Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cheesy Butternut Squash Cavatappi

You will love this dish and it's low points value! Another bonus is that your kids will not even know there is squash in this dish. It is a nice way to sneak in a healthy vegetable and makes the cheese sauce extra creamy!

Serves 8 ( 6 points +)

  • 3 c. peeled, cubed butternut squash
  • 8 oz. dried cavatappi 
  • 2 T. light butter, divided
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 c. skim milk
  • 6 oz. reduced-fat Velveeta ( made with 2% milk), cubed
  • 4 slices fully cooked bacon ( Oscar Mayer), cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 c. Panko Japanese bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly coat an 11 x 7 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

Place squash in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender; drain and mash. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cavatappi and cook until al dente; drain.

In a large nonstick skillet coated with spray, melt 1 T. light butter. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in milk and Velveeta. Cook until Velveeta is melted. Stir in squash. Carefully stir in cavatappi.

Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Top with cooked, crumbled bacon. Combine Panko with remaining 1 T. melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake until bubbly and top is lightly browned. ( about 15-20 minutes)

Celery-Apple Salad

This light, refreshing salad is perfect for fall and scores high on the "crunch" scale!

serves 8 ( about 1/2 c. = 1 point +)

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 c. thinly sliced apple
  • 2 c. sliced celery
  • 1/3 c. thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 c. loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Add apple and remaining ingredients. Toss to coat.

from "Cooking Light"

Friday, September 20, 2013

Grilled Chicken Florentine Alfredo

Yum! Yum! Your taste buds won't believe this is a light recipe!

serves 12 ( about 1 c. = 8 points +)

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. linguini pasta
  • 4 c. fresh baby spinach
  • 8 oz. low-fat cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 c. skim milk
  • 1 c. fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spray with nonstick spray and grill  or pan fry until juices run clear. Let chicken stand for 5 minutes before cutting into cubes.

In a large saucepot, combine cream cheese, milk, garlic, chicken broth, Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.

 Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, omitting fat. Just before draining, add spinach so that it wilts. Drain pasta and spinach.

Add pasta mixture and chicken to the pot with the sauce. Stir to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Harvest Apple Salad

We love this salad in the fall. The original recipe came from my friend at 
Cupcakes and Crablegs, but I have lightened it and changed a couple of the ingredients. I hope you like it!

serves 8 ( 4 points+)

  • mixed salad greens ( about 10 c.)
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese


  • 2 T. light mayonnaise
  • 2 T. sugar-free maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 T. tarragon vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • salt and pepper

For dressing, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

For salad, place lettuce on a large platter. Top with remaining ingredients. Drizzle with dressing.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Italian Layer Bake

This recipe comes from "Mr. Food". I have adapted it to make it more points friendly. It was still fairly high in points, so I served it along with a nice spinach salad. It was very satisfying.

serves 6 ( 10 points +)

  • 1 ( 8 oz) can reduced-fat crescent roll dough
  • 4 oz. deli turkey
  • 4 oz. lean deli ham
  • 4 oz. hard salami
  • 4 oz. Sargento ultra thin sliced Provolone cheese
  • 1 jar ( 12 oz) roasted red peppers packed in water, drained
  • 1 c. egg beaters

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll crescent roll dough without separating triangles. Separate dough into 2 squares along center cut line.

Place 1 square of dough into an 8 inch square baking dish; using your fingertips, press dough to fit bottom of dish.

Layer with half the turkey, ham, salami, Provolone and roasted red peppers. Pour half of the egg beaters over peppers and repeat with remaining meats, cheese and peppers.

Place remaining dough over peppers. Pour remaining egg beaters over dough and cover lightly with foil.

Bake 20 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes or until golden and heated through. Let cool  15 - 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

Pumpkin Heath Caramel Cake

This original recipe comes from "". I have changed it a bit and calculated points to make this a treat worth having. It is perfect for fall!

serves 24 ( 5 points +)

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 can ( 14 oz) pumpkin ( not pie filling)
  • 1/2 c. egg beaters
  • 14 oz. can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip Free
  • 1/2 c. Heath Bits
  • 4 T. caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat cake mix with pumpkin and egg beaters ( nothing else). Spread in a 13 x 9 pan coated with nonstick spray.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean ( do not overbake)

Let cool. Poke holes in cake with a fork or wooden spoon handle. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the cake and spread evenly. Refrigerate until serving or at least 1 hour or until milk has soaked into cake. 
Spread Cool Whip over cake. Sprinkle with Heath bits and drizzle with caramel.

Chicken Frittata with Cantaloupe-Tomato Salsa

Perfect for a light supper!

serves 6 ( 5 points +)

  • 1 c. chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1 c. chopped cantaloupe
  • 1/4 c. chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 c. skim milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 oz. diced green chilies
  • 1 c. shredded, cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2/3 c. kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz. ( 1/2 c.) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat broiler.
For salsa, in a medium bowl combine tomatoes, cantaloupe and cilantro. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and salt.

Spray a 12 inch cast iron or oven-proof skillet, add chilies and cook for 3 minutes. Spread chicken and beans evenly in skillet. Pour egg mixture over chicken and beans. Cook over medium heat. As mixture sets, run a spatula around edge of skillet, lifting egg mixture, so uncooked mixture flows underneath. Continue cooking until egg mixture is almost set. 

Sprinkle with cheese. Place skillet under broiler for 1-2 minutes or until top is just set and cheese melts. Top with salsa.

adapted from "Better Homes and Gardens"

Buttermilk Cake

The first time I had this recipe, it was made by my friend, Wendy. She is an awesome cook. This recipe, which was on "Smitten Kitchen" and originally comes from "Gourmet"magazine is delicious. It is perfect for breakfast or dessert. It is a perfect, every-day cake. Try this recipe with different fruits. We seem to like strawberry the best so far. This photo had blackberries.

serves 8 ( 5 points+)

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 T. butter
  • 2/3 c. + 1 T. sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 c. fresh berries ( if using strawberries, slice)

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a 9 inch round cake pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and 2/3 c. sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and zest. Add egg and beat well.

Mix in flour in three batches, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour. 

Spoon into cake pan and smooth the top. Scatter berries over the top and sprinkle with remaining 1 T. sugar. 

Bake until cake is golden and toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. ( about 20 minutes). Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a serving plate to cool. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hummus Cups

This quick and easy recipe was on Pinterest from the site "". They were quick and easy and everyone seemed to love them. They were devoured pretty quickly! How cute and fun these are for a party! I adapted them slightly by using reduced fat crescent roll dough and by omitting the salt. They are delicious!

Makes 24 ( 1 point +)

  • 1 package reduced fat crescent roll dough
  • about 1/2 c. store bought hummus
  • English cucumber
  • 12 grape tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 375. Roll out crescent roll dough so that seams are sealed. Using a 2 or 2-1/4 inch biscuit cutter, cut out 24 circles. Press circles into the bottom and up sides of mini muffin cups. Use remaining dough to fill in where dough seems thin. Prick dough with a fork on bottom and sides.

 Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Crescent dough will be puffy, so while still hot, press a spoon against the sides to make a mini bowl. Cool completely.

Slice 12 thin rounds of cucumber and then slice those in half. Slice tomatoes in half.

Once cooled, remove dough and set on a tray. Fill each with about 1 tsp. hummus. Top with one cucumber slice and one tomato half. Refrigerate until serving.

The Mother Of All Brownies

Here you go... the mother of all brownies! This recipe comes from my friend, Heather, and is absolutely delicious. It is quick and easy to make and it is a chocolate lovers dream-come-true! I cut these in 24 pieces and they are 6 points + each, but they are worth every point. If you do not want to use that many points, cut them into 48. Make sure you are feeding a crowd with these, because you will want to eat more than one! These would be great for a potluck, bake sale, Christmas gift...

Makes 24 ( 6 points +)

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 3 c. chocolate chips, divided
  • 1-1/2 c. sugar
  • 1-1/3 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Spray a 13 x 9 pan with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 350. 
In a medium pot, melt butter with 2 c. chocolate chips ( that's one 12 oz. bag) over low heat. Remove from heat and add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs and vanilla. When smooth, stir in the remaining 1 c. chocolate chips. Spread in prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges start to crackle a bit. Don't over bake or they will get dry- and no one likes a dry brownie!. Let cool before attempting to cut. 

Chicken and Rice Salad with Orange-Pistachio Vinaigrette

 Trying not to heat up the kitchen too much yesterday, because of the record-breaking heat we were having, I decided to try this refreshing recipe. I served this along with a green salad and chilled watermelon cubes. YUM!

serves 4 ( 11 points +)

  • 1 box ( 4.3 oz) Rice-A-Roni wild rice blend, made according to package directions,  omitting butter or fat
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. white wine vinegar
  • 1 T. fresh orange juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 c. shredded chicken ( either rotisserie, grilled or pan fried)
  • 1/2 c. fresh basil
  • 1/4 c. pistachios
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, each cut into six wedges

Combine oil, vinegar, orange juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add chicken, basil, pistachios and cheese; toss to coat. Place about 1/2 c. rice on each of four plates. Top with chicken mixture and 3 tomato wedges.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chicken and Pierogies

Serves 4 ( about 1-1/4 c. = 7 points +)

  • 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 c. diced onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1/2 c. chopped carrot
  • 1 T. fresh thyme
  • 2 c. fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 c. ( 2%) milk
  • 5 T. flour
  • 20 frozen mini cheddar pierogies ( such as Mrs. T's)

Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spray the pan, add the chicken and cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken and drain any juice.

Spray pan, add celery, onion, carrot and thyme. Cook until vegetables are tender and lightly browned.

Combine broth, milk and flour in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add broth mixture to pan, stirring constantly; bring to a boil, cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Return chicken to pan and add pierogies. Cook until chicken is done and pierogies are warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

"Cooking Light"

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Blueberry Banana Bran Muffins

While visiting a friend this summer, she served us these delicious and oh-so-healthy muffins! They were so good that even my 1 year old granddaughter loved them! My friend was kind enough to share this recipe with me, which came from this site . I have adapted it ever so slightly.
I made these last night as a treat for my dad, who is diabetic. He was very skeptical at first, being one to avoid most things considered "healthy", but after eating FOUR of these and taking four home, I think he was convinced that they were good.
This recipe is versatile in the fact that you can add whichever fruit you like or leave it out. I plan to try these again this fall, using pumpkin in place of the banana.
This recipe also makes a good amount, so store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They would make a great snack, on-the-go breakfast, or dessert. Share them with neighbors and friends too. They will thank you!

Makes 27 muffins ( 3 points +)

  • 2 c. organic wheat bran ( I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 c. organic oat bran ( Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour ( I used King Arthur)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c. skim milk
  • 2/3 c. low-fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1/3 c. sweet molasses ( not black strap)
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1 large mashed banana
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

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

Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl (through salt). 

In a medium bowl, whisk milk together with the next eight ingredients ( through vanilla). 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just moist. Fold in blueberries.

 Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.

* I did try these with 1 cup pumpkin puree in place of the banana. They are very good, although a little less sweet.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tomato-Basil Soup

This easy soup recipe can be made in about 15 -20 minutes. I served this along with 
Prosciutto and Gruyere Stromboli. Enjoy!

Serves 4 ( 2 points +)

  • 1T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 ( 28 oz) can whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 2 T. fat-free sour cream
  • salt to taste

Heat 2 tsp. oil in a sauce pot. Add onion and cook until tender. Add tomatoes and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Place tomato mixture in a blender, along with basil and sour cream. Blend until smooth. ( or use an immersion blender). Season with salt to taste.

Black Forest Parfaits

serves 4 ( 6 points +)

  • 2 c. frozen, pitted, unsweetened cherries
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 c. Edy's slow churned vanilla ice-cream
  • 14 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, crushed

Place cherries in a large bowl and mix with cornstarch. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Mash to desired consistency.
Place half of the wafer crumbs in the bottom of parfait glasses. Top with half of the cherry mixture, then 1/2 c. vanilla ice-cream. Top with remaining cherries and wafer crumbs.

adapted from "Cooking Light"

Italian Meatballs

My grandmother was the BEST cook in the world and ever since she passed away, I have not been a fan of meatballs. No matter which recipe I tried or no matter who made them, they could not come close to grandma's.... until now. This recipe was surprisingly easy, since you do not have to brown them.  The meatballs do have to simmer on low in a pot of sauce for 3 hours, so allot plenty of time.  This recipe made 26-28 meatballs and they were devoured in about 5 minutes... not a trace left! Try them out and let me know what you think!

Makes 26-28 meatballs ( each meatball = 2 points+)

  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef ( 93% lean)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. skim milk
  • 1 c. seasoned Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand. Roll meatballs about 2- 2-1/2 inch in diameter to make 26-28 meatballs.
Drop meatballs into a large sauce pot of heated marinara sauce. Simmer for about 3 hours. Stir the bottom of the pot about every half hour.

adapted from ""


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