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Spinach Artichoke Pasta that’s actually good for you and tastes like you covered pasta with your favorite spinach artichoke dip. So so good and actually pretty good for you. Plus with under 350 calories (8 Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints), it’s a meal you can eat as often as you like.

This is a dreamy dish that is basically a marriage of pasta and spinach and artichoke dip. I imagine I can’t be the only one who looks at that amazingly delicious dip and thinks about how good it would be smothered on pasta. Usually there isn’t enough left to ever actually try it out, so this time I set out to make a lightened up version just for pasta using all the classic ingredients, except the mayonnaise. There isn’t really a need for it. And it all comes together in under thirty minutes.

Healthy Spinach Artichoke Pasta in a baking dish with yellow napkin.

In order to make the sauce thick and creamy, the recipe starts out with a roux made with olive oil and flour. Non fat milk is added to this and cooked until it begins to thicken. Then comes the cheese! A combination of mozzarella and cream cheese ensure plenty of cheese flavor and creaminess. Then it’s just the spinach, artichokes, and some Parmesan for good measure. Usually I reach for defrosted frozen spinach and artichokes since I always have them on hand. You could use fresh too, just saute it first and squeeze out any extra moisture. Same goes for canned artichoke hearts.

Tips for Making this Healthy Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

  • To make sure you get a creamy and rich sauce, it is extremely important to drain any excess moisture from the spinach and artichokes. You can use a cheesecloth or paper towels and just squeeze and squeeze until no more liquid drips out. If the veggies still contain a lot of moisture, the sauce will be less creamy.
  • Depending on how much time I have and what I am in the mood for, sometimes I turn this into a baked pasta dish like in the photo by baking it for a few minutes so the top gets browned. One important note, this isn’t a true baked pasta dish and will dry out if you bake it for too long. You are just baking it enough to get a lightly browned top.
  • To get a richer flavor, you can substitute in another cheese for the mozzarella. A strong cheddar, smoked mozzarella, creamy goat cheese, or even feta would all be delicious.

Weight Watchers Spinach Artichoke Pasta with a yellow floral napkin.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/spinach-artichoke-pasta

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Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles is a quick and healthy meal that’s packed with flavor from a healthy homemade basil pesto but good for you since it uses zucchini noodles instead of traditional pasta. Perfect for a low carb, keto, or Weight Watchers diet.

Pesto is one of those dishes that seems healthy when you first think about it but is usually packed with so much oil and cheese that is quickly becomes a calorie bomb. In fact, most pesto has about 80 calories and 8 grams of fat for just one tablespoon. I don’t know about you, but that’s quite a lot considering you need more than one tablespoon for most recipes.

Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles on a white plate with fork.

To combat that, I have been making my own pesto for years now. It uses all the same ingredients just in different proportions to make it much healthier. Trust me, you wont’ miss all the extra oil. I use it all the time with pasta, spaghetti squash, chicken, and my absolute favorite, shrimp. I just love the combination of pesto and shrimp – so good.

Weight Watchers Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles on a white linen.

With that in mind, I created this simple dish using this homemade pesto, zucchini noodles, and quickly sauteed shrimp. It’s ready in less than 20 minutes and tastes amazing. Full of pesto flavor, sweet shrimp, and plenty of zucchini noodles.

  • Protein: You can use all different types of protein in this dish. I have made it with chicken, ground turkey, chicken sausage, and salmon.
  • Noodles: When I make dishes like this, I usually make some whole grain pasta on the side for other family members to add to the dish. This makes it heartier and more filling for them but also makes sure they are getting lots of veggies too.
  • Dairy Free Version: If you are dairy free, you can make this with nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese. The pesto turns out great and you can sprinkle some extra on top before serving.
  • Veggies: Sometimes I add in some fresh cherry tomatoes or canned fire roasted diced tomatoes as well.

The Best Way to Make Zucchini Noodles

  • The easiest way to make zucchini noodles is with a spiralizer. I have this one that pairs with my Kitchen Aid mixer and I couldn’t be happier with it. If you don’t have a Kitchen Aid mixer or want a less expensive option, there are tons of good options. For most options all you have to do it cut off the ends, insert it into the spiralizer, and turn to create little zucchini spirals.
  • If you don’t want to use a spiralizer, you can also use a mandolin. Cut the zucchini into thin planks and then use a sharp  knife to cut them into noodles.
  • A final option is to use a vegetable peeler. Simply make long planks using the peeler and then use a knife to cut those into noodles. This method is fairly time consuming and it can be difficult to use the peeler as the zucchini gets smaller.
  • One important note about zucchini noodles. Zucchini naturally contains a ton of water, which is why some people complain of soggy noodles. If you have time, salt the zucchini noodles and let them rest on paper towels for 10-15 minutes. Then pat dry. This will pull out some of the water and result in a better texture for the noodle.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/pesto-shrimp-with-zucchini-noodles

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A Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter made with ingredients you probably already have at home for a healthy, delicious dessert that is ready in less than five minutes.

I am sure many of your have heard of the 3-2-1 cakes that use a combination of cake mix and water to create a simple microwave cake that is ready in one minute in the microwave. The only problem? Cake mix can contain some pretty funky ingredients and lots of things I can’t pronounce. However since these 3-2-1 cakes were so popular, Weight Watchers decide to create thier own 3 point version. Unfortunately we run into the same problem. Here’s what inside

  • Ingredients: enriched self-rising flour [enriched bleached wheat flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), salt, baking powder, calcium sulfate, enzyme], cocoa processed with alkali, corn fiber, canola oil, egg, baking powder, natural and artificial flavors, salt, sucralose, acesulfame potassium.

I don’t know about, but that’s a lot of things I don’t recognize plus I don’t really like artificial sweeteners since they give me a headache. This version uses more natural ingredients. Plus you can always substitute peanut butter for the peanut butter powder if you like. I also sometimes throw in a mashed banana for extra sweetness and moisture.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/microwave-chocolate-peanut-butter-mug-cake

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This Creamy Coconut and Tomato Shrimp made with onions, garlic, ginger, fresh basil, tomatoes, and shrimp in a creamy coconut milk sauce is seriously good. Like we were licking the sauce off our plates good.

I have always been a huge fan of curry. It’s something I make all the time but I realize it isn’t for everyone. That’s where this simple dish comes in. It reminds me of a delicious curry dish but without the actual curry. You still get the creamy coconut part, you still get garlic and ginger, you still get a touch of spice, but you don’t get any of the funkiness of curry that some people don’t like. And it’s so good, you will make this again and again.

Weight Watchers Coconut Shrimp and Tomatoes in a creamy sauce in a pan.

When it comes to serving this dish, there are endless options. Normally I serve it on a bed of zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or cauliflower rice for a low carb and Whole30/Paleo friendly option. Ir’s also delish over brown rice or some soba noodles. If you love soups, add some chicken or shrimp broth and it quickly becomes a soup. You can throw in some extra veggies or add a starch like rice noodles or quinoa. Prepared this way, it kind of reminds my of a traditional Thai coconut soup, especially if you squeeze in some lime juice.

Paleo Creamy Coconut Shrimp and Tomato in a pan with zucchini noodles.

Tips for Making Creamy Coconut and Tomato Shrimp

  • If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes work just fine in this recipe. Drain the tomatoes before adding them so that you get a thick and creamy sauce.
  • If you are following a Whole30, Keto, or Paleo diet make this with full fat coconut milk. It will add about 130 calories per servings and about 6 Weight Watchers SmartPoints.
  • Adjust the amount of garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to suit your tastes. Usually I punch up the red pepper flakes since we like things really spicy. You can also leave them out completely if spice isn’t your thing.
  • To keep this a Whole30/Paleo/Keto friendly dish serve it with spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or cauliflower rice.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/creamy-coconut-and-tomato-shrimp

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Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Born Sweet Zing™ Organic Stevia Sweetener – Zero Calories but all opinions are 100% mine.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I feel like there is a mile long list of things I would love to change. In an ideal world, I would work out more, use my phone less, eat more veggies, meditate … you get the idea. But year after year of swearing this will be the year everything changes, I don’t succeed. Basically, I am just setting myself up for failure. That’s why this year, I am trying something new!

Overnight Oat Smoothies in mason jars.

Instead of making a hundred resolutions, I am going to commit to making some small changes to my routine that will help set me up for success. For me, that means starting first thing in the morning.

I don’t know about you, but my morning sets the tone for the rest for my day. If I start out my day out on the right foot, then my whole day goes more smoothly. A breakfast made with real ingredients leads to healthier choices all day. A few minutes of tech-free time to focus on gratitude change the way I approach challenges. Working out gives me more energy and always makes me feel more productive.

So this year I am getting out of my morning rut (i.e. hitting snooze at least 3 times and spending my first waking moments scrolling through social media), and jumping into something new. A fresh, energizing morning routine packed with nutritious food, happy brain space, some movement, and an earlier wake up time. Don’t worry, not too much earlier.

Overnight Oat Smoothies with carrots.

1. Waking Up 30 Minutes Earlier:

With two children under two, I rarely get a moment to myself. Reflecting on the past few months, I came to realize that whenever I would randomly get up before them, we would all have a more relaxed, peaceful day. So now it’s time to start doing that on purpose.

My ridiculous, effective strategy: Putting my phone across the room so that I have to get up and physically walk across the room to turn it off. Not only will this guarantee I get up, it will also ensure I don’t spend hours in bed scrolling through social media before getting some zzzz’s.

2. Start the Day with Apple Cider Vinegar:

I have been reading about the benefits of apple cider vinegar for years, and am finally jumping on the bandwagon. Not only is it supposed to lead to better digestion, more energy and more luminous skin, I’ve also heard it may lower blood sugar. I plan on mixing 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup of natural fruit juice, and a packet of Born Sweet Zing™ Organic Stevia Sweetener – Zero Calories to cut the vinegar flavor.

Since I am trying to incorporate more real foods in the morning, Born Sweet Zing™ Organic Stevia is the perfect option. It’s a product I feel good about since it is a plant based sweetener with zero calories and no bitter aftertaste. It adds a delicious sweetness to virtually any recipe without the calories. I use it in this apple cider vinegar drink, my morning coffee, smoothies, oatmeal and even savory recipes.

3. Energize my mind OR body:

As much as I would love to find time to exercise every morning and take time to meditate or reflect, it’s just not going to happen. Instead of setting myself up to fail, this year I am going to use my extra thirty minutes in the morning to either energize my body or mind.

For my body that could mean a quick walk outside, a fitness video, or some time on the treadmill. When it comes to energizing my mind, there are three main things I will do: meditate (I use Headspace), reflect and plan (personal goals or business goals), or reading (usually focused on inspiration in business or my personal life).

4. Easy Breakfast On The Go:

One of my biggest goals this year is to make a healthier breakfast made with real ingredients a priority. Lately, I have been in the bad habit of pushing through the morning on nothing but coffee and a few handfuls of cereal. This inevitably leads to a late morning caffeine crash. Not this year.

Strawberry Cheesecake Overnight Oat Smoothie

In order to make this happen, I need to plan in advance and have some options ready to go in the fridge. That’s where these overnight oat smoothies come in! They are prepped in advance with whole grain oats, yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, flax seeds, my favorite Born Sweet Zing™ Organic Stevia Sweetener for sweetness, fruit and even some veggies.

The amazing thing about these overnight oat smoothies is that when morning rolls around, you have the option to either eat them as overnight oats or toss them in a blender for an on-the-go smoothie that will actually keep you full all morning long, thanks to the oats and yogurt. Personally, I almost always go with the smoothie option, since it’s a portable meal I can drink on the go.

Below you will find the base recipe for these tasty Overnight Oat Smoothies! Once you make the base, add any of these delicious flavor combinations or create your own!

Carrot Cake Overnight Oat Smoothie

Carrot Cake Overnight Oat Smoothie

  • Add ½ cup grated carrots, ½ cup pineapple, ½ tsp. cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg

Strawberry Cheesecake Overnight Oat Smoothie

  • Add ¾ cup strawberries, 1 tbsp cream cheese, extra Born Sweet Zing™ to taste depending on the sweetness of your fruit

Apple Pie Overnight Oat Smoothie

  • Add ¾ cup cooked apples (or raw), 1 tbsp almond butter, ½ tsp. cinnamon

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oat Smoothie

  • Add 1 chopped banana, 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tbsp. peanut butter. Optional: add 1 cup spinach

5. Coffee:

Now in my world, no morning routine would be complete without coffee. This year, to enhance this part of my daily ritual, I am planning on doing two things: First, I am going to add collagen to my morning coffee routine to boost digestion, add some extra protein, and give a boost to my hair and nails. Secondly, I am going use Born Sweet Zing™ Organic Stevia Sweetener to sweeten my coffee without adding calories. Delicious tasting, added protein, no guilt. Win-win.

What does your morning routine look like?

One final routine tip: Since I almost always have at least one coffee or tea on the road during the day, I am planning on keeping some Born Sweet Zing™ single serve packets in my purse. Not only can I use them to sweeten up my coffee, I can see them saving me in lots of situations where I don’t have a lot of guilt-free sweetener options.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/refresh-your-morning-routine-4-overnight-oat-smoothies

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This healthy Instant Pot Beef and Barley Stew tastes like it has been simmering on the stove all day long but is made in under an hour with the help of the Instant Pot. It can also be made in the slow cooker in case you don’t have an Instant Pot at home.

My family absolutely loves traditional beef stew and it’s something I make all the time. The only problem is that it isn’t one of my favorite dishes. I don’t mind it, but its not something I crave or look forward to eating. Honestly I am normally more excited about the salad and bread that I usually serve on the side. However since it is such a staple in our home, I have been looking for an updated version that will make everyone happy and I found that in this Beef and Barley Stew.

Weight Watchers Beef and Barley Stew in a bowl with two spoons.

It’s made with a lot of the same ingredients as a traditional beef stew – onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, thyme – but the addition of the barley adds something special. It’s hearty, slightly earthy, and adds some much needed texture. I love it.

The other secret to this stew is using hash brown or shredded potatoes. I learned this trick from Marzia at the Little Spice Jar and I love it. By adding shredded potatoes, you are able to get a little bit of everything in a single bite. Plus it guarantees you won’t overcook the potatoes and turn them to mush. If you buy the frozen or pre-shredded versions, it’s a great shortcut since you don’t have to wash, peel, and chop potatoes.

Here are some fun ways to customize this Instant Pot Beef and Barley Stew

  • This stew can definitely handle some more vegetables. In the original recipe it calls for mushrooms, which are a great addition. You can also add kale, a can of diced tomatoes, butternut squash, or some cabbage.
  • If you don’t like a really beefy flavor, use chicken or vegetable broth instead. It still tastes delicious but isn’t as intensely beefy. Honestly I usually use chicken stock since I always have it at home.
  • Sometimes I like to use sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. They add some sweetness to the stew which is downright delicious. It does take some extra time to shred the potatoes but it’s worth it. You can also use a combination of both.
  • If you don’t have an Instant Pot, this can be cooked in the slow cooker or on the stove-top. Slow Cooker instructions are included below. For the stove-top, it will probably take 2.5-3.5 hours of simmering until the beef gets tender.
  • Like things spicy? Add in some red pepper flakes or a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies.

Healthy Beef and Barley Stew made in the Instant Pot in a ceramic bowl with a napkin.

Looking for more hearty soups and stews?

Here are some of the products and tools I used to cook this recipe:

  • I know there are mixed feelings about the Instant Pot but I absolutely love mine. From cooking the perfect boiled eggs to shredded chicken to homemade yogurt, I love it.
  • I don’t always have beef broth in the house, but I do always have this natural beef bouillion. It has great flavor and isn’t packed with ton of chemicals and preservatives like many of the options at the grocery store. It also has about 30% less sodium than most brands.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/instant-pot-beef-and-barley-stew

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This spiced-up version of an old classic will leave you craving a “K” in front of your BLT from here on out. What's the best...
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