Chili Dog Casserole

This is what I call a “Pinterest made me do it” meal … which with my alterations made it turn out to be quite a fail.
I didn’t use the exact recipe as listed on Pinterest, because I switched up the recipe to use the ingredients I had on hand (canned vegetarian chili, canned sauce and Joseph’s flax oat bran whole wheat tortillas). If eaten hot, it wasn’t bad … but when it had the opportunity to sit and cool the tortillas I used got soggy and all around disgusting. I also found I really wasn’t a fan of the Smart Dogs flavoring. I have tried vegetarian hot dogs in the past and found some can be hit or miss and the Smart Dogs were just a complete miss on my taste buds. Where I think I went completely wrong was adding in extra sauce to thin the chili out – if I had left it alone I think the tortillas would have held up a lot better.
The dish itself certainly looked delicious and I may actually recreate this some time using the chili listed in the original recipe, but using a tortilla that can hold up a bit better, and I may just use lean beef hot dogs since I do enjoy those.
You win some, you lose some.

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This is what I call “Facebook made me do it” – meaning one of those recipes that bounce around on Facebook was posted on my Facebook timeline. After walking thru the kitchen I noticed I had some slightly ripened bananas soooo it was a perfect opportunity to whip up a quick batch of cookies.
The recipe is interesting because it includes no sugar, no dairy and no oil.  I admit, when I recreated the recipe I used skim milk in place of the almond milk since I did not have a container in the refrigerator at the time.
I made 18 pretty decent sized cookies and they were 2 points plus a piece. Not bad at all! These were also a hit … they tasted reminiscent of banana bread (of course, different texture, etc.)

Here’s the recipe I followed:
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup apple sauce (I used natural unsweetened)
2 cups oats
¼ cup almond milk (I substituted with skim milk)
½ cup raisins (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Cabbage, Beet and Onion Salad

Cabbage, beet and onion salad is a dish my mother made often growing up. It was a very simple salad, but it was a perfect complimentary meal against certain dishes. The salad itself is simple, refreshing, tart, crisp and even a perfect meal on its own or alongside dinner.
Typically I would use a head of cabbage, but since I was looking for something quick I opted to pick up a bag of coleslaw mix. I would recommend picking up a bag of shredded cabbage (without carrots) but since coleslaw mix with carrots is all that my grocery store had available, it’s what I picked up. The carrots don’t necessarily change the dish it just gives it a different crunch.  Nonetheless it’s delicious and typically a crowd pleaser.
I enjoy this the day I make it, but I feel it tastes so much better the next day because it gets to “marinate” in the refrigerator. The cabbage also softens up a bit.
Serves 7. 1 Points Plus Values. ~3/4 cup serving.
Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of coleslaw mix OR 1 small head of cabbage, sliced thin
  • ½ small onion, sliced
  • 8 oz fresh beets (or canned), sliced
  • 4 tbsp Red wine vinegar (or less depending on taste)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
Add coleslaw mix, sliced onions and sliced beets to a large bowl. Sprinkle with black pepper and a dash of salt.
Drizzle in olive oil and red wine vinegar. Toss to combine.
The beets will change the color of the salad to a slightly purple shade.  Taste test and adjust seasonings (salt, pepper and red wine vinegar).

Spinach Dip

I had some spinach to use up, so I decided to do a quick Google search to find out what I could make with it. Originally I wanted to make a spinach pasta dish my mother made when I was younger … but in all honesty, I cannot remember exactly what it was, and when I asked her she couldn’t recall. I found a Hot Spinach Dip recipe from Skinnytaste’s website see here.
Looking over the ingredients I realized I didn’t have all of them and I felt it would be wasteful to go to the store just to buy the items I was missing … so I decided to shake it up. It came out perfectly! I ate it for a few days and even shared some with my mother and her friend, who in turn asked me how I made it so they could make it at home.  This will become a staple recipe for me because it makes for a perfectly filling snack.
Serves 5-10. Serves 10: ¼ cup serving, 2 points plus values. Serves 5: ½ cup serving, 3 points plus values.
Ingredients:
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, dry (all liquid squeezed out)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (I used jarred garlic)
  • 5 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 2 1/3 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
Place diced onion in a microwave safe bowl, add 1 tbsp of water and microwave for 30-40 seconds until onions are translucent.
Squeeze all liquid out of the spinach and place into a bowl.  Add in cooked onion, garlic, mayonnaise and sour cream. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
Sprinkle in parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder and shredded mozzarella cheese. Blend until combined.
Cover mixture and let marinate in the refrigerator for at a minimum 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place dip into baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and the edges are golden brown.

DiGiorno Pizzeria! Bianca/White Pizza

Pizza is one of my favorite foods and lately my boyfriend has been on a frozen pizza kick. While shopping at Walmart, I spotted the DiGiorno Pizzeria! Bianca/White Pizzaand decided to get it for myself to try.  One day after running holiday errands with my mother, in order to avoid going out to eat, I suggested I make this pizza … and that’s what we did.
I cooked the pizza in my convection oven and when done, cut it up into 8 slices. The pizza has the classic DiGiorno Pizzeria! crust which is thicker but not as thick as classic DiGiorno. The pizza is described as having mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, spinach, garlic, cream fraiche sauce and olive oil on it.
I am quite a fan of the Pizzeria line, but I have to say this particular pie looked a lot better straight out of the oven than it did in the taste category.  It’s not horrible, but it’s not the best spinach pizza I’ve had (I prefer Ristorante) and it’s certainly not one of the best Pizzeria line options (I prefer the supreme). There are hints of mild garlic running throughout the pizza but for the most part it was on the plain side. I realize spinach and ricotta are rather bland foods, but I’m a stickler when it comes to seasoning foods to help increase the flavor category. This just didn’t hit that note for me. My mother didn’t enjoy it, she ate her 2 slices and didn’t want anymore.
A serving is ¼ of the pizza and is 320 calories or 9 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the DiGiorno Pizzeria pizzas?

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?

Jamaican Stewed Curry Cabbage

Jamaican Stewed Curry Cabbage has always been one of my longtime favorite side dishes. Growing up this was a side dish my parents would make occasionally (depending on what exactly we were having) when having Jamaican food for Sunday dinner. It’s delicious, it’s flavorful, and it’s truly simple to make.
My mother would sneak an entire stick of margarine into the bottom of the pan before adding in the cabbage, but I think that’s just an obscene amount, so I’ve recreated this recipe numerous times using only 2 tablespoons of light butter. Since you’re not going after a buttery flavor, it helps stew the cabbage down, but the curry and vegetables truly are what you want to shine through.
This is served best alongside either: rice, rice and beans, or Jamaican dumplings and of course some sort of protein.
I do want to note Jamaican curry powder will stain your hands, your clothes and your bowls. Do not get it on your clothing, or you will have a mustardy colored stain on you garment forever. When storing in the refrigerator, your bowl of choice will develop a yellow hue. I just wanted to note this because whenever serving the dish to someone who hasn’t had it, I give them the “fair warning.”
Please note, Jamaican curry powder is very different from other curry powders on the market. Do not get the spicy; it’ll be very, very hot. Traditional curry is reasonably spicy, but it’s not overwhelming. If you switch the curry recommended out with another, I can’t advise as to how your dish will turn out.
Serves 7. 2 Points Plus Values. Roughly ~2/3 cup serving.
Ingredients:
  • 2 lb head of cabbage, sliced (core removed)
  • 4 carrots, shredded (with potato peeler)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Smart Balance Light Butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp Oregano
  • 4 tbsp Jamaican curry powder (I recommend a container of Grace Curry powder, seen here)
  • 2 tbsp Jamaican meat seasoning (I recommend a container of Grace Chicken Seasoning – seen here)
  • 1 cup water, divided
In a large pot, with matching lid, add 2 tablespoons of light butter to the bottom of the pan. Layer in sliced cabbage, onion and carrots.
Place pot over medium heat and add in about ¼ cup of water.  Allow the mixture start to cook down, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
You want to have a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan to keep it from burning/sticking, so as the water evaporates add in ¼ cup of water.
Sprinkle vegetable mixture with garlic, oregano, meat seasoning and curry powder. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on medium low. Stirring occasionally – adding in water as needed.
Dish is done when cabbage is stewed down and softened (roughly 20-25 minutes).

Garden Lites Veggie Chili & Cornbread Melt

While at the “super” Target I noticed they carried the full array of Garden Lites frozen dishes, so I picked up the Garden Lites Veggie Chili & Cornbread Melt. I had tried one of the Garden Lites soufflés over a year and a half ago and wasn’t a fan … but I decided to give them another go – and I’m glad I did.
This particular entre caught my attention not only because it looked delicious – but the fact it had cornbread in it!  I love chili and I love cornbread, so I figured it had to be a perfect match. Even though the plastic on my dish ripped taking it out of the box, I heated the dish up per the box directions. It didn’t dry out, it just made a little bit of a mess while cooking. But nonetheless it was delicious. The chili was flavorful, packed with veggies and beans. The cornbread was delicious while also nice and soft. The cheese on top of the chili was complimentary of the flavors without being overwhelmingly cheddary.  I really enjoyed these and plan on picking up another dish next time I’m near the Target that caries all the flavors.
One thing I enjoy about the Garden Lites brand is the fact the Weight Watchers Points Plus Values are printed on the back of the box. I certainly helps in making deciding what to try easier because I don’t have to individually calculate each box.
A serving (the whole dish) is 200 calories or 5 points plus values. Quite worth it for what you get!
QUESTION:
What is your favorite frozen chili?

Smart Ones Southwest Style Vegetable Soup

I spotted a line of brand new Weight Watchers Smart Ones soups while at Target. Out of the four options available, I decided to try out the Smart Ones Southwest Style Vegetable Soup for lunch. I am not much of a soup person (particularly canned soups), but occasionally I find myself wanting a bowl so I either have to make a soup or stew or pick up a quick and easy soup that I know I enjoy.
I like the idea of frozen soup because it seems more “homemade” to me. Canned soups taste almost tinny to me, so I tend to avoid those, but I have found a few frozen soups that I have enjoyed and turn into my “go to”.  This particular soup was delicious and will undoubtedly be a repurchase for me.
According to the box the soup is “a combination of fire-roasted corn & tomatoes blended with red beans, corn flour, and cilantro all topped with Monterey Jack cheese.” Most notable the soup is advertised as vegetarian and a good source of fiber – thanks to the beans and vegetables.  The soup itself was delicious. It was mildly spicy, the cheese made it creamy and it was just overall packed with flavor.  I wouldn’t say this is a complete meal in a bowl, but it is something that could be enjoyed along with a salad or sandwich in a guilt free way.
A bowl is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.  Quite worth it if you’re in the mood for something warm to go alongside with your lunch or dinner.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the new Smart Ones soups?

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