Monday, May 9, 2011

Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese

So yay I finally have a kitchen light again, which means no more excuses for not updating the blog and trying new recipes.

Tonight I had planned for simple all american kind of meal, hamburgers with mac and cheese. Now I'm all for the fancy baked four cheese mac and cheese or adding vegetables or meats to it. However, sometimes I just want some good old velveeta shells and cheese (or the kraft blue box). I found this recipe I copied out of some unknown weight watchers cookbook and thought it would fit the bill fabulously to fill that craving in a much more point friendly way.

Source: Unknown weight watchers cookbook (please let me know if you know which one)


8 ounces elbow macaroni (or any short pasta you have on hand)
3/4 cup fat free milk
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
5 ounces 2% velveeta cubed


1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt if desired and add in pasta.

2. While pasta cooks combine milk, flour and salt in a small sauce pan and stir with whisk until slightly thickened (it took me about 3-4 minutes). Then add the cubed up velveeta and continue whisking until the cheese is melted and you have a thick sauce.

(side note: this cheese sauce would be delicious on chicken or a baked potato too I'm sure)

3. Remove the cheese sauce from heat and drain the pasta. Mix together until combined and then enjoy. I added a smidge of freshly ground black pepper at the end just because I was in the mood but it wasn't needed.

WWPP: 1 cup serving = 7PP
1/2 cup serving = 4PP

Pictured above is the 1/2 cup serving since I was just having it as a side.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ode To My Crock Pot

I love my crock pot, in fact I love it so much I have two. One large and one small. Trust me if you have the space I really recommend having both, if not I'd pick my small one over the large one any day of the week. Of course I only cook for 2-3 people so it's the perfect size for me since I cut alot of recipes in half. If you cook for more go for a larger one.

This week I have been using the crock pot a lot because the kitchen light decided to blow out and it's difficult to cook in the dark. Crock pot to the rescue, plus it has the added bonus of making your house smell delicious when you walk in from work.

Tonight's post isn't going to be just one recipe, instead I'm going to give you my two favorite stand by quick and easy recipes. Please feel free to post your favorites in the comments section.

1. Creamy Salsa Chicken

This one is super easy start with chicken breast add salad then cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred the chicken then combine salsa with light sour cream (use the ratio you like) and mix the shredded chicken in.

Options for use: over brown rice, as taco filling, or to make sour cream chicken enchiladas

Variations: creamy buffalo chicken, just substitute buffalo wing sauce of choice for the salsa. Also done with a top round steak makes delicious beef taco filling but I don't use sour cream with the beef.

2. Pulled BBQ Pork

Ok another easy one, just take boneless lean pork chops and then cover with BBQ sauce of choice. I also like to throw in chopped onions for flavor but if you are anti-onion then you don't need to. Cook on low 8-10 hours, remove from crock pot and shred before mixing with some extra BBQ sauce.

Options for use: stuffed potatoes, sandwich (perfect with a slice of smoked gouda), tacos

Variations: works equally well with beef or chicken.

Also, let me suggest that you bake your potatoes in the crock pot. Now, don't look at me like I'm crazy trust me it works and they turn our perfectly fluffy every time. The reason I'm a fan of this approach is I don't always have the time to wait an hour plus when I get home from work before dinner, and I don't really like microwaved baked potatoes. Plus it makes your house smell like french fries and who doesn't love the smell of fries.

Another fun option when you are pressed for ingredients, inspiration and time is just combine some sort of meat with a sauce you enjoy and see what happens. These are usually good served with some vegetables and say a side of brown rice or mixed into a pasta dish.

For example I love cooking chicken and pork in the following: hot mango chutney, orange marmalade, ginger preserves (or any fruit preserves actually), teriyaki sauce, sugar free pie filling (I know sounds weird but works and based off a dish I had a chicken with blueberry sauce once). Ok you get the picture. I'm a big fan of experimenting in the kitchen so take a sauce you like some protein and run with it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Deep Dish Pizza

Who doesn't love pizza, well ok maybe my crazy friend Reena doesn't like pizza but she is probably the only one. This is a super quick and figure friendly way to get that deep dish pizza craving under control.

Please ignore how bad the lighting is in the pictures, my kitchen light decided to blow out.

Source: adapted from Weight Watchers 5 Ingredients 15 Minutes cookbook

1 can refrigerated Pillsbury original crust pizza dough
1 cup pizza sauce
1.5 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup diced onions
10 slices turkey pepperoni (cut into 4ths)


1. Start by preheating the oven to 425. Spray a 9x13 pan with pam and press the pizza dough into the bottom and half way up the sides of the pan.

2. Cook ground beef and onions in a skillet until completely cooked. Drain then return to skillet and combine with pizza sauce. Spread evenly over the pizza crust.

3. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the beef filling then top with diced up turkey pepperoni.

4. Bake for about 15 minutes until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly.

5. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing into six squares and serving.

WWPP = 8PP per slice

Friday, April 22, 2011

Beef and Ricotta Lasagna

So I am pretty sure I have mentioned before that I am a carb whore, which of course means I love pasta. Now I know I always hear from people "you can't eat pasta on weight watchers it's just too pointy" and to that I say LIES!!!!!!! Now is pasta a pointy option then say a plain chicken breast well sure, but with a little planning and combining it with good healthy ingredients it is perfectly edible.

Which brings us to today's recipe a beef and ricotta lasagna straight from the pages of yet another weight watchers cookbook I bought at my meeting a couple of months ago, Just 5. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who cooks on a budget or on a tight time schedule. As the name suggests this cookbook only contains recipes that have five ingredients, and following with weight watchers philosophy of cooking with real food you will find very few recipes call for prepackaged ingredients.

Source: Just 5


1.5 lbs lean ground beef
4 cups marinara sauce
8oz no boil lasagna noodles
2.5 cups fat free ricotta
1.25 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven and spray a 9x13 pan with Pam.

2. Brown beef in a skillet (use salt and pepper to taste). Drain beef.

3. Put one cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan then top with four lasagna noodles. Cover with half of the beef then half of the ricotta. Spread with another cup of marinara sauce then add another layer of four noodles. Cover with remaining beef followed by the remaining ricotta and another cup of marinara. Top with last four noodles then spread the last cup of marinara over the top and sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella.

4. Spray a sheet of foil with Pam then cover the lasagna and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese gets brown and bubbly (about 15 more minutes).

5. Cool for 15 minutes before cutting into 8 squares and serve.

WWPP = 10PP per serving

Now here is where I get to some of the changes I made to it. I only used 1 lb of the super lean ground beef because honestly I just thought it called for too much. Also, I ended up cutting it into 10 servings (because I wasn't very hungry) and serving it with a light ceasar salad. With those changes it ended up being only 7PP per serving.

Next time I would probably actually end up cooking it in my 7x11 pan instead of the bigger 9x13, because as you can kind of see in the picture the noodles aren't big enough to fill the pan all the way to the edges.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pineapple Cupcakes

So I love baked goods, especially cupcakes. In fact a few people at work have taken to calling me valerie crocker since I bring in treats once a week usually. So I saw this recipe on skinny taste and decided it sounded very springy and delicious so I figured I would give it a try. It also got bonus points for being so very easy.


1 box butter yellow cake mix (reduced sugar if you can find it)
20oz can of crushed pineapple in juice


1. Mix both ingredients in a bowl and blend using a hand mixer.

2. Using a large cookie scoop, trust me it's the easiest neatest way to get all the cupcakes even, fill lined cupcake pans with batter evenly (makes 24 cupcakes).

3. Bake at 350 until cupcakes are set. It should take 20 minutes but check a couple of minutes early because every oven is different.

4. Cool completely then top as desired.

The recipe on skinny taste had a recipe for pineapple frosting but it had to always remain refrigerated which I didn't have the space for. Also, it wouldn't be possible when I took them to work in the morning. So I dug through my cabinets for other options and came across the following:

I figured it would make the perfect easy topping, plus it would look pretty. So I put a dollop of cream cheese frosting (about 1/2 tbsp) on each cupcake and then topped with a small slice of dried pineapple.

WWPP = 3PP per unfrosted cupcake and 1PP extra if you top it the way I did

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Sausage Sun Dried Tomato Pizza

So yesterday at my weight watchers meeting they had a new cookbook, which of course makes me very excited and I obviously bought it immediately. It's a great looking book, full of quick and easy recipes: 30 minute, 20 minute and 15 minute ones.

Flipping though I saw a delicious pizza recipe: Turkey Sausage Tomato Basil Pizza. I was wanting to make it for dinner tonight but unfortunately I didn't have the exact ingredients as I hadn't been to the grocery store so I used the recipe as a jumping point for making a pizza from what I had on hand. It turned out great so I thought I would share.

Source: adapted from Weight Watchers Fresh, Fabulous, Fast

Boboli thin style pizza crust
1/4 cup pizza sauce
3/4 shredded part skim mozzarella
1/4 sun dried tomatoes
1/2 apple sausage link diced


1. Preheat oven to 450 and put pizza crust on large cookie sheet (or pizza pan if you have one).

2. Dice up sun dried tomatoes and chicken sausage into even sized pieces.

3. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over the crust leaving room around the edge. Sprinkle the sausage and tomato pieces evenly over the pizza. Top with shredded mozzarella.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese bubbles and begins to brown. Once done cut into eight pieces and enjoy!

WWPP = 8PP per serving (a serving is 2 slices or 1/4 pizza)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Breakfast Berry Cornbread

I was at the grocery store the other day and I am loving that there are so many delicious looking fresh berries to choose from. If however, you don't have access to fresh berries or they are just too expensive frozen will work just as well in this recipe.

I am, as my friend Eric says, a serious carb whore which of course means I love my muffins, pasta, breads and really any pastry. Now, if you do weight watchers new point plus program like I do you understand how pointy those items can be so as such I'm constantly trying new recipes I find and lightening them up if necessary in order to get my carb fix.

This recipe is super simple to put together and you most likely already have everything you need at home to make it if you keep a fairly well stocked kitchen cabinet. It turns out very moist and full of flavor, quite perfect for a snack with your mid morning latte/coffee.

Source: Weight Watchers PointPlus Cookbook (the one sold at meeting centers)


1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 large egg + 1 egg white
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh or frozen berries


1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray pie plate with pam.

2. Mix together sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda in one bowl. In another bowl mix together sour cream, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. Add wet mixture to the dry and stir just until all the corn meal is moistened. Sprinkle evenly with berries.

3. Bake until a toothpick/knife tests clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting into eight wedges.

Some quick notes about adjustments I made to the recipe ingredients. I used 1/2 cup egg beaters instead of one egg and one egg white because it's what I had in the house. Also, I used 1 cup of frozen blueberries in my cornbread you see pictured above.

Next time I may also switch up and coat the berries in a smidge of flour so they don't sink to the bottom and just stir them directly into the cornbread mixture. Just because personally I think the berries kind of rolled and clumped together a bit as the cornbread puffed up while baking and I think it may lend itself to a more even distribution.

I haven't tested to see if using splenda or another substitute changes the points but honestly it's so point friendly per serving I didn't see the point.

WWPP = 4pp per wedge