with them (particularly most of the frozen heat and eat kinds) are completely astronomical – at least too much for me to “splurge” on.
I love trying new foods and felt these particular bean and rice burritos were acceptable point wise to have as a meal, or if I was really hungry I could have both of them for dinner.  The burritos are made with organic rice and beans, if that’s an important fact for anyone.   They are a simple flour tortilla which is rolled together in a bean and rice mixture – I believe the beans are pink beans, some of which I assume are mushed up a little to give it a more “creamier” consistency.
The only downside is that the burritos are packaged into a single container and the directions state to poke holes in the plastic film and to heat both together.  I ate them on separate days, so the first burrito I wrapped up in a napkin and microwaved per the given time.  It came out alright, but the tortilla was a little chewier … you know that chewiness you get from putting tortillas in the microwave for too long?  The second burrito I heated up in the plastic wrap (with a long slit along the side where I removed the first burrito from) and I found that burrito cooked SO much better and tasted better than the first.
I found these to be tasty – not bad on their own, but I do feel eating them with a small salad and having some of your favorite salsa on the side for dipping makes them 10 times better.  The salsa brings a whole new flavor category to the burritos which is yummy.  On their own, the burritos taste like a bean and rice mixture – nothing spicy or even mild about it.
Each burrito is 6 points plus.  Well worth it, if you enjoy a burrito once in a while.
Have you tried the bean and rice burritos from Trader Joe’s?

Trader Joe’s Chicken Asada

I purchased this Trader Joe’s Chicken Asada meal for my boyfriend and I when we were going to be going away for our anniversary.  I figured having at least one meal that was going to be point friendly would be best for me. After purchasing, I found out our hotel did not have a refrigerator or microwave in the room – but the staff advised that they’d gladly heat anything up for me in the staff microwave.  That put dampers on bringing meals for the few days we were there – but that made having dinner at the hotel a score for the first day there.
The Chicken Asada meal comes with 2 servings in the container.  It’s sold in the refrigerator section at Trader Joe’s because all you need to do is heat it up in the microwave and your meal is ready to roll.  It consists of grilled chicken, poblano peppers, red peppers and onions.  I was quite surprised at the sheer amount of chicken I was able to have in my meal.  It looked like something you would order at Chili’s but ten times better!  It tasted delicious, fresh and flavorful.  The greatest part was that the serving (1/2 the package) was ONLY 5 points plus values!
My boyfriend and I ate this with wheat flax tortillas, so we were able to have chicken asada tortilla wraps.  It was absolutely delicious!  This is so good I actually have one in my freezer, which I’ll probably be taking out this week for lunch.  Yum!
Have you tried the Chicken Asada meal from Trader Joe’s?

Trader Joe’s 5-Layer Fiesta Dip

First of all I want to point out that the presentation of this dish is not as it looks when purchased in store. I accidentally dropped it out of the fridge and it got all shook up and rather … ugly looking.  When you purchase it at the store it’s layered nicely and the cheese is presented at the very center of the bowl.
I picked up this small size (it also comes in a large size for parties) 5-Layer Fiesta Dip from Trader Joe’s on my last haul because I was hoping to have something that would be a nice, different treat for myself.  I’ve had homemade 5 (or 7-) layer dips and they are absolutely delicious.  Dips can be made at home and without a doubt can be made as healthy as possible.  When I flipped over the packaging in store, I was surprised by the nutritional information.  There were only 50 calories in a 2 tablespoon serving, which is the least calories I’ve seen on any store-brand 5-layer dip.  Typically the calories run round 100+ so I immediately had to figure out what the Weight Watchers Points Plus were.
A 2 tablespoon serving was 1 points plus, while a 4 tablespoon serving is only 3 pointsplus.  Not bad at all for something of convenience.
The dip itself is made from layered black bean dip, salsa, sour cream, cheddar cheese and guacamole.  Taste wise it’s not bad – but it’s certainly not the best 5-layer dip I’ve ever had.  I think it was the salsa that kind of made it weird for me … I like a medium or mild salsa and it was kind of on the blander even slightly sweeter side.  I can’t say I would run out and repurchase this again – but if I was in a bind and REALLY wanted 5-layer dip without the hassle of making it myself, perhaps I’d repurchase – but unless that arose, I probably wouldn’t buy this again.
Since my boyfriend isn’t a huge fan of things like this – I ended up serving it to a guest or two, but the rest ended up in the garbage.  Sorry to say.
Have you tried the 5-Layer Fiesta Dip at Trader Joe’s?

Dinner: Whole Wheat Beef & Bean Stuffed Burritos

I decided to make stuffed burritos at home one night, so I picked up an Oretega burrito mix at Target and I will say – honesty, next time I will make them with taco seasoning because the Ortega burrito seasoning was FAR too spicy. So spicy indeed I had to add some sour cream to the meat in hopes of muting the spice, but even that didn’t help.
We had a few people over for dinner and everyone mentioned how spicy they were.  I felt bad; my boyfriend couldn’t even finish his because the spice was just killing his taste buds.  I fought through the burn because outside of JUST the spice they were delicious.. They would have been a homerun if I substituted taco mix (which I originally planned on using) until I spotted the burrito mix.
Hoping to further mute the spiciness of the seasoning pack, I layered refried beans into the tortilla shells – which helped a bit.
Here’s what I used:
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 packet reduced sodium Ortega Burrito seasoning
  • 5 tablespoons fat free sour cream
  • 1 can fat-free refried beans
  • 1 pack Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
  • Joseph’s Flax Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
I had some Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tortilla shells I wanted to use up, so I filled those with 2 ounces of meat to 1 tablespoon of fat free refried beans.
With the remaining mixture I mixed those onto the Joseph’s wraps using 4 ounces of meat mixture  and 1/3 cup refried beans).  I personally found these to be more palatable because the s[ice was minimized.
I paired the burritos with a simple tossed salad.
The Joseph’s wraps were 9 points plus for the 2,whereas the Trader Joe’s wraps were 8 points plus for 2.

Have you ever made burritos at home?

Huxtable’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I spotted this refrigerated Huxtable’s brand Chicken Enchilada Casserole while at Target.  Granted, it was very early in the morning and I knew I had nothing out for lunch and this just looked delicious.  I admit I was craving something cheesy and felt this might knock that craving out of the park.  Initially I thought the nutritional information was going to be through the roof ridiculous, which would make me put the container right back onto the shelf, but upon turning the box over I was QUITE surprised how favorable the stats were.  The container housed 2 servings and for ½ the container it turned out to be 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus and I calculated if you ended up eating the entire container it was 11 points plus.
Overall it had a nice flavor – it was on the saltier side (but I am very sensitive to salt since I only use it sparingly in cooking for flavor balancing).  It was just as the box described – a casserole layered with chicken, cheddar and monterey jack cheese, layered between corn tortillas and a zesty (although I personally wouldn’t say zesty) red chile sauce.
I enjoyed it and found it to be a decent, quick, simple lunch.  It was plentiful with a small side salad to balance it off.
Have you tried any of the Huxtable’s premade meals at Target?

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Dinner: Simple Homemade Chicken Quesadillas

I made homemade chicken quesadillas for dinner a few weeks back.  I had a craving for them and decided to get a little creative.  Since my boyfriend isn’t a cheese fan I had to make something that was versatile – meaning I could eat it the way I wanted it and he could eat it without it containing cheese.  I started by sautéing some peppers and onions in a pan – my pan was spritzed with Pam to prevent sticking.  I seasoned them very lightly with black pepper and sea salt.  When done I transferred the cooked peppers and onions to a bowl and then heated through a package of original Perdue Short Cuts.  Once it was warmed I set the heated meat into a bowl.
I assembled two fajitas for my boyfriend (not pictured) and went ahead and made myself two quesadillas.  I spritzed my Joseph’s What Flax Tortillas with spray butter, added on ¾ cup chicken, topped with peppers and onions and then equally sprinkled with 1/3 cup of measured fat free mozzarella cheese.  I folded the quesadilla shut, spritzed it with spray butter and cooked it on both sides on medium heat.  When done I cut into triangles and served with some Uncle Ben’s 90-second rice, diced tomatoes and medium salsa.  Quite delicious and so filling!
10 Points Plus for the entire dinner.  Not bad at all!
Have you ever made quick & simple quesadillas?

Dinner: Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

 A few weeks back I had been looking for something new to throw into the eating schedule.  I had found this amazing website through one of the Weight Watchers girls I follow on Instagram.  Her photo looked amazing and I wanted to make them for dinner.  So I ended up picking up all the goodies needed to make this and when I told my boyfriend our menu I had mentioned the fact a dish was vegetarian.  That was my first problem (LOL) my boyfriend is not a fan of vegetarian dishes.  He literally looked at me like I had just kicked a puppy.  So I said “uh, do you want me to add hamburger or turkey to the recipe?” and he said “Yes…” so into the freezer I went and I pulled out a pack of lean hamburger and let it defrost.  I basically followed the entire recipe (see recipe here: http://www.laaloosh.com/2012/09/04/stuffed-pepper-enchiladas-recipe/) except I added meat into it and I mixed all my ingredients in a bowl and then filled the peppers.  Since my boyfriend does not like cheese I ended up putting cheese on half of the peppers and no cheese on the remaining.  I will say it’s a completely different twist and unlike anything I have ever had.  I did enjoy it and I ate it for lunch and dinner a few times.  I did enjoy them and will be making them again at some point in the future.