Sunday, October 23, 2011

Baked Mac & Cheese

I've done it again...
I've taken one of my favorite dishes of all time and made it healthier, but still absolutely delicious!

For this dish, I combined my Lobster Macaroni and Cheese with the Weight Watchers Mac and Cheese to create a scrumptious, lower calorie dish that makes eating better that much easier. The best part about this mac and cheese is that it tastes better the next day, but that always seems to be the case with mac and cheese!

Baked Mac & Cheese
{6 servings}

-8 ounces Penne Rigate
-1 Shallot, finely minced
-1 clove Garlic, finely minced
-2 tbsp Canola Oil
-2 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
-1/8 cup White Cooking Wine
-2 cups Skim (Fat-Free) Milk
-1/4 tsp Paprika
-1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
-1 Bay Leaf
-2-1/3 cup Shredded Reduced-Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/4 tsp Pepper
-1 tbsp dried Parsley

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the penne pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside.

In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat and add the minced shallots and garlic. Saute until softened. Add 2 tbsp flour and stir to toast the roux for 1-2 minutes. Add the 1/8 cup of white wine and let it reduce for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the 2 cups of skim milk and whisk the sauce continuously to remove the lumps. Add in the paprika, cayenne pepper and bay leaf.

Bring the sauce to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to thicken for 5-10 minutes until the sauce coats the spoon. Remove the bay leaf.

Stir in 2 cups of the cheddar cheese slowly by the handfuls while continuously stirring and add in the salt and pepper. Add in the cooked penne pasta and stir well to combine. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the macaroni and cheese into a greased 8x8 baking dish and top with the remaining 1/3 cup cheddar cheese and parsley. Bake for 25 minutes until hot and bubbly. Then remove the baking dish from the oven and let the macaroni dish set for 10 minutes before serving.

*365 calories and 12.8 g fat per serving*
8 WW points

Friday, October 21, 2011

Buffalo-Style Chicken Salad

Oh. My. Goodness.
This is good. This is really good.
Dusty and I had this salad for dinner last night and for lunch today.

Whenever we go out to eat, one of my favorite salads to order is a Fried Buffalo Chicken Salad. Healthy, right? Fried chicken that has been soaked in Frank's Hot Sauce with blue cheese dressing. So good, but oh so bad. To make this healthier I baked the buffalo chicken so I can still enjoy one of my favorite salads, without the heavy fried stuff and guilt.

Buffalo-Style Chicken Salad
{2 servings}

-1/3 cup crumbled Blue Cheese
-1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Light Mayonnaise
-1/4 cup Light Sour Cream
-1 tsp Distilled White Vinegar
-3/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
-1 Chicken Breast
-2 tbsp Frank's Hot Sauce
-4 cups sliced/torn Romaine Lettuce
-1 large Tomato, chopped
-1 Green Onion, thinly sliced
-Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (F). Spray a small baking dish with cooking spray.

To make the blue cheese dressing, combine the blue cheese, 1/4 cup mayo, sour cream and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk together until blended.

Spread the panko bread crumbs out on some wax paper. Toss together the chicken tenders, hot sauce and 1 tbsp mayo in a bowl. Coat the chicken tenders, one tender at a time in the panko bread crumbs and place them in the baking dish. Bake for 5-7 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through. Cut cooked chicken into bite sized pieces.

Toss together the lettuce, tomatoes and green onions in a bowl. Drizzle with the blue cheese dressing and serve the chicken on top. Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted & Inspired by Weight Watchers Complete Cookbook

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple Sunrise Slaw

I use to swear that I would never ever eat anything that contained the words Light, Low-Fat, Reduced-Fat, etc. But then I gained weight eating, blogging and eating some more. So with doing Weight Watchers and watching every little calorie and gram of fat that has gone into my body, I caved in to the Lights and Low-Fat. I'm not going to lie, I don't notice the difference.

If I'm making a sandwich and want to spread on some mayo, I use the real stuff, but if I'm using larger quantities, I use the light stuff. Did you know that 1 tbsp of real mayonnaise is 3 points??? I have only 23 points to work with each day, I'm not going to waste it on mayo!

I found this recipe for Apple and Carrot Salad on Weight Watchers Kitchen Companion. I made it according to directions and took a bite.....bland! No taste! Uh oh! Then I suddenly remembered that Laurie from Simply Scratch made a similar Apple & Cabbage Slaw with a creamy dressing that looked delicious. I combined the two recipes and created Apple Sunrise Slaw!

Why the "sunrise"? 
Because I couldn't find pre-cut matchstick carrots at the grocery store and could only find a bag of "Sunrise Slaw" veggies which is a combination of carrots, red cabbage and broccoli. I'm sure I could have just bought carrots and cut them myself, but I'm a full time nursing student on a diet, I gotta have some convenience! Besides, I ended up loving the blend of colors in this dish from the sunrise mixture, but you could use pre-cut carrots too.

 Here is what you are going to need {4 servings}:
-1 Apple, cored, thinly sliced, cut into matchsticks
-2 tsp Lemon Juice
-1-1/2 cup Sunrise Slaw veggies (or matchstick carrots)
-1/8 cup chopped Chives
-2 oz. reduced fat Feta Cheese
-1/4 cup Light Mayonnaise
-1 tbsp Honey
-1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/4 tsp Pepper

Place the sliced apples in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. Add sunrise slaw, chives and feta cheese. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, honey, cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined. Pour dressing over slaw mixture and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

1 serving = 3/4 cup
106 calories and 4.8 grams fat
Only 2 points!

Recipe Inspired by Weight Watchers and Simply Scratch

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Better-For-You Tailgaiting Tips

With football season in full swing, I'm sure we have all had our share of delicious game-time food. To me, it's not a game without some good grub. Although this year I've been on the search for healthier alternatives to my game-time dishes.

I was so excited when I was contacted by Crystal Light Pure, who gave me some "Better-For-You Tailgaiting Tips" and I want to share these awesome tips with you today too!

Better-For-You Tailgating Tips from Crystal Light Pure Spokesperson Molly Kimball, RD
1. Take dipping beyond chips and queso by making your favorite creamy dips low cal with plain lowfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream and mayo. Liven up plain old salsa by adding freshly diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro, or – even better – make your favorite salsa from scratch.

2. Serve dips with whole grain crackers and grilled veggies (think marinated and grilled asparagus, red and yellow peppers, zucchini and squash, and Portobello mushrooms). I’ve found that a grilled veggie platter nearly always goes over better than just plain raw vegetables.

3. Make finger sandwiches better by using whole grain bread, lean meats like turkey, ham, chicken, or roast beef, with thinly-sliced cheese and light mayo. Or roll turkey and veggies into high fiber tortillas, and slice into pinwheels. Quesadillas can be another not-so-guilty indulgence – just stick with whole grain tortillas, lean meats, reduced-fat shredded cheese, and pile on the veggies.

4. Healthy grilling doesn’t mean you’re stuck with just plain chicken. Seasoned, grilled and sliced, pork loin can easily become finger food. No buns or rolls needed. Beef or chicken satay can be lean options. And kebobs are always a hit, made with lean meat or seafood and skewered with veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, onions and mushrooms.

5. And stay refreshed and well-hydrated by sipping on naturally sweetened Crystal Light Pure. It’s sweetened with sugar and Truvia, a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant, and has no artificial flavors or preservatives. Just tuck a few packets into your purse or pocket and you’re good to go!

Kraft Foods sent me a sample of Crystal Light Pureand I gotta tell you, I love it! I've never tried it before, and Dusty and I both love the Strawberry Kiwi and Grape flavors. They are so tasty! Plus they are perfect for my Weight Watchers diet....0 points for one 8 ounce serving!
Heck yes! Score!

I hope that these 5 tips from Crystal Light Pure help you out with tailgaiting this football season like it has helped me. Tonight I'm making some healthy Football Spicy Wings, and it is gonna be soooo good!
Happy Football Sunday!

*Information, tips, photo and sample of Crystal Light Pure provided by Kraft Foods.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf with Cranberry Glaze & Giveaway Winner

First off, I want to thank you for sharing all of your wonderful holiday memories for the giveaway. There were a lot of really fun ones that I enjoyed reading. Most of you do a lot of baking! What is the holiday season without food and baked goodies?!?!?

Secondly, I'd like to announce the winner of Quick & Easy Christmas, by The Gooseberry Patch. The winner of this lovely cookbook is....
Cheryl Ogenbaug!!!

Congrats Cheryl! I love your holiday traditions, especially opening stockings...they usually have the best stuff! I might have to look into those croissants from William Sonoma for this year at Christmas, I bet they are good!

To claim your fun new holiday book, just email me your address at and I'll get that out to you ASAP!

Lastly, I gotta share with you a recipe from this book. I loved it so much, I'm going to share this recipe when I teach a holiday cooking class this November at work. It's Penny Sherman's recipe for Turkey Meatloaf with Cranberry Glaze. It was like a little Thanksgiving dinner packed into one meatloaf.


I didn't get to take any picture of it because I got home from work late and Dusty had already dug into it. Besides, we all know what meatloaf looks like, right? It looks like meatloaf, but the touch of cranberry sauce with the poultry seasoning added to it, makes it a great holiday season meal. You will love it!

Turkey Meatloaf with Cranberry Glaze
{6 servings}

-16 oz can Jellied Cranberry Sauce, divided
-1/2 cup Ketcup
-1-1/4 lb Lean Ground Turkey
-1/2 lb Ground Pork
-1 egg, beaten
-1 cup soft Bread Crumbs
-1 Onion, finely chopped
-3/4 tsp Poultry Seasoning
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/8 tsp Pepper

Mix together 1/3 cup cranberry sauce and ketchup. In a bowl, combine turkey and remaining ingredients. Add 1/3 of cranberry sauce mixture. Mix until well blended. Spoon into an 8"x4" greased loaf pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for one hour. Top with remaining cranberry sauce mixture and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes beore slicing. Serve with remaining cranberry sauce.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quick & Easy Christmas: Gooseberry Patch Review & Giveaway!

I know we have just entered the month of October and Halloween decorations are among us, but why not start prepping for Christmas???

If you're like my mom and myself, you start Christmas shopping in July and the Christmas decorations are up by Thanksgiving day. I don't know which holiday season I love more....Halloween or Christmas? The span from October to December is just so wonderful and magical. I can't choose! I love it all!

Today, I have the wonderful honor and privilege of introducing you to the newest and one of the most fantastic cookbooks from The Gooseberry Patch....Quick & Easy Christmas!
Over 220 Christmastime recipes...most 30 minutes or less! Plus simple decorating ideas & gifts. 

I was so thrilled when I received my copy of this cookbook in the mail on Friday, I couldn't put it down and tagged so many wonderful recipes to try out. Today I'm going to share with you two of them, Gooey Honey Biscuits and Jenn's Pistachio-Cranberry Cookies.

Gooey Honey Biscuits
By Cheri Emery
This recipe was the perfect breakfast this morning. It was so quick to put together and I had the biscuits ready to go in the oven before the oven was done preheating! The biscuits were soft, flaky and fluffy, not to mention delicious!
They look rustic and went great with a tall glass of milk. The only thing I would do differently is to maybe double the honey butter because the warm biscuits absorbed the initial honey butter I brushed over top, so I had to brush more on later (oh darn!). It only made them taste better ;)

Jenn's Pistachio-Cranberry Cookies
By Debbie Button
These cookies are pretty much going to be my new favorite holiday treat that I'm going to make every single year from now on. How cute is it that it is red, green and white? Green pistachios, red cranberries and white chocolate chips. Not only do they color coordinate, they taste fantastic together! I don't know about you, but my favorite way to have cookies recently is by using cake mix, they create the most soft and fluffy cookie, and these cookies don't disappoint! 

Just to show you how fun their decoration and gift ideas are, here are an example of a few...
*Dress up the beverage station at your holiday buffet. Fasten a festive ribbon around a punch bowl and set it in a fresh pine pretty!

*Dress of plain pillar candles in an in fancy brass upholstery tacks or map pins to form spirals, starts, stripes or other simple patterns.

*Give your home a spicy holiday scent year 'round. Cover oranges with whole cloves, piercing the peels in circle and swirl designs or simply covering the fruit at random. Roll in cinnamon and ginger, then stack in a wooden bowl.

Now for the best part....the GIVEAWAY!
Gooseberry Patch was kind enough to send me another copy of this fantastic holiday book to share with you! All you have to do is....

Leave a comment on this post answering the following question:
What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Do you go shopping on Black Friday? Have a special treat you must make? Do you open Christmas present on Christmas eve or day? Tell me your favorite holiday traditions!

Winner will be chosen randomly and announced October 9th, 2011, so enter before it's too late!
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