Thursday, December 1, 2011

Homemade (NOT FRIED) Chips and Dip! :)

So, this recipe came about since I have a few extra potatoes that have started to go bad. I went online and looked up 'microwave' chips and got some ideas. I did not want to use any oil (not even for coating) so I simply modified a couple of recipes and merged into one. Here we go!

1 russet potato (I'm sure whatever potato you have on hand would work fine!)
Cooking Spray
Seasoning (I prefer garlic salt! GET CREATIVE!)
Microwaveable Plate

I used my mandolin (THANKS MAMA!) to cut the potato into ultra thin slices. This could be done with a knife just as easily. Liberally spray the plate with cooking spray. Next, lay the slices in a single layer in the plate. Like this:

Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes. Take out the plate and flip the 'chips' - Careful, they are HOT. Cook for another 5 minutes. *Microwave times vary - watch them closely* Once the chips are browned and crisp on both sides remove from microwave.

Meanwhile, in a small dipping cup combine 1 tablespoon sour cream (reduced fat is my favorite) with a pinch of each of the following: minced onion, garlic salt, and chives! VOILA - Sour Cream and Onion Dip! :)

This was a PERFECT snack! Who doesn't chips and dip?!?!

This is a great way to get creative and use up those extra potatoes! My next adventure will be this method using sweet potatoes! :)

What are your favorite flavors of chips?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Betsy's Chicken Pot Pie

So, I LOVE my mama's chicken pot pie. However, I do not love the nutrition facts - no matter HOW yummy. I set my sights on trying to tweak her recipe to be a little healthier! I succeeded. Most of the fat and such came from the butter laden pie crusts. I chose to substitute reduced fat crescent rolls instead! This took off a lot of calories and fat! :) My boyfriend commented after eating the pie (which I made as more of a casserole): "You should open a restaurant!" Needless to say, it passed the taste test! :) I will post the way that I made it, followed by some ways to get creative! I put this in the recipe builder and got 9 P+ (6 Servings)

Betsy's Chicken Pot Pie

1 roll reduced fat crescent rolls 
10 oz rotisserie chicken (I had this in the freezer)
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
2 small cans reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1 potato (I diced and cooked this the night before in salted boiling water)
1 tablespoon onion powder
Garlic Powder - to taste
Mrs. Dash Table Blend - to taste - optional
Salt and Pepper - to taste

In a 9X12 baking dish, mix the chicken, vegetables, potato, seasonings and soup. On a large cutting board unroll the crescent rolls into one large sheet (I find using a pastry roller is the easiest way). Place the cresecent roll sheet on top of the chicken mixture. Spray with butter flavored cooking spray. Bake for ~45 min on 350 degrees. (or until the top is golden brown) ENJOY!

The finished product!
I served with steamed broccoli!
Here are some ways you could get creative!:
  • Use Simply Potatoes with Onion instead of cooking the potato yourself
  • Only bake 1/2 of the crescent rolls at a time (they get soggy)
  • Peel off the soggy rolls (if you are like me and didn't realize this until it was time to eat leftovers) and top with small biscuits!

This turned out delicious! (It is just as good heated up!)

What are some of your ways you get creative with your pot pie recipes?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Salad/Salsa

I'm not sure if you all experience what I experience, but EVERY TIME I buy cilantro it goes bad before I can use it all. Last night, I was craving some sort of corn and black bean salad/salsa. I went to my fridge and got creative! I absolutely LOVE the flavor of cilantro so mine has extra, but feel free to add to your taste level! Thanks to Katie for the onion powder suggestion since I was out of red onion and felt yellow would be too strong! Feel free to add/delete items to your taste buds - GET CREATIVE!

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn (thawed) - or 1 can corn
1 Roma tomato (seeded and diced) - or 1/2 cup canned diced tomato
1 red pepper (diced)
2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
2 tbsp chopped green chilies
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp crushed garlic
1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all items in a bowl. Stir and let chill! You can also serve immediately if you are impatient like me! ;)

I got 4 portions (1 cup per serving) clocking in at 4P+ each!

Serve with some Spanish rice, on top of a black-bean burger, with tortilla chips, on salad....ENDLESS possibilities!

Isn't it GREAT when you can 'use what you have' on hand to get a filling and delicious result?

What are some of your 'use what you have' recipes?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mama's Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

If anyone knows my mama (Kathy) you will likely agree that she is an AMAZING cook. She loves to cook for people - it gives her joy (and we all love to eat her food)! I was craving a 'homecooked' meal and decided to take a stab at her 'famous' roast with potatoes and carrots! I have made this recipe before, but it has been a few years. This turned out FABULOUS! What is even better is that it cooked all day so when I got home dinner was READY! :) This makes a LOT and will make a nice addition to the soup I plan on whipping up this weekend with the leftovers!

Kathy’s Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

1 Small Chuck Roast (mine was 2.5 lbs), trimmed
1 pkg. of Onion Soup
1 can of Beef Consommé
1 can of Golden Mushroom Soup
5 – 6 Idaho Potatoes (or whatever you have on hand/prefer)
Handful of carrots (or more if you like!)

Put all ingredients in crock pot on low. Cook all day.

**You might need to add a can of beef broth or water to cover the meat. - I added both!

Everything was set/prepped/etc. was ready to go the night before!

Quick assembly in the morning!

Finished (DELICIOUS) product!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tour De North Carolina

I know it has been a while since I've posted, but I have been BUSY! I was lucky enough to be able to go home to The Great State (North Carolina) for almost a week.  I thought I would share with you a few pictures as a 'guide' through my trip!

STOP #1: Greensboro, NC/High Point, NC

My little 'sister' Meredith lives in Greensboro and I had to lead a training session 20 minutes from there on Thursday, so we decided to have a slumber party! We went out to dinner with some of her friends from Law School (Hello, Half Priced Wine <3) then crashed for the night. We have been friends since we were little girls (our mom's are BFFs) and it's always nice to see her!

STOP #2 Raleigh, NC

Meet Grady! Grady is my new little nephew. I am so in love with this little boy! He's in the 95% for length - He's going to be TALL! :) I stayed with my brother and sister in law on Thursday night and got some good lovin' off of Mr. Grady!

Me and the LOVELY bride Janine

Me and my date (Brandle)!
Friday night took me to a dear friend's wedding! Janine married her college sweetheart Craig in a BEAUTIFUL ceremony in Apex, NC! I loved her dress/decorations/etc.! It was a fun event to start the weekend off right! :) Afterwards, Brandle and I headed to Raleigh to go out for a little while before I went home to Spivey's Corner.

STOP #3 Spivey's Corner

I always love being at home! I got to spend some quality time with my parents, grandparents, and cousins! :) I also went to eat lunch with my mama on Monday before heading to Raleigh for work part 2!

STOP #4 Raleigh (AGAIN)

Katie and I at the COM
(Source: Katie)
Monday night Katie and I had a recruiting event at a supply chain career fair at our Alma Mater (NCSU College of Management)!  We were able to teach two courses the following morning (Intro to Operations and a Procurement class)!

After playing professor, then had to immediately head back to Atlanta for some SAP training (THREE DAYS of it)! It was a great trip home and will be my last visit there until Christmas!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ranch Pasta Salad MAKEOVER!!

So, I have a slight obsession with pasta salad (okay, pasta in general). I came up with the idea to create my own pasta salad recipe that mimics the delicious (and pointy) Kraft Ranch and Bacon Pasta Salad! A couple of trial and errors later - I've SUCCEEDED! I thought this would be a PERFECT chance to share the recipe with you all! I love having pasta salad as a side to go with soup, burgers, etc! I know it is typically a "summer" food, but I enjoy it year round! :)

Betsy's Ranch Pasta Salad

6 oz dry Picollini Pasta with Fiber (this is new, so any whole grain/wheat pasta will work)
1 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables (cook in the microwave for 3 min with some water - DRAIN)
1/3 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise (I used Dukes Light - use what you have on hand!)
2 tablespoons dry ranch seasoning (Hidden Valley Ranch Dip packet)
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning (optional)

Cook pasta in lightly salted water and drain. While pasta is cooking, mix sour cream, mayo, ranch seasoning, and Mrs. Dash  in the bowl you plan on storing the salad. Add your cooked and drained mixed vegetables; stir. Next, add in your pasta and combine all ingredients. Chill for at least 2 hours. ENJOY!

I calculated 4 servings (~1.25 cups each) at 6 P+ on WW. You could also add Ham, Bacon, Chicken, etc. to get extra protein or to transition into a meal! (This would impact P+ values!)

TIP: This is even better after chilling overnight and makes a PERFECT lunch addition! :) I enjoyed it with a reduced sodium soup at hand today!

What are some of your favorite 'lightened up' recipe makeovers?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ready for the WEEKEND!

I am SO SO SO excited for this upcoming weekend.

1) I have 2 good girlfriends (Katie and Sehar) coming to town (we all lived in Atlanta until June of this year)! We have a training class for our jobs next week so they are coming to town before hand to have a day of shopping (and dining at our good friend Chef Matt's apartment)!

Katie and I have some REALLY exciting plans for Sunday. I asked (ok, BEGGED) for our company suite tickets for the TAYLOR SWIFT concert on Sunday. NEEDTOBREATHE is also opening up the concert and last year became one of my favorite Christian artists.This concert sold out MONTHS ago and Taylor had to reschedule back in July. Those of you that know me, know that I am slightly obsessed with Taylor's music and her! (Just ask my dad - I forced him to listen to her for 15 hours driving me to Atlanta from Chicago) Needless to say, I am SO excited for Sunday. Katie and I are going to make brunch (her sausage pinwheel recipe) then start the getting ready process. 
We also decided to go to Taco Mac at Phillip's Arena before the concert. Taco Mac has DELICIOUS food and you can take the pickiest of eaters there and they will still likely find something to eat! Katie and I both like the Shrimp and Avacado Salad. It is SUPER low in points without the cheese and using salsa as your dressing!
We are going shopping Saturday with Sehar to try to find me a new outfit! We are going for a cowgirl look! :) I'm sure I will take 1289797 pictures, so I will post some here!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RECIPE: Corn and Red Pepper Chowder!

In honor of this "fall like" weather we are experiencing here in beautiful Metro Atlanta, I wanted to share with all of you one of my favorite recipes! I found this recipe in an old Better Homes and Gardens magazine when they were featuring heart healthy recipes. Heart health is very important to me. Last year, I had two catheter ablations to fix an issue called SVT. I am HAPPY to report that since Thanksgiving of last year I have had NO heart problems! YAY! :) Taking care of your heart by eating right and exercise is probably the biggest gift you can give yourself!

Corn and Red Pepper Chowder (Better Homes and Gardens Magazine Feb 2010, with modifications)

5 cups frozen corn (I use 2 regular size bags, no need to measure)
2 leeks (cleaned and chopped - see below)
1 onion (chopped)
1 red pepper (chopped)
2 chicken bullion cubes (you can leave out the bullion and water and replace with reduced sodium chicken broth if you have it on hand - 2 14 oz cans)
4 cups water
3 tablespoons cilantro (or more if you'd like!)
1/8 tsp cayanne pepper (to taste, no need to be precise)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Take your 4 cups of water and add the chicken bullion and dissolve. Set aside. Next, take the leek and chop (white and light green parts only). Place leek into cold water and seperate then drain. (This is important to make sure all the dirt gets out!). Next, take the onion and sautee with cooking spray in a large pot or dutch oven . Add the leek and cook for 5 minutes until tender. 

Add the corn next and cook until the corn softens (~5 min). Add 2 cups of your chicken broth and bring to a boil reducing the heat once boiling. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until your corn is tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Transfer half of the corn mixture into a blender or food processor and add your cilantro. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to your pot.

Add the remaining 2 cups of broth and the chopped red pepper, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Heat through and enjoy!

When I put this into recipe builder, I get 5 P+ per serving (Total 6 Servings at 1 1/3 Cups per Serving). I have also added salad shrimp before reheating and want to try adding crab or rotissiere chicken! This will alter the P+ values, but will add protein! :)

While you are here, I would like to recommend checking out the American Heart Association's website! Lots of good ideas and recipes regarding a healthy heart can be found on their site! I personally like their Go Red for Women campaign and got a free cute red dress pin just for registering!

What do YOU do to keep your heart healthy?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello Monday!

So I have started of list of blog topics of things I feel are worthy of putting on here. Here are a couple of product reviews from some 'newer' items on the shelves that I have tried recently!

1) Snackwells
White Fudge Drizzled Caramel Popcorn:

Many of you might remember 'old school' snackwells. Fairly flavorless, boring packaging...but behold Nabisco has chosen to revamp the Snackwells brand and in turn have come up with a couple of new tasty treats! My first sampling of this delicious white chocolate covered Popcorn was over Memorial weekend when I visited one of my best friends in Raleigh. His mom works for Nabisco and had given him a couple of boxes. I expected it to taste kind of bland, but boy was I wrong! This white chocolate covered caramel popcorn is DELICIOUS! For only 3 Points+ for all you weight watcher friends out there it is a 'bargain' pointswise. There is just enough in the bag where you don't feel the need (okay, maybe you do) to open 10 bags! I highly recommend. (PS: the milk chocolate fudge drizzled is pretty good as well)

One thing I would recommend NOT buying from the new Snackwells line is their Rich Vanilla Creme Brownie Bites. These things are just very BLAND and not worth the money (or the Points+)!

2) Lean Cuisine Market Creations

One thing for sure, I LOVE to eat. I almost ALWAYS hate when the end of my meal is near. I must not be alone in this since Lean Cuisine has decided to come out with a line of 'larger' meals that come in steamer bags. These are typically included on the 4 for $10 or whatever sale your local grocer offers and it is a great value for lunches when you simply don't have time or energy and need a quick grab. I have tried a few different flavors that I have rated below! I have also tried one of the Weight Watcher Smart One bags, but being more expensive (typically) and less flavorful, the clear winner is Lean Cuisine! These meals have around 7 Points+ per bag!

Chicken Poblano: A- (A little spicier of a sauce would put this over the edge to an A+) - Thanks to my brother for recommending this one! Definitely the All-Start of the ones that I have tried!

Asiago Cheese Tortelloni:  B (Needs a little more salt - I also try to add more vegetables since there is plenty of sauce to go around)
Mushroom Tortelloni: B- (A little sweeter than I like my meals, but still VERY good)
Garlic Chicken: B- (Just your average chicken, broccoli and pasta...)

Good job to the folks over at Lean Cuisine! Keep these bigger (MORE FILLING) portions coming our way! My only suggestion would be ADD MORE VEGETABLES!

Okay - these were the top two reviews I have wanted to write for a while! I am always on the lookout for new products!

Do you have any new (or old) products that you just LOVE? I'd love to hear your comments/reviews as well!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Welcome...or should I say... HEY!

It is no secret to my family and friends that I am VERY opinionated. And, let's be honest I believe I am ALWAYS right. I wanted to find a way to express my views/opinions/reviews to the World. I was inspired by a good friend of mine (thanks Katie!) to start blogging. I already have a list of potential posts! I'm not so great with words (definitely did not inherit that from my high school English teaching mother), so please bear with me. While my posts may not be lengthy, I do hope you will enjoy.

Let me start with a little about me:
My name is Betsy Lynne Godwin (and YES, I am a Betsy by birth not an Elizabeth). I am VERY sassy 26 years old living in Atlanta, GA. I am originally (and always will be in my heart) from North Carolina. I grew up in a small town called Spivey's Corner (Home of the NATIONAL Hollerin' Contest) and went to college a mere 45 minutes away at North Carolina State University (GO PACK!).  After graduating from NCSU, I took at job with Newell Rubbermaid that moved me to a suburb of Chicago, IL. Knowing I would only be there for a year, I tried to make the best of it (weather and all). Needless to say, I was relieved to be moved back to the south and landed in Atlanta in the summer of 2009. Fast forward 2 years, I am still working for Newell Rubbermaid as an indirect buyer. I have a good job, a nice apartment, and a very handsome boyfriend (see picture of us below). Life here in Atlanta is good! North Carolina will ALWAYS be home, but Atlanta is starting to feel that way!

Now I want to discuss the purpose of this blog. It is my intent to start sharing some reviews on recipes, restaurants, and new products.  I am always on the lookout to try the 'next new' thing whether upon recommendation from a family member or friends, I tend to ALWAYS have an opinion! I am a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers (WW), so many of my recipes and such will be WW friendly. Of course NOT all will be WW friendly, what fun is life without a little indulging every now and then?

I do hope you enjoy reading my blog!