Recipes, Updates

Recipe Roundup

Since the season of mayonnaise and grilling is upon us, I wanted to share some of the recipes that have kept us sane (and healthier) over the past year. Andy and I have collectively lost just shy of 100lbs since starting Weight Watchers in January of 2013. It’s been a long, slow road, but we’re both feeling a lot better in pretty much every respect. I can’t recommend it enough – if you want to lose weight based on actual science and no fad diets, leave me a comment. I’m happy to talk to anyone about it.

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken – Skinny Taste | 4 PPV

Put this  on top of toast, in taco shells or – our favorite – inside Arepas pockets.

Spinach Tortellini Soup – Food Network | 4 PPV

The more crushed tomatoes, the thicker this soup is. It’s surprisingly filling.

Not Butter Chicken – Budget Bytes | 10 PPV

Similar to chicken tikka masala, but with a spicier flavor.

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower – AllRecipes | 3 PPV
This is now our go-to side dish. Super creamy, cheesy and delicious. Use Laughing Cow Cream Cheese Wedges to make it even lower calorie.
German Spaetzle – Adapted from Smitten Kitchen | 8 PPV

We have a spaetzle maker ($10 on amazon) but you can also use a large hole colander or a ziplock bag with a small hole cut on the end (see instructables version). Our Spaetzle always features the holy trio (bacon, garlic and onions).

Baked Chicken Parm – Skinny Taste | 10 PPV (with pasta)

We pound the chicken with a meat tenderizer and pan fry it – it cooks faster and you feel like you get more.

Chicken & Lime Soup – Budget Bytes | 4 PPV

The lime and avocado make a delicious combination in this Mexican dish.

Skinny Cheddar Bay Biscuits – Skinny Taste | 3 PPV

A healthier (yet still delicious) version of Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

And the newest addition, Pastina Risotto! It was originally posted on Reddit by Argle. Below is our adaptation of the delicious recipe!
PastinaRisotto

Pastina Risotto

Makes 3 servings | 6 PPV per serving

1 celery stalk, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
salt + pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
6 oz Pastina (half a box)
1 tsp Better than Bouillon, Chicken

3 c Water

Sweat celery, carrot, and onion in 2 tbsp of butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. When veggie mixture has softened (onions translucent), add 6 oz Pastina and chopped garlic, lightly toasting the Pastina and stirring often.

Add Better than Bouillon to 1 cup water, and add to pan. Stir constantly until water is absorbed.  Add another cup of plain water and repeat – approximately 3 total cups, or until Pastina is a consistency you like. Finish with your favorite grated cheese.

I’d love to hear from you if you try any of these!

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Recipes

Spaetzle Schmaetzle

For those of you that don’t know, Andy and I started Weight Watchers in January. I had seen success with the program in the past, and after a delicious weight-gaining holiday in Maine, I decided it was time to start again. Lucky for me, Andy decided to join me.

We now cook delicious meals at home five to six days a week, and we even go out for Tacos. So far, we’re down a collective 45 lbs. Yay us!

I wanted to start sharing some of the recipes we’ve discovered that are both Weight Watchers friendly and delicious – two things that don’t always go together.

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Andy adapted this Spaetzle recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I think everything she does is amazing — but a lot of the recipes require extra time. Precious minutes of our lives that we must waste while something has to “chill” or “rest.” Rest on your own time, spaetzle! So here is Andy’s lazy man version, clocking in at 8 points plus per serving.

Spaetzle feat. The Holy Trio

Makes 5 servings

For the dumplings:
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 large eggs
1/4 cup milk

For the flavor explosion:
1/2 cup bacon crumbles
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
salt & pepper (to taste)

Combine the flour, eggs and milk in a large bowl. Mixture will be thick. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. If you’ve got a spaetzle maker, use it. You can find them pretty cheap on Amazon. See the Smitten Kitchen recipe for alternatives you might already own.

Place spaetzle maker over the top of your pot. You may want to use oven mitts – steam gets pretty uncomfortable on bare skin.

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Pour 1/4 of the batter into hopper and slide back and fourth across the steel grater until most of the batter has fallen into the pot. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon or a spider strainer to remove the dumplings. Drizzle with a little olive or canola oil to prevent sticking. Set aside. Repeat this process for the remaining 3/4 of the batter.

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Split the spaetzle into two batches. Heat a large skillet to medium. Add 1 tbsp olive or canola oil. Add half of the onion, bacon, and garlic. Once the onions begin to be translucent, add in one of the spaetzle batches. Add 1/2 tbsp basil and oregano. Add a little more oil if necessary. Repeat with the rest of the spaetzle. Enjoy as soon as possible.

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Recipes

3 Minute Mug Cakes

Here it is my friends, just what you’ve been waiting for… Andy’s Mug Cake recipe! Are you in the mood for something sweet? Feeling far too lazy to separate cupcake papers or grease your 13″ x 9″ pan? Never fear! Follow these simple instructions and you’ll have delicious cake in under three minutes!

Andy’s Mug Cakes

Ingredients:
1 Mug Cake Mix*
2 ½ Tbsp Milk

Optional Fillings: 
Peanut Butter
Sprinkles
Nutella
Biscoff

Instructions

To make the mix*, combine one box Duncan Hines Angel Food Cake and one box of flavored cake mix in a large Ziplock bag. Measure 1/3 cup of the mixture and place into a wide-mouthed coffee mug. Add 2 ½ tablespoons of milk and stir vigorously with a fork until the contents have a whipped consistency. (Optional) Add 1 tbsp  peanut butter, Nutella, Biscoff or 2 tsp sprinkles. Try to get thick fillings in the center of the mix so that the cake will rise around it.

Microwave for 1 minute 10 seconds (you may need to adjust the time depending on how powerful your microwave is). Slide a knife between the cake and the walls of the mug to loosen. Flip over onto a plate or eat right out of the mug. Enjoy!

So there you have it. Try it out and let me what flavors and combinations you try.

 

Recipes, Updates

4 Ingredient Lemon Burst Cookies

 

Now that Andy has had a taste, he wants more baked goods. Understandably so – those Nutella cookies were freakin’ delicious. So I found a recipe just as simple, but they involve the slightest bit of extra effort. I’ll explain and then you can decide if they’re worth the sweet sweet payoff.

(I wasn’t as diligent with taking pictures of the process this time, so if you have any questions, leave a comment. Also, please excuse the cell phone pictures.)

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Lemon Burst Cookies (originally posted by Tidy Mom)

1 box Lemon cake mix
8 oz container Cool Whip
1 egg
Powdered sugar for rolling

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. In a stand mixer, blend cake mix, Cool Whip and egg together until combined.
  3. Dough is incredibly sticky, so dip your fingers in powdered sugar before you reach into the bowl. Drop balls of dough into powdered sugar and coat.
  4. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Leave on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before moving to a cooking rack.

Note: The smaller the cookies, the more toward 10 minutes you’ll want to cook them. The larger, the more toward 15 minutes. Be sure to use the toothpick method to see if the larger cookies are still gooey on the inside or if they’re forming a cake consistency. A cake consistency with a little goo is okay.

Tidy Mom suggests trying strawberry or orange cake mix for variety. I’m going to try red velvet next. I’ll let you know how it turns out. These are messy but super easy and tasty. Because of the fact that I didn’t realize I had no parchment paper until I had already mixed the batter and the incredible stickiness of the dough, these took around 45 minutes to an hour to complete. But then came the delicious payoff.

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Outside of cookies, all is quiet here on the Nutmeg front. I ran a work event at Yale, which was great if only because their campus and all of the houses around it are gorgeous. Yesterday, Andy and I went to his company picnic in Charlestown, RI. His boss has an idyllic beach house there with access to a members only beach, and we spent half the time next to the ocean and the other half on his beautiful patio having a catered dinner. Ahhh, this must be the good life.

How are all of you?

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Recipes, Updates

4 Ingredient Nutella Cookies

Hello friends!

Since receiving my amazing pistachio Kitchen Aid mixer, I have done a dismal amount of baking. So recently, Andy spoke up. He bought me the mixer so I could bake and make him tasty treats! And, to reclaim my title as “awesome girlfriend,” I decided to find a quick and delicious recipe to try.

Searching on Pinterest and among my favorite cooking blogs, I found this little gem: Nutella Cookies, originally posted by The {Mr.} & the {Mrs.}. An easy choice, since Nutella is pretty much manna from the Gods. Recipe and my thoughts follow!

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Mmm. So delicious. The recipe made about 25 cookies. They’re not very big but the pack a lot of flavor into a small package.

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Gotta love 4 ingredient recipes. You’ll have just enough Nutella left over to finish the jar off with a spoon (or a finger).

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They don’t get much bigger after they’ve baked, they just lose a little of that “encased in sugar” look.

 

Nutella Cookies

1 cup Nutella (basically a whole 13oz jar)
1 cup flour
1 whole egg
Sugar for rolling

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Blend Nutella, flower and the egg together well.
  3. Roll into 1” balls, coating in sugar.
  4. Place on a cookie sheet.
  5. Press down firmly with a fork the way you would with peanut butter cookies.
  6. Bake 7-8 minutes or until set. Unless you know your oven to be cooler than usual, take them out after no more than 8 minutes. They might seem under cooked, but they’re not.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes.

I found these to be a little dry when rolling, but the warmth from your hands will help for the most part. If they’re too dry, it can help to add a tsp of milk at a time until the mix is a better consistency. Be careful though – you want it to be dough-like, not mushy.

The original recipe from Tasty Kitchen actually has you put a 1/2 cup of sugar into the mixture instead of on top of it, but I actually really enjoyed it this way. More fun to make, too.

These took about 25 minutes from mixer to mouth. Okay, maybe the first one was a little too hot in my mouth, but it was so worth it.

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