Monday, December 26, 2011

Mexi-Licious Pot Stickers

Per Serving (1/6th of recipe, 4 pot stickers): 4 Points+
175 calories, 3g fat, 459mg sodium, 21.5g carbs, 1.75g fiber, 1.5g sugars, 13.5g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", pages 370 - 371

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.  Did everyone manage to stay on track with their diet?  Not me!  Baking delicious Christmas cookies for two days straight was a disaster for me.  At some point, I gave in to temptation and ate so many cookies I lost count.  I read somewhere that the average American gains 8 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's.  If I don't stop eating all these darn cookies, that will definitely be me.  On the plus side, I am planning on continuing my boot camp class through January, and my husband got me a Body Sculpting iFIT card for my treadmill, which I am super-excited to try out.  On top of all that, I won an iPod shuffle at my work holiday party, which I was in desperate need of a new one.  In other words, the exercise gods seem to be working in my favor, which I am hoping will help me lose any weight I may have gained over the holidays.  Well, on to the review:

The other night, I made these pot stickers, in the hopes of finding a new and exciting way to eat Mexican food.  They turned out so good!  They do take a little bit of time to assemble, but it is well worth it.  The filling is very tasty - similar to a meat, bean, and cheese burrito filling.  Cooking it in a won ton wrapper makes it fun to eat, while keeping it low-calorie. I ate mine with sour cream and salsa on the side, but they are so good that it is definitely optional.

The only negative thing about these is they are only meant to be an appetizer, rather than a meal.  You would obviously have to eat something else to be full.  But, you could easily eat two servings of these for a meal, and still stay under 400 calories for your dinner.  Add a salad to that and you should be nice and satisfied. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chicky Pad Thai

Per Serving (1/2 of recipe, about 2 1/2 cup): 7 Points+
285 calories, 4g fat, 625mg sodium, 32g carbs, 9g fiber, 13g sugars, 34g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", pages 222 - 223

I'd first like to start off by making an early apology for being slightly absent for the next few weeks.  I am currently off work for the next two weeks, so my blogging might be a little sporatic.  I am still cooking Hungry Girl recipes almost every day, but it has been more difficult for me to get to the computer, what with having visitors and being busy with holiday stuff, etc.

As for this recipe, I did not use the Tofu Shirataki noodles, as suggested by HG.  I am well aware that this adds a ton of extra calories to the recipe, but if I plan right, I can usually fit these calories into my food for the day.  This blog on Tofu Shirataki noodles explains why it is well worth it to me to use regular noodles instead.  For this recipe, I actually used Japanese Udon noodles, which have about the same calories as regular pasta noodles do.  Since it is an Asian dish, I didn't think it would work as well using Fettuccine noodles as a substitute for the Shirataki Fettuccine noodles.

Aside from the noodles, I did not like this recipe much.  I thought the sauce was way too tangy, and wasn't thick enough for the noodles.  I ended up with most of the sauce left over at the bottom of my bowl of noodles.  The amount of spice was perfect, but that is the only positive thing I can say about it.  I also thought there were too many bean sprouts, and I love bean sprouts.  Sadly, I will not be making this recipe again.  I was hoping I had found a delicious Pad Thai recipe that I could make again and again, but this is definitely not the case.  I would skip this one and try one of her better stir fry recipes instead.

Monday, December 19, 2011

All-American Egg Mug

Per Serving (entire recipe): 4 Points+
173 calories, 4g fat, 730mg sodium, 7.5g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 2g sugars, 22g protein

The recipe: "300 under 300", page 24

Until today, I have yet to write a review on one of the Hungry Girl egg mug recipes.  I always thought it was weird to cook eggs in the microwave, and have always cooked them in some way over the stove or in the oven.  Long ago, I tried an egg mug and wasn't all that impressed.  However, I figured if I am going to review Hungry Girl recipes, then I can't ignore a whole group of recipes just because of my fear of microwaved eggs.

So, I started with a pretty basic egg mug recipe.  Egg Beaters, veggie sausage patty, syrup and cheese were the only ingredients in this egg mug.  I do have to say, it came out surprisingly good!  I thought the eggs would turn out rubbery, having been cooked in the microwave, but they didn't at all.  I think stirring the eggs in the middle of the cooking process helped enormously. 

I liked the way this tasted, with the syrup creating a nice sweet and savory flavor combination.  I did take HG's advice, and immediately soaked the mug in water after I was done eating.  Crusted-on cooked egg did not seem like it would be fun to clean up later.  By soaking it, I didn't have any problems when I went to wash the mug a little later. 

I am now less of a skeptic about the egg mugs.  Next time, I might try something a little lower in calories.  I am not going all out yet and saying I am a fan, though.  It might take a few more egg mugs to convince me that the microwave is a true option for cooking eggs.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lord of the Onion Rings

Per Serving (entire recipe): 4 Points+
153 calories, 1g fat, 379mg sodium, 41g carbs, 16g fiber, 7g sugars, 9g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies...", pages 104 - 105

This is one of those Hungry Girl recipes that is referred to over and over again in her emails and even on her show, so I thought it was about time I tried it out.  I have read all the tips and tricks to make these come out good, and made sure to follow what she said.  Using tongs, I dipped the onion rings in egg substitute, shook off the excess, and then coated them with the Fiber One breadcrumbs. I added a little salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to my breadcrumbs to give them a good flavor.

After about four onion rings, the breadcrumbs started to clump up and stopped sticking to the onion rings very well.  It got worse and worse as I made more, and I finally gave up after about 10 onion rings.  I needed to either make new breadcrumbs, or just stop and cook what I had.  Since I had an impatient three-year-old and one-year-old waiting for me to be done, I decided to just cook the 10 onion rings I had. 

I honestly have no idea how she makes her onion rings look so good.  My guess would be that she probably uses fresh breadcrumbs every few onion rings or so.  Even with shaking off as much egg as possible, residual moisture still gets into the breadcrumbs and causes them to clump up. 

As for flavor, the ones I made turned out great with the seasonings I had added to the breadcrumbs. It was definitely fun to eat what is normally a fattening food.  I ate mine with a little ketchup on the side, and even though I only had 10 of them to eat, it was still a big enough portion to satisfy my craving for onion rings.  I even felt a little naughty eating these, even though I knew they were not the real, fattening thing.

Have any of you tried these?  How did yours turn out?  I would love to know!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Citrus-y Stir-Fry Shrimp

Per Serving (½ of recipe): 7 Points+
282 calories, 3.5g fat, 1,125mg sodium, 26g carbs, 5g fiber, 11g sugars, 38g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl: Recipes & Survival Strategies...", pages 90 - 91

Since I love shrimp, and I love citrus-based sauces - like orange chicken or the Glaze of Sunshine Apricot Chicken I made a while back, I figured this recipe was worth a try.  I liked that the recipe called for freshly-squeezed orange juice as one of the ingredients in the sauce.  I thought it would have plenty of orange flavor in the sauce, but unfortunately, I was wrong.  The sauce was not all that exciting, and I could barely tell it was a citrus-based sauce. 

I did like that there was a large amount of snow peas and mushrooms in the stir-fry.  I love snow peas and my husband loves mushrooms, so we were both happy.  We ate the stir-fry over a serving of rice, and it made for a very satisfying meal.  I love when the recipe makes a large amount of food, and a serving is half of the recipe.  So much food!  Yeah!  I will probably not make this again, though, just because I wasn't thrilled with the sauce.  If you are looking for a good stir-fry sauce, try the one from the Kung Pao Chicken recipe I made a while back.  I have made this sauce several times since making this recipe, and it is so good!

If you are looking for a yummy shrimp dish that has lots of snow peas, I would recommend the Asian BBQ Shrimp Salad instead.  Yes, it is a salad and not a stir-fry, but you can always eat the shrimp with rice instead of lettuce, and it will feel like you are eating a stir-fry instead.  Overall, skip this recipe and try some of the more yummy Hungry Girl stir-fry options out there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jammed with Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Per Serving (entire recipe): 7 Points+
263 calories, 6g fat, 860mg sodium, 42g carbs, 5.25g fiber, 4g sugars, 19g protein 

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", pages 292 - 293 

I was in the mood for a sweet breakfast over the weekend, so I checked out the French Toast chapter in the "1-2-3" book for inspiration.  This recipe was pretty easy, and I had all of the ingredients, so here we are.  I made a sandwich for both myself and my three-year-old, and we both loved it.  

I originally thought the recipe would call for fat-free cream cheese, but was surprised to find that it actually called for Laughing Cow cheese - something I never would have thought to use in a stuffed french toast with jam.  It turned out delicious, rich, and creamy, though.  It is a fairly simple recipe.  Just spread half a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese onto each of two pieces of bread, and then spread two tablespoons of sugar-free jam on one piece.  Sandwich together, dip in Eggbeaters with cinnamon and vanilla, and cook.  Pretty easy and delicious!

The only complaint I have is the amount of calories for a fairly small sandwich.  I was hungry a little earlier than usual for lunch, but I had used more calories than usual for breakfast.  I did leave out the margarine to save a few calories, since I didn't think it was necessary for cooking the french toast (I just used cooking spray instead).  And normally I would have sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top rather than use the sugar-free syrup (I had run out, though).  You can choose to cook this how you want, but either way it will be around 250 calories for a small breakfast sandwich - that tastes really good.  You can choose if it is worth it or not!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Oatstanding Veggie Patties

PER SERVING (1 patty): 2 Points+
70 calories, 0.5g fat, 585mg sodium, 16g carbs, 5g fiber, 3g sugars, 4g protein 

The recipe: "Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies...", pages 72 - 73

The first thing I am going to say about this recipe is that it took FOREVER to make.  Maybe it's just because I was in the mood to make something quick and easy, or because I didn't realize this would take so long to make until there was no turning back.  But, it just felt like I was in the kitchen for way too long!  First of all, there are four different vegetables that you have to chop up.  I chopped mine up fairly small, knowing that if everything was chopped up too large it would not stick together as well.  Secondly, after finally mixing everything together, you then have to let it chill for several hours in the fridge to help the patties set.  Several hours?!  Who has that kind of time to wait around for dinner?  I sure didn't, so I ended up chilling them in the freezer for one hour.  It seemed to work just as good.

I used my George Foreman Grill to cook these, since it requires no flipping.  Most of the Hungry Girl homemade patties are fairly delicate, so the less movement of them the better.  Plus, the George Foreman cooks them in half the time since both sides are cooked at once.  Out of the five patties, only one truly held it's shape and looked like a nice burger patty - see above photo ;).  The others were either a slightly odd shape, or fell apart some when removing them from the grill.  

As for taste, my first reaction was, "Whoa, too much pepper!".  My husband's reaction was, "Whoa, too much salt!" (he loves pepper).  If you do plan on making these, try using half as much pepper and a little less salt.  Other than that, I was overall pretty disappointed with how these turned out.  I knew they would be a little delicate with all the veggies in the recipe and not much to hold them together.  But, I was truly hoping they would at least taste good.  

The only saving grace for these is the fact that they are only 70 calories each. However, there are plenty of  frozen veggie patties that you can buy for about the same amount of calories - not to mention that they taste much better!  I will definitely not be making these again.  If you really want to see for yourself how bad these are, make sure you start making these early if you want to eat at a decent time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crazy-Good Turkey Taco Meatloaf

PER SERVING (1⁄6th of loaf): 3 Points+
127 calories, 1g fat, 688mg sodium, 7g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 2g sugars, 22g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies...", pages 132 - 133

This is a recipe that I had made pre-blog, so I already had notes about it in my cookbook.  I had said that it had a great flavor, but was very dry due to the use of extra-lean ground turkey.  Every time I use the extra-lean ground turkey in a recipe, it usually comes out dry and with less flavor.  This time, I decided to use the lean ground turkey to see if it came out better.  It did!

This meatloaf is so yummy, you will definitely be glad you made it.  As a matter of fact, I think this recipe is one of my favorites, when made with the lean ground turkey.  It tastes a lot like taco meat, but not to the point where you feel as though it should be eaten in a taco shell or tortilla.  It is definitely good on its own.  I love the layer of cheese in the middle of the meatloaf.  With the added cheese on top, this meatloaf is super cheesy and good.  I love cheese!

I also like the fact that there are added veggies in the meatloaf.  It has corn, bellpeppers, and onion mixed in with everything else.  So good!  If you are looking for a new twist on your ordinary meatloaf, try out this recipe.  If you want it to taste even better, use lean ground turkey instead of extra-lean, unless you would rather keep it lower in calories.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Veggie-Friendly Asian Lettuce Cups

PER SERVING (3 wraps): 5 Points+
220 calories, 3.5g fat, 971mg sodium, 30g carbs, 8g fiber, 10g sugars, 21g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies...", page 81

Yesterday, I began my boot camp class that I had posted about last week.  I was so excited to get back on plan with exercising and counting calories again.  Unfortunately, my good ole hubby is apparently not on board with exercising and counting calories.  Since I was getting home late, he thought he would be nice and pick up KFC grilled chicken with a bunch of different sides.  Now, grilled chicken from KFC is NOT the healthy, skinless, grilled chicken breast you would make at home.  I was disappointed that I wasn't going to be able to stay on plan because he had bought all of this fattening, high-calorie fast food.  I even had a plate filled with the awful food, when I stopped myself and thought, "Why am I eating this?".  I then realized there was no reason why I couldn't whip up a healthy dinner just for myself.  If everyone else wanted to eat KFC, that was up to them.  But, that didn't mean that I had to sabotage my healthy day at dinnertime.

So, I quickly made this recipe.  It turned out delicious, and was just was I wanted after a workout.  A good amount of protein, veggies, and low-calorie.  Thai lettuce wraps are one of my favorite appetizers to get at a restaurant.  While not as good as the Totally Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups I made previously, these were quicker to make (no meat to have to pre-cook) and still tasted pretty good.  They had a good spice to them, and were nice and flavorful.  I loved the crunch that the water chestnuts added to the lettuce cups. 

The only thing I changed was the chili sauce in the sauce recipe.  I did not have garlic chili sauce, so I just used regular chili sauce and added a little bit of minced garlic to the sauce recipe.  It still tasted great, and had a really good flavor.  I liked the amount of spice it had - spicy, but not mouth-burning spicy. 

After my workout, I was so starving I ended up eating the entire dish for dinner.  Luckily, it was only two servings, so I was still only eating 440 calories for dinner.  Not too bad!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chocolate-Coated Mousse-Cream Cones

Per Serving (1 cone): 2 Points+
84 calories, 1g fat, 134mg sodium, 20g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 2g sugars, 1g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies...", pages 172 - 173

These mousse cones not only sounded delicious and easy to make, but they were such a cute idea I just had to try them.  I made two batches - one chocolate and one vanilla.  The funny thing is, I don't ever look up the official Hungry Girl photo of the recipes (unless they are in the cookbook) until I am writing my blog.  I then look it up to get the nutritional information from the website, and that is when I usually see the picture and compare it to how mine turned out.  In her photo, she also made a chocolate version and a vanilla version.  Nice!  I guess great minds think alike - ha, ha!

Anyway, the main suggestion I would make with these is related to the chocolate syrup.  I can only ever find the lite syrup, so I am not sure if the sugar free tastes any better.  My suggestion is to only use a teaspoon of the lite chocolate syrup to coat the ice cream cones instead of a whole tablespoon.  Most of the syrup ended up settling into the bottom of the cone, which left a pretty gross final bite of what is an otherwise tasty dessert.  To me, the lite chocolate syrup has a very chemically taste to it, and in larger quantities does not have a good taste.  As a topping for ice cream, or combined with something else, it is just fine.  But, by itself, it is not even close to being good.  After eating one of these, and enjoying the mousse in the cute little ice cream cone, I got to the bottom of the cone.  It was filled with the lite chocolate syrup, and the bite was actually pretty disgusting.  I would suggest either skipping the chocolate syrup altogether, or just using a teaspoon to coat the inside of the cone.

The other thing to be aware of when making these is that the recipe does not say that the Cool Whip should be dethawed first.  In order to mix it with the pudding snack, it obviously has to be dethawed.  I ended up having to wait a little bit to make these since I hadn't thawed the Cool Whip first.  Duh! 

After filling the cones with the mousse, I froze them again for about 20 minutes, just to make them solidify a little more again.  They were definitely fun to eat.  I felt as though I were eating a creamy ice cream cone.  Yum! 

As for the two flavors, the chocolate was MUCH better than the vanilla mousse.  I am a chocolate lover, but even taking that into consideration, the vanilla just tasted boring to me.  And that was after having drizzled chocolate syrup over the top, as HG suggested. 

Overall, if you take all of the above into consideration when making these, you will have a yummy, fun dessert.  This one is good for kids, too!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Per Serving (entire smoothie): 4 Points+
172 calories, 2g fat, 147mg sodium, 32g carbs, 5g fiber, 13.5g sugars, 6g protein

The recipe: "Hungry Girl 1-2-3", pages 212 - 213

After attempting to avoid pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, I found I still had a craving for it a week later.  I was hoping this recipe would satisfy my desire for pumpkin pie, and it did a pretty good job.  It was thick and creamy, and tasted just like a pumpkin pie milkshake.  Mmmm!  The size was also nice.  There was actually more of it than would fit in my glass, so I shared the extra with my three-year-old.  He loved it as well, and drank it up very quickly and happily.

I used light vanilla soymilk as the recipe suggested, but for a few less calories you could easily substitute Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze.  I also found that I only needed one crushed graham cracker instead of two for the topping, which saves a few more calories as well. 

Overall, a delicious milkshake, especially for the holidays.  Although the calories are a little high, it is a nice size serving, and still much lower in calories than a standard pumpkin pie milkshake you might find in fast food joints this time of year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Old Habits Die Hard

There was a Biggest Loser episode a few weeks ago where they discussed how hard it is to break old habits.  Or rather, how easy it is to go back to your old habits after creating newer, healthier ones.  They used the Biggest Loser contestants as an example, saying that even though they have been exercising, eating healthy, and living an overall healthy lifestyle for 10 weeks, all it takes is one week of going back to their old habits to get stuck in that rut again.

I think this is what happened to me.  I was so excited to have found, and used it diligently for a month.  I was even on-plan during weekends, and if I wanted something extra, such as a dessert or beer, I would make sure to run on the treadmill to "earn" my calories. 

Then my son's surgery happened about a month ago.  Even though it was a minor surgery to remove an abscess, it was still stressful enough to where I wasn't focusing on eating healthy.  I was way too concerned about his health to worry about where we ate, or especially about cooking healthy meals at home.  A few days of bad eating turned into a week, and that threw me off completely.  Since then, I have been struggling to get back on plan and have actually gained 5 pounds back.  And right before I went below 150 for the first time in forever.

The holidays have not helped me either, of course.  Having all the Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge to be eaten is not the best thing for a healthy diet.  Especially the pumpkin and pecan pie! 

But, never fear - I have a new plan that I am super excited about.  One of the teachers at school has arranged for a group of us to participate in a boot camp fitness class.  The instructor is coming to our school to teach the class twice a week for a month.  I am hoping this jumpstarts my diet again, and helps me reach my goal of 140 to 145 pounds.  I am planning on logging back into myfitnesspal to track my eating and exercise on a daily basis.  My goal is to reach my target weight by the New Year, or at least get close to it.  I have only 10 pounds to go, and I just want to get it over with already! 

My other motivation is my running.  I recently ran a 10k three weeks ago, and came in just over an hour.  I will be running my second 10k (since having the baby) this weekend at Universal Studios, and I am super excited.  I did the same 10k two years ago, and am hoping to beat my time this time around.  I find that as long as I am registered for a race, I stay motivated with my running.  I am debating training for another half marathon, but I am not sure if my knees can handle it.  If I lose the weight, I usually notice that my running not only gets easier, but it is also better for my knees.  For now, I will just plan on running another 10k and working on my decreasing my time.

So, for the next month, my focus will be logging in to myfitnesspal daily, attending boot camp, and in between all that, training for the next race.  Oh, and of course, cooking low calorie Hungry Girl dishes!