Chicken Taco (Crock Pot)


A couple weeks ago I popped into Subway for lunch and noticed they had a new sandwich on the menu – a Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt. I ordered my typical black forest ham sandwich, but my mother ordered the Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt. Upon sitting down to eat out lunch she gave me a small piece to try … and I my taste buds were thoroughly amazed. So amazed that I wanted to try to recreate the dish at home in a way that was “point friendly” for me.
I knew going into it that it wouldn’t be exact … but if I could come close, it’d be a success.  And I have to say, it was pretty darn successful! I used taco seasoning and ranch seasoning over fajita seasoning. The meat mixture was flavorful and was perfect in a sandwich while the next day it was perfect over salad.
The closest I could come to Subway’s flat bread was to use Flatout Foldit’s. My local grocery store only had Flatout’s everything flavor in stock, so that’s what I used.  I picked up a bag of Frito’s and added just a few to my sandwich.  Whereas in classic Subway fashion, I chose to use my own toppings: pepper jack cheese lettuce and tomato.
Serves 8. 4 Points Plus Values. 2/3 cup serving.
Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds raw boneless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
  • 1 medium uncooked onion, sliced
  • 1 medium (or 2 small) uncooked bell peppers, sliced
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 packet ranch dressing seasoning
  • 1 cup Chi Chi’s Salsa, medium
Add onions and peppers to the bottom of a crock pot. Place the chicken breast over the vegetables. Sprinkle with steak seasoning, garlic powder, taco seasoning and ranch dressing seasoning. Top with salsa – cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8-9 hours.
After about an hour of cooking stir together all ingredients and allow cooking down together.
When the dish is done, turn off the crock pot and remove the chicken from the pot. Place chicken on a plate and shred with two forks. Return shredded chicken to the crock pot and stir to combine with the vegetables and sauce.
Allow to cool for roughly 20 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken a tad before serving.

Garlic Naan Pizza

I originally purchased Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan after seeing it posted on Instagram (see that post here). Around that same time, I started seeing garlic naan pizza from a fellow instagrammer who has as much of a love for Trader Joe’s as I do.  That of course imprinted on my brain and I had wanted to try it since.  I finally got around to planning having garlic naan pizza … and having garlic naan pizza I did!
I always fawn over DiGiornio’s garlic bread pizza but now I can have my own version at home which is far less guilty – plus it can be personalized however I want it. Another great part is that my little personal pizza is done in a matter of minutes after a trip into the toaster oven.  So how did I assemble my pizza?
1 frozen garlic naan, 2 tbsp pizza sauce (I used Trader Joe’s), 1/3 oz Kraft fat free mozzarella, 4 slices Hormel turkey pepperoni, and a few sautéed peppers and onions. Delicious, simple and only 5 points plus values!

Taco Tuesday on a whole new level

Tuesdays are known as “taco Tuesdays” on social media. What does that mean? Well, for starters it means having tacos, in any shape or form, on a Tuesday. I admit I don’t always follow the taco Tuesday form; I merely have tacos whenever I crave them whether it’s a Tuesday, a Thursday or a Saturday.  On this particular day I decided to transform taco junk (see recipe here) into a delicious salad.
What’s pictured is ¾ cup of taco junk, 4 tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole (see review hereand 2 tablespoons of Chi-Chi’s medium chunky salsa, alongside a big salad topped with 1 tablespoon Panera fat free poppyseed dressing.
This whole bowl was only 6 points plus and was ultimately delicious.

Trader Joe’s Organic Split Pea Soup


Pea soup is wiggling its way into my favorite soup of all time. Granted, it took me over 27 years to give pea soup a try … but once I got past the “it’s green!” issue I found the soup was absolutely delicious.  So when I spotted the Trader Joe’s Organic Split Pea Soup I decided to pick a can up.
Once in a bowl and heated the soup is on the thinner side of thick. If you’re used to pea soup with ham in it, you’ll notice a definite flavor difference – which is to be expected. But if you can get past that, the soup is truly not that bad. It could be flavored up a bit with a little bit of extra black pepper. I’ll always feel homemade is so much better but this was great to have on hand for a quick and easy meal. The soup is tasty and filling, so definitely a winner in my book. As mentioned on the products label, it is both organic and vegan.
A serving is 1 cup for 100 calories or 2 points plus values. OR you could have the whole can for 200 calories or 4 points plus values.

Trader Joe’s Trader Giotto’s Penne Arrabbiata

Every time I shop at Trader Joe’s, I notice their frozen Italian meals, but have always decided to pass on them for the time being to try something different. Well, I finally bit the bullet and picked up a bag of Trader Giotto’s Penne Arrabbiata after seeing them purchased in a YouTube video.
I had the bag stashed away in the freezer and one night when I wasn’t really feeling the idea of cooking dinner, I pulled this out and popped it into a pan. Frozen pasta dishes can usually be hit or miss because pastas sometimes don’t fair well after being frozen. But I have to say, this dish was perfect. The pasta came frozen along with quarter size bits of sauce. That definitely was interesting to me because I was anticipating a bag of frozen pasta, along with a bag of frozen sauce. The dish itself came together quickly; the sauce was melted and blended with the pasta in less than 7 minutes.
The pasta is a perfect al dente and the sauce is delicious. It’s a smooth tomato sauce, which has a slight bite of spice to it, which becomes more and more noticeable as you eat it.  It’s definitely not overwhelmingly hot, but it has a nice spice in the background which is a perfect, delicious dish.
The one thing I noticed was that even though the package listed 3 servings, there was a little less than 2 servings in the bag (a little over 1 ¾ cup).
A serving is 1 cup, which is 200 calories or 5 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!

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.

Quick dinner: Spaghetti squash w/ sauce & turkey sausage crumbles

I’ve been on a spaghetti squash kick as of late. One night I was hungry and decided to whip this together in less than 2 minutes.  Lunch or dinner in less than 2 minutes is a perfect way to go! Of course it can only be ready in less than 2 minutes if you have cooked spaghetti squash on hand.
In this particular instance, I used jarred sauce (1/2 cup Barilla Traditional pasta sauce), ¼ cup Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles and a serving of cooked spaghetti squash. I put everything together and heated it through in the microwave.  Filling, delicious, and a perfect quick meal.
The greatest part? This whole meal was ONLY 2 points plus values!

Quick & Easy Vegetable Fried Rice

A few weeks ago I needed a quick side dish to go along side some satay peanut chicken. Since potato and plain rice wasn’t my idea of ideal I poked through the cabinets and decided to make a quick vegetable fried rice. Since I didn’t have frozen vegetables on hand I used a few canned vegetables along with a packet of fried rice seasoning mix.
Overall the dish came out perfect. It was packed with flavor, was filling and it made for a pretty large and in charge serving. It was definitely far more satisfying than a vegetable fried rice I could have ordered from any Chinese food restaurant.
I didn’t have any scallions (green onions) on hand but when I make this again I will definitely be adding those to the dish. The scallions would not only give it color but it would give it a complimentary mild onion flavor which I love.
Of course I used peas, carrots and water chestnuts but ideally you could make this exact recipe with anything you enjoy. Bean sprouts, onions, egg, etc., and you could even add a protein of your choice to it to make it a meal instead of a side dish.
5 Points Plus Values. Serves 6. 1 ¼ cup serving.
Ingredients:
  • 4 cups cooked white rice, room temperature
  • 15 oz canned peas & carrots, drained
  • 1 packet Fried Rice Seasoning (I used Sun-Bird)
  • 8 oz can whole water chestnuts, drained and chopped into quarters
  • 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup baby corn, cut into smaller chunks
Spray the bottom of a nonstick skillet with Pam. Add in white rice and let heat through, crisping up slightly.
In a small bowl mix together water, soy sauce and fried rice seasoning packet.  Once well incorporated pour over rice and mix together until rice is coated with seasoning.
Add in canned peas & carrots, baby corn and water chestnuts. Stir to combine. Allow the mixture to heat through for 2-3 minutes (just enough for the vegetables to warm) before removing from the flame.
Serve and enjoy!

Joseph’s Falafel Veggie Patties


I’ve mentioned this numerous times but I am a big fan of Mediterranean/Lebanese foods. They’ve always been foods that I ate growing up because I live in an area where there are a few Lebanese bakeries and restaurants, plus my uncle is Lebanese and will make dishes and share with the whole family. I’ve seen these Joseph’s Falafel Veggie Patties at the grocery store a few times, but always waited to purchase because I already had a plan as to what I was eating that week.  Well, this week I knew I had hummus I wanted to have so I decided to give these a try.
If you’re not familiar with falafel it’s a vegetarian dish made of chick peas or fava beans which are blended and incorporated with spices, and typically deep fried.
The Joseph’s falafel is absolutely delicious and in a way reminds me of vegetarian kibbe. It’s very flavorful, filling and a perfect addition to salad alongside some hummus and even pita bread. It’s been my lunch of choice for the past few days. Outside of homemade falafel this is one of the best premade falafels I have had.
A 2 patty serving is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Have you ever had falafel?