Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

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So who doesn’t love Chicken Lemon Rice Soup?  It’s comforting and delicious.  Most people don’t have this unless they are at a restaurant, but that would change if they realized how easy it is to make at home!

It is even easier if you have an Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker!  I use the 6 Quart Instant Pot religiously.  I seriously do not think I would have been half as successful with my weight loss without it!

This soup is so good.  I took some to work (with extra for the coming days) and after smelling it everyone in my office had ate it up.  I guess I need to get to planning more lunches for the week!

Before I go into the recipe I want to show you what type of bulgar I use:

burghul

It is important to get the larger grain Bulgar.  I’m sure it would work with the smaller kernels, but I haven’t tried it and don’t know what kind of mouth feel you will get with it.  I talk about my love affair with Bulgar here: Smart Swap – A Love Letter to Bulgar Wheat

It doesn’t matter the brand, just try and get the largest kernel you can.  You usually find this in the International Isle at your grocery store, or you can buy in bulk at Whole Foods and stores like that.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Uncooked Bulgar Wheat
6 Cups Chicken Stock (I use Wildtree Chicken Bouillon)
2 Lemons
2 Eggs

Chicken:  Marinate these ingredients in refrigerator for at least a half hour.

1 Pound Chicken (Two small breast, not one big honking one for cook time)
1 Tablespoon Wildtree California Style Garlic and Pepper Blend (Or 2 Tsp Garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon black pepper)
2 Teaspoons Wildtree Garlic Infused Grapeseed Oil (or your favorite oil)

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Spicy Sausage and Potato Soup

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I can’t believe we are heading towards the end of summer, and my attention is turning to more fall like recipes.  This spicy sausage and potato soup is comfort food at it’s finest.  It’s also incredibly easy and only 4 Smartpoints a cup!

This can either be cooked in the Instant Pot, or slow cooker.

Ingredients:

2 Pounds Red Potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces)
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 Pound Spicy Chicken Sausage (I use Trader Joe’s) Sliced
4 Banana Peppers, sliced in rings
3 Cups Chicken Bouillon (I use Wildtree), divided
1 Cup FF Milk
1/4 Cup Instant Mashed Potatoes
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic
2 Teaspoons Salt
2 Teaspoons Black Pepper

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Italian Beef Sandwich – Instant Pot or Slow Cooker

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Italian Beef Sandwiches are one of my all time favorite meals.  This is one of my favorite recipes and it was my Mom’s.  You can do this in either the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or in a slow cooker.

You can also prep this in a freezer bag and freeze for later.  When I’m making this I like to do two – one to make then and one to freeze and cook later!

Smartpoints on this one are going to depend on how you build your sandwich, and what kind of bread you use.  The meat is 5 smartpoints for 3 ounces.

Ingredients:
3 pound rump roast
1 spaghetti sauce packet found by the gravy packets in your grocery store
1 1/2 tsp ground garlic with 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 12 oz jar mild banana rings
1 12 oz jar pepperoncini peppers chopped
At cook time:
2 cups good beef stock
6-8 hoagie rolls or your preferred bread
Optional:  2 cups mozzarella cheese

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Italian Sausage and Peppers

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Before I tried this I have to share with you all that I was extremely skeptical.  You see I am a huge sausage and peppers fan, and I just couldn’t see how turkey sausage could be anywhere near close to being as good as regular sausage.

How wrong I was.

turkey

I had picked this up at the store just to try it.  There are 5 of them and if you are counting Smartpoints they are only 4 points each.

Four. Smartpoints. Each.

That is a big bang for your Smarpoints buck.  Trust me, I am not one of those Weight Watchers who will eat something and act like it’s fabulous just because it’s low points or because you can eat a crap ton of it for low Smartpoints.

Nope, I’m a food snob thank you very much.  This is GOOD.

You can cut them up, and top rice or polenta with it:

sand2

You can put it on a bun with some Cape Cod chips for a 10 point dinner:

sand1

Oh, and one more thing.  The sauce from this is amazing so save it!  It is great on pasta or spaghetti squash!

Continue on for recipe!  You can make this in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker) or in your slow cooker.  I’ll include directions for both.  I count 5 Smartpoints for each link due to the saute in oil.

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One Pot Meal – Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

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Sometimes you just need a little comfort.  That comfort can cost you in the waist line big time.  This is one of my favorite comfort meals, and it is so healthy!

I also make it with only one appliance .  My Instant Pot.  I’m always surprised by the lack of activity on the Weight Watchers social media platform Connect about the Instant Pot.  It is such a great tool and is probably one of the most important tools in my weight loss arsenal.

I always recommend reading a recipe first before even attempting it, but you really want to make sure you do that with this one.  This recipe makes 4 servings, but you could double it and not make the mini loaves.  I’ve never done it so I’m not sure on the timing, but I think your potatoes and carrots would be over done because you would need to lengthen the cooking time, and the carrots come out pretty soft as it is.

I like them that way, so be warned if you don’t!

This recipe will yield two mini loaves, 4 cups of mashed potatoes, and 4 – 4 oz servings of carrots.

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Instant Pot Polenta?? Yes Please!

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So I learned the love of Polenta when it was included as a no count food when I was doing the Core program with Weight Watchers back in the day.  It’s a complex carb and a great replacement for some of those starchy sides made up of simple carbs.

It takes on flavor wonderfully and you can really place around with herbs to find what you like.

Making it on the stove top can be tedious, but in the Instant Pot it’s a breeze!  The thing I love about it (besides the fact that it’s delicious!) is that you can mold it into shapes – it will hold any shape once it’s cool!

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Easy Chicken Egg Rolls

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As a serial Weight Watcher I know one of the biggest mistakes is to let yourself get stuck in a rut.  You know what the Smartpoints are of certain foods/meals, so you eat them over and over again.

And you will get bored.  I know a lot of people don’t like to cook like I do, but once you start turning out some really good dishes it becomes more fun.  Also if you don’t get to use your creative side normally it can really come out in your cooking.

I like to consider recipes “guidelines”.  I don’t think I ever follow any specific recipe.  In the middle of it I always think, “oh but if I did this it would be really good.”  Experiment with your food. Have fun!

So me experimenting with food got me to come up with this.  It might be my favorite Weight Watcher friendly recipe yet.  I mean it was damn good.  And easy.  And low in Smartpoints.

Winning.

Coming it at a whopping 3 Smartpoints these egg rolls are seriously filling.  I ate two because I had a boatload of points and was stuffed, and trust me, I can EAT.

I used two of my favorite kitchen appliances to make this, but you could do it just with your oven and stove if you wanted.  I’ll include both versions here.

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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!

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Low Smartpoint Chicken and Noodles

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This is one of my favorite recipes for when I need that comfort food feeling.  I’ll be the first to admit it – pasta is my downfall.  I could live on the stuff.  Take your meat, your chocolate, your sugar, hell even bread.  The one thing that I love love love to eat is pasta!

I was so excited when I found these Carba-Nada Egg Fettuccine Noodles. At 3 Smartpoints for a cup and a half you just can’t beat it.  They are freakin’ good too!  I’ll include stove top and Instant Pot directions.

This chicken and noodles recipe  comes in at 5 points for 1 1/2 cups.  Amazing!

Ingredients:

1 10 Oz Bag Carba-Nada Egg Fettuccine Noodles
1 Pound Chicken Breast
1 Cup Chopped Celery
1 Cup Carrot Sticks
1 Small White Onion, diced
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Tablespoon Wildtree Herbes De Provence Blend (or poultry seasoning)
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Salt

Instant Pot Directions:

Season Chicken with Herbes De Provence blend (or your local grocery store version) and set to the side.  Put Instant Pot in Saute mode and add oil.  Add Celery, Carrots, and onions. Season with salt.  Saute for 2-3 minutes, until onions become translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add Chicken Broth, stirring to get any stuck bits from the bottom.  Gently place chicken on top of the liquid, close the lid, and set for 10 minutes Manual.

When finished do a quick release and remove chicken.  Shred with two forks.  Empty your noodles into the liquid, then place chicken on top.  Set for 1 minute manual.

Quick release, stir, and you are done!  You may want to add a bit more salt once it’s finished.  I have been weaning myself off using so much so I don’t use a lot in my cooking anymore!

Stove Top Directions:

Follow Instant Pot directions except boil on stove.  When you go to poach your chicken, be sure liquid is boiling.  Bring down to a simmer, cover, and check the temp of chicken after 15 minutes.  It should reach a safe temperature between 15-20 minutes.

Once chicken has reached temp, remove and shred.  Add noodles to your broth and veggies, and cook 3 minutes, stirring often.  Re-add chicken when finished and you are good to go!

I use Wildtree in my recipes but always try to give an alternative.  If you are interested in Wildtree products you can find them here.

Edited to add:  Amazon has Instant Pots on sale for $99 today (5/9/17) so if you were thinking of buying one now is the time!

Staple Meal – Stuffed Pepper Soup

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So would you believe me if I told you this Stuffed Pepper Soup is 2 Smartpoints for a cup?  I didn’t believe it and put the ingredients in the recipe builder over and over and over again until I had to accept it.

I can’t tell you how many times this recipe has saved my Weight Watcher life!  With the fiber from the Bulgar and the protein from the meat it is very, very satisfying!  I’m including directions for both the Instant Pot and the stove top, but if you have a pressure cooker it is so much more flavorful made that way!

Makes 13 1 Cup servings

Ingredients:

1 lb 93% Ground Beef
28 ounce can diced tomatoes (use petite if you like smaller chunks)
1 small onion, chopped
3 Green Peppers
1 Red Pepper
4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Bulgar Wheat
1 tablespoon Wildtree Ranchers Steak Rub (Montreal Steak Seasoning is a good sub)
Salt and Pepper to taste (I use Wildtree’s California Garlic and Pepper blend to cut down on the sodium)

Method of Preparation:

Instant Pot:
Turn pressure cooker on saute mode, and once it reaches “HOT” status add your ground beef and onions.  Season with steak seasoning. Saute until beef is cooked through.  Remove from Instant Pot and add olive oil.  Put in your peppers, season to taste with salt and pepper or your choice of seasoning, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Put everything back in the pool.  Add broth, tomatoes, and Bulgar and give it a good stir.

Lock on lid and cook on manual high pressure for 7 minutes.  Let naturally release for 10, then release the rest of the steam.

On the Stove Top:

In a large skillet heat until hot and add your ground beef and onions.  Season with steak seasoning. Saute until beef is cooked through.  Remove from skillet and add olive oil.  Heat oil and put in your peppers, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper or your choice of seasoning.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a stock pot add all ingredient together, giving it a good stir. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to a simmer.  Cook for at least 40 minutes to up to an hour, stirring occasionally.

Enjoy!

I use Wildtree products in a lot of my recipes, but I always try to give a substitute.  If you’d like to check out Wildtree, you can visit my site HERE.