So I have been doing my part. I've been sticking to the 2009 goals of cooking at home (9 days in and I'm still on track!) and eating better. Well, if not "better" per se, then less calories for sure. I've already made a few cool discoveries and also some lame ones.
Lame: why does everything labeled "light" or "lean" have to be chock full of red peppers? Blech. I have to pick them out of everything. Also, see Kate's post about how "fat free" and "low fat" products sometimes taste gross and can wreck your whole meal, if not your day.
- Lean Cuisine ginger garlic stir fry is actually really good (once the peppers have been removed). It's more than enough lunch for me and has lots of sauce, so it kind of sticks to your ribs and lingers in your teeth (which makes you feel more full, BTW). It's also 5 WW points, so it's a pretty sensible meal.
- I have been skeptical of all the "100 calorie packs" because most have been cookies or crackers (which I don't eat much of) and in essence, you're paying extra for someone else to count them out for you (ex: Goldfish crackers: 50 crackers = 100 calories). But the Hostess ones caught my eye because they're cakes and muffins and TWINKIES and also they were on sale (love Target!). So I picked up a box of chocolate cupcakes and cinnamon coffee cakes. As expected, the cakes are tiny (think a stack of 5 silver dollars), but you do get 3 in each pack. And the original recipe hasn't really been altered, no Splenda or saccharine here. Instead, they're scaled down. The cupcakes don't have the same dense frosting as on the originals, but it's actually better because it's softer and sticks in your teeth more (long-lasting flavor) and they DO have the little white cream injection! The crumb cakes taste just like the originals, I can't detect any difference except size. Each packet is 1 WW point. For me, a pack makes a great snack and a better incentive to snack (my problem is that I don't eat regularly enough). These have also been Ryan-approved.
- Chicken Noodle Casserole - It's been cold and I'm craving comfort food, and even though I've never made a casserole before (and technically still haven't - read on), I thought I'd give this recipe a try. It turned out really good and satisfying and is definitely something I will continue to make this winter. 1 can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Chicken soup, 1 can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom soup, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, chicken, and egg noodles. I threw some chicken tenders on the Foreman Grill while the egg noodles boiled. I used 1/2 the bag, which was a lot - maybe 5 cups of noodles. When the noodles were halfway done (about 4 mins into cooking), I threw the frozen veggies in with them straight from the freezer. When noodles are done, drain the cooking water and add cream of chicken and mushroom soups. I only used about 1/2 the mushroom soup can because it was getting too creamy. Then I diced up all the chicken and tossed it in too. For the next part, you're supposed to transfer the concoction to a baking dish and put a light sprinkle of cheese and cracker crumbs on top and bake for 30 mins or until heated through. But we were hungry and I didn't have any cheese and don't care about cracker crust, so we ate it straight from the pan. Less of a casserole than a straight-up noodle dish, but it was DELISH. The entire meal is approx. 21 WW points and makes about 6 servings. I think we used too many vegetables, so our bowls were REALLY full of veggies. Which is good. They're 0 points and good volumetric eating. We each had a hearty bowl right off the stove and 2 lunches and we still have leftovers. Plus, the total cost was something like $1 per can of soup, $2 for noodles, $3 for veggies, and we already had the chicken, but the whole package of chicken tenders was only $6. So the estimate cost for this is about $9 and it'll make you several meals -- especially if you have side dishes like salad or bread.