Monday, January 22, 2018

Lightened Up Spinach Dip

I have been making my Knorr's spinach dip recipe for at least 10 years now. I make it for every holiday I host (which is at minimum 3 a year) and for any event I attend. No matter where it goes people love it. So when I first tasted Greek nonfat yogurt and gagged (I'm sorry to all you lovers of it... I think it's so gross haha) I knew it would be the perfect sour cream substitute. I thought of all the ways I could use it and making this dip came right to mind.

Let me just say, this is life changing people. Life changing. The whole entire recipe is 4 points. I've been eating it in 1-2 tbsp servings so I count it as 0sp, but even if you sat down and went to town on the whole entire dip it's still so low in points! I love it for dipping my pretzels, Good Thins "The Corn Ones" crackers, veggies... you name it, I'm dippin' it in this stuff. It's easy to make, it's super low in points, and it's delicious. You must make it now!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

4 Weight Watchers Freestyle Smartpoints for the whole recipe (0 sp for 1/10 of the recipe, approximately 3 tablespoons)

1 1/4 cups Greek nonfat yogurt
5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and all the water squeezed out
1 packet Knorr/Lipton vegetable soup mix (40g size)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste

1- Combine all the ingredients and stir well. Be sure to get the spinach well distributed.
2- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Personal Pizza Crust

Two ingredient dough has taken the internet (errr... I guess I should say the Weight Watchers internet) by storm. I tried it over a month ago to make 2 ingredient bagels and was a big fan. The basic dough recipe is just 1/2 cup Greek nonfat yogurt and 1/2 cup self rising flour. That is the base and from there you can do whatever you want with it. I've seen people make doughnuts, calzones, strombolis, biscuits, bread sticks, and more. I have used it to make a personal pizza dough a few times now and I have to say it's really a great use! The best part is you don't need to mess with yeast, you can make it in under 5 minutes, and it crisps up beautifully if you cook it on a pizza stone.

My one cautionary tale here is I still haven't perfected how to cook it on my pizza stone because the yogurt seems to just be a little stickier than traditional crust. I'm thinking the go-to method will be parchment paper on top of the pizza stone. I hate when my dough sticks to my stone and I lose the crispy bottom! That issues aside this has been a go to recipe for me when I'm not sure what to make for dinner!

6 Points on Weight Watchers Freestyle (for just the crust- Some flours will make it only 5sp so check your brand!)

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/4 tsp Italian seasonings
1/4 tsp garlic powder

1- Preheat the oven to 425.  Stir your seasonings into your flour mixture. Mix well.
2- Add the yogurt. Slowly work the yogurt into the flour. You will need to use your hands to get it fully incorporated.
3- Transfer the dough to a work surface. Kneed and fold the dough several times until it's smooth. Roll out your dough.
4- Transfer the rolled out dough to a preheated pizza stone (or just on a baking sheet).
5- Allow the dough to bake for about 10 minutes or until it is slightly golden brown around the edges.
6- Remove your stone and top your pizza with sauce, cheese, and any toppings you may like.
7- Bake until cheese is melted.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Crockpot Marinara Sauce

Once I was back on Weight Watchers one of my complaints was with the points of most tomato sauces. I use tomato sauce multiple times a week and I was sick of spending a few points each time. This week alone I used it for a pizza (recipe coming soon) and a chicken parm meal I made. My favorite jarred sauce was 3sp for 1/2 a cup and to me that was a "waste" when I knew I could get an equally good sauce for 0 points.

I've made homemade sauce a million times but never without oil and or butter. When I saw the original recipe for this I knew it would be good but I worried I'd really miss the fats I usually add. I can honestly say I did not! I modified the original recipe a bit to make it work with what I had on hand but it was still delicious. I ended up freezing the majority of it in my silicone muffin tin. Each "muffin" holds 1/3 cup of sauce so I can easily grab as many or as few as I need. I chose to use silicone because once they were frozen it was super easy to just invert the tray and pop them all out!

Source: Modified from Daily Dose of Pepper

0 sp on Weight Watchers Freestyle

3   28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic, minced, or 3 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup dried chopped onion (or 1 small fresh onion, diced)
3 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1- Combine all ingredients in the crockpot. Allow to cook on low 6-8 hours.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

No Recipe Needed Ranch Dip

Seriously, the title says it all.... this really does NOT need a recipe. In fact, I'd venture to guess most people reading this have made this dip before if they're on Weight Watchers. My coworker was eating this the other day and let me try it- let's just say ever since then this has become a staple in my house. It tastes like the creamiest ranch dip ever. I hate nonfat Greek yogurt on it's own so I was reluctant but this is delicious. Everyone enjoys it here so to me that makes it a complete winner.

I have had this on sandwiches, as a dip for veggies, as a dip for pretzels, on buffalo chicken bites... you name it, I've probably dipped it in this. It's not fancy, it's really not even a recipe, but it's a staple!

0sp on the Weight Watchers Freestyle Program

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp ranch dressing mix

1- Combine the two ingredients. Stir well.
2- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Chicken Cacciatore Pasta Bake

It's no secret that I love chicken cacciatore. It's one meal from my childhood that I still make (often) to this day. If I have an extra pepper and onion on hand you can pretty much guess that cacciatore is coming your way! This is a twist on my classic version, but a great make ahead option. I prepped the whole meal, minus the sauce, two days in advance and just added the sauce right before throwing it in the oven (if you add the sauce too far in advance it'll likely dry out).

There are many reasons I put on these pounds I'm working so hard to take off, but one of the reasons was I got lazy about cooking. It's just easier to eat a frozen pizza or some other frozen option than to cook when you come home from work and you're tired and have two little kids to care for. I've started really utilizing Sundays to get ahead for the week (like assembling this meal completely except the sauce... then when I got home and was ready to cook it I just stirred it in and baked). It's a learning curve but I'm proud to say in 5 weeks I'm down 10.6 pounds and still going! Meals like this help me to get there- they are hearty and comforting while also healthy and light.

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

7 Smartpoints for 1/3 of recipe on the Freestyle Program*
*Points vary based on the brand of ingredients you use

2 cups of cooked pasta (I used white- you can use wheat and recalculate points)
2 cups of cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
1 bell pepper, diced into small pieces
1/3 cup diced onion
3 ounces of shredded light mozzarella cheese (I used Trader Joe's lite mozzarella which came to 3 sp)
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (check the points- this can make the recipe more or less sp)
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1- Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into the baking dish.
2- Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the pasta is hot.
3- Top each serving with 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Since I've recommitted to Weight Watchers my biggest struggle has been breakfast. I don't like eggs. I am not a big fan of yogurt. Truth be told when it comes to breakfast I love carbs- bagels, muffins, waffles... you get the idea. I've been having a protein shake, daily, for four weeks. It's gotten a bit monotonous (although I do really enjoy it) so I decided to try this recipe that I found on Instagram.

I had hoped these would be crispy but they were definitely soft. If you like oatmeal you will definitely enjoy these. They had a great flavor and were nice and portable for on-the-go breakfast options.

Source: Slightly modified from Instagram user "wwg4life"

 5 Weight Watchers Freestyle Smartpoints for all 6 cookies

1 packet of reduced sugar oatmeal (I used the maple brown sugar)
1 egg
1/2 banana
2 tablespoons non-fat Greek yogurt
1 3/4 tablespoons self-rising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1- Preheat the oven to 350.
2- Mash the banana.
3- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir well.
4- Divide into 6 equal sized cookies.
5- Bake for 18 minutes.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Crispy Cheesy Crusted Chicken

Tomorrow we are supposed to get a big snow storm (both of my kids are already off school!) and something about the threat of snow had me craving a comforting dinner. I've been back on Weight Watchers for almost four weeks now and while my body is handling the adjustments and is getting used to smaller portions, my mind is lagging. Tonight my mind wanted comfort- cheese, warmth, and all things carbs. What can I say... I am who I am!

I made this recipe using what I had on hand and my husband and I both loved it. The breading is just so darn tasty. Please note, when I specify points it's based on the ingredients I used. If you use a different brand your points may be higher!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

4 Weight Watchers Freestyle Smart Points per chicken breast

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each)
Salt and pepper
1 ounce low fat cream cheese, softened
2 ounces low fat mozzarella cheese (I used Trader Joe's lite mozzarella which comes out to 1 point per ounce)
4 tbsp corn flake crumbs
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
Dried parsley (a few shakes)
Cooking spray

1- Preheat the oven  to 400.
2- Lightly spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Put each chicken breast in the dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and some paprika.
3- In a bowl combine the cream cheese, mozzarella, corn flake crumbs, and garlic powder/seasoning salt. The mixture will be crumbly and loose.
4- Divide the topping over the two chicken breasts. It will be loose and not adhere to the chicken. Use a light coating of cooking spray over the two breasts. Sprinkle with dried parsley.
5- Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes or until your chicken is cooked through and the top is brown. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken.