Thursday, April 15, 2010

Austin's Italian Chicken Pasta Bake -Kid Friendly and Weight Watchers Friendly

 Austin's Italian Chicken Pasta Bake 8pts
This is a great dish for  kids, but also adults who want to serve something kid friendly but have something they can also enjoy while on Weight Watchers or another healthy eating plan.

I created this dish for my 13 year old.  Austin requested a baked pasta dish with chicken and spaghetti sauce, similar to the baked chicken pasta at Pizza Hut, but in a red sauce not white. I didn't have any spaghetti sauce on hand but had canned tomato products in the pantry so I created this quickie spaghetti sauce. I divided the 13 X 9 inch pan into 6 servings for 8WWpts. These were really good size servings but you could have divided the dish into 8 servings and still had a nice size serving for 6 WW pts

Austin's Italian Chicken Pasta Bake 8pts
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
14.5 oz. diced canned toamtoes, (1 can undrained)
8 ounces tomato sauce, (1 sm. can)
6 ounces tomato paste, (1 sm. can)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoons dried basil
1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut in about 1 inch pieces
1 Tablespoon canola oil
8 oz penne pasta, dry, cook according to package directions
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, part skim milk
Spray bottom of Large sauce pan with cooking spray and saute onions and peppers till soft. Add to pan diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, oregano, basil, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Can also add a little garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Meanwhile bring cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. Heat a medium skillet with oil. Cook chicken pieces in oil to lightly brown and cooked through. Preheat oven to 350. Combine cooked chicken, the cooked drained pasta sauce with the tomato sauce you have simmering on the stove. Spray a 13" X 9" baking dish with cooking spray. Fill casserole with your chicken pasta and sauce mixture. Heat 10 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and continue cooking till cheese is melted and everything is hot and bubbly about another 10 minutes. Serve hot with garlic bread and a salad or green beans.


Servings: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 394
Total Fat: 9.27g
Cholesterol: 59mg
Sodium: 752mg
Total Carbs: 43.92g
    Dietary Fiber: 4.69g
    Sugars: 9.89g
Protein: 32.64g

Source: Deana Course: Main
(6 servings)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Boating on the Big Lake

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day.  Just a wonderfully perfect day. I packed a picnic lunch and we took the boat out on the big lake.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Backyard Vegetable Garden Endeavor: Part 5

My Backyard Vegetable Garden Endeavor: Part 5
Things are growing nicely. The pepper plants, however, are growing very, very slowly. Do green pepper
and  jalapeƱos grow slow normally? Something is making holes in the leaves of the broccoli, but I don't 
see anything. The lettuce, carrots, and spinach are growing fast. And 3 out of the 5 tomato plants I planted are finally taking off.
Two, however are still small?

The Amazing 1 pt Breakfast

The Amazing 1 pt Breakfast
If you don't like veggies I can't help you. I had some white mushrooms, fresh asparagus and spinach in the refrigerator. I weighed out 2 oz each (yes I weighed them on my trusty WW food scale) which is a lot of veggies. Sauteed them in a pan sprayed with some cooking spray. Then cooked up 1/2 cup egg beaters and made an omelet out of it. It was huge and when I calculated it on the WW site it came to just 1 WW point. Wow that is a lot of breakfast for 1 pt. (Ignore the date on the photo- It really was this morning. Every time I recharge the camera I have to reset the date)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My New Blog: Deeny's Weight Watchers' Journey and Food Journal

Deeny's Weight Watchers' Journey and Food Journal
This is my new blog that is devoted to losing weight and then maintaining with the Weight Watchers' program. I did it once before and hopefully I can do it again. Blog will contain my progress, food journal, tips, recipes, my thoughts and anything else that might be related.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Confessions of a Backslidden Weight Watcher's Receptionist

Me and Hubs, Christmas 2004 I am about 117lbs (up from my rock bottom of 108).

That is me on the left in 2005, and would you believe I thought I was heavy there.

That is me reuniting with a friend from Junior High. We spent the day at Hollywood Studios. I am the - Well you know- This is a picture at my heaviest weight, which I am still at by the way. The above picture was taken last Spring 2009- I really hate that picture.)

The above photo is the whole family last Dec 2008. One of very few full body photos I have since gaining weight. PS: I hate the haircut in the above photo too.

Here is another more recent one of me sitting in front of the computer. I avoid the camera like the plaque now so I don't have many full body shots but you can tell through the face.

Confessions of a Backslidden Weight Watcher's Receptionist
I am 5' 1" and 3/4 (just a smidge under 5' 2"). I grew up thin near the bottom of my weight range around 98 to 102 lbs, put on some weight after college when I got married but maintained around 112 to 115 lbs. Then in my late 20's, after 2 children, I put on about another 10 to 15 pounds. Then the weight exploded after child number 3. In my mid thitries, I got up to 172 pounds at the age of 37 and my 20th High school reunion was coming up. In about November 2001 I decided to go to Weight Watchers. Yes I decided to go the week before Thanksgiving of all weeks to start. Weight Watchers was and still is an awesome flexible workable program, but you do have to work the program to get results. It does take a conscious effort. Well the program worked really well and I steadily lost on average of 1.3 to 1.5 pound per week. It was more per week in the beginning and less per week as I got closer to my goal. I had lost 50 pounds by July 2002 and was at my goal of 121. Just in time for my 20th high school reunion. It was wonderful. Well my next goal was to make life time after 6 weeks of maintenance which I did around August 2002. Through maintenance I lost about another 5 pounds or so (Back then you could lose in the maintenance phase even if it was discouraged. Now I don't think they allow you to go too far below your goal). Anyway after goal I was aksed if I would like to work for them and I said yes. It was a great part time job for a stay at home mom. Not a lot of money, but I figured it would keep me motivated and help me to maintain the loss. The job was very flexibile and I could work the hours I wanted. I was not a WW leader because I really don't like getting up in front of people, but I loved being a receptionist. Receptionists weigh in people, do the record keeping, and the keep track of the meeting paperwork and sales etc. To work for WW you have to have lost weight with them and reached lifetime and then stay within your weight range for your height which is a pretty big range. For 5'1" it was like 106 pounds to 132 pounds. Well by January of 2003 I was down to the bottom of my healthy weight range around 106 to 108. Scarily thin. I have pictures somewhere. I had a pair of size 1 jeans would you believe? But the weight started slowly coming back on. Hey I thought, 132lbs is a long way away from 108lbs right? I have a huge cushion! I thought I would never be back at the high end of my weight range again, let alone over it. I stopped being fanatical about tracking and weighing my food. I was regularly exersicing but then came the summer of 2004. We had back to back hurricanes. -We weren't hit directly, but were skirted by at least 3. It seemed every couple weeks there was a warning and up went the plywood boards. Somehow that interrupted my going to the YMCA for workouts and I never got back into the habit of going again. I started really putting the weight back on in 2005. I let 5 pounds become 10 then 15 and well you know. It did not come on all at once, but slowly. I would maintain for awhile then let a little more creep back. Hey I was a busy mom. Then in 2007 I was back up to the top of my healthy weight range at 134 lbs. Actually that is 2 pounds over the weight range for my height. Now my WW job was in danger. You need to be at a healthy weight to work for them. The higher ups at WW are very nice and they went through the program just like me. They were willing to help in anyway they could and were not judgmental, but the weight couldn't keep creeping up. Eventually I was put on suspension to get it under control but since I was too embarrassed for gaining the weight back, I quit. That was a very, very bad idea because once I did that, in my head I kinda rebelled and proceeded to put on close to 50 more pounds from 2007 to present.

So here I am at (confession time, lowering my head in shame, drum roll please, 184 pounds). Meantime while I was gaining, my SIL who is my height and was very heavy after she had her baby went to weight watchers and was losing. She lost what I had gained. She went from big to looking fantastic and I went from fantastic to being big. She is struggling a bit now and she challenged me to get back on the wagon so to speak. I don't want to get down to the bottom of my range again. It is too hard to maintain, but I need to at least get back down in my healthy weight range.

So that is where I am at now. Boy did I want to pig out on leftover lamb this morning. But my SIL reminded me on FB of the challenge so instead I had a breakfast of 2 slices Whitewheat Bread for 1 WW point, 1 T. of light cream cheese for 1WWpt, I hard boiled Easter egg. and an orange. Total point for breakfast 5. I am going to have lamb for lunch but I will weigh it and count it.

So I may try to post my meals and WW recipes here daily. I have all the knowledge and know how. Been there did that. Now I just need the accountability again.

(Oh and why don't I actually go back to a live meeting you ask?- Well embarrassment. I worked with most of the leaders and receptionists in the area and they have not seen me at this weight. I know they would be accepting and caring but I'm not ready to go back at this point. Maybe if I lose 20 pounds first. )

I decided I didn't want to bog down this blog
with my Daily Weight Watcher's Food Journal
so I created a new blog just for my Food journal.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Easter Cake Masterpiece

I made and decorated this cake all by myself from Scratch- I think it turned out awesome! Not bad for a beginner- I have only taken one Wilton decorating course. :-)
This is a Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup water
1 lb. carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)

(Notes: For Easter I used my Cross pan - I used no nuts in the recipe because i have a picky 13 year old. I baked the cake in my Convection oven at 325 for 60 minutes. Once the cake was out I did not cut it or layer it)
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.
Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.
Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 1 day, covered) before serving.
First published

Source: Martha Stewart Modified by me

Cream Cheese Icing
(Notes: You won't use all the Icing.)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
8 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (about 2 lbs.)
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
In medium mixer bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add sugar one cup at a time and milk. Mix well. Beat on high until smooth (only 30 seconds to 1 minute). Thin to ice cake smooth; use full strength for piping borders.

Do not use light cream cheese or butter substitute. If margarine is used, icing will be softer.

Source: Wilton
(About 5 1/2 cups of icing.)