Monday, September 9, 2019

Un-stuffed pepper skillet

I have been really into skillet meals lately and experimenting with some quick, healthy and tasty meals lately!

One of my favorite dishes is stuffed peppers but I don't like cooking all of the ingredients and then baking them until the peppers are soft - too time consuming! In the winter, I do a "stuffed" pepper soup that is quick and easy but I'm not quite ready for soup season yet, so I cooked up a this un-stuffed pepper skillet. While, I call this a skillet meal, in my opinion, it's easier to make in a pot with higher sides or Dutch oven as a skillet will be really full.

The whole recipe is only 10 points on Weight Watchers Freestyle and it's easily 5 servings, making it 2 points for serving. Top it with a little cheese and sour cream for extra points.

Cooking spray
1.25 lbs 99% FF ground turkey (you can also use beef or higher fat turkey but it will increase the points if you are following Weight Watchers)
1 packet chili seasoning, ideally low sodium
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 large bell peppers, any color, diced
1 14.5 oz can of black beans
1.5 cups of cooked rice

Optional toppings:
Shredded cheese
Sour cream or plan Greek yogurt

Cooking equipment: Very large skillet or high-sided pot or Dutch oven (preferred)

Spray pan with cooking spray and turn on medium heat, add ground turkey and season with chili seasoning. Brown the meat until fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes.

Add tomatoes, diced peppers, black beans and cooked rice. Stir. If the mixture appears dry (especially an issue with low fat meat) add up to .5 cups of water. Allow to warm fully and simmer uncovered about 5-8 minutes.

Top with cheese and sour cream or yogurt if desired and serve.

This recipe is easiest if you already have cooked rice on hand but if you don't have rice ready to go, you can either A) put some in the rice cooker about 10-15 minutes before you start browning your meat or B) you can add uncooked rice and water to cook it to your pan and allow it to simmer covered together for about 20 minutes until your rice is fully cooked. This is a delicious option but a little more time consuming.

When made with 99% FF ground turkey, the recipe is 10 total points on Freestyle. Dividing it into 5 servings makes it 2 points each, excluding any optional toppings. The 5 servings are pretty generous portions.

This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. This post may 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, August 12, 2019

Strawberry Jam - Low Sugar - Instant Pot

One of the things I don't personally like about Weight Watchers is so many pre-made food are either high in points or if you want a lower point choice, you have to get the sugar free option. "Sugar-free" is a misnomer, really it means "artificial sweeteners." There are varying opinions on artificial sweeteners and which ones, if any are ok. I do eat them but I try to do it in moderation.

The other option, one I have often employed, is it make my own from scratch foods when I can that just use less real sugar or in some cases a sugar replacement, like monkfruit, that I am ok with.

With this in mind, I set out to make some low sugar strawberry jam in my trusty Instant Pot.

This jam is 1 point for up to 4 tablespoons, the recipe makes about 5 cups of jam.

4 quarts of strawberries, hulled and sliced in quarters
1/2 cup of sugar
1 medium lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons of cornstarch

Put strawberries in the bottom of Instant Pot, sprinkle sugar on them and stir. Allow the berries to sit in the sugar for 30-60 minutes. The sugar will draw out the juice from the berries.

Using a small strainer, squeeze the juice from the lemon on to the berries and stir. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook, high, for 1 minute.

After the cooking cycle has completed, allow it to naturally release the pressure for 20-25 minutes. Should any pressure remain, you can quick release it.

Change the Instant Pot to saute, normal. Stir the berry mixture to break up any large strawberry pieces or if you want a less chunky jam, you can use a potato masher or immersion blender to get a smoother consistency. I prefer it with some berry chunks.

Scoop out about a cup of the berry mixture's liquid into a small bowl. Do this carefully as it's extremely hot. Wisk in the cornstarch until smooth. Return the corn starch mixture to the Instant Pot and stir well.

The mixture should begin to thicken, continue to stir until it's slightly thinner than jam and then turn off the heat. It will thicken a little bit more as it cools.

After it cools, pour it into jars or other containers and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or the freezer.

I split mine into several containers and put one in the fridge and the remaining ones in the freezer for future use. This jam is a little more tart than you will be used to with store purchased jams, if you want, you can add more sugar but it will increase the points per serving.

This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. This post may 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.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

10+ snack ideas under 5 points on Weight Watchers Freestyle

It can be easy to get into a food rut and fall off the wagon when doing the Weight Watchers program. For me, having options is key to consistency! To help you mix it up, here are 10 of ideas for snacks, all under 5 points.

1) Low Fat Mozzarella string cheese

Sometimes we just need a little something to make it until dinner. Grab a stick of low-fat string cheese to tide you over. Most brands are only 1 point per stick but scan the specific one you buy to make sure.

Total: 1 point for 1 stick

2) Cheese and pretzels slims

Take 1 wedge of light cheese, such as light laughing cow, and spread it on 32 pretzel crisps. You will probably not have enough cheese for all of them but the extras make a good snack on their own. Sometimes I also have this for breakfast (more breakfast ideas can be found here).

Total: 3 points

3) Fruit or vegetables with powdered peanut butter

Honestly, this stuff helped me eat more celery than I ever thought was possible. My favorite kind is PBfit but I have tried a bunch of different kinds. Use 2 Tb of whatever kind you like and have it with your celery, apple or banana.

Total: 1 point

4) Low calorie popcorn

Does anyone else find the nutrition labels for microwave popcorn to be really confusing? It's impossible to figure out what a serving size is. Now, I just buy the pre-popped bags of light popcorn and keep it simple. There are a bunch of different brands so you will need to scan the ones offered at your grocery store and make sure you buy the light popcorn. The light is usually 3-4 points for a serving of a couple of cups.

For example the Trader Joe's popcorn with olive oil is 4pts for 1oz and Aldi's simply nature lightly salted popcorn is 4pts for 3.5 cups.

Total: 3-4pt/serving, depending on brand

5) Goldfish crackers

You can eat 52 of these for only 4pts! You can adjust the serving size to be fewer points also if you like, usually I only have 3pts worth. It's nice when you have a lot of "units" in your snack.

Total: 4 points

6) Toast with powdered peanut butter

Toast one piece of 1pt bread such as Aldi's light and fit 45 calorie per slice bread and mix up 2 Tb of powdered peanut butter to go on top. Add some banana slices or cinnamon if you like. I also like to add a little salt to my PB powder when I mix it up.

Total: 2 points

7) Kind Mini Bars

Are you as surprised as I was how high in points granola bars are? Like aren't they supposed to be healthy? Well if you need a little treat for a few points, Kind Bars makes mini versions. The sea salt caramel one is only 4 points and like a little dessert in the afternoon. You can get them on Amazon or at Costco.

Total: 4 points

8) Black bean brownies

When you do your weekend prep, think about making a pan of black bean peanut butter brownies. The recipe is here with directions for a 1pt and 2pt version and I prefer a little more sugar. It makes a good chocolate fix in the afternoon. I also really like that this recipe doesn't have any artificial sugar in it and uses the real deal.

Total: 1-2 points
Fluffy black bean brownies

9) Pretzel sticks

It seems odd that pretzels (something salty and crunchy!) would be low in in points but they are! A serving of 53 pieces of Rold Gold pretzel sticks is only 3 points! Check the brand you buy as some are a little higher. Happy crunching!

Total: 3 points

10) Frozen grapes

Have you tried freezing grapes yet? If not you should give it a whirl. Pretend you are eating a Popsicle and enjoy for zero points!

Total: 0 points

11) Hummus & Veggies
So, a full-sized tub of hummus is no match for me. I will eat up to half a container if left to my own devices but if I portion it out, it goes bad before I've eaten it all. Now, I buy the mini-tubs which are 2 oz and only 4 points when paired with some veggies. Helps to spice up the veggies a little bit!

Beware, they also sell minis of the chocolate hummus but those are much higher in points than the regular flavor, the one at my store scans at 7pts for 2oz. :(

This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. This post may 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, April 15, 2019

Zero point Weight Watchers yogurt in the Instant Pot

The Instant Pot makes fantastic yogurt! It's thick, creamy and much less tart than store bought plain yogurt but there is a lot of confusion on how to make this delicious breakfast in a way that is zero points on Weight Watchers Freestyle.

After you have a bunch of yogurt you can make so many things! Such as:
First, you have to think about this process in a slightly different way than most "recipes". Plain, nonfat yogurt would have points if you calculated the nutritional value, as would all food. This food is zero points by magical Weight Watchers decree. So for your yogurt that you make in your Instant Pot to also be zero points, you need to make plain, fat free yogurt. Unlike most recipes, the milk you use will not be zero points if you enter its nutrition, look it up or scan it. It isn't a zero point food until it becomes yogurt. It's magically transformed when it becomes plan, fat free yogurt.

To make your yogurt magic you need:
  1. Fat Free Milk
  2. Fat free yogurt with live and active cultures to use as starter
I make the cold start, no boil Greek yogurt. It is really easy to make! Follow my directions below for zero point yogurt!
I use this milk.
52 ounces Fairlife Fat Free Milk (or other ultra pasteurized fat free milk) 
2 Tb of nonfat, plain Greek Yogurt with live and active cultures as a starter or whey saved from your last batch of yogurt

Instant Pot Duo or other model with a yogurt button
Fine mesh strainer, or other straining method
Instant Pot Duo working it's magic!
Clean and sanitize your instant pot (I run the sterilize cycle). Pour the milk in your inner pot and whisk in the yogurt. Cover the pot with an instant pot glass lid or other lid (I use one from my pan set that fits my IP). Press the "yogurt" button your pot and set the timer for 8 hours. When the cooking cycle finishes, the milk should now be a thick yogurt. There will be some thin liquid on the top and sides, this is the whey. To have a nice thick Greek style yogurt, you need to strain the whey from the yogurt. 
Straining out the whey to get a thick creamy yogurt.
Using your fine mesh strainer and a large bowl, strain the whey from the yogurt. I strain my yogurt about 2 hours to have a nice thick Greek yogurt. Refrigerate your delicious yogurt! It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. I add 1 tsp of maple syrup or agave and some fruit for a great 1 point breakfast on the Weight Watchers Freestyle program. 

Notes on yogurt starters and whey:
You can use a little of your previous batch of yogurt as the starter for your next batch. You can also keep some of the whey from your batch, freeze it and use it as your starter! I will usually use half a cup of whey as my starter. If you look up whey in the Weight Watchers app, it is 3pt/serving. However, if it's from a zero point yogurt batch and I use it as starter, I still count my yogurt as zero points. Now, if I use the whey in anything else, I count those 3 points. Is it logical? Maybe not but to me, when the items in the pot become nonfat plain yogurt they are magically transformed into a zero point food.

So what else can you do with your whey? Well you can use it as a liquid in smoothies, it has a ton of protein but I personally think it makes my smoothie taste funny. You can make bread with it, instead of water but you know, bread... I usually freeze mine for the next batch of yogurt or, I'm ashamed to say, throw it away. If you have any other whey uses, please share in the comments!

This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. This post may 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.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Chicken butternut squash & white bean soup - 1 point on WW

I am going to be very sad when winter is over! I am not a summer soup eater but soups are so easy to meal prep for low point options on Weight Watchers! Meal prep is key to staying on track :-)

This soups has only 4 points in the whole pot! The majority of these points come from using a little but of olive oil to sauté the onions. You can reduce the points by using cooking spray instead but I personally don't think it cooks the same way. You need a little bit more grease to get the onion cooking nicely.

I used pre-cut butternut squash for this recipe because I just hate cutting it up so much! We have to take short cuts where we can right? Many of the other ingredients I chopped up while the onions and chicken were cooking to save time.

Cooking spray
2 tsp of olive oil
1/3 of a white onion, diced
1 large chicken breast (around 10 oz), cut into small cubes of about 1/2 an inch
3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp of cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp of salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
8 oz of butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 ribs of celery, diced
15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 oz of frozen peas (I buy a 12 oz bag and use half)
4-5 cups of water
2 cubes of low sodium chicken bouillon

Cooking equipment: 6 quart Dutch oven and garlic press

Spray a 6 quart Dutch oven with cooking spray this allows you to use less olive oil. Add diced onion and olive oil to the pot and sauté on med-high heat until the onions are translucent, about 5-6 minutes. While the onions are cooking, I cut my chicken into cubes. Add chicken to the pot and using a garlic press, add the garlic. Add the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to the pot and cook until the chicken is mostly cooked, about 5-7 minutes and then add the squash cubes. While the chicken and squash are cooking, I dice my celery. Add the celery, beans and peas to the pot. Cover the contents with water, about 4-5 cups and add the bouillon cubes. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes.

The recipe makes about 6 bowl-sized servings which the recipe builder calculates at 1 point each. There are only 4 points in the whole pot, 3 from olive oil and 1 from the bouillon cubes.

This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. This post may 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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

10 Weight Watchers breakfast ideas - 5 points and below!

Yes, we get tired of eating eggs but they are an easy breakfast a lot of days o  Weight Watchers. I like to make frittatas with almond milk (low points) on the weekends for a quick grab and go breakfast. They are usually 0-2 points depending on what I put in them. Freestyle friendly!

But want something else, something that isn't eggs! Here are 10 ideas for 5 or fewer points and no eggs!

1) Avocado Toast

I might be a millennial because I love this. To make it Freestyle-friendly, I use a 2 slices of 1 point bread, such as Aldi's light and fit wheat, and weigh out 2oz of avocado (3pts). I put 1 oz on each slice. Normally, half an avocado is 1.75-2.5oz.

A dash of salt on top is nice too.

Total: 5 points

2) Toast with powdered peanut butter

Avocado isn't ripe yet? Well, you can also use peanut butter powder on your toast! My favorite kind is PBfit but I have tried a bunch of different kinds. Put 3 tbsp of powdered peanut butter (mixed up with water per the directions on the package) on 2 pieces of toasted 1 point bread.

I also like to add a dash of salt or cinnamon on top. You can also add banana or apple slices for no additional points. Sometimes I will also only have 1 piece of toast with peanut butter and a banana (3 point version, shown above).

Total: 4 points

3) Peanut butter banana wrap

Use a 2 point wrap, such as Aldi's light & fit multigrain flatbread, and spread 2 tbsp of powdered peanut butter (mixed with water into peanut butter). Slice half of a banana and layer on top of your peanut butter, sprinkle with a little cinnamon and roll it up. I eat the rest of the banana as a morning snack. You can also do this with apples.

Total: 3 points

4) Cheese pretzels slims

This is not a very traditional breakfast food but for me, if you eat it in the morning, it's breakfast. So think outside the box!

Take 1 wedge of light cheese, such as light laughing cow, and spread it on 32 pretzel crisps. You will probably not have enough cheese for all of them but the extras make a good snack on their own.

Total: 3 points

5) Pumpkin muffins

Do yourself a favor and prep a batch of these pumpkin muffins, eat some and keep the rest in your freezer for busy mornings. You can have 2 muffins for 3 points and there's no artificial sugar.

Total: 3 points

6) Peanut butter pancakes

I make these peanut butter pancakes usually for breakfast on Sunday and the have the leftovers the next day. I eat them plain without syrup a lot of times, especially when leftover but you could also mix up some peanut butter powder that's extra thin as a drizzle or dip (extra point for 2 Tbsp of powder). You can have 2 pancakes for 4 points.

Total: 4 points

7) Breakfast Sandwich

Don't start dreaming of McMuffins, but this Weight Watchers version isn't too shabby. Take one light English muffin and toast it, smear on a wedge of light cheese (light laughing cow or similar) and add a couple of slices of deli turkey or ham (check the point value of this, you need something that is 1pt for up to 2oz but there are lots of options). Voila - breakfast sandwich.

You *could* put an egg on this, if you wanted but I promised no eggs.

Total: 4 points

8) Cheese and an apple

Two pieces of light string cheese and apple slices. Cheese also pairs well with grapes. Plus this a grab and go option.

Total: 3 points

9) Almond Milk Crepes

Don't hear "crepes" and think "this is too fancy, I cannot make this!" because you definitely can. Crepes are basically flat pancakes but also a blank canvas for topping with delicious things. These are definitely a meal-prep item, here is the recipe.

The recipe page has lots of low-point ideas for topping them, check it out for many options! You can also eat them plain and they are quite good.

Shown below is a crepe topped with bananas and powdered peanut butter made into a drizzle (1pt crepe, 1 pt drizzle).

Total: 2 points for 2 crepes (toppings extra) 

10) Sausage veggie scramble

Take 3 turkey sausage links and dice them up. Spray a pan with cooking spray and saute the sausage with your choice of zero point veggies such as broccoli, peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini. Just about anything you have in your fridge! I add a little garlic salt for seasoning.

This isn't really a grab and go option, but can be prepped for a few days in advance. It's also good with avocado or cheese on top, for additional points.

Total: 2 points

This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. This post may 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.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Mediterranean chicken salad – 2 points on Weight Watchers

Easy lunch alert! When you are trying to plan your meals, can you have too many easy lunch ideas? I don’t think so!

This chicken salad was inspired by a local Mediterranean deli that makes the best chicken salad ever.
I seriously didn’t even like chicken salad until I had theirs. I’m not really a mayo fan but they use an olive oil mayo and magic, which makes their chicken salad fantastic.

So I set out to recreate it and recreate it in a way that was Weight Watchers (or I guess now it’s Wellness Works!) friendly. First the recipe and then I’ll give you some ideas on low-point pairings!

12.5 oz can of 98% fat free chicken breast (must be breast! And at least 98% FF or it has points!)
1 cup of fat free, plain, Greek yogurt (approximately, see directions)
Juice of half a lemon
15-20 grapes cut in half
1 rib of celery diced
1 tsp salt
1 clove of fresh minced garlic or 1 tsp of garlic powder
½ tsp of celery seed
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp of ground pepper

In a medium bowl with a lid, put chicken breast, mayo, grapes, celery and all spices. Add about half of the yogurt (or a big spoonful)  and the juice from the lemon. I suggest squeezing the lemon juice directly into the bowl using a small strainer to catch seeds. Stir until all ingredients incorporated, shredding the chunk chicken and adding more yogurt until it reaches desired consistency, approximately 1 cup.

The recipe makes two servings of a little more than 1 cup each, each serving is 2 points on Weight Watchers Freestyle program. Or the whole recipe is 3 points. If you use regular mayo instead of the suggested olive oil/reduced fat, each serving is 3 points.

So what are you gonna eat it with? Here are some ideas!
  • Pretzel slims (3pts/oz)
  • In a low point wrap (I like Aldi fit & active wraps for 2pts)
  • On low point bread (1-2pts/slice depending on the bread)
  • On top of a salad
  • With baby carrots (0 pts)
  • With celery sticks (0 pts)
  • On top of sliced cucumbers (0 pts)

Do you have any other ideas on what to eat it with? Leave them in the comments! 

This blog is not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way. This post may 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.