It was so sunny and warm last week that I started getting prematurely excited for one of my favorite summer vegetables, zucchini. Of course, it went back to being cold this week and even snowed last night (really?), but my zucchini craving remained. I’ve had this recipe bookmarked from Cooking Light for a long time, so this seemed like the perfect time to finally try it! Cooking Light labeled these as “chips” but when I cut them into ¼” rounds as instructed the zucchini did not get crispy, so I’m calling them rounds. You could probably cut them thinner if you want them to be chips, but I actually think I like them better this way. The Parmesan and bread crumb coating gets crispy but the zucchini on the inside remains soft and juicy. Parmesan and zucchini is such a tasty flavor combination and these rounds make a great side dish, snack or appetizer. Serve them in place of starchier side dishes like potato chips or French fries for a healthy swap!
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This is not one of those pretentious, intimidating, fancy-schmancy risottos. Don’t get me wrong, I love those too (see Tomato Sausage Risotto or Mushroom Risotto). This risotto contains beer. And bacon. And a mound of cheddar cheese. This risotto would rather hang out at the corner bar, high fiving its friends and flirting with the server than slip the maitre d’ a few bills to be escorted to the premier table in a fine dining establishment. It would feel more comfortable perusing the aisles at Target than swiping its platinum card on 5th Avenue. This risotto is a rich, cheesy bowl of creamy rice with a tangy beer flavor and bites of smoky bacon. It’s delicious. Like all risotto, this takes some time to make since you have to stir the broth in a little at a time, but it’s worth it. This may not be the most elegant risotto out there, but it’s not trying to be. It knows what it is and it’s going to fill your belly, make your taste buds sigh with comfort and happiness and send any and all dinner guests home with smiles on their faces. So, serve this and be proud! It’s like a guilty pleasure, minus the guilt.
*Side Note: If you haven't yet voted, I was nominated for Fitness Magazine's Blog Awards in the Best Healthy Eating Blog category and I would love your vote! If you love my recipes, please consider taking a moment and supporting me here. I appreciate it!*
This is one of my ultimate comfort food recipes. I’ve always called this “Company Chicken” because my mom likes to make it on holidays or when we have company. It reminds me of home and my whole family being together. Even the smell coming out of the oven while it was baking made me feel at home. I’ve been meaning to lighten this recipe up for my blog for a really long time and I’m so glad it finally made it to the top of the list. I’m happy to say I managed to shave off some fat and calories while keeping all the delicious textures and flavors that make this dish special: juicy chicken breasts covered in Swiss cheese and smothered in creamy sauce topped with crunchy, buttery stuffing. I even served it with green beans because my mom usually does. She doesn't even like green beans much, but she knows they're one of my favorite vegetables, so she does it for me. She's a really great mom that way. Food can often evoke certain memories and feelings and to me this dish has comfort written all over it.
I went to Taco Bell for the first time in about 10 years last week. You see, here in Buffalo we have an awesome and wildly popular local taco chain called Mighty Taco, so no one here ever really goes to Taco Bell. The last time I’d been to one was when I went to college in Ohio. We still get the commercials though, and every time I’d see one for Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme I’d think “That looks good - I could make that!” I decided to get one so that I could deconstruct it and make sure I got it right when I made my own. The Taco Bell version was tasty, but it was uneven and there was way too much sour cream for my tastes. I took a lot of bites that were all tortilla and sour cream without any meat or cheese. Not to “toot my own horn,” but the one I made myself tasted so much better than theirs! I think the ratio of spicy meat and gooey cheese sauce to sour cream and tortilla was way better (more meaty and cheesy…yum). Plus, this version rings in at only 7 P+ which is exactly half the number of Weight Watchers points the Taco Bell version will set you back!
I found this wrap to be really filling, and the recipe is so quick and easy to make. You could very easily half it or make one at a time. I posted it as 8 servings because that’s how many a pound of ground beef makes, but once you cook the beef you could certainly assemble one or two at a time. Fast, easy, delicious, and half the points of the original? Sold.
“Waking up too early
Maybe we can sleep in
I'll make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it's the weekend now
And we could pretend it all the time”
- Jack Johnson
I completely identify with the sentiment in that song every time my alarm goes off on a weekday. I would love to snuggle up in my bed a little longer and then leisurely get up, stay in my pajamas and have someone make me banana pancakes. Doesn’t that sound perfect? While it may not be very practical to sleep in and stay in your PJs every day, with a recipe this quick and easy to throw together (even on a weekday morning) you can have your banana pancakes and pretend just a little.
I used a nice, ripe, sweet banana and since there’s already syrup in these pancakes, it was the perfect amount of sweetness for me. Not too much, not too little. If you’re jonesing for a little more syrup though, you could always serve some on the side for dipping or drizzle a little more over the top.
I actually made a few of these with bacon or breakfast sausage in addition to the banana bites, but I thought the banana ones were by far the most delicious. In case you're wondering, three strips of cooked turkey bacon or two Wegmans chicken breakfast sausage links can be exchanged for the banana in this recipe and it does not change the Weight Watchers Points+ value. I will definitely try these again with other fruits, especially blueberries. I think I see mini chocolate chip pancake bites in my future as well. Any of your favorite pancake mix-ins should work! I love that these are only 1 Weight Watchers Point+ each – I got to eat a handful of light, fluffy banana pancake bites for very low points. Get creative and if you come up with any other amazing mix-ins, I’d love to hear them!
I made bacon and sausage ones too, but the banana ones were by far the yummiest
As many of you know, I’m a Buffalo girl. I grew up in Buffalo, and I live there now. It’s entirely possible that I have wing sauce running through my veins. Needless to say, I love Buffalo chicken. I could probably make a different Buffalo chicken recipe every week and never tire of it. In the past I’ve already made Buffalo Chicken Pizza, Buffalo Chicken Chili, Buffalo Chicken “Cupcakes”, Buffalo Chicken Bites, Buffalo Chicken Roulades, and Buffalo Wing Hummus. I have loved every single one of them.
I don’t have a lot of wraps or sandwiches on my blog yet, and my brainstorming session for creating a new wrap idea went something like this: “Buffalo chicken? Yes.” Satisfied that no further brainstorming was needed, I set to work figuring out how to perfect a lightened up Buffalo Chicken Wrap. It totally lived up to my expectations. My pound of chicken contained four breasts, so I tried four different ways of layering the wing sauce in the breading before determining that coating it in the sauce last was the way to go. I also tried the bread crumbs toasted and untoasted and preferred toasted. I tried the wrap with a wedge of Laughing Cow blue cheese and then again with Marie’s Light Chunky Blue Cheese dressing and found the dressing was so much better for this particular recipe.
I loved this wrap. It turned out exactly the way I’d hoped. I know some of you are going to ask if you can use ranch dressing instead of blue cheese. The Buffalonian in me gets an aghast look on her face and screams “NOOOOOO!!!” in horror. Such a suggestion is heresy in Buffalo. The food blogger in me (who realizes that outside of Buffalo many people eat their wings this way and that some people don’t even like blue cheese dressing) still looks aghast but begrudgingly says “I guess so…” which dilutes that wing sauce running through my veins just a little bit. Sigh. It’s a Buffalo thing.
I get a lot of requests for more slow cooker recipes and since I’ve been craving Italian food a lot lately, I decided to combine the two! I’ve slow cooked chicken breasts in various sauces before and they’ve always turned out well, so I figured Chicken Parmesan was the perfect next step. Who doesn’t love seasoned, breaded chicken smothered in marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese? As with all the best slow cooker recipes, this is very easy to make. The prep time is less than 10 minutes and then your work is done until you’re ready to eat! I served this with a side of wheat spaghetti and pasta sauce, but you could definitely serve it with vegetables or a salad if you want to get some greens in. Some days you just don’t want to spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen, and this is the perfect recipefor one of those days.
This is a really simple and delicious Asian dish you can prepare quickly at home for a weeknight meal you feel great about. The sauce is fabulous: spicy, savory, a little nutty from the sesame oil, a little sweet from the honey. It’s got a taste of everything. The snow peas give a nice crunch to the dish and scallions and cilantro add some freshness. I thought a one cup serving (6 P+) was filling, but I included nutritional information for 1 ½ cups as well in case you’re extra hungry. This meal comes together very quickly and tastes like it took a lot more effort. That’s my definition of a perfect weeknight dinner!