Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Orzo with Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper

Orzo is a staple at my house, it's one of the items I always keep stocked in my pantry.  Orzo is rice shaped pasta that is versatile and easy to prepare. Combine it with your favorite meat, veggie, cheese or vinaigrette for a quick and healthy meal.  Orzo can be served hot or cold and always tastes better the next day.  My favorite thing about orzo is that 1 cup cooked (1/2 cup uncooked) is only 5 weight watchers points plus values or 210 calories. 

Orzo with Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper
Servings 4 - 1 cup servings
WW points+  6 per serving

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 red bell pepper
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
5 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
7 ounces warm cooked cubed chicken breast
garlic salt
salt and pepper


1. Spray bell pepper with cooking spray. Roast the red pepper on a grill or gas cook top or oven broiler for 5-7 minutes, once pepper is a little black and blistery place pepper in a plastic sandwich bag for about 10 minutes.  The steam will continue to cook the pepper and soften the skin. While the pepper is still enclosed in the plastic bag scrape the sides of the pepper with your finger to remove the charred skin.  (Note: I like a little char on my pepper but if you don't like it scrape it all off or just skip the roasting completely and saute the chopped bell pepper in a pan.)  Remove the pepper from the bag, chop and set aside.
2. Cook the orzo according to the directions on the box. Once the orzo is done, drain it and pour hot orzo into a large bowl.  While the orzo is still hot add in two handfuls of fresh spinach and stir.  The heat from the orzo will wilt the spinach.  Next add in the feta cheese, roasted red peppers and chopped cooked chicken breast**. Season with garlic salt, salt and pepper to you taste. 
Note: If the pasta is a little dry, toss in 2 teaspoons of olive oil (this will not change the WW points+ values).

**I will be writing a post on brining and freezing cooked chicken soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I have a serious sweet tooth and a weakness for desserts especially cakes and cupcakes.  This past Friday there were two dozen cupcakes right outside of my office and guess what??? I was not tempted to eat one....well let me clarify that, I did think about having one for about 15 seconds, but I opted for fruit instead. I choose the fruit at 9:00am so I still had 7 more hours to walk past those cupcakes, I was strong now but would I be strong later??
I had a craving for fudge that week so the night before I made some fudge and brought a piece to work. So I had a decision to make, the fudge or the cupcake(s)?  I chose the fudge because that is what I had been craving.  Yes, I love cupcakes but I just didn't want one.  I have found that I get more enjoyment and satisfaction from eating the foods that I have been craving instead of eating just what is in front of me.  I ate my fudge and thoroughly enjoyed every single bite of it.  Here's the recipe, be warned it's really good and dangerously easy to make.  Enjoy!

3 Minute Fudge
Serving: 36 - 1 ounce servings
WW points+:  4 per servings with walnuts and 3 points without nuts
Approximately 100 calories per serving with nuts, 80 calories without nuts

1/4 cup butter, melted
3 cups milk chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Line a 8x8 glass baking dish with aluminum foil, have foil overlap the edges of the glass dish (you will need to lift the fudge out of the glass dish).
2. Melt butter in a large microwave safe bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips and condensed milk. Mix well and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Fudge should be smooth and creamy.  If fudge is lumpy stir well and microwave for another minute.
3. Stir in chopped walnuts.  Tip for chopping walnuts - Place nuts in a plastic bag and pound with a handle of a large spoon or bottom of a glass.
4. Pour into glass baking dish and allow to cool before refrigerating.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.
5. Once fudge has set, remove from glass dish, cut 6 rows down and 6 rows across to make 36 pieces. Store in an air tight container. Fudge can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3weeks and can be frozen for 3 months.

Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili
Servings: 10 - 1 cup servings 
WW points+ 5 per serving

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 packaged chili seasoning packets
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can canned tomato sauce
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can canned kidney beans,rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed

  • Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add ground turkey and cook to evenly brown.
  • Add in chopped onions, peppers and celery and cook until tender. You do not need to drain fat if using ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • Stir in 2 packets of chili seasonings, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. Mix well and add in one cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. 
Tips: Substitute ground chicken or ground turkey breast to lower the WW points+ value to 4 points per serving.  Also place 1 cup servings into sandwich bags, seal and place into a larger freezer bag, for individual servings that are easy to microwave. Dish will freeze for 3-4 months.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I love to cook and I love to eat really good food.  A few months ago I had an aha moment. I was planning a menu for a small dinner party and I had no idea what to make. I can cook for 30 people with my eyes closed but for 6 people I was completely stumped. I realized I had few tried and true healthy recipes for a small group in my repertoire because I rarely cooked for myself. Why wasn’t I cooking, you ask. Well for several reasons, number one, I was always on a diet, so I mainly ate salads or baked chicken and veggies or at the other extreme always eating out. Number two, I wasn’t cooking for myself, I was waiting for my next party or family event to dust off my cookbooks. And lastly most recipes feed a family and not just one person, so what do I do with all the leftovers?  I realized I needed to change and begin cooking for myself and and start preparing the foods a I enjoy at resturants at home.  I joined Weight Watchers (a life style not a diet...lol) and I began taking cooking classes, which has taking my culinary skills to a whole new level.  I am finding that it is possible to eat the foods I crave in moderation and also in healthy ways. 

This blog will chronicle my adventures in cooking, eating and life as I search to satisfy my craving for something good.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chicken with Black Beans and Corn

This is one of my favorites, it easy to make and freezes well.  Add some green onions, lettuce and light sour cream to a low carb tortilla to make a low point burrito.
Crockpot Recipe
Chicken with Black Beans and Corn

Makes 10 - 1 cup servings.
WW Points+ : 5 points per cup


16 oz fat free salsa   
1 1/4 oz reduced-sodium taco seasoning   
14 oz canned diced tomatoes   
2 1/2 pounds uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
12 oz frozen yellow corn   
1 medium fresh lime, juiced   
1 cup cilantro   
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed   

Place the salsa, taco seasoning, lime juice, and half a cup of cilantro into a crockpot, and stir to combine. Add the chicken breasts, and stir to coat with the salsa mixture. Set the crockpot on High and cook until the chicken is very tender for 3 hours. Shred chicken with a knife and fork ; add diced tomatoes, more cilantro, corn and black beans. Cook for another hour.
Serve with rice, tortillas, tacos or in a salad.

Tip: Place 1 cup servings into sandwich bags, seal and place into a larger freezer bag, for individual servings that are easy to microwave. Dish will freeze for 3-4 months.