Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meal Planning and Recipes

Recently, I've been asked to share my recipes and some of my meal planning tips. I don't necessarily know if I plan any differently than anybody else.

I'm a creature of habit and I eat the same thing every day for breakfast - a delicious yogurt worth two points. Sometimes I'll get crazy and eat a banana too, but most days I just stick with my yogurt. However, there are other days where I know that I'm not going to make it on just two points. I may have a packet of oatmeal or a Thomas' English Muffin - both are worth three points.

For lunch, I normally eat between seven and eight points. I'm a big fan of having a six or seven point "main" lunch meal, eating a piece of fruit and then having a piece of WW String Cheese (one point).

By the time I'm ready for dinner, I typically have between 16-17 points to eat. I can double up on whatever we're having or eat sensibly and have dessert later. Kind of depends on my day.

Lately, I've been having a little bit of trouble getting in all of my 26 allotted points. Crazy huh? I can tell that my stomach is shrinking and I just can't eat all of that food in one day. I don't load up on "free" food all day either, so it's kind of a balance that I need to work through. I started adding a teaspoon of oil to my food just so that I can burn points and get in my essential dailies.

Okay...so now that I've bored you with my planning...let's talk recipes!

There are a few things that we eat every week that can be portioned out and placed in your freezer for lunch meals later on in the week.

Okay...so I know that this first item isn't a reciped, but it's totally worth noting. Have you ever eaten Voila! Garlic Chicken?!! If you haven't, then you definitely should! It's amazing! It's only five points per cup and most of the time, I can eat two for dinner! Plus, it's a full serving of veggies!

Another great recipe that we make every week is the Electric Skillet Meal. The kiddos love it and it's only seven points per cup. I typically freeze three or four one-cup meals so that I can take them to work through out the week. Okay...here's that recipe:

1 lb. hamburger
1 med. onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. tomato juice
1 (10 oz.) can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 tsp. or tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. chili powder1
(8 oz.) box elbow spaghetti
1/3 c. diced Cheddar cheese (Velveeta cheese works well)

Cook hamburger, onion, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until meat is lightly browned. Do not burn onion. Stir in tomato juice, tomato soup, sugar and chili powder. Simmer until thickened, stirring frequently.

Cook spaghetti as directed and drain. Add to meat mixture in electric skillet.

Just before serving, cover meat and spaghetti mixture with Velveeta cheese and heat until cheese starts to melt. Can be served from skillet with crackers and relishes for a complete meal.

I'm also a big fan of picking recipes from the Weight Watchers website and trying those out. I've made a Baked Carbonara, Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli and Chicken and Dumplings. By far, the Chicken and Dumplings recipe was the best! Just in case you want to try it, here's that recipe too:

6PointsPlus Value
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 25 min
Serves: 6

1 1/4 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil

4 medium uncooked leek(s), white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
4 medium uncooked shallot(s), thinly sliced
2 medium uncooked carrot(s), sliced into thin rounds
2 rib(s) (medium) uncooked celery, sliced
1 leaf/leaves bay leaf
1 tsp thyme, fresh
2 1/2 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp uncooked cornmeal
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1 1/2 tsp parsley, minced
1/4 cup(s) low-fat milk
1/2 cup(s) apple juice
1/2 cup(s) frozen green peas, thawed


Season chicken with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mix flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle chicken with 1 tablespoon of seasoned flour. In a large skillet, heat oil and lightly brown chicken. Remove from pan.

In the same skillet, sauté leeks and shallots until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add carrots, celery, bay leaf and thyme and cook another 3 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon of seasoned flour and it cook until it begins to color, about 1 minute. Pour in chicken broth and apple juice. Return chicken to pot. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile to make dumplings, sift 2 tablespoons flour, cornmeal, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt together into a bowl. Stir in parsley. With a fork, stir in milk until dough just comes together. Drop dumpling mixture with a teaspoon into chicken mixture. Simmer, covered, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add peas, and cook until dumplings are done, another 2 to 4 minutes. Serve in six 1-cup portions.

So...there you have it. A few minor insights into my week. Peace and love!

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