Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

Per Serving (1/8 of pie): 5 Points+
218 calories, 7.4g fat, 31.5g carbs, 1g fiber, 2.2g protein

The recipe: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/10/banana-cream-pie.html

So, I know I only review Hungry Girl recipes, but I have to take a brief time out to review this ridiculously good banana cream pie from Gina's Skinny Taste.  This recipe is so good!  I highly suggest you make it! 

My husband, who insisted he does not like banana cream pie, also fell in love with this pie when he tried a slice.  My 2-year-old can devour a small slice in no time, and he usually doesn't eat that much dessert.  I found this recipe when I was looking for a creative way to use up bananas besides making banana bread.  This sounded pretty good, so the next time I went to the store I made sure to get the necessary ingredients. 

This pie was so good that I used up 10 points eating two slices that first night.  I had to freeze the rest of the pie so I wouldn't eat it all at once.  The pie is also good frozen, though, so it didn't really help me stay away from it.  If you make this pie, make sure you have the willpower to only eat one slice! 

The best part is that it is VERY easy to make.  Just put banana slices in a lowfat graham cracker crust.  Then, add the cool whip mixture on top (which only takes a minute to make).  Chill for a few hours and the pie is ready to eat.  Yum!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sausage, Egg 'n Cheese ChickGriddle

Per Serving (entire recipe): 5 Points+
205 calories, 6g fat, 774mg sodium, 18g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 1.5g sugars, 17.5g protein 

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 58 - 59
or http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/1313

Mmmm!  Another weekend with time to cook breakfast.  This recipe was pretty fun and really good to make.  I was up before both kids and my husband, so I treated myself to this yummy breakfast sandwich. 

One thing that is cool about this recipe is that it mixes sugar free maple syrup in with the pancake batter, which I never would have thought to do.  It made the pancakes have a sweet taste to them, and went well with the sausage, egg and cheese in the sandwich.  The pancake batter was super easy to make - just mix together melted butter, flour, baking powder and sugar free syrup.  The batter makes two perfect-sized pancakes for the sandwich.

I poured extra syrup over my sandwich because I have an enormous sweet tooth, but this would have been just as good without it.  You could even pick it up and eat it with your hands if you opted out of the extra syrup on top.  The cheese in the sandwich melted nicely, and I was really happy with the combination of flavors.  A very yummy breakfast!  I would definitely make this again.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ice Creamless Banana Split

Per Serving (entire recipe): 5 Points+
157 calories, 2g fat, 10mg sodium, 41g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 17g sugars, 1g protein

The Recipe: "Hungry Girl, Recipes and Survival Strategies...", page 205

Since I've been craving banana splits recently (not sure why, I think I am just getting my banana fix taken care of since bananas are free with the new Points+ system), I figured I should look for an alternative to my fattening craving.  I found this recipe in the original Hungry Girl cookbook, but was a little skeptical at first.  I mean, the whole point of a banana split is to eat it with ice cream, right?! 

I was pleasantly surprised that this was actually quite good and managed to satisfy my banana split cravings.  The frozen cool whip makes it feel as though you are eating ice cream with the banana, and by adding a little water to sugar free jam, it really tastes like you have a yummy strawberry topping.  And by using the mini chocolate chips, it really makes you feel like there are a ton of chocolate chips on the banana split.  Yum!  This is a fun and easy way of eating a banana split, so I will be making this on a regular basis until I start craving something else!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cheesy Bacon Noodle Skillet

Per Serving (1/2 of recipe, about 1 cup): 3 Points+
149 calories, 7g fat, 658mg sodium, 9g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 2.5g sugars, 8.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 336

Mmmmm!  This dish was so creamy and flavorful!  I loved it!  My husband said I can DEFINITELY make this one again, which doesn't happen all that often, so I know it was good.  Now, I didn't make it with the House Foods Shirataki Noodles, which I have said before that I dislike very much.  I will have to dedicate a post to those awful noodles, so I can just refer to it any time I make a recipe that calls for them.  Instead, I substitute 3 oz of dry regular noodles (or a cup and a half cooked noodles) for every bag of House Foods Shirataki Noodles that a recipe calls for.  It adds about 3 - 4 points+ per serving, depending on if you use whole grain pasta or not.  But, to me, it is worth it. 

The only thing I would change about this recipe is the amount of pepper in it.  For some reason, there was so much pepper in this recipe that it was spicy.  I like the flavor of pepper, but when there is so much in a recipe that it burns my mouth, then I think that is too much.  My husband, however, LOVES pepper as a main spice, so he was in heaven with this dish.  Cheese, bacon, pepper - what could be better to him?  I told him next time I make this, I will reduce the pepper, and he can add as much as he wants to his bowl. 

Overall, a very good recipe that was quick and easy to make.  I will put this on my list of favorites!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AM Apple Scramble

Per Serving (entire scramble): 6 Points+
242 calories, 1.75g fat, 655mg sodium, 42g carbs, 6.25g fiber, 15.5g sugars, 17.5g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", page 12 - 13
or http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/699

On the weekends, I LOVE to cook breakfast.  Especially since during the week I just grab something quick and rush off to work.  It is nice to make something different for a change on the weekends.  This past weekend, I made this apple/oat/bread/egg scramble.  It was pretty tasty, and I would probably make it again. 

The only thing that you have to be careful of is to not over-blend the apple mixture.  Because there is bread in the recipe, over-mixing would probably result in a gross mushy mess.  As it was, I had to cook this much longer than the 5 minutes the recipe called for to make it firm enough to eat.  I cooked it for about 10 minutes, which was how long it took to finally get brown and start clumping together.  At 5 minutes I had tasted it, and it was too mushy and dough-like for me to eat. 

Once cooked completely, this turned out really good.  It tasted kind of like a scrambled french toast with apples.  Yum!  It had the right amount of sweetness, and I liked the texture of the apple chunks with the egg/bread mixture.  My husband still said it was a little too doughy for him, but he did say the flavor was good.  If you are going to make this, just make sure you are patient and wait for it to get a nice brown color before you stop cooking it.  Otherwise, you will be eating a ball of mushy breakfast.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Outside-In Turkey Tamale Pie

Per Serving (1/7th of recipe, 1 cup): 6 Points+
230 calories, 7.5g fat, 481mg sodium, 21g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g sugars, 19g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 312 - 313
or http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/1465

Although this recipe was supposed to be made in the crockpot, I didn't realize it until it was already almost dinnertime.  I decided to make this over the stove, and it turned out just as good (I've made it before in the crockpot).  I just stir-fried the turkey and onions together in a pan, and then added the other ingredients as it said to in the recipe.  I then left the mixture on the stove with a lid on and simmered for about 10 minutes.  It came out as delicious as it did the last time I made it. 

This recipe was a hit with the entire family.  It is a little weird, since it tastes like tamales, but the cornmeal is mixed in with all of the ingredients.  What you end up with is a kind of tamale mush - which is not a bad thing.  I really like the flavors of this recipe, and if you are in the mood for a  healthy Mexican dish, this is a good one.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Super-Delicious Shrimp Scampi with Fettuccine

Per Serving (1/2 recipe, about 1 3/4 cups): 6 Points+
238 calories, 8.5g fat, 329mg sodium, 14g carbs, 5g fiber, 2g sugars, 26g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", pages 226 - 227
or http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/1490

Let me first start off by saying that I cannot stand House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles!  Yes, I get that they are 0 Points+ per serving, and that to some people they are a great substitute for pasta.  I just can't get over their chewy texture and the feeling that I am eating rubber bands instead of noodles.  Normally, I am not picky about the texture of my food.  But, I really just can't use these as a substitute to my beloved pasta (and yes, I have tried all of the advice out there about making these edible - rinsing, patting dry, microwave, pat dry again, etc.). 

That being said, if a Hungry Girl recipe calls for Tofu Shirataki Noodles, I just substitute regular pasta noodles and take the extra points.  I have figured out that one bag of Tofu Shirataki Noodles is equivalent to 3 ounces of dry pasta noodles (or a cup and a half of cooked noodles).  This usually adds about 3 - 4 points+ to each serving in a Hungry Girl recipe (depending on if you use whole grain or regular pasta).  Quite a few points, but to me it is worth it.

So, my review is based on the fact that I used regular noodles.  I thought the dish turned out okay, but was a little boring for my taste.  It had a nice, buttery lemony flavor, but the noodles as a whole just weren't flavored enough.  I did add a little bit of salt to bring out the flavor, but next time I think I would also add some red pepper flakes and parsley flakes to the recipe.  My husband enjoyed the dinner, but he also said that he was starving, and he will eat anything when he is really hungry!  I'm not sure if I would make this one again, especially since there are so many other recipes of hers that are better!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nacho-rific Stuffed Chicken

Per Serving (1/4th of recipe, 1 stuffed chicken cutlet): 6 Points+
267 calories, 3.75g fat, 667mg sodium, 17g carbs, 5g fiber, 1.5g sugars, 39.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", pages 204 - 205

I have been checking out the weightwatchers.com community boards recently, and I have seen this recipe mentioned several times as a good Hungry Girl one to make.  I myself have eyeballed it before, so I figured it was time to finally make it.  Also, I figure any recipe where I get to smash chicken with a mallet is a good one in my book!

This recipe consists of thin chicken cutlets wrapped around a cheesy bean mixture, coated with taco sauce and a Fiber One/tortilla chip/taco seasoning coating.  I never seem to have good luck with stuffed chicken recipes, but I still gave this one a try.  I managed to get the chicken around the bean mixture with it only oozing slightly out the sides, and secured it with a toothpick.  I then coated it with taco sauce and rolled the chicken in the cereal/tortilla chip mixture.  It started to come apart slightly when I did this, but not so much where it was a disaster.  I was worried that when the chicken cooked, all of the beans would ooze out of the sides of the chicken and make a big mess on the cookie sheet, but it didn't at all.  I don't, however, know how Hungry Girl made her chicken look so good - mine looks nothing like her picture!

I cooked the chicken for a few minutes longer than the recipe stated, since I always seem to need extra time with my oven.  Big mistake.  The chicken ended up on the dry side, and was a little bit stringy and chewy as a result. :(  Oh, well.  As for the flavors, it all tasted pretty good.  If I hadn't overcooked it, this recipe would have been really good.  I've been in the mood for Mexican food recently, so this satisfied my craving in a way different from the usual burrito. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Own One-derland

I've read a lot about how people on weight-loss journeys are super-excited when they finally reach the 100's, and how sometimes they get stuck mentally and physically at a weight right above 200 pounds.  I was fortunate to only briefly venture into the 200 pound territory, and that was at the very end of my pregnancy.  Once I had the baby, I was immediately back into one-derland. 

I do have to say that it was mightly stressful seeing that scale go above 200 pounds.  I remember panicking when I reached 190, thinking to myself that I might actually see a '2' in front of my weight for the first time.  Even though I knew the added weight was from being pregnant, I had also gained more weight than I should have.  When I first got pregnant, my goal was to not see that 200 on the scale.  But, of course, I ended up eating way too much and used my pregnancy as an excuse to eat all the foods I had stayed away from previously.  I ended up gaining 50 pounds - far more than the 15 - 25 that is recommended.

So, even though I easily returned back to one-derland after my pregnancy was done, I have my own number on the scale that gives me the mental block that others experience when reaching the 100's.  That weight for me is 150 pounds.  Getting past the 150's and into the 140's means nearing the end of my weight-loss journey.  It means I will be at a weight that I haven't seen in over four years, since my wedding.  Whenever I get close to breaking through the 150 barrier, I start to self-sabotage and gain a few pounds back.  Sometimes I have an extra portion at dinner when I'm not really hungry.  Or I have an extra dessert before I go to bed.  Or an extra snack at work.  By the end of the week, my weight will have crept farther away from that 150, making it seem like I will never make it to my goal.

I am reaching that point again, and this time I am hoping I will make it into the 140's quickly and painfree. Last Sunday I weighed in at 153.5, which is almost the weight I was when I got pregnant the second time.  I was so excited to see that number on the scale, especially since I knew I had put in the effort during the week.  It also means I have almost officially lost all the baby weight and I only have about 10 pounds until I am at goal.  So close!

However, the other night I was looking at the bananas sitting on the counter, wanting some sort of dessert.  My husband had bought vanilla ice cream a while back that has been sitting in the freezer, taunting me.  For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to make a banana split.  Yeah, that sounds like healthy diet food to me!  I put a banana in a bowl, added a large scoop of ice cream, cool whip lite, and some Hershey's low-fat chocolate syrup.  Delicious!  After I got through eating it, though, I realized that I was doing my self-sabotage thing I always do when I am getting close to my goal weight.  I felt bad for eating the ice cream, and promised myself the rest of the week I would be good.  And besides, Weight Watchers gives us weekly points that we can use, which I'm sure I didn't go over with just one unhealthy dessert. 

Last night, I found myself thinking about that banana split again.  There was still vanilla ice cream in the fridge.  And the bananas needed to be eaten, since they were starting to get over-ripe.  I again found myself making a banana split sundae and eating it right before bed.  What is wrong with me?  I didn't even step on the scale this morning, for fear that I would see a gain and get discouraged for the rest of the week. 

It is only Wednesday, and I don't officially weigh in until Sunday morning.  I am going to try my hardest to stay away from the evil ice cream in the freezer.  I know if I eat well the rest of the week, I can at least maintain my weight, or maybe even lose a little.  Hopefully I can stay motivated to do so!

Hot Dog Stir-Fry

Per Serving (1/2 of recipe): 3 Points+
100 calories, 2g fat, 704mg sodium, 11g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 11.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 510

I was looking for something quick and easy to make for dinner when I found this recipe.  Hot dog stir-fry?  It sounded weird enough to be good, so I decided to give it a try.  All this recipe consists of is hot dogs, onion and mushrooms stir-fried together.  I used Ball Park fat-free turkey franks to make this, which I had never tried before.  I usually get the Hebrew National 97% fat free beef hot dogs, but the Ball Park ones are cheaper and you get two more hot dogs in the package.  They were actually really good!

I took Hungry Girl's advice in the cookbook to eat this on top of a salad.  I had a huge salad with cucumbers and tomatoes, along with the entire recipe of the hot dog stir-fry.  I figured at 3 Points+ per serving, I could afford two servings (actually, if you double all of the nutritional info and calculate the Points+ value, it is 5 Points+ for two servings).  I was stuffed after eating my enormous salad!  And it was really yummy with some low-fat ranch dressing.  It was nice to have the contrast between the cold salad with the hot stir-fry on top.  Next time I am looking for a quick and easy low-point meal, I might turn to this one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Major Mocha Cappuccino Oatmeal

Per Serving (entire recipe): 6 Points+
242 calories, 6.75g fat, 490mg sodium, 37g carbs, 6g fiber, 6g sugars, 7.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 35

Last night my family had one of those free-for-all dinner nights since I had had a long day and wasn't in the mood to cook.  My mom had just given me several jumbo artichokes, so I boiled one of those up, but that wasn't even close to enough food to be called dinner.  I was in the mood for cereal for some reason, but eating a giant bowl of cereal can add up to tons of calories if I'm not careful.  So, I turned to my Hungry Girl cookbooks as usual. 

I have been curious about her "growing oatmeal" recipes for a while now, so I had recently picked up some old-fashioned oats at the grocery store.  I flipped through the oatmeal recipes, and found this yummy-sounding one.  Anything that involves chocolate is something worth making in my book!  I happened to already have diet hot chocolate, instant coffee, sugar-free powdered vanilla creamer, and unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze, so I figured that I was meant to make this oatmeal.  

This oatmeal turned out great!  It came out tasting almost like a chocolate rice pudding, but with oats instead of rice.  So good!  I was out of Reddi-wip, so I added two small spoonfuls of Cool Whip Light on top instead.  I felt like I was eating a chocolately, creamy, and filling dessert.  It wasn't overly sweet, though, so I was satisfied with having this breakfast for dinner - and I would definitely make this for breakfast again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sweet Apple & Chicken Stir-Fry

Per Serving (1/2 of recipe, about 2 cups): 7 Points+
285 calories, 2.25g fat, 406mg sodium, 24.5g carbs, 4g fiber, 15.5g sugars, 40.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 329

Although not the most attractive dish I have made from Hungry Girl (it's just not the most colorful dish I've ever made), this one tasted pretty good.  Once you get done cutting up the chicken, onions, and apples, it is very quick and easy to cook this up.  The flavors go well together, and both my husband enjoyed it.  It has the perfect blend of savory and sweet, which complemented each other nicely.  The portion size was nice and big, also - 2 whole cups!

I did feel like there was something missing, though.  I thought this would be good on a big salad, so I made one for my lunch the next day.  It was even better on a salad!  I put a bunch of spring-mix lettuce, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, and cucumbers in a large bowl, added the heated up chicken stir-fry on top along with some low-fat ranch dressing, and it was one of the best lunches I've had in a while.  If you are to make this, I would suggest having it on top of a big salad.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hungry Chick Shepherd's Pie

Per Serving (1/4th of recipe): 6 Points+
280 calories, 1.75g fat, 576mg sodium, 36.5g carbs, 6g fiber, 7g sugars, 26.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 192 - 193
or http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/1506

Wow, this recipe took FOREVER to make!  And I'm not even sure if it was worth all of the effort.  Part of the reason it took so long was because I had to first dethaw the chicken, and I kept getting interrupted by my 2-year-old son, but the cookbook even states it has 25 minutes of prep work time and 55 minutes of cooking time.  A lot of the time is spent microwaving the frozen veggies, but you also have to cook the chicken, cut it up into bite-sized pieces, mix it with the gravy (I used gravy from a packet since it was lower fat, so I had to make that, too), make mashed potatoes, microwave frozen cauliflower then add to the mashed potatoes and smash, microwave frozen veggies, add canned mushrooms, then layer everything in an 8x8 pan and cook for 35 minutes.  Whew! 

For all of those steps, I was really hoping I would love this dish.  I didn't.  It wasn't bad or anything - it just wasn't all that great.  The mixed veggies on the bottom weren't flavored with anything, so that part wasn't very interesting.  The chicken turned out great, though, and I loved the way it was seasoned and mixed with the gravy. 

I had a few issues with mixing the cauliflower with the mashed potatoes.  I think because the recipe used frozen cauliflower, it stayed a little too crispy.  If I had used fresh cauliflower, I could have steamed it longer and made it a little more mushy so it could be mashed in with the potatoes better.  Instead, what I ended up having was mashed potatoes with chunks of cauliflower in it. 

My husband ate a serving, but that was all.  Normally, if he likes what I am making, he will eat two servings since he is always so hungry for dinner.  I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day, and wasn't excited about it at all.  Overall, the dish was edible, but not something I would make again. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pizza-fied Grilled Cheese

Per Serving (entire recipe): 5 Points+
185 calories, 5g fat, 900mg sodium, 23.5g carbs, 5.5g fiber, 5g sugars, 13g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 257

Since I still had some turkey pepperoni left over from the calzones I made a while back, and I was looking for a quick dinner that both my husband and son would like, this recipe seemed perfect.  Who wouldn't like a grilled cheese sandwich that tastes like pizza?

These were easy to assemble, and cooked very quickly.  Just spread half a Laughing Cow cheese wedge on two pieces of light bread, add two tablespoons of crushed tomatoes, sprinkle italian seasoning on top, add 4 slices turkey pepperoni and a slice of fat free american cheese and you have a sandwich!  On the outside of each slice of bread, she says to spread 1/2 teaspoon of light margarine (or whatever you like to use). 

I found it very difficult to spread only 1/2 teaspoon of margarine over a whole slice of bread.  There was barely a thin layer over most of the bread, but I decided to trust the recipe and did what it said.  The sandwich cooked nicely after all.  It was perfectly toasted, and not too buttery like I would normally have made a grilled cheese sandwich.  The sandwiches cooked quickly, and dinner was ready in no time. 

The sandwiches turned out pretty good, and it was a nice change from an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich.  It actually did taste like we were eating pizza sandwiches.  My husband and son both ate theirs without complaint, although my husband did have to eat two and a half sandwiches to feel full (he ate 2 and finished my son's other half).  That is my one complaint - the sandwiches were a little on the small side.  If you ate it with a salad and a piece of fruit, it would be a complete meal for low points.  Since I still had plenty of points, I went back and made a second sandwich for myself since I enjoyed them so much.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Breakfast Fiesta Crunchy Tacos

Per Serving (entire recipe, 2 tacos): 7 Points+
290 calories, 7.5g fat, 842mg sodium, 34g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 4g sugars, 20g protein

The recipe: http://www.hungry-girl.com/weighin/show/1984

This recipe was featured in a recent Hungry Girl email, and since I had all of the ingredients already, I decided to make them.  I've never eaten tacos for breakfast before, so it was kind of a fun novelty to eat these.  They were delicious!  A little bit more work than I like to put into a breakfast (I'm a grab-and-go girl), but if you have the time I would definitely suggest making them. 

The beans were nice and cheesy thanks to the Laughing Cow cheese wedge added to them.  The eggs had the right amount of onion and garlic added to them, but could use just a tad more of the taco seasoning in my opinion.  I decided to add salsa and sour cream (1 point+), and they were great.  The perfect amount of food for breakfast, especially if you add a piece of fruit on the side (which I did). 

These tacos would also be a good breakfast for any overnight guests, too.  There is no way they would ever guess it was low calorie food - especially since the taco shells are regular from-the-box shells.  I would definitely make these again.  Yum!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The End of Mr. Mom

Today my husband starts his first day of work in over two years.  I have several mixed feelings about him going back to work, some of which are related to my weight loss.  I am definitely relieved that he found a job before his unemployment ran out, but I am sad that our kids will have to be in full-time daycare now.  When he first got laid off, it was actually a blessing in disguise.  I was returning back to work from maternity leave after having our first child.  We both felt terrible about our 4-month old having to be in daycare, even though it was a trusted friend who was watching him.  My husband went to work that day only to find out that he had the choice between being laid off and taking unemployment, or being demoted to a laborer at a much lower wage.  We sat down, did the calculations, and decided it made more sense for him to stay home and raise our son for a little while than pay for daycare and have him work.  At the time, we expected it to be for about 6 months.  But, when no job prospects arose, we were very thankful unemployment kept getting extended.  Now, over two years later, he is on his last couple of months of unemployment.  Time for Mr. Mom to join the workforce.

The downside, of course, is having both children in daycare.  My two-year-old has been going to daycare for a few hours in the morning already.  That way the baby gets more attention and he gets some socialization.  For him, the longer day in daycare will be an adjustment, but he will be fine.  He won’t be napping at home, and the nap will probably be shorter than he is used to, but if I move his bedtime up a little, he shouldn’t be too tired.  My five-month-old will definitely have a lot to adapt to.  He is used to one-on-one daddy time all morning, and then again while his older brother naps for 2 ½ hours.  He has the terrible habit of napping in his swing, and I am worried he will have a hard time getting sleep at a noisy daycare with kids running around.  I know they probably won’t have time to rock him to sleep, and he doesn’t just magically go to sleep if you place him in his crib (at night he does, but naptimes are difficult for some reason).  I am hoping after a week or two he will be fine, though. 

The plus-side is that I will be more in control of my eating again.  Yes, I know that everything I put in my mouth is my decision, but it is difficult to stay on track when there are temptations all around.  For example, my husband made two pizzas for dinner the other night.  My plan was to eat something different, or maybe just eat one piece and have a salad with it.  Instead, he gave me a little guilt trip and told me he would have only made one pizza if he had known I wasn’t going to eat it.  I felt obligated to eat more than one piece, even though I should have just left the pizza for him to eat the next day.  Then, for Mother’s Day, he made me chocolate chip pancakes – my favorite!  I had three very large pancakes, which was not a good start to the day.  Later on, we got Chinese food for dinner – another dieting disaster.  I told him I should be eating healthy for dinner since my breakfast was so bad, but he convinced me that it was Mother’s Day, and I should eat what I want.  I told him later that I would like him to show support by encouraging me to eat healthy instead of convincing me I deserve fattening foods.  He told me I should have just said no to the unhealthy food, and that he didn’t force anything down my throat.  *sigh*  I left it at that instead of letting it turn into an argument, but he obviously didn’t get what I was saying.  Now, with him working the graveyard shift, I will miss him at night, but I will also not have him around to try to convince me to eat junk.

The other downside is that I will not get to see my husband much.  He will be working graveyard, which means he will be sleeping during the day and getting up to get ready to leave for work around dinner time.  I will be making my usual Hungry Girl dinners, but I am hoping not to stray as much as I have been the past few weeks.  I had a gain this week, and I am sick of being stuck at the same weight.  Every time I start to lose again, I give in to temptation and end up with a very small weight loss, or even a gain.  I have gotten into the habit of snacking after the kids go to bed, or having a high-point dessert and going over my daily points target.  Time to stop!

I am using this change in routine that our family is going through as an opportunity to start over with Weight Watchers.  I am going to track everything, and get back to how I was when I first began WW.  I have recently lost motivation, and I can see it on the scale.  I started with breakfast this morning.  I re-calculated everything I was eating, and realized that the sugar-free jam I have been putting on my Bagel Thin was indeed a point, when I had been assuming it was 0 points.  I made sure to measure the creamer for my coffee, and realized I had been putting in more than 1 point.  I am excited to re-evaluate things and get back on track to healthier eating.  I feel like I was on vacation from Weight Watchers, in a sense, and that maybe these changes are what I needed to regain my motivation. 

Tremendous Top-Shelf Turkey Burger

Per Serving (entire recipe): 5 Points+
184 calories, 6.5g fat, 502mg sodium, 12g carbs, 2g fiber, 4g sugars, 20.5g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", page 14
or http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/1251

I'm always a little skeptical of making something that I feel as though I could just as easily buy pre-made in the freezer aisle of the grocery store.  Sometimes, the effort isn't worth it, especially if there are lower point alternatives out there that I already like.  But, this recipe was pretty simple and I had all of the ingredients at home already, so I figured I should try it.

One of the comments in the recipe is that you should flip the patties carefully, since they are a little flimsy (probably due to all the veggies in them).  I decided to prevent them from falling apart, I would use my George Foreman grill.  I multiplied this recipe by four, so I could make four burgers - one for me, one for my son, and two for my husband (assuming he liked it).  I cooked them for 6 minutes on my George Foreman, and they came out perfectly cooked - no flipping necessary.  When I removed them from the grill, they did seem a little delicate, but not as bad as I was expecting. 

One thing I noticed immediately was the size of the patties.  They were nice and large, as the description from HG had stated.  Normally, the burgers I make from scratch end up being quite small, especially after the shrinkage that occurs from cooking them, but these were actually a decent size.  They were the same size as the sandwich thin I ate mine with, rather than being smaller than the bun and having excess bread around the edges like I usually end up with.

I tried a bite of my patty sans toppings, and it tasted really great!  Kind of like a turkey meatloaf in patty form.  I knew right away that my family would like these burgers.  I ate mine on a Sandwich Thin bun with Laughing Cow cheese, BBQ sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles.  Yum!  My husband and my son both enjoyed theirs, so I would definitely consider this dinner a success.  With a salad or low-point side dish it is the perfect sized meal.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Totally Terrific Tuna Melt

Per Serving (entire recipe): 7 Points+
298 calories, 3g fat, 1,379mg sodium, 31.5g carbs, 6.25g fiber, 4g sugars, 39g protein 

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", page 28 - 29
or http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/532 *

Yuck! Bleh! Gross! This is my least favorite recipe so far.  I would call this a Totally UN-terrific Tuna Melt in my opinion.  This tuna melt did not taste good.  Period. 

I tried to put my finger on exactly what it was that I didn't like about this.  Was it the Dijonnaise in the tuna, since I don't really like Dijon mustard?  Or was it the chopped dill pickle that didn't taste quite right in the tuna (I'm used to sweet pickle relish in tuna)?  Or maybe it was the fat free slice of american cheese that was pretty much tasteless?  I asked my husband what he thought, and he said he likes Dijon mustard, but he sure didn't like this tuna melt.  I asked what specifically he didn't like about it, and he said he didn't know - he just didn't like it.  I felt the same way.  I couldn't say exactly why, but I know I did not like this dinner.  Since the recipe called for 3 oz of tuna per tuna melt, I made three of them (about one can's worth of tuna).  We actually ended up throwing away the third tuna melt - something that almost NEVER happens in our house.  Usually, someone will suffer through eating leftovers even if it is not so great, just so we don't waste food.

So, my conclusion is that this recipe just isn't good.  Maybe we are the only ones who don't like it, and maybe those of you reading this will totally disagree with me, but I would definitely skip this recipe if I were you.  There are plenty of recipes that ARE good, so why waste time with one that isn't?

*A note about the weblink.  It is not quite the same recipe, but it is very similar to the one in her book.  The recipe online seems to be a toned-down version to the recipe from the cookbook.  The amount of Dijonnaise, pickle, etc, is all less in the online recipe, which could very well make it better.  If you really want to make this, I would use the recipe online, since it seems to have a more reasonable amount of seasoning for the tuna, and uses more bread to mask the flavor.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Exploding Chicken Taquitos

Per Serving (2 taquitos): 5 Points+
197 calories, 2.5g fat, 594mg sodium, 22.5g carbs, 3g fiber, 2g sugars, 20.5g protein 

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", page 246 - 247
or http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/1223

This recipe is yet another one of my HG favorites, and this is the second time I am making it.  They are pretty easy to make, have a great flavor, and everyone in my family likes them.  Although it uses canned chicken, which sounds kind of gross, the flavor of the filling is delicious.  It is the perfect combination of chicken, salsa, and cheese, and the canned chicken gives it the right texture.  My main complaint is that the recipe only makes 8 of them! 

One thing I decided to test out this time was whether or not it was necessary to place toothpicks in each one to hold them together, as her directions state.  I made four with toothpicks and four without to see if it made any difference.  It didn't appear to effect how much they exploded (and yes, they do explode - especially if you cook them longer) or whether or not they rolled apart while cooking.  So, my conclusion about the toothpicks is that it is an unnecessary step, so skip it. 

The other thing that I attempted to do this time was to make them as nice looking as the HG photo.  The first time I made these, they definitely exploded.  The filling was oozing out the bursted middle of the taquitos, and they definitely did not look pretty.  This time, I made sure to buy as fresh of corn tortillas as possible, and sprayed them well with non-stick spray.  I even heated up four at a time in the microwave (instead of all 8), so they were nice and warm and pliable when I rolled them up.  I also made sure not to overcook them.  I waited until they were only lightly golden brown, yet still crispy.  These things seemed to make a big difference, since, as you can see, only a few of them exploded, and not that badly at that.

I made my husband and I a salad to go along with the taquitos, but he did complain that he was still hungry after eating four of them (2 servings).  He then proceeded to make two more small bean and cheese soft tacos with the remaining corn tortillas.  Next time I will have to double the recipe.  I, myself, had two servings, since it is really hard to stop at just two of them.  So, if you do not have many points left for the day, this is not the best meal to make.  It is not very filling, and you will most likely want to eat at least four of them since they are so good, which is 10 points+.  If you decide to dip them in sour cream, that will add yet another point.  I dipped mine in salsa for 0 points, which tasted great.  I will definitely be repeating this recipe again in the future, since it was a winner two times in a row.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Devil-icious Shrimp

Per Serving (¼th of recipe, about 1½ cups): 5 Points+
208 calories, 2.5g fat, 736mg sodium, 19g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 10.5g sugars, 26g protein

The recipe: Hungry Girl 1-2-3, page 65

The main thing that intrigued me about this recipe is that in it's description, HG says that this is one of her absolute favorite recipes in the book.  I think, specifically, she says she "loves, loves, loves, this recipe".  So, I took her word for it and decided to make it. 

To give her credit, the shrimp did have the perfect amount of spice in it.  However, I thought the recipe was a little bland (how something can be spicy but bland seems like a contradiction, but it was).  I added some salt to it to bring out the flavor, and that helped a little.  The problem was that the main flavor I tasted was stewed tomatoes, which I'm not a big fan of.  My husband, however, loved the recipe and said I could make it again.  I think this is the first time that my husband has liked something that I didn't!  He said he likes stewed tomatoes and shrimp, which is what this tasted like.

My original plan was to serve the shrimp over some brown rice, but once I made the dish, I realized it was more like an italian-style tomato sauce.  I cooked up some pasta and served the shrimp over that for an extra 5 points+.  With some parmesan cheese on top, it actually turned into a pretty good meal.  I think it definitely needs to be served over something, though - whether you serve it over pasta, rice, baked potato, or whatever is your choice.  Otherwise, it feels like you are just eating sauce.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Super-Cheesy Ham-Stuffed French Toast

Per Serving (entire recipe): 6 Points+
256 calories, 7g fat, 1,264mg sodium, 24g carbs, 5.25g fiber, 5g sugars, 25g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", page 284 - 285

Ok, so this is one of my absolute favorite recipes from Hungry Girl.  When I got the " HG 1-2-3" book, my husband and I were especially intrigued by the entire chapter devoted to french toast.  I went through and made almost all of the recipes in that chapter, most of which were really yummy.  We kept going back to this ham & cheese french toast sandwich, though.  I finally had time to make some and get photos for this blog, so I am happy to put this review in here.

This breakfast sandwich is so gooey, cheesy, and meaty that you will not be able to tell that it is made with reduced fat ingredients.  I have made this for my mother, my mother-in-law, and my husband and son and all of them became big fans after eating one.  This is my go-to breakfast when I have overnight guests, too.  Need I go on?  Make this recipe now!

All you do is get some light bread, spread half of a Laughing Cow cheese wedge on each piece, add a slice of fat-free American cheese slice, and one ounce of lean ham.  Put the pieces together, and dip the top, bottom, and all of the sides in egg substitute with some cinnamon mixed in.  Cook until sandwich is browned and cheese is melted.

I like to make several at a time and bring them to work to heat up for breakfast.  Instead of using syrup or powdered sugar for a topping, which is what I do at home, I use a different method to get a sweet flavoring to the sandwich without being messy (I eat my work sandwiches with my hands after heating them up).  I add a packet of Splenda to 1/2 cup of egg substitute and about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.  I mix that together, and that becomes my egg dip for three sandwiches.  It ends up being just enough egg mixture for three sandwiches, so nothing goes to waste, either.  I will usually make 2 - 3 batches of these sandwiches at a time - one batch for my family's breakfast, and another 2 batches for breakfasts during the week.  Yum!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Funkadelic Chili Mac

Per Serving (1/4th of recipe, about 1 3/4 cups): 8 Points+ -
297 calories, 2g fat, 637mg sodium, 55.5g carbs, 9.75g fiber, 11.5g sugars, 19g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 300 Under 300", page 184
or http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/1588

Since chili mac is one of my favorite unhealthy dishes, I thought it was a good idea to try a healthier version to satisfy my cravings.  Before going on Weight Watchers, I could easily eat an entire box of mac-n-cheese with an entire can of chili added to it.  An easy dinner to make, but not so easy on the hips!

This chili mac definitely tasted healthy, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  It had lots of veggies in it, and the veggie crumbles made me feel like it had actual meat in it.  The portion size was nice and big - something you usually don't get when pasta is involved. 

My husband was not a fan of this recipe.  He said it was too bland and he ended up making something else for dinner.  He usually doesn't like something if there are too many veggies in it, so that was probably the problem.  If it tastes healthy, he thinks of it as diet food.  I do have to agree that it was a little bit bland.  I think it needed a little bit of salt and pepper to bring out the flavors a little more, but once I added that, it was fine to me.  Granted, it wasn't the enormous bowl of gooey, cheesy, chili mac I used to eat, but it was a good meal overall.