Beef and Pinto Bean Chili

chili, beef, pinto bean, warm meals, soup, stew

January is one of my favorite months to make stews and chilis.  It’s the best way to heat up your body when you literally turn into a meat popsicle the minute you step outside.  Eat some chili to stop being chilly!  The word “chili” actually comes from “chile con carne”, which means “peppers with meat” in Spanish, which makes complete sense, so I’m going to stop myself from spewing out a bunch of ridiculous, stupid-American jokes about food vs. weather :)

In all actuality, I want to focus on warm soup/chili/stew recipes in January because you all are probably looking for some new ones to try while you’re trying to stay warm.  Here’s the first one!  I found it on the 2013 Cooking Light recipe box calendar that Jess got me for Christmas.  I love it!  I’m speaking about the calendar AND the chili.

Calendar = food porn.  Chili = delicioso.

I happened to have a bag of dry pinto beans laying around from an Aldi shopping trip from loooooong ago.  Seriously, I’ve had these beans for a YEAR.  They’re not my bean of choice, so naturally I didn’t think to use them. When I saw this recipe and realized I had every single ingredient in my kitchen (including the pinto beans!), I knew I had to make it!  So I did.  At 11pm on a Thursday night.  I soaked the beans for a day, then I stuck all the ingredients in the crockpot, put it on low and went to bed.  And at 3am, Jess woke me up because the delicious smells lured her out of sleep, lol.

I brought some in to work on Friday to share with my friend, Richard.  He is a spicy food fanatic like myself and he recently acquired this ridiculously spicy hot sauce.  The first time Richard tried it, his mouth was on fire, he felt like he was dying and laid on the floor curled up in a ball for about two hours.  He put a bit too much on his BBQ sandwich.  He also felt like a demi-god when he survived it.  So, of course, I wanted to try it!  What more perfect pairing is there than chili and hot sauce?  NONE!  (except maybe sea salted caramel and dark chocolate)  So we put about 1.5 tsp into a mere 1.5 cups of chili, stirred it up and ate it in the break room at work.  HOLY CRAP.  That sauce is HOT!  A sweet hot with a gentle, but voracious fire that makes the inside of your mouth sweat and then fires up your belly slowly from the top down.  But you know what?  It tasted great even when it was burning its way through my body and I now feel like a superhuman!  I WANT MORE.  I’m totally getting a bottle because it belongs in my kitchen.  And in this chili.

beef, pinto bean, bean, chili, soup, stew, dinner

Beef and Pinto Bean Chili (from Cooking Light)
Servings: 6
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (10 with topping) *See tips on lightening it up even more at the bottom*


  • 1 lb boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, 18 PP
  • 1/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, 7 PP
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup minced jalapeno peppers
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 12-oz bottle beer, 5 PP
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1 PP
  • 3 cups fat-free beef broth (like Better Than Bouillon Beef Base), 1 PP
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained, 8 PP


  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radish
  • 1 avocado, chopped, 9 PP
  • 6 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 6 tbsp light sour cream, 5 PP
  • 6 lime wedges

1. Heat a dutch oven over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle beef evenly with 1/4 tsp salt. Add beef to pan; saute 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan.

2. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and jalapeno; saute 8 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; saute 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in paprika, cumin, and tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Return beef to pan. Add broth, tomatoes and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1.5 hours or until mixture is thick and beef is very tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp salt.

4. Ladle 1 cup chili into each of 6 bowls and divide toppings evenly.


– Use half as much meat and this goes down to 6 PP per cup.
– Need some extra filler in now that you’ve take out some of the meat? Add a cup of diced zucchini and 1/2 cup chopped celery and your chili will be hearty and healthy and remain at 6 PP per cup.
– If you use half the oil and only 2.5 cups of onion (not adding in the celery and zucchini), it goes down to 5 PP per cup.
– Top with fat-free sour cream or leave out either the light sour cream or the avocado and you’ll only be adding 1 PP per bowl rather than two. (if you’re using the topping).

Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup

beef stew, balsamic, soup, dinner

Yummy yummy in my tummy!

You can tell it’s the winter season when the majority of my recipes are soups, stews or chili. Here’s more proof that it’s cold outside! Although not today… it’s a freaky 65 degrees, which Maxwell and I enjoyed with a long walk outside. But that’s beside the point; I still made some damn soup.

This one was thrown together when I went home during a lunch hour to check on our sick little poochie. I peeled/cut everything, threw it in the crockpot and came home to fantastical smells permeating from our apartment. If you follow these simple steps, you too shall experience such fantastical smells permeating from YOUR home. Ridiculously awesome, right?

Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup
Servings: 4 (2 cups each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (or 4 PP per 1 cup)


  • 9.5 oz lean and trimmed steak, 12 PP
  • 5 oz frozen green beans
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium red potatoes, diced, 12 PP
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste, 1 PP
  • 3 tsp Better Than Bouillon beef base, 1 PP
  • 5 tsbp balsamic vinegar, 2 PP
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper

1. Chop up all those veggies and the meat and throw in into the crockpot. Then mix the tomato paste and bouillon base into the water and pour over the veggies. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and the rest of the spices. Cook on low for six hours and enjoy!

Yep, that’s the beauty of a crockpot.  No worries, just dinner!

Goetta Breakfast Salad (uhh.. salad for breakfast?)

Oh boy was this tasty.

No, no. Breakfast food in a salad and eaten for lunch! Although, I’m sure it would be delicious and filling as a breakfast dish, but I just can’t get myself to eat salad for breakfast. Weird.

How did this fusion of German breakfast food and salad come to be, you ask? This is just what happens when two people start making two different things for lunch and decide that they both want a bit of what the other is having! Hee hee. No, literally. I’m sitting here giggling because I find it kind of funny. I wandered in the kitchen with a desire to cook up some of the goetta we brought back from OH last weekend and she was already in there washing some salad and putting it into bowls for us. I asked her if she wanted some goetta too and she said yes. I asked if she wanted an egg too and she said yes. I said, “what if we make it into a salad?” She said sure! BAM! Idea was born.

You can’t just put an egg and goetta on some lettuce and call it a new and interesting recipe, though. So, I mixed it up with some sauteed mini sweet peppers (because their flavors blend so well with egg and goetta) and threw in some zucchini as well because, let’s face it, you can pretty much add it to anything savory and it’ll taste good and fill you up.

Cheese and croutons were added in there too because we are a house that looooves cheese and croutons. In fact, during our latest visit to OH, we bought a bag of croutons to have with salad one night for dinner and the next night my dad decided to bring home FOUR MORE BAGS because… he figured we needed to eat them like french fries? I don’t know, lol, but they certainly didn’t last long.

They were good in this salad, but they didn’t add too much to the salad other than some more texture and a bit of cheesey/carby goodness, so if you want to save yourself some points you can go ahead and leave them out. I was just excited that I made up a new recipe using goetta that’s different than just slicing and pan-frying them up or inserting them into a breakfast sandwich. And it was definitely satisfying to both my palate and my stomach! Yum :)

Goetta Breakfast Salad
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 11 (or 8 without cheese or croutons since they’re more of an afterthought)


  • 2 to 3 handfuls of salad greens
  • 2 oz goetta, 5 PP
  • 1 egg, 2 PP
  • 3 mini sweet peppers
  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tbsp low-fat french dressing, 1 PP
  • 1/2 oz dill havarti cheese (or another cheese of your choice), 2 PP (optional)
  • 2 tbsp croutons, 1 PP (optional)

1. Get out goetta and slice off two 1-oz rounds. Heat up a non-stick skillet to medium heat and cook goetta on both sides until nicely browned.

2. While the goetta is cooking, wash lettuce, drain and put in a bowl or on a plate. Wash zucchini and peppers. Slice peppers in half long-ways and slice zucchini into rounds.

3. Once the goetta is done cooking, cut each slice into quarters and put on lettuce. Cook up peppers and zucchini with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until slightly tender. Once done, slice the peppers into strips and put those and the zucchini rounds onto the salad.

4. Cook up your egg over-easy (so that the yolk will mix with the french dressing and be generally amazing.) While it’s cooking, cut up or shred your havarti cheese and put on salad.

5. Once egg is done, put it on top of the salad, add your croutons (if you’re using them) and drizzle the french dressing over top. Cut up with a knife and fork, mix it all up together and enjoy the delicious flavors!

Spicy Peanut Pork and Noodles


I’ve been talking this recipe up for a while now on FB and Twitter and I finally get to share it! I was looking through my Google Reader foodie blogs and this tasty-looking recipe from Skinny Kitchen struck me right away as something I wanted to make. I wrote down the recipe and pocketed it so I could make it at home later that night.

When I looked in my fridge I saw that I had no defrosted chicken, but I did have pork! I also didn’t have scallions (which she used, but I left out of my recipe) or a regular red pepper, so I just used mini sweet peppers. The end result was ahhhhmazing. I like extra spice so I made sure to put in extra red pepper flakes, but you can certainly adjust those to your taste level.  Oh, and the leftovers were even better!  All the flavors reallllly melded together overnight, so make sure to make extra!

Now, I’m going to submit some of these photos to Foodgawker since Jess took them and they are making me salivate!  That’s usually a good sign for submissions to Foodgawker, right?  While I do that, you should make this.  Yup.

A close up of the savory, peanut-buttery goodness

Spicy Peanut Pork and Noodles (based off this Skinny Kitchen recipe)
Servings: 3
PointsPlus Per Serving: 11 (or 8 PP for 4 servings)


  • 6 oz dried pasta of your choice, 16 PP (I used soba noodles)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 PP
  • 1/4 cup veggie/chicken broth (or just water with a little spice mixed in, like Adobo)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter, 7 PP (I used Earthly Balance PB Coconut spread)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz pork tenderloin, 6 PP
  • 1 cup diced mini sweet peppers

One more for the road :)

1. If you haven’t cooked up your pork yet, I’d recommend spicing it with a little bit of coriander, salt, black pepper, chili powder and curry powder and cooking it on a cast iron skillet. Once it’s done, slice it up, put it in a bowl and set aside.

2. Cook your pasta according to the package. Keep it a little al dente, drain and set aside.

3. Combine soy sauce, broth/water, peanut butter, lime, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes in a saute pan or wok over medium heat until peanut butter melts (or you can whisk it all in a bowl and it’ll dissolve just fine). Add meat and peppers to the pan with the sauce and mix. Cook until peppers are slightly soft and meat is heated.

4. Add in pasta, toss together to coat it well and serve!

Tex-Mex Lasagna

It wasn’t until recently that I decided to try out lasagna making. My mom always made it when I was younger, but it was the typical Italian lasagna – meat, cheese, noodle, spices, fennel seed, tomato sauce. Always delicious, always filling, always full of calories (don’t worry, Mims, I loved it and I love you!). I tried making it a few times in the past, but I never really got the consistency right. Too much sauce, no ricotta cheese, not enough filling, too many noodle layers…. You get the picture. Sloppy, floppy, lasagna-giloppy.

After pouring through my cookbooks (like I do all the time because I like pictures of food), I’d read enough lasagna recipes to try it out again. I settled on a Tex Mex recipe and changed things up according to my taste preferences. I made it meat-less because eating meat at every meal just isn’t necessary! Plus, I had a bag of dried black beans that I wanted to re-hydrate and use since I’d never done that before and some cilantro that I didn’t want to go to waste.

Let me tell you… it was soooo filling! Bella and I had two servings a piece last night and we were so full! One serving of this with a salad or some other veggie side is more than enough. This also freezes well, so we made sure to package up the rest for lunches. And at just over 300 calories per serving, you will certainly be happy to scarf it down without any guilt.

Tex-Mex Lasagna
Servings: 9
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8
Calories Per Serving: 303


  • 9 cooked lasagna noodles, (I used regular, but you can use whole wheat to add more fiber), 15 PP
  • 1 cup organic tomato sauce, 4 PP
  • 1 cup organic salsa, 2 PP
  • 3 cups rinsed and drained black beans (preferably ones that didn’t come from a can), 15 PP
  • 2 cups corn kernels, 8 PP
  • 1 cup diced onion, 2 PP
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta, 10 PP
  • 1/2 cup Chobani 0% yogurt, 1 PP
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup reduced fat mexican blend cheese, 9 PP
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat colby jack cheese, 3 PP
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin

Side view of deliciousness

1. Preheat oven to 350. If you haven’t cooked the lasagna noodles yet, do this now.

2. Get out a bowl and mix together your black beans, corn and onion. If you’d like to add a little extra spice, chop up some jalapeno or get out a can of diced green chiles and mix that in too! Set aside.

3. Get out another bowl and mix together the ricotta cheese, yogurt, cilantro and salt until nice and creamy. Set aside.

4. Get out one more bowl and mix together the salsa, tomato sauce, garlic powder and cumin. Take out a large, 9×13 glass dish and put a few spoonfuls of the sauce mix on the bottom of the pan. Spread around until it’s touched each corner (this keeps you from having to use cooking spray). Lay down your first layer of noodles. You should fit 3 side by side perfectly.

5. You’ll have two inside layers, so now you’ll want to divide your ricotta cheese mixture and fillings mixture; spread half your ricotta cheese mixture on the bed of noodles. Then, put half your bean/corn/onion mixture on top of that. Next, put about 1/3 cup of the mexican blend cheese on top of that and pour some tomato sauce mixture on top of that too (about 2/3 cup). Put down your next layer of lasagna noodles and repeat the process to finish off your ricotta mixture and beans/corn/onion. You should have enough shredded cheese and tomato sauce to spread over the top layer of noodles. Put on the last layer of noodles, spread on tomato sauce mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then, pull off foil and continue baking for about another half hour. Once it’s done, take out, split into nine servings and enjoy!

If you want to top it off with some more plain yogurt or hot sauce, go right ahead. It’s DELICIOUS. Just make sure to count those points!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Click here for this “Healthier” Choco PB Cheesecake recipe from Shannon’s Kitchen Creations!

Life has been busy, to say the least.  Therefore, I have not blogged in SEVEN DAYS.  Holy freaking crap.  I feel like a bad blogger.  So, I am apologizing by FINALLY putting up the recipe for the Chocolate PB Mousse Pie that I’ve been talking about for ages.

Although you get the recipe, there still is no definite picture… because the pies disappear too fast.  But it’s pretty self-explanatory.  PB, cool whip, choco syrup, in a mini pie crust.  But before I give you that, I have other things I want to say.

I’ve definitely hit a mini-plateau.  Despite my working out and tracking points, my weight is fluctuating within the same pound.  It’s okay though, I’m keeping up with the working out and people are suggesting that I try eating all my earned Activity Points (which I hadn’t been doing) to let me body keep up with itself.  So I’ll just keep working hard and tracking…. although I’ll admit, I haven’t been tracking so well this past week.  Whenever I work out really hard and track right and don’t have a loss, I start rebelling against the scale (and punishing myself) by not tracking the next week.  It’s stupid, but I do it and I need to stop.  But I have been doing a LOT of activity outside!

We finally finished softball season with a whopping ZERO wins and 100% satisfaction!  We played our best and had a blast doing it.  The great thing about our team was that everyone got to play regardless of skill level.  I played three positions throughout the season – outfield (only once because I suck at catching fly balls), first base and catcher.  I got a lot of outs at first base and even got a few while playing catcher!  I may have dreaded taking the time out of my weekend to play some days, but ultimately, I had fun at each game.  I even got a double and two RBI’s at the last game!  I’ll definitely play again next year.

Click here for this WWF Peanut Butter Cookies recipe from the “Point-Less Meals” blog!

The girlfriend and I did a Women’s Build with Habitat for Humanity last weekend.  We put up the WALLS!  Seriously!  When we got there at 8am, it was just the base of a house.  When we left at 2:30, all the outside walls were up along with most of the inside walls.  Every single volunteer was a woman too!  Only two guys were there and they were in charge of the build – one was the president of the local H4H association and the other was the actual construction guy who told us where to put everything and how to do it.  We totally rocked it.  There were probably about 12 of us all together at the most and gradually, people had to leave.

The weather was perfect; it felt amazing to do a completely different kind of work than I’d ever done before and even more amazing that I could actually DO IT without worrying about my back or not being “fit” enough for intense manual labor.  I tell ya, I have soooo much more respect for construction workers now!  Even with the lower temperatures and cool breeze, I basically sweated and worked out at a moderate level for about 5 1/2 hours.  And the feeling of accomplishment was so wonderful.  Getting to talk to the woman who it getting the house; working with her side-by-side, knowing that my efforts would be benefiting another family… it made it all worth it.  Every drop of sweat was worth it.  And so were the brownies and cookies I had later that day!  Lol.

Click here for this Chocolate Banana Cupcake recipe from The Novice Chef Blog!

I’ve also been going to the gym twice a week in the mornings.  I get there around 7:45am and do about 20-30 minutes of cardio and then 20-25 minutes of weight machines.  It’s been really enjoyable because the gym is relatively empty at that time, so I don’t have to wait for machines or showers and by the time I’m done and showered, I’m into the office before 9:30am, which is usually earlier than my normal arrival time!  When I workout at home, I’m more likely to take my time getting ready and do other things around the house and I don’t get in until 10 or 11.  Of course, that means I have to work much later, so getting in at an earlier time is really helping to keep me sane in the evenings.  And I get to spend more time with the furry babies and the girlfriend in the evenings, which is the biggest benefit of all!

So, yeah.  Lots of exercise, lots of good things, and hopefully I get over this plateau soon.  I’m so close to having lost 30 lbs that it’s frustrating not actually being there.  My journey is slower than most and at this pace it’ll probably take me around 3-4 years to reach my goal.  But I can be patient.  I can keep writing blogs and inspiring others.  Not everyone can be gung-ho about losing 100 lbs in a year or two.  I can’t do it.  I know that I enjoy eating food and taking time to relax.  Losing weight is NOT my life.  “Living healthy” is a lifestyle that I’ve had for almost a year now.  That in and of itself is quite an accomplishment.  Losing weight is just a hobby.  I do what I can and I have mini-goals, but I’m losing it slow so that it STAYS OFF.  And I’m quite alright with that!  Okay, here’s that recipe….

Click here for the Five Ingredient Cookie recipe that I posted a while back!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pies
Servings: 3
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (5 PP without the pie crusts and just as good!)


  • 2 tbsp Hershey’s chocolate syrup, 0 PP!
  • 4 tbsp creamy peanut butter (I used a reduced sodium organic one), 10 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip Free, 4 PP
  • 3 Keebler graham ready crust minis, 9 PP

1. Mix together PB, chocolate syrup and cool whip free until completely blended and creamy.

2. Divide mixture amongst mini graham crusts. Top with a swirl of chocolate syrup or a few chocolate chips (make sure to count those points if you use them). Chill in fridge until needed or eat right away!

Not only is this good in pie form, but it’s just as good without a crust. The first time I made it, I ate it right out of the bowl with a spoon! A friend of mine dipped pretzels and animal crackers in hers and loved it. Slice up some apple and dip that in it for a healthy, delicious snack! And if you want to lower the points value even more, use half the amount of peanut butter. It’ll still be great, just not as thick (but almost as rich and tasty!)

Chobani Giveaway Winner and a Delicious New Recipe!

WOW! I received 45 entries for the Chobani giveaway and the lucky winner was…

Congratulation, Melissa!  She had six entries, so she was bound and determined!  Melissa, please send me an email with your contact information so that I can get that case of Chobani to you!

In true fashion, it chose the number 13, which was actually pretty perfect since I became the Featured Blogger on the 13th day of the month!  Kewl.  Thank you to everyone else for participating and don’t be disheartened!  I’m having a Popchips giveaway soon!

Now, I was going to post a recipe for the tzatziki sauce that I made, but it still needs a little perfecting, so that will be done later this week.  But I’m not leaving you with NOTHING!

My girlfriend and I have made a few big purchases in the last month, so we’ve been budgeting like crazy, thanks to You Need a Budget.  It’s this awesome software that’s keeping us in line and on track.  Needless to say, buying meat isn’t a priority right now, lol.  We have so many vegetables from our awesome CSA that vegetarian dishes are working their way into our weekly menus.  I’ve actually enjoyed the challenge.  I’m definitely one of those people who could never be a full-time vegetarian.  I like my meat!  I like the texture and the protein and the flavor… so, I’ve had to be creative.

This recipe was inspired by Budget Bytes.  She made zucchini pizza boats and they looked so appealing that I took it and ran with it!  I wanted to do it with more of an Italian style, so that’s what I did.  What happened next… was pure deliciousness.  I didn’t miss the meat and my girlfriend said she didn’t even miss the noodles; if you know ANYTHING about my girlfriend, it’s that she loooooooves her noodles!  Noodles are a weekly occurrence in our home, so that statement is a true testament to how exquisite this dish was!  Plus, it’s made with stuff that you probably have in your kitchen right now.


Italian Stuffed Zucchini
Servings: 2 (or 4 if you are serving sides)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (or 4 if you have 4 portions)


  • 1 ginormous zucchini (a 3-5 lb one will do!)
  • 1 cup reduced fat spaghetti sauce, 3 PP
  • 1 oz parmesan cheese (fresh if you have it), 3 PP
  • 1 oz feta cheese (i used full fat cheeses), 2 PP
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (any kind will do), 5 PP
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet/yellow onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning (parsley, basil, oregano)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Slice zucchini in half and scoop out the insides, leaving about 1 cm – 1/2 inch all the way round. Put insides in a bowl and set aside.

3. Lightly spray the bottom of a roasting pan with Pam and place 2 zucchini halves in, insides up.

4. Heat up tsp oil in a small non-stick pan and saute onion. Once sauteed, put into bowl and set aside.

5. Get out a chopping board and roughly chop up insides of zucchini and then place back in the bowl. Add spaghetti sauce, onions, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, italian seasoning, bread crumbs, cheese and a little salt and pepper if you’d like. Mix together.

6. Spoon mixture into zucchini halves until evenly distributed. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over top and place in oven.

7. Cook for 35-50 minutes depending on how firm you want your zucchini to be. Serve and enjoy!

Now, make sure not to cut off the ends of the zucchini. In my picture, I have one side cut off because I used part of it for a different recipe a few days before. The zucchini was that big.  You can use smaller zucchinis if you want.  Maybe two normal-large ones.  The wider the better, too!  You want your zucchini to be like a little boat so that none of the insides drip out. Seriously, this dish is AMAZING. You won’t want any little bits dripping out!

Hungry Girl’s Paella

If you all haven’t heard of Hungry Girl, you need to check her site out. She started off small, but now she’s got a great site, a handful of cookbooks out, and even her own cooking show! I signed up for her email list about a month ago and now I get awesome recipes sent right to my inbox. This paella one came through recently and I knew I had to share! As a seafood fanatic, how could I not?? I’m extremely pumped to try out this recipe!

Click here for this 7 PP Paella recipe from Shannon’s Kitchen Creations!

Hungry Girl’s Paella
Servings: 6
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8
Calories Per Serving: 319


  • – 8 oz. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces, 8 PP
  • – 1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper, divided
  • – 2 cups sliced onions
  • – 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • – 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • – 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • – 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • – 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • – 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • – 1/4 tsp. ground thyme
  • – 1 cup uncooked brown rice, 18 PP
  • – 3/4 cup fat-free chicken broth

1. Spray a large pot (with a lid) with nonstick spray and bring to medium-high heat on the stove. Add chicken and season with 1/8 tsp. each salt and black pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook for 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside.

2. Remove pot from heat, re-spray, and return to medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Stirring occasionally, cook until softened, about 6 minutes.

Click here for this Easy Paella recipe from Just One Cookbook!

3. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, turmeric, paprika, thyme, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper to the pot. Cook until mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add rice and mix well. Add broth, peas, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 35 – 40 minutes, until rice is fully cooked.

5. Add all of the seafood, the cooked chicken, and the parsley. Stirring often, cook for 5 minutes, or until seafood is fully cooked.

6. Add lemon juice and stir. Remove from heat and re-cover. Let stand for 10 minutes.

7. Remove bay leaves. Add remaining 1/8 tsp. each salt and black pepper. If you like, garnish with lemon wedges and season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Enjoy!

Chinese Noodle Soup with Chicken and Arugula

Photo Courtesy of: Jess Costantini from Beautiful Orange Productions

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Asian food. And those closest to me know that I love soup. I could eat it every day for lunch! It’s not so helpful when I’m trying not to be boring an monotonous, but it DOES help when I need something quick, hearty, filling and relatively low in points.

I found this recipe for Chinese Noodle Soup in my WW Cookbook and I was dying to try it! I ended up changing things around a bit and adding some new ingredients and changing portion sizes of ingredients, so it really ended up being a completely new soup! And it was gooood. We ate every last bite!  The arugula was a fantastic addition with it’s mustardy/peppery bite.  It was definitely hearty, full of flavor, and made us feel quite content afterward. How can I NOT share such a tasty bit of happiness with you?  I mentioned it in an earlier post, so…. Teresa, this happiness is especially for you!

Chinese Noodle Soup with Chicken and Arugula
Servings: 3 (2 heaping cups per serving! you seriously get a whole bowlful!)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8
Calories Per Serving: 580


  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 PP
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 chicken breast, 6 PP
  • 1 tsp red chili oil, 1 PP
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil, divided, 2 PP
  • 3 cups sliced up bok choy (or chinese cabbage!)
  • 1 cup matchstick cut carrots
  • 2 cups cooked asian noodle of your choice (I recommend glass/bean thread noodles), 12 PP
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. If you haven’t prepared your noodles yet, prepare as instructed and set aside.

2. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Put red chili oil and 1 tsp sesame oil in a small skillet. Cook chicken in it until just until completely cooked through. Turn off burner and set aside.

3. Combine broth, scallions (if you’re using them), sliced garlic, ground ginger, soy sauce, garlic powder, a bit of salt and pepper and other tsp of sesame oil in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.

4. Add bok choy and carrots. Simmer for about 7 minutes.

5. Stir in chicken, noodles and arugula. Simmer until arugula is wilted, about 2 minutes longer. Serve hot and enjoy!

Photo Courtesy of: Jess Costantini from Beautiful Orange Productions

Sweet Chili Chicken and Veggies

Such a wonderful, tasty meal!

If I had to choose one place to live for the rest of my life purely based on my culinary preferences, it would be Thailand. The food is SOOOO GOOOOOD! Thai cuisine is subtle about it’s sweetness and bold with it’s spices! Fresh veggies are a staple as well since the quality of the food is so important. It’s these things that drive me back to my favorite Thai place every week and it’s these things that make me want to learn how to cook Thai food in my own kitchen. I’ve already mastered curry; noodle dishes are my next step!

This noodle dish was inspired by my “Stir Fry” cookbook. It’s all things stir fried and all things wonderful. First, I had to think about what was in my fridge and how many points I wanted to use for lunch and this recipe fit my requirements. Then I changed up the veggies and altered the amounts of the sweet chili sauce, lime juice and fish sauce so that the flavor popped a little more. The broccoli and carrot was good in it, but those veggies lend themselves better to brown sauces like teriyaki and hoisin. If you have baby corn and snow peas, use those instead. Either way, it’s going to be an awesome dish!

Calorie break-down: 14% fat, 62% carbs, 24% protein.

Sweet Chili Chicken with Veggies
Servings: 2 (2 full cups, so if you want less points, split into 4 servings and eat more veggies on the side!)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 16
Calories Per Serving: 614


  • 1 chicken breast, cubed, 6 PP
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets (or another green veggie like snow peas)
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned (or another light veggie like baby corn or red capsicum)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce, divided
  • 4 tbsp sweet chili sauce, divided, 3 PP
  • 6 oz rice stick noodles, 16 PP
  • 1 tbsp canola oil, 4 PP
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice

1. Soften rice sticks by placing them in a shallow dish and covering with boiling water. Move around to separate the noodles; let sit for about 30 minutes. If they still need more time after the first half hour, drain and re-cover with more boiling water for another 10 minutes before draining again.

2. Cut up chicken and mix in a bowl with 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce and 1 tsp fish sauce. Set aside.

3. Julienne carrots if you haven’t already and get broccoli florets ready. Set aside.

4. Pour canola oil into a large wok (or a deep non-stick pan) and heat on high. Once a drop of water sizzles in the wok it’ll be hot enough. Put in chicken mixture. Careful! It sizzles and pops so you should wear and apron. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until fully cooked.

5. Put in veggies and stir. Cook for another 3 minutes or so. Then put in noodles, lime juice, 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce and 1 tsp fish sauce. Stir constantly for a few minutes. Take out and serve immediately!

One more image for the road! Is your mouth watering?

If you want to check out more awesome Thai recipes, check out the Eating Bangkok blog. This guy posts ALL Thai recipes and they all look wonderful! His link is also on my Foodie Blog Shoutouts page.

One more thing…. don’t let the amount of points scare you. Any kind of noodle dish is going to devour your daily points. But if you fill it up with protein and veggies, you’ll be oh-so-satisfied!