Spicy Tomato Soup with Chicken Meatballs

I was never able to open the pictures my sister took on Sunday, but our friends gave us some old pictures that had me laughing.  I know I’ve talked about having glasses as big as my face before, but what’s with the giant mumu flower printed dresses?

I think these were both taken in 1996 – this picture below was when my sister was 7 months pregnant with her son who just turned 16!  Because you really can’t tell which one if us is pregnant, I am on the right side.

I know why I wore those shapeless dresses.  I somehow had the illusion that no one would realize I was fat and it would “hide” the fat, but in retrospect, they only make me look bigger!   I was only 28 in those pictures – it seems like such a lifetime ago. 😀

So I decided to do the Simply Filling plan yesterday.  I thought my breakfast would be perfect – I made another breakfast parfait, this time leaving out the granola to save on my flex points – this one was pommegranate Chobani, apple and banana.  It wasn’t until I entered my breakfast into eTools AFTER I ate it, that I realized only plain Greek yogurt is on the simply filling plan, so my breakfast was 4 points, leaving me with 30 for the rest of the week.  Sadly I left my camera at home – after I took my lunch pictures, my battery was low so I was charging my camera in my bosses office and walked off without it.  Um, pretty sure you’ve seen your fair share of my parfaits though! 😀

I worked through lunch yesterday so no run/walk – it was actual normal 40ish degrees when I left the house this morning!

I did, however, come up with a super tasty spicy tomato soup.  All the ingredients were on the “super food” list, except for the bread crumbs.  Half a cup of bread crumbs is 5 points, so divided by 4 servings, this was 1.25 Simply Filling points, 8 WW points if you are counting points, and 348 calories, 11 fat, 17 carbs, 1.45 fiber and 36 protein if you count calories.  Whew!

Spicy Tomato Soup with Chicken Meatballs

  • makes four servings:  2 1/4 cups of broth and 10 meatballs.  I love balls.

Ingredients for Balls:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the soup:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I added 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper to each batch of meatballs I seared)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, packed in water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

I tend to be a throw everything in the pool kinda cook.   Throw all the ingredients for the balls in a food processor and pulse until it has the texture of ground beef.  Shape into 40 balls and cook in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and Pam over pretty high heat – you want to sear the outside, but not cook them all the way through.

Next, in a large stock pot – add all the soup ingredients, except the apple cider.  Using a stick blender, I blended the tomato mixture, then added the balls into the soup and simmered for about 15 minutes, or until the balls are cooked through.  Remove from heat and add the apple cider vinegar and adjust the salt if needed.  Serve with cilantro.

Luckily I had taken pictures over the weekend when I made this soup – this is such a flavorful soup – spicy, but flavorful spicy.  And super filling – get it, since I am doing the Super Filling plan on WW?!  I crack myself up sometimes. 😀

I had beef stroganoff on the menu – but my version literally is ready in about 15 minutes.  The only thing that takes a while is boiling the water for the egg noodles.  Except egg noodles aren’t a super food, so I nuked a spaghetti squash for myself.

Skippy, I am sorry to keep showing you my cheap meat prices!  I bought two of these for our dinner.

My other secret weapon – a packet of brown gravy.  Literally ready in about 3 minutes.  I sauteed mushrooms for Tony to add to his.

My store sells these 2/$1 and sometimes they go on sale 4/$1 and I stock up.  1/4 cup of gravy is only 20 calories!

My plate – sorry this is a bad picture, but this was tasty.  Spaghetti squash, beef, brown gravy and chopped baby spinach.  All on the Simply Filling plan. 😀

Don’t forget to enter your BSI – Pasta recipe.  Either leave your link in the comments section of this post, or email me your recipe at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com and I’ll post it for you on recap day.

Come back tomorrow for a Lighter Corn Chowder Soup – I am switching back to counting points today – love that you can switch back and forth!

Make it a great day!

BSI – Breakfast Winner!

Thanks for everyone who submitted their entries for BSI – Breakfast!  In no particular order:

Brianne Made Chocolate Almond Banana Oatmeal:

Tami made Buttermilk Spice Muffins:

Debbi made Southwest Sweet Potato Hash:

Jacky made Breakfast Quinoa with Blueberries and Pineapple:

Sara made Oatmeal Griddle Cakes with Greek Yogurt:

Rhonda made a Breakfast Lunch and Dinner Waffle:

Lisa made Crockpot Breakfast Casserole (thanks to Google images for the picture!)

Jane made Gluten Free Sourdough Pancakes (and shows how to make a sourdough starter!):

AND THE WINNER IS . . . Sara with her Oatmeal Griddle Cakes.  I was basically a bit jealous because her oat pancakes looked so much better than mine!  Send me your mailing address to mybizzykitchen@gmail.com.  Congrats!

This week’s BSI – PASTA!   I am thrilled that Veronica of Veronica’s Cornicopia has offered the prize this week.  Her sister owns a shop in Kansas and she makes handmade soaps.  You can check out the pictures of her super cute store here.   I know that homemade lemon grass soap will be in the prize basket.  Thanks again Veronica for offering up the prize!  And you can order her products on line here – not too late for some unique Easter gifts!

Again, just leave a link to your pasta recipe in the comments section, or send them to me at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com if you don’t have a blog.  This doesn’t have to be a new recipe this week, feel free to use your archieves!  You have until Sunday, April 1st to get your entries in.  Good luck! 😀

We had such a nice time at twinfest yesterday.  But I forgot my camera!  I am still waiting for my sister to forward me some of the pictures, I’ll update the post when I get them.  Um, let’s just say I counted points yesterday, as my breakfast and lunch were not Simply Filling friendly!  I had a 2 ounce whole wheat bagel for breakfast, and then lunch was our traditional sausage pan pizza, and I had a small sliver of cake.  Thanks for a great afternoon D&D and it was good to see you Jenn!

The Sandwich King’s Pretzel Hot Dog

Of course the day I decide that I am going to follow the Simply Living plan on WW, I knew that I was going to make The Sandwich King’s Pretzel Bun Hot Dog for lunch.  But I did okay for breakfast and dinner, and it’s all about balance, right? 😀

I knew that regular oats are a power food so I decided to see if I could make pancakes out of oats.  I kind of kept adding stuff to the mix and this is what I came up with:

Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Pancakes

  • Makes 2 pancakes – 3 points from 49 weekly fun points

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons fat free half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons water (batter was too thick before)
  • 1/2 cup regular oats
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour (left over from when I was doing Paleo)
  • 1/4 baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated Splenda
  • 1 banana sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chocolate chips

I put all the dry ingredients in my mini chopper and blended well.  Then added everything and mixed just until combined.

These actually weren’t too bad – kind of like eating oatmeal in pancake form.  It didn’t have the fluffy texture I was looking for, but the flavor was good.  And these kept me full a long time!

So yet another Sandwich King creation.  I’ve made his Meatball sandwich with hot peppers.  I’ve made his Roast Beast Master sandwich with onion rings.   And I’ve made the Sandwich Kings fries.  So now I bring you The Sandwich King’s Pretzel Bun Hog Dog.  Holy cow – this one is a winner, winner, lobster dinner.  The pretzels aren’t too hard to make, you just need time to let the yeast bloom, and it rests for 45 minutes, and you boil them before baking.  I know it sounds complicated, but trust me, even if you’ve never worked with yeast before, you can make this!

Pretzel Hot Dog Buns:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 small cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • Pretzel salt or coarse ground sea salt, for sprinkling

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, 1/2 cup water, sugar and honey to 105 to 110 degrees F. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the water mixture and wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes until the yeast blooms.

In a separate saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and garlic and cook until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine the all-purpose flour and bread flour in a mixing bowl.

Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the blooming yeast, and then add in the melted butter and garlic mixture. Mix on medium speed until the dough has come together and is smooth and elastic in texture and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes.

Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board and form into a ball. Cut into 4 equal pieces, and then cut those in half to form 8 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a ball and place onto a prepared baking sheet. Cover with a dish cloth and let them rest in a warm place for 12 to 15 minutes.

Once rested, lightly dust your work surface again and roll the balls into 7-inch logs. Place onto the other prepared baking sheet, cover, place back in the warm spot and let rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place one oven rack high and one low. Line 2 more baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

In a large pot, bring 8 cups water to a boil, and then add the baking soda. In batches, place the dough in the water and cook for 30 seconds on each side.

Using a slotted spatula, remove the logs and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the logs with pretzel salt as they come out of the water, to ensure the salt sticks. Then cut 3 diagonal slits on top of the bread, not too deep.

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, rotating between the top and bottom racks of the oven halfway through the cooking.

You need to make sure that the milk mixture isn’t too hot, otherwise it will kill your yeast.  I use my meat thermometer.

Even if you’ve never worked with yeast before, this is a pretty simple recipe.  The end product was soft on the top, but crunchy on the bottom.  I didn’t make the cheese sauce, but I had spicy mustard and pickled jalapenos on mine.

Um, there was no power foods in my lunch, so it “cost” me 12 points, but I still have 34 points for the rest of the week and I think I’ll be okay. 😀  Totally worth it!  The bun comes in at 8 WW points, or 300 calories, 3.8 fat, 56 carbs 1.9 fiber and 8.7 protein.  Winning!

For dinner I made filet mignon – in the sale bin two for $4!  I had a baked potato on the side with some green beans, so I only had to count the butter for 2 points.

Then after dinner Tony and I watched The Guard on Demand.  It was really good!

It’s twinfest today!  Going to celebrate our birthday with our best friends – its gorgeous today!

Don’t forget, last day to enter your breakfast BSI recipe – simply leave a comment or email me at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com.  The round up and winner will be announced in tomorrows post.

Enjoy your Sunday!  And make the pretzel buns – you’ll thank me later. 😀

Weekly WI and Simply Filling

Morning!  It was super foggy this morning and we actually have spring like temperatures.  When I left at 7:45 to go to WW, it was a cool 54 degrees – love it!  So you know I was all over the map this week, I only exercised three times this week, I had mindless eating AND it was my birthday week.  So I will happily take my WI:

But I had to step back and really think about how I ate before I lost 70 pounds in 1999 and how far I’ve come since then.  It wasn’t unusual for me to eat a Burger King croissant breakfast with potato rounds and a large regular Coke for breakfast, probably McDonald’s 10 piece chicken nuggest supersized with more Coke.  Dinner would be deep fried tacos with cheesy nachos, and probably a couple nights a week I even threw in a frozen pizza after Hannah went to bed.  Is it a wonder I weighed 210 pounds?

I am happy to say that I used up the last of my birthday flank steak yesterday.  I made an English muffin egg sammie with 2 ounces of flank steak, 1 egg, 1/2 ounce cheese, spinach with strawberries on the side.

It was super rainy yesterday, but I found my break to walk/run yesterday – I ended up walk/running for 55 minutes!  Just as soon as I came back inside though, the skies opened up and it rained pretty much the rest of the afternoon – lucky!

So the rest of the flank steak made up these mini tacos – so filling and delicious – I didn’t photograph them, but I had an ounce of tortilla chips and salsa on the side.  I am pretty sure I got at least six meals out of that flank steak – love it!

Since it is Lent, no meat for Tony.  I picked up this $3.99, 14 inch pizza at Dominick’s – it was just cheese, but I added sauteed mushrooms, green olives and black olives on Tony’s side, and I had pepperoni and pickled jalapenos.  😀

So I didn’t count points yesterday, but my total calories, etc. for the day:

  • 1563 calories
  • 70 fat
  • 153 carbs
  • 15 fiber
  • 82 protein

One of the topics we talked about at WW today was the simply filling program.  I am still tweaking my April challenge, but I have decided this week I am going to follow the Simply Living WW program.  You just eat off the super food lists, eat until you are satisfied, and only count points for basically the “fun stuff.”   For example, if you ate oatmeal, skim milk and blueberries, those are all on the super foods list – however, if you add chocolate chips and walnuts, you count the points for those.  And yes, if you have wine, that is a “fun stuff” item and the points have to be counted.  You get the same 49 points for the week just on the points plan.

Should be interesting!  And don’t forget – tomorrow is the last day to enter your Breakfast BSI recipe – it doesn’t have to be a new this week recipe, you can pull from your archieves! 😀

Enjoy your Saturday!  Hannah had to go to work before I got back from WW – I found this:

Thanks Hannah! 😀

Calories v. WW Points

I was chopping veggies and making salad dressing yesterday morning and suddenly I looked up and realized I had to leave the house in ten minutes!  Thankfully, you all know I am low maintenance, and was out the door in 8 minutes.  Can I just be thankful that my hair is long enough to put back in a pony tail? 😀  But since I was spending so much time (okay, really it was only 10-15 minutes) on my lunch I quickly grabbed a Pommegrante Chobani and one of the oranges my MIL gave me.  I knew I had granola in my desk (the only thing that now resides there, thank you very much!) so yet another breakfast parfait.  I’ll explain the *** below.  By the way, I never thought citrus would work in a parfait – I was so wrong – it was delicious!

  • 338 calories, 3.28 fat, 62 carbs, 6.2 fiber and 18.25 protein ***
  • technically 7 WW points
  • total calorie points – 9 WW points

It was another hot one in Chicagoland yesterday, 81 when I left to run.  I ended up walking at a pretty good pace for 50 minutes, enough to sweat and raise my heart rate!  I saw lots of green!

And you can never get enough blue sky pics, right?

I have Smokin Chestnut to thank for my Mango Chicken Salad with Spicy Ginger Dressing.  I brought this to a co-worker to share, and he said “I’d Pay to Eat That in a Restaurant.”  Best words a cook likes to hear, right?

I did adapt it somewhat, based on what I had on hand.  I also reduced the amount of oil.  I am doing the dressing stats separately, since I thought the dressing was enough for 4 servings.  I just used a heaping tablespoon of the dressing and tossed it in a ziploc bag and the veggies were not over dressed in the least.

Spicy Ginger Dressing:  (4 servings, each one is 67 calories, 6.5 fat, 1.6 carbs, .2 fiber and 2.5 protein)

  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha (yep, a tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I didn’t have rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ginger pepper sauce ***

Mix well.  I put this in a baby jar with a lid to bring it to work.  Just a quick shake and a pour and I was good to go.

***  This is the ginger pepper sauce I used – I think Tony got it at Fresh Market or World Market – I’ll find out – its addicting!

Mango Chicken Salad (2 servings: 237 calories, 2.7 fat, 27 carbs, 5 fiber and 28 protein)

  • 5 ounces grilled chicken breast
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peapods
  • 1 chopped hot pepper (not sure what they are called – they were from my PIL) 😀
  • 1/2 a mango, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

I had the chicken in a separate bag (leftover from last nights chicken gyros) and when it got time for lunch, I separated half the chicken and half the salad into two ziploc bags, then tossed each with a heaping tablespoon of the ginger dressing, tossed and plated.  I borrowed Hannah’s tiny grater – she got it in a hot chocolate kit – it was meant to grate chocolate over cocoa, but I love using it to grate ginger and nutmeg.

I loved, loved, this salad.  It was bright, the veggies were crisp, the dressing wasn’t too overpowering and the chicken was still super tender.  And the hot peppers that my PIL gave me were a nice balance to the sweet mango.

I luckily was able to grill before the rain came through.  Before I met Tony, I never in a million years would have grilled a chuck roast.  I had always thought that cut of meat had to be cooked low and slow.   I cut the roast in half, put the second half in the freezer, and simply seasoned with salt and pepper.  This was relatively thick – I seared it on both sides for about 3 minutes a side, then set it on the top rack of my grill and it took about 30 minutes to get a nice medium rare.

I sliced 4 ounces of meat (eTools says 8 points?), served over chopped baby spinach, 1 cup egg noodles (5) and quick beef gravy sauce  (2).  This dinner was delicious – the meat was super flavorful and tender.

So if you’ve made it down this far, you are probably wondering what the hell my Calories v. WW Points conversation is all about.  After annoucing that I need to step up my game and that I plan on making some changes come April 1, my dear blog friend Helen sent me a long email.   She’s lost 20 pounds and reshaped her body these last few months following a Paleo diet.  She is an avid runner and is into muy thai (Helen, I know I didn’t spell that right!).  In any event, she reiterated in her email what I was already thinking about, and that is, calories matter.

She notes that I’ll say “1 tsp. of brown sugar is zero points” “2 cups of veggies is zero points” “3 servings of fruit is zero points!”  The truth of the matter is, that Helen believes there is really no such thing as zero point food.  Whether you do low carb, WW, Paleo, etc. calories do matter.  So after everything into eTools:

  • My total WW points for the day?  31 points.
  • If I use eTools calculator using the total calories consumed (1359 calories, 39 fat, 174 carbs, 17 fiber and 93 protein)
  • It is actually 36 points.
  • (51% of calories from carbs, 26% from fat and 23% from protein)

Not that 5 points is going to make that much difference in a day, but let’s just say I eat my activity points, that would be 4, which would be a total of 40 points for the day, or basically 14 over my daily points of 26 for the day.  I know I have my 49 flex points to take into consideration, but let’s just say this is my normal scenario, which it usually is, my 14 daily overage now is 98 extra points in a 7 day time frame, which is nearly double the 49 flex points allowed.  So the fact that I have maintained this past year really isn’t so much of a mystery to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the WW program, I like the weekly weigh ins, the accountability, the fact that they steer you away from processed food.  I just think I have to be a calorie counter first, a WW points person second.

What are your thoughts?  Danica, TJ, Renee, I am especially interested in hearing what you have to say!

I am still tweaking my plan for April – so far my goals will be to eat between 1400-1500 calories, under 100 grams of carbs, limiting my bread/grain carb consumption to just one meal a day and use the rest for fruits and veggies, keeping my percentage of calories from fat around 25% and try to up the fiber.  Oh, and exercise like a mo-fo! 😀

Oh, and Helen wants me to count points for wine – no fair! 😀