Artichoke Pesto Chicken Pasta

Pasta is always good for my hungry crew after work, football practice, and a long day of school.  Almost as good as the flavor is the fact that I can make this Pesto Chicken Pasta in less than 30 minutes when I use rotisserie chicken and pre-made pesto sauce.  ~Tracy


Artichoke Pesto Chicken Pasta
  • ~2 T. butter
  • ~½ c. finely chopped white or yellow onion
  • ~2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ~¼ c. flour
  • ~½ tsp. salt
  • ~½ tsp. black pepper
  • ~½ c. 1% milk
  • ~1 ½ c. chicken broth
  • ~3 T. jarred pesto (I like Barilla)
  • ~half of a 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and roughly chopped
  • ~1 ½ c. chopped white meat chicken, I use chopped chicken breast from rotisserie chickens
  • ~1 lb. pasta, cooked in salted water according to package directions (I used Campanelle pasta)
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in large, deep skillet.
  2. Add garlic and onion, sauteing for a few minutes until onions begin to become tender.
  3. Add flour, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine with onions and garlic.
  4. Add milk and continue stirring until forms a thick paste with the flour.
  5. Gently stir in the chicken broth until forms a thickening sauce.
  6. Stir in jarred pesto and chopped artichoke hearts.
  7. Add chopped chicken and cooked pasta stirring to combine well.
  8. Serve topped with shredded or sliced parmesan.

WW Info.: This recipe makes about 8, one-cup servings. Each serving is 9 WW Freestyle points not accounting for parmesan cheese topping.


Beef Tamale Pie

October is a big month in my family.  My birthday is Saturday, and so is Mom’s.  Then Dad’s is 4 days later.  Lots of celebrating to do!  To top it all off, we take our annual sisters’ trip in October.  Can. Not. Wait!  Yes, October is a fun, busy month.

With all of that happening, we won’t be home much on the weekends, which is when I do the majority of my cooking.  Without my big weekend meal prep sessions, I’ll need quick dinners I can whip up after work.

This is one of those easy, speedy meals, prepped and in the oven in very little time.  It’s certainly easier than making actual tamales but just as tasty!  ~Erin

Beef Tamale Pie from Four Sisters Dish

Beef Tamale Pie
  • 1 ½ c. yellow cornmeal
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. hot tap water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T. light butter, melted (I use Land O’ Lakes Light)
  • ½ lb. 96% lean ground beef
  • ½ medium onion, optional
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar fat-free chunky salsa
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¾ c. reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheddar cheese
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Spray a deep-dish pie plate with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. You can use a 9x13 pan instead, your layers will just be thinner.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt with a whisk.
  4. Add hot water, melted butter, and egg to the cornmeal mixture; whisk until well-combined.
  5. Pour the cornmeal batter into the bottom of the pan and spread evenly; set aside.
  6. Cook the beef and onion (if using) in a large skillet over medium heat, until beef is no longer pink.
  7. Add the salsa, beans, garlic powder, chili powder, and ground cumin; stir to combine.
  8. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and stir until heated through.
  9. Spoon the meat mixture over the cornmeal batter to within half an inch of the edge.
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes, until crust is set.
  11. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cheese.
  12. Let stand 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  13. Cut into wedges and serve with additional salsa, if desired.

WW info.: This recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving is 6 SmartPoints on WW Freestyle.

Mom’s Apple Crisp


AppleCrispLogoI like cake and cookies as much as the next person, but my dessert of choice is almost always our Mom’s apple crisp.  In fact, I love it so much that it is my birthday request each July. It is so perfectly spiced, with such an incredibly crisp and buttery topping, that I absolutely cannot get enough of it. That sweet, crunchy topping against the tart soft Granny Smith apples is to die for.  And if you want to go extra crazy, you can hit it with a little vanilla ice cream too — on the side for sure, so you don’t miss out on the crunchy topping.

And yes, if you’re careful, you can gently wriggle candles through the crisp topping to get it birthday ready. You may or may not want to break with the cake for birthday traditions, but I guarantee you’ll feel like celebrating each time you have this dessert.   ~Robin

Mom’s Apple Crisp
  • ~2 c. sugar
  • ~1 ½ c. flour
  • ~4 tsp. cinnamon
  • ~½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ~¼ tsp. salt
  • ~2 sticks of cold butter (1 cup)
  • ~8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • ~Lemon juice (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut all but apples and lemon juice together with a pastry cutter until evenly mixed. (*If you don’t own a pastry cutter you can use a fork as well, mashing it down with the back of the tines flat into the mixture, but it takes longer that way. Or just order yourself one here.)
  3. Place sliced apples into a 9x13 pan. Drizzle a little lemon juice over the apples (especially if apples are sweeter than is typical).
  4. Cover as evenly as is feasible (don’t worry too much about perfection here) with topping mixture.
  5. Bake until top is nice and crispy -- will be a golden brown color (about 45 minutes).
  6. Note: This recipe can be made with any variety of apple, but Granny Smith are the best for the perfect combination of tart and sweet!
  7. This post contains affiliate links. We earn a small small commission on purchases made via these links.

Creole Chicken

Ever since we watched the famed chef Justin Wilson cooking with our Pappaw (Dad’s dad) as little girls, I’ve loved Creole and Cajun foods.  I may have even done my best to narrate my cooking with that awesome accent of his now and then, but I digress.  This Creole chicken is a well flavored, mildly spicy, new family favorite.  ~Kathy



Creole Chicken

Weight Watchers Info.: When weighed with sauce, makes 6 six-ounce servings that are 3 points each. (Count rice separately to figure points for your preferred type and quantity if serving over rice.)

  • ~4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat (about 2 lbs.)
  • ~¾ c. onion, diced
  • ~1 T flour
  • ~1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • ~1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • ~1 c. shredded parmesan cheese (not the powdered kind)
  • ~2 tsp garlic powder
  • ~2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ~¼ tsp salt
  • ~⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ~½ tsp hot sauce
  • ~¼ tsp black pepper
  1. Trim fat from chicken and, if very large, cut breasts in half in order to expedite cooking.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat (Note: there's no need for oil since your goal for now is to sear it anyway). Add the chicken, quickly browning on both sides (chicken will finish cooking later).
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan to a dish and set aside.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in onions, softening for about 3 minutes in the bit of chicken fat that cooked out. Then stir in flour, cooking and stirring for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and cheese. Stir in spices.
  5. Return chicken to the pan and reduce the heat, simmering for 25 – 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Flip chicken over after about 12 minutes. Continue cooking until sauce has thickened a bit more and chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F.
  6. May be served over rice or on its own.

Weight Watchers Info.: When weighed with sauce, makes 6 six-ounce servings that are 3 points each. (Count rice separately to figure points for your preferred type and quantity of rice.)

Note: If your chicken is extra, extra lean you may need about a teaspoon of olive oil when you saute the onions, but I don't normally need any to make this recipe.

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

I got this recipe at a Weight Watcher meeting years ago.  When I say “years ago,” I mean back when you were given a point range (mine was 18-23 points per day) and when you ran out of points, you were stuck eating green beans for supper.  Thank goodness it’s not that way anymore!

I have made this pie with both sugar free pudding and regular, and it works well either way.  I’m not a fan of sugar substitutes so I figured the WW points both ways. I will say, however, I really can’t taste the sugar free aftertaste in this pie at all (you know what I’m talking about I’m sure, if you aren’t accustomed to using sugar substitutes).  My 11-year-old daughter didn’t even notice a difference!

I make this pie for Thanksgiving often and it’s always a popular dessert choice.  You can’t go wrong with cheesecake and pumpkin! ~Erin


Double Layer Pumpkin Pie
  • ~ 4 oz. fat free cream cheese, softened
  • ~ 1 c. plus 1 T. 2% milk
  • ~ 1 T. sugar
  • ~ 1 ½ c. Fat Free Cool Whip
  • ~ 1 9-inch graham cracker crust (regular or reduced fat – doesn’t change points per serving)
  • ~ 2 small packages vanilla instant pudding mix, dry (regular or sugar-free, fat-free)*
  • ~ 1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • ~ 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ~ ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ~ ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  1. Mix cream cheese, 1 T. milk, and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth.
  2. Gently stir in whipped topping.
  3. Spread all but about ½ cup of the mixture on the bottom of the crust.
  4. Pour 1 cup of milk into a medium bowl; add both packages instant pudding mix and beat with a wire whisk or mixer until smooth. The mixture will be thick.
  5. Stir in pumpkin puree and spices; mix well.
  6. Spread the pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese layer; top with dollops of the remaining cream cheese mixture.
  7. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

Weight Watchers info.: This recipe makes 8 servings.

*If using sugar-free, fat free instant pudding mix, each serving is 7 SmartPoints. If using regular instant pudding mix, each serving is 12 SmartPoints.

Lighter Blueberry Muffins

As the Mom of two boys who would rather eat donuts for breakfast (or a restaurant style plate of bacon, eggs, and pancakes), finding healthy breakfast options is a struggle!  Don’t get me wrong, they will eat cereal. One of them ate two bowls of Chocolate Frosted Flakes just today. My point is, that unless I can fake them them into a healthy breakfast option, they are looking for their morning sugar rush!  They are not into fruit topped quinoa for breakfast. Who would be!?

These Lighter Blueberry Muffins are at least a step in the right direction.  With only a small amount of sugar, and no oil or butter, maybe these muffins can help us all avoid the dreaded “muffin top.” ~Tracy


Lighter Blueberry Muffins
  • ~ 1 c. low fat milk (1%)
  • ~ ¼ c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ~ ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ~ 1 large egg
  • ~ 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • ~ ⅓ c. sugar
  • ~ 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ~ ½ tsp. salt
  • ~ 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (rinsed and dried)
  • ~ 2 T. brown sugar
  • ~ ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, combine other dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. Beat milk, yogurt, and egg in a large bowl.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients mixing just until combined. It’s fine for the batter to have a few lumps.
  6. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  7. Generously spray cups of muffin pan with baking spray. Even if using paper liners it is important to generously spray them with baking spray. With no oil in this recipe, muffins will stick without spraying the pan or liners.
  8. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling each about ⅔ full.
  9. Sprinkle a small amount of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the top of each muffin.
  10. Bake at 400 for about 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Weight Watchers Info.: Makes 12 muffins. Each muffin equals 4 Weight Watchers SmartPoints.

Caprese Stuffed Mushrooms

I made these for New Year’s Eve a while back, and after setting them on the table, I stepped into the kitchen to get a couple more snack trays to bring over.  I got sidetracked getting one of the kids something for second, and I swear it had been maybe a minute by the time I came back; there was one left.  “Look, we saved you one, honey!” says my husband. 

So…I knew they must have been good!  And I’m glad they enjoyed them.  🙂 

These make an amazing appetizer or side dish.  Don’t skip the balsamic reduction. It really sends them over the top! And don’t turn your back on your friends once you serve them.  😉 ~Erin


So easy…just make your Balsamic reduction (I mean, shockingly easy — recipe below).

Clean, stuff, cook, drizzle, and viola!

Caprese Stuffed Mushrooms

Caprese Stuffed Mushrooms from Four Sisters Dish

  • ~8 – 10 baby portabella mushrooms
  • ~Babybel mozzarella single serving cheeses (one for each mushroom)
  • ~2 tsp. olive oil
  • ~2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ~4 - 5 grape tomatoes, halved (one half for each mushroom)
  • ~½ c. balsamic vinegar
  • ~1 tsp. brown sugar
  • ~chopped fresh basil
  1. In a small sauce pan, stir the brown sugar into the balsamic vinegar; bring to a simmer over low heat and continue to simmer until it has reduced by at least half, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Clean the tops of the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove the stems.
  4. Brush the mushroom tops on all sides with olive oil and place them, top-side down, in a shallow baking dish.
  5. Fill each mushroom top with a little minced garlic.
  6. Place one Babybel mozzarella on top of the garlic; then place one tomato half on top of the cheese.
  7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and drizzle liberally with the balsamic reduction.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.
  10. Serve immediately.

Weight Watchers Info.: Each cheesy caprese mushroom is 3 SmartPoints.

Mongolian Beef

I’m like many of you, always looking for ideas to mix up our dinner routine. I love Asian inspired foods, and this is a hit at our house. A little smoky and a titch spicy, it’s the perfect recipe for all the picky eaters around here! ~Kathy


Mongolian Beef
  • ~1 T. cornstarch
  • ~¾ c. reduced sodium chicken broth
  • ~2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ~1 heaping T. hoisin sauce (which ever brand you love as they vary a bit)
  • ~1 dash liquid smoke
  • ~½ to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
  • ~3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ~½ tsp. garlic salt
  • ~1 tsp. sesame oil
  • ~1 lb. boneless top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • ~1 ½ tsp. olive oil
  • ~8 green onions
  • ~3 c. hot cooked rice (just cook using instructions on box)
  1. Begin cooking rice; follow instructions on your box.
  2. In a small bowl, combine broth and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, liquid smoke, pepper, garlic, garlic salt, and sesame oil; set aside.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, stir fry beef in 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil until no longer pink. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  4. In the same skillet, stir fry the onions to crisp tender in remaining olive oil. Stir the cornstarch mixture gently then add to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring for 2 minutes, or until thickened.
  5. Reduce the heat, add beef and heat through. Serve over rice with additional soy sauce, if desired.
  6. Garnish with fresh, thinly sliced green onions.

Weight Watchers info.: Makes 4 three-ounce servings of beef mixture at 5 points each. (Point total does not include rice, so that you can adjust for the type and quantity of rice you prefer.)

Honey Spice Cookies

A regular request of the grandkids when they’re at our parent’s house (and as you’d suspect, they usually get what they want at Grandma and Pappaw’s house), these cookies are the perfect chewy goodness with a cup of coffee or ice cold glass of milk.  I’ve been craving these cookies lately…I’m ready for those comfort foods that are perfect on a cool, crisp fall day.  You can keep your pumpkin spice latte.  I’m eating cookies!  ~Tracy


Honey Spice Cookies
  • ~2 ¼ c. all purpose flour
  • ~1 ½ t. baking soda
  • ~½ t. salt
  • ~1 t. ground ginger
  • ~½ t. cinnamon (make this a heaping ½ tsp. if you love cinnamon like we do)
  • ~½ t. ground cloves
  • ~1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • ~¾ c. vegetable shortening
  • ~¼ c. honey
  • ~1 unbeaten egg
  1. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, shortening, honey, and egg. Beat well.
  3. Gradually add dry ingredients, mixing well.
  4. Chill dough for 1 hour.
  5. Shape rounded teaspoons full into balls.
  6. Dip half of each dough ball into water and then into sugar.
  7. Place sugar side up on parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.


Not-Your-Ordinary-Pizza-Crust Pizza

salt_20180819_174255_810.jpgThis recipe inspiration is brought to you by some good folks in one of the cast iron cooking groups I follow on Facebook.  If you own a cast iron pan (or even if you don’t), I urge you to follow a couple groups. There are some amazing recipes posted there!  The meaty crust pizza I spotted in the cast iron cooking group had a ground beef “crust.”  Intriguing, but I felt like ground turkey could be more easily seasoned to taste Italian, which is more fitting for pizza obviously.  I have to say, I was right!  This Italian seasoned turkey “crust” is so flavorful, you won’t even miss regular pizza dough crust.   ~Erin

Not-Your-Ordinary-Pizza-Crust Pizza
  • ~ 1 lb. 99% fat free ground turkey breast
  • ~ 1 T. Italian seasoning
  • ~ 1 egg, beaten
  • ~ ½ c. seasoned breadcrumbs (I used Progresso Garlic & Herb.)
  • ~ ¼ tsp. salt
  • ~ ½ c. jarred pizza sauce (I used Classico Fire Roasted.)
  • ~ 2 c. low-moisture, part skim mozzarella cheese
  • ~ ½ c. Jimmy Dean fully cooked sausage crumbles
  • ~ Thinly sliced fresh veggies: I used 1 small red bell pepper, ½ a purple onion, a few mushrooms
  • ~ fresh basil, optional
  • ~ nonstick cooking spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Spray a metal sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ground turkey, Italian seasoning, egg, bread crumbs, and salt until combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared sheet pan and pat into a ½ inch thick circle; bake 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the turkey “crust” from the oven and loosen from the sheet pan using a spatula, if necessary.
  6. Increase the oven temperature to broil.
  7. Top the turkey-crust with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, sausage crumbles, and finally the sliced veggies.
  8. Broil for about 10 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.
  9. Top with chopped fresh basil, if desired.
  10. Slice and serve hot.

Weight Watchers Info.: This recipe makes 8 servings. Each slice is 4 SmartPoints on Freestyle.