Category Archives: Vegetarian

First Up…. Macaroni and Cheese!

Okay, you guys like macaroni and cheese, don’t you? It showed up over and over and over again as the favorite dish you’d like to see lightened up… Your wish is my command! Let me start out by saying typical homemade macaroni and cheese has 400-600 calories per serving, which is NUTS!

I found this recipe at Gina’s Weight Watchers Recipes. You should check it out her site for the full recipe. I’ll just show you the steps. Her recipe has just under 300 calories per serving, which is still a little high, but so much better than it could be. Coming soon, I’ll post one with 200 calories and one with 100 calories… With mac and cheese, I think it’s similar to “you get what you pay for”– The 300 calorie option is definitely my favorite.

Enjoy!

IMG_0335

Start with a little diced onion.

IMG_0337

Melt some butter in a big pot and throw in some flour. You’re going to make a white sauce, baby!

IMG_0339

Add milk and chicken broth VERY gradually. Patience, my friends! This is a labor of love!

IMG_0342

Add whole grain noodles. I like the “Barilla Plus” brand.

IMG_0343

Add cheese to the white sauce and then stir in the noodles. YUM.

IMG_0345

Add a bunch of spinach. Because spinach is awesome. Seriously.

IMG_0346

Stick it into a greased casserole pan. Heat your oven to 350.

IMG_0347

Realize you don’t have any whole wheat breadcrumbs, but then realize you’re super crafty and can MAKE your own breadcrumbs. Put the whole wheat bread in the toaster and crumble it up. Yes! This is genius!
Or…. put the bread bag directly on the hot stove… and melt the bag.

IMG_0349

I. Am. Awesome.

IMG_0350

Mix the “breadcrumbs” with parmesan cheese, italian seasoning, and garlic powder.

IMG_0367

Sprinkle it on top and bake for a long time. I think Gina’s recipe says 20 minutes, but I probably did 20 and then broiled it on low for 5 to get the top nice and toasted.

IMG_0375

All plated up and ready to eat!

Tacos, A Little Bit Healthier

Every once in a while, I really crave tacos. Like, must-have-them-this-second-or-I’ll-die crave them. Similar to pregnancy cravings, except I can’t blame it on a wee one in my belly. Alas.

So these are really simple. You can make them even healthier by using whole grain tortillas or maybe using tortillas made with something other than flour; however, I love one brand of tortillas and I just can’t stray. Yet. Maybe I’ll work up to that. I added beans and guacamole to mine to fill me up. I also added some plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. Salsa and fresh cilantro for flavor… Delish!

Tacos, A Little Bit Healthier

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 10-15 grape tomatoes, sliced
  • Small, delicious soft taco shells
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salsa

I had meat and shredded cheese available for my husband and kids. I’m working on them, but they’re not overly fond of meatless meals… Baby steps!

To make mine, I spread about 1/2 tablespoon of Greek yogurt on a tortilla, added a small amount of black beans, avocado, tomato, and salsa. It was sooooo good! I also had a small side of rice with cilantro and black beans. It would have been even better had I remembered to add lime juice to the rice!

 

We had a lot leftover, so I put black beans, avocado, tomato, some Greek yogurt, salsa, and cilantro in a bowl and put a cup or two of lettuce in a ziploc bag… and this made a tasty lunch the next day! Oh, I also intentionally put the salsa directly on the avocado to help the avocado stay a little greener.

The Easiest Snack Ever!

Okay, it might not be the easiest, because I suppose you could say grabbing a granola bar is pretty easy. I guess I mean the easiest if you’re actually making something… Or maybe you’d argue that whipping up some Greek yogurt and fresh fruit would technically be making something, and that would also be easier than this. Fine, *darn* it! This isn’t easy! It takes a bit of time! But, it’s so worth your 10-15 minutes. 🙂

Start with some soft taco shells (the whole wheat ones would be better, but I figure this is still a step up from fried tortilla chips and this brand is sooooo delicious), some salsa, and an avocado or two.

Slice your tortillas with a pizza cutter.

Toast those babies in the oven… I did them at 400 for about 10 minutes and then broiled them for a minute.

Mash up some avocado.

Pour on some salsa.

Mix it up. It might not be beautiful, but haven’t you learned not to judge by appearances? This ugly little dish is heaven in your mouth!

This is attempt #20 at a photo of guacamole on a baked chip. They all came out blurry. 😦

Anyway, I love eating this. The avocado has some heart-healthy fat in it, it’s relatively guilt-free (in moderation, of course). My 7-year-old LOVED the tortilla chips just plain. I have made them in the past by misting them with olive oil and sprinkling on seasoning… but I like the plain ones quite a bit, too!

Easy Spinach Soup!

I always have leftovers after Chef Salad Night. So, we’ve now started omelet night on Thursdays. And to help even more, I decided to use some of the ingredients for an asian spinach soup. This was partly because carrots generally don’t work well in omelets but also because I love any excuse to use sesame oil.

Start with some green onions.

Add in some chopped carrots.

Take about 4 cups of water and add 1 chicken bouillon cube. Add your veggies and let it simmer until the carrots start to get tender (it will smell to tasty!).

Add some yummy fresh spinach… as much or as little as you like. I added as much as I could fit into the pan without taking up all of the broth, about 3 cups.

Cook for a few more minutes so the spinach leaves wilt a bit.

Add a little bit of salt and pepper and about 2 teaspoons of sesame oil.

It’s not the prettiest soup, but it’s so simple and delicious!

This makes 4 1-cup servings, although it’s safe to say I will usually eat 2 cups at once…

Asian Spinach Soup

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced green onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Nutrition Info (per 1-cup serving)

  • 52 calories
  • 2.25 g fat
  • 2 g fiber
  • 1.75 g protein

Cleaning Out the Refrigerator… Veggiepalooza

I was a bit ambitious with my grocery shopping over the weekend. I thought I’d be doing a lot more cooking. And then life happens. So… tonight, I tried to use up a bunch of them. It started with chopping and slicing a bunch of veggies: carrots, cucumber, celery, green onion, white onion, etc.

Then I took two red peppers and roasted them in the oven at 400 for about 25 minutes. Yum. Delicious!

I diced some of the cucumbers finely for our dinner tonight. I took the extra, added a little diced onion, a couple tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a generous sprinkling of black pepper, and a teeny tiny dash of sugar. Yum.

For dinner, we had Chef Salad Night. The kids absolutely love it. It’s a pretty standard Wednesday night dinner (night before weigh in!). I put each topping choice in small bowls and then have a big bowl of lettuce in the middle.

The kids love choosing their own toppings. My little one is funny and prefers light vinaigrettes. Tonight he had a tiny dipping bowl of light raspberry walnut and another of light sesame ginger. Funny guy.

After dinner, I peeled my sweet potatoes:

I then sliced them, put them on baking sheets, spritzed with olive oil, and added black pepper and kosher salt. Bake at 350 for a loooonnnggggg time. It’s best to flip them over halfway through (otherwise the bottom side is sticky).

With the leftover Chef Salad ingredients, I made small salads for lunches tomorrow:

Then with the remaining ingredients, I made a veggie soup.

Sauteed onion, carrot, celery, tomato, roasted red pepper, and potato:

I let them veggies soften a bit and then added beef broth, a package of frozen spinach, a can of great northern beans, garlic powder, season salt, and pepper.

The above photo is from close to the beginning of the cooking process. After the potatoes were fully cooked, it looked UGLY. It’s supposed to be for tomorrow night’s dinner. I think it will taste okay, but it seems like it needs meat. Maybe this is because of the beef broth? Maybe it wouldn’t be as noticeable with chicken broth? I don’t know…

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans

From Gina’s Skinny Recipes, click HERE for the full post!

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1 cup • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 2 pts
Calories: 62.4 • Fat: 2.9 g • Carbs: 8.0 • Fiber: 3.8 • Protein: 2.7 g • Sugar: 0
Sodium: 38.4 mg (without salt)

Ingredients:

12 oz green beans, trimmed (make sure they are dry)

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp shredded parmesan

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum for easy clean-up.
Lay green beans out on the baking sheet and drizzle oil over them. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss to evenly coat.

Spread them out on the sheet so that they all lay flat and place on the lower third section of your oven. Bake 10 minutes, shake the pan to turn; bake 5 additional minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with grated cheese.