Breakfast Dish ~ Pumpkin Pancakes

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I woke up craving pumpkin pancakes one morning last week.  I don’t know if I saw a Denny’s or an IHOP commercial or what, but if so, their advertising methods worked and I needed some pumpkin pancakes pronto!!  I went sleuthing the internet and found this yummy and highly rated pumpkin pancake recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Pancakes/?scale=6&ismetric=0

The recipe calls for milk and vinegar, which is the equivalent of buttermilk.  I happened to have some 1% fat buttermilk on hand from another cooking “adventure”, so I used that in the same proportions as the milk and vinegar.  I’m all for ease in preparation and I like flavorful food, so in place of the allspice, cinnamon and ginger, I used a whole tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice.  These pancakes were SOOOOO good! I let the blended batter sit for about 5 minutes before using as I read this helps to create fluffier pancakes.   I added 1/4 cup pancake batter to the skillet and I ended up with a total of 15 pancakes.  Running the recipe through the WW recipe builder with the revision for the buttermilk, I came up with a total of 3 points for a serving of 2 pancakes. I topped them with a little light butter and maple syrup for breakfast.  I am going to freeze the leftovers, using parchment paper between each pancake to separate, then reheat them as needed in the toaster oven.

Main Dish ~ Ravio-Sagne

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Ravio-Sagne was first posted as my choice for Recipe of the Week for my Weight Watchers @ Work group in March 2012. Below are my notes from the time:

This recipe was obtained from: http://www.emilybites.com/2010/12/ravio-sagne.html

This is an incredibly easy and delicious recipe. I love veggies, so I modified it by sautéing some sliced mushrooms, onions, zucchini and yellow squash (seasoned with Italian herbs, garlic salt & onion powder) and placed the veggies in a middle layer.

Ingredients:

2 cups marinara sauce

25 oz package of Rosetto frozen rectangle cheese ravioli (or similar brand)

1-1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese (I used the 2% milk kind)

Oregano and/or basil to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spoon 1/2 cup sauce evenly into the bottom of an 11×7 glass baking dish. Lay 1/3 of the ravioli (18 pieces ~ it should fit pretty much exactly into 3 rows of 6) in a single layer to cover the bottom of the dish. Spoon another 1/2 cup of sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the top. Repeat the layering 2 more times starting with the ravioli. Sprinkle oregano and/or basil on top.
  3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking, uncovered, 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and then slice into 6 equal pieces.

Yields 6 servings. Weight Watchers Points Plus: 8 per serving

Dessert ~ Pumpkin Pie Shake

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The picture of a Pumpkin Pie Shake (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-pie-shake?HhootPostID=382eb5422abfcdc1a42d81154747f674) from Cooking Light Magazine appeared on my Facebook feed that I had to try after seeing the picture and reading the reviews and ingredients.

I more or less halved the recipe by using the following ingredients/measurements:

one mini-container of Dreyer’s Slow Churned Vanilla Bean Ice Cream that contains half the fat (4 points)

1/2 cup of unsweetened Vanilla almond milk (1 point)

1/3 cup of canned pumpkin (0 points)

1/8 cup packed brown sugar (3 points)

1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

I didn’t have any cool whip, but it was so delicious, I didn’t feel it was necessary. This does have a lot of points, so I would save it for a day that you want to reward yourself. In my case, I had power-walked with a friend for an hour and a half, so had built up quite a few activity points. I imagine you could modify the recipe by changing out the brown sugar with a lightened up sweetener, but I wouldn’t want to play with the perfection of this recipe.

Main Dish ~ Root Vegetable Minestrone with Bacon

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Root Vegetable Minestrone with Bacon was first posted as my choice for Recipe of the Week for my Weight Watchers @ Work group in March 2014. Below are my notes from the time:

A friend of mine brought this week’s recipe from Cooking Light Magazine to my attention a couple of weeks ago ~ Root Vegetable Minestrone with Bacon (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/root-vegetable-minestrone-bacon-50400000133660/). Since then I have made it twice. It is wonderful ~ a comforting and filling winter soup! It is easy to make with this caveat ~ purchase the pre-cut butternut squash if it is available. I found peeling and cubing the squash to be the most time consuming part of the recipe.

If you go to the effort of making this, I would recommend doubling it from the start. You won’t be sorry!

The recipe makes four 1-1/2 cup servings. I put the nutritional information through the online calculator and came up with 5 PointsPlus per serving.

Side Dish ~ Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread

This recipe rocked and required no deviation.  A BIG HIT warm out of the oven and easy if you have everything measured out ahead of time!

Recipe from: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Grandmothers-Buttermilk-Cornbread/Detail.aspx

Ingredients:

1/4 pound butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.

2. Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Main Dish ~ Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

Ingredients:

3/4 whole onion, chopped (I saute the onion in olive oil with a little fresh garlic, but this an extra step I do, and is not required)
1-15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-15 ounce can kidney beans. drained and rinsed
1-15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1-8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 can chicken broth
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes (mild version), undrained – these are the seasoned tomatoes with green chilies
1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1.25 ounce package mild taco seasoning mix
1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

shredded mozzarella cheese
sour cream
crushed tortilla chips

Directions:

Place the onion, black beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker.

Add the taco seasoning mix and stir to blend.

Lay the chicken pieces on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients.  

Set slow cooker on low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.

Remove chicken from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled.  Shred the chicken and stir it back into the soup.  Continue cooking for 2 hours.

Serve topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.  Don’t skip these toppings as this makes the soup taste great!!

Main Dish ~ Skinny Quinoa with Black Beans (Vegetarian)

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Skinny Quinoa with Black Beans was first posted as my choice for Recipe of the Week for my Weight Watchers @ Work group in September 2014.  Below are my notes from the time:

This week’s recipe ~ Skinny Quinoa with Black Beans (http://skinnyms.com/skinny-quinoa-with-black-beans/) ~ was a delicious find! I substituted one can (total) of Rotel brand Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (Mild) in place of the can of diced tomatoes and the can of diced green chilies, which I think kicked up the heat a notch due to the zesty spices in the Rotel. To tone down the heat a little and perfect the dish, I added slices of avocado to each serving. This was a wonderful addition and I will make it this way from this point forward. Next time, though, I think I might add some sweet corn to further enhance the contrasting flavors and textures in this awesome dish. Each 1 cup serving has a PointsPlus value of 5 (without the avocado). Enjoy!