Tortellini with Sundried Tomatoes, Chicken & Sausage

What’s the food that you can eat multiple times a week without getting tired of it?  I think for me it’s any type of pasta. I’m telling myself that this pasta dish is more healthy since it has some vegetables.  I’m not sure if that’s reality, but it’s one of my absolute favorite pasta dishes.  It has just enough spice to give the flavor an extra boost, but if spiciness isn’t your thing you can always omit the red pepper flakes.  Recipes with easy adaptations and adjustments are our favorite around here and we can’t wait to hear from you about how you love this one! ~Tracy

4 T. butter, cut into 1 T. pieces

1 T. sun dried tomato oil (from jar)

3 T. chopped sun dried tomatoes

4 oz. chopped baby bella mushrooms

2 T. minced garlic

¼ c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. dried basil leaves

1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

½ tsp. paprika

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 ¼ c. milk (I use 1%)

1 cup chicken broth (can use prepared chicken bouillon)

½ c. shredded parmesan cheese (more for topping)

2 packages cheese tortellini (such as Louisa Four Cheese tortellini, 19 oz. bags)

1 cup shredded chicken (I use rotisserie)

½ c. cooked/crumbled pork sausage

2 c. fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped

Cook your sausage, drain any excess grease and set aside.  Shred your rotisserie chicken while the sausage cooks and set it aside as well.

Begin cooking tortellini according to the package directions.  Leave the pasta slightly al dente as it will continue to cook when added to the other ingredients.

In a large skillet, melt 1 T. of butter and 1 T. of the sun dried tomato oil.  Sauté the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the sun dried tomatoes and continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes.   Add the minced garlic and heat through for another 30-45 seconds. Remove this mixture from the skillet and set it aside.  

Add the rest of the butter to the skillet and allow to melt.  Whisk in the flour until smooth.  Add all dried seasonings and mix together.  

Gradually add the chicken broth and milk until the mixture begins to thicken.  Slowly stir in the ½ c. parmesan cheese.

Add chicken and sausage to sauce.  Stir together and then add the cooked tortellini and the spinach, mushroom, tomato mixture.  Stir all together until well mixed and top with a generous helping of parmesan cheese.

WW Info:  This recipe makes approximately 10 cups at 13 points each on all three plans.

Chipotle Chicken Stew

I absolutely love chipotle flavors with chicken, and this recipe was invented out of my wondering what it might be like if I could turn a chipotle chicken bowl into a stew. The fresh red onion and cilantro at the end really kick it up giving it an amazing fresh taste, but you could leave out the cilantro if that’s not your jam. I am so glad I followed my wacky whim to see how this would shape up, as it’s become a family favorite and is SO different from anything else. Super hearty and layered with flavor for days, you’re going to be glad you have leftovers – like most soups/stews, it just gets better each day, and if you don’t get to it all in time, it freezes well too. ~Robin

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped (pretty small pieces – about ¾ to 1 inch chunks) 

2 tsp. olive oil 

1 T. diced chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (I use a La Costeña)*

¾ tsp. chipotle chili powder 

½ tsp. cumin 

1 tsp. jarred, minced garlic 

1 1/2 tsp. salt (divided – 1 tsp. for cooking chicken, another ½ tsp. added to soup) 

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

½ white onion, diced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 

1 (11 oz.) can shoe peg corn 

32 oz. chicken broth

½ tsp. chicken bullion 

1/4-1/3 c. red onion depending on preference – I love the fresh kick of the red onion, so I use 1/3 

1 can original Rotel (can use mild if prefer less heat) 

2 c. cooked minute rice

½ – ¾ bunch cilantro (depending on how much you love it) 

juice of 2 limes (I usually just add a touch more to my bowl when I serve it up but see what works for you) 

½ tsp. garlic powder 

Instructions:

Add two teaspoons of olive oil to a large stock pot and heat to medium-high heat. Add chicken, minced garlic, chipotle peppers, onions, jalapeño, chipotle chili powder, cumin, & 1 tsp. salt.  

Cook minute rice according to directions on the box while your chicken is cooking. 

Once chicken is fully cooked (will no longer have any translucency or pinkness), add chicken broth, chicken bouillon, black beans, corn, Rotel, garlic powder, and salt if desired (may not need this salt if chicken broth isn’t low-sodium).  

Cook on medium heat, stirring often to avoid sticking, for about 10 minutes.  

Add cooked rice, red onion, cilantro, and fresh lime juice and continue to simmer for about 5 more minutes or until heated throughout and flavors have a chance to mingle a bit more.  

WW Info:  Makes 11 filling 1-cup servings at 3 points/serving on the green plan; 2 points/serving on blue and purple. 

*This recipe will not use more than a bit of the can; however, I freeze mine in ice trays so I can grab a serving size as needed for cooking later.  To do this, fill ice trays about ¾ of the way full with chopped peppers and sauce, then cover the top with plastic wrap.  Once the cubes are frozen after about 24 hours, I dump them into an airtight freezer-safe storage container. They can last up to six months in the freezer this way. Don’t worry if it’s a little messy; they don’t freeze quite as hard as other things, but they’ll stay good & fresh like this for the next time you need some chipotle in your life.     

Lemon Zucchini Pasta

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My sisters and I grew up with grandparents who had huge gardens!  They may not have been as big as my childhood memories make them seem,  but my sisters and I helped harvest more goodies than you can imagine. We learned to dig potatoes and peanuts, how to pick okra and how to shuck corn, and of course we learned how to snap beans.  I remember sitting outside in the summer and eating fresh watermelon (with salt, of course).  I think that’s one of the reasons that I’ve developed such a nostalgia about growing anything that I can manage, and I love using those things in my kitchen.  The fresh zucchini and basil in this dish are so summery tasting!  I wish I could say that I grew the dill.  Our Mammaw often had dill growing in her back flower beds, and it smelled better than any flower.  Good food is a source of such good memories – and this is definitely good food! ~Tracy 

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

Zest from 1 lemon

½ c. finely chopped white or yellow onion

2 c. zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ tsp. salt

2 T. finely chopped capers

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 lb. spaghetti noodles

3 T. finely chopped fresh dill

3 T. finely chopped fresh basil

2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ c. fresh grated parmesan

½ c. crumbled feta cheese

1 c. reserved hot pasta water from spaghetti

Cook spaghetti in large pot, with salted water, according to package directions.

While spaghetti is cooking, heat olive oil in large, high-sided skillet. Saute onion and zucchini until zucchini begins to soften and onion begins to become translucent. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and capers, continuing to simmer on low for another minute or two.  

Add cooked and drained spaghetti to the pan with the zucchini. Add in lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, and basil.  Toss the entire mixture with the spaghetti to combine. Add in ½ c. of the reserved pasta water and stir (you can gradually add a little at a time before serving if pasta appears too dry). Remove from heat and allow to sit for two to three minutes to begin the cooling process.  Then toss in both the parmesan and feta cheese.

Serve immediately with grilled chicken or enjoy as a tasty meatless pasta dish.

This recipe makes 8 servings at 9 points per serving on all three WW plans. 

Sunday Picnic Chicken Salad

Many years ago, Barry worked at a certain chicken sandwich place — for three years in high school and all five years of college, in fact. When he started working there, he learned to make chicken salad from a VHS training video (nope, we are not spring chickens).

Many years later, he tried to make it from memory – he did not remember. 🙂 His creation was nothing like what they had – it was much better! While I tend to think of chicken salad as a summertime dish, my kids ask for it all year, and they don’t really have to twist my arm to get me to make it any time.

This is such an easy make & take recipe for a big gathering – or a small one. I am persnickety about my hot food being really hot, so when we picnic at the lake (which is one of our favorite family activities after work while we continue to social distance) this chicken salad is a frequent choice for us. I really love it served on a King’s Hawaiian Sweet Roll for a slider sized sandwich, but Barry prefers it on the King’s Hawaiian sandwich slices. Either way, it’s fantastic; I’m really glad he couldn’t remember the chicken joint’s recipe! ~Robin

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Trim any excess fat from the chicken, then cut into chunks to boil. Remove chicken from the water carefully once it’s cooked using tongs and place on a large cutting board (make sure it’s completely opaque in the center). Then finely chop the chicken and place in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Chill before serving.

WW Info: This makes 8 generous 2/3 c. servings. On purple or blue, it’s 3 points. On green, it’s 4. Remember to calculate your choice of bread separately.

Mexican Chicken Cornbread Bake

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I saw a meme the other day that compared cooking during this time of “social distancing” to an episode of Chopped.  That could not be more accurate.  When I schedule and pick up my grocery order, only half of what I ordered is actually in stock, so my pantry is a random assortment of ingredients.  I stand there and stare, trying to figure out what I can put together to make an actual meal.  If you are doing the same, I have a good, pantry-and-freezer-friendly Mexican dish for you.  I know you’re all missing Mexican food right now, so here ya go.  If you lucked out and got chips in your grocery order, that would be great with this too… a real Mexican feast!  ~Erin

Ingredients:

4 cups chopped boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 4 large breasts or 5 medium):  I sprinkle the breasts with 1 tsp. each of chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and garlic powder; then bake or grill until fully cooked, let the meat rest/cool a few minutes and then chop.  Store in the fridge if made in advance.

1 (10 oz.) can Old El Paso red enchilada sauce, mild

1 (10 oz.) can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies, mild

1 ½ c. yellow corn kernels

8 oz. (2 small cans) Hatch chopped green chiles

1 tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. ground cumin

1 (8.5 oz) package dry Jiffy corn muffin mix (or other cornbread mix – I prefer a sweet cornbread mix)

1 egg

½ c. reduced-fat Mexican shredded cheese, divided

½ c. unsweetened cashew or almond milk (skim milk will work too)

2 T. chopped pickled jalapenos

Chips and salsa, optional – for serving

 

Cook and chop seasoned chicken (see notes on first ingredient); set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Spray a deep casserole dish (slightly smaller than a 9X13) with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together:  enchilada sauce, Ro-Tel, corn, green chiles, 1 tsp. chili powder, and ½ tsp. cumin.  Add 4 cups chopped chicken and stir to coat.  Spread evenly into casserole dish.

In a small bowl, stir together:  dry cornbread mix, milk, egg, chopped jalapenos, and half of the cheese (about ¼ c.).  Pour mixture evenly over the chicken mixture.

Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

WW Info:  This recipe makes 8 servings.  Green plan – 9 points per serving; Blue plan – 6 points per serving; Purple plan – 6 points per serving

Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup

I almost feel bad for posting another soup recipe because I’m afraid y’all are going to think that’s all we eat, but it’s hard to feel bad with a big bowl of comfort food in front of me.  Can’t stop, won’t stop eating allll the soups. This particular soup is a favorite of my family’s. It’s rich and creamy and perfect with crackers on a cold night. Add it to your soup rotation!  I know I will. ~Erin

Ingredients:

1 c. chopped celery

1 c. chopped onion

1 c. diced carrots

1 T. minced garlic

32 oz. chicken stock

4 c. water

1 lb. raw boneless, skinless chicken breast or 12 oz. cooked, shredded chicken breast

¼ tsp. oregano

1 bay leaf

½ tsp. black pepper

½ c. all-purpose flour

1 pkg. Chicken Rice A Roni, including seasoning packet

1 c. fat-free half & half

Non-stick cooking spray

Saute celery, carrots, and onion in cooking spray until the onions are tender and translucent.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock and 4 cups water.  If using raw chicken, add it at this time and simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked through.  Remove from pot and shred; set aside. If using precooked chicken, simmer the veggies and broth until the carrots are fork-tender.

In a small bowl, make a slurry with the flour and some of the hot liquid from the pot.  Whisk until smooth and then stir the slurry into the pot.

Add oregano, bay leaf, pepper, and Chicken Rice A Roni.  Simmer 15 minutes, covered, or until rice is tender.

Remove the bay leaf.  Sir in fat-free half & half and the shredded chicken.  

WW Info:  Green plan – 4 points per cup; blue plan – 3 points per cup; purple plan – 3 points per cup

Chicken Fajita Soup

chicken fajita soup

I love a re-make of a classic dish everyone knows and loves.  This recipe was actually born on a whim.   I was trying to think of something different for dinner (sound familiar??).  Chicken fajitas kept coming to mind but it really wasn’t quite what I wanted.   I decided to take chicken fajitas and all those great flavors and make it into a soup.  Why not!!??   It is hearty and delicious, warm and comforting.  It has all the familiar flavors but in soup form.   It’s fabulous and has joined the list of regular dinners in our house.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into half circles
  • 1 large medium bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 T. water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 c. canned fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/3 c. Ro-tel tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 T fajita seasoning (from the packet – I used McCormicks)
  • 5 c. fat free chicken broth

Slice chicken into thin strips and remove all fat.  Separate into two batches.   In a heavy dutch oven or soup pot spread 1 teaspoon oil in bottom of pan.   Turn on heat to medium-high.  Once pot is heated, add the first half of the chicken.   Sprinkle with salt and pepper.   Add garlic powder and onion powder if desired.   Brown chicken on all sides then remove to a dish and repeat with second half, after adding the other teaspoon of oil to pan.    Keep chicken covered and warm.

After the chicken is browned and removed from pot, reduce heat to medium and add onion.  Sauté the onion for about 3 minutes, until it begins to soften.  Add bell pepper and 1 T. water.  Continue to cook and stir for about 2 minutes then add garlic.  Continue until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Add fire roasted tomatoes, Ro-tel tomatoes, beans and seasonings.  Slowly add in chicken broth. Stir until combined.

Bring to a simmer and add chicken.  Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with heated tortillas, cheese, avocado or guacamole, if desired

Makes nine 1 cup servings.

WW Info.:  Makes 9 1-cup serving at just 1 point each.

Bruschetta Style Italian Chicken

Bruschetta Style Italian Chicken

One of my absolute favorite things about summer (aside from the fact that I have a lot of time off work), is enjoying the things that I plant in my garden.  I wish I could say that I’m as adept at gardening as my Mammaw and Pappaw were (they had gardens that would make Martha Stewart jealous), but I am a much more modest grower.  I plant several varieties of peppers, fresh basil, and several types of tomatoes.  I’ve tried planting more, but I’ve come to terms with what my time commitment can be (maybe more when I retire, right?) and also have gotten familiar with some of the folks at our farmer’s market.

The summer combination of fresh tomatoes and basil is definitely one of the things that keeps me gardening and those perfect flavors are why this Bruschetta Style Italian Chicken is frequently on our table this time of year.  And as every good gardener knows in those moments of “What am I going to do with all of these tomatoes?” a good, fresh tomato recipe makes all of that gardening work worthwhile. ~Tracy

For the chicken:

  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • garlic salt
  • Italian seasoning (I use McCormick)
  • black pepper

For the tomato topping:

  • 4 large tomatoes, diced (enough chopped tomato to equal 2 cups)
  • 2 T. finely chopped (chiffonade style) fresh basil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ T. balsamic vinegar
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Combine all topping ingredients (except parmesan) in medium size bowl and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for thirty minutes allowing the flavors to marry well.

Trim any fat from each chicken breast and pat dry with paper towels.  Lightly season both sides of each chicken breast with garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and black pepper (a light dusting of all three on each side).  Grill the chicken on an indoor or outdoor grill.

Top each grilled chicken breast with 1/2 cup of the tomato topping.  Top with shredded parmesan cheese if desired.

This recipe is ZERO WW Freestyle points, not including the parmesan cheese.

Chicken Bacon Pesto Flatbread

I’m going to come right out and tell you the truth about something.  I like to leave the dinner table feeling full! Doesn’t everyone? I want my supper — do you call it dinner or supper? — to be the most satisfying meal of my day.  I’m not the kind of person who allows a lot of extra time in the morning — hello, snooze button! — so this often means very little for breakfast, and I don’t leave work for lunch.  Supper is my time to relax and indulge in good food. This leaves me looking for ways to feel like the meal was an indulgence without sending it into calorie overload. This Chicken Bacon Pesto Flatbread is so filling and full of flavor that you might even get away with eating half of one, but I think you’ll want the whole thing! ~Tracy

Ingredients:

3 Joseph’s Lavash Bread (I use the flax, oat bran, and whole wheat)

3 cups shredded white meat chicken (I often use rotisserie chicken)

3 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

½ c. finely chopped purple onion

2 large cloves garlic, minced

4 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Spreadable Cheese 

¼ c. reduced fat pesto

3 T. real bacon bits

¾ c. 2% shredded Colby Jack cheese

1 ½ c. grape tomatoes, halved

3 T. grated parmesan

Cream the Laughing Cow cheese and pesto together in a small dish.  Set aside.

In large skillet, sauté the chicken and jalapenos until onions on medium-low heat until onions become tender.  Add garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Place the three Lavash breads on individual pieces of parchment.  Evenly spread one third of the pesto mixture onto each bread as you would a pizza sauce.  

Sprinkle 1 T. bacon bits over the cheese mixture on each bread.

Top each bread with one third of the chicken mixture, spreading evenly.  Add ¼ cup of shredded Colby Jack to each. Spread ½ c. of tomatoes on each bread and sprinkle on 1 T. shredded Parmesan over each.  

Bake each bread at 325 degrees for 10-15 min. or until cheese is melted and edges of bread begin to turn golden brown.

Each whole flatbread is 11 WW Freestyle Points or 6 WW Freestyle Points for half.

Caribbean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Summer is meant for grilling.  It’s getting hot in Oklahoma and, because we’ve had a ton of rain, the humidity is at somewhere around 1,000%.  That means it’s too hot to cook a full meal in the kitchen.  I’m all about grilling out, as much as possible.  These Caribbean Chicken Lettuce Wraps are the perfect summer grill meal because you can put your chicken on the grill while you stay inside (for the most part), in the air conditioning, sipping a cold beverage and chopping a few fruits and veggies.  By the time the chicken is done, you’ll be ready to throw it all together, wrap it in a crisp lettuce leaf, and go to town on it… grilled chicken, mango, onions, jalapeno, and spices, wrapped in a big leaf of green lettuce… this recipe is the perfect fresh, light, summer meal.  It’s so flavorful, you might even find yourself eating it straight from the bowl with a spoon, like this little guy.  By the looks of that messy, nearly-empty bowl, he’s enjoying it!  ~Erin

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Ingredients

  • 8 oz. grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned lightly with garlic powder, salt, and pepper (baked or rotisserie chicken breast would also work fine) – room temperature
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ tsp. each of garlic powder, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt
  • ¼ c. chopped red onion
  • 1 c. diced mango
  • 1 jalapeno (seeded and deveined) chopped
  • Bib or romaine lettuce leaves, washed
  • Sliced avocado, optional

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, and spices; set aside.

When the chicken has come to room temperature, chop in bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.

Add the onion, mango, and jalapeno.

Toss gently until the dressing and ingredients are evenly distributed.

Serve, topped with avocado (if desired), wrapped in a leaf of lettuce.

WW Freestyle Info.:  The recipe makes 4 servings of ¾ cups each.  Each serving is 1 SmartPoint, not counting the optional avocado.

Tip:  Measure your avocado in grams – you get more for the points!