Low-Fat Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

This is the second recipe I have tried from http://www.skinnytaste.com. And it’s great! I don’t feel like I am eating a “diet” salad dressing at all! This recipe makes A LOT, but that’s okay, because you are going to want to eat salads all the time now! I don’t use Hellman’s mayo, so I subbed in some Hampton Creek Just Mayo instead. If you are doing Weight Watchers, this is 1 point per 1/4 cup.

rating: 9

Low-Fat Buttermilk Ranch Dressing



3/4 cup fat free sour cream
3/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/3 cup Hellman’s light mayonnaise
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1-2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 cups 1% low fat buttermilk




In a small bowl or large measuring cup, combine the sour cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, powder, onion powder, parsley, chives, salt, and cracked pepper. Mix well.
Stir in the white balsamic vinegar; then buttermilk.
Adjust the seasonings to taste, adding another tablespoon of balsamic vinegar if desired. The flavors will become bolder over time.

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Skinny “Chicken” Enchiladas

Ya’ll, I’ve discovered a new cooking blog that is awesome! It’s http://www.skinnytaste.com, and the two recipes I have tried from it so far are really good! This was the first one I tried. I used Morningstar Farms vegetarian chicken strips in place of the chicken. I was worried my family wouldn’t care for this, since it’s “lite”, but they really liked it! Well, my 7 year old picked at it, but she picks at everything now. I used the burrito-size tortillas for this, but next time I will use the taco size. This was so tasty, and I will be making it again for sure.

rating: 9.4

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas


serves 8 (I enchilada per serving)
4 Freestyle Points (WW)
time needed: 45 min.



For the enchilada sauce:

2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tbsp chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth (I used vegetarian “chicken” broth)
kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste


For the chicken:

1 tsp vegetable oil
8.5 oz (2 breast halves) cooked shredded chicken breast (I used Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips)
1 cup diced onion
2 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro
kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce


For the enchilada:

8 (7-inch) low-carb whole wheat flour tortillas
1 cup shredded low fat Mexican cheese
non-stick cooking spray
2 tbsp chopped scallions or cilantro for topping




In a medium saucepan, spray oil and sauté garlic. Add chipotle chiles , chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Spray a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Put 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each tortilla and roll it.
Place on baking dish seam side down, top with sauce.
Then top with cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes.

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“Bacon” Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This was pretty good! I used Morningstar Farms veggie bacon in place of the real bacon. My 11 year old thought this was good, but my 7 year old said she prefers a plain grilled cheese. This was a nice variation on a grilled cheese for us.

rating: 8.5

Bacon Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich



2 slices bacon (I used Morningstar Farms “Bacon” Strips)
2 slices sourdough bread
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1/2 cup jack and cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons guacamole, room temperature
1 tablespoon tortilla chips, crumbled (optional)


Cook the bacon until crispy and set aside on paper towels to drain.
Butter one side of each slice of bread, sprinkle half of the cheese onto the unbuttered side of one slice of bread followed by the guacamole, bacon, tortilla chips, the remaining cheese and finally top with the remaining slice of bread with the buttered side up.
Grill over medium heat until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes per side.


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Roasted Carrot Salad

This salad was pretty good! No one in my family loves carrots like I do, so they thought it was just okay. I love the combo of blue cheese and dried cranberries!

rating: 9

Roasted Carrot Salad
(All Recipes magazine, Dec./Jan. 2018)



2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 (4 ounce) package crumbled Danish blue cheese
2 cups arugula



Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Combine the carrots, almonds, and garlic in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread out onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake the carrots in the preheated oven until soft and the edges turn brown, about 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once cool, return the carrots to the mixing bowl, and drizzle with honey and vinegar; toss until coated. Add the cranberries and blue cheese; toss again until evenly mixed. Combine with the arugula and serve immediately.


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Baked Brie with Apricot Preserves

I made this for an appetizer on Christmas Eve, and it was awesome! Everyone who tried it liked it, and we ate the whole thing! I actually couldn’t find brie the day we went to the grocery store for all our Christmas groceries (it was sold out), so I used Camembert instead and it was fine. Also, if you don’t care for apricots, use a different preserve! I made this again last week and used cherry preserves. I think I liked that even better!

rating: 9.8

Baked Brie with Apricot Preserves



Brie wedge (or round)
Raw sliced almonds
Apricot preserves, 1 cup
Water crackers, apple slices, sliced bread (for serving)



1.) Unwrap brie and put into a baking dish (leave the white, edible rind). Make sure the baking dish has edges, as the brie will spread when it melts.
2.) Top with apricot preserves
3.) Sprinkle a handful of sliced almonds on top
4.) Cover with foil
5.) Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-14 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the preserves have started to crystallize.



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Cheesy Baked Burritos

My family thought this dish was great! I thought it was okay. I used 1 bag of Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips in place of the chicken. My son doesn’t like this vegetarian chicken, so I added more beans to his burrito. This comes together in no time!

rating: 8.5

Cheesy Baked Burritos

time needed: 20 min.



1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. shredded rotisserie chicken (I used 1 bag of Morningstar Farms vegetarian chicken)
1 c. enchilada sauce
Juice of 1 lime
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 15- oz. can black beans, drained
2 c. cooked white rice
1 c. cheddar cheese, divided
1 c. Monterey Jack cheese
6 large flour tortillas
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for serving (optional)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, or until the chicken is fully coated. Toss until evenly combined. Stir in lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Working one burrito at a time, lay a tortilla on a cutting board or clean working service. Add a scoopful each of rice and beans to the center. Add the chicken mixture then top with a small handful each of both cheeses. Reserve about ½ cup of cheese total to sprinkle on the burritos before baking. Roll the burrito tightly and place in a large casserole dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the burritos then sprinkle the extra cheeses on top. Cover until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with sour cream and hot sauce, if desired.

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Baked “Chicken” Gnocchi with Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce

This was great! I used 8 pieces of vegetarian “chicken” in this (4 from Quorn and 4 from Gardein). I am not sure which one I liked better! We all really liked this, but next time I will use more gnocchi (so two packages). This was super easy and tasted like I spent a lot more time on it than I did!

rating: 9.3

Baked Chicken Gnocchi with Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce




6 thighs, bone-in, skin-on chicken (I used Gardein Chick’n Scallopini and Quorn naked cutlets)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
17.6 oz (500g) gnocchi
Chopped fresh parsley leaves


For The Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (240ml) chicken broth, or more, as needed (I used vegetarian “chicken” broth)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup (125ml) half and half
1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste




1. Preheat your oven to 400°F(200°C) and oil a rimmed baking dish. Season chicken thighs with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

2. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.

3. In the mean time, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear chicken on both sides, starting skin-side down, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; drain and set aside.

4. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet. Stir in chopped spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Set spinach aside.

5. To make the garlic asiago cream sauce, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and Italian seasoning. Cook, whisking constantly, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in half and half and grated Asiago cheese until slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

6. Arrange chicken thighs into the prepared baking dish. Top with cooked gnocchi, spinach and Asiago cream sauce. Roast in the oven until completely cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with parsley. Enjoy!

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Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Happy new year! I hope your holidays were good! I am so ready for things to slow down. The hustle and bustle of the holidays wears me out! Speaking of slowing down, how about making some hot chocolate in your slow cooker? This is probably the best. hot chocolate. I. have. ever. made! My chocolate chips didn’t want to melt all the way, so be sure and stir this as it is heating up. This was so yummy and we all liked it.

rating: 9.8

Crockpot Hot Chocolate




1.5 cups heavy cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
2 cups milk chocolate chips
6 cups of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract




Stir all ingredients together in crockpot. Cook on low for 2 hours, whisking occasionally.


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Easy 30-Minute Black Bean Soup

This soup was okay. I prefer this one! None of us went for seconds.

rating: 6

Easy 30-Minute Black Bean Soup




4 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
2 cans (10 oz each) original Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Medium Onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Ground cumin
1 Cup Chicken Broth (I used vegetarian “chicken” broth)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce (I used vegetarian worcestershire sauce)
Salt to taste
Greek yogurt (garnish)
green onions (garnish)
shredded cheddar cheese (garnish)



In a blender or food processor, add 2 cans of black beans and 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes and process until well blended. Set aside.
Add oil to a large stockpot and heat over medium heat. Sautee onions until translucent. Add garlic and cumin and stir for another minute. Add chicken broth and let simmer for one minute.
Add bean and Rotel mixture and stir. Add remaining 2 cans of (whole) beans. Add Worcestershire and red pepper. Mix well, and heat on medium high until boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Top soup with Greek yogurt, green onions and cheddar cheese.

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Creamy Vegan Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder

I have come to a conclusion: I just don’t love corn chowder. This soup was okay, and I did eat leftovers for lunch for two days after, but that’s just it, it was just okay. It is vegan and seems pretty healthy. My kids did not love it.

rating: 5

Creamy Vegan Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder
(All Recipes magazine)


serves 8
time needed: 45 min.


3 small sweet potatoes, peeled
1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups corn kernels
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger (optional)
2 cups soy milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour



Place sweet potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and reserve 2 1/2 cups of potato water. Chop 2 sweet potatoes and Yukon Gold potato when cool enough to handle; reserve remaining sweet potato for a later step.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat; cook and stir celery and sweet onion in the hot oil until onion begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir 1 chopped sweet potato, chopped Yukon Gold potato, and garlic into mixture. Cook and stir until garlic begins to turn golden, about 8 minutes. Stir corn and 1 chopped sweet potato into onion and celery mixture. Cover pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour reserved 2 1/2 cups drained potato cooking water into mixture. Place remaining sweet potato and ginger into a food processor and pulse several times to chop; puree and stir into vegetables. Stir soy milk, vegetable broth, parsley, rosemary, sea salt, black pepper, and bay leaf into mixture and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
Whisk flour into soup, stir until thickened, and remove soup from heat.

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