Monday, September 15, 2014

Meal Plan Monday {I Heart My Crockpot....and butter-free, gooey, delicious, chocolate chip cookies, say what?!}

Hello Loves! You like that long title, don't ya? The cookies are totally title-worthy, believe me and then make them. Taking a little over a week from Meal Plans and blogging was a good refresher for me. I've been working way more than normal, so combine that with things that must get done around the house, blogging had to take a back seat! 

Because of my crazy schedule and the delightful pre-fall weather we have been having here in the Lou,  I broke out my Crockpot last week and it still hasn't made it back into the cabinet! It is one of the best ways to cook this time of year (in my humble opinion) and it keeps me from spending tons of time in the kitchen. 

First up, Chicken Tortilla Soup

I'm slightly obsessed with Chicken Tortilla Soup. This one, from Yummy Healthy Easy, is yummy, healthy and easy. I used low-sodium options to keep our sodium intake in check. If you like a little more kick, get the fire roasted green chiles. I also used drained, canned corn instead of frozen because it's what I had on hand. We had lunch leftovers with this one too!

Chicken Cordon Blue

I've never been a huge fan of ham, but have recently decided to eat it because everyone else in my family likes it. It's totally a texture issue for me, so when it's inside of a biscuit or paired with something else, I can deal. Someone brought us a similar meal after I had Brooklyn and we loved it. So, I scoured Pinterest for recipes and made more than one version, before falling in love with this one from Diva di Cucina. Seriously, so yummy! The chicken breasts that I used were about 10 oz each (one serving size of chicken is only 4 oz, so I only used 2 chicken breasts for our family). I also only used 4 slices of ham, opted for slices of swiss cheese and lowered the amount butter (mostly because of fat content in butter) to one tablespoon. This recipe is definitely a favorite around here!

Beef Stew

This meal is the epitome of fall/winter eating. We eat very little red meat these days, but this is one of those comfort foods for us. For this recipe, I only used 20 ounces of meat (instead of the called for 2 pounds) and added more veggies. I choose to use whole baby carrots instead of spending the time chopping them and new potatoes (but remember, calories aren't much more if you prefer russet). I used low sodium beef broth, nixed the added salt and didn't use the steak marinade. I also used the entire packet of Lipton onion soup mix...not sure how that relates in terms of tablespoons. You can serve over rice if you choose, we opted out because we are trying to lose weight.

Chicken Florentine

So, maybe I was a little obsessed with chicken last week? Payton asked what was for dinner one night and followed her inquiry with "please don't say chicken!" Hahaha! Well, can't blame her for wanted variety I suppose. It is kinda what she is used to. Anyway, yep, Chicken Florentine, in a crockpot. Thanks for that Dash of Reality! I didn't have diced tomatoes with herbs on hand, so I used plain diced tomatoes, but mixed in a teaspoon of oregano, a teaspoon of basil and 2 cloves of garlic (pressed). I also used fresh spinach, because it's what I had. I chose Pinot Grigio for my white wine, because I will drink the leftovers. ;) And even though I know this would be delicious with heavy cream, I did use the Greek yogurt. Served over angel hair pasta.

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Y'all, I cannot get enough of these cookies!! If I'm letting my inner-South come out by using the "word" y'all, you better believe it will be a party in your mouth!! I've made these more than once and I've used milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet and left out the cinnamon. Milk chocolate chips with the cinnamon, semi-sweet chips with the cinnamon. You can do no wrong! I love pecans in cookies too, but haven't added because the oatmeal by itself creates the perfect texture. The outside has a crunch but the inside is oh so gooey. I promise you, my mouth is watering as I type about them. The best part is, you totally use coconut oil instead of butter! I have a family chocolate chip cookie recipe that my sister tweaked and those are my ultimate favorite cookie, but the recipe calls for a POUND, yes, an entire pound of butter. I can't play that game while I'm watching calories!! I ate an embarrassing amount of these cookies last week and still managed to lose more than a pound. Hey, maybe there really are healthy sweet treat options! Now, get in the kitchen and make these cookies. You will thank me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Averie Cooks. If you love sweets, you should probably follow her blog too! =)

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