Pimento Chile Chicken

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This Mexican flavored dish is rich and flavorful without being heavy. Mom snagged this recipe from her good friend (and my Godmother) Joyce, and it’s been one of the few things I’ve made regularly since I left for college – so good and so easy! The chiles aren’t too spicy so it can serve a crowd with varied spice tolerances. I like this piled up with pickled jalapeños and my favorite salsa. ~Robin

Ingredients:

2 ½ c. cooked, chopped chicken breast (chopped into about 1/2” cubes

½ c. fat free chicken broth

1 ½ c. 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup (I use Campbell’s)

1 ½ c. Healthy Request Condensed cream of chicken soup

1 4-oz. jar pimentos, drained (1/2 c.)

2 4-oz. cans Hatch green chiles, chopped and drained (You can add a 3rd can if you’re just crazy about chiles like I am.)

10 oz. 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

6 oz. of Doritos (by weight) toasted corn tortilla chips, slightly crushed

Pickled jalapeños, green onions, and/or cherry tomatoes for serving (optional)

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Instructions:

Mix all ingredients except Doritos and cheese. In a large casserole dish (I use 9” x 13”), layer ½ of chicken mixture, then ½ of cheese, then ½ of the Doritos.  Repeat the same layers once more, ending with Doritos on top.  Bake at 350° for about 40-45 minutes.  Cover top with foil if Doritos begin to brown too much.  Serve with pickled jalapeños and/or your favorite salsa.

Weight Watchers Info.:  6 points per serving in the new Freestyle plan; makes 8 servings.

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Mom’s Best Weekday Chicken

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The slow cooker is my best friend during the week. With all that goes on — work, helping with homework, shuffling kids to various activities, etc. (you know, the list goes on and on) – there is nothing better than coming home to a meal that is pretty much ready to go!  This recipe is rich with a ton of flavor.   Served over egg noodles, it’s a great, quick-to-assemble weeknight dinner.   See notes for Weight Watchers alternative ingredients. ~Kathy

Ingredients:

2 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts*

2 (10 ¾ oz. each) cans cream of mushroom soup*

1 (10 ¾ oz.) can cream of chicken soup*

1 c. sour cream*

1 T. paprika

½ tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. chicken base, mixed in 1/3 c. hot water**

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 lb. package wide egg noodles – not included in SmartPoints calculation below

Instructions:

Trim chicken of any visible fat. Place in a slow cooker that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray (or lined with a crockpot liner).  In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour over chicken.  Cook on low about 8 hours, until chicken is fork tender. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon to a cutting board or plate and cut into bite sized pieces.  Return to sauce mixture.

*For the Weight Watcher friendly version of this recipe, use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 98% fat free cream soups (such as Campbell’s Healthy Request), and fat free plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Serve chicken mixture over noodles.

**Chicken base is found in the isle next to chicken bouillon (which I recommend using for this recipe).  It is generally not as salty as cubed bouillon. I prefer Better than Bouillon brand. If not available, substitute one chicken bouillon cube and omit salt. This may alter the flavor slightly.

Weight Watchers info:

This recipe makes 7 servings, 10 ounces (weight) each.  On the Freestyle plan, each serving is only 2 Smartpoints!  This calculations is for the chicken/soup mixture only, so don’t forget to add the points for your serving of noodles.

Crockpot Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

I love anything I can put in the crockpot and basically forget about all day. This is one of those recipes. It’s beyond simple. The only real prep work is chopping the jalapenos. You know the appetizer where jalapenos are hollowed out, stuffed with creamy cheeses, wrapped in bacon, and cooked until hot and bubbly? This has all that flavor — but in soup form! It’s not overly spicy since you remove all the seeds and ribs from the jalapenos (that’s where the heat is) but it’s infused with that delicious peppery flavor. Topped with some bacon bits and shredded cheese, I’ve turned the popular popper into a warm bowl of comfort food. So easy, cheesy, and bacon-y.  Yes, that’s a word… at least in my vocabulary. Bacon makes everything better!  ~Erin

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Ingredients:

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast (frozen in single pieces)

4 oz. low-fat or Greek Cream Cheese, softened

1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cheddar cheese soup

4-5 large jalapenos, seeded and chopped

32 oz. fat free chicken stock

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 T. salt

3 (15.5 oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp. black pepper

For serving:  real bacon bits (I like to cook mine for a few minutes in a small skillet to crisp them up.), reduced fat shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, chopped pickled jalapenos, chopped green onions

 

Instructions:

In the pot of your slow cooker, whisk together softened cream cheese and condensed cheddar cheese soup until well combined.

Whisk chicken stock, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder into cream cheese/soup mixture.

Add jalapenos and frozen chicken breast. (You can use thawed chicken breast as well but keep in mind, it will cook faster.)

Cook 4-5 hours on high or 7 to 8 hours on low. When 1 hour of cook time is left, remove the chicken breasts from the pot, shred, and return to pot. Add cannellini beans and continue to cook for the last hour of cook time.

To serve, top each bowl with 1 tablespoon real bacon bits, ¼ cup reduced fat cheese, and, if desired, pickled jalapenos and green onions.

 

Weight Watchers info.:   

This recipe makes 8 servings.  Each serving is 13 ounces (weight) or about 1 ½ cups.

Old SmartPoints plan:  7 SmartPoints per serving

Freestyle plan:  2 SmartPoints per serving

By adding the suggested amount of bacon bits (1 SmartPoint) and reduced fat cheese (3 SmartPoints), the total value of each serving would be 11 SmartPoints per serving.

Chicken Chow Mein Spaghetti Squash

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So, Friday is my birthday.  It’s also my mom’s birthday.  Yep, I was born on her birthday (just barely – at 11:55 p.m.).  Hours and hours of labor with no drugs.  Happy birthday, Momma…you’re welcome!

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Mom always said I was the best birthday present she ever received.  She’s a sweet momma.  And I always loved sharing my birthday with her (still do).  It helped that she always let me have all the glory.  She’d cook my favorite meal and bake whatever flavor cake I wanted.  I’d always have all this planned out well in advance because I ALWAYS planned my birthday well in advance… like 6 months in advance.  That’s how much I love my birthday.  As an adult, I started celebrating my birthday ALL WEEK…because why not?  I did this until I had kids and then I had to give up my birthday week because… kids.  I still like to treat myself as much as possible all week though.  If nothing else, I make my favorite meals.  It’s my birthday week.  “I don’t care if you want hamburgers; I get to pick, kid!”  🙂  So this week I’ll be making one of my favorite healthy dinners:  Chicken Chow Mein Spaghetti Squash.

This recipe has a similar flavor profile as our most popular recipe to date, Egg Roll in a Bowl.  It is a bit more time consuming, since you have to roast the spaghetti squash, but that can be done in advance.  In fact, the chicken can be cooked in advance and the sauce mixed up too!  Combining them all at the end takes almost no time at all.  It’s worth the work because it makes a ton (Hooray for leftovers!) and the serving sizes are huge.  You can eat a whole plate full for very few calories/SmartPoints.  And it tastes amazing!  You don’t even notice that it’s spaghetti squash.  I don’t say that lightly because, normally, I believe there’s no substitute for real pasta.  However, in this recipe, it totally works.  And did I mention the serving sizes are huge?  Size matters.  ~Erin

 

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash (mine was almost 4 pounds raw and made about 5 cups of “spaghetti”)

Non-stick cooking spray – I prefer olive oil spray

1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat & cut into bite size pieces

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 T. garlic powder

3 tsp. sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil, divided

1/3 c. to ½ c. low sodium soy sauce (I use ½ cup.)

1 tsp. ginger paste or freshly grated ginger

3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

½ a large onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced small

1 (16 oz.) bag tri-color coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage with carrots)

Optional garnishes:  chopped green onions, sriracha sauce, or red pepper flakes

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 460°F.

Line a baking pan with foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.  Cut the spaghetti squash, length-wise, and scoop out the seeds.  Place the squash cut side up in the pan and spray the squash with cooking spray.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.  (If you have a smaller squash, check it earlier.)  Remove the squash from the oven; using large tongs or oven mitts, carefully flip the squash over, cut side down, and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.  Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Scoop the strands & set aside.  The spaghetti squashed can be cooked in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, ginger, and minced/pressed garlic cloves; set aside.

Heat 1 tsp. of oil in a large, high-sided skillet, pot, or Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, & garlic powder.  Add the chicken to the pan and allow to brown.  Flip and brown the other side.  Remove chicken from the skillet & set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1 tsp. of oil, then celery and onion.  Continue to cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the last 1 tsp. of oil and the entire bag of cole slaw mix to the pan.  Stir until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Add chicken, spaghetti squash, and sauce to the cabbage mixture.  Stir until heated through.

Garnish with chopped green onions and, if desired, sriracha or red pepper flakes.  Serve hot.

Weight Watchers Info.:  This recipe makes about 7 servings at a mere 3 SmartPoints each.  Each serving is 10 ounces (weight) or about 2 cups.

White Chicken Chili

I couldn’t ever find a white chicken chili I liked, so after trying several “meh” recipes, I decided to make my own.  Threw this together on a whim thinking it would at least be a quick, easy weekend prep to weekday meal kind of item.  But it turns out that Barry declared this his favorite thing I’ve ever made, so I figured I better share.  I make this pretty spicy but you can adjust (or eliminate) the heat easily. ~Robin 

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Ingredients: 

2 T. olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, diced*

4 medium jalapeño peppers, seeded, diced (reduce for lessened spice)

4 4-oz. cans (2 c.) chopped Hatch** green chiles; don’t drain (I use mild on these – more for flavor than heat)

4 cloves minced fresh garlic (or about 2 tsp. minced jarred garlic)

13 c. low-sodium chicken broth (can always add more if you need it, but you don’t want it too soupy)

4 c. cooked shredded chicken breast

3 cans cannellini beans, drained well

3 T. fresh lime juice (I just juice one small lime)

1 T. cumin

1 – 3 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I do the whole tablespoon because I like it spicy!)  

23 c. cilantro (about 1/2 a bunch) chopped; reserve some for garnish

12 tsp. garlic salt

Optional garnishes/accompaniments (not figured in WW points): sliced avocado, shredded Monterey jack cheese, tortilla chips, and/or a cilantro sprig.

Instructions:

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil on med-high heat. Then add onion, jalapeño, chiles, garlic, and sauté for 5-7 minutes (until veggies soften).

Reduce to medium heat. Add drained beans, chicken, broth, cumin, lime juice, garlic salt (sounds like a lot of garlic, but it’s a whole lot of food too — trust me), cilantro, & red pepper flakes. Cook for 12-15 min.

Serve and garnish as desired.

Weight Watchers Info.: This makes a whopping 11 one-cup servings.

Old SmartPoints:  4 SmartPoints per cup

Freestyle SmartPoints:  1 SmartPoint per cup

*For easy onion dicing, using a gator chopper will save you some tears, literally. They have varied dicing sizes, so be sure to check on that before purchasing – I used one with a ¼ inch dicing size, but you could use a larger one as well. I used to hate chopping onions before my folks got me this for Christmas one year. Now I can chop without tears and much more quickly.  (We’re not paid or compensated in any way to advertise for the Alligator company; I just really love mine since I’m a big cryer with onions!) 

**You can use any chopped green chile, but I prefer Hatch chiles.  

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

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We live near a town known for its Italian food, Krebs —  also known as “Oklahoma’s Little Italy.”  It was settled by Italian immigrants years ago, who soon opened several restaurants, cafés, and shops.  In fact, two of my favorite foodie establishments are there.  Lovera’s Italian Market makes their own award winning cheeses, sauces, sausages, marinades, dressings, etc.  When I go into their shop, I want one of everything.  It’s a foodie’s dream.  My other favorite Little Italy stop is Rosanna’s Italian Food.  Their Chicken Parmesan is to die for.  Rosanna’s also makes cheesecakes from scratch.  Again, a foodie’s paradise…however this Weight Watcher has to enjoy these things in moderation.  When I’m craving Chicken Parmesan but don’t want to spend the calories or cash, I make this easy, healthy spin-off.  It’s baked instead of fried and has all the best parts of Chicken Parm, complete with that crunchy crust which makes it worthwhile.  Plus, it’s much faster and easier for busy cooks!  Serve it with spaghetti or all by itself.

͂ Erin

 

Ingredients for chicken layer:

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast – cut into small pieces

1 (29 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 packet McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix

1 T. garlic salt

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ to ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I use ½ tsp. – plus I add more on my plated serving.)

Non-stick cooking spray

 

Ingredients for topping:

2 c. low moisture, part skim shredded mozzarella

2 c. panko breadcrumbs

½ c. shredded parmesan

1 ½ T. extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp. garlic salt

Basil, for garnish (optional) – I buy the chopped, lightly dried kind in the produce section

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread chicken pieces evenly on the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle the chicken with 1 T. garlic salt, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk McCormick seasoning packet into tomato sauce until well combined.  Pour the tomato sauce mixture over the chicken.

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella evenly over sauce; set pan aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine panko, shredded parmesan, olive oil, and ½ tsp. garlic salt.  Spread this topping evenly on top of mozzarella layer.

I usually spray a quick spritz of non-stick cooking spray over the top, to ensure even browning, but that is optional.

Bake on the center oven rack for 45-60 minutes until very bubbly and browned on the top (most importantly, until chicken is 165°F in the center).  If it starts to get too brown before fully cooked, cover loosely with foil.

Sprinkle with chopped basil before serving, if desired.

 

Weight Watchers info:  This recipe makes 8 servings.

Old Smartpoints plan:  8 SmartPoints per serving

Freestyle plan:  6 SmartPoints  per serving

*Many have asked why spaghetti is not included in the SmartPoints calculation.  This is so you can customize it to your needs.  You can eat it with a big serving of spaghetti or a small serving, zoodles (zucchini noodles), spaghetti squash, or no spaghetti at all.

May’s Chicken Salad

 

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When I first moved to the town where I currently live, there was a lovely little tea-room restaurant named after Mrs. Pawnee Bill, May Lillie.  Though the restaurant has been closed for many years, the chicken salad recipe is still a community favorite, often served at banquets, potlucks, and baby showers.  My sisters and I have made several adaptations to the original recipe, but I’d like to think that May Lillie would have served it proudly in her mansion.    ~Tracy

By the way, a visit to Pawnee Bill and May Lillie’s historic home is a must if you’re ever in our neck of the woods.  Plan your visit at:

http://www.travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.5773  or  http://www.okhistory.org/sites/pawneebill.php     

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast

1 small bunch green onion, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 cup dried cranberries

1 c. chopped walnuts (pecans are fine too, but walnuts seem to best compliment this recipe)

1 c. mayonnaise (no miracle whip)

1 c. sour cream

½ c. sugar  *adjust sugar to your personal taste

 

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in large bowl and chill.  Serve on your favorite croissant, roll, or crackers.