Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Seafood Pesto Pasta Salad

I love checking out other blogs on the internet and seeing what recipes that look yummy to me.  This is one of those recipes.  Pasta-check!  Pesto-check! Well, you get the idea...I loved almost the ingredients!  The original recipe from Damn Delicious had tuna instead of the seafood mix.  I like tuna, but I found a great seafood mix at Trader Joe's and knew that would be a good substitution.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did :)

Seafood Pesto Pasta Salad

·         1 cup elbow pasta
·         1/2 bag frozen seafood mix (bought mine at Trader Joe’s with calamari, scallops, and shrimp- yum!)
·         1/4 cup basil pesto (can make fresh, I used a jarred pesto)
·         1 avocado, diced
·         1/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
·         2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Boil water and cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.  Meanwhile, cook seafood in pan.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, seafood, pesto, avocado, sun dried tomatoes and sunflower seeds.

4 servings, 9 points a serving

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Roasted Pesto Tomatoes

This is a quick, easy side that really spices up an otherwise generic meal (for us, it was steak and couscous).  The tomatoes also tasted great with the couscous.  I found it on the blog, 400 calories or less, so that made me feel good that it still healthy.  Enjoy!

Roasted Pesto Tomatoes


12 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise and quartered
1/2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (you can use less spice if you don't want your tomatoes to have a kick)
1/4 cup pesto (I bought low-fat jarred pesto)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Mix the tomatoes with oil, salt, pesto and the pepper flakes and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pierogi Lasagna

When I saw this recipe on my sorority sister's blog, Eating Well, Getting Skinny, I knew I would be making it asap :)  I love pierogis although I haven't had them since the summer of 2006 when another group of sorority sisters spent the day making them!

I was so excited to make this "lasagna," but I was skeptical that the food would actually taste like a pierogi.  It was delicious and had all the taste elements to bring me back to that day and great memories!

Pierogi Lasagna

1 package no cook lasagna noodles
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cups low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded (save 1/4 cheese for end)
2 pounds potatoes (I also included one sweet potato), peeled and diced
1 package frozen cauliflower
½ cup butter
1 onion, sliced
1 package, frozen spinach

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil potatoes and cauliflower in large pot, drain when soft and fork can easily piece through potatoes.

In a bowl/pot used for boiling potatoes, mash potatoes and cauliflower with milk and sour cream.  Stir in cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile pan, melt the butter and sauté onions and spinach until translucent.

In a 9 x 13 casserole dish,spread a light layer of the onion/spinach/butter mix on the bottom.  Then layer pasta noodles, butter mix, 1/4 mashed potatoes and repeat.  I also added some extra cheese on top :)

Bake for 30 minutes.

Serves 10, 10 points a serving.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wedding Panic!

Today I am in a bit of a panic.  I have been in a panic all month (plus longer), and I feel like it's coming to a head as I prepare for the weekend.  The wedding is almost 2 months away, and I am freaking out.  There is just way too much to do!  I never thought wedding planning would be this stressful.  I thought it would be

I just want to be married.  Yes, I want to be surrounded by family and friends, but I feel like I'm getting lost in the minutia and am losing sight of the bigger picture.  I'm getting married for a life with Austin, so why is this event making us argue? Ah!!  Learn more about our wedding here!

I am getting married 10 hours away in Buffalo, NY, so any trip to Buffalo is a production.  This weekend, I am heading there for my bachelorette party #1, bridal shower #2, and bridal shower #3 (yes, I know I am a spoiled bride).
My pretty hat made during bridal shower #1 :)

Getting to Buffalo is seeming like a fiasco.  Here are all the things that need to fit into my car (a little Honda Civic):
-groomsmen gifts (2 huge boxes)
-large box from Oriental Trading with miscellaneous wedding stuff
-3 medium to large boxes of kitchen goodies for my sister (as I get new stuff, she gets my well loved stuff)
-6 cases of wine for the hotel welcome baskets (there are no Trader Joe's in Buffalo, so I need to come prepared)
-6 dresses (I can never decide what to wear and I always have an extra dress on hand, lol)
-Miscellaneous bags with wedding planning binder, knitting supplies, toiletries, snacks, wedding shoes, etc)
-My suitcase (currently in the front seat)
-Canopy for my future sister-in-law's grad party (This will be swapped out halfway through my trip for my future mother-in-law and her weekend supplies- hope she doesn't have too

I'm thinking my car is somewhat of a clown car- I never thought it would all fit, but it does, miraculously!

Another point of stress is my wedding dress- my beautiful, amazing, dream wedding dress.  My first fitting is Saturday.  Only problem, no dress.  The dress ships today and won't arrive until late next week.  I am trying to be calm, but I also really want to see my dress and get the alterations started.  I am down 25 pounds, so I know the dress needs to be altered, and I want it to be as amazing on me as when I tried on the sample.  The store says not to worry- they will make the dress perfect between my second (now first) fitting and the wedding- 1/5 weeks apart.  And I believe them, kind of, but I'm still freaking out.

I know, I need to take a chill pill, but my Type A personality is not suited for wedding  Well, I think it will be an awesome party, but it's all the little details that drive me crazy!

So over my lunch hour, I am going to get a pedicure to see if I can clear my mind of the never ending wedding list.  Wish me luck!!  Any suggestions to help me out?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mexican Casserole

I am not one to waste food.  While our fiesta last week was amazing, we had so much seasoned ground beef leftover.  This is one of two posts where I used leftover beef- I will spacing them about a week apart on the blog but made all the recipes within a week of browning the ground beef originally.  I also could have frozen the beef and made separate recipes that way, but I wanted to see if I could use the same main ingredient and make different tasting recipes.  While we eat lots of Mexican food the week after the fiesta, I was happy with how well re-purposing the seasoned ground beef went.

Mexican Casserole

Tortillas (I had leftover homemade ones)
1 lb seasoned ground beef
1/2 bag frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 bag frozen pepper mix
2 diced tomatoes (fresh)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
crushed red pepper
1/3 cup salsa
1/2 to 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray large casserole dish with cooking spray.  Add layer of tortillas.  Layer ground beef, corn, black beans, peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro.  Sprinkle cumin and crushed red pepper (for spice).

Add another layer of tortillas.  Spread salsa on top of tortillas and spread cheese.

Cook for about 30 minutes.  Serves 6, 8 points a serving!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Restaurant Review: Williamsburg's The Trellis

For Austin's birthday (it was April 30, so I'm posting a little late...), we splurged (both money wise and points) and went to the Trellis, a delicious restaurant right in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg.

We had a great meal!  It started with the best assortment of bread ever:  focaccia with olive oil, cornbread with honey butter, and pretzel bread with mustard.  Heaven!  Worth every point.

Our appetizer was Parmesan Gnocchi with Chicken Confit, Toasted Pine Nuts and Mushroom-Herb Reduction.

Austin's dinner was Pan-Seared Fresh Water Trout with Bourbon Cornbread, Crab and Crayfish Stuffing on a Bed of Wilted Arugula.

Mine was a Pork Trio:  Seared Pork Tenderloin, Braised Pork Belly, Pork Cracklin-Mashed Potatoes, Redeye Gravy and Collards Greens.

Austin was a happy birthday boy :)
Moral of the story:  If you ever find yourself in Williamsburg and want a nice dinner (and willing to spend a couple bucks), check out the Trellis on Duke of Gloucester Street (or DoG Street to the locals).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

It's been a couple weeks since I've posted a dessert, so it's time for a delicious cookie that uses fresh produce (you could use frozen too, but the best thing about strawberry shortcake are the fresh strawberries, so I would recommend fresh over frozen in this case).  I struggle with desserts on Weight Watchers because the best desserts are always high in points.  These cookies, though, are only 2 points a cookie- score!  And they taste like real strawberry shortcake without the high points of the shortcake.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
Slightly adapted from Emily Bites

12 oz strawberries, hulled and diced into tiny/small pieces
1 Tbs juice squeezed from an orange

1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup and 2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbs cold butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup fat free half and half

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In one bowl, combine strawberries, orange juice and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Combine and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the 1/2 cup of sugar with the orange zest and mix together with your fingers.  The mixture should smell fruity and delicious. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together. 

Add the cold butter and cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until the butter is coarse crumbs. Add the half and half and stir together to form the dough. Add the strawberry mixture and fold together.

As you can tell, I am pretty messy when I cook/bake...
Spoon 36 overflowing tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets (either non-stick-- my favorite are AirBakes-- or grease/line with parchment paper). Bake 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. 

Makes about 36 cookies; 2 points a cookie

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grilled Flounder with Pineapple

As you can imagine, when I buy food, I generally buy in bulk :) or at least large frozen packages.  Our most recent fish purchase was flounder (remember Flounder Wraps?), so when we decided to use this amazing summer recipe from Weight Watchers, we substituted flounder for halibut.  I think any white fish would be really tasty with the marinade.  The meal was light; you can pair it with veggies, but I thought that the fish and pineapple was satisfying on its own, and it left extra points for dessert :)

Grilled Flounder with Pineapple

1 Tbsp lime zest   
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice   
2 Tbsp unpacked light brown sugar, divided   
1 1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp table salt   
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper   
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (I like a little spice, so I added some extra pepper)
4 Flounder (or other white fish) filets
1 can pineapple rings

Preheat grill. (We used a grill basket, but if not, spray grill with cooking spray but BEFORE turning grill on).

Place zest, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of ginger, salt,cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper in a medium-size rectangular glass dish; tightly cover dish and swirl to combine marinade. Add fish to container; cover, swirl again to coat fish and marinate in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes, turning once.

While the fish is marinating, put pineapple in a second glass dish and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of brown sugar and remaining 1/2 tablespoon of ginger; cover and let sit for about 5 minutes. Remove pineapple from dish and set aside; add resulting juices to dish with fish.

Put fish and pineapple in grill basket.  Grill for 8 minutes, turning after 4 minutes.

Grill pineapple until heated through, turning once, about 8 minutes. 

Serving is 1 piece of fish and 4-5 pineapple rings.  5 points a serving.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Austin and I hosted a Mexican fiesta over the weekend, and we had a great time hosting the party.  With our wedding coming up, I had my first bridal shower earlier this month.  I received so many amazing presents, and I couldn't wait to use them.  My philosophy is that we can use the gifts once thank you notes were sent out, so I wrote those notes and mailed them right away :)  Our fiesta was the first time I could use some of the great serving pieces family and friends gave us!

Fiesta Menu
Seasoned ground beef
Homemade Tortillas
Taco Fixings- Tomatoes, Cheese, Sour Cream, Salsa, Lettuce, Sauteed Onions, Guacamole
Cilantro Lime Rice
Chips and Salsa
Dos Equis, Budweisers' Lime-A- Ritas (surprisingly taste like a margarita), and Corona
Brownies and S'mores Cookies

Austin decorated the house with red, green, and white streamers, and we were even able to show off our new dining room set (yay Craigslist!).

I made a lazy person's Sangria- 1 large bottle Arbor Mist Sangria, 1 bottle red wine, orange slices, lime slices, and cut strawberries.  Yum!

The tortillas were super easy to make.  I bought a Quaker mix for tortillas, and all it took was adding water to the mix.  While they were easy to make, they were very time consuming, especially because I made 36.  I'm glad we have an electric griddle, so I could make 3-4 tortillas at a time.  With my next attempt at tortilla making, I will do my best to make them circular :)

Making tortillas!
Finished product- I think they look pretty good!
I also made Cilantro Lime Rice.  I think it might be a little healthy than Chipotle's version since I used brown rice.  Thanks to Two Peas and Their Pod for the recipe.

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 teaspoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 (15 ounce) can vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 2 teaspoons of lime juice, broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, sugar, and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix.

It was a wonderful fiesta!!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Guest Blog!

When I started this blog, it was about trying new recipes and losing weight.  While that's still the goal, I've also loved getting to know other awesome bloggers.  One of those is Judee from Gluten Free A-Z Blog.  Her blog is all about gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan recipes.  

Despite my love of meat (fresh from the farm!), mixing it up with different types of recipes for different diets  is a great way to keep variety in the kitchen and in your meals.  Today I am a guest blogger on Judee's site, and I talk about my motivation for weight loss.  The best/worst part are the pictures of Austin and me through the years-- showing why we needed to start losing some weight :)  

While we look pretty snazzy in this picture, I had to order a size up in my dress at the last minute since the dress I ordered 3 months early didn't fit :(  I was devastated-- the dress disaster was fixed, but I knew that it was time to start losing weight.
Please check out my very first guest blog post.  

Thanks for the opportunity, Judee!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Herb Crusted Chuck Roast

We have SO much meat, but I'm enjoying finding ways to cook it.  This afternoon, we made a Herb-Crusted Chuck Roast.  It was delicious (for me, meat always is), but I thought there would be more meat in the roast- there was a ton of bone and cartilage.  

That being said, I could have just cut it poorly.  Next time, I would let the roast set for a while with the rib before cooking it as I think the flavors would set in more.

Herb-Crusted Chuck Roast
adapted from

1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 Tbs pepper
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 (3 pound) chuck roast (if you can, get boneless)

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients.  Rub over entire roast.  Let chuck roast "marinate" for 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake roast uncovered in a roasting pan until 160 degrees (meat cooked to medium).

Let stand for 10-20 minutes before carving.  Enjoy!

See, look at all that bone!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Flounder Wraps

When I told my friend that I made flounder wraps, she responded with a yuck face.  Okay, it doesn't sound that great, but I swear that it was tasty.  I knew I wanted to make flounder when I went to make this meal, but I didn't know what else I would make with it.  I looked through the fridge and pantry, and this is what I cam up with.

I know that Weight Watchers talks about plans, but half a plan works too!  And this was a great hearty, easy dinner :)  It was a hot meal too (made Austin love it even more)!

Fish Wraps

1 Tbs olive oil
Sliced mushrooms
Package frozen spinach
Sliced grape tomatoes
Large onion, sliced
Flat Out wraps (2)
2 flounder filets
1 Tbs Italian Dressing
1 wedge, light creamy swiss Laughing Cow Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray glass pan with cooking spray.  Place flounder in glass pan and cover with Italian dressing.  Cook for 20-25 minutes until you can pierce fish with fork easily.

Meanwhile, coat pan with olive oil.  Saute vegetables.

Spread 1/2 wedge of cheese on flat out wrap.  Add flounder and veggies.

Try to wrap...mine ended up like an open face sandwich...whoops :)

Total WW Points- 7 for a huge wrap!!
Flat Out wrap (thicker than a wrap but not as thick as bread)- 3 points
Laughing Cow Cheese- 1 point
Flounder- 3 points
Veggies- 0

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Green Curry Shrimp

In my binder of collected recipes, I found an advertisement from Taste of Thai.  I figured it was worth a try, so I went to the store and bought the ingredients.  The add didn't have proportions and measurements of said ingredients, but I conferred with other Asian recipes I had on had and gave this meal a shot.  It was well worth it-- Austin said it was his favorite recent meal!!  This is so easy to make-give it a try too :)

Green Curry Shrimp

1 can light coconut milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs green curry paste
1 bag frozen pepper and onion mix
1 bag frozen shrimp
1/4 cup fish sauce

In wok style pan, pour coconut milk and simmer.  Add brown sugar, green curry paste, and continue to simmer.  Toss in pepper mix and shrimp and cook/heat up.  Stir in fish sauce.  

Serve over brown rice.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Couscous Salad with Shrimp

This recipe is from the May 2009 Cosmopolitan magazine.  It was before I was cooking couscous on a regular basis, and I was excited about making this, since it was dubbed a "sexy picnic for two."  Unfortunately, Austin doesn't really cold meals and didn't find it as exciting as I did.  I thought it was absolutely delicious!

A perfect fresh and light meal on a hot day.

Couscous Salad with Shrimp

- 1 box couscous (I used toasted pine nut couscous)
- 1 frozen package shrimp (I used already cooked, tail off, but you could use uncooked to make the meal a little warmer)
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 Tbs dried parsley
- 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 1/2 bag fresh spinach

Prepare couscous according to box and let cool.  In a large bowl, mix shrimp, veggies, couscous and parsley.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and combine.  Serve over bed of spinach.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Creamy Chicken Lasagna

One of our blog followers (yay Chad Bolt!) recommended a great lasagna recipe from Runner's World.  I am not a runner by any means, but I know a great recipe when I see it.  I got lazy and used canned chicken instead of cooking some fresh, and that could have been a mistake, lol.  This was delicious fresh made but actually better as leftovers because you couldn't taste the canned chicken :)  A little higher in points (14 a serving) but hearty and cheesy and awesome!  Thanks for the recommendation, Chad.

Creamy Chicken Lasagna

15 oven-ready, lasagna noodles
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
8 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cups marinara sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400° F. 

Combine chicken, basil, 6 ounces of cream cheese, and 1/4 cup broth. 

Mix remaining cream cheese and broth in a separate bowl. 

Spread 1/3 cup marinara on the bottom of a large baking dish; assemble 4 layers as follows: 3 noodles, 2/3 cup marinara sauce, 1 cup chicken mixture, 3/4 cup mozzarella, and 2 tbs Parmesan. Top with last noodles, the broth mixture, and the remaining cheeses. 

Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Then, turn oven to broil, remove foil and broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I love a good hearty stew, but Austin isn't as much of a fan.  This was a great in between from LaLoosh- it has the best qualities of a stew (beef and stew seasoning) but also has more of a soup consistency.  It was in the crock pot for 10 hours (recipe said 8 hours), but leaving it in longer was no big deal!  I even cut up all the ingredients the night before and threw them into the crock pot before heading to work-- very easy and delicious meal!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1 pound beef stew meat — cubed
1/2 package McCormick Beef Stew seasoning 
1 can or package green beans, fresh or frozen
15 ounces canned black beans (1 can)
15 ounces peas, fresh or frozen (we used less of these because neither of us are huge fans of peas)
15 ounces corn, fresh or frozen
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots sliced
3 cups water

Put in crockpot and let it simmer while you're at work :)

1 serving = 6 WW points

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lemon Cake

My favorite dessert growing up was lemon cake- I always thought it was such a complicated dessert, probably because it was made in a bunt pan.  When I started making it myself, I realized that it was so simple but super delicious!

Lemon Cake

1 package yellow cake mix
1 package Jello lemon instant pudding
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour bunt pan (I spray Pam liberally all over bunt pan, then sprinkle flour all over it to cover each surface.  Turn pan over and shake out excess flour).  Mix yellow cake, pudding mix, eggs, oil, and 1 cup water.  Put in bunt pan evenly and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick/fork comes out of the cake cleanly.

Let cool for about 15 minutes.  Turn cake over and release onto large serving plate.  This part is the hardest because you want to make sure that the cake comes out all at one, so some cake doesn't stick to the pan.

Mix sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over cake while the cake is still warm.

Are you craving a piece too?!?