Staple Meal – All Purpose Mexican Chicken

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At 1 Smartpoint and ounce (or 4 Smartpoints for 6 ounces!) this chicken is something I keep on hand at all times.  I call it all purpose because it can be used for Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, taco salad….this list goes on and on.

This is easily frozen before cooking time, so when chicken is on sale I’ll make me up a couple of bags of this for the freezer.

It is also easy to pack up for lunches or a quick dinner when you have just ran out of time.

The best part is you can have this done in about 12 minutes in the Instant Pot, or throw it in the crock pot.  Super, super easy.

This chicken is full of flavor and spice.  I made tacos with this for a Weight Watching friend with cheese and sour cream.  It came in at 6 points, but he said if they were 15 points it would be worth it.

They are that good.

I had quesadillas last night, and they were fabulous.  With the low point chicken I splurged and had some honest to goodness cheese on them:

enchiladaa

You can wrap it up in a tortilla, bake and have a burrito.  It is amazing on a salad with some tomatoes, onions, black olives, and a dab of sour cream!

Ingredients:

1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
2 teaspoons Wildtree Chicken Bouillon Soup Base (or chicken bouillon granules)
¼ cup Wildtree Fiesta Salsa Mix (or your local grocery store’s dry salsa mix)
3 Tablespoons Wildtree Taco Seasoning (or your favorite brand found at your local store)

At Cooking time:

1/2 cup water (at cooking time – do not put in bag if making a freezer meal)
3 Tablespoons Wildtree Taco Seasoning (or your favorite brand found at your local store)

Method of Preparation:

Slow Cooker:

Thaw freezer bag completely before emptying into a slow cooker if frozen. Add water to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Once finished cooking, shred chicken with a fork, add taco seasoning, and stir.

For the Instant Pot:

If frozen cook at high pressure for 16 minutes.  If defrosted cook at high pressure for 12 minutes.  Remove chicken from Instant Pot after a 10 minute natural release and shred.  Turn Instant Pot to Saute mode and reduce liquid while you are shredding your chicken.  Return chicken to pot and add Taco Seasoning.  Stir well, cooking about 5 minutes until liquid is gone.

As always be sure to check your chicken to make sure it is at a safe temperature.

I use a lot of Wildtree seasonings in my recipes because they are organic, GMO free, and responsibly sourced.  I always try to give a substitute for them, but if you’d like to check them out visit my website.

Weigh In 5-20: At Last!

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So I’ve been waiting for this week for two weeks.  I thought I would have made it last week, but thanks to how our wonky bodies work it didn’t happen.

I got my 40 pound star.  Last week was a disappointing and not deserved -.2 loss.  Point. Freaking. 2.  I was mad for sure, but I kept on plugging because this weight loss stuff is really just math.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again it is just math, and you have to find the program that helps you make sense of that math.  For some it’s Whole 30,  for some it’s Atkins, and for others it’s good old fashioned calorie counting.

For me, Weight Watchers makes sense of it to my brain and my body.  I lost 2 pounds without the point this week.  I’m getting close to goal, so I know it’ll be slower.  My body is smaller and burns less calories.  Even thought there will be disappointing weeks it’ll come, because it’s math.

Math don’t lie, but it does fib every once in awhile.

Let’s just get this straight right now – I am not the type to start running 5 miles a day so that I can get to goal in a month.  I run when there is danger.  Period.

So I’ll deal with my disappointing weeks and stick with my Yoga and strength training and walking.

But why the 40?  Why was that so important to me?  I’m an achiever.  I always have been.  Those stupid little gold stars actually help people like me.

Weight Watchers now says they are “Beyond the Scale” but I think that’s crap.  The scale is a measurement tool for that math.  I completely agree that people get totally hung up on numbers, myself included, but if we could only start thinking of it as a way to measure our health instead of our self-worth we’d all be okay.

In my younger days as a teenager I can remember them saying supermodels weighed like 118 and were like 7 feet tall.  If I get in the 140’s I look like I’m sick.  Ribs stick out and it’s not pretty.  So many of us have been taught that women should weigh 120.  I honestly don’t know how they all weight so little, and part of me wonders if they are lying.

I did some gardening this weekend and I always love taking pictures of my flowers at the beginning of the season and then again once they are in full bloom – a reverse before and after picture if you will.  I need to do that and promise I will have that up soon.

 

Whipped Key Lime Pie Bowls

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Summer is coming!  Here in the Chicago area we had a taste of it last week, and it can not come soon enough!  It inspired me to make a refreshing summertime dessert that won’t kill the Smartpoint bank.

I love Key Lime Pie, and I love this whipped version that requires no baking.  The problem is just the sweetened condensed milk alone is like 50 some points.

Ouch.

So I figured out how to make my own.  It does use artifical sweeteners, and while I do try to eat whole foods, I am human. Needless to say the chemical police will not like this one.  Don’t be food shaming me.

This dessert is either 4 or 5 Smartpoints.  If you just have a half cup serving it is 4 points.  If you crumble a vanilla wafer cookie on the top, which I highly recommend, it pushes it to five but is totally worth it!

You also have a choice with your consistency.  You can freeze it for a ice cream like texture, or refrigerate for a more creamy, whipped consistency.

Or you could do like I do and freeze for an hour, let it sit in the fridge for an hour, and enjoy a melty ice cream consistency 🙂

 

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup Non-Fat Dry Milk Powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Sweet Additions Stevia Baking Mix (found at Aldi, or you could use the Splenda brand)
1/2 cup Lime Juice
1 tsp Lime Zest
1 8 oz Tub Fat Free Cool Whip, defrosted

7 Vanilla Wafer Cookies (optional)

Method of Preparation:

Mix dry milk powder and water thoroughly.  Cover and microwave for 30-60 seconds.  You just want to warm it up, do NOT let it boil.

Give it a good stir and add in your Stevia.  This is what I use:

stevia

You must refrigerate this mixture for at least 2 hours.

After the 2 hours is up add your lime juice and zest and mix fully.  I actually put it in my stand mixture and whirl it around on high for about a minute because the milk powder can get lumpy.  This gives it a great consistency.

Once the lime juice and zest are incorporated add your cool whip and gently mix them together.

Put 1/2 cup servings into ramiken or small bowls.  Freeze for at least an hour.  When ready to serve you can top with fresh lime zest and a crumbled vanilla wafer cookie.

This makes 7 1/2 cup servings.

keylime

Lemon Berry Mini Pavlova

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There are two reasons why I could never do the low carb/whole 30/Atkins type diets.

  1. Dessert
  2. Potatoes

I know, I know sugar is BAD.  White stuff is BAD.  You know what?  I don’t care.  I want sugar sometimes.  I want a huge whopping baked potato sometimes.  Do I have dessert every night?  Unfortunately not.  Do I eat mounds of potatoes every night?  No, but that is what my personal heaven will be.

I can eat those things in moderation though, which is why Weight Watchers works for me.  You pay dearly though, so when I can make something that is good with my Smartpoints balance and satisfies my cravings, we are talking Win! Win! people.

These mini pavlova’s are only 2 Smartpoints each! I modified it from one of my favorite cookbooks,  The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor.

Now this may seem intimidating at first, but I’m telling you it isn’t hard at all!  Read the recipe first, read it again, and then begin.

Ingredients:

2 Large Egg Whites (room temp, this is important!)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste (or vanilla extract)
1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
6 Tablespoons Sugar

Fruit Topping:

1 Pint Strawberries (sliced)
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
4 Stevia Packets

Lemon Blueberry Sauce:

1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
1/2 Lemon (Juiced)
1/2 Lemon (Zest)
3 Stevia Packets

Optional:  Cool Whip (fat free or another variety Smartpoints not included – I like it better without)

Method of Preparation:

Preheat oven to 200 and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites, vanilla, cornstarch and salt on medium speed for 2 minutes.  They should be getting all foamy at that point.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.  Slowly add your sugar, sprinkling it in one tablespoon at a time, until all 6 tablespoons are in.  Beat mixture on high for 3 to 4 minutes.  You know it’s ready when stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy.

Carefully scoop about 1/4 cup of the meringue mixture and form a little nest on the cookie sheet.  I have an ice cream scoop that is 1/4 cup and it works perfectly.  Using the back of the scoop I form a little well so that when done there will be an indentation for the fruit.

You should get nine Mini Pavlovas.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then turn oven off but leave in the oven for a minimum of 2 hours.  Your pavlovas should be dry on the outside but not brown.  I peaking in the oven window around an hour to make sure they aren’t browning.  If you see that they are browning shut the oven off, crack the door for a few seconds and then close.

While your pavlovas are baking prepare your fruit topping.  My favorite combination in the world is strawberries and blueberries, but you can experiment with your favorites.  Any kind of fruit goes well with these!

Slice your strawberries and mix with your blueberries and stevia.  Cover and place in the refrigerator.

For your blueberry-lemon sauce place blueberries, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a sauce pan on low heat.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for five minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pushing your blueberries until there is only skin left.  Put back on heat and simmer for 2 more minutes.  Put sauce in a bowl and refrigerate.

You will want to assemble these pretty close to when you eat them as the pavlovas will get soggy after an hour or so.  Drizzle sauce, add as much fruit as you want and top with whipped cream if you want.

Enjoy!

Some of my posts contain affiliate links to Amazon.  It doesn’t cost you anything more but I might get a few cents if you buy from that link.  This site costs money so I figured why not?  If you find this objectionable you can just order straight from Amazon 🙂

 

 

Smart Swap – Tzatziki Sauce

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When I am trying to keep my weight in check my problem isn’t with my meals – I love healthy food.  Like when I was a kid I used to cry if we didn’t have salad.  Yeah, I was a weird freakin’ kid and pretty much still am.

No, the fruits and veggies are not my problem but what is my problem are the things I add to those fruits and veggies.  Sugar, sauces, dressing….I love those too and they can sometimes be more calories then if you just had a flippin’ steak!

Tzatiziki Sauce is a Greek sauce that I keep in my fridge at all times!  It is made with Greek Yogurt, Dill, Cucumber, Garlic, and Lemon and it is delicious and flavorful.  It is a great sub for a lot of things, like marinades (FAB on chicken), veggie dip, and even salad dressing.  It adds a nice kick to sandwiches too.

I use the Wildtree seasoning blend when I make mine, which makes it easy and organic, but there are tons of blends out there in your local grocery store, or there are tons of recipes out there for it.  If you’d like to try the Wildtree blend you can click here.

It is literally 3 points for a whole cup!  2 tablespoons are ZERO and you can have up to 8 tablespoons for one point!

Cucumber toasts are awesome!  Use your favorite carbohydrate delivery device, add some sliced cucumber, Tzatiziki sauce, and maybe some olives – delicious and low smartpoints!

Weigh in 5/13 – Point Freakin’ 2

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Oh I know this happens on this diet, on every diet really.  Our bodies are complicated machines.  You can do everything right, and by everything right I mean everything right, not well I didn’t count my coffee creamer and only binged once right, and still not show what you think you deserve on the scale.

It doesn’t mean that you won’t be pissed off.  I can tell myself it’s only a number and I’m doing this to be healthier and cheer blah freakin’ cheer.  I don’t care.  I’m pissed.

I’m still on program, still working it like nobody’s business and I’ll probably have a whopper of a loss next week.

But I’m still pissed, and I can deal with that.

Smart Swap – A Love Letter to Bulgar Wheat

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Bulgar, Burghul, Bulghar….It’s spelled many different ways but this staple in my pantry is one of my very favorite foods.  I learned about Bulgar Wheat my first go round with Weight Watchers, back in 2002.  I didn’t even know it existed, but I joined to support my Armenian friend who was getting married.

To her family Bulgar was like potatoes to my family.  It was something they ate quite a bit.  This gem is a complex carb and can easily replace rice in most dishes.  White rice comes in at 7 Smartpoints a cup, and Bulgar at 4.

It fills you up big time, and takes on the flavor with a slight nutty tone to whatever liquid it is cooked in.  I would be hard pressed to eat a cup of this along with a meal, and that’s saying something as I am a champion at eating 🙂

You can find this in your International section of your local grocery store.  The store closest to my house didn’t carry it, so I recommended it and now they do.  I always use the course #3, as it is bigger and more rice like.  You will see this over and over in my recipes, because it is just that good!