Category: Food and Recipes


I made up this stir fry using veggies and protien I found in my fridge, but you can certainly swap the meats or the veggies for anything you’d like to use.  This version is low in fat, comes in at only 8 WW points per serving (with 1/2 cup brown rice), and is filling and full of flavor!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), sliced into thin, bit-sized pieces   

1/2 pound(s) uncooked shrimp   (shell and tails removed)

1 medium uncooked onion(s), sliced into thin strips   

1/2 pound(s) uncooked asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces   

1/2 pound(s) uncooked zucchini, sliced into bite sized pieces  

 1 tsp minced garlic   

1 pinch ground ginger   

1/4 cup(s) soy sauce   

2 tsp sesame oil   

2 tsp rice wine vinegar   

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, 1 to 2 tsp for taste preference   

1 tsp sugar   

1/4 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth, Plus two TBSP

2 tsp cornstarch   

2 cup(s) cooked brown rice   

 

Cooking Instructions:

In a small measuring cup, combine 1/4 c chicken broth, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and red pepper flakes, set aside. Cut up chicken, and marinate chicken and shrimp for short time in a small amount of extra soy sauce and a dash of rice wine vinegar. Set aside while preparing veggies. Heat skillet over medium heat while chopping vegetables. When ready to cook, turn skillet up to high heat. Add a coating of cooking spray, and brown meat in two batches over high heat, just until browned and cooked through. Set aside. Add a little more cooking spray to the pan, sauté onion a couple minutes until it starts to brown. Add garlic and ginger powder, stir, and then add veggies, starting with the veggie that will take longest to cook. Any veggies can be used. Sautee all veggies for a few minutes til browning but not soft. Add back in chicken, stir, and add sauce. Stir to coat and for about one minute. With two TBSP of chicken broth and 2 tsp cornstarch, mix together to make a slurry, and add to the pan. Stir just until thickened. Turn off heat and serve immediately over brown rice.

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I know you didn’t just “read” that title.

You sung it, didn’t you?  At least in your head.  I know I did when I typed it!  The classic Oreo song is embedded in my brain, and probably the brain of most red-blooded Americans.

So I’m on a diet you say.  Can’t eat Oreo cookies you say?!?  I tell you that’s rubbish, all rubbish! 

As a dieter, you can tend to start to feel as though you are in a food prison of sorts.  We’ve all been there.  You get into a diet plan, read all the materials, and they insist that you absolutely cannot eat sugar, fat, carbs, for fear of certain death, or a far worse fate…lack of weight loss.  While I agree that moderation of the things mentioned above is crucial for any weight loss, I take serious issue with the diets that restrict you to the point where you can’t even feel like a “normal person” when you sit down to eat something.

So we all know my goal while on this journey has been to try to debunk food myths, break down the foods that are healthy and great, and the ones that are good for you, but not so good TO you *evil eye to Kashi cereal box*.  I selflessly took on the world of reduced fat cookies this week, and put my bets on Reduced Fat Oreos.Studying the label, I will warn people once again that just because an item totes the “low or reduced fat” logo, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be much better for you, or that it’s actually going to be less calories, or Weight Watcher Points in my case.  For example, there is the same amount of sugar and carbs in the reduced fat Oreos, in fact slightly more, than there is in a regular Oreo cookie.  The fat is indeed lowered, from 7g for 3 cookies down to 4.5g for 3 cookies. 

So I got to crunching the numbers.  For those of you who follow Weight Watchers, this is a plus, you save one point, eating 3 reduced fat Oreos is 4 points plus value, while 3 regular Oreos comes in at 5 points.  When you are counting, every point can count.  But then came the important part, did they TASTE like an Oreo?  I mean, I’ll burn that extra point if it’s going to give me the proper taste and texture.

So bite I did…dunk I did…and I’m pleased to say that I don’t think I could have told you a reduced fat Oreo from a real Oreo in a blind taste test.  In fact they were so good my hubby suggested that “Maybe they just label them reduced fat, and they’re really not.”  I pray that the good people of Nabisco aren’t doing that…but I’d strongly recommend the reduced fat Oreos.

So there I sat, with my cookies and my glass of skim milk, feeling something like a little kid who didn’t have to think about calories.  I thought about them when I wanted that 2nd helping of cookies….lol…but I resisted, and felt much better knowing I’d have some there for tomorrow!  😉

Chesty Rating: 4.5  (only because it’s not a HUGE reduction in calories or sugar) 

“Comfort Food”

This can be such a dangerous expression.  Think about comfort food, and I’d pretty much guarantee that anything which pops into your head is far from a pile of carrot sticks or a fresh green salad. 

No, COMFORT Foods are named for a reason.  They’re soothing to the soul, remind us of our childhood in most cases, but it’s rare that the foods we’ve all come to know for their warm, fuzzy inducing properties are actually GOOD for us. 

Dieters, in my opinion, need comfort more than anyone.  I mean shoot, we’re stuck here in this new, uncharted world of healthiness.  Surrounded by cold, hard vegetables, it can get real cold and lonely.  Ok, I’m being overly dramatic.  But anyone who plugs through the diet weeks begins to eventually crave, besides the fast food, just the good old home cooking that always made us feel so great.

This thought is what prompted me to try a light version of chicken and dumplings  There’s something about just hearing chicken and dumplings that makes my mouth water.  I’ve made a delicious high fat version before, but pretty much thought that this treat had to be packed away in a closet with my potato chips and waffle maker.  I perked up when I saw the recipe on the Weight Watchers site, and I got all the ingredients to give it a try.

I have to say, although I was intrigued by some of the ingredients (i.e. cornmeal and apple juice) I kept an open mind, and was pleasantly surprised.  I added a few little extra seasoning kicks, which I will share in the recipe that follows, but their recipe as is made for a yummy, warm dish.    On a cold fall or winter day, this will fill up your whole family, and as my husband did, may have them asking you “Are you SURE this is a diet meal?”  Happy cooking!  🙂

Chesty Rating: 5

 

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time:  10 Minutes

Servings: 4

WW Points: 2 Per Serving

Ingredients

1 Bag (1lb) Tilapia Loins, thawed (or any firm white fish)

Butter Flavored Cooking Spray

1 tsp Canola Oil

Perfect Pinch Cajun Seasoning

Directions

Wash tilapia loins and pat dry with paper towels.  Arrange on plate or pan in single layer.

Spray one side of fish with butter flavored cooking spray to coat. (In traditional blackened fish, the meat is dipped in butter, then in spices, so this was my trade off.)

Sprinkle fish liberally on top of butter flavored spray until fish is completely covered.  Seasoning can also be poured onto a plate, and the fish dredged in it, but I find this way easier.  You can add more or less, depending on the level of spice you want.  Lightly pat the seasoning into the fish, turn, and repeat on other side, spraying first with butter flavored spray.

Heat heavy non-stick or cast iron pan over medium high heat.  When pan is hot, add canola oil, and a couple sprays of butter flavored cooking spray.  Add fish, and cover pan. 

Cook over medium high heat, about 5-7 minutes per side, turning when seasoning is blackened to a nice crust.  When fish has been flipped, if it seems to be cooking too quickly, you can lower heat slightly and cover again for a minute or two, depending on the thickness of your fish.

When fish feels firm to the touch, remove from heat and serve immediately.

Food is on my brain right now.  But it’s a good thing, because this new weight loss lifestyle is really making me stretch my culinary imagination.  I’ve always loved to cook, just never cared too much how healthy my food was, as long as it tasted good.

Now that my focus is on health, I’m always looking for the most delicious ways to eat the stuff that’s good for me.  Protein is a major thing for any dieter.  Not only will it help you build muscle, but it fills you up.  And if you are anything like myself, you’re just a carnivore to begin with, and would die without MEEEAT!

I’m finding the lightest protein comes in the form of white fish and other shellfish such as shrimp.  I’ve fallen madly in love with tilapia loins.  I bought them the first time thinking that they would taste pretty much like a filet of tilapia did.  When I opened them for the first time, I was surprised how thick, pretty, and white they were.  I cooked them up in my favorite diet way, blackened (recipe to follow), and was in love.  When I say i could eat them every day, I mean I would eat them and savor them.

For someone not to fond of anything that tastes fishy, these loins are a perfect selection.  There’s no skin, bones, or anything yucky, and they have a clean light taste that really just absorbs whatever flavors you add to it.  The other plus is that it cooks up firm and flaky.  I personally am not a fan of mushy or overly dry fish, and this cut cooks to perfection!

The best part, you ask?  A 4oz portion is only 2 Weight Watchers points!  With a protein that low in points, you can have a good sized portion and feel really satisfied!  I highly suggest, no BEG, that you try the delicious Blackened Tilapia Recipe that I will feature next, but I know this cut of fish will be great however you prepare it!

Recipe courtesy of Weight Watchers

WW Points Plus Value – 7 pts

Servings: 16

Ingredients

 
  1 spray(s) cooking spray   
  2 Tbsp light butter   
  3/4 cup(s) water   
  2/3 cup(s) unpacked brown sugar   
  3/4 cup(s) Coconut meat, packaged, sweetened, shredded   
  1/2 cup(s) chopped pecans   
  5 large egg white(s)   
  1 cup(s) buttermilk   
  1/2 cup(s) fat-free sour cream   
  1/3 cup(s) unsweetened applesauce   
  18 1/2 oz German chocolate cake mix, 1 package   

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9- x 13-inch nonstick baking pan with cooking spray.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter with water. Stir in brown sugar until smooth; pour evenly into baking pan. Sprinkle coconut and pecans evenly over melted sugar mixture.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat egg whites for 30 seconds. Beat in buttermilk, sour cream and applesauce. Add cake mix and beat on low speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Beat for an additional 2 minutes; pour into pan.
  • Bake for 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack. Cut into 16 pieces and serve.

Pictured below is my version of the cake, done w/o the coconut.  Still very tasty but I’d highly suggest following the recipe completly for best results!

 

 

Hello, my name is Shannon, aka Chesty, and I’m a cake-a-holic.

Whew…admitting is the first of the 12 steps isn’t it?  I feel better, don’t you? 

As I mentioned before, and I will again, I love cake.  And by love I mean the oddly obsessed, stalker-ish type of love.  I have been 6 weeks without “the stuff”.  Cold sweats and night terrors eventually subsided, but like any addict, I can’t stop thinking about cake.  Now this is where the story gets good.  You are probably thinking this is where I fell of the wagon, chowed down some cake, right? 

Well, I did chow down some cake, but did not break the “bank” so to speak. That’s what I really love about the WW Program is the PLETHORA of recipes to try out.  Why buy or borrow a ton of cookbooks on eating light when you get thousands of recipes, with ratings and reviews.  So, I poured over pages of recipes, and printed up some that looked promising.  Craving chocolate cake, I decided to try a German Chocolate Upside Down Cake that sounded yummy. 

Sunday rolled around, and it was cake baking time!  The recipe was interesting, and I will feature it in the following post, to say the least.  I followed the recipe very carefully, but decided not to add the coconut.  I’m sort of on the fence about coconut, and I didn’t want to mess up my cake if I wasn’t in a coconut mood.   In hindsight, I should have added the coconut.  When it was cooked it was great, but the nuts didn’t make quite the carmelly topping of the picture.  It tasted great though and with the coconut, it’s a delight for any german chocolate cake loving dieter.  For a decent sized piece, it’s only 7 WW Points Plus Points, very well worth it if you ask me. 

Chesty Rating – 4+ (if made the right way)  😉

Yoplait Light Fat Free Yogurt – Red Velvet Cake / Rating – 4+

Now those who know me understand that I consider myself quite the expert in the area of all things cake.  I love cake…anything with the word cake in it, panniecakes, cuppiecakes, you name it.  I have forced myself not to think about the sweet, tasty stuff much since starting this diet…but that all changed Saturday.

There I was, wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart this weekend stocking up on my good eats for the week, when I passed the yogurt section.  I needed to stock up, so I started to check out the huge variety of flavors that Yoplait had.   First I spotted banana creme pie, then cherry cheesecake, and then (pause for dramatic effect) RED VELVET CAKE.  Yes, I re-read the container pictured above to make sure I was reading right.  But indeed, that’s what it said.

So I pondered for a while, effectively blocking other shoppers from the Yoplait section, while I debated if I wanted to risk the 60 cents.  Well being that it was only 60 cents, the red velvet, along with the banana creme pie and the berry totre something or another, all ended up in the cart and on the way to my fridge.

So last night after dinner, I had a hankering for something sweet.  As my hubby dove into some Ben and Jerry’s, I reached for the Red Velvet Cake yogurt.  The hubs was none too interested in taste testing with me, especially after he confirmed that there were no actual cake pieces inside, so I went it alone.

Yum…that’s what I said, and the more I ate, the more yums I said.  Now, it’s nothing like cake…but it TASTES like liquid cake.  It almost tricks your mind into thinking you are eating cake.  It had the tang of yogurt, but it was like eating the cake and the divine cream cheese frosting.  I literally wanted to lick the container out when it was gone.  Well ok, I tried, but the edge was sharp I didn’t wanna cut my tongue.

So as far as the Chesty Rating system, I give it a 4 because it’s nothing like cake, but a strong 4+, because it really gave my sweet craving taste buds a treat!

Hold it right there!  Before you take another step towards the store…read this first!

I’m sure we’ve all been there.  You start out a diet, rush to the store, and drain your bank account purchasing everything that you pass that has the words “low-fat” or “fat free” on their label.   You smile with confidence, thinking you will still be able to eat all the great foods you always ate, just the low fat versions.

Then your fat girl bubble breaks….you go home, start tasting some of these “treats”, and half the stuff looks and tastes nothing like the original.  Often times that propels us into a slight food depression, thinking man, what a waste of time and money. 

Breathe easy now fellow weight watchers..because Chesty is here to help!   I’ve decided to selflessly subject myself to the testing of all foods low fat or fat free.  Gimme your poor, your tired masses…oh wait wrong speech!  Give me your ideas on what you have been wondering about, and I will try it!  I’ve devised a clever rating system, which I will break down below:

5 – Delish, I couldn’t tell the difference, tasted just like the real thing.

4 – Yum, very close to the original full-fat version, very minor taste differences.

3 – Doable, while you can taste and tell it’s obviously not the full-fat version, it’s a livable substitute.

2 – Hmmpft, while not gag worthy, these foods are lacking in normal flavor, tasting overly “fake”.

1 – Trashable, the worst of the worst.  Not even worthy of being placed in your cart.

Now, taste is subject, so I’m not claiming to be the food guru of flavortown here.  You may love something that I don’t, or you may hate something that I thought tasted pretty yummy. If so I say tell me…no judgement here.  Maybe you have an option that me and my readers would like even better!  With that said..let’s break down some vittles!

Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Patties / Rating – 5

I like to call these my little buddies!  If I said I loved them it would be an understatement.  When I began this diet I was surprised at the new push for protein.  I used to consider a low cal breakfast some cereal and skim milk, and was lacking any kind of protein.  My good friend and fellow blogger Amy (www.formerfatbitch.wordpress.com) suggested I try these, or the Morning Farm brand, which I believe are meatless.  I’m far from a fan of turkey bacon, so sceptical is putting it lightly.  They are great tho, even the hubby eats them in breakfast sandwiches with me.  Far more affordable than McDonald’s, and you still feel like your eating a normal, full fat breakfast goodie.  Definitely Chesty tested, Chesty approved!

Thomas’ Triple Health Light English Muffins / Rating – 5

The perfect accompaniment to my turkey sausage and egg whites in the morning, these Thomas’ English Muffins are as good as the real thing.  If you fed me in a blind taste test I wouldn’t know the difference.  I also eat the multi-grain version, but if you are not a fan or wheat, these look and taste like a normal english muffin with less calories and more fiber.  Great toasted!

 

 I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light / Rating – 4

Margarine or Butter…it’s kinda like the great Coke and Pepsi debate.   Some people swear by butter, only butter, and some think margarine is the way to go.  I realize that butter is necessary for some things, but if you’re dieting, margarine is one of those things that you want to cut out as much as possible because a tiny bit adds up to quick points.  Light margarine in my opinion is a great substitute.  I didn’t give it a 5 as it won’t be a perfect sub for butter in all things, but on toast, your veggies, or in some light mashed potatoes, it will make you feel sinful without the guilt!

Land O’ Lakes Fat Free Half and Half / Rating – 5

As a coffee lover, this is the perfect partner to my daily cup…or cups.  I did not notice any difference from my normal half and half.  It gave me the same creaminess and flavor without using one of my precious points!  I’d highly recommend this to any dieter!

Kemps Light Sour Cream / Rating – 3

A great way to cut the fat, and keep the fatty flavor.  If you just taste it alone, you will know that it’s not full fat, but I’ve used it on both tacos, fajitas, and in mashed potatoes, and it tastes great in all of the above.  Add some, along with a little light margarine to a baked potato and you’ll be in fake fatty heaven.

Ok…so enough tasting for today.  Make sure to share your suggestions for what you’d like me to try next, or email me at schestnut22@gmail.com.

Yes…that says COOKIES!!! 

If you are a lover of all things sweet, and most things baked, that is a major tough place when dieting.  I’m not a huge fan of the 100 calorie packs, cuz you’re going to want to eat 4 of them.  Ok…i’m going to want to eat 4 of them.  You don’t want to bake a whole batch of cookies or a cake telling yourself you will have one small cookie or only one slice…cuz in what world does that happen?  So I suggest these.  I will forewarn they are not Tollhouse.  They don’t give that satisfying cookie crunch, its actually more cakey, but if you like banana bread, and chocolate, they do a good job of scratching that itch without messing up your diet.  At only 2 WW Points per cookie, you can’t go wrong.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 50 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats (do not use quick-cooking oats)
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 ripe bananas)
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

  1. Position rack in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray. Mix flour, oats, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium, cream the shortening and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the banana, then the egg white and vanilla. Turn off the mixer, remove the beaters, and stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Drop by flat tablespoons onto the baking sheet, spacing mounds about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then cool completely on a rack. Cool the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking additional batches. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Serving size: 2 cookies. PointsPlus value per serving: 4

 

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