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!

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.

Peas and Pancetta Pasta Topper

Sometimes I get really tired of red sauce.  I always have to wear shirts that I’m okay with getting spots on because I tend to slurp.  I usually end up fixing any red sauce that comes out of a bottle since public demand requires things to be a bit on the bland side in order to please the bulk of the customers.  And after 28 years of eating that same bowl of pasta and sauce, I just need something different once in a while.

Luckily, pasta is a food that can easily take on flavors other than marinara.  That’s why you can find a lot of different dishes at good Italian food places that don’t involve red sauce!  I’ve already given you  fantastic recipes for my alfredo sauce and meat sauce (also called a “ragu”).  I’ve also shared other toppings for pasta – a veggie saute and a sundried tomato, asparagus and feta combo.  All four of these are amazing, but I think that this newest one is my favorite thus far!

Peas and Pancetta Pasta Topper
Servings: 3
PointsPlus Per Serving: 5 PP


  • 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh green peas, 4 PP
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced cooked ham, 1 PP
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, 2 PP
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, 2 PP
  • 2 tbsp Smart Balance light buttery spread, 4 PP

1. Get out a large non-stick skillet and place in your bacon. Turn it to medium heat and cook up that bacon until it’s fully cooked, but not crispy. Take out the bacon to cool, but leave the drippings in the pan.

2. Take your garlic and diced onion and put that right into the bacon drippings. Let it cook for a few minutes and then toss in the ham and peas. Cook for another five minutes or so until everything is warmed. Add the buttery spread and balsamic vinegar and stir until the spread is melted.

3. Put a lid over it all and let it simmer for a few more minutes. Once it’s done, divide over your favorite noodle, top with one tbsp of that parmesan cheese (unless you’re keeping it dairy-free) and enjoy.

After making this a few times, I think that this tastes best over gnocchi! There’s just something about those supple potato dumplings that makes all these flavors blend perfectly. I bought Archer Farms regular potato gnocchi, which is 16 PP for 3 cups. That would make each serving 10 PP…. not bad for 1 cup of filling gnocchi and about 1/2 cup of topping. A wonderful ratio of noodle to topping. YUM! You could also just put it over any other noodle or even rice. Or just do like I do and eat it over the stove with nothing but a spoon because it’s so damn tasty.

One last note… don’t think I’m going to skip out on all the wedding details.  They’re coming soon!  I know you all want to see some pictures and hear about it all :)

Fiesta Salsa

Beautiful photo by Jess!

Because it’s a party in the bowl AND a party in your mouth!

In case you didn’t know, Jess has a green thumb. She’s been able to keep our three outside plants alive with LOTS of dedicated watering throughout this ridiculous heat and lack of rain. Well, during our weekly trip to the Farmers Market on Saturday, we stopped by a vendor that had tomatillos and got the scoop on how to know when they’re ready to be harvested. Apparently they should still be pretty firm and the husk will get pretty dry. Then they’ll be ready! So, Jess went outside and picked off the three that we’ve been patiently waiting to harvest from our own tomatillo plant.

What does a person do with only three tomatillos? I looked through my cookbooks (sadly, not many tomatillo recipes) and found a couple for salsa that looked good. But still, I only had three. Then, I looked up at the beautiful heirloom tomato in our hanging fruit basket. It only had about 3 days left until it would get soggy and I decided it needed to be used as well.

Now I had enough tomato/tomatillo to make a salsa! Those, plus some jalapenos and even a habanero that’s been in my freezer for months came together with the other essential salsa ingredients and the result was spectacular. This salsa is a farmers market delight. As long as you have jalapenos, onion a little lime juice and a lot of cilantro, you can literally make any salsa your heart desires. Mine was sweet from the heirlooms and the tiny bit of cane sugar and spicy from the habanero. And the garlic (german garlic, which is ginormous), was a spectacular find from last week and it lent its flavor splendidly. No need to waste those heirlooms anymore. If it can go in tomato sauce, it can go in salsa!

Beautiful photo by Jess! Don’t you just want to dig in?

Fiesta Salsa
Servings: 1 (about 1.5 cups worth)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1


  • 3 small tomatillos, finely diced
  • 1 cup skinned and finely diced red heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 medium white or red onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 small jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 habanero, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp organic cane sugar (or regular sugar), 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp sea salt

1. Take your garlic, onion, jalapenos, sugar and tomatillo and simmer for a few minutes over medium heat in a nonstick pan. This tempers the bitterness of the tomatillo.

2. Put your heirloom tomato and habanero into a bowl. Pour in the simmered tomatillo mixture. Put in the lime juice, cilantro and sea salt. Mix well. Let sit for at least 30 minutes so the flavor can deepen.

3. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Brown Rice and Lentil Salad


Now that I’m dairy-free, I’m on the hunt for delicious new dishes to add to my repertoire. I stumbled across this one and it looks amazing! I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my massive amounts of lentils and I think a version of this dish will do just the trick. I can use up those lentils and fresh herbs and stay dairy-free at the same time. DOUBLE AWESOME.

Originally posted on Melissa's Menu:

I got the inspiration for this recipe while channel surfing one afternoon. Giada De Laurentiis was making a similar salad on her show Everyday Italian. I switched it up considerably to make it my own. I am always thankful for the inspiration of the Cooking Channel though!

Into the rice cooker goes one cup texmati brown rice with two bay leaves and one and three-quarter cups of vegetable broth. I believe in my rice cooker this take about a half hour to cook. Once it clicks to cook, allow to sit an additional ten minutes or so. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool. The rest of the components for the dish can be ready while the rice is cooking.

Heat a skillet over medium heat on the stove top. One turn of olive oil goes into the skillet. For this recipe I used my…

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Ricotta Chard Pasta Sauce

This weekend, Jess had a taste of what it might feel like to be pregnant… backwards. Confusing? Well, let me explain.

Jess took this lovely photo of me cheesing it up right before we biked back home with all our farmers market purchases!

For some God-forsaken reason, my body woke up at 5:26 am on Saturday morning. Then Max got up and then Jess woke up because everyone left her. What do you do that early on a Saturday? You bike to the local cafe for a cup of iced coffee and then you bike over to the Farmers Market and get your pick of the beautiful produce, that’s what!!

We picked up 1.5 pounds of green beans, 1 lb of yellow squash, 1 ginormous zucchini, 1 bouquet of flowers, 1 lb of lettuce, 1 quart each of yellow peaches and fingerling potatoes and one 7 lb watermelon. It didn’t matter that we only had bikes to get back home; we wanted that watermelon. So, Jess put it in her backpack and strapped it on. The first thing she said was, “I feel like I’m pregnant, but backwards.” Hah! True true. And then we biked home. She could feel it in her back and her knees, but she got it home! I faithfully rode behind her to make sure she was okay (although it could be because she’s just faster than me in general) and luckily we arrived home without incident, but definitely with a little extra sweat!

Today she enjoyed a huge bowl of it all to herself, which she thoroughly earned! Thank you, my love, for a great effort and tasty reward :)

And now I give you a new recipe that I made up for the weekly CSA newsletter I contribute to! This highlights the swiss chard, garlic and herbs that they’ll be receiving in their baskets. Jess and I have made numerous versions of pasta sauces and this combines the best of the veggies with just the right kind of creamy cheesiness. If you don’t have swiss chard, you can substitute spinach and it’ll taste just as good!

Semi-Homemade Ricotta Chard Pasta Sauce
Servings: 8
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3

I think her bike likes my bike. Good thing too because the feeling is mutual :)


  • 1 jar roasted garlic pasta sauce, any brand (preferably Meijer Organic), 8 PP
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided, 4 PP
  • 3-4 handfuls fresh swiss chard
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini/squash finely diced
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, 3 PP
  • 2 tbsp light butter (optional), 4 PP
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice

1. Warm up 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add minced garlic, onion, basil, parsley and red chili flakes and cook until fragrant (around 2 minutes). Then, add swiss chard and cook down for about 4-6 minutes. Once it’s cooked down and onions are translucent, transfer to a food processor and chop it all up until almost pureed, but not quite to a smoothie texture. You still want some texture!

2. Now, get out a big sauce pot and warm up the last tsp of olive oil and the butter (if you’re using it) and put the finely diced zucchini in. Add the dried oregano and a pinch of the salt and pepper you’re using just to flavor it up a little. Cook for about 3 minutes and then pour in both the jar and can of tomato sauces. Add the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice and stir until well blended.

3. Once it’s warm (around 5-8 minutes or so), add the chard/onion puree and stir well. Cook for about 8 minutes on medium low heat, test it and then add salt/pepper according to taste, and then lower heat and let simmer for around 10-20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the better the flavor!

4. Serving size is around 1/2 cup. Pour over your favorite noodle, use in a lasagna or on a meatball sub, put on steamed veggies or even straight over lettuce or sprouts! It might be good enough that you’ll want to eat it with a spoon :)

Pork and Veggie Enchiladas and a New Bike!

Click here for this Shrimp Enchiladas Verde recipe by “Eat, Live, Run”!

I GOT A BIKE!!  Jess and I were finally able to drive up to the REI where it was shipped to and picked it up on Saturday.  Then we drove back the same day… which made it a 6 hour drive round-trip.  But it was totally worth it.  She’s a beauty!  Pictures will come later.  We went for our first bike ride together the next morning instead of going to church and it felt just as good as a spiritual refresher.  We did almost seven miles, which isn’t much on a recumbent bike in a gym, but certainly is with slight hills and lots of cracks in the pavement!  We’re both getting squishy seats soon because, well, you know why.  The feeling of a numb coochie is slightly unnerving. (TMI?)

After the biking, we went swimming!  The water was perfect.  The pool had just opened and no one else was in there, so Jess and I dove right in to cool, cool water.  With the crazy heat we had the last couple weeks, every time we got in the water it felt like we were getting into warm bath water.  Gross.  This was the first time it truly felt like a pool.  Awesome.

Click here for this Zucchini Beef Enchiladas recipe from “Recipe Girl”!

Since I knew we’d both be biking in to work the next day, I wanted to make lunches ahead of time so I could leave the house before the heat index rose too much.  I also wanted to use up some of the veggies I’d had in the fridge for a couple weeks from our local CSA, The Wingfield Farm.  I didn’t have the typical mexican blend cheese in the fridge, so I improvised!  In fact, these enchiladas are full of so much delicious flavor that the tiny bit of feta cheese I put in was really more of an afterthought.  So, these enchiladas can definitely be dairy/lactose-free for those of us who fall into that category.  YAY!  And if you happen to be vegan or vegetarian, take out the pork, use another veggie like corn, potato or kale (just make sure to add a bit of the spices to the veggies that I list for seasoning the pork) and this can be a vegan dish as well!  I love it went that happens :)

This is also my recipe of the week for my cousin’s CSA newsletter.  It’ll be highlighting the tomatoes, garlic, onion and summer squash that everyone will be getting in their baskets.  Score!

Pork and Veggie Enchiladas
Servings: 4 (3 enchiladas per serving, plus fall-out filling!)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 10 (or 7 PP for 2 enchiladas each)

Click here for this Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas recipe by “The Novice Chef”!


  • 8 oz pork tenderloin, trimmed, 10 PP
  • 12 extra thin La Mission corn tortillas, 12 PP
  • 3 cups diced zucchini/yellow squash
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed, 7 PP
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 3 jalapenos (or less if you don’t want it spicy), diced
  • 3 tsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • spices to season pork (I used ground coriander, ancho chile powder, garlic powder, sea salt and a little adobo powder)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese, 2 PP (optional)
  • 2 packages Frontera Verde Enchilada sauce, 6 PP (or 2 cups of another green enchilada sauce of your choice)

1. Get out a cast iron skillet and turn to medium heat. Season your pork on both sides and cook on each side for about 5-7 minutes or until done.

2. While it’s cooking, get out a medium sized mixing bowl. Rinse the black beans and pour in. Dice up your tomatoes, chop your cilantro and dice your jalapenos and put those in the bowl as well.

3. Now, dice up your zucchini and onion and set aside in a separate bowl. Heat up a medium-sized non-stick pan to medium low heat and pour in 1 tsp of the olive oil and garlic. Let the garlic get fragrant for about 15 seconds and then put in the zucchini and onion. Cook for about 3 minutes or until just tender, then put in the bowl with the other veggies and beans.

Click here for this Thai Chicken Enchiladas recipe by “How Sweet It Is”!

4. Take your cooked pork and let it sit on a chopping block for a few minutes to cool. Then, slice into thin strips (against the grain, preferably) and dice each of those strips. Combined the diced pork with the other filling.

5. Now you can turn your oven on to 375. Take the same non-stick pan you used for the zucchini and onion pour in the enchilada sauce and the last 2 tsp of olive oil and stir up (if you have non-fat greek yogurt, I sometimes stir in a spoonful of it as well to make the sauce creamier). Turn heat to low so that it just gets a bit warm.

6. Take out a 9×13 glass pan and spray with Pam. Organize your counters so you have 12 tortillas on your left, pan of sauce to the right of that, glass dish next to that and the bowl of filling on your right (and a small bowl with the feta if you’re using it next to that). This setup seems to work the best for me. Now, take one tortilla and dip into sauce so that both sides have been covered. Put in the glass dish, sprinkle in a little feta and spoon in a generous scoop of the filling. Roll tortilla, keeping the folded ends on the bottom and shove it into the corner of the pan. Repeat for the next 11 tortillas. You should end up with two rows of six enchiladas, a bunch of leftover filling and about 1 cup of leftover sauce. Scoop the leftover filling into the middle of the dish between the rows of the enchiladas and pour the leftover sauce all over the enchiladas.

7. Rinse your hands and then put into the oven for 35-40 minutes. Take out, top with a little greek yogurt or guacamole or salsa and enjoy!

Fried Rice with Prawns and Ham

Sriracha swirls make everything better.

I have been searching for a really good fried rice recipe and I think I finally figured it out!  It’s no easy feat, I tell you, especially when you are trying to keep it relatively healthy.  Anything with “fried” in the name is bound to give you a bit of trouble when skinnifying it.

The secret isn’t just the ingredients or the sauce.  The secret to fantastic fried rice is the order in which your ingredients are cooked.  You need to saute the vegetables and protein together so that all the flavors infuse each other and become fragrant before you add any rice or sauce.

I discovered this while following (for the most part) the directions for the fried rice recipe in my “Stir Fry” cookbook.  It’s one of those random cookbooks I picked up from a Barnes and Noble somewhere and all the recipes in it are over-involved, you know, where there’s ONE ingredient in almost every dish that you don’t even know where to find because it’s sooo gourmet?  Yeah, I just cut that out and do my own thing, but I generally follow the directions.  My theory proved to be correct and this dish has quickly become a favorite in our home.  In fact, I have about 7 cups of white and wild rice chilling in the freezer right now so I can make a huge batch of it tonight!

So, take it from me and my girlfriend; this fried rice is fabulous.  Full of veggies and a delicious mix of meats, you’d might as well make a huge batch of it so you’ll have leftovers for lunch!

Soooo much better for you than the average Chinese restaurant!

Fried Rice with Prawns and Ham
Servings: 9 (around 1 to 1 1/2 cups each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 7


  • 5 cups cooked white rice, 26 PP
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice, 17 PP
  • 6 tsp canola oil, 7 PP
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 2/3 cup frozen green peas, 2 PP
  • 1/4 cup diced scallions or white onion
  • 15 large prawns (slice in half length-wise and then cut each side into 3 more pieces), 3 PP
  • 2 oz lean deli-sliced ham, 1 PP
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha chili sauce
  • 4 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1 PP
  • 4 tsp unpacked light brown sugar, 1 PP
  • 6 egg whites, 2 PP

1. Heat up 2 tsp canola oil in a wok. over medium-low heat. Pour egg whites in and stir them up until they are just cooked enough and slightly scrambled. Place in a bowl and set aside.

2. Reheat the wok and pour in 3 more tsp canola oil. Put in garlic, green onion, shrimp, ham, carrots and peas. Cook for about about 5-10 minutes until shrimp has been thoroughly cooked.

3. Whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, last of the canola oil and sriracha in a bowl.

4. Pour rice and sauce mixture into the wok and mix up with the vegetables. cook for a few minutes until well coated. Then throw in the egg. Cook for another minute or so.

5. Serve immediately and enjoy! Keep some sriracha and soy sauce out on the side so people can add it at their leisure.

You can always switch out which meats you use, so if you want chicken in there, just make sure you switch out the points since it’ll be more.  Maybe you have leftover pork that you need to use or even bacon or scallops!  Don’t like peas?  Put in some edamame.  Make those flavors work for you!

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!