Monday, February 24, 2014

Spicy Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup

This soup is very much like the "Zuppa Toscana" soup at "Olive Garden". In my opinion, it is even better! 
The recipe was adapted from the site "". 

Serves 10 ( 1 generous cup = 4 points +)

  • 20 oz. Jenny O hot Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 T. crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 c. sliced and halved Yukon Gold potatoes ( slice about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 8 c. fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. fat-free half and half

Heat a large heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Coat with nonstick spray and dd sausage, breaking apart with spoon. Cook until no longer pink. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Add onion to the pan and cook until onion begins to soften. Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook until onions are tender. Stir in kale and cook until it begins to wilt. Stir in nutmeg. Cook kale until it is completely wilted down ( about 3 more minutes).
Add sliced potatoes and cooked sausage. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender and soft. Stir in half and half. Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Linguini with a Light Bolognese Sauce

This light sauce comes together in a jiffy! It is also another way to get some vegetables into your children's diets!

serves 8 (  1 c. pasta with sauce and 1 T. Parmesan cheese = 10 points +)

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 12 oz. ( 3 links) Jenny O hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 ( 15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 ( 6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 c. water 
  • 1 c. white wine
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 oz. uncooked linguini
  • 8 T. Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook until onion is translucent. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in sausage, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until sausage is no longer pink. Add tomato sauce, paste, water, wine and spices ( through salt and pepper). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. If sauce thickens too much add just a bit more water.

When nearly ready to serve, boil pasta until al dente. Drain. Serve sauce over pasta. Top each helping with 1 T. grated Parmesan cheese.

adapted from the cookbook "Fast and Fit" by Theresa Guidice

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mexicali Chicken and Rice

This recipe is one of those awesome slow-cooker recipes where you just throw in the ingredients and forget about it. In fact, I had forgotten to start dinner earlier and just decided to cook this on high. I had the whole dinner ready in under three hours. I opted to add avocado to my serving and later added sour cream. If you opt for this as well, use 1/8 of an avocado and 1 T. fat-free sour cream for an additional 1 point. I saw the original recipe on a site called "" and just slightly adapted it. I hope you like it.

serves 8 (1/2 c. rice and a generous 1/2 c. chicken mixture = 8 points +)

  • 1-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 ( 16 oz. ) jar salsa
  • 1 ( 15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c. frozen whole kernel corn
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c. reduced fat cheddar
  • 4 c. cooked white rice
  • cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped ( optional)
  • 8 T. fat-free sour cream ( optional)

Add everything to the slow cooker except rice, cheese, cilantro, avocado and sour cream.
Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. Shred chicken about 10 minutes before serving. Serve chicken mixture over rice. Top with cheese and cilantro. Add avocado and sour cream if desired.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fettuccine with Butternut Squash Carbonara

Last night I made this pasta dish. My granddaughter, who is 19 months old, absolutely loved it. She kept saying "more"! This is a great way to get some vegetables into those picky eaters! This is also another great weeknight dish as the prep and cooking time are not that long.

Serves 8 ( 1 c. pasta = 7 points +)

  • 1/4 lb. reduced-fat bacon, 
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh sage
  • 3 c. peeled, diced butternut squash
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 c. fat-free chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 oz. uncooked fettuccine
  • 1/4 c. grated, fresh Parmesan cheese

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, Cook bacon until crisp, stir in sage. Remove bacon and sage with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels; set aside.
Add squash and onion to the pan and cook until onion is translucent. Add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by about half ( 15-20 minutes). Let cook slightly, then puree in a blender until smooth, Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
Place squash mixture back in skillet.

Cook pasta in a large pot of water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 c. pasta liquid.
Combine pasta, sauce and 1/4 c. cooking liquid from pasta. Cook over medium heat until hot. Add more liquid as needed until sauce coats pasta. Mix in Parmesan cheese. 
Serve pasta topped with reserved bacon and sage.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage and Butternut Squash

On Sundays, I like to have a meal ready when we come home from church. This often means that I am looking for something that can be made ahead of time and made quickly. This recipe fit the bill. It was nice a cold, wintry day!

serves 6 ( 1/2 c. rice  and about 3/4 c. squash mixture = 8 points +)

  • 13 oz. pkg. Hillshire farm turkey kielbasa, sliced
  • 1 can ( 15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups, cubed butternut squash
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped ( color of your choice)
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 c. fat-free chicken broth
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 c. hot, cooked brown rice ( I used Minute Rice for the sake of time)

In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick spray, cook sausage until lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients, except for rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, covered. Uncover and simmer until mixture looks thickened and squash is tender. ( about 5-10 minutes longer). Serve over rice.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Apricot Orange Gem Muffins

I love the fact that muffins are so versatile. There are endless possibilities to the flavor combinations you can come up with, they can be eaten as a dinner accompaniment, a dessert or even a breakfast. I also love the fact that muffins are made without a mixer and that they can be made quickly.
These apricot orange gem muffins were perfect for a winter day. There is just something about the citrus flavor that lifts the mood in the middle of winter.

Serves 12 ( 4 points +)

  • 1-1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c. fat-free sour cream
  • 3/4 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 1/3 c. dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 T. orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Lightly spray liners with nonstick spray.
Place first seven ingredients in a large bowl ( through ginger). Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, buttermilk and butter. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Stir in apricots.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling  3/4 full. Make a small indent in the center of each muffin. Fill each with 1/2 tsp. orange marmalade. Bake 14-15 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Winter Salad

Blood Oranges, Mango and Pomegranate make this a perfect winter salad. The colors are so bright and cheery that they will lift your mood, and the fruits and mixed greens are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants making this a very healthy choice. For the dressing, I used an orange- infused olive oil and a white balsamic vinegar. Feel free to substitute whatever flavors you like for olive oil or vinegar, though.

serves 8 ( 5 points +)

  • 1 c. pomegranate arils
  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  • 3 blood oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
  • 5 oz. mixed salad greens


  • 2 oz. orange olive oil
  • 2 oz. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place mixed greens in a large bowl. Top with remaining salad ingredients. 
For dressing, place all ingredients in a jar with a lid. Cover and shake well. Drizzle dressing over salad right before serving and toss gently to coat.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Grilled Pork Chops with Ancho Avocado Orzo

I originally saw this recipe at a site called Since it has avocado, I knew I had to try it. This combination pasta  and pork dish was amazing! I think you will really enjoy it! I have adapted it slightly by adding more beans and more tomatoes. I also added an olive oil and lime juice to the pork to make it extra tender when grilling. Since it is still winter here, I grilled inside on my George Foreman grill. If you have a stovetop grill pan, that will work too.

serves 8 ( 1 chop and a generous 1 c. pasta = 11 points +)

  • 2 fresh poblano chili peppers, seeded and halved
  • 8 ( 4 oz) boneless pork loin chops
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 avocados , halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 c. fat-free half and half
  • 1/4 c. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • 4 c. cooked orzo pasta
  • 1 can ( 15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 2/3 c. frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1/2 c. chopped, fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place poblano peppers, cut side down on the foil. Roast 20 minutes or until peppers are charred and tender. Bring foil up around peppers and let stand 15 minutes. Loosen edges of skin, peel and coarsely chop peppers.

Combine 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. lime juice. Brush over both sides of pork chops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until pork is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Meanwhile, combine avocado, half and half, 1/4 c. lime juice, ancho chili powder and about 1 tsp. salt in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine poblano peppers, orzo, black beans, tomatoes, onions, corn, cilantro and avocado mixture. Serve with pork chops.

Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

A good comfort food classic!

serves 6  ( 6 points +)

  • 1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly
  • 1 can Campbell's Healthy Request cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/3 c. fat-free sour cream
  • 1 box Stove Top chicken flavored stuffing
  • 2 c. hot water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with nonstick spray. place chicken strips in the bottom of the dish. Combine soup with sour cream and spread over chicken. 
Mix stuffing with 2 c. boiling water. Spread stuffing over soup mixture. Bake, uncovered 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and casserole looks hot and bubbly.


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