Friday, July 13, 2018

8 ways to use powdered peanut butter

Aldi's brand - SimplyNature
I'm still kind of in awe of powdered peanut butter. It is amazing to me that it has so few calories but still basically tastes the same as regular peanut butter. I found this magical substance, "astronaut peanut butter" as I like to call it, when I started Weight Watchers. It was quickly apparent that there wasn't room for full-fat peanut butter in my daily point plan.

There are bunch of different brands available including PB2, PBFit, PB Trimmed and TruNut and these come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, honey and salted caramel. I posted a taste test of all of the ones I have tried and will update it when I have tried more types!

If you have bought some but aren't sure to how to use it, here are all the uses I have come up with so far:

1) As peanut butter
Peanut butter toast and fruit dip!
This is the most obvious way but really, when mixed with water you will barely notice the difference.
I prefer PBFit for "regular" peanut butter use. I put it on toast, in wraps and dip fruit in it.

2) For baking
You can replace up to half of flour in recipes with powdered peanut butter! This will make your recipes healthier by adding extra protein. It is also fewer Weight Watchers points than flour. You can try this in my black bean brownies, where I added it instead of flour to make them more cake-y. You probably can't replace all of the flour in regular recipes with the powered PB so you might need to experiment a little bit; I have had success replacing up to half of the flour without having to make other changes.

3) In smoothies
Drizzled on a banana crepe
Instead of using protein powder, you can add peanut butter powder to your smoothies to add extra protein. It can also make them peanut buttery, which is great with certain fruits like bananas. Blended fruit does have points on Weight Watchers, so keep that in mind.

4) As a dessert drizzle
Instead of indulging in something like chocolate sauce, you make a drizzle to put on top of your favorite dessert such as ice cream. To use it like this you want to mix it with water as normal but add a little more water until it's a thinner sauce consistency. I would start with an extra tsp of water and add 1/2 tsp increments after than until it's how you want it. Chocolate flavored versions are really good for this.

5) Add flavor to plain yogurt
Peanut sauce
Plain yogurt can be really boring, a little peanut butter powder can help to jazz it up. I would add about 2 Tb for 1/2 cup of yogurt. Try this with the chocolate, salted caramel or vanilla flavors for more variety.

6) Make peanut sauce
Especially if you are doing Weight Watchers, you need something to jazz up your daily chicken breast. Peanut sauce turns your boring chicken into chicken sate! Doesn't that sound exotic? Here is a recipe for you to experiment with.

7) Use it in high-protein peanut butter pancakes
This was one of the first ways I used powdered peanut butter. I bought some Krusteaz high-protein pancake mix and used some PBFit with it to make 2-point peanut butter pancakes.

8) Make these frozen PB pops
You can try out these frozen almond milk popsicle with this recipe from PBFit.

This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. Points were calculated in July 2017 on the Weight Watchers Freestyle program. This post main contain affiliate links, if you make a purchase using one of these links this blog may receive a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Chicken Shawarma - grill or Instant Pot

This recipe came about because after doing Weight Watchers for a while, I was bored with all the ways I normally make chicken. My go-to chicken marinade has been a balsamic & soy sauce concoction that my husband turned me on to but after months of eating so much chicken we were bored with it and needed to try something new.

With that in mind, I decided to try chicken shawarma and making a homemade tzatziki sauce.

I hadn't made tzatziki before but all of the store-bought tzatziki I had tried was disgusting. It was nothing like the delicious yogurt sauce our amazing local Mediterranean Deli had! So I thought I would give it a try and it was surprisingly easy and delicious. I see a lot of tzatziki sauce in my future.

To get a good flavor, I suggest to marinate the chicken at least 4 hours but you can do overnight or 24 hours if you have the time. The longer you marinate, the better the flavor!



Ingredients
3 large chicken breasts (about 2.5 lbs)
1 cup of fat free chicken broth (for Instant Pot only)

Marinade
3 Tb olive oil
Juice of one lemon, freshly squeezed
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tsp table salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika, smoked or Hungarian recomended
1/2 tsp chili powder
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 pinches of ground cinnamon

Tzatziki sauce
1 cup of plain, fat free Greek yogurt
1 Persian cucumber or 1/3 of a regular cucumber
Juice of half a lemon, freshly squeezed
1/2 tsp table salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp of dill weed (or to taste)

Directions:
Slice the chicken breasts into long strips, I got approximately 10-11 strips from the 3 breasts. Place the strips of chicken a Tupperware container or gallon sized Ziploc bag. Using a garlic press, mince the fresh garlic and add to the chicken. Add the remaining marinade ingredients to the container, toss the chicken to coat thoroughly and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 4 hours. Overnight or 24 hours is recommended.

For the Instant Pot:
Place 1 cup of fat free chicken broth in the bottom of the IP. Place the trivet in the bottom of the pot and place the chicken strips on top of the trivet. Lock the lid in place and close the vent. Set the IP to high pressure, 10 minutes. When the cooking cycle completes, quick release the pressure and serve.

For the grill:
Mixed tzatziki, yum!
On a heated grill, grill the chicken strips until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165 degrees, approximately 10 minutes per side and serve.

For the Tzatziki sauce:
Finely dice or grate the cucumber and add to a small bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly.


I like 1/4 tsp of dill to 1 cup of tzatziki but you might need to experiment a little to see how much you like. Dill has a strong flavor, so tread lightly! My husband happens to love dill and he always adds more to his sauce, you might like more too!

The grilled version had a nice char on it and was very crispy but I when it was reheated it was little drier also. The IP version was more moist and juicy. If you wanted it to have the char, you could broil it for a few minutes or sear it after it's cooked but it's really good straight from the Instant Pot!

For Weight Watchers, I count 1 point for each strip of chicken for the olive oil in the marinade. The Tzatziki is zero points!

This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. Points were calculated in July 2017 on the Weight Watchers Freestyle program. This post main contain affiliate links, if you make a purchase using one of these links this blog may receive a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Black bean peanut butter brownies - 1 point on WW

These might be the world's healthiest brownies. No flour, lots of protein and no artificial sugar and only two points on Weight Watchers Freestyle. They are lightly sweet and would pair great with some light ice cream!

When I told my husband I was going to make black bean brownies he was very skeptical. I had to convince him this was a real thing that people do! At least people on Weight Watchers who still want to eat brownies.

When I got ready to make these, I thought, "hmmm....maybe I should put some peanut butter powder in them? and make peanut butter brownies." so I rolled with the impulse. Why not? If you are not familiar with peanut butter powder, it's a low fat peanut butter that has the oil removed, such as PBFit or PB2.

I think this was a good edition and helps make the batter a little thicker and the brownies more cake-like since in recipes peanut butter powder acts sort of flour-like. I used regular peanut butter powder but you could also use the chocolate flavor and make it more chocolatey.


If you don't have an powdered peanut butter you can use protein powder, regular peanut butter (if
you're doing Weight Watchers this will add points) or skip it.

You will need a large food processor to make this recipe. You'll want to mash the black beans up thoroughly.  I used an 8-cup Hamilton Beach food processor.

Ingredients:
1 can of black beans
3 eggs
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 Tb powdered peanut butter
3 Tb unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 pinches of salt
cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10 inch square pan well with cooking spray. Drain and rinse black beans well in a small colander. Put black beans and all other ingredients in an 8-cup food processor and pulse for 3-4 minutes until the black beans are well-ground.

Pour batter into baking pan and back in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


Cut into 16 servings the recipe is 1 point per serving. If they are not sweet enough for you, you can add another 1/4 cup of brown sugar, which raises the point count to 2 points per serving.


This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of these links this blog may receive a small commission, thank you for your support. This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. Points were calculated in June 2018 using the WW freestyle program.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Cheesy crock-pot chicken - 3 pts on WW

My husband and I absolutely love crock-pot chicken made with cream cheese. It's really simple to throw in a crock pot in the morning and it's a versatile filling, we eat it:
  • over rice (this was more common pre-Weight Watchers, but it's also the best!)
  • over cauliflower rice
  • over egg noodles
  • as a taco/burrito filling
  • in a wrap
  • with black beans
This dish is so cheesy and decadent I did not even check the points on it when I first joined Weight Watchers, thinking they would be way too high. However with a few simple swaps I was shocked that it was only 3 points a serving! That is dividing the recipe into 4 servings, which is a very large serving.

To make this magic happen for 3 points, you need to use fat free cream cheese. While I try to avoid the fat free products that have fillers, I make an exception for this meal because sometimes I just need something quick and easy. If you change to light cream cheese, the recipe is 7pts/serving. 

This recipe is even easier because you can use frozen chicken without thawing it first. I have also left it for up to 9 hours and it was fine but it does burn on the sides a little bit. I spray it with cooking spray really good or use a crock-pot liner

Ingredients:
3 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 2.5lbs, fresh or frozen)
8oz fat free cream cheese
1 can of light cream of chicken soup (I use the Aldi fit & active brand)
cooking spray

Cooking equipment:

Directions:
Spray sides of crock-pot with cooking spray and put chicken in the bottom of the crock-pot. Sprinkle full packet of Italian dressing seasoning on top of the chicken and add the cream of chicken soup and block of cream cheese.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred the chicken and mix with the cheesy sauce and serve as desired.
Crock-pot chicken over cauliflower rice (3pt) with some chips on the side (4pt)
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of these links this blog may receive a small commission, thank you for your support. This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. Points were calculated in June 2018 using the WW freestyle program. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Two-ingredient dough - tips and ideas! 3 points on Weight Watchers


The discovery of two-ingredient dough was amazing. I am still amazed when I make this dough that it works and it is so versatile! I don't know who came up with this idea, but they are brilliant.

So, what is two ingredient dough? It is a bread dough made from just two ingredients – self-rising flour and plain, non-fat Greek yogurt in equal parts (ie 1 cup of each mixed together).

If you don't have self-rising flour, you can convert all-purpose flour by adding 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder to all-purpose flour.

Since plain, non-fat Greek yogurt is zero points on Weight Watchers Freestyle, the only points in the dough are from the flour. ¼ cup of self-rising flour has 3 points. I have a recipe listing for two-ingredient dough in my app that I created to track the points based on ¼ cup. That means if I make it with a cup of flour and a cup of yogurt the result is 4 servings at 3 points each. Make sense?

Basic Recipe
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • ¾-1 cup plain, non-fat, Greek yogurt 
Mix the flour and the yogurt together. The dough is very sticky when mixed at a 1:1 ratio of flour to yogurt. To counteract this you can add flour to help roll it out but this increases the points in the dough. Therefore, I recommend either using less yogurt for the initial mixture or using a dough hook to mix it.

I feel the results are best when using the dough hook on my KitchenAid mixer, it’s much less sticky when mixed this way. It also helps if you spray your hands with cooking spray before trying to shape the dough into anything.

After it’s baked, you need to refrigerate the bread. It will grow mold in a day or two because it has yogurt in it (ask me how I know….). You can also freeze items to eat later.

Now that you have the dough, what can you do with it?

Bagels

If you search for Weight Watchers two ingredient dough bagels you will find a bunch of tutorials on how to make these. I like this one from Slap Dash Mom, which gives you directions for making everything bagels.

However, you can make any flavor of bagel you want by adding different things to your dough. Think about:
  • Garlic (sprinkle garlic powder on top) 
  • Onion (sprinkle minced onion on top) 
  • Blueberry (add small blueberries when mixing the dough) 
  • Apple cinnamon (add cinnamon and apple chunks when mixing the dough) 
  • Cheese topped (cheese will add points, top the bagels with cheese when you bake them) 
If you split the dough into 4 bagels, they will be 3pts each for the dough (+any toppings).
3pt garlic bagels

Pizza crust

Using the basic recipe will make 2 personal sized pizzas. I split the full amount of dough in half to make pizzas for myself and my husband, if you only want to make 1 pizza, use 1/2 a cup of flour and 1/3 a cup of yogurt. This ratio will make your crust 6 points (2 servings of dough @3pts each). You can add a little garlic or dried basil to your dough when you mix it if you like.

Before mixing your dough, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take the amount dough you want to use (see note above on serving sizes of dough and points), using as small amount of flour as possible (because it adds points) roll your dough out using a rolling pin on a sheet of parchment paper. You want the dough about 1/4 in thick. Transfer the parchment paper to a cookie sheet.

Pre-bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, removing it before it turns brown.

Top the pre-baked crust with a small amount of pizza sauce, toppings and cheese and return pizza to oven. Bake an additional 8-12 minutes until the edges of the crust are slightly brown. If you want a crispier crust, bake closer to 12 minutes.

Personal sized pizza using two servings of dough for 6 points + toppings.
The crust is 6 points plus whatever toppings you put on it. My pizza is usually around 10 points and very filling. I like the Trader Joe's fat free pizza sauce, it's the lowest point sauce I have found at 1pt/serving (it's this one, I buy it locally at TJs). Another option that is low point for sauce is Classico Florentine and cheese marinara, it's 2pt/serving (it's this one, I buy it locally at Harris Teeter stores).

Pizza rolls

Honestly, these are delicious but also kind of a pain to make. I recommend making only half a batch of dough for this, which makes about 9 pizza rolls.

In addition to the basic dough recipe above you need:
  • Turkey pepperoni (I use Aldi's Mama Cozzi, 1pt/8 slices) 
  • Low-fat mozzarella cheese (2pt for 1/4 cup)
  • Pizza dipping sauce (see suggestions above in the pizza section)
Preaheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take a small ball of dough, like the size of a large marble or slightly smaller than a ping-pong ball. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a circle. Put  1 slice of turkey pepperoni (I chop it up) and a small amount of cheese in the middle. Fold up the edges to seal the ingredients in the middle and form a ball (this is the hard part, especially if the dough is too sticky).

Bake for 17-20 minutes, until dough is lightly browned.

Repeat until you are out of dough, 2 servings of dough makes approximately 9 pizza rolls. Two servings of dough is 6pts + 1 turkey pepperoni + 2 for cheese + 1 for dipping sauce is 10 points.
Pizza rolls

Pretzels

In addition to the basic dough recipe above you need:

  • 1-2 egg yolks, beaten
  • Coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 375. Divide the basic recipe into 5 equal portions. Roll each one out into a long tube, about half an inch thick and twist into a pretzel shape. Place it on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all of the portions of dough are shaped.

Coat the top of each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Based on 5 pretzels, each one is 2 points on WW Freestyle.

Mini apple pies

This recipe uses the 2-ingredient dough and a homemade low-sugar apple pie filling. They're 3 points each. You can even top them with a low-point ice cream for an a la mode treat!

You can see the full directions here.

Mini apple pie

Parmesan Breadsticks

In addition to the basic dough recipe above you need:
    • 1-2 egg yolks, beaten
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
    Preheat oven to 375. Divide the basic recipe into 5 equal portions. Roll each one out into a long tube, about an inch thick. Repeat until all of the portions of dough are shaped.

    Coat the top of each breadstick with egg wash and sprinkle with a small amount of Parmesan. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until lightly brown.

    Based on 5 breadsticks, each one is 2 points on WW Freestyle.

    Mini apple pies - 3 points on Weight Watchers

    These mini apple pies were our Memorial Day weekend treat! What could be better than apple pie?
    This recipe uses homemade apple pie filling. You can feel free to use store-bought but you need to be aware of how much sugar it has it in, this will impact the points calculation. It's possible to find lower sugar filling or fillings that use artificial sugar that are lower in points but the only way to really control it is to make it yourself! I try to avoid eating too many artificial sugars. Plus making the filling only takes about 10 minutes and is a great use for any apples you might have that are a little past their prime.

    One thing to be aware of if you use purchased filling, is that the apples are really big slices normally. This is fine if you make a full-sized pie. Since the pies are mini, there might be some messy apple cutting in your future. If you make your own, I would suggest dicing the apples into 1-inch cubes. They will fit in the mini pies much better.

    The other key element in this recipe is the miraculous 2-ingredient dough. This stuff is so amazing.

    *Apple pie filling ingredients:
    4 small apples, cored and diced (you can also peel them if you prefer but I don't)
    juice of half a lemon
    3 cups of water
    1/3 cup of cornstarch
    1/3 cup of brown sugar
    1 tsp of cinnamon
    1/4 tsp nutmeg
    1/4 tsp salt

    Dough ingredients:
    1 cup of self-rising flour
    3/4 cup non-fat, plain, Greek yogurt

    Cooking spray
    Extra flour to roll out the dough

    You will also need a muffin pan with at least 10 spaces, rolling pin and a large whisk.


    Directions:
    Toss your chopped apples in lemon juice. In a large nonstick sauce pan (I use this one), add water and whisk in cornstarch until it's fully incorporated with no lumps. Turn on med-high heat and add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Bring to boil and allow to thicken for two minutes. Add the apples and reduce the heat to low-med level and cook the apples until they are tender, approximately 7-8 minutes. When they are cooked, remove from heat and set aside.

    While your apples are cooking, you can prepare your dough. In a large mixing bowl, add flour and yogurt. I like to mix the dough using a dough hook in my kitchenaid mixer because it is less sticky but you can also mix it using a wooden spoon.

    Spray your muffin pan very well with cooking spray. I also suggest spraying your hand with cooking spray before rolling out your dough, it helps prevent sticking.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take a small of dough, about the size of a ping pong ball and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. It should be rolled to about an 1/8 of an inch thick and its should stick out beyond the sides of the muffin opening.
    Repeat until you have rolled out all of the dough, approximately 10 pies.

    Scoop a small amount of apple pie filling (approximately 1/4 cup) into each dough circle. until the compartment is full. Fold any extra dough on top of the filling.
    Bake mini pies for 17-19 minutes at 375 degrees until the dough is lightly brown on the top.
    Each mini pie is 3 points on Weight Watchers Freestyle, based on 10 servings.

    *Apple pie filling recipe was adapted from Crazy for Crust to be more Weight Watchers friendly.

    This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of these links this blog may receive a small commission, thank you for your support. This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. Points were calculated in May 2018 using the WW freestyle program. 

    Sunday, May 20, 2018

    Banana muffins - 2 points on Weight Watchers

    I think I am definitely baking more since starting Weight Watchers! I was holding off before because I was gaining weight and the baked goods were so unhealthy. Now that I'm on the "reasonably healthy baked goods that fit in to my food plan" train, there seems to be no stopping me!

    Plus, if I want baked goods now, I have to make them myself it seems like. 

    If you have checked out my other Weight Watchers friendly baked goods recipes (pumpkin muffin recipe, blueberry lemon cake recipe), you will notice that I don't use artificial sugars, instead they are only lightly sweetened and rely on fruit and a little brown sugar to get the sweet taste. These banana muffins follow the same plan.

    You can use over-ripe bananas from the freezer in this recipe. I used one from the freezer and one from my counter. If you are using frozen ones, thaw them out first. You can microwave them a little it you don't have time to wait for them to thaw (15-20 seconds).

    I have also used almond extract in these muffins to give them a nutty flavor without using high-point nuts in the recipe. You can use vanilla extract if you prefer but they won't have the nutty taste.

    Ingredients:
    2 medium, very ripe bananas
    1 cup self-rising flour
    1 egg
    1/3 cup unpacked brown sugar
    1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
    1 tsp almond extract
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

    You will also need:
    Cupcake liners, I suggest silicone liners when cooking without oil.
    Cupcake pan 
    Hand mixer, I use my kitchen aid hand mixer.

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cupcake pan with liners. In a large mixing bowl, put all ingredients in the bowl and beat with the hand mixer until well mixed. Take care to ensure the bananas are mashed up and mixed in well.  If you have a good hand mixer, you don't need to mash the bananas in advance.

    Fill each liner 3/4 full, diving the batter among the 12 liners.


    Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

    The recipe makes 12 banana muffins, that are 2 points each on Weight Watchers Freestyle.

    This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of these links this blog may receive a small commission, thank you for your support. This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. Points were calculated in May 2018 using the WW freestyle program.