Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza

Last night I had a few girlfriends over for a Girl's Night In. Nothing beats good friends just hanging out with snacks and wine! We had some chips and dips (I made buffalo chicken dip that I posted about here) and I made a homemade pepperoni pizza.

I've posted about homemade pizza before, but I wanted to take the opportunity to share this recipe from Annie's Eats again for the perfect pizza crust because its so easy and so good!

This is the first time that I split the dough into two to make a thinner crust pizza and it was definitely the best yet. I topped the pie with my homemade sauce (I used my immersion blender to make a smoother pizza sauce), low fat mozzarella cheese, turkey pepperoni and shredded Parmesan.

And now for that crust recipe. Trust me, this is the way to go!!

Basic Pizza Dough
Recipe from Annie's Eats


½ cup warm water (about 110°)
1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ tsp. salt
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl


Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 450° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough and drizzle a little olive oil on the crust. Top as desired and bake for 25 minutes.
Thursday, January 27, 2011

Escarole and White Bean Stew

My in laws gave me the "Crockpot Slow Cooker Bible" for Christmas and I have so many pages marked, its about time I get on it! Thursdays are our usual crockpot night because I teach at the gym, so I decided to give this one a try.

One of my goals in the new year is to also try more vegetarian meals. Not that I plan on giving up meat, but because they are generally very healthy and cost effective dinners. Plus, I have many family members that are vegetarian and I would like to be able to make them something other than meatless baked ziti when they visit!

I have to admit that I wasn't that excited about this meal. I am typically not a fan of beans, even though I am trying to be more open minded about them. But, it ended up being pretty good. There was something missing flavor-wise (I could have added more salt), but overall it was a nice hearty soup. And the beans were actually my favorite part!

Escarole and White Bean Stew
Recipe slightly adapted from The Crockpot Slow Cooker Bible
4 servings, 7 WW points plus per serving


1 tbs Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
2 tbs minced garlic
12 oz washed and chopped escarole
2 cans Great Northern White Beans, drained
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Grated parmesan


Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and carrots. Cook until onion softens. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to crockpot and top with vegetable broth.

Add escarole, red pepper flakes and beans. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Season with salt and serve with Parmesan cheese

And I can't resist sharing my baby boy's 6 month picture! Happy half birthday Finny!

ZACH'S RATING - *** 1/2
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Walnut Crusted Chicken Tenders

I have always been on the picky side when it comes to food, my friends and family would definitely agree. I have a few food "issues" and always had a long list of things I didn't like. Since I started cooking, I have tried a lot of new foods and realized that there are a lot of things on that list that are actually pretty good! (although mayo is still a no go!!!)

Nuts are number one on that list. I have recently discover that I like pecans, almonds, and walnuts. I like walnuts so much that I've been looking for new ways to use them. Tonight, I thought I would put a new spin on these oven "fried" chicken tenders.
These were good, but next time I think Id switch up the amount of walnuts and panko, making it more panko and less walnuts. It was a great flavor, but a bit overpowering.

Walnut Crusted Chicken Tenders
A Running Mama Cooks Original Recipe
Serves 4, 10 WW points plus per serving


Cooking spray
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into tenders
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped in food processor
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup egg beaters


Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Mix together chopped walnuts and panko breadcrumbs. Place in a shallow bowl or dish. Dip tenders in flour, then dredge in egg beaters and coat with walnut mixture.
Arrange tenders on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Asian Chicken Burgers

When I got this month's Food Network Magazine in the mail, I was excited to see "Light Family Dinners, Easy Low-Cal Recipes." This is the one that really caught my eye and it was delicious!

Asian Chicken Burgers
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
4 servings, 9 WW points plus per serving (including the bun)


Cooking Spray
1 small carrot
1 small red onion, halved
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
4 tbs low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp hot Asian chili sauce, such as sambal oelek
4 whole wheat hamburger buns


Preheat oven to 375. Mist baking sheet with cooking spray. Grate the carrot and 1/2 onion into large bowl. Add chicken, hoisin sauce, ginger, 3 tbs soy sauce, panko and chili sauce, and mix until well combined. Shape into 4 patties and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Switch oven to broil to brown up the patties at the very end.

Meanwhile, slice the remaining half of red onion. Saute on med low heat in a pan sprayed with cooking spray. Add the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce to onions as they caramelize.

Serve burger topped with onions and a toasted whole wheat bun

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bruschetta Pesto Tilapia

Zach suggested that we have a bruschetta tilapia for dinner tonight so I did some searching around for ideas. I came across The Mad Chemist and her version of this dish. I decided to use that as my inspiration. At Wegmans, I found roasted red pepper bruschetta and used that because it sounded so delish! And it saved me the trouble of making bruschetta from scratch.

Bruschetta Pesto Tilapia
Adapted from
The Mad Chemist
Serves 2, 11 WW points plus per serving


4 Tilapia filets
4 tbs pesto
4 tbs roasted red pepper bruschetta (Wegmans brand)
1/2 cup asiago cheese


Preheat oven to 350

Pat tilapia filets dry and place on a baking dish. Top each filet with 1 tbs pesto and 1 tbs roasted red pepper bruschetta. Sprinkle with asiago cheese.

Bake for 5 minutes. Switch oven to broil and cook for 3 minutes more or until cheese is browned.

ZACH'S RATING - *** 1/2
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup

The crockpot definitely saves my life on the nights that I teach at the gym. The last thing I want to do is cook after getting home at 8 and having to put both kids to bed! I didn't have a plan for dinner tonight but after taking a look through my cabinets and fridge, I put together this Chicken Taco Soup. I was hopeful that it would come out tasty, and I was right! It was super flavorful, had a little kick, was ready when I got home and, best of all, is super low in points!

I have to pat myself on the back, this was a great one!

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup
A Running Mama Cooks Original
4 servings, 5 WW points plus per serving


1 lb boneless skinless chicken tenders, cut into chunks
Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 packet low sodium taco seasoning
4.5 oz green chili's, drained
1.5 cups frozen corn


Heat pan to medium heat, spray generously with cooking spray. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Add onion, pepper and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Add chicken and vegetables. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and/or a little bit of Mexican cheese on top.

ZACH'S RATING - **** 1/2

Low Fat Granola

Another snow day! Cecily, Finn and I are stuck inside. School is cancelled and the roads are super icy. Looks like my relaxing morning at the mall has to put off until Thursday.

Since baking cookies is out of the question, I decided to make some homemade granola. Granola is one of my favorite snacks, but it is always so high in fat. I adapted a recipe I found on weight watchers website, adding some chocolate chips for my sweet tooth and some protein powder to make this an even healthier snack.

I bagged it up in small zip locks, 1/2 cup per portion, so I can easily grab it on the go.

Low Fat Granola
Adapted from
4 points plus per 1/2 cup serving


4 cup uncooked quick oats
1 cup steel cut oats
2 scoops protein powder (I used banana flavored)
6 Tbsp honey
1 tsp canola oil
1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix uncooked quick oats, steel cut oats and protein powder together and spread on a non-stick baking sheet with sides; bake for 10 minutes, stirring once.

Meanwhile, mix honey, oil, apple juice, spices and vanilla together in a cup. When oats are done, spoon into a large bowl; set pan aside. Add almonds to oat mixture and stir to combine. Pour honey-spice mixture over oat mixture and mix thoroughly to distribute and coat completely; spread mixture back over pan.

Return pan to oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring every few minutes. Remove from oven and spoon back into bowl. (Note: Be careful that granola doesn't burn)

Stir chocolate chips and cranberries into mixture; let cool. Store in an airtight container. Yields about a half cup per serving.

Chicken White Pizza, Weight Watchers style

The beginning of a diet is always the worst, it seems like there isn't anything satisfying to eat. Then after a week or two you discover different ways to create yummy, filling meals that are diet friendly. My newest favorite discovery is Bagel Thins. They are so versatile. I've been eating them with reduced fat peanut butter for lunch and with egg beaters and a little cheddar as a breakfast sandwich. Then had the brilliant idea to make bagel thin pizzas!

Our first attempt at this came out good, but they were hard to pick up. Then we realized if we toast the bagel first and then broil it with the toppings, it came out perfect. It is delicious with just pizza sauce and a little reduced fat mozzarella, but this one was definitely the best so far!

Chicken White Pizza
A Running Mama Cooks Original
8 WW points plus for both halves


1 bagel flat
2 tbs part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Perdue short cuts, chopped
1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
dried basil
garlic powder
Parmesan cheese


Lightly toast the bagel flat. Spread with ricotta cheese. Place chicken and top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with basil, garlic powder and a little parm. Place under the broiler with door open until toppings are heating and cheese is slightly browned.

Down 6 lbs in 2 weeks. Weight Watchers rocks!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken Meatball and Vegetable Soup

The perfect snow day soup! Very hearty and healthy. And only 7 Weight Watchers points per serving.

Chicken Meatball and Vegetable Soup
A Running Mama Cooks Original
Serves 6
7 WW points plus per serving


1 tbs Olive Oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
pinch red pepper flakes
4 cups broth
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup egg beaters
1/4 cup Parmesan, plus more
2 tbs pesto
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme
dried basil
1 cup frozen green beans
6 oz bag baby spinach


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add a few pinches of red pepper flakes

Add broth, tomatoes, bay leaf, and dried basil. In the meantime, combine ground chicken, oats, egg beaters, pesto, Parmesan, garlic and thyme and form into 1 inch meatballs

Bring soup to a boil. Add frozen green beans and drop in meatballs. Simmer on low covered for 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Stir in baby spinach and serve with Parmesan cheese.

ZACH'S RATING - **** 1/2
Sunday, January 9, 2011

Skinny Banana Walnut Pancakes

I think Gina from Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes is my new best friend. The last thing I wanted to do is give up Sunday pancakes while on a diet! I quickly found what I was looking for on Banana pancakes are my favorite and these looked perfect. And only 4 points plus for 2 pancakes (with the nuts, 3 points without), not bad!

They were light and fluffy. I put a teeny bit of butter and light syrup and didn't feel like I missed out at all.

Banana Nut Pancakes
Recipe from Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 large banana, very ripe, mashed
1 cup 1% milk
3 large egg whites
2 tsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp chopped walnuts (optional)
butter flavor cooking spray

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine milk, egg white and mashed bananas in a bowl and mix until smooth. Combine wet ingredients with the dry and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots. Don't over-mix.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Spray oil to lightly coat and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter. When the pancake starts to bubble and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs

I'm back on the wagon and staring the year off right with healthy eating. I immediately went to one of my favorite food blogs, Gina's Weight Watchers recipes, to get some ideas. This one caught my eye immediately. I love cooking Asian food at home, so much better than take out!

The only thing I changed about this recipe is that I used thighs instead of drumsticks. And with only 5 weight watchers points plus per serving (4 servings total) you cant go wrong! It was so good that I had it for lunch today with steamed broccoli and dinner with brown rice.

Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs
Very slightly adapted Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes


8 medium boneless skinless chicken thighs
Pam spray oil
1 cup water
1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp ginger, grated
2 tbsp chives or scallions, chopped
1 tsp sesame seeds


In a heavy large saucepan, brown chicken on high for 3-4 minutes with a little spray oil. Add water, balsamic, soy sauce, agave, garlic, ginger, hot sauce and cook on high until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. Remove cover and bring heat to high, allowing sauce to reduce down, about 8 minutes until it becomes a thick glaze, turning chicken occasionally. (Keep an eye on glaze, you don't want it to burn when it start becoming thick) Transfer chicken to a platter and pour glaze on top. Top with chives and sesame seeds and serve
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