Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mini Root Beer Float cupcakes

I randomly came across this recipe on Gourmet mom on the go a while back--and it's been starred on my toolbar waiting to be made...until today. :)

We had homemade pizza for dinner, and I thought this would be a fun dessert to go with! :)


I love several things about this recipe.
1. It's rootbeer. And while I don't drink pop much at all, I do love a good rootbeer now and then.
2. It's INCREDIBLY easy. Like, really, really easy.


Ingredients: CUPCAKES

1 pkg.  Vanilla Cake Mix
1 Tbsp. Root Beer Extract  (in the spice aisle w/ the other extracts)
  (I used McCormicks root beer concentrate and it was just right!)
1 can Root Beer (I used diet root beer to cut back on the sugar)
Pirouettes or Creme Roulee wafer cookies 
Red Mini Gumballs (or other small red candy)
Clean votive candle holders or shot glasses (I used votive holders I picked up for .25 each at my local craft store. Just be sure to wash them well first!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 1 Tbsp. root beer extract in 2 C. measuring cup. Fill cup with Root Beer until it reaches 1 1/2 C. Be sure to let the foam fizzle down first so you can gauge accurately! (you'll have just a little bit of root beer left in your can when you're done). Add to cake mix and stir well. No eggs, no oil, easy!!

Place shot glasses/votive holders on a baking sheet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Fill 1/2 full with cake batter and bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes until done. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Cut round wafers in half. Put frosting in canvas bag w/ star tip (or you can just put it in a ziploc baggie and snip off one end). Pipe a dollop of icing onto each cupcake, top with a gumball and half of a wafer cookie. Serve or refrigerate until needed.

***The original recipe suggests using your favorite homemade or canned frosting, so I want to share my own recipe.  I loved the light texture--felt it was perfect for root beer floats! 

1 small box vanilla or white chocolate pudding (I used fat free/sugar free white chocolate)
1 C milk
1 8 oz. container of Cool Whip free

In a bowl, mix milk and pudding together till thickened. Gently fold in cool whip till thoroughly combined. Put frosting in canvas bag w/ star tip (or you can just put it in a ziploc baggie and snip off one end). Pipe a dollop of icing onto each cupcake, top with a gumball and half of a wafer cookie. Serve or refrigerate until needed.

The original recipe called for 36 mini cupcakes. I only bought 10 votive holders, and did the rest in cupcake liners. (got 12 cupcakes and 10 mini cupcakes.) I am figuring the cupcakes were about double what I put in the votive holders, and am assuming that I got 34 cupcakes out of mine.

So for my WW friends who are counting...

 34 mini cupcakes, it would be only 2 pt+ each!
18 regular cupcakes in wrappers would be 3 pt+ each.

The frosting is really low points as well...
I frosted all my cupcakes and still had quite a bit leftover! If you frost more than 27 cupcakes with it, it's ZERO pt+!!
Anything less comes to 1 pt+ 
(which I think it still fantastic considering what most frosting comes to!)

And 1/2 a Pirouette is 1 pt+

SO, total points for a mini cupcake with frosting and yummy round wafer: 3 pt+

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chunky Monkey pancakes with peanut butter syrup

I came across this recipe on Our Best Bites and was hooked! I HAD to find a way to make it more point friendly...and in the end, I'd it was a smashing success! :) (and a very filling one at that!)


1 C white flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C fat free buttermilk ***
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs canola oil
1 large egg
1 small-med ripe banana
1/8  C mini chocolate chips (or reg. chips roughly chopped) tossed with 1 tsp flour
Cooking Spray or butter for pan

3/4 C Cary's sugar free maple syrup
1/4 C peanut butter
(You could add up to 1 C of syrup without altering the pt+ value, if you want to get more out of it!)

*I made this up by mixing 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar in a 1 1/2 C measuring cup and then fill the remainder with milk. 

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined. Place bananas in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Fold into batter. Add the chocolate chips that have been tossed with flour and stir.

For syrup, heat peanut butter and syrup in a bowl in the microwave for 30 second. Stir, and continue heating for another 15-30 seconds.

Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray and using a 1/4 C scoop, ladle batter onto hot grill. Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip.

Reheat syrup if necessary and pour over warm pancakes.


14- 4-6" pancakes (using 1/4 C batter measure)   5 pt+

peanut butter syrup  (per 2 TBSP)  2 pt+

(note: mini chocolate chips on my pancake are for photo sake only! :) If you do the same, be sure to count the pts for it!)

Oven Fries

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I LOVE french fries. LOVE them. :) And I LOVE that there is a healthier way to make homemade fries without a big pan of grease--that actually taste DELICIOUS!

2 pounds red potatoes (sliced into steak fry size bites)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cut each potato into 1/2 inch fry-size pieces. Rinse well and pat dry. In a large bowl, combine the oil, salt, paprika and pepper; add potato wedges and toss to coat. (or you can also do this in a gallon ziplock bag to coat them)
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and add fries in a single layer. Bake on lowest oven rack at 475° for 20 minutes. (your oven may vary, so just watch them the first time you make these to make sure). Turn potatoes; bake 15 minutes longer or until golden brown.

makes approx. 14 ounces total.

Serves 7 (2 oz. servings)

2 pt+

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Another fave from with the alterations we used...the kids LOVED this--gobbled it right up! Even though it has mushrooms...which we are all still learning to love! :) Mushrooms and all, it was a big hit!
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  • 6 oz no yolk noodles (you can use Ronzoni Healthy Harvest, or brown rice pasta for gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced fine
  • 3 tbsp flour (gluten free use rice flour)
  • 1 3/4 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 5 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms (she used more, but we felt 5 oz. was plenty!)
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas (thawed)
  • 2 (5 oz) cans tuna in water, drained (I used albacore)
  • 1C reduced fat cheddar
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat (or white) seasoned breadcrumbs

Cook noodles in salted water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large deep skillet. Add onions and cook on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray 9 x 12 casserole with butter flavored cooking spray.

Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until well combined, increasing heat to medium and whisking well for 30 seconds, then add the milk and bring to a boil. When boiling add mushrooms and petite peas, adjust salt and pepper to taste and simmer on medium, mixing occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes).Add drained tuna, stirring another minute.

Remove from heat and add 1 cup reduced fat cheese and mix well until it melts. Add the noodles to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated. Pour into casserole and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray and top and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. Place under the broiler a few minutes to get the crumbs crisp (careful not to burn).

Serves 6 large portions  8 pt+

Baked Oatmeal

I'll be honest. I'm not an oatmeal fan. But as I've been on my weight loss journey, I've tried to like it more, because I know it has loads of health benefits! I found this recipe recently, and was determined to give it a try and make it a little healthier than originally posted. LOVE AT FIRST BITE. YUM. I served mine with about 1/4 C warm milk, and it was almost like a soft granola. VERY good and warm...and filling! :)

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3 c. oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. Craisins, raisins, dried cherries, or other dried fruit
1 c. milk
2TBSP butter
1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs (or instead, I used 2 TBSP ground flaxseed with 6 TBSP water)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and Craisins. In a smaller bowl, mis together the milk, butter, vanilla, and eggs (or flaxseed mixture). Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and whisk to combine. Pour into a deep 9" pie plate or an 8x8" or 9x9" baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately with a splash of warmed milk. 

Serves 8  -  7 pt+  (served with additional milk is extra pt+)

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bacon cheeseburger rollup

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I like to think of this as our wintertime burger--it's fast, easy, no grill needed...and it fits the bill when you're wanting the burger taste, but not the burger calories!

1 pillsbury classic pizza crust
8 oz uncooked lean ground beef (7% fat)
1/2 C hormel bacon pieces (or 7 pieces of turkey bacon cooked crisp and crumbled)
1 C reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/2 small onion, diced

In nonstick pan, cook ground beef with onion--let cool.
Meanwhile, spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and roll out pizza crust. Gently flatten dough with your fingers (the goal is to make it a little thinner, but not TOO thin). 

Once the meat has cooled, sprinkle it over the dough, leaving approx 1/2-1 inch around the edges. Sprinkle bacon and cheese over meat. 

Starting from one edge, roll up horizontally like you would when making cinnamon rolls (you want to have a long roll, not a shorter one), Pinch the seam together and place underneath the rollup on the cookie sheet.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool for a few minutes, and then slice to serve! We usually cut into 9 slices--1 slice per serving. Dip in whatever sauce you like. Perfect for little fingers! :)

SERVING: 1 slice  5 pt+

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Guiltless Alfredo sauce

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Guiltless Alfredo Sauce
courtesy of Our Best Bites
2 C low-fat or skim milk 
1/3 C (3 oz) low fat cream cheese
2 T flour
1 t salt
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves
1 C fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Put the milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender. Process until smooth and set aside.

In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds. Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now.

When it's nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

MAKES approx 2 C of alfredo sauce.

I found that 1/4 C was a pretty good serving, so I am basing my serving size off of that.

SERVES 8  -   1/4 C servings   3 pt+ 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Italian Meatballs

spaghetti and meatballs

(adapted from this recipe)

  • 1.3 lb. lean ground beef (I used 7% fat)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, garlic and cheese. Using your (clean) hands, mix all the ingredients well until everything is combined. Form small meatballs, about the size of a ping ping ball (1/8th cup each).

Heat the 1 tbsp olive oil on medium high in a large saute pan. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. (Don't worry about cooking all the way through at this point.) When brown, place on a paper towel to soak excess oil, then add the meatballs to your sauce and cook about 20 minutes. (I just used a jarred Ragu sauce).

This is delicious on with Spaghetti or on a sub sandwich! 

make 27 meatballs (makes 9 servings of 3 meatballs each)  3 pt+

Strawberry Swirl Easy Cheesecake

While this IS a higher point dessert, it's super tasty and a great way to get your cheesecake fix without going completely overboard! :)

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8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/4 C lemon juice
1 egg
1 ready crust (25% less fat graham cracker crust)
1/2 C strawberry preserves
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

  • In small mixing bowl beat cream cheese on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add egg, beating until just combined.

  •  Pour half of cream cheese mixure into crust. In small bowl combine preserves and remaining lemon juice. Spoon half of preserves mixture over cream cheese mixture in crust.

  •  Top with remaining cream cheese mixture and remaining preserves mixture. Use knife or narrow spatula to swirl preserves into cream cheese mixture.

  • Bake at 300°F for 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

  •  Garnish as desired. Store in refrigerator.
Serves 8 pieces  -  10 pt+ each