Friday, May 31, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

This pretty pie is comfort food at its finest. This recipe is fairly simple and I have lightened the ingredients as much as possible while still giving it a rich and indulgent taste. Since it is a bit higher in points, I suggest serving it with a large green salad for a complete and filling meal.
I used a large pie dish for this recipe. The longer you let the pie stand, the more firm the filling will become. I suggest at least 15 minutes.

serves 8 ( 9 points +)

  • Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust ( 2 crusts)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 c. carrots, sliced
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 1/2 c. sliced celery
  • 4 T. light stick butter
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-1/2 c. fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 c. skim milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place chicken, carrots, peas and celery in a large pot. Cover with water. Boil for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Drain.
Unroll 1 pie crust and place in the bottom of pie dish. Spread chicken mixture over crust.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a sauce pot. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in broth and milk. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Pour flour mixture over chicken mixture. 

Unroll remaining crust and place over mixture in pie dish. Crimp edges, cut four slits in the top to let steam escape. Bake at 425 for 30-35 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. If you want your filling firmer, let stand longer.

Pork Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Avocado Salsa

This flavorful recipe takes a little bit of time to cook, but overall, it is pretty simple. I love the combination of the pork with the grilled pineapple, and of course, avocado is an added bonus! You will have extra liquid when this is done cooking, so serve with a slotted spoon.

Makes 16 tacos ( 5 points + each)

  • 2-1/4 lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1/4 c. fresh orange juice
  • 1 c. fat-free chicken broth 
  • 16 corn tortillas ( La Tortilla Factory brand is awesome!)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Cook pork, browning on all sides ( may have to cook in batches)
Add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir. Add orange juice and broth. Cover and cook on low for 1- 1-1/4 hours or until very tender. Warm tortillas either in the oven, covered with foil or in a frying pan.


  • 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into spears
  • 1 c. diced avocado
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 2 T. finely chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 T. honey
  • 2 T. lime juice

Spray a grill pan with nonstick spray. Cook pineapple spears until softened and grill lines form on all sides. Remove and cool for about 15 minutes. Chop pineapple and place in a medium bowl. Carefully stir in remaining ingredients. Serve with pork tacos.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Coconut Oil Brown Sugar Cookies

Coconut Oil seems to be the rage in the health food industry lately. I have used it for quite some time for everything from health reasons to cooking. Here is just one article on some of the health benefits of coconut oil ( there are many more articles online, so check them out for yourself)

When I came across the recipe for these cookies on Pinterest, I knew I had to try them. The original recipe comes from a site called "Averie Cooks". The author says that the dough for these cookies must be chilled for at least two hours or they will spread too much. As you can see, I was in a rush and did not chill for at least two hours. Never the less, these cookies were amazing with a deep, rich caramel-y taste. The texture is soft and dense, yet somewhat light tasting. Do not over bake. The cookies will firm a bit more upon standing. 

Makes 21 ( 4 points +)

  • 1/2 c. coconut oil ( softened, but NOT melted)
  • 1 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. vanilla
  • 1 T. mild molasses
  • 1-3/4 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil, sugar and egg. Beat until combined. Add vanilla and molasses and beat 1-2 minutes. Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined.

Using a medium cookie scoop ( about 2 T. in measure) scoop dough onto a large plate or platter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill for 2 hours or up to 5 days.

Preheat oven to 350, lone a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Place dough on baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until tops have just set. They will firm up as they cool.

Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before moving. Store in an airtight container. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Today is Memorial Day. I wanted to make something fitting ( All American, red, white and blue). What better than blueberry breakfast cake served with fresh srawberries? This cake was wonderful served warm. Let me know how you like it!

serves 16 ( 4 points +)

  • 1/2 c. light stick butter
  • 1 T. grated lemon zest ( about 1 large lemon)
  • 3/4 c. + 1 T. sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour, divided
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 c. fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9 inch square pan with nonstick spray.
Combine blueberries with 1/4 c. flour and set aside.

Place butter and 3/4 c. sugar, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Beat until creamy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until combined.
Whisk together 1-3/4 c. flour, salt and baking powder. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Fold in blueberries.
Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1 T. sugar. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. 
Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lemon Risotto with Peas and Tarragon

Creamy comfort food with a hint of spring flavor! This dish pairs especially well with chicken.

serves 8 ( 1/2 c. = 5 points +)

  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 4 c. fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onion
  • 1 c. uncooked Arborio rice
  • 3 T. white wine
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T. chopped, fresh tarragon
  • 1 T. butter

Place broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Keep warm over low heat. Boil peas or microwave for 2 minutes. Ser aside.
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and green onions. Cook until tender. Add rice; cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Add wine; cook until liquid is nearly absorbed. Stir in 1 c. broth; cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next. Stir in peas; heat through. Stir in cheese, rind, juice, salt and pepper. Remove from heat; stiri in tarragon and butter.

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

Light, soft and melt-in your mouth, it will be hard to eat just one of these!

Makes 12 ( 4 points +)

  • 1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. white- whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1-1/4 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 T. canola oil

Preheat oven to 450
Combine flours, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
Place butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave 1 minute or until melted. Add cold buttermilk, stirring until butter forms small clumps. Add oil, stirring to combine,
Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir until just incorporated.
Drop batter in mounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 11 monutes or until golden. Serve warm.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Frosted Brownie Bars

It is a rainy day here in the Midwest and I am planning a small dinner party for tonight. What better time to try out a new brownie recipe? I saw the original recipe on Pinterest from, but I decided to tweak it just a bit to make it more points friendly.  This recipe is very similar to my Texas Sheet Cake recipe, except that it has less flour and is topped with peanut butter frosting instead of chocolate frosting. There are two keys to making a good dessert: the first is to lighten where you can, without risking losing the flavor.  The second is to have smaller portions.This rich, cake-like brownie sacrifices no flavor and a small piece is sure to satisfy!

Makes 48 ( 3 points +)

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla


  • 3 T. light stick butter
  • 1/4 c. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. reduced fat peanut butter
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. skim milk

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a jelly roll pan with nonstick spray.
Place sugar, fluor and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter with water and cocoa, stirring constantly. Add butter mixture to flour mixture and beat until blended. Add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and beat until smooth. ( mixture will be thin). Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

For frosting, beat butter, cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Add 1 T. milk. Spread over cooled brownies.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chicken in a Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

This recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal. It can be made in about 30 minutes. This was a big hit in our family.

serves 6 ( 1/2 c. egg noodles + one chicken breast with sauce = 8 points +)

  • 1 T. olive oil, divided
  • 6 ( 4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c. onion, chopped
  • 1 can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. julienned sun-dried tomatoes ( not packed in oil)
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • 3 c. hot cooked, egg noodles ( or more for the big eaters in the family)
  • 2 T. chopped, fresh basil leaves
  • 6 tsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat 2 tsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pan and cook until chicken is no longer pink and browned on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside.
Add remaining 1 tsp. oil to the pan. Add onion and saute until tender. Add soup, water, sun-dried tomatoes and vinegar. Heat to boiling. Return chicken to pan and heath through. Serve over egg noodles topped with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

Tuscan Lemon Muffins

I love that it is finally spring in the mid-west! Somehow, spring and the taste of lemon seem to go hand in hand. I love the rich flavor of these muffins and love that they are made with olive oil instead of butter. The ricotta cheese puts the taste over the top! My boys just about devoured these in one sitting!

Serves 12 ( 5 points +)

  • 1-3/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 T. grated lemon rind
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T. turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375 and line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients ( through salt). Make a well in the center.
In another bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with the next 5 ingredients ( through egg). Add ricotta mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. 
Spoon into muffin tins. Sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp. turbinado sugar. 
Bake for 15-16 minutes or until done. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Monday, May 13, 2013

Broccoli Grape Salad

This salad has been a family favorite for years. Although the combination of ingredients may seem strange, this dish is absolutely delicious! This salad is great to bring to a party, but is best made the night before. Letting the salad sit overnight in the refrigerator is key to the melding of the flavors.

serves 12 ( about 2/3 c. = 5 points +)

  • 1-1/2 bunches fresh broccoli ( at least 4 c. ) cut into florets
  • 4 c. red seedless grapes
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 strips Oscar Mayer fully cooked bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 c. light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1T. white vinegar
  • 1 c. cashews

Place first four ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Pour over broccoli mixture, stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Just before serving add cashews and toss to mix.

Soy Marinated Pork Sandwich with Carrot Ribbon Salad Topping

This sandwich has a very Vietnamese taste.  We all enjoyed it.

serves 4 ( 6 points +)

  • 1-1/2 T. brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh crushed ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • 12 oz. lean pork tenderloin, cut into thin slices
  • 2 T. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 c. shaved carrot
  • 1/4 c. diagonally cut green onions
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro
  • 4 light hamburger buns

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add pork and toss to coat. LEt stand 15 minutes.
While pork marinates, combine vinegar, 1 tsp. canola oil and sugar in a medium bowl. Add carrot, onions and cilantro; toss to coat.

Preheat broiler to high.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add pork to pan. Cook until done, turning occasionally ( 3-5 minutes)

While pork cooks, place buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Broil 1 minute or until lightly toasted. Top buns with pork and carrot mixture.

"Cooking Light"

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Swiss Cheese Souffles

These souffles are beautiful and savory. They are a  nice addition to any meal.

serves 6 ( 3 points +)

  • 6 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-1/2 T. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. skim milk
  • 2 T. white wine
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
To prepare souffles, coat each of 6 ( 8 oz) ramekins with cooking spray. Sprinkle each ramekin with 1 tsp. Parmesan cheese and tilt to coat.
Combine flour and the next three ingredients in a small saucepan. Gradually add milk and white wine, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Cook 3-4 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add salt and Swiss cheese, Stir until cheese melts. Spoon mixture into a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in egg yolks.
Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until medium peaks form. Gently stir one quarter of egg whites into yolk mixture; gently fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon into prepared ramekins. Place dishes on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 375. Bake 17 minutes or until puffed and golden.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Chicken with Orange Plum Bourbon Sauce

Yum! Another quick dinner that is full of flavor!

serves 6 ( 5 points +)

  • 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 6 ( 4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c. orange marmalade
  • 1/4 c. plum jelly ( or some other red jelly)
  • 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 T. bourbon

Heat a large cast iron or heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pan and cook 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from pan.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine orange marmalade, plum jelly and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened ( 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in butter and bourbon. Spoon over chicken.

Steak Sandwich with Arugula and Fresh Herb Topping

This fast, filling sandwich can be made in about 15 minutes. The topping is similar to a pesto sauce, but with less oil and without nuts. Our family loved the flavor combinations in this recipe.

serves 4 ( 11 points +)

  • 1 lb. flank steak
  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 ( 12 oz) French bread baguette
  • 1-1/2 c. arugula, divided
  • 1/2 c. fresh, flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 plum tomatoes

Preheat broiler to high.
Heat a large nonstick cast iron or grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub steak evenly with 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Remove from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.

Cut bread in quarters, crosswise, then split open Hollow out tops and bottom of bread, leaving 1/2 inch shell.. Place bread, cut sides up, on a baking sheet or broiler pan. Broil for 1-1/2 - 2 minutes or until toasted.

Place 1-1/2 T. oil, 1/2 c. arugula, parsley and remaining ingredients, though garlic into a food processor. Process until smooth. Spread parsley mixture over bread. Layer bread with remaining arugula, steak and tomato. Cover with top halves of bread.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Friday, May 3, 2013

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

This salad would make a perfect lunch or a nice, hefty side dish! This recipe is slightly adapted from a site called "The Garden Grazer". I originally saw this recipe on Pinterest and it looked so fresh and appetizing that I knew I had to try it! Just the thought of cilantro and lime together gets me every time!

serves 8 ( 4 points +)

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce or 1 large head Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 c. frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 can ( 15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed


  • 1 c. loosely packed cilantro
  • 1/2 c. plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt to taste
Combine salad ingredients together in a large bowl. 
For dressing, place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Toss salad with dressing.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Avocado Salsa

Fresh tasting and full of a symphony of flavors, this recipe is sure to please!

serves 4 ( 5 points +)

  • 1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • 1/2 c. chopped avocado
  • salt to taste


  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. fat-free beef broth
  • 1 lb. flank steak

For steak, combine spices in a small bowl, rub over both sides of steak. 
Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet coated with nonstick spray over medium-high heat. Cook steak 4 minutes, flip. Cook 2 minutes, then add beef broth. Cook until desired doneness. Let stand 5 minutes, Slice thinly against the grain.

For salsa, combine ingredients together in a medium bowl. Serve over sliced steak.


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