Monday, October 31, 2011

Magical Low-Calorie Margarita

Per Serving (entire recipe, 1 margarita): 4 Points+
115 calories, 0g fat, 55mg sodium, 2g carbs, 0g fiber, <0.5g sugars, 0g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl: Recipes & Survival Strategies...", page 244

Although I don't drink alcohol very often, I was in the mood for a margarita this past weekend.  I found this recipe of a super-low calorie margarita on the Hungry Girl website and was excited to try it.  I can't believe this drink was only 115 calories!  All of the calories are pretty much from the shot of tequila, since the Sprite Zero, Crystal Light, and lime juice hardly have any calories at all.  I love margaritas, so I was really hoping this would be a good substitute for a drink that is normally hundreds of calories.

My husband was curious as well, and stood hovering over me while I was making the drink so he could try a sip.  The verdict from both of us?  Delicious!  I was actually pretty impressed with how this tasted.  I did not feel as though I were drinking a diet drink at all, and I was happy with the balance of the lemon flavor and the lime juice.  This is probably as close to an authentic margarita flavor that you can get without it being the real thing. 

I will definitely be making this drink again.  It was quick, easy, and really good.  I would even consider making a large batch of this for a party.  I don't think people would mind or even notice that it was a low-calorie margarita, since it tastes so good!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sweet 'n Sassy Boneless Hot Wings

Per Serving (entire recipe - 4 oz of chicken): 6 Points+
267 calories, 1.5g fat, 775mg sodium, 30g carbs, 2g fiber, 15g sugars, 31g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", pages 126 - 127

For this recipe, I actually quadrupled it, so what you see above is four servings.  I figured for all the work I put into making these, I wasn't about to make just one serving.  Not that they are difficult to make or anything, but when I get into the mode of coating stuff with egg and then flour, I like to do a larger batch.  I cut mine a little larger than the nugget-size she recommends - mine were each about an ounce instead of just half an ounce.  So, instead of 8 small nuggets, I had 4 larger ones for a serving.

These turned out great!  A nice amount of spiciness, but not so much to where they were unbearable.  I have discovered that I love the flavor of sweet chili sauce, and am looking forward to making a stirfry that features the sauce.  It gives it a really nice, slightly sweet flavor, but still provides a good amount of spiciness as well.

I made these with a salad for dinner, but they are definitely more of an appetizer.  My husband loved these, as well, and took the leftovers to work for lunch the next day.  When he does that, I know the recipe was a success!  These are definitely worth making, but just make sure you stop eating them at one serving.  They aren't exactly calorie friendly if you eat too much!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sweet and Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding Bowl

Per Serving (entire recipe): 6 Points+
263 calories, 4.75g fat, 760mg sodium, 33.5g carbs, 6g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 23g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", pages 40 - 41

Normally, I am not much of a fan of bread pudding.  I have tried Hungry Girl's Scoopable Smore's Bread Pudding, which was okay, but still turned out a little dry on top - the reason I don't usually like bread pudding.  This recipe, however, was actually really good.

The best part about this recipe was that it was cooked in the microwave in practically no time at all.  I was a little skeptical that it would turn out okay, since microwave cooking is not usually my thing.  But, I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.  The whole thing was nice and moist.  I did make sure that all the bread pieces were well covered with the egg mixture, to ensure the maximum amount of moisture in the bread.  Once done cooking, I removed it from the microwave-safe bowl, plated it, and covered it with sugar-free syrup and powdered sugar.  Yum!

I loved the combination of the sweetness of the syrup with the savoriness of the breakfast sausage.  It is amazing how far one little sausage patty goes when you crumble it into small pieces.  Every bite had the flavor of the sausage and syrup mixed together.  And my biggest complaint about bread pudding - the dryness factor - was not a problem at all.  Any dryness that may have been there after cooking was remedied with the syrup that was poured over the top. 

My only complaint is the amount of calories.  For breakfast, 263 calories is a little high for me.  I usually like to have a banana and a cup of coffee with creamer with my breakfast.  If I had done that with this dish, my breakfast would have been about 400 calories, or a third of my calories for the day!  That doesn't leave much room for any snacks.  This will probably not be something I make on a regular basis just because of the calories, but it is still one of my favorite breakfasts I have made so far.  If you have the "300 under 300" cookbook, you should definitely try this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Te Quiero Tequila Shrimp

Per Serving (½ of recipe, about 1½ cups): 4 Points+
206 calories, 2.25g fat, 470mg sodium, 9.5g carbs, 1.75g fiber, 4g sugars, 24g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", page 64

I really love shrimp, and usually make it at least once a week.  It is a very low calorie, low fat, and high protein food, and I love the way it tastes, too!  I have made this dish a couple of times pre-blog, so I thought it was time to make it once more.  I doubled the recipe so I would have enough food for the family, so the photo above is actually 4 servings, not 2.  Even still, the serving size is nice and large, especially for only 4 Points+ and 206 calories. 

One of my favorite restaurant meals is a tequila-lime chicken and pasta dish I used to get at California Pizza Kitchen.  This recipe reminds me of that dish, but with MUCH less calories.  I love the tanginess of the lime, and the hint of tequila in the shrimp.  It has just the right amount of cilantro, and the perfect amount of tomato and onion so as not to overpower the other flavors.  So good!  This is definitely one of my favorite shrimp recipes that Hungry Girl has. 

I ate my portion over a serving of brown rice for an extra 150 calories.  With the recipe being so low in calories, it was still a great calorie bargain even with the rice.  If you add a salad as well, you definitely have a very filling meal.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chicken-With-A-Kick Pack

Per Serving (entire recipe): 6 Points+
245 calories, 2g fat, 923mg sodium, 24.5g carbs, 5g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 31.5g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", pages 148 - 149

In the email version of this recipe, Hungry Girl recommends using Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce, which I do not have at home.  The cookbook says you can also use whatever your favorite hot sauce is.  Because this recipe allowed for a little bit of flexibility with what type of hot sauce you use, I tried out three different versions.  In the first foil pack, I used Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce, which is one of my favorite go-to hot sauces that works well with almost anything.  In the second foil pack, I used an Asian Hot Chili Sauce, since that is my husband's go-to hot sauce.  I, personally, think the chili sauce only works well with stirfry and other Asian dishes, but he uses it on Mexican food, American food - you name it.  In the third foil pack I used salsa.

Surprisingly, the one that turned out the best was the one made with the Asian Chili Sauce.  It had a nice amount of kick to it, and was definitely the most spicy of the three.  The flavor was very good, and the hot sauce didn't taste at all out of place.  The second best one was the Frank's Red Hot one.  I love the flavor of Frank's Red Hot sauce, but I could have used more than just a teaspoon in the foil pack.  The chicken still tasted great, but there just wasn't as much heat as I would have liked to have.  My least favorite was the one made with salsa.  It definitely came out too bland.  I ended up adding a teaspoon of taco seasoning to it, though, and that made it taste great. 

If you have the type of Tabasco sauce Hungry Girl recommends using, by all means, use that.  Otherwise, go ahead and experiment with what you like best.  The combination of chicken and veggies in this recipe makes it work well with almost anything.

With all three, we ate it over a half cup of brown rice.  The rice did a good job of soaking up the extra juice, which there was plenty of.  I think this recipe is a little too saucy to eat in a tortilla, or even just by itself.  I would recommend serving it over a small serving of brown rice.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Turkey & Veggie Meatloaf Minis

Per Serving (1 mini meatloaf): 3 Points+
142 calories, 5.25g fat, 494mg sodium, 9g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 4g sugars, 14g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", pages 274 - 275

In an effort to add more veggies to my 3-year-old's diet, I decided to make these meatloaf muffins the other night.  Meatloaf is one of his favorite meals, and I am constantly trying different versions.  I often make meatloaf muffins as opposed to a large loaf, since I like the idea of individual meatloaf portions.  These were pretty easy to make, and I loved the fact that there were tons of veggies hidden in them.  They also smelled delicious while being cooked - thanks to the grated onions and garlic powder.  Yum!

Unfortunately, my three-year-old did not like these very much.  He kept spitting out the pieces of broccoli slaw, and eventually gave up and just ate the mashed potatoes and corn I had made to go with them.  I, on the other hand, thought they were delicious.  The flavors were really good, and I didn't mind the slightly crunchy texture the broccoli slaw gave the meatloaf.  I haven't made meatloaf in quite a while, and this recipe didn't disappoint.

Although the recipe says to divide the mixture into 9 muffins, I had plenty to fill up all 12 spots.  If you want to make 9, you will have to heap the mixture into the muffin pan.  I also did not use any baking cups.  I just sprayed the muffin pan with nonstick spray and they came out just fine. 

The main thing that was kind of disappointing was the amount of calories each of these has.  I know meatloaf is not exactly a low calorie food in the first place, but at almost 150 calories a piece, you really can only have two or maybe three of them if you want to stay on plan.  I ate a salad with mine, but was still hungry later on.  Perhaps if I had heaped them into 9 muffins, they would have been larger and more filling, though.

Overall, I thought the flavor was great with these, and I loved the fact that there were plenty of added veggies in these.  I probably will not be making these again, though, mainly because they did not get the approval of my son.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ChocoMint Martini

Per Serving (1/2 of recipe, 1 martini): 5 Points+
145 calories, 0g fat, 90mg sodium, 7g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 1g protein

The recipe:

With all of the stress that has been going on the past couple of days, I decided to treat myself to a drink and a soak in the jacuzzi.  I rarely drink - especially in the middle of the week!  But, since I took another day off of work to take care of the baby as he recovers from his surgery, I figured I deserved a little relaxation after the kids went to bed.  I found this recipe for a chocolate mint martini, and at 145 calories, I figured it was okay to splurge just a little.

This drink was a little strong for my taste.  I could definitely taste the vodka in it, and had to take very small sips. The flavor was pretty good, though.  It was very chocolatey, with a hint of mint.  It is supposed to taste like a Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie, apparently, but I'm not so sure if it succeeded in doing that.  It just tasted like a minty chocolate drink to me. 

After just a few sips, I could feel the effects of the alcohol, so I had to slow down just a little (I know, what a wimp!).  I ended up not being able to finish even one drink.  The problem is I haven't had a drink of hard alcohol in over a year, what with being pregnant and then nursing and all.  Usually, at most I have one beer on the occasional Friday night and that's about it.  The idea of a drink sounded great, but in the end, I realize I have so little of a tolerance for alcohol that I should probably just skip it next time. Or maybe I should try a blended drink that is a little milder. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yumtastic Breakfast Burrito

Per Serving (1 burrito): 6 Points+
239 calories, 3g fat, 1,111mg sodium, 27g carbs, 9g fiber, 4g sugars, 29g protein 

The recipe: "Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies...", page 14

 This recipe is one that I would almost consider a non-recipe: too simple and common-sense to be considered a true recipe.  There are quite a few recipes like this in the earlier Hungry Girl cookbooks.  I normally don't even bother reviewing any of these "non-recipes", but I have had a stressful few days (see yesterday's post) and needed something quick and easy to review. 

The main reasons I made this "recipe" when I did was because A) I had all of the ingredients at home, B) I was in the mood for a breakfast burrito, C) I was too lazy to calculate the total calories of all of the ingredients, and if I used this recipe it was already done for me.

This recipe consists of 4 basic ingredients: tortilla, Egg Beaters, turkey bacon, and a slice of fat free American cheese.  Without the substitutions for healthier versions of the tortilla, cheese, eggs, and bacon, this would be much higher in calories.  If I was making a breakfast burrito without following this recipe, I would have probably used one slice of bacon instead of two, and I might have taken the time to saute some veggies to go with the eggs.  But, overall, this is a yummy breakfast that I make all the time.  If you have not figured out how to make a healthier breakfast burrito, by all means, check out this recipe!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Some good news, an award, and a little stress

First, I want to start this post off with an update of how my switch to counting calories instead of points is going.  After not losing weight for almost 6 months, I am happy to say that I have lost 8 pounds so far just by switching to counting calories on My Fitness Pal.  I know now that I was consuming too many calories with Weight Watchers - probably because they don't make you count points for fruit or veggies.  It just wasn't working for me and I needed a switch.

The other good news is that I have not only lost 8 pounds, but I now have a BMI of 24.3, which is in the "Healthy" range.  Yippee!  I am so excited because I haven't been in the Healthy range since before I got pregnant with my first son, almost 4 years ago!  Here is a current photo of me and my youngest.

It is not the best photo, and my son isn't even looking at the camera, but it is the only current one I have of me.  I feel like I am finally starting to look normal again, which feels awesome.  I have been running like crazy, counting every calorie, and my clothes are fitting better again.  My next goal is to get back into the 140's again.  I am at 150.7, so I am so close!

Second, I would like to thank At Goal Weight Watcher for my first blog award.  It is called the Liebster Award.

The word Liebster means 'Beloved' in German--and a show of love and support is what this award is all about.  The idea is to bring attention to new blogs with fewer than 200 followers. 

The rules of winning this award are the following:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment at their blog.
3. Post the Award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love of some of the most supportive people on the Internet!

Here are my top 5 picks for the Liebster Award:
3. My Hips Don't Lie
4. See How She Runs
5. A New Dawn For Me

Third, I would like to apologize for having an off-week with my posting.  Tomorrow's review will be a little bit of a "fluff" review, too.  My 10-month-old baby (the one in the picture) had minor surgery on Monday, so, needless to say, I have been a little preoccupied.  He had an abscess that had to be cleaned out and drained. Normally this is an easy procedure, but for a baby, they have to go under general anesthesia because they are too wiggly.  I think that was the most stressful part - waiting to see if he would wake up okay.  I know the chances are slim to none that he would have a reaction to the anesthesia, but that doesn't make it any less stressful, unfortunately.  The poor little guy is recovering nicely, though, and is pretty much back to his usual happy self.  I am just glad everything is over, and I am thankful that it was only a minor surgery.  There were plenty of parents of children with much more serious problems at the Children's Hospital we were at.

As for my eating, I did fairly well considering we were away from home for the surgery.  I only went off-plan for three meals, and even then, I had salad and said no to the bread offered.  I came back a pound heavier, but I am hoping by the time I weigh in on Sunday, that pound will be gone again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

BLT Pizza

Per Serving (1/6th of recipe, 1 slice): 6 Points+
213 calories, 5g fat, 815mg sodium, 35.5g carbs, 1g fiber, 6g sugars, 7.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 256

Pizza is one of those foods that most people can relate to as being a guilty pleasure.  Even though we know each slice is hundreds of calories, it is so easy to consume two, three, or even more slices in one sitting.  This pizza is definitely not traditional, but it sounded easy and tasty, so I gave it a try.

I thought this pizza was pretty good, but I felt as though it was more like a blt sandwich, and less like a pizza.  The only thing that made it like a pizza was the fact that the toppings were on a cooked pizza crust.  Other than that, it was just like eating an open-faced blt sandwich.  It consisted of mayo, lettuce, tomato, and turkey bacon all on a cooked (and cooled) Pillsbury pizza crust.  Still pretty good, though, if you like blt sandwiches.  The fact that each slice was only a little more than 200 calories was nice, and the size of each slice was fairly large as well.  You could easily cut the pizza up into eight slices instead of six for less calories, but I guess part of what was nice about this recipe was the fact that the slices were so big.

So, if you are looking for a creative substitution for a blt sandwich, try this recipe.  If you are looking for a pizza substitute, try one of the other many pizza recipes Hungry Girl has to offer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mississippi Mug Pie

Per Serving (entire recipe): 7 Points+
233 calories, 5g fat, 588mg sodium, 45.5g carbs, 2.75g fiber, 19g sugars, 6.5g protein

The recipe:

Sometimes when I go on a hunt for a recipe on the Hungry Girl website, I end up finding more recipes that I really want to make.  That is how I found this yummy, gooey, chocolate mud pie.  I was searching for the recipe for the Expresso Cake in a Mug I reviewed yesterday, when this recipe came up.  It looked sooo good!  I again happened to have all of the ingredients for it at home already, so I made it right after the kids went to bed. 

This dessert came out great.  A warm, gooey, chocolatey pile of goodness!  I even added a little spoonful of Cool Whip on top for an extra treat.  Yum!  However, I prefer the Expresso Cake in a Mug, both for flavor and for calorie amount.  This cake has 233 calories, while the espresso cake had 147 (and was only 4 points+).  This was more gooey and pudding like, where the espresso cake made me feel like I was being bad and eating cake.  :)  Next time I am in the mood for a chocolatey dessert, I will probably make the espresso cake, but this one definitely gets an honorable mention for being so gooey.  Try both and enjoy (just not at the same time)!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Expresso Cake in a Mug

Per Serving (entire recipe): 4 Points+
147 calories, 3.25g fat, 446mg sodium, 25.5g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 14.5g sugars, 3.5g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", page 89

I haven't made an actual dessert in a long time.  I've been mostly eating single-serving ice cream bars, such as Healthy Choice Fudge bars and Skinny Cow ice cream bars sandwiches.  But, the other night, I just really HAD to have chocolate.  It's been way too long!  I opened up my "1-2-3" cookbook since the "300 under 300" one doesn't have any official desserts in it.  I prayed there was a yummy chocolate dessert in there that I happened to have all of the ingredients for.  There was!  

I was so excited to find this cake mug recipe, especially since it was chocolate and espresso flavored - a favorite combination of mine.  And for only 147 calories, you really can't beat it for a cake dessert.  This recipe brought back memories of another mug cake recipe I used to make.  I received an email one day with the recipe for an individual chocolate cake that you could make in a mug.  The only thing was, it had hundreds of calories in it.  I think the thing called for a quarter cup of oil and a whole egg or something crazy like that.  Have you ever seen the recipe I am talking about?  This is definitely a good replacement for it!

The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the size.  The recipe says to get a large mug to make it in.  I just used my regular-sized coffee mugs, which aren't particularly large.  This cake didn't even come close to oozing over the edge of the mug.  I'm not sure why she says you need a large mug, when any size will actually do.  Here is a picture so you can see how much it really filled up my mug, which is about an 8oz mug.  It maybe filled up about a third of it. 

Besides the size, though, this cake was delicious!  I actually made this two nights in a row, and might even make it again tonight.  It is moist, chocolatey, and you can definitely taste the coffee flavor.  I added a little bit of cool whip on mine the second time I made it.  Delicious!  It definitely satisfied my chocolate craving, and it was nice to eat something for dessert other than an ice cream bar.  I loved the fact that this is a single serving dessert that is enough of a pain to make so I am not tempted to make two of them.  If you like chocolate, then you will love this cake!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ring-My-Bella Mushroom Sandwich

Per Serving (entire recipe): 7 Points+
263 calories, 10.25g fat, 786mg sodium, 32.5g carbs, 7.5g fiber, 7g sugars, 15.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", pages 286 - 287

My husband loves mushrooms, so I am always looking for recipes with mushrooms that I will enjoy, also.  I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms, but I do love portabella mushrooms.  I just wish they were a little bit cheaper at the grocery store.  For two portabella mushroom caps, it is $3.99 at my local grocery stores.  Occasionally, I can find them on sale for $1.50 each, but usually $2 a mushroom is standard.  It is worth it every once in a while, though. 

Although a fairly simple recipe, this one called out to me because it reminded me of the portabella mushroom sandwich I used to order at the Rainforest Cafe (they don't make it anymore, though) or the Cheesecake Factory when I was a vegetarian.  Those I'm sure were WAY more calories than the HG version. 

I made two sandwiches for dinner - one for my husband and one for me.  To cook the mushrooms and onions, I used my George Foreman grill to save time.  It cooks both sides at once, so dinner is done in half the time.  I even toasted the sandwich thin on the George Foreman - I just left it open so it would toast the buttered side only. 
See all the mayo oozing out from the bun?  Mmmm!
The sandwich turned out great.  Both my husband and I loved it.  It really reminded me a lot of the restaurant sandwiches I used to order.  Cheesy, tons of mayo (a whole tablespoon!), and a great flavor. I loved that the toasted bun was sprinkled with a dash of garlic powder.  So good!  For dinner, it wasn't exactly the most filling meal, but this would be great as a sandwich for lunch along with a piece of fruit.  If the mushrooms were a little cheaper, I think this could be a sandwich I could eat on a regular basis.  Yum!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Asian BBQ Shrimp Salad

Per Serving (entire recipe): 6 Points+
262 calories, 3.75g fat, 643mg sodium, 28.5g carbs, 6.75g fiber, 17g sugars, 28g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", pages 132 - 133

I have been eating a lot of salads recently - usually just simple ones with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and maybe some chicken breast.  I thought it would be nice to make something a little different from my ordinary salad, and since I love Asian food, this one sounded good to me. 

I actually tripled the shrimp and sauce part of this recipe - one serving for me and two for my husband (he gets more calories than me each day).  I loved the fact that there were sugar snap peas along with the shrimp.  I bought a large bag of them from Costco, and had forgotten how much I love snacking on them. 

The sauce was delicious, and the best part about it was there was plenty of it.  I can't stand it when there is barely enough sauce to coat what you are cooking.  In this case, there was actually sauce to spare.  It gave the salad enough flavor so that you didn't have to add any extra salad dressing if you didn't want the calories.  I tried it both ways - with and without sesame-ginger dressing - to see which was better.  I have to say that using a little bit of salad dressing, as the book suggests, does add some extra flavor to the salad.  I preferred it with the dressing, but it was definitely still good without. 

For under 300 calories, this salad is a good one.  It is filling, flavorful, and delicious.  If you are looking for something other than your ordinary garden salad, give this one a try.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rockin' Red Velvet Pancakes

Per Serving (entire recipe, 2 pancakes with glaze): 7 Points+
273 calories, 3g fat, 717mg sodium, 46g carbs, 7.5g fiber, 9g sugars, 17.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", pages 60 - 61

As those of you who read my blog know, I have a huge sweet tooth and love dessert.  I also love chocolate.  If I can sneak in a dessert for "breakfast", then I am usually in.  These pancakes made for a chocolatey, sweet breakfast, so I was sold right away.  They were so chocolatey and yummy, I definitely felt like I was indulging by eating them.  They were also a nice size, and when I was pouring the batter, I was surprised at how large the pancakes were.

The best part was the frosting, though.  Even though mine came out a little lumpy, it still tasted awesome!  The flavor reminded me of the type of cream cheese frosting you might find on top of a piece of carrot cake.  So good!   I seriously think I could make just the frosting and eat that by itself.

My two-year-old saw me eating these pancakes, and ended up eating almost a whole one to himself, even though he had already eaten breakfast.  The thief!  Next time I will double the recipe and make extra for him.  In other words, these pancakes were a hit and I would definitely make them again.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Too-EZ Mac 'n Cheese

Per Serving (¼th of recipe, about 1 cup): 5 Points+
202 calories, 4.5g fat, 825mg sodium, 36g carbs, 5g fiber, 6g sugars, 8.5g protein 

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", pages 98 - 99

I have been meaning to try this recipe for a VERY long time.  Macaroni and cheese is one of my 2-year-old's favorite meals, and I was interested in trying a more healthy version to see if he would like it.  The problem was, I couldn't find any of the Green Giant Cauliflower & Cheese Sauce.  I checked three different grocery store chains and didn't find it at any of them.  As an afterthought, I checked at our Super Target, and FINALLY found it!  I've never been so excited about cauliflower in my life!

My sister and my dad were both over for dinner this past weekend, so I thought I'd try this recipe out on everyone to get several opinions (I made a recipe and a half to make sure I had enough food).  The best part about this recipe was that it was super easy to make.  While cooking the pasta, I heated the cheesy cauliflower in the microwave.  Once everything is ready, just mix the cauliflower and some Laughing Cow cheese wedges in with the pasta, and dinner is served.  Nice!  I ended up cooking some chicken breast as well, which I added to a salad so the dinner wouldn't be without a protein.  

The dinner got mixed reviews.  I thought it was pretty good, and so did my sister and my son.  My sister and I added Frank's Red Hot sauce to it for extra flavor, which I usually do when making regular macaroni & cheese as well.  Yum!  My two-year-old loved it, and didn't even realize that the mac & cheese was not only made with whole-wheat pasta, but was also half cauliflower.  Score one for the veggies!  That alone will be the main reason I make this again.  It is kid-friendly and has secret veggies hidden in it.  Mine even liked it enough to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. 

My husband and my dad were not huge fans.  Men!  They said it was a little bland, but I had purposely not added much salt or pepper so everyone could add it to their own tastes.  Apparently my Dad is not a big cauliflower fan, either, which is why he said he didn't like it much.  I didn't think it had much of a cauliflower taste at all, but I also thought it tasted good, so to each his own.  My husband is always complaining about my healthy cooking, so I have learned to tune him out at this point, and his opinion doesn't count anyway. ;)

Overall, a pretty good dish that I would recommend trying, especially if you have kids.  If you are a mac 'n cheese fan, this is a pretty good substitute.  And for only 200 calories, you can't beat it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cinn-a-nilla Apple Oatmeal Parfait

Per Serving (entire recipe): 6 Points+
240 calories, 4.5g fat, 355mg sodium, 42.5g carbs, 5.75g fiber, 18g sugars, 8g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", pages 44 - 45

I haven't made an HG parfait in quite some time, so this past weekend I thought it was about time for another one.  The only thing that is slightly annoying about making these parfaits is that you have to make the oatmeal ahead of time and then refrigerate it until it is cold.  Your best bet if you want one for breakfast is to make it the night before and cool it in the refrigerator overnight.  When you are ready for breakfast in the morning, the oatmeal will already be cold and ready to go.

Since my sister was visiting this past weekend, I made one of these to share with her for breakfast.  I didn't really want a full 240 calories for breakfast, so it worked out perfect.  Both of us thought this parfait was pretty good.  It had the right amount of cinnamon in it without overpowering everything.  My sister has never eaten an HG parfait before, and she said she liked the flavor of the oatmeal.  She also said that it was definitely something different for breakfast (in a good way). 

This parfait had slightly less oatmeal than the other parfaits I've made.  Usually, there is too much to fit in the glass I use for parfaits.  This recipe called for only 1/3 cup of oatmeal instead of 1/2 cup.  It made the perfect amount of oatmeal, apples, and yogurt to fit nicely in my glass without having excess left over.

Although the parfait was good, I think some of the other parfaits I've made were better.  Not necessarily because they are better - my taste preference just leans more towards the berry parfaits, such as the Super-sized Berry-nana Oatmeal Parfait.  But, if you like apples and cinnamon with your oatmeal, this might be the recipe for you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cheesy Burger Skillet

Per Serving (1/2 of recipe, about 1 3/4 cups): 6 Points+
267 calories, 6.25g fat, 854mg sodium, 29.5g carbs, 9.5g fiber, 11g sugars, 21g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 328

Although it doesn't look like much, this recipe has become a new favorite in my household.  I actually made it for the first time last week, and already my husband has asked me to make it again.  This was the second time making this in a week. 

For myself, I loved the fact that this recipe is easy to make, and takes hardly any time at all.  It is a very large portion, and tastes great over a large pile of lettuce - no extra dressing needed.  It is flavorful, cheesy, and delicious!  And although it has both chopped tomatoes and crushed tomatoes, it does not come out tasting like a chunky Italian spaghetti sauce.  My husband loved the grilled taste of the onions and Boca burgers, and also liked the portion size as well.  He ate his over lettuce with some ranch on it, and said this was one of his favorite recipes I have made in a long time.  Yay!

So, stock up on your meatless patties and make this recipe if you want a delicious salad, or a yummy hot sandwich.  Next time I might go with the suggestion in the cookbook and use it as a filler for a sandwich thin - Yum!