Friday, January 18, 2013

Fancy Pants Banana Puddin'

Everyone loves banana pudding. Well, at least the people I trust love banana pudding. We all know the classic recipe. You know, the kind made with those 'nilla wafer cookies.  Not the case here, friends!  I tossed the wafers for decadent, butter cookies. Don't worry though, this recipe won't expand your waistline. Although, I suspect if you inhale the whole dish, it just might :)  Moderation, right?

Make this dish. You will become a rockstar at your next brunch or other get together. Heck, make it for Sunday dessert!

Oh, in case you were wondering....Yes, I purposefully left the "g"  off in "pudding."  Alright, enough talking. Let's eat!

Fancy Pants Banana Puddin'
2 bags of butter cookies (I used Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies!)
Approx 6 nanners (aka bananas), sliced
2 cups skim milk
1 (5 oz) box of French vanilla pudding
1 (14 oz) can of fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) block of reduced fat cream cheese or neufchatel, softened.
1 (8 oz) container of fat free whipped topping, thawed
1. Arrange cookies (approx 1 bag) along the bottom of a large dish (13x9, although I used a rather oddly shaped one about the same size).

2. Add the sliced bananas, and spread evenly over the cookies.

3. In a medium bowl, add the milk and pudding mix.  Beat with electric mixer until well blended. Set in fridge.

4. In another bowl, combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  Mix until smooth.



5. Fold whipped topping into cream cheese mixture.

6. Remove pudding mixture from fridge.  Fold cream cheese mixture into pudding mixture. Stir well.

7. Spread mixure over the bananas. Even out the top.
8. Cover pudding with remaining cookies.  You don't have to get fancy, but I like to try and alternate the patterns. Believe me, you'll rake in the compliments on the presentation!

9. Cover & chill until ready to serve.  
Other information:
Serves 12-20  Bless your heart if you get more servings out of this pudding :)
Weight Watchers Points Plus:
For 12 servings: 10 points plus
For 13 servings: 10 points plus
For 14 servings:  9 points plus
For 15 servings:  8 points plus
For 16 servings:  8 points plus
For 18 servings:  7 points plus
For 20 servings:  6 points plus
**Points based on manual imput into the recipe builder function on the Weight Watcher site.  They are not official.**

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kickin' Quinoa Mac n' Cheese w/ Chipotle Chicken Sausage

Happy New Year!! Boy, 2012 sure did go by quickly! Anyone else feel like time just flies by as you get older? Where's the rewind button? ;-)  I hope you have a blessed start to 2013---check out the recipe below! It's a great way to kickstart your year with some healthful comfort food!!

Kickin' Quinoa Mac n' Cheese w/ Chipotle Chicken Sausage
Recipe adapted from Moni's Quinoa Mac n Cheese

Yes, the following recipe is quite a mouthful.  A mouthful of deliciousness, that is.  With ingredients like quinoa, and better for you chicken sausage, you won't have to deviate from your New Years resolution of losing weight....or simply just eating better. 

So you might be asking how this is healthy if it involves cheese.  Well, you can't have mac n' cheese without cheese!!! That's just wrong.  The star ingredient here is quinoa (prounced keen-wah).  Don't worry if you thought it was prounced KIN-OAH--that's how my dad thought it was pronounced. 

Why quinoa? Well, where to begin.
1. Quinoa is rich in fiber, and keeps you full.
2. Quinoa is chalk full of iron
3. It's a complete protein.  Do you know that it has all 9 essential amino acids? Well now you do.
4. Quinoa has riboflavin. (Yeah, I don't really know what that is either, but it improves enegery within brain & muscle cells.)

Need further convincing? Check out this article: 7 Benefits of Quinoa

Bottom line: Make this dish--it's fantastic! This dish is a great way to introduce quinoa to your family, or for yourself if you're not the sharing kind.

1 tsp olive OR canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 can of diced green chiles, a little fluid drained off the top.
3/4 cup dry quinoa
2 links of chipotle & cheese chicken sausage (I used Johnsonville brand), sliced
1 glove of garlic, minced (or just a good T or two of the jarred stuff)
1 1/2 cups fat free, low sodium chicken stock
1 large egg
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
3 T of parmesan cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

Garnish (optional): extra cheese, scallions, salsa, sour cream, etc!


1. Heat oil in a thick bottomed medium-ish sauce pot over medium heat.  When oil is hot, add in onions & green chiles.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Add in the chicken sausage, and cook for another 3 minutes--or until onion is tender.

2. Stir in quinoa, garlic, salt & pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Cook, uncovered, until quinoa starts to turn opaque (about 5 minutes).

3. Add in chicken stock. Cover and reduce heat to medium low (should be simmering). Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously coat a 8x8 or 9x9 inch dish with cooking spray. 

5. In a small dish, whisk together milk & the egg. Next, gently fold the egg mixture into the quinoa mixture. Add in the cheddar cheese, mixing well so that some of the cheese starts to melt.  Don't worry if it's a little "soupy." It will thicken/stand up in the oven. Pour into baking dish, sprinkling parmesan cheese over the top. Add more salt & pepper, if desired.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges turn a pretty golden color.

Makes 4 generous servings.  Pairs nicely with a green salad.

Other information

8 WWpts+ per serving

Points calculated using the WW Recipe Builder on Points may vary based on the different products used.