BeST BLT variation

Bacon. Egg. Spinach. Tomato. Guacamole.

Zing. Bam. Ka-pow! That’s what my taste buds were saying when I ate this sandwich for lunch. This needs to be on a menu somewhere, if it’s not already.

While my perfect sandwich bacon was cooking in the oven, I made a half batch of the best ever guacamole.

If you want to construct this sandwich, follow these very simple steps:

Start with a piece of bread. Spread a tablespoon or two of guacamole on it. Top guac with slices of a homegrown tomato.

Top the tomato with a fried egg(I leave my yoke runny) and bacon.

Toss some spinach on top of that.

Top with another piece of bread and devour!

Here’s the Points Plus breakdown: 2 slices of bread(2 points), 2 slices turkey bacon(2 points), 2 tablespoons guacamole(1 point), 1 egg cooked with cooking spray(2 points), spinach(0 points)= 7 points plus for one sandwich

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Busy-day pork chops

Easy and tasty. What more can I say?

Do you need a hot, quick and satisfying meal after a long day at work? Look no further, I have the recipe for you.

Busy-day pork chops adapted from Taste of Home:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (4 oz each)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place milk in a bowl.

In another bowl, place bread crumbs, cheese, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Stir to combine.

Dip pork chops in milk then coat with bread crumb mixture. Place chops on a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray. Spritz top of chops with cooking spray. Bake 9-11 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer reads 160F. When turning pork chops over, sprinkle top side of chop with a little more parmesan cheese. Serve hot. And perhaps with a side of roasted sweet potatoes.

Nutrition Facts: 1 pork chop equals 178 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 57 mg cholesterol, 207 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 23 g protein.

Weight watchers points plus value of 4 for each chop.

Bread maker pizza dough

I’m a firm believer in homemade pizza dough. It really doesn’t take much time and it tastes so much better. My sister-in-law made pizza dough in her bread maker when I was visiting her a few years ago. I’d never tried its, so I gave it a shot today.

Adapted from food.com:

In the bottom of your bread maker, add 1 cup and 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons olive oil and one teaspoon salt. Add 3 cups while wheat flour and 2 tablespoons of sugar on top of that. Make an indentation in the dry ingredients to put the 2 teaspoons active yeast. Make sure you don’t dig all the way to the wet ingredients.

Shut the lid to your bread maker, place on dough setting and hit start. When the dough is done, take out of machine and place in oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.

Risen dough:

Lightly knead risen dough. Divide in two equal pieces. Place on greased sheets and stretch to make two pizzas(9×13 rectangle or 12 in round):

Top with sauce and toppings of choice. Bake at 500 for 10-12 minutes or until the crust starts to brown and cheese is bubbling.

This dough was very easy to make. It still needs a little tweaking. It was somewhat difficult to stretch out in to pizza sized discs. This may have been because my bread dough machine beeped like it was done, but it still said it had 25 minutes left on the cycle. What I didn’t notice until I went out to the kitchen a little later is that it had moved on to the “rise” stage. So, I have may have inadvertently let it rise twice. Once baked, it tasted pretty good. I’d make it again and experiment with taking out of the machine when it first beeps and letting it rise outside the machine.  I also want to try letting it run for the full time in the machine and then pulling it out and stretching it into pizzas right then as well. You know, just to see which works best.

This entire recipe is 41 weight watchers points plus. Each pizza is 20 points plus,then add toppings points to figure total points for pizza.

Chicken tacos

I would die happy if I ate Mexican food everyday. I would also die young and weighing in at 800 pounds. So, today for lunch I made a nice light version of chicken tacos and chicken taco salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz chicken(cooked) per taco
  • corn tortillas
  • cilantro, chopped
  • avocado, diced
  • salsa
  • lettuce
  • fat-free Greek yogurt(acting as sour cream)
  • lime

Brian wanted tacos. I wanted taco salad.

I made Brian 3 tacos by putting out 3 corn shells. Add lettuce, a smear of greek yogurt, diced avocado, spoonful of salsa and some chopped cilantro. Top with cut up or shredded chicken. Serve with lime wedge on the side.

 

For the taco salad, start with a bed of lettuce, Top with a scoop of Greek yogurt, salsa, chopped cilantro, 1/4 avocado(diced) and torn up pieces of tortilla. Top with 4-6 ounces of chicken and a couple wedges of lime to squeeze on top. I mix the salsa and yogurt together to make a nice light dressing for the salad as I toss all the ingredients together.

I have to give a shout out to this salsa. It is AMAZING. River Valley Kitchens is doing something good. We love it. It is one that we picked up at our local farmer’s market recently. We might go tonight to pick up another jar. You can also order it online and they make great homemade veggie burgers and lots of other products.

Easy pasta salad

Summer isn’t complete without eating some cold pasta salad. I’m a fan of tangy, not creamy pasta salad. I use a very simple recipe that satisfies my need for some pasta salad.

I start off my boiling half a box of noodles of choice. Boil until al dente. I had a box of high fiber elbow noodles on hand, so that is what I used.

While the noodles are cooking, finely chop up what ever vegetables you want in your pasta. I used a combination of zucchini, summer squash, yellow bell pepper, celery and carrots. Sometimes, I’ll add in olives and tomatoes as well. I like a high ratio of veggies to noodles.

When you noodles are al dente, put them in a strainer and continuously run under cold water until noodles cool. Drain excess water out. Pour into big bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil over noodles, 10 tables spoons fat-free caesar italian dressing, and veggies. Stir to combine. I like the caesar italian dressing because it has a lot of good flavors and herbs in it, including a nice flavor of parmesan cheese. Flavor with salt and pepper if you like.

I like to let it sit for at least 30 minutes to really let the flavors marry.

This recipe made seven 1-cup servings at 4 weight watchers points plus per serving.

Fudgey banana popsicles

My mom sent me this recipe that she found on a website. Sounded tasty to me, so they are freezing right now.

Fudgy banana pudding pops

Ingredients:

  • 1 box chocolate fudge, sugar-free, fat-free instant pudding
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 very ripe small to medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt

In a medium bowl, mix milk and pudding according to instructions.

In a separate bowl, mash bananas.

Mix yogurt in with bananas.

Alternately spoon pudding and banana mixture in to molds.

As a fun surprise I dipped one of the sticks in peanut butter. I can’t wait to see who gets that pop!

This recipe made 6 popsicles. Each pop is 2 Points Plus on Weight Watchers.

Curried lentils and cauliflower(vegan and gluten-free)

Brian and I love Indian food. Unfortunately, it uses a lot of spices that I don’t own, usually takes a long time to cook and is often unhealthy. I’ve been on a hunt for quick and healthy Indian dishes and stumbled upon this recipe at Frontier Co-op. Oh, and it’s vegan and gluten-free!

Curried lentils and cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 green onions, white and light green parts finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup water

Directions:

Throughly rinse and drain lentils and pick out any stones.

Place lentils in a pot with 2 cups water and bay leaf.

Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and let simmer 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft.

While lentils are cooking, heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and salt and cook until onion is soft.

Add garlic and curry powder. Stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add cauliflower, tomato sauce, 3/4 cup water and ginger. Stir well to combine. Cover and let simmer 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

Place cooked lentils in bowl and place cauliflower on top with sauce.

Upon our first bites, Brian and I had mixed feeling about this dish. Once we added a little salt to the lentils, we couldn’t stop gobbling it up. The cauliflower has amazing flavor and I would consider cooking it like that just as a side dish. It makes a great inexpensive, healthy and filling meal.

One cup of cooked lentils and 1/3 of cooked cauliflower in sauce is 7 Points Plus on Weight Watchers.

Orange and fennel flounder fillets

These fillets are so flavorful and a great way to get fish without it tasting fishy. They are even simple and elegant enough to make for a dinner party.

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine:

Ingredients:

  • 2 fennel bulbs(about one pound each), with fronds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 4oz flounder fillets

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450F. While the oven is heating, cut off the tops of the fennel bulbs. Chop fronds and set to the side for later. Cut fennel bulbs in to 8 wedges each. Toss with olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Spread the fennel in an even layer and roast for 25 minutes. Stir the fennel and roast 15 minutes longer.

While fennel is roasting, combine the orange juice, zest, fennel seeds and remainder of salt and pepper in a Ziploc bag. Combine. Add in fillets and let marinate for about 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and top the fennel with the flounder and its marinade. Roast until the flounder is just done; about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped fennel fronds over the flounder and serve.

4 oz of flounder and 1/4 of roasted fennel is 7 weight watchers points plus.

Creamy coconut-banana popsicles

You thought I was done with the popsicle posts, huh? Well, I’m not. I whipped these up last night and when we finish eating them I’ll be on to making chocolate fudge banana pops and then strawberry cheesecake pops.

The best thing about DIY popsicles is that I can make them so they are a guilt-free treat.

Mix box of coconut cream pudding according to instructions(I used skim instead of 2% milk and they turned out plenty creamy).

Cut banana into small pieces, stir into coconut pudding mixture.

Spoon into molds. As an extra special surprise in two of them, I added a total of 10 chocolate chips to the pop while I was spooning it in.

I still had filling left after filling my 4 molds. The other two molds in the set were still full of blueberries and cream popsicles waiting to be eaten. So, I pulled a small ice tray out and made a bunch of mini’s to eat later.

These pops are awesome and taste like coconut cream pie. The ones without chocolate chips are only 2 points plus on weight watchers and the pop’s with the chocolate chips are 3 points plus each. Now, that’s a dessert I can live with!