Chicken Goulash – 5 Points

It is no surprise that groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year.  As a native Californian, sometimes winters in Northern Virginia seem to go on forever. Currently, it is a cool rainy day, the kind of day that makes you wish for a filling warm dish.

Today’s recipe is Chicken Goulash. Due to the popularity of probiotic foods, sauerkraut has become somewhat popular lately. I have always loved sauerkraut, especially when paired with caraway seeds – the pairing is perfection. I think that Penzeys Bavarian Seasoning lends the dish a wonderful medley of spices – if you don’t have it, however, you can substitute a teaspoon of thyme instead. Finally, I use chicken thighs because they add more flavor to the dish; you can substitute chicken breast, but it won’t have the same flavor.  This is also a great dish to use up leftover turkey – light and dark meat. I like to serve it with egg noodles, although it would also be good with rice.


Serves 8 (1-cup servings)

Chicken Goulash – 5 Points

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

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  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs - chopped into 1” chunks
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Penzey's Bavarian Seasoning


  1. Season the chicken with the salt and paprika.
  2. Heat Instant Pot on “more” sauté setting and coat liner with cooking spray. Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add the oil to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the browned chicken back to the pressure cooker, and add the drained sauerkraut.
  6. In a blender, combine chicken broth, sour cream, flour, and caraway seeds. Blend until smooth and pour over the chicken, onions and sauerkraut. Add Bavarian Seasoning.
  7. Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Use quick release.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.
Cuisine: German | Recipe Type: Low-fat, Stew, Poultry
262 cal
12 g
7 g
29 g

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One Pot Hamburger Stroganoff – 11 Points

Do you ever have those days when life is so hectic that when dinner time rolls around you are too tired to plan a meal that includes a protein, a starch, and veggies?  Do you want to increase your repertoire of one-pot meals?

Today, I am going to share a recipe that is great in terms of flexibility and will please those of your family who are watching their weight and those who aren’t. You can use lean ground beef or regular ground turkey – whatever you have on hand.  Or, to shave off 2 Points per serving, use ground turkey breast.  It also don’t matter which medium shaped pasta you use. You could even mix your leftover partial boxes. Finally, if your family doesn’t like asparagus, feel free to substitute in another vegetable like broccoli, fresh green beans, or cauliflower.

This stroganoff quickly became a family favorite in our house; I make it every few weeks.  It is easy and economical, and, given that my family can’t get enough mushrooms or asparagus, they are always happy when this graces our dinner table. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Serves 6 (1 1/2 servings)

One Pot Hamburger Stroganoff – 11 Points

10 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

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  • 1 pound ground beef (93%) or ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 12-16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups medium shaped pasta (penne, rotini, shells), uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh asparagus cut into 2" pieces


  1. Set your pressure cooker on the brown setting. Brown the ground beef with the garlic powder and onion. Drain off the excess fat.
  2. Stir in the mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, beef broth, white wine, penne, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Place the lid on pressure cooker and lock in place. Pressure cook for 6 minutes on high. Quick release the pressure and remove the lid.
  4. Add the asparagus and stir. Lock the lid and set for 0 minutes at high pressure. Quick release the pressure. Remove the lid.
  5. Fold in cream cheese until melted; then stir in the sour cream. Finally, add the lemon juice and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve in large pasta bowls.
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Stew, one pot meal, beef, poultry, pasta


You can use either lean ground beef or regular ground turkey for the same amount of Weight Watchers Freestyle Points - your preference.

You can use ground turkey breast to drop the meal to 9 Freestyle Points per serving.

If you want to add more protein, you can add as much ground turkey breast as you like without altering the point value.



Greek Lemon Chicken Soup – 1 Point

I am always happy when I get a note in my inbox from Damn Delicious –  Chungah Rhee’s recipes are always fresh and excellent!

When I received an email last week about her Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, I knew that I had to make it.  Who wouldn’t love chicken, lemon, beans, and spinach? Here is the link to her original recipe:

Chungah uses 2 tablespoons of oil and chicken thighs in her recipe, both which can be altered to be more Weight Watcher friendly.  You can easily half the oil – using 1/2 tablespoon for browning the chicken and then sautéing the onions, celery and carrots. The other alteration is to substitute chicken breasts for chicken thighs.  With those two simple changes, you have a hearty soup that is only 1 Weight Watchers Point per serving.

The other changes I made were to modify the directions for cooking the soup in the Instant Pot/an electric pressure cooker.  I think that this recipe is actually better in the Instant Pot than on the stove top because some of the beans, under pressure, break down to make the broth thick and creamy without adding any fat or additional carbohydrates.

Directions for the Instant Pot:

1. Dice your chicken breasts into small pieces – 1/2” cubes at the largest.

2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in the Instant Pot set on sauté.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then add the chicken to the pot and brown on several sides – approximately 8 minutes. Scoop the chicken out with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.

3. Sauté the onion, celery, carrots and garlic in the other 1/2 tablespoon of oil and whatever chicken juices were left behind for 4-5 minutes – until the onion is translucent.

4. Add the chicken back into the pot, along with any juices that have gathered in the bowl. Pour in the chicken stock, drained beans, bay leaves, and thyme.  Stir.

5. Lock the lid and set for 8 minutes at High Pressure.

6. Use quick pressure release.  Stir in the spinach (I will admit to using closer to 8 cups of spinach). After it has wilted, stir in lemon juice, fresh parsley and fresh dill. Salt and pepper to taste.

Yields 8 2-cup servings. Each serving is only 1 Weight Watchers point.

Black Beans in the Pressure Cooker – 0 Points!

One of the best parts of the Weight Watchers Freestyle Program, if you were to ask me, is that beans are now zero points.  I could easily eat beans every day.  My 16 year old’s snack-of-choice after school is a large bowl of beans and rice.

So, in this household, beans and cheese are even a more popular comfort food than mac and cheese.  A bowl of warm beans, even without the cheese (when I’m watching Points), leaves me full and satisfied.  And if you prepare them without fat, they are good for you! (in addition to being 0 points)

Hey, have I mentioned that my favorite 0 point breakfast on a cold day is to cook an egg over-easy in my mini non-stick pan that I have just for egg frying and to put that on top of 1/2-1 cup of warm black beans and eat it all together? You *must* try it! And, well, if you have some extra points to spare, top with 1/4 avocado diced and/or 1/4 shredded reduced-fat cheese.

Let me take a minute to talk about spices here.  If you are looking for an easy way to kick all your cooking up a notch or two, invest in good spices and spice blends.  My favorite source for spices is Penzeys – they are both online and brick and mortar stores across the country. I shop with them at least once a month and you will often see their spice blends in my recipes. In my bean recipe, for example, I recommend using Arizona Dreaming which is a spice blend that lends a Mexican flavor to anything you use it on. No need to look for and measure out a collection of cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder, etc., because it is all in the blend and perfectly balanced. Penzey’s also usually has spice giveaways when you buy a certain amount – the current offer is a free 1/4 cup of Sunny Paris and a 1/4 cup of Cracked Rosemary. (disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Penzeys in any way, and don’t receive anything from them other than what I buy for my personal use).

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Dark Beer Balsamic Pork Stew – 8 Points

It has been bone-chilling cold this winter. My poor dogs have had to live with shortened walks, because I turn for home long before they want to. And the only thing that will help set me right again is consuming something hot.  Long gone are the cold meals that I crave in the summer – no poached fish or meal-sized salads – I need a bowl of something steaming to warm my soul.

This is stew weather.

Here is my family’s favorite stew recipe.  It is a bit more work than many of my recipes, but it is worth the extra steps; otherwise, the vegetables would be mushy due to overcooking. Everything is added in stages so that, in the end, all components of the stew are cooked to perfection. The bonus is that this is a true one pot meal – your starch and veggies are in there along with the protein/meat.

If you want a vegetable side dish, you might want to look at serving this stew with Creamy mashed cauliflower and potatoes. Another good side would be a hearty winter vegetable like Brussels sprouts or butternut squash.

Newcastle Brown Ale is my favorite beer to cook with, although you could use some Guinness Stout instead.  If you don’t want to use any alcohol, feel free to use another cup of broth instead of the beer.

Serves Yields 8 1-1/2 cup servings

Dark Beer Balsamic Pork Stew – 8 Points

A hearty low-fat stew that can be made in the Instant Pot.

15 minPrep Time

45 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

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  • 3 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes, patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped medium dice
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 pounds red potatoes cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 5 carrots cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 4 stalks celery cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


  1. Place pork in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into the pressure cooker heat on saute.
  2. When the oil starts to shimmer, working in 2 batches to prevent overcrowding, add pork. Sear for a brown crust - 3-4 minutes per side. Place browned pork in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat another tablespoon of oil in empty pan; add onion and sauté until softened, around 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape up any browned bits of pork sticking to the bottom of the pot - your pot may have difficulty coming to pressure if the bottom of the pan is coated. Use 1/4 cup of water, if necessary, to help you get as much up as possible - it will add a wonderful flavor to your onions. Add garlic, thyme, rosemary and oregano; cook until fragrant, around 1 minute.
  4. Add the pork back to the pot and add 1 cup of the chicken broth, the beer, vinegar and sugar.
  5. Set on high pressure for 8 minutes. Use quick release for the pressure.
  6. Add cubed potatoes and cook at high pressure for 4 minutes.
  7. Add carrots, celery, and the ¼ cup flour whisked in the remaining cup of broth. Cook at high pressure for 2-3 minutes, depending on how firm you like your vegetables. Use quick release for pressure.
  8. Stir in salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  9. Serve 1 1/2 cup portions in soup bowls for a filling meal.
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Stew, low-fat, Weight Watchers


Buffalo Wings in the Instant Pot and Oven – 10 Points (Freestyle)

There are some foods that will never be low in terms of Weight Watchers points and still taste like what made you fall in love with them in the first place.  For me, these foods include pizza, cheese enchiladas, and buffalo chicken wings.  Thankfully, the new Freestyle  program allows for the occasional treat.

For me and my boys, the food of choice for a big football game is buffalo wings.  So, from September through the Super Bowl, wings are consumed every couple of weeks.  For me, there is little more disappointing food-wise than soggy, fatty wings.  Wings must be crisp.  Crisp. Crisp. I would rather not eat wings than eat them with flaccid skin.

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Jackfruit Coconut Curry – 2 Weight Watchers Freestyle Points

Finally back to my blog and back on Weight Watchers…

Sometimes life gets in the way of the things we want to do.  I love cooking and developing new recipes, but as challenges with my 16 year-old with Autism have grown more severe, I haven’t had the time to update my blog and share.  But, I’ve missed it, so I am back!

Weight Watchers Freestyle Program has changed quite a few point values, making some of my favorite foods lower or zero points, so I am a happy camper.

Today, I am going to share a recipe I developed using canned jackfruit. Jackfruit has become popular in American culture, because with the popularity of Forks Over Knives eating, it can be used as a vegan meat substitute.  Like tofu, it takes on the flavor of the sauce it is cooked in.  And, if you remove the core, the flesh of the fruit can be shredded once cooked, giving it the texture of shredded/pulled chicken, pork, or beef.

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