Sunday, February 26, 2012

This Week's Menu

Hey guys...sorry I disappeared again.  I've been cooking, just haven't been great with tracking my meals...again.  Goodness, this could be the story of my life.  How on earth do you stay motivated??  I always seem to lose it after 3-4 weeks.  I'm over it.  I'm over the meal planning, I'm over figuring out all the points for the meals I'm eating.  I'm even over cooking.  I seriously thought by paying for a meal plan I'd get excited again but it's just not happening :(

Anyway, here's what's on the menu for this week:

Monday:  Garlic Chicken Linguini and salad
Tuesday:  Turkey Burgers with Avocado Sauce and honey carrots (I'll probably skip the carrots and go for a salad instead)
Wednesday:  Crockpot Ham and Beans with cornbread (and another salad, I'm sure)
Thursday:  BBQ Pulled Pork (another crockpot meal, but we're heading to the Houston Livestock Show and like to come home to some BBQ Pork!)
Friday:  Cajun Shrimp and Rice (I love Lent...we eat more shrimp during lent than any other time of the year)
Saturday:  Probably leftovers.  No, sandwiches for the girls and a date night for Mommy and Daddy!  YAY!!  We're going to a Mexican restaurant downtown call Cyclone Anaya's.  Eric's been there before but I haven't.  But seriously, how can you NOT like Mexican??

I haven't worked up the points plus values for these dinners yet, but when I do I'll post them!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fajita Burgers

Be warned:  This is NOT figure friendly...but it sure is tasty!!  I figured this at 17 Weight Watchers Points Plus values.  Ummmm...that's not good considering it's a pretty small burger AND I only get 29 PP per day!  However, it's a super yummy cheat meal :)  Sorry, I didn't take any pictures, we ate them too fast!  Actually, I have one leftover that I'm planning to eat later this week so I'll try to remember to take a picture of that when I put it all together.

The recipe:

1 lb ground beef (I used ground chuck because it makes the juiciest burgers, but it's definitely the fattest option!)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder

4 slices Pepper Jack Cheese

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1/2 green pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 cup salsa verde

1 package hamburger buns

1 rip avocado, smashed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Tortilla chips for serving with remaining salsa

1)  In a large bowl, combine ground beef, worcestershire sauce, cumin and chili powder.  Form into 4 patties.

2)  Cook over medium heat on a non-stick skillet for about 4 minutes on each side (Eric did them on the grill for about 4 minutes per side).  Add cheese slices immediately.

3)  In a separate skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and bell pepper.  Saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add salsa verde and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  (I don't like to pay attention to times when sauteeing always seems to take longer to soften them)

4)  Mash avocado and combine with mayo.  Season with salt and garlic powder.  (This was AMAZING!!  We also dipped some tortilla chips in it!  I blame this for my measly weight loss of .4 pounds this be careful!)

5)  Heat buns and assemble burger.  Place patty on bottom bun, top with salsa mixture, and smeat avocado mayonnaise inside top bun.  (When we did it in this order a lot of the salsa mixture and mayo squeezed out when we bit into it.  For Eric's second burger...yes, he ate TWO!...he put the salsa mixture under the burger, then the mayo on top and that worked out much better.)

Seriously you guys, I've had some good burgers in my life, but this was one of the top few!  So, if you ever feel like splurging and using some of your flex points, then go for this!  One thing I suggest, though, is to PLEASE eat it as the recipe calls.  I could tell my husband was skeptical at first because he judges food before he tries it.  All I asked of him was to have his first burger EXACTLY as the recipe calls for.  He hesitantly agreed...but his second burger he fixed the same way!!  So if my judgemental husband likes it, I'm sure you will too!!

Let me know if you make these!

**EDITED about one hour after posting this...just realized Eric took the last fajita burger for his lunch today :(  I'm crushed...I don't get to taste that deliciousness again AND you guys won't get a picture of it.  Ughh....this just ruined my day.  :(

Thursday, February 9, 2012

FREE Smoothie!

I found a great smoothie that has ZERO Points Plus values!!  I'm pretty much addicted to Pinterest (but who isn't??) and found this recipe while looking for some weight loss motivation.  Here's a picture of this smoothie taken from this blog.  (I took a picture of mine with my cell phone but haven't loaded it to my computer...)

For the full details of this smoothie, here's the direct link to her recipe.  I actually had to make two of these smoothies this morning.  I made one but before I got around to drinking it, my girls had finished over half of it!  I let them share the rest of it and made a fresh one for myself :)

Seriously, guys, try this one out!  It is so much better than I expected.  You can't go wrong!  AND, you can use any kind of frozen fruit in it.  If you use blueberries or other dark fruit, it won't be as bright green as the one in the picture, but it'll still be delicious.  I made one with mixed berries the other day and it was amazing.  My favorite, though is the frozen mixture of strawberries, peaches, mango and pineapple.  YUMMY!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Week One Weight Loss

Whew...I lost 2.4 pounds this week!!  I was so nervous stepping on the scale.  I know I "cheated" a lot this week.  I didn't track everything I put in my mouth and some of my meals I was just too lazy to figure it all up.  Plus, Walmart had Marshmallow Fluff on sale for 50 cents a jar so you know I couldn't pass that up!  I may have snacked on a spoonful or two of that while making a fluffanutter sandwich for Maddie. And I may have licked the peanut butter off the knife and had a little more too...

This week, I WILL do better!  I will track everything I put in my mouth and drink even more water than I had been.  I went caffeine free starting last Wednesday and it has forced me to drink more water when I'm not walking around with a cup of coffee in hand.  I'm feeling a lot better energy-wise now that I've cut out caffeine and increased my water intake.  I'm not saying I'm ready to go morning til night, but I definitely have more energy than I did even two weeks ago.  YAY!

On tonight's menu we have crock pot shredded beef flautas.  Oh yum.  My house already smells good and it's only been going for an hour.  Chuck roast, garlic, salt, cumin, green chilies and cilantro.  Seriously, does it get any better than that??  I'll try to remember to take some pictures tonight when I'm putting the flautas together so you can see how they go.

As of right now I'm planning on having 3 oz of the roast with 4 corn tortillas.  I'm not exactly sure how 3 oz looks so I might have to go with a little more.  But anyway, with the brand of white corn tortillas I bought and 3 oz of beef chuck roast, it works out to 11 points plus.  Not bad, huh?  That sounds like a reasonable dinner.  Although I'm afraid I might still be hungry and if that happens I'll just have a big bowl of fruit and hope that holds me over :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What Do You Snack On?

I enjoy a good, satisfying snack in the afternoon.  Right now I'm snacking on a 5.3 oz cup of nonfat Greek Yogurt, mixed in 1/4 cup grape nuts cereal and drizzled on a little honey (less than a tsp).  The Greek Yogurt is 2 PP, the 1/4 c grape nuts is 3 PP and I didn't give myself any PP for the honey (1 Tbsp is 2 points and I used WAY less than 1 tsp even).  It was a delicious, healthy snack full of fiber and protein.

Starbucks is selling a Greek Yogurt Honey Parfait right now.  One of my friends recommended it to me and I about DIED when I looked at the nutrition information!!  Check it out here.  The PP value for this tasty treat is 9.  I think I'll continue to save myself the 4 extra PP and keep making it on my own (and I'm sure mine is much cheaper, too!)

A helpful hint for Greek Yogurt...try not to buy the sweetened, flavored ones.  They're LOADED with sugar and, therefore, carbs.  Buy the plain ones, sweeten it with a little drizzle of honey or some frozen fruit.  If you mix in the frozen fruit (0 PP) the night before, it'll be all thawed out and ready for a mid-morning snack the next day!  Also, if you decide to add the grape nuts, I like to let it sit for a few minutes so they soften a bit.  (But sometimes it's really hard to resist eating it immediately).

Let me know what your go-to snacks are!!  I'm always looking for some new ideas :)

On the Menu: Smothered Pork Chops and Rice Pilaf

For the Pork Chops:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil  (I will be using cooking spray to avoid these extra points)
4 Pork Chops, any kind will work
4 Tbsp flour, seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika
1 C chicken broth
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1 tsp cajun seasoning

For the rice:
1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked
4 green onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stick butter (I'll be using margarine)
1 C chicken broth + 2 cups water (use remaining broth from can & add water to make 3 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C slivered almonds (2 ounces)

1.  Start rice.  Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Saute 1/2 of green onions and garlic for 1 minute.  Add rice, broth, water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer until water cooks out - about 30 minutes (depends on your type of rice...mine was done in about 20).  Once water is cooked out, remove from heat and stir in remaining green onions and almonds.  Cover and set aside until ready to serve.

2.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Dredge pork chops in seasoned flour and brown both sides in the hot oil, about 2-3 minutes on each side.  Add vegetables and saute an additional 5 minutes.  Add broth and seasonings.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until pork chops are cooked through.  Serve over rice.

Melt butter in saucepan for rice.

Saute green onions and garlic for 1 minute.

 Dredge pork chops in seasoned flour, then brown for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Since I used cooking spray instead of oil, the flour didn't brown all the way, but it's ok because it cooks once the broth is added.

Add the veggies (green pepper, onion and green onion) and saute for 5 additional minutes.

Here's how your rice should be looking (keep it covered...I took the lid off for the picture).

Add broth and cajun seasoing.  Your house will begin to smell AMAZING at this point!

The finished product.  Hubby and I both LOVED this.  It's totally a company-worthy dinner.

Reviews:  This was the best meal I've cooked in a LONG time!  I couldn't get over how all the flavors really came together so nicely and the pork chops seemed to just melt in our mouths.  Wow!  The girls gave mixed reviews.  The 3 year old said the pork chop was too spicy and wouldn't eat the rice because it had almonds in it.  If she had tried it, I'm sure she would've liked it.  She ended up eating leftovers from the night before.  The 17 month old devoured the rice and ate a good portion of the pork chop.  She didn't seem to be bothered by the spicy cajun seasoning.  That's my girl!!  If I ever make this for company, I would definitely make a serving of pork chops without the cajun seasoning for the kids.  Maybe even just make bbq pork chops for them instead :)

Weight Watchers information:  Each pork chop was 3 Points Plus values for a 3 oz chop.  There's such a small amount of flour added to each chop that it doesn't increase the PP at all.  The rice, on the other hand, is much higher...a 3/4 c serving yields 6 Points Plus values.  Keep in mind, these PP values were based on using margarine instead of butter in the rice and using cooking spray instead of vegetable oil for the pork chops!!

Let me know if you make this and what you think of it!  I promise you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Turkey Chili in the Crock Pot

Sorry for the ridiculously long break...I had surgery on my knee 3 weeks ago and it threw me WAY off course.  I'm talking I gained weight like you wouldn't believe :( here I am once again getting back on track!

Last night I made the most delicious chili I've ever made in my life.  I signed up for a meal plan that I get every week that includes a shopping list.  Yay for shopping/meal planning made easy!!  Most of the meals are pretty heavy on the Weight Watchers Points Plus values, but this turkey chili was EXACTLY what I needed to start my journey again.  I made it without telling my husband that it was turkey instead of beef and he couldn't tell the difference.  Woo hoo!

Now, this recipe calls for you to brown the ground turkey with the onions and garlic before putting it in the crock pot.  This turned me off at first and I didn't want to make it.  I mean, what's the point of cooking when you're using the crock pot?  Isn't that the beauty of the crock pot?  It does the cooking for you!!  Oh well...I understand the point of browning the meat first.  If you don't brown it and crumble it in a pan, then it'll just form a solid brick of meat in your crock pot.

Crock Pot Turkey and Black Bean Chili

1 lb ground turkey
1 14.5 oz can black beans, not drained
1/2 onion (I accidentally put the whole onion in and didn't find it to be too "onion-y")
4 cloves garlic
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

*note:  I didn't actually measure the dry seasonings, I just eye balled it and it came out great!

In a large pot, brown turkey with onion and garlic.  Drain and add to crock pot.

To crock pot, add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, black beans and seasonings.

Stir ingredients, cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.  (I cooked mine about 5 1/2 hours, but it's no big deal because there are no raw ingredients)

We enjoyed ours with some pasta shells and it was so delicious.  I ate another helping for lunch today (with no pasta) and it was just as good as last night!

Points Plus value for this meal is 6 for a 1 1/2 cup serving of chili.  I'll be making this frequently!!