Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hot Dish: Cheesy Taco Supreme

Cheesy Nacho
Cheesy Taco Supreme

PointsPlus™ Value: 7
Servings: 6

Capture the flavors of a taco or enchilada with crunchy nacho chips, seasoned beef, and rich enchilada sauce. Serve with spicy salsa for an extra kick.

1 pound(s) raw extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup frozen chopped onions
1 1/4 oz reduced-sodium taco seasoning
8 oz Del Monte Tomato Sauce, No Salt Added
10 oz canned enchilada sauce
1 1/4 cup(s) Reduced Fat hredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
3 oz baked low-fat tortilla chips, crushed, (about 1 1/2 cups crushed)
Cooking spray


Cook beef and onion in large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until beef crumbles and onion is tender; drain well.

Return meat mixture to pan; stir in taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and enchilada sauce. Layer half of meat mixture, half of cheese, and half of tortilla chips in an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat layers with remaining meat mixture and cheese. Cover and chill up to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining chips, and bake an additional 9 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Note: to make this vegetarian, I substituted Boca Crumbles for the beef, bringing the PointsPlus™ Value down to 6. I also added a tiny bit of fat-free sour cream and salsa to the top.

Per Serving (original recipe): Calories: 309; Carbohydrate: 20.3g; Fat 14.3g (saturated 6.3g); Fiber 1.7g; Protein 25.1g; Cholesterol 44mg; Sodium 815mg: Calcium 240mg; Iron 2.3mg.

Recipe courtesy of Weight Watchers Shortcut Cookbook


Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Monday!

Is there anything better than waking up on a Monday morning and realizing that you don't have to go to work?! Ahh...so wonderful to sit here sipping coffee with nowhere to be, just catching up on my favorite blogs and planning the week ahead.

Meatless (Memorial Day) Monday: Boca Burgers on light hamburger bun, Vegetarian Baked Beans, Steamed Veggies
Taco Tuesday: Cheesy Taco Supreme (recipe to come!)
Wok-y Wednesday: Thai-Style Shrimp (recipe to come!)
Thrifty Thursday: Sausage & Peppers Pizza (recipe to come!)
TGI Friday: Last Minute Chicken Fajitas (recipe to come!)
Social Saturday: Leftovers or out to eat
Slow Mo Sunday: Chili sin Carne with Cheesy Chili Breadsticks (recipes to come!)

Beren and I are still in Ormond, plan to spend the day doing laundry, packing, and dog-sitting Lucy while Kali and J are in Disney World. I'm hoping to get in some exercise this evening, would love to take both doggies to the park if Beren will tag along 'cause I can't handle both of these monsters on my own!

Hope you're all having a lovely long weekend so far, Happy Memorial Day.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Soup's On!

No change on the scale this week, my friends, still 154.2. I'm sure part of that is the minimal exercise I've done, just haven't found the motivation to hop on the treadmill! No excuses, I know it's something I've got to do and feel so much better when I'm moving my body!

We are at the Ormond Beach house this weekend, actually drove up after work yesterday 'cause Beren has meetings up here today. He's already out the door..yawn...and here I sit, planning my day. Since he has the car, I'm pretty much housebound unless I want to put on my sneakers and use my own little feet to get somewhere. Hey, what a great idea! Once the sun comes up I'm gonna grab Loki's leash and take us both on a walk to the park!

In the meantime, I'm planning today's menu. A good friend of mine is feeling a bit under the weather and I told him I'd love to make him a pot of chicken soup..if only he didn't live hundreds of miles away! That got me craving chicken soup...hmm...I just happen to have all the ingredients to make this yummy-sounding recipe from Hungry Girl! Even though it's hot as heck here in the Sunshine State, you can never go wrong with a nice bowl of warm, comforting soup. Here's to you, my friend Franco; hope you're feeling better soon!

Hungry Chick Chunky Soup

PER SERVING (1/10th of recipe, about 1 cup): 150 calories, 1g fat, 570mg sodium, 15g carbs, 4.25g fiber, 5g sugars, 20.5g protein -- PointsPlus® value 3*

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 3 - 4 hours (high) or 7 - 8 hours (low)


1 1/2 lbs. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breasts, halved
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 small onion, finely diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups dry coleslaw mix
Two 14.5-oz. cans (about 3 1/2 cups) fat-free chicken broth
One 15-oz. can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
One 14.5-oz. can stewed tomatoes (not drained)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 bay leaf


Evenly season chicken with 1/4 tsp. salt and the pepper. Place all ingredients in the crock pot and stir. Cover and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours or on low for 7 - 8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked.

Remove and discard the bay leaf. Remove the chicken and place in a bowl. Shred each piece using two forks -- one to hold the chicken in place and the other to scrape across the meat and shred it. Return the shredded chicken to the crock pot and stir into the soup.

Season with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Serve up and enjoy!


Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Monday, May 23, 2011

You Tube Tuesday Eye Candy

For your viewing pleasure..

Have a Beauty-Full Day!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Hello, there! How's everyone's weekend so far? Beren and I have had a wonderful couple of days, good balance of work and play.

As I mentioned, Friday night we went to a local biker bar to celebrate their 36th Anniversary. We had a few drinks, did some people-watching, and enjoyed listening to the band.

Yesterday we met some friends at a restaurant/bar so that Beren could get his weekly dose of pool-playing; the man isn't happy if he's away from the table for too long! Last night we hung out at home, relaxing in the hot tub...ahhh....

Today we worked off some calories in the garden, I made sure to be right there supervising My Man while he was trimming the trees as he can get quite carried away with those power tools!

I've been doing quite a bit of cooking this weekend, both for myself and others. A workmate is going through a tough time, her 5 month old baby had open-heart surgery this week, so the women in the office did what women do when there's trouble. We cooked for her!

I made her some lasagna...

and cupcakes...

added a bagged salad kit and a loaf of bread, and delivered it to her door last evening. She was so appreciative, sent me a message on Facebook saying it was so good, they had it again for lunch today. For a girl who hates leftovers, this is high praise indeed!

Because there was no way I was gonna dip my fork into that delicious-but-fat-filled dish, I put together a lighter version for myself and my family today.

This is an old Weight Watcher recipe that I made years ago but hadn't saved, so happy that Gina posted it on her awesome website!

I had some baby portobella mushrooms on hand so I tossed them into the food processor and added them to the cheese/spinach mixture for more "meaty" taste and substance. I can't wait to dig into this tonight!

Spinach Lasagna Rolls
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 9 • Serving Size: 1 roll • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 6 ww pts
Calories: 224.9 • Fat: 5.1 g • Fiber: 3.4 g • Protein: 13.0 g • Carbs: 31.5

9 lasagna noodles, cooked
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese (I like Polly-o)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and fresh pepper
32 oz tomato sauce
9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls.

To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

Well, now that dinner's prepared and ready to pop into the oven later, I'm going to don my bathing suit and head out to the pool. It's a hot, sunny day here in the Sunshine State!

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Friday, May 20, 2011


Happy Friday, everyone! How are you spending this beautiful Spring day?

Beren and I are taking care of some chores around Castle, getting the place ship-shape so that we can enjoy the rest of our weekend guilt-free. Tonight we're planning to meet some friends at our favorite biker bar; knowing I'll want to have a couple glasses of wine, I'm planning ahead to ensure that I don't go overboard on calories.

I have a bunch of "meat" leftover from Tuesday's Taco Night, am going to put it to go use in this Stuffed Peppers recipe:

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Servings: 6

3 item(s) bell pepper(s) (medium)
1 small raw onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic clove(s), chopped
1/8 tsp olive oil
14 1/2 oz canned stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 cup(s) meatless soy crumbles
1 cup(s) cooked brown rice
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp mustard

Sauté onions and garlic in oil until soft.

Meanwhile, cut peppers lengthwise and clean out seeds & membrane.

Add undrained tomatoes, boca crumbles and rice to softened onion mixture. Simmer until well combined. Add ketchup and mustard.

Put pepper shells in a 13x9 and spoon mixture into peppers and cook covered with foil for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 350F or until peppers are soft.

Calories 185.3;
Total Fat 6.4 g;
Total Carbohydrate 25.8 g
Dietary Fiber 7.3
Protein 10.1
PointsPlus™ Value: 3

Have a Fabulous Friday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sliding Down!

It was a great morning at the scale today as I finally saw some long-overdue results! 154.2, yippee! Last week at Jenny I had gained (again), bringing me up to 155.6 and after a weekend of serious overindulgence (groan), my scale at home read 158 Monday morning. Yikes! Yet after only three days of WW tracking, interspersing JC food with my own, I lost those pounds, and then some. I am a very happy girl today!

I've been relying on Hungry Girl and the Weight Watchers site for recipes and inspiration, really enjoyed the Broccoful Cheesy-Stuffed Chicken last night and plan to make the Spicy Southern Shrimp Fettuccine tonight. I'll weigh-in with a review later.

In the meantime, have a beauty-full day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hot Dish: Taco Tuesday!

Tuesday usually means Pizza Night at the Castle, but Beren's kinda "pizza-ed out" after having it for lunch two days in a row (poor dear!) and I've got a pantry full of BOGO taco mix kits, soo...it's Taco Tuesday instead!

Knowing how high in calories & fat Mexican food can be, I did a quick search for healthy alternatives and, as usual, Hungry Girl provided me with the perfect recipe. That girl never lets me down! Since these tacos are meat-free, myself and my veggie kids will enjoy them but I'll probably provide some ground beef for Beren.

Photo by Hungry Girl

Mega-Meaty Meatless Tacos

PER SERVING (1/2 of recipe, 3 tacos): 284 calories, 8g fat, 896mg sodium, 37.5g carbs, 5g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 17g protein -- PointsPlus® value 7*

Total taco taste... only with a veggie-loaded twist. And CRUNCH. Gotta have the crunch...

2 cups finely chopped brown mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup frozen ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like the kind by Boca or Morningstar Farms)
2 tsp. taco seasoning
6 corn taco shells
6 tbsp. shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
6 tbsp. pico de gallo or chunky salsa
Optional toppings: shredded lettuce, fresh cilantro

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Add mushrooms and onion and, stirring occasionally, cook until softened, about 6 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium. Add soy crumbles to the skillet with the veggies and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Continue to cook and stir until hot, about 2 minutes.

Evenly distribute veggie-crumbles mixture among the taco shells, about 3 tbsp. mixture per shell.

Top each taco with 1 tbsp. cheese, 1 tbsp. pico de gallo or salsa and, if you like, lettuce and cilantro. CHOMP!


Have a Beauty-Full Day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Back to the Kitchen!

After much thought, and a quick glance at my checkbook balance, I've come to the realization that I need to wean myself away from the Jenny Craig food. As much as I appreciate the convenience, I just can't afford $130-$150 a week anymore. Now that Tax Season is over, my working hours have been decreased and I just don't have as much disposable income as I once did. Also, I'll be honest here, I'm bored to death eating out of boxes! I miss cooking. I miss my own fresh ingredients. I miss eating the same meal I'm feeding my family.

Now, I haven't discussed this with my JC Counselor yet, but what I plan to do is continue "using" Jenny for the weekly consultations/weigh-ins because I know that I need the accountability. I'll buy minimal amounts of food, just a few meals per week to keep on hand for busy days or when Beren's eating something I can't/shouldn't have. Otherwise, I'm on my own. Yikes! I'm a bit nervous but also excited and relieved at the same time.

So, I'm starting this new plan with a bang, can't wait to get back into my kitchen this evening and whip up this yummy dish!

Weight Watcher's Eggplant Parmigiana

PointsPlus™ Value: 3
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 35 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

We slimmed down this fattening favorite. Baking the eggplant gives the dish a crispy texture without the fat that comes from frying.

1 spray(s) cooking spray
1/3 cup(s) seasoned bread crumbs, Italian-style
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 medium raw eggplant
2 large egg white(s), lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup(s) canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup(s) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (shredded


Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 X 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in a medium-size bowl; set aside. Remove skin from eggplant and trim off ends; slice eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Dip eggplant first into egg whites and then into bread crumb mixture. Bake eggplant on a nonstick cookie sheet until lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes, flipping once.

Place a layer of eggplant on bottom of prepared baking dish, then add 1/3 of tomato sauce and 1/3 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers in same order. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling, about 10 minutes more. Slice into 4 pieces and serve.

Enjoy, and have a Beauty-Full Day!

Friday, May 13, 2011

What's Wrong with this Picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

No not that one, this one:

When I recently found this full-page advertisement in a magazine, I just had to tear it out and share with you all to see if you have the same reaction as I did.

Now, first let me say that the recipe looks delicious! Who doesn’t love sausage & peppers, especially over pasta? Yummy comfort food, right? But, do you know just how much this little dish would cost you, nutritionally? Curious, I had to find out. Running the ingredients through my Mastercook Recipe Program, I came up with these results:

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

-------- ------------ --------------------------------
5 links Johnsonville® Italian Mild Sausage Links
1 pound pasta -- Rigatoni shape
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 large sweet red pepper -- chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley -- chopped
26 ounces pasta sauce

Cook sausage links according to package directions.
Meanwhile, cook rigatoni according to package directions; drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot.
Add garlic; sauté for 30 seconds or until golden.
Add red peppers; sauté for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Cut sausage into 1/4-inch coin slices; add to skillet. Stir in pasta sauce; heat through.
Add pasta; toss to combine. Sprinkle with parsley.
Serve immediately. Enjoy immensely. And welcome to Johnsonville®.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Serving Size : 5
Per Serving: 687 Calories; 32g Fat (41.6% calories from fat); 27g Protein; 73g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 60mg Cholesterol; 718mg Sodium. Exchanges: 4 1/2 http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifGrain(Starch); 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat.

And, as if that weren’t bad enough, the manufacturer is encouraging us to have seconds! More specifically, to feed our children a double portion!

Seriously? At a time when childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing, when the television is overrun with shows such as , when Jamie Oliver has to come from across the pond to save our kids, and our First Lady has taken up this issue as her own personal cause, is this really appropriate? Do we seriously want to equate love, especially parental love, with food? Isn’t that the attitude that’s gotten so many of us into this mess in the first place?

Listen, I understand that this is an advertisement, meant to sell a product, and we’re not supposed to take it very seriously. But we know how powerful advertising is, and this full-page picture placed in a popular women’s magazine is surely quite effective. How many busy mothers took a look at this recipe, with the minimal amount of ingredients and relatively low-cost ($1.90 per serving accordinghttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif to the website) and ran right out to the supermarket to purchase and prepare this dish in order to please her hungry children? Since the nutritional values are not included on the recipe, nor even on the website, she wouldn’t have known the huge calorie & fat count at first glance, and might not have had the time or tools to do the math as I did. Nor might she have had the extra money or time to make healthier substitutions (whole wheat pasta, fresh tomatoes, veggie or turkey sausage). She’s just going to whip this up and put it on the table, maybe with a side salad and some (groan) frozen garlic bread.

So, what’s the answer, dear readers? To the moms out there who are working full time both outside and inside your homes, how do you ensure that your family is eating healthfully with the limited amount of hours you have to shop & cook the meals? Please, share your thoughts and tips, I’d love to hear them!

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Monday, May 9, 2011

A New Plan

A little bit frustrated at my last weigh-in, my JCC and I discussed this lengthy plateau I'm experiencing, and how to break through it. I also shared with her the fact that due to the end of tax season, my hours at work are shorter, resulting in a smaller paycheck. *sigh* I'm not sure how I can continue to work Jenny Craig foods into my budget for the next x-amount of months until I reach goal weight. Alice suggested that I raise my goal weight just a little bit, making it a more manageable goal, and reminded me that when I reach goal I get a refund from Jenny. Great incentive, right? So, that's what we decided to do. I'm setting my official goal weight at 142, knowing that officially I'm still aiming for 136 or lower. Let's see how this goes.

In the meantime, I've been wearing my pedometer more consistently and visiting my treadmill more regularly, knowing that for me exercise really is the key to weight loss. Diet alone just won't cut it.

How's everyone else doing out there?

Sunday, May 8, 2011