Monday, February 19, 2018

Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I have been committing to Weight Watchers for over two months now and I am down 18.8 pounds. I am happy with my progress, happy with my fitness (I was really out of shape and am getting back-slowly- to increasing my endurance), and happy with how I feel about the journey. One area I've needed to work to increase my happiness is with my food. I have made great choices but I have missed some of my old comfort foods. I decided I really needed to find ways to work my favorites in (hello cheese... pasta...bread...BACON!) and work to lower the points on these items. This chicken is a perfect example of this.

This chicken was indulgent tasting. The flavor was incredible but the points were low. With the exception of the bacon this is a recipe I always have all the ingredients for on hand so it's an easy weeknight meal. 

4 Weight Watchers Freestyle Points per breast

3 slices of center cut bacon
2 6oz chicken breasts (not the thin ones)
2 wedges of Garlic and Herb Laughing Cow cheese
2 tsp grapeseed oil (or any oil)
1/4 cup Cornflake crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1- In a large frying pan cook the bacon. Remove from the pan and crumble. Clean out the pan to remove the grease.
2- Preheat the oven to 375. 
3- Take each chicken breast and slice it in half in the middle so you can open the breast. Do not slice it all the way through, leaving it connected on one side.
4- Spread one wedge of Laughing Cow cheese on each breast.  Top with half the crumbled bacon.
5- Close the breast so the filling is covered. Dip the chicken into egg and the cornflake crumbs. Season with salt/pepper/garlic powder. 
6- Heat the oil in the skillet. Add the chicken and allow it to brown. Flip and allow to brown on the other side. 
7- Transfer to an oven safe dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Asian Chicken Pineapple Lettuce Wraps

It's not often that I make a meal and feel I need to blog it immediately, but this... this is one of those meals. Actually, as I'm typing this John is in the background finishing off this whole recipe... I think he's on his 6th lettuce wrap. Yup... it's that good. The peanuts add a great crunch, the pineapples add a great sweetness, the sauce is flavorful and just so good. I can pretty much assure you this will be a staple in our house. I'd happily serve it with rice, as lettuce wraps, or just in about any way you can imagine this!

The original recipe calls for mango but we prefer pineapple so I did make the modification, but you can swap out the pineapple for mango.

3 Weight Watchers Freestyle points for 2 wraps (4 servings total of 2 wraps per serving, 8 wraps for the whole recipe)

Source: Adapted from "The Essentials WW Freestyle Cookbook"

1 pound of chicken, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
8 large Bibb lettuce leaves
1/4 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped

1- Toss the chicken with flout and salt. Stir well.
2- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and begin to cook. While it's cooking stir the soy sauce and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
3- Add garlic, ginger, and scallions to the skillet. Stir. Add the sauce and continue cooking until the sauce coats the chicken and the chicken is cooked.
4- Stir in the pineapple and peanuts.
5- Remove the chicken mixture to a bowl. Divide evenly between 8 lettuce leaves.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Chicken Basil Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

Lately meal planning has been a really daunting task. I can't figure out why. I'm someone who loves to eat and cook, but for some reason lately the pre-planning is making me nuts. Someone at my Weight Watchers meeting was raving about the new "The Essential WW Freestyle Cookbook" sold at meeting centers so I decided to pick it up. I figured any inspiration would be a good thing.

The first recipe I tried was this stir fry. The original recipe calls for turkey but I chose to substitute chicken. Overall I kept the recipe pretty identical except I added more noodles because my store had a limited option with the noodles and I ended up buying a pack of precooked "heat and serve" rice noodles. This recipe was very good. I think next time I'd add some sriracha to give the sauce some heat, but otherwise we all loved it.

Source: Slightly adapted from WW Freestyle Cookbook

6 SmartPoints on the WW Freestyle program (per 1 3/4 cup serving)

7 ounces thin rice noodles, cooked
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/4 tsp salt
4 teaspoons grapeseed oil (or canola)
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups broccoli florets
2 small orange bell peppers, thinly cliced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into thin strips

1- Whisk together the broth, soy sauce, and corn starch. Set aside.
2- Sprinkle chicken with salt. Heat pan with 2 tsp oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the chicken and stir-fry until browned and cooked. Set aside on a plate.
3- Wipe out the skillet and add remaining oil. Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add broccoli, bell peppers, and scallions until veggies are tender-crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
4- Add the chicken, basil, and noodles to the skillet. Whisk broth mixture again and pour over skillet. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat until the sauce thickens.

Makes 4 servings, about 1 3/4 cup each.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Baked Chicken and Onion Rice

Well, hello out there! I've been chugging along on my Weight Watchers train but I haven't really been making anything new in the kitchen. Last week I feel into a dangerous habit- I didn't meal plan. I had stuff in the house, plenty of low point options, but I didn't plan. You know the old saying... "When you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Well, I was NOT looking to fail, but I definitely set myself up for a hard week. Every night was a battle to try to figure out what to make. Nothing I made last week was worth blogging, but I can finally say I committed to meal planning this week and have some good stuff coming your way.

The original title of this recipe is "Mom's Chicken and Rice" from Daily Dose of Pepper but it felt kind of... wrong... calling it that when this isn't MY mom's recipe haha. I made this a few weeks ago and it was everything I'd hoped for. It was carbs and more carbs, coated in sauce... carbs and sauce are pretty much my thing... so this was good. I also loved how easy it was to prepare. Sundays have become a bit of a meal prep marathon around here so I assembled this first and then stuck it in the fridge while I assembled everything else. So easy. This is husband approved, kid friendly... a winner.

4 Freestyle Smart Points for 1 heaping cup

1 10.5 oz 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 10.5 oz can of water
1 cup white rice
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast , raw
1 packet lipton recipe secrets onion soup mix (dry)
Cooking Spray
Salt & Pepper

1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2-Chop up chicken breast into small, uniform bite-size pieces.
3- In a large bowl, add chicken breast, soup mix, cream of chicken soup, water, and rice. Mix well until combined.
4- In a lightly sprayed casserole dish, add the chicken and rice mixture. Cover with tin foil.
Bake into the oven for 1 hour. Be sure to leave the foil on tight the whole time to properly cook the rice.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Lighter Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake

This has been a WEEK. I had an ear infection and missed a bunch of work, John has strep, and the kids are doing just fine (thank goodness) but when they're at full energy and we're both down... let's just say, it's been a week. I meant to blog this days ago but hey man, what can I tell you... we were in survival mode 'round here.

I am all about egg noodles. If I had to pick a favorite shape of pasta this might be it. I love the flat noodles, their curled edges, the smooth texture... oh man, I want some right now. Hazards of a food blogger, I suppose! Anyway, I have made a similar version to this meal countless times but I lightened it up a bit and it was perfection. I LOVE Pecorino-Romano cheese but you could lighten it up more by cutting back on that if you wanted. I suggest you don't, but you know... #choices

9 Smartpoints for 1/3 of the recipe on the Weight Watchers Freestyle program

1 cup cherry tomatoes
Olive oil spray
Salt and pepper
1 packet Knorr pesto sauce mix, prepared with JUST water, no oil
6 ounces dry egg noodles, cooked
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts (I used rotisserie breasts)
9 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese, divided

1- Preheat the oven to 400.
2- In an oven safe baking dish place your cup of cherry tomatoes. Spray with olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the skins start to pull back and burst. Remove from the oven and mash with a fork or potato masher.
3- Stir the cooked tomatoes into the prepared Knorr pesto sauce.
4- Transfer the cooked egg noodle and chicken breast to a baking dish. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the Pecorino Romano cheese. Fold in the sauce.
5- Bake the pasta for 15-20 minutes on 350.
6- Top each 1/3 of the recipe with one tablespoon cheese. Serve hot.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Lightened Up Spinach Dip

I have been making my Knorr's spinach dip recipe for at least 10 years now. I make it for every holiday I host (which is at minimum 3 a year) and for any event I attend. No matter where it goes people love it. So when I first tasted Greek nonfat yogurt and gagged (I'm sorry to all you lovers of it... I think it's so gross haha) I knew it would be the perfect sour cream substitute. I thought of all the ways I could use it and making this dip came right to mind.

Let me just say, this is life changing people. Life changing. The whole entire recipe is 4 points. I've been eating it in 1-2 tbsp servings so I count it as 0sp, but even if you sat down and went to town on the whole entire dip it's still so low in points! I love it for dipping my pretzels, Good Thins "The Corn Ones" crackers, veggies... you name it, I'm dippin' it in this stuff. It's easy to make, it's super low in points, and it's delicious. You must make it now!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

4 Weight Watchers Freestyle Smartpoints for the whole recipe (0 sp for 1/10 of the recipe, approximately 3 tablespoons)

1 1/4 cups Greek nonfat yogurt
5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and all the water squeezed out
1 packet Knorr/Lipton vegetable soup mix (40g size)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste

1- Combine all the ingredients and stir well. Be sure to get the spinach well distributed.
2- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Personal Pizza Crust

Two ingredient dough has taken the internet (errr... I guess I should say the Weight Watchers internet) by storm. I tried it over a month ago to make 2 ingredient bagels and was a big fan. The basic dough recipe is just 1/2 cup Greek nonfat yogurt and 1/2 cup self rising flour. That is the base and from there you can do whatever you want with it. I've seen people make doughnuts, calzones, strombolis, biscuits, bread sticks, and more. I have used it to make a personal pizza dough a few times now and I have to say it's really a great use! The best part is you don't need to mess with yeast, you can make it in under 5 minutes, and it crisps up beautifully if you cook it on a pizza stone.

My one cautionary tale here is I still haven't perfected how to cook it on my pizza stone because the yogurt seems to just be a little stickier than traditional crust. I'm thinking the go-to method will be parchment paper on top of the pizza stone. I hate when my dough sticks to my stone and I lose the crispy bottom! That issues aside this has been a go to recipe for me when I'm not sure what to make for dinner!

6 Points on Weight Watchers Freestyle (for just the crust- Some flours will make it only 5sp so check your brand!)

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/4 tsp Italian seasonings
1/4 tsp garlic powder

1- Preheat the oven to 425.  Stir your seasonings into your flour mixture. Mix well.
2- Add the yogurt. Slowly work the yogurt into the flour. You will need to use your hands to get it fully incorporated.
3- Transfer the dough to a work surface. Kneed and fold the dough several times until it's smooth. Roll out your dough.
4- Transfer the rolled out dough to a preheated pizza stone (or just on a baking sheet).
5- Allow the dough to bake for about 10 minutes or until it is slightly golden brown around the edges.
6- Remove your stone and top your pizza with sauce, cheese, and any toppings you may like.
7- Bake until cheese is melted.