Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao chicken is a very tasty Chinese dish, but it is usually loaded with fat.

This lightened up version keeps all the flavor but leaves out the extra fat and calories. Even if you have never tried the original, give this recipe a try. If you only use 1 tsp red chili sauce, it is not spicy at all. If you like your food with a little kick, definitely add a little (or a lot) more ūüôā

Kung Pao Chicken 2 servings

2 Tbs reduced sodium lite soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 tsp splenda
1/2 Tbs corn starch
4 Tbs cold water, divided
1 tsp red chili sauce (or more, to taste)
8 oz. raw boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped (I used portabella for extra flavor)
3/4 cup bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup canned sliced water chestnuts, drained and halved
1 Tbs dry roasted unsalted  peanuts, chopped
(optional) 1 tsp crushed red pepper

 

To make the sauce, combine 2 Tbs cold water with soy sauce, vinegar, splenda, corn starch, and chili sauce. Stir well and set aside.

Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and bring to medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add to skillet. Add mushrooms, bell peppers, celery, onion, garlic, and 2 Tbs water. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 5 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked but still tender.

Add water chestnuts and peanuts to skillet. Raise heat to high, give sauce a stir, and add to skillet as well.

Mix until sauce has thickened and coated chicken/veggie mixture. If you like, season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

1/2 recipe (about 1 1/2 cups) is 6 points plus.

Serve with a side of brown rice, or steamed broccoli for a low-carb option. 

 

I’m baaaack!

So it has been about two months since I have posted… sorry about that! Did you miss me?

Life was really busy for a while there, with Mr. Veggie Pants’ birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Plus all the parties and family gatherings (and meals!) that come with the holidays.

I may not have updated this blog, but I stuck with Weight Watchers the whole time and am happy to report that I lost weight – I even lost weight the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas!

 

How did I do it? I stuck to the Weight Watchers plan. It really¬†does work if you follow it. I also kept in mind that the Holiday was one day, not a whole week. I did not track the family lunch on Thanksgiving and Christmas day. But I did not over eat at those meals; I only ate until I was satisfied, and I did not go back for seconds. I even ate desert both days ( a small serving). It really is all about give and take – You can’t indulge at every meal, or even one meal every day and expect to lose weight. You can however have your favorite foods every once in a while and still be successful, as long as you eat sensibly other than that little indulgence. Weight Watchers helps you to look at the week as a whole (with your daily and weekly points plus budget) rather that just one meal or even one day.

I did not get to weigh in the week of Thanksgiving, as my meeting is on Thursday, but the following week (12/01/11) I lost 1.4 lbs.
The week of Christmas (12/29/11) i lost 2.0 lbs.
With a little discipline, it can be done!

 

This week I weighed in at 184.2 lbs… a total loss of 88.2 lbs¬†since April 2011!!!
I have gone from a very tight size 18/XXXL to a comfortable size 12/L! I am still shocked sometimes when I look in the mirror, and I feel so much better than I did last year.

I never planned on posting my picture on this blog, but there is such a huge difference, and I am feeling generous today, so here you go…

“before”

and “so far”

Mr & Mrs Veggie Pants

My resolutions for this year are to reach my goal weight – 150 lbs (a total loss of 124.4 lbs) and to do a 5k before the end of the year. 2012 is MY year!

 

Check back Monday for a new recipe post ūüôā

Weekly Weigh-in: Week 30

Yesterday was my weekly weigh-in at my Weight Watchers meeting.

Starting Weight:            274.4
Last week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†202.6
This week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 202.8

Change since last week: +0.2 lbs

Total change since 04/19/11:   -71.6 lbs

Hmm… Gained .2 lbs this week. I am not sure what happened, I followed the plan all week, tracked, and stayed within my points target. I am sure I will see a good loss next week, so I am not too worried about this small gain.

I still have not come up with my reward for hitting my next goal of 199 lbs… any ideas??

Weekly Weigh-in: Week 29

Yesterday was my weekly weigh-in at my Weight Watchers meeting.

Starting Weight:            274.4
Last week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†206.4
This week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 202.6

Change since last week: -3.8 lbs

Total change since 04/19/11:   -71.8 lbs

I am SO close to my next goal (199.9 lbs)!! I was hoping to meet this goal by Christmas, and it looks like I will meet it by Thanksgiving! I have not decided on a reward for reaching this milestone yet… I need to get on that! I have not been under 200 lbs since sometime early in my Highschool years, so I am WAY excited ūüôā

 

Weekly Weigh-in: Week 28

Thursday was my weekly weigh-in at my Weight Watchers meeting.

Starting Weight:            274.4
Last week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†209.4
This week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 206.4

Change since last week: -3.0 lbs

Total change since 04/19/11:   -68.0 lbs

I posted this weigh-in last Friday, but the internets must have gotten hungry and eaten it, because I cannot find it anywhere now. Bad internets! Bad!

Anyway… another 3 lbs gone! Looks like I should meet my next goal (199 lbs) before Christmas. I am so excited ūüôā

Easy Cheesy Shepard’s Pie

This Shepard’s Pie does not have a gravy like traditional ones, but it is cheesy and delicious!

If you have never tried ground beef style soy crumbles, give them a shot! (I love the kind by Boca, but Morning Star has a good version too; they are in the freezer near veggie burgers.) Seriously, try them – you probably will not be able to tell the difference between them and cooked ground beef. Plus, they are super easy, fast, and¬†convenient. But the best thing about soy crumbles is that you can have 2/3 cup for only 2 points plus! I use them for nachos, spaghetti, chili… pretty much anything that called for cooked ground beef.

 

 

 

Easy Cheesy Shepard’s Pie 6 servings

one bag (24 oz.) frozen Green Giant Family Size Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower & Cheese Sauce
1 pouch Betty Crocker Cheddar & Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
2 cups frozen ground beef style soy crumbles
salt
pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place veggies & cheese sauce in a large microwave safe bowl. Cover and microwave 8-10 minutes until mostly thawed.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine potatoes with 2 cups hot water. Stir until thickened and set aside.

Spray an 8″x8″ baking dish with nonstick spray. Add frozen soy crumbles and spread out evenly. Spoon veggies & cheese sauce over the soy crumbles. Evenly top with mashed potatoes, using a spatula or spoon to smooth the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes, until filling is hot and potatoes are slightly crispy.

1/6 th of this recipe is 4 points plus 

 

Weekly Weigh-in: Week 27

Thursday was my weekly weigh-in at my Weight Watchers meeting.

Starting Weight:            274.4
Last week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†217.0
This week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 209.4

Change since last week: -7.6 lbs

Total change since 04/19/11:   -65 lbs

Wow, not sure how that happened…. I was back on the Weight Watchers plan after eating whatever I wanted while on vacation last week, but I did go over my daily points plus last Friday… And¬†I did not exercise AT ALL this past week.¬†I guess eating all the fried and fatty foods while on vacation was a shock to my system, and my body is much happier now that I am back to eating healthy low fat¬†foods. We will see how the next few weeks go; I may have to adjust my eating habits if I continue to lose this quickly.

For now, I am just super happy to be so close to my next goal (which is to make it below 200 lbs)!

Check back tonight for a new recipe post¬†ūüôā

Weekly Weigh-in: Week 25 + Week 26

Sorry I have been MIA the past couple of weeks… October 10 was my first wedding anniversary, so Mr. Veggie Pants and I took a nice little vacation to celebrate the past year of wedded wonderfulness. ‚̧

So I will post the results from my last two weigh-ins here, and then I will be back tomorrow with the results from tonight’s meeting. Plus, I have a yummy recipe that I can’t wait to share with you guys that I will be posting tomorrow¬†ūüôā

Week 25 (10-06-11)

Starting Weight:            274.4
Last week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†216.2
This week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 213.0

Change since last week: -3.2 lbs

Total change since 04/19/11:   -61.4 lbs

Woo hoo! Another 3 lb loss! I am over 1/2 way to my goal weight ūüôā

 

Week 26 (10-13-11)

Starting Weight:            274.4
Last week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 213.0
This week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 217.0

Change since last week: +4.0 lbs

Total change since 04/19/11:   -57.4 lbs

This¬†was the week that Mr. Veggie Pants and I were on vacation…. and I took the whole week off from Weight Watchers (obviously, lol) but it was SO worth it! I ate several things that I had not allowed myself to have in the last 6 months, like a chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-a, cupcakes, champagne, french fries,¬†full-fat cheese, fried fish,¬†and hush puppies.
I did still track everything I ate each day, and once I was back at home I calculated all the points.  I usually eat 33 points plus each day, and on last monday (our actual anniversary) I ate over 90 points plus!!! The sad thing is, that was a pretty typical day for pre-Weight Watchers me, so it is no wonder I ended up at almost 275 lbs last April!

This week, I have been back on the Weight Watchers plan 100% (although I have not exercised), so I hope to have at least lost the 4 lbs that I gained last week. We will see what happens when I step on the scale tonight…

BLT Mac & Cheese

This recipe (from Hungry Girl) makes 4 servings, but if you are cooking for more than ¬†2 people, double the recipe; it is so¬†incredibly¬†delicious, you will want leftovers ūüôā

BLT Mac & Cheese  (4 servings)
1 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat or high fiber penne pasta (I used Barilla plus)
2-3 yellow summer squash
3 cups spinach leaves, chopped
2 vine ripened tomatoes, diced *see note
4 wedges Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss Cheese
3 oz. reduced fat cheddar cheese, divided
2 Tbs fat free plain greek yogurt (my favorite is Fage total 0%)
1/4 cup precooked real crumbled bacon (I used Oscar Mayer real bacon bits)

In a large pot, prepare pasta al dente (firm) according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Cut squash into pieces similar in size to the pasta (about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick).

Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat. Add squash, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, uncovering occasionally to stir.

Add spinach and tomatoes to the skillet, and cook, covered, for one minute. Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach has wilted and any excess liquid has cooked off Рabout 2-4 minutes. Set aside.

Break cheese wedges into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl with shredded cheese and greek yogurt. Stir and microwave 30 seconds. Stir again and microwave another 30 seconds. Repeat until cheeses have fully melted. Mix until smooth.

Add cheese mixture, bacon, and cooked veggies to the pasta and toss to coat. If needed, bring to desire temperature on the stove, or place in a prepared baking dish and bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

*Once you dice the tomatoes, place them in a colander and rinse under cold water to get rid of seeds and goop to keep the mac from getting runny. (Mr Veggie Pants learned this little trick while working at a pizza joint)

1/4 of this recipe (about 1 cup) is 6 points plus.

I served with¬†asparagus¬†and a tenderloin steak for a fantastic dinner ūüôā

 

The squash is not really noticeable in this recipe; it blends in well with the penne pasta in color and texture. This dish is a great way to get picky eaters to get in some veggies, as long as they like or can get past the spinach. I really cannot describe how fantastically delicious BLT Mac & Cheese is, JUST TRY IT! ūüôā

Weekly Weigh-in: Week 24

Thursday was my weekly weigh-in at my Weight Watchers meeting.

Starting Weight:            274.4
Last week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†215.4
This week’s weight:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 216.2

Change since last week: +0.8 lbs

Total change since 04/19/11:   -58.2 lbs

So, I gained a little this week, even though I followed the plan 100%  and did not even use any weekly points. I think this gain was due to the fact that I may have been a little dehydrated last week due to a stomach bug I had on Wednesday and weighed in lighter that I really was. Also, I started a new birth control on Monday, and that could have caused a slight gain as well.

Whatever the reason for this gain, I am just going to accept it and move on. I will keep tracking my points and exercising, and I am positive that I will see a loss next week.