Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fast Food Makeover: Nachos Appetizer - 240 calories, 5 PointsPlus

If you saw my last post here, you will recognize the following pictures:

Applebee's nacho appetizer
Hooter's nacho appetizer

My boyfriend & I went to Applebee's on Thursday, Hooter's on Friday, and on Saturday I was still craving nachos!!  So I decided to be innovative and come up with my own healthier version of the delicious appetizers we had.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How I Spent My Day Off...

How do you adequately celebrate the end of 17 years as a slave student?  With a day off - and I mean a day off from EVERYTHING.  A day off from school, a  day off from work, a day off from stress, a day off from drama, and a day off from counting calories.  Yes, a day without worrying about what you're eating at all.  Yes, I'll admit it - I spent a WHOLE DAY without worrying about a single nutrition label!!  And you know what - IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!


Nonfat Chai Latte from "Starbucks" in Barnes & Noble - and a coffee crumb cake with a gooey cinnamon-ey filling.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Apple Walnut Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

My boyfriend & I absolutely love going to Dave & Buster's to play the games, but we've never really eaten there.  It's hard for me because they don't have their nutrition information on their website OR their menu.  They do have an "Under 600 Calories" section, but that doesn't impress me much.  The other day I decided to search online for the nutrition information, and I found promising results.  They have a "Sweet Apple Pecan Salad with Grilled Chicken" that I believe was around 350 calories.  Since I don't eat meat I got their smaller "Sweet Apple Pecan Salad" for under 200 calories.  This is how they describe it: "Baby greens, crisp apple slices, candied pecans and crumbled Bleu Cheese, tossed with Raspberry Vinaigrette."  I don't really consider myself much of a nut person, and I never thought I liked bleu cheese, but this salad was A-MAZE-ING!!  So I decided to make my own version that I could have at home.

Their version of the salad with a side of seasonal vegetables.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Random Recipe Roundup

A lot of times when I'm trying to decide what to cook on any given day, I ask my family and/or boyfriend if there's anything they're craving, and then I look for a recipe to satisfy that craving.  Sometimes these dishes don't have any common theme or ingredient, so I have a hard time making a post out of them.  Now I'm going to take this opportunity to just sum up the past few months of cooking and share some recipes my family and I have enjoyed.

Danica's Five Ingredient Vegetarian Pasta Skillet - 5 PointsPlus for 1/6 of this skillet.

My family requested that instead of putting the tortillas in the skillet, I leave them out, and we would pile the goodness onto the tortilla.  This was absolutely delicious and extremely satisfying!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My "Healthier" Easter Basket

I'm not the type of person who would like to receive an Easter Basket since too much candy or goodies at once literally makes me sick to my stomach - and I just don't feel that I need that in my life.  On the other hand, it's absolutely a blast to make one for someone else. So I'm going to show you the "lighter" Easter Basket I made for my boyfriend. (I put that word in quotes because this is not exactly 100% healthy.)

Since I'm a college student not making any money, I had to use the resources at hand and I converted this Victoria's Secret gift box into an Easter basket.  He's doesn't know I made him this "basket," but he does know I have a "surprise" for him.  He's definitely going to get the wrong impression when he sees this:

But then once he opens it, he'll probably be more excited once he sees this:

 And a closer look:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fake-Out Diner Dinner - Under 200 Calories and 6 PointsPlus

I hadn't cooked this meal with the "Diner" theme in mind, but when it all came together, it seemed like something you could get at a diner.  Observe:

Spray a skillet with nonstick spray.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cinnamon French Toast w/ Syrup & Superfast Eggs in a Mug - 4 PointsPlus

Maybe it was the trip to IHOP that my mom and I took about a month ago, but lately I've REALLY been craving french toast.  It's one of those things that for some reason always makes me feel like a little kid again, and it warms my heart (and fills my tummy too!!)  So this past weekend I decided to try to come up with a slimmed-down version this feel-good food.  It's 2 slices of toast, 1/4 cup of syrup, and scrambled eggs all for only 4 PointsPlus!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Responsible Indulgence - 2 PointsPlus Brownies, Fudge, Rice Krispy Treats, and Lemon Bars!!

I have a really terrible habit of comforting myself with unhealthy food when I'm sad or upset about something. Of course I know that using food to cope is not healthy, but if it must be done there are certainly ways to be smart about it.

The following pictures are times when I wasn't smart about it (click to enlarge if you dare):

1/3 of a slice of each: cheesecake, tiramisu, fruit tart, and chocolate mousse cake from a local bakery
Chocolate Cake from iHop
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes from iHop
Tiramisu from Olive Garden
Oreo Cookie Cake from Hot & Crusty

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yummy Things to Put on Toast

I know what you're thinking: "What a pointless post!"  But I promise reading this will be worth your time.

It all started with a simple craving for a few warmed up pieces of bread, but nothing to put on them.
(I like Arnold Bakery Light - a 2-slice serving is 2 PointsPlus)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Roasted Tilapia w/ Vegetables - 7 PointsPlus

It's no secret that I don't eat meat, and it's certainly no secret that I LOVE to eat fish.  If you've been following my blog since the beginning, you should also know that I LOVE roasted vegetables.  So what could be better for me than combining the two?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quick & Easy Low Fat Baked Ziti - 8 PointsPlus

One night a few weeks ago, I asked my boyfriend what he wanted me to cook for him, and he said baked ziti.  I was having a really hard time finding a recipe that I deemed low enough in PointsPlus value for me to bother with - so I created my own!  I'm proud to say this is my first true original recipe, and I guess that's why it's taken me so long to put it up here.  But trust me - it's worth the wait... just look at it!! MMMM =)

- 16 oz (1 lb) of cooked ziti noodles (or whatever pasta you like)
- 15 oz canned tomato sauce (I like Hunt's)
- 8 oz fat free ricotta cheese (such as Polly-O)
- 2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Sargento)
- 1 small/medium onion, minced
- Fresh basil (or the herbs of your choosing), roughly chopped

Monday, February 7, 2011

Spice up Your Fruits and Vegetables!!

As the title suggests, this post is going to be all about making fruits and vegetables more exciting.  If I went back in time and told 5-year-old me that someday I would LOVE fruits and veggies, I would think I was crazy.  But it turns out... they can be tasty if you know what to do with them!

FIRST: Apple Chips!
I can't promise you'll never eat potato chips again, but these things are pretty good.  Start by preheating the oven to 200 degrees. Then all you do is slice an apple or two into really thin slices (I like to use my Progressive International Multi Slicer to make the process easier and faster), lay the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and sprinkle with some ground cinnamon and  Splenda or the no-calorie sweetener of your choice.  The hardest part is waiting... you have to leave them in the oven for at least 2 hours or longer depending on how crispy you want them.

One apple doesn't really make enough to share, so if you're trying to feed your family, use a few apples.  But trust me, it's worth the effort and worth the wait.  Just look at them... I know your mouth is watering.  Oh, and the best part i: they're 0 PointsPlus!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

If All the Snowflakes Were Lemon Drops and Gum Drops...

Ok, ok, I know those aren't the REAL lyrics... but if all the snowflakes were actually lemon drops and gum drops, the northeast would be really really fat right now.  Reports are that this January, New York City received more snow in one month than any other month ever... NOT COOL!  At least if you're stuck inside you should be stuck inside with some yummy food to enjoy!!  See how I stayed warm and dry:

I had 1/2 box of orzo left over from my cooking lesson last week, so I decided to make it.  I chopped up some leftover fresh parsley and added some lemon juice.

Mmmm mmm...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Healthier Versions of Classic Favorites - Macaroni and Cheese, Vegetable Fried Rice

And thus the last semester of college has begun, and I will be entering the real world in approximately 4 months.  Thankfully for me, I am only taking 2 classes this semester, plus my internship a few days a week.  I am already feeling the senioritis, but I don't actually have that much homework and studying to do.  In fact, I don't think I have any tests - just papers.

Of course, I still need an escape from all of that... My safe haven - the kitchen!

As promised, my weekly dose of roasted vegetables.  This time I tried eggplant... YUMM!! Just looking at this makes me want to go make more... too bad we don't have eggplant in the house, and we are snowed in - again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Kitchen Toys and How To Use Them

Back from vacation means back to school and the start of my new internship with the New York Islanders.  I have to say I'm loving what I'm doing, but the hours are really crappy (a.k.a. I don't have much time to cook), but as always, I will find the time.

The other day I was really craving roasted vegetables, but I didn't want to go through the hassle of preparing the baking sheets and preheating the oven (yes, I'm lazy).  Instead, I just threw some mushrooms in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

 And this is the final product... I think I might actually have liked these more than roasted ones.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Back to Reality and Back on Plan!

OH, I KNOW!  I've been extremely neglectful!  You guys don't deserve it.  The stress of preparing for vacation got me sick before I left for Miami and the Bahamas, and then the stress of returning home got me sick when I landed.  But alas, here I am, alive and well, with recipes to share!

First, I'm going to share with you the way my boyfriend and I spent our New Year's Eve.  I made us some Hungry Girl Lean Bean N' Cheese Enchiladas, the recipe for which can be found here.  (4 PointsPlus for one enchilada)  They were HUGE, and soooo delicious!!  I would definitely make these again and often, because they definitely satisfy any cravings for Mexican food.

To go with the enchiladas, I made homemade tortilla chips out of the leftover tortillas.  I just cut the tortillas into triangle wedges, laid them on a prepared baking sheet, and cooked them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.  (I would watch them though because some ovens vary and if you burn them, you're done.)  Top these "chips" with some 0 PointsPlus salsa, and you've got yourself a healthy Mexican midnight snack.