Upside-Down Almond-Fudge Tartlets

This Cooking Light Recipes boxed calendar is going to be the death of me. I can barely wait to turn to the next recipe every other day! The excitement and anticipation wreaks havoc on my impatient body. Well, not really. But it does entice my taste buds and gets me cooking things that I probably shouldn’t have in the house because it’s bad for my hips…. because that’s straight where it goes.

Luckily, it’s Cooking LIGHT and not Cooking LOADED. I can eat an entire one of these tartlets and still stay within my points for a day (I still get a lot of points). It’s completely worth it too because these are just fantastic! You can change up the nuts on top too. Don’t like almonds? Use pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts or even peanuts. Let your taste buds be your guide. Just don’t let your taste buds to convince you to eat two of them like mine did. Tricky buds.

tart, tartlet, almond, fudge, chocolate, dessert

Upside-Down Almond-Fudge Tartlets (from Cooking Light)
Servings: 6
PointsPlus per Serving: 13 (or cut each in half for 7 PP per serving)


  • 1 cup coarse chopped almonds, toasted, 23 PP
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chocolate, 16 PP (I used what I had, which was 1 square bittersweet, 1 square unsweetened and 2 squares semi-sweet)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used crisco butter-flavored sticks for 19 PP)
  • 2.25 oz all-purpose flour (around 1/2 cup), 6 PP
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 PP
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, 4 PP
  • 6 tbsp sugar (I just used 8 tbsp organic cane sugar instead of the sugar and cane syrup for 10PP)
  • 2 tbsp golden cane syrup
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract


upside down chocolate almond fudge tart, dessert1. Preheat oven to 350. Set oven rack to lowest third of oven.

2. Coat 6 mini removable-bottom tart pans with cooking spray (CL uses a 9 inch round tart pan). Sprinkle almonds in the pans, distributing evenly. **If you need to toast your almonds, just put them in a dry pan over medium heat and toast until fragrant**

3. Combine chocolate and butter in top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside. (I just put a smaller sauce pan on top of a bigger sauce pan with water and put the stovetop on medium. Then the chocolate/butter went into the smaller pan and melted that way. Worked like a charm!)

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

5. Place eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until thick and pale. Gradually add sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating at medium speed 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add golden cane syrup (if using) and vanilla; beat on low speed 1 minute or until blended. Add chocolate mixture; beat 1 minute or until blended. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed just until combined.

6. Pour batter over nuts into prepared pans, spreading evenly. Bake in lower third of oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs (20 if you’re using the 9 inch tart pan). Invert tart onto a serving platter. Top with a scoop of ice cream if you like for some added deliciousness!

Need to serve these at a later time? Nuking them for about 25 seconds will do the trick. You can also try topping them with a scoop of ice cream. I’d recommend vanilla, butter pecan or coffee flavored. Mine stayed good in the fridge for almost a week, so yours should too!

Coz’s French Toast Strips

french toast

Sexy strips du toast a la francais. Oui oui!

I know I said that last week was “breakfast week” and then I posted only one breakfast recipe before socking you in the face with some lamb stock. How very rude of me. I should have given you at least ONE other breakfast dish! I’ll make up for that now.

Jess is utterly fantastical at breakfast food. I’ve mentioned before how she used to lure me out of my slumber with hot breakfast sandwiches and fresh coffee. These days, she’s been doing it with french toast sticks. I’m not complaining.

I don’t even remember the last time I had french toast at a restaurant. It’s just something that’s so easy to make at home that it seems silly to overpay for unhealthy versions of it at a local chain. I’ve seen some of the stats for restaurant french toast. SCARY. The Strawberry Banana French Toast at IHOP tops out at 1060 calories! That’s around 28-30 PP? FOR BREAKFAST?!?! Noooo thank you. In the Original Pancake House’s Sourdough French Toast, one plate is 1250 calories. Sweet Jesus! I feel like a clogged an artery just reading about it.

Well, this french toast is absolutely delicious and will NOT clog your arteries. It tops out below 250 calories and is sure to leave you satisfied. You can even put some slices of fresh strawberry and banana on it AND a dollop of Cool Whip Free and you won’t even be adding on any extra points. Take THAT, food chains!

french toast

Basking in the sunlight for a photo shoot before ending up in mah belly

Coz’s French Toast Strips
Servings: 2 (8 strips total)
PointsPlus per Serving: 6


  • 4 slices of your favorite 2 PP bread (I use Meijer Organics Multigrain), 9 PP
  • 1 egg, 2 PP
  • 2 egg whites, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • cooking spray


1. Whisk together all ingredients except the bread in a large bowl (because you need the space on the bottom to fit a slice of bread). Get a non-stick skillet or panini pan heated up to right above medium low.

2. Dip your first piece of bread into the mixture and let it sit for a minute to soak up the flavor. Spray the pan with cooking spray and then put bread on. Cook about 1 minute each side. Repeat with other remaining slices. Cut each finished slice into four strips. Top with some sugar-free syrup (around 1 PP per 1/4 cup) and a sprinkle of powdered sugar or coconut flakes and enjoy!

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).

Pork Enchilada Soup

Click here for this Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe from the “Cooking Classy” blog!

Thanksgiving weekend is upon us and I DID promise this recipe to a few of my facebook followers, so here you go! You can be thankful that I got it up amongst my busy days :)

This is a soup that is very easily thrown together and very easily modified to your own tastes. I prefer green enchilada sauce, but I’m sure that red enchilada sauce would work as well. This is also amazing as leftovers! I just top it off with some tortilla strips and I’m in heaven. I’ve made it with chicken before, but I think there’s something extra special about the pork flavor in here, so try it with the pork first if you can. And at 6 points per serving (and they are quite large servings; almost 2 cups worth!) this is definitely a soup you can enjoy as a dieter!

FYI, I recently downloaded a great app to my iPad called My Recipe Book. It lets you import recipes directly to your iPad! You can either import them from typical websites like AllRecipes or Epicurious, or you can “custom import” recipes from ANY website, including blogs! I started importing some of my own recipes using the app and I found that when I had the little dashes in front of my individual ingredients, it messed up the import and I needed to manually remove them. In order to make it easier for you all to import my recipes when using this app or similar ones, I’ll be going through all my recipes and removing the dashes from in front of the ingredients. Apps are about convenience, so I’d might as well do my part to make getting my recipes through this app TRULY convenient! You should all check it out. I love it!

Click here for this Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe from “The Family Kitchen”!

Pork Enchilada Soup
Servings: 6
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6


  • 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 8 oz raw pork loin, cut into bite sized chunks 8 PP
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder or regular chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp hot chili pepper, minced
  • 4 cups fat-free chicken broth, 1 PP
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pouch/can green enchilada sauce, 4 PP
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro flakes (or fresh!)
  • 1 cup corn, 5 PP
  • 2/3 cup uncooked white rice, 12 PP (replace with brown rice if you’d like. It’ll just take longer to cook)
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers, chopped, 1 PP
  • 2/3 cup mixed sweet peppers, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Click here for this Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe from “Amy Bites”!

1. Heat up a large soup pot with the olive oil over medium heat. Put in the onion, hot pepper (I like habanero!) and garlic and cook until fragrant (just a couple minutes at most). Then put in the pork. Sprinkle the chili powder and some salt and pepper over top. Cook until the pork is no longer raw and then pour the chicken broth and extra water over top.

2. Pour in the enchilada sauce, cilantro flakes, corn, rice, jalapeno peppers and sweet peppers. Bring to a boil and let it boil for a few minutes, then turn it down to medium low and let it cook until the rice is done. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Top it off with some tortilla strips and MAYBE some sour cream and/or cheese if you’d like and enjoy! Quick and easy!

You can add beans in there if you want, but with the rice and corn, your carb sector is covered. Basically, anything that you’d want to eat as a normal enchilada, put in the soup (except for the actual soft tortilla). You could do sweet potato, black bean and pork. You could try shrimp, zucchini and corn. It’s really hard to fail at this one. Just remember to put in the enchilada sauce! It really makes it.

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Steak Diane

We hooked up our cable cord to the TV before the Olympics started. Prior to that, we haven’t had regular TV for over two years.

My (somewhat) productive life is on the brink of destruction.

Create TV is just about the only thing we watch now, and we watch a LOT of it. There’s just so many cooking and travel shows that it’s as if we’re watching so much just to make up for all that we’ve missed out on for the past two years! Not good.

But there’s a silver lining. Julia Child dominates that station. On Sunday alone, I learned the joy of omelettes (especially when drenched in clarified butter), three different uses for focaccia dough, how to make chocolate cups, a delicious yellow cake with fresh raspberry sauce, Julia’s obsession with parsley garnish, steak au poivre and steak diane. Julia made steak diane in literally 5 minutes. I wanted to do that.

So, when Jess went to pick up a few things at the grocery store, I told her if she picked up some steaks, I’d make her steak diane for dinner. She picked them up and steak diane we ate! Granted, this is a different version than Julia’s because it’s not drenched in butter or cream, but this version was quick, healthy and VERY tasty. I simplified the ingredient list and I’m pretty sure you have everything you need in your fridge right now.

Don’t have sirloin steak? Use a different cut. The points might vary a little, but as long as you beat your meat down to about 1/2 an inch thick, it’ll work just fine. Don’t have shallots? Use garlic or yellow/white onion and it’ll taste just as good. Don’t have spicy brown mustard? Use some dijon. Don’t have any of the ingredients? Well, damn. It’s time for you to go shopping.

Here’s my perfectly portioned steak diane with a mountain of cast iron roasted veggies (carrots, onion and purple potatoes). And a cilantro garnish since I had no fresh parsley!

Steak Diane (my quick and easy version)
Servings: 2
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6


  • 8 oz lean sirloin steak or eye of round, trimmed of all fat, 7 PP
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 1 tbsp light butter, 2 PP (I used a coconut butter since I’m dairy-free now and it worked just the same)
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp diced shallots

1. As Julia Child says “beat the meat to within an inch of it’s life”. Place the meat between two sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a meat mallet or even a rolling pin until it’s about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick. Then, rub half the olive oil and soy sauce on one side, flip it and use the other half of the olive oil and soy sauce on the other side.

2. Warm up a pan (I’d use a stainless steel one if you have it, but nonstick will work fine too). Once it’s around a good medium heat, add in the butter to melt and then put the steak in. It’ll need about 2 minutes on each side. Put the meat on a plate and set aside.

3. Whisk together the beef broth and mustard. Pour about 1/2 the mixture into the pan and scrape all the good crusty bits from the meat into the broth to flavor it even more. Add the shallots to the pan and saute for about a minute. When the mixture starts getting a bit thick, add more broth until it’s more of a saucy texture.

4. Put the steak right back into the pan on top of the shallots. You can also pour the juices from the steak plate back into the pan as well. Cook for about a minute each side (or 30 seconds each side if your meat is super thin), adding more broth if the sauce gets too thick. Plate right away, pour the delicious pan sauce over the meat, top with a bit of chopped parsley or cilantro and eat it up!

Why do I consider it to be a healthy dish for those on a budget? Because you can use a cheaper cut of meat! A delicious and cheap one is an “eye of round” steak. It averages around $2-$3 per lb. And a lb is 16 oz. If you’re like me and you try to only eat around 4 oz of protein per meal, you’re doing it right! Here’s the breakdown for the steak diane.

– Meat: $1.25 (for 8 oz)
– Butter, Soy Sauce, Olive Oil: maybe 75 cents total?
– Beef Broth: 25 cents
– Mustard: 10 cents
– Shallots: 50 cents

Total Cost: $2.85
Total Cost per Serving: $1.42

WIN!  Even if you eat all 8 oz yourself, it’s a RARE occasion to get a nice steak for under $3.  I haven’t seen that price at Texas Roadhouse in…. EVER.

Protein Bar Review: Think Thin Bars

I’ve discovered a great new protein bar and I knew I had to share. ThinkThin Bars.  These have officially become my “go-to” snack during my work days. They are big enough to feel like a true meal replacement if you’re using it as one and full of protein (20g each!) to keep you full until you actually get to sit down at a table for a meal. I tend to break these in half and each it with a piece of fruit for a snack and I’m STILL getting around 10g of protein.

Not only do they have an insane amount of protein each, they actually taste great and they’re relatively low in points!  (Around 6-7 per bar, which are around 1.5 inches wide and 4 inches long.)

Chocolate Espresso: This is my favorite one, to my surprise! It’s got chunks of espresso beans in the actual bar, so it’s definitely got the right flavor, especially when it’s my breakfast or morning snack! Keeps me going for a while.

Chunky Peanut Butter: Peanut butter… delicious. This one tastes exactly like the creamy PB one, except it has “chunks” which really aren’t peanut chunks, but more like concentrated creamy bits. It’s also not as sweet as most people expect when they get chocolate covered peanut butter stuff, but it’s still really good.

Creamy Peanut Butter: Exactly like the one above only without the chunks. Just pure PB awesomeness.

White Chocolate: This is my second favorite one, again, to my surprise. It’s more of a light brownie taste on the inside and covered in white chocolate. The flavor is just really nice.

Brownie Crunch: Chocolate with a little crunch. What more can I say?  It’s tasty!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry: Not so good… unless you like the taste of fake strawberry.  People just need to learn to stay away from putting it in their products unless they can truly make it taste GOOD.  They didn’t pull it off.

These are just a few of the flavors.  It also comes in chunky peanut butter, cookies and creme, caramel fudge, dark chocolate and a few more.  Click here for more!  I’ll definitely be ordering the last three I mentioned because I haven’t found them in stores just yet.  They also carry fruit and nut bars, bites and a few other delicious-looking products.  Hopefully one of these days they’ll respond to my tweets so I can work out a giveaway!

The bars are also gluten-free.  They aren’t dairy-free, but they do use certified kosher regular dairy ingredients.  All of them are no to low sugar (0-4g per bar).  If they used stevia instead of sugar, they’d REALLY have me wrapped around their finger.

thinkThin Protein Bars
Calories per Bar: ~230
PointsPlus per Bar: 6-7
Texture: 4/5
Flavor: 4/5
Ingredients: 4/5

Bacon Blueberry Goat Cheese Walnut Salad

Boy, that’s a mouthful.  A MOUTHFUL OF PURE AWESOME.

Bacon AND blueberries AND goat cheese AND walnuts? It just came to me.

The bacon had finished crisping up in the pan and I was standing over the sink rinsing salad greens when I looked over and saw an empty tomato container.  Crap.  The BLTs I had planned on making were now a thing of the past.  Salad it would be!  (because there’s just no sense in a sandwich with only lettuce and tomato.  boring.)  I looked in the fridge for other vegetables to throw in and my eyes passed by the pint of beautiful organic blueberries.  I wanted those blueberries.  They wanted to be in my salad.  I gave in.

Blueberries and bacon…. they are perfectly matched in every way.  Sweet to savory, blue to red, juicy to crispy.  But what else could I put in a salad that was saddled with beautiful organic blueberries and crispy center-cut bacon?  I looked in the pantry and reached for the walnuts.  Score!  I wasn’t done, though.  No special salad is complete without the perfect cheese!  And what better cheese than that of a GOAT?  None, I say… none.  My masterpiece was almost done, but I still needed a dressing to bring it all together.

I thought maybe a balsamic vinaigrette would work at first, but I didn’t have any and this salad was too pretty to just splash on some straight balsamic.  I’ve been toting around a bottle of raspberry vinaigrette that I bought from Aldi months ago.  It’s more of an oil and vinegar dressing with some other flavors thrown in, so I read the ingredients, gave it a taste and decided it was the right one.  The red wine vinegar base sealed the deal.

This salad is awesome.  In fact, I’m making a big one for a get-together this weekend.  Bacon and blueberries are a sure-fire winner.  When I open up my own little bistro, this salad will definitely be on the menu.  No joke.  But until I open up that bistro, here’s the recipe for you to enjoy!

Bacon Blueberry Goat Cheese Walnut Salad
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 10


  • 3 handfuls salad greens
  • 1/3 cup rinsed blueberries (or more since they’re zero PP!)
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, 3 PP
  • 1/2 oz crumbled goat cheese, 1 PP
  • 3 sliced center-cut bacon, cooked and chopped, 2 PP
  • 2 tbsp raspberry vinaigrette, 4 PP (this was just mine since it was oil-based, but if you have a lighter one, you can easily adjust the points)

1. Put salad on a plate or in a bowl, top with blueberries, bacon, walnuts and goat cheese. Pour vinaigrette over top. Enjoy!

This is seriously an amazing salad.  I spent about 20 minutes using my “internet curation” skills trying to find recipes that include these four main ingredients and I couldn’t find one!  I’m sure someone somewhere in the vast existence of time has combined these ingredients, but I’ll gladly stake my claim as the first one to officially publish it online!  If you’re curious as to some of the other recipes I found with blueberries and bacon as the main focus, check these ones out:

Blueberry Bacon Breakfast Cake from How Sweet It Is blog (this girl is freaking hilarious too, so you should subscribe to her blog!)
Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Bacon BBQ Sauce from Noble Pig blog
Cheddar Bacon Blueberry Scones from The Cooking Bridge blog

Basil Grilled Summer Vegetables

The best grilled veggies I’ve had in years.

Jess and I spent the last few days with my parents in Ohio making great food and having fun. On Thursday, I made some Saucy Italian Chicken and we had salad on the side. Friday we had Agave-Lime Salmon and some amazing grilled summer vegetables. Saturday we lit the fire pit and cooked our hotdogs over the flames before bringing them inside to cover them in all sorts of our favorite toppings.

We also had Graeter’s Ice Cream, which is the most fantabulous ice cream on the planet, and some s’mores on another night… but that’s not the point of this post! I’m here to talk about those grilled veggies.

The veggies that we had with the salmon were AMAZING. Dad and I got some asparagus, summer squash and mushrooms washed and sliced and then grilled them in a veggie grill pan on the grill. I told him to drizzle a bit of olive oil over top (once it was on the grill and not just sitting on the table since there are holes on the bottom, duh.) and sprinkle in some sea salt, cracked pepper and red pepper flakes. Dad decided to use some homemade basil-infused olive oil and threw in some fresh basil and a couple of hungarian wax peppers from the garden as well!

Jess took this BEAUTIFUL photo of the Agave-Lime Salmon we had with the vegetables!

When we sat down to eat everything, it was like sitting down to a feast. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the veggies were still tender-crisp. He did a perfect job grilling them! And since it was a super easy veggie dish that most people wouldn’t just throw together, I decided to share with you. It is super low in points. I even threw all my veggies over a bed of salad greens and chopped up mini sweet peppers and onions, tossed in some reduced-fat feta cheese, sprinkled it with a little more sea salt to really bring out the flavors and drizzled it with another tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar. WOW. Amazing.

Basil Grilled Summer Vegetables
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1 (WWOnline says 2 PP, but they stay tendercrisp and they’re veggies so I ignored it and just counted the olive oil!)


  • 1 lb washed and trimmed asparagus, sliced in half
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 1-2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 hungarian wax peppers (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil of your choice, 5 PP
  • 6-10 leaves of fresh basil
  • cracked pepper and sea salt
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1. Make sure all your veggies are washed and sliced. Put them in a saute/grill pan specifically for cooking veggies over a grill (except basil and hungarian peppers).

2. Drizzle olive oil over veggies once the pan is on the grill. You can either roast your peppers on the grill right next to the pan or you can put them directly in the veggie mix; your choice. Sprinkle in pepper, salt and red pepper flakes and cook for about 3 minutes. Then put in basil leaves.

3. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until tender-crisp. Serve immediately and enjoy!

And I would HIGHLY recommend doing what I did with the salad. It only adds an extra 2 PP and it really brings out the delicious flavors of the grilled veggies! (In case you forgot what it was: put veggies over a bed of salad greens and chopped up mini sweet peppers and onions, toss in some reduced-fat feta cheese, sprinkle it with a little more sea salt to really bring out the flavors and drizzle it with another tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar.)

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!

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Warm Curried Beef Salad

For this week’s Our Harvest Coop Newsletter, I’ve decided to share a delicious salad recipe.  I made this one up when I was searching for something different to do with a bottom round steak I had in the fridge.  I wanted the right combination of savory and sweet flavors without going crazy and I definitely found it.

These days, it seems like we’re waiting for a good deal to buy meat. When I was younger, my parents refused to buy meat until it was under $2.00 a lb. Times have changed and some days we’re just hoping it will get under $4.00 a lb! But the price you pay depends most on which cut of meat you get. For us, the most affordable cuts are tri-tip steaks and bottom round steaks. Tri-tip is succulent and easy to chew and usually just a tad more expensive than the round, but it’s definitely cheaper than flank steak! Bottom round is a bit tougher to chew, but going at it with a meat mallet always does the trick.

Warm Curried Beef Salad
Servings: 2
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6


  • 6 oz raw beef bottom/top round, lean and trimmed, 7 PP
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 3 handfuls leaf lettuce mix (you can throw some spinach in there too)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 tomato, diced (optional)
  • 2 oz reduced fat feta cheese, 4 PP
  • 2-3 tbsp low-fat garlic-based vinaigrette (like the House dressing from Aldi), 1 PP

1. Warm up a cast iron grill pan with just a spray of Pam over medium-low heat. Mix together your spices and rub it on both sides of the beef. Then, cook the beef. It should take around 3-6 minutes per side depending on it’s thickness.

2. While it’s cooking, wash your lettuce, slice up your carrot (diagonal cuts make this aesthetically appealing!) and put into a big bowl.

3. Once the beef is done cooking, slice up diagonally into 1-1.5 inch long pieces and throw into salad bowl. Sprinkle feta cheese over top and pour in the vinaigrette. Mix up with salad tongs. You can serve immediately or put it into a tupperware container for lunch later!

I’ve been able to find the bottom round beef steaks for around $3.50-$3.86 per pound. Since we’re using only 6 oz here, that’s less than $1.75. We’ll round that to $1.50. Depending on where you get your salad from, you can pay anywhere from $2-4.00 for a half pound of leaf lettuce. Since we’re using 3 handfuls, let’s call that $2.00 for quality lettuce in this dish. Feta cheese? Maybe 75 cents for 2 oz and 15 cents for a carrot. 3 tbsp of low-fat vinaigrette? I’d say around a quarter (since I get mine from Aldi!)

$1.50 – Beef
$2.00 – Leaf Lettuce mix
$1.15 – Cheese, carrot and vinaigrette

$4.65 – TOTAL COST

I’d call that a deal. You would definitely find yourself paying close to $7 or $8 if you were purchasing this salad at a restaurant. Now you’ll be saving over $5 PER PORTION! That’s $10 you’ve saved for the whole meal. $10 you can put towards that vacation you’ve been wanting to go on, right?