Friday, September 24, 2010

Chicken & Spinach Pasta

When I joined WW last week I spent some time looking for easy recipes to cook and plugging the ingredients into WW to get a points value.  This was the first recipe I tried and all three of us loved it.  Yes, I gave Cooper a few bites both nights we had this for dinner.

Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake adapted from
  • 8oz uncooked whole wheat penne
  • 1  T  olive oil
  • 1  cup chopped onion
  • 1  10oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3  cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1  14.5oz can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1  8oz container light chive-and-onion cream cheese
  • 1/2  t salt
  • 1/2  t  pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375.  Cook pasta according to the package.  Saute onions in olive oil until tender.  I actually cooked the chicken & onions together.  Transfer chicken & onions to a bowl.  Drain spinach and add to chicken.  Stir in pasta, cream cheese, tomatoes, salt & pepper.  Stir well and spoon into a 9*13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese, cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.

Next time I will make a point to spread the spinach out a little more.  Some bites were all spinach and others...not so much.  I think I could also add another can of tomatoes to add a little more veggies.

6 Servings, WW points: 7 UPDATED 3/2011 - 9 Weight Watchers PointsPlus

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weekly Menu

This week I'm trying to get back into the swing of being on a diet.  In the past, I could look at a package and give it a pretty good guess at how many points that item would be.  I was also really good at guessing the right portion size.  Not quite so much anymore...  This week we're sticking with a pretty basic, yet healthy, menu.

Monday: Hot Dogs, Chips & Salsa (8)

Tuesday & Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Pitas with Oven Fries (8.5)

Thursday & Friday: Cabbage Casserole (5)

Grocery Shopping

Monday I took the plunge and rejoined Weight Watchers.  I've done it before a few times and when I do it right (because sometimes we all cheat) I do well.  So, here we go again.  I have some goals in my head of where I want to be.  Some are numerical and some are in the form of a certain dress...or pair of pants...that have been hanging in the back of the closet for far too long.

So, Monday night after Cooper's bath I headed to Kroger.  Jason went over the weekend and picked up a few things for me, but I needed to make one more trip to round out the week.  And in the process, I realized that I've completely forgotten how much I love grocery shopping.

First, I'm freak about shopping.  I always park on the same side of the store and start with the produce.  Which is on the opposite side of the store.  It drives me crazy when Jason parks on the produce side.  Then I go from produce to frozen foods, up and down each aisle.  Not that I always need something on each aisle, but you never know!  The problem with Cooper is that he makes it too the paper goods aisle and then he's over the grocery store.  Last trip I bought a roll of paper towels just to keep him happy.  And that usually means we rush through frozen foods and totally skip the pre-packaged deli stuff.

I was able to take my time, calculate points for one brand over another and only buy what I need.  I know - I'm a freak.  The grocery store can be very boring for some and for others it is just a pain in the...  But it's my happy place.

Next to Barnes & Noble and Hobby Lobby.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Grilled Artichokes

If you'd asked me 5 years ago if I liked artichokes I would have probably said no.  Or something more like "Ew."  Since then, I've had artichoke hearts a few times on pizza and in thankfully realize that I do like artichokes.  And last spring when we took a trip to San Francisco we took a risk and ordered an appetizer of grilled artichokes.  Jason and both liked it and since then I've bought artichokes a few times to grill ourselves.  They're usually pretty expensive, so I wait until they go on sale for $1 each.  They can also be a little intimidating, but with a little help from Google, I figured out how to cook them properly.

Grilled Artichokes from

2 artichokes
1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Plunge the artichokes in cold water repeatedly to clean them.  Trim the stem and cut about 1" off of the top of the artichoke.  Slice off the bottom loose layer of leaves.  Using kitchen shears, trim about 1/4" off of the top of the remaining outer leaves.  Slice the artichokes in half.

Slice the lemon and drop into a pot of water to boil.  Using a steamer basket, steam the artichokes for 15-20 minutes, until the stem is tender.  Remove from the basket and let the cool slightly.  Use a spoon to remove the "choke."  Brush with olive oil and season with salt & pepper before grilling them.  Grill for 5-7 min on medium heat.

Garlic Lemon Mayo adapted from

1/2 cup mayo
Lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed
crushed red pepper, to taste

Combine all of the ingredients and chill for 15-20 minutes before serving with the artichokes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting back to what I love

When I started my blog it was supposed to be a "cooking blog."  I hoped that it would help me cook different things and get out of the same old thing rut.  It worked...for a while.  Then I would forget to take photos.  And we'd have something easy like hot dogs or hamburgers and really, who needs a picture of that?  Then I got pregnant and we were in the middle of finishing grad school, putting together the nursery and just trying to get our lives in order in general before Cooper came.  The result of that was more hot dogs and hamburgers.  And the blog just sort of morphed into stuff about us.  I really hoped to keep blogging about cooking and it just didn't happen.

I didn't do the cooking.  And now we're back in that 'same old thing' rut.  At least, that's how I feel.  I haven't baked since before Cooper was born.  Hello - he'll be 9 months next week! (WTH is that all about???)  I love baking.  I love cooking.  Now all I seem to cook is applesauce. Although, I'm a darn good baby food maker.

So, look for posts about food and recipes.  And dieting.  Because (although its not something I love) I'm back at that again also.  The free breastfeeding diet has ended and well, I'm just not the kind of person who can live life not on a diet (read: eating whatever I want) and not pay the consequences.