32 Italian Recipes (With Their SmartPoints)!

He may not look like it, but Mr. Big’s family is actually his “famiglia.” This is full-fledged Sunday sauce-making, salad AFTER the dinner eating, fully Italian family, which means that my weight loss journey was a bit of a challenge for my pasta-loving better half! LOL

So I’ve teamed up with the lovely ladies from Emily BitesSkinnyTaste and Simple Nourished Living to bring you 32 of our favorite Italian recipes – everything from appetizers and soups and salads & veggies to pasta, baked pastas and entrees. I’ve even included some yummy Italian-themed desserts! Check them out:

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Appetizers & Soups

Spaghetti Meatball Soup
6 SmartPoints

Skinny Mozzarella Sticks
3 SmartPoints

WW Italian Beef Lentil Slow Cooker Soup
4 SmartPoints

Baked Mini Spinach & Sausage Arancini
3 SmartPoints

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Minestrone
5 SmartPoints

Beef Carpaccio
2SP

Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup Made Lighter
6 SmartPoints

Slow-Cooker Meatballs Marinara
4 SmartPoints

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Salad & Vegetables

Caprese Salad
3SP

Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes
3SP

Sausage-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
1SP

Grilled Fennel with Lemon & Parmesan
1SP

Parmesan Zucchini Rounds
2SP

Easy Garlic Broccolini
1SP

 

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Pasta

Low Fat Baked Ziti with Spinach
8SP

Spaghetti Pie
9 SmartPoints

Skinny Artichoke Spinach Baked Pasta
9 SmartPoints

Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Peppers & Escarole
8SP

Baked Gnocchi Bolognese Skillet
9 SmartPoints

Penne Alla Vodka
10SP

Four-Cheese Sausage Stuffed Shells
8 SmartPoints

WW Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage and Kale
9 SmartPoints

 

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Entrees

Easy Baked Chicken Parmesan
6 SmartPoints

Slim & Saucy Chicken Marsala
4 SmartPoints

Sausage Tortellini Skillet
9 SmartPoints

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken
5 SmartPoints

3-Ingredient Crock Pot Italian Beef
2 SmartPoints

 

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Dessert

5-Ingredient Almond Cake with Fresh Berries
6SP

Cannoli Dip
6SP

Baked Pears with Walnuts & Honey
2SP

Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cups
3SP

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse
4SP

 

Wanna scroll back through some of our past Recipe Roundups? They are a treasure-trove of useful and delicious recipes every WW devotee should have!
 

1/8 – Best Winter Recipes

1/22 – Best Seafood Recipes 

1/15 – Best Brunch Recipes

2/5 – SuperBowl Sunday Appetizers & Buffet Foods

2/12 – Romantic Valentine’s Recipes

2/19 – Best Chicken Recipes

3/4 – Best Beef Recipes

3/11 – Best Tex-Mex Recipes

3/18  – Best Pork Recipes

3/25 – Best Asian Recipes

Twenty Questions With KATIE!

Each Tuesday we feature a different success story from the Trading Cardio for Cosmos community in a new segment called “Twenty Questions With…” Young, young at heart, marathon runners and those who can’t exercise at all, vegetarians, pescatarians, working mommas, work-from-home professionals and retirees. We’re going to showcase them all, because when you read about someone like you succeeding, I think it gives you the confidence that you too can succeed!

This week I want to introduce you to Katie, who has been working her Weight Watchers plan for the past nine months, while balancing being a mom to two toddlers! Katie’s messages about taking the leap, portion control, handling cravings and exercising moderation are things we can ALL learn from, no matter where we are in our journey! 

Now onto the questions:

1. Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.

Hello there! My name is Katie and I’m 33 years old from the beautiful small town of Placerville (Northern California). I’m a proud Momma of two girls, 4 & 3.

2. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?

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I started my journey on June 18, 2015. I weighed in to my first Weight Watchers meeting at my heaviest: 209lbs. At that point, I had just had family portraits done. When we got the pictures back, I could not believe how overweight and unhealthy I had let myself become. I never again wanted to be in a picture. Those pictures haunted me for a few weeks, before I decided to really TRY to do something about it.

3. What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?

Be patient and kind to yourself. Little by little you will get there but all good things come with time. I still tell myself this every week.

4. How much weight have you lost? If you are done losing, and are on to maintaining? How long have you been maintaining your loss?

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I have lost 54lbs and weigh in at 155. I’m still going! Now it’s just a challenge for myself to see how far I can go. It’s fun to see your body transform and feels great!

5. How do you keep your motivation up?

Keeping my end goal in the front of my mind keeps me going. I love going to the gym now! I never did before, and now I’m sorta addicted!

6. How do you handle cravings?

Well, my cravings usually have to do with chocolate. I keep a low-point chocolate bar with me at all times, just in case.

7. What are your top three tips for success?

a. Tracking is very important to my success.
b. Always having healthy food choices with me, wherever I go.
c. Working out.

8. Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?

I exercise 4-5 times a week, for about an hour at a time. I’ll use the treadmill for a warm up. Then hit the stairmaster, which is my favorite because it kicks my butt! Then weight machines and free weights. I do a large variety of different exercises so I don’t get bored.

9. What is your favorite breakfast?

I eat 2 scrambled eggs, ham and a fruit. I haven’t gotten into egg whites yet. If I make myself a good breakfast, it’s easier to get through the first half of the day without feeling hungry.

10. What is your go-to lunch?

Usually a sandwich with veggies and fruit on the side. I use Sara Lee delight bread, mustard, ham or turkey and a slice of cheese and wash it down with a big glass of water.

11. What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?

I like to mix it up for dinner, but it’s always a lean protein, veggies and a starch. It might be fajitas or a casserole. I just make everything on the leaner side. And of course, I exercise portion control. Saturdays are my cheat day and we usually go out to dinner. I like to have a cocktail or two and I’ll enjoy whatever it is that I want. I worked hard all week so I don’t feel bad splurging on my cheat day.

12. What kind of snacks do you like?

I like almond nut thins, fruit, carrots, celery, protein bar, string cheese.

13. What kind of desserts do you eat?

I LOVE dessert, my go to is the WW Caramel Chocolate Bar for 2SP. It does the trick for me.

14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?

I enjoy ALL adult beverages! My favorite is a really good margarita or Moscow mule. Champagne, wine….the list goes on and on. I will drink socially or on cheat days, but I don’t throughout the week.

15. What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?

I’m a lover of seafood. So I’ll order a nice fish with steamed veggies.

16. Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?

I try not to do fast food. If I do, it’s usually Chick Fil A and I’ll get the grilled nuggets.

17. Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?

Of course, Trading Cardio for Cosmos is always inspirational, and No Excuse Moms is fun to browse through.

18. Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?

I do love Skinnytaste and Emily Bites.

19. Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?

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20. What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?

If not now….when???? Have faith in yourself! Believe in yourself! You have the power to do it.

 

Katie, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Have questions for Katie? Share them in the comments below!

28 CHICKEN Recipes With SmartPoints!

I LOVE chicken. To me chicken is the ultimate blank canvas because you can season it with just about anything and still end up with something totally delicious.

And as I lose weight, chicken is also (a) inexpensive, (b) reheats well and (c) low in calories and/or SmartPoints. So chicken finds it’s way into my menu planning every week, and in order to keep myself from just grilled it with fresh herbs and lemon every single week, I rely on the fabulous ladies from SkinnyTaste, Emily Bites and Simple Nourished Living to help me spice it up with tons of fun recipes for appetizers, lunches, entrees and even slow-cooker options!

Check out these 28 recipes for chicken, and let me know your favorites in the comments below!

chicken skewerAppetizers

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps  3 SmartPoints

Thai Chicken Skewers With Peanut Sauce  5 SmartPoints

Hot Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Dip 3 SmartPoints

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs 1 Smart Point

 

Mediterranean-Chicken-Kebab-Salad

Lunch

Bangin Good Chicken Salad 6 SmartPoints

Mediterranean Chicken Kebab Salad 4 SmartPoints

Healthy Chicken Salad with Apples & Cranberries 4 SmartPoints

Coconut Chicken Salad with Warm Honey 4 SmartPoints

Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets 4 SmartPoints

Korean Grilled Chicken Breast 3 SmartPoints

Cream-Cheese-Stuffed-Everything-Chicken-5b.jpgDinner

Cream Cheese Stuffed Everything Chicken  7 SmartPoints

Chicken Fajitas 6 SmartPoints

Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir-Fry 4 SmartPoints

Cheesy Chicken & Stuffing 8 SmartPoints

Chicken Zoodle Lo Mein for Two 5 SmartPoints

Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Veggies 8 Smart Points

Weight Watchers Easy Baked Chicken Parmesan 6 SmartPoints

Cajun Chicken Pasta on the Lighter Side 8 SmartPoints

Chicken Milanese with Arugula & Tomatoes 6 SmartPoints

Cheesy Bacon BBQ Chicken 7 SmartPoints

Lighter Chicken Francese 4 SmartPoints

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Slow Cooker

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili 5 SmartPoints

Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala 4 SmartPoints

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Chicken 4 SmartPoints

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken 3 SmartPoints

Slow Cooker Chicken Marbella 5 SmartPoints

Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken Drumsticks 8 SmartPoints

Slow Cooker Caribbean Jerk Chicken Recipe 4 SmartPoints

 

Wanna scroll back through some of our past Recipe Roundups? They are a treasure-trove of useful and delicious recipes every WW devotee should have!
 

1/8 – Best Winter Recipes

1/22 – Best Seafood Recipes 

1/15 – Best Brunch Recipes

2/5 – SuperBowl Sunday Appetizers & Buffet Foods

2/12 – Romantic Valentine’s Recipes

2/26 – Best Italian Recipes

3/4 – Best Beef Recipes

3/11 – Best Tex-Mex Recipes

3/18  – Best Pork Recipes

3/25 – Best Asian Recipes

Twenty Questions With ALISON!

Each Tuesday we feature a different success story from the Trading Cardio for Cosmos community in a new segment called “Twenty Questions With…” Young, young at heart, marathon runners and those who can’t exercise at all, vegetarians, pescatarians, working mommas, work-from-home professionals and retirees. We’re going to showcase them all, because when you read about someone like you succeeding, I think it gives you the confidence that you too can succeed!

This week I want to introduce you to Alison, who is a five-year Weight Watchers Canada member who just made Lifetime in January! Alison has some great advice about balancing diet and exercise, and not missing any of what life has to offer! And anyone who makes Lifetime over the holidays is someone I want to learn from! You can follow her on Instagram at @Alison_Loves_WWlife!

Now onto the questions:

Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.

My name is Alison, and I’m 29 years old. I live in Edmonton, Alberta.

When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?

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My first time on Weight Watchers was in 2009 through an at-work program. A friend was joining and asked if I was interested and I thought “why not?” It worked well and I lost 40 lbs.

However, I then travelled Europe for 6 weeks, moved provinces for work, and through all of this I put the weight back on. I started attending meetings again in 2011 and this time I was able to reach Lifetime!

What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?

I wish that I had taken my body measurements and specific before pictures so that I could see the progression during my weight loss journey. As well, I think understanding how important it is to not get comfortable and just track what you think or assume is the right portion – I heard it, but maybe not enough!

How much weight have you lost? If you are done losing, and are on to maintaining? How long have you been maintaining your loss?

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I have lost 63 lbs and reached Lifetime on January 13, 2016, which meant finishing up my Maintenance over the holidays!

How do you keep your motivation up?

Seeing the success I’ve had while following Weight Watchers and how much I’ve changed both physically and personally continues to motivate me on a daily basis. As well, trying new activities, recipes, and exercises keeps me engaged and focused.

How do you handle cravings?

I’ve learned to tell the difference between a passing craving and a true craving. There are a lot of things I look at or see and think to myself “that looks good!” but I’m able to tell myself that I don’t need it today as it will still be around later. When I have a true craving I work it into my day and make sure I’m still focused on portion. And, when I take a bite and it’s not as good as I was expecting I don’t finish it.

What are your top three tips for success?

Have a buddy to hold you accountable and encourage you, positive self-talk, and setting small reasonable goals.

Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?

I started getting into an exercise routine a couple of years ago. I now go to the gym for about 5-6 hours a week. During the week I find that I get the best workout if I go right after work as I definitely get that boost of energy and release any tension from work. I love the elliptical for cardio, but also enjoy spin classes, and strength training. I also got into running two summers ago and am planning on running my first half-marathon in 2016.

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What is your favorite breakfast?

My current go-to breakfast is a fast and easy egg white omelette. I use spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, and peppers to bulk it up and top it with pico de gallo and fresh cilantro.

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What is your go-to lunch?

I love taking soups and salads to work for lunch. Lunch is usually my biggest meal of the day so I always make sure I have protein, veggies, and an apple. I also look forward to having a no-sugar added pudding for my dessert!

What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?

My weeknight dinners vary but I usually try to have something ready that doesn’t take long to prep after the gym. Chili, spaghetti squash, or a piece of fish with veggies are my usual choices. During the weekend I like trying new recipes, my recent favorite is creamy butternut squash curry quinoa with a side of spicy roasted brussel sprouts.

What kind of snacks do you like?

I eat many different types of fruit but I try to substitute veggies in at least twice a day. I enjoy raw veggies with a single portion guacamole or greek yogurt dip. My go-to snack before I hit the gym is fat free plain greek yogurt with frozen fruit and cinnamon. I also use low-fat or air popped popcorn for a treat in the evening. I always have something handy and find that small snacks throughout the day prevent me from going overboard if I get too hungry.

What kind of desserts do you eat?

I’m a bit of a chocoholic and therefore my favorite dessert is a low-fat frozen fudge bar. I also freeze sliced bananas and whip them up into an ice cream substitute.

What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?

I always enjoy a glass of wine, red or white, but try to save it for dinner out or drinks with friends.

What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?

I love ordering steak (cooked without oil and no sauce) when I’m dining out at restaurants. I don’t cook it at home and find that it’s a great choice, in terms of SmartPoints, especially when ordered with steamed vegetables and a glass of wine.

Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?

I don’t eat out very often at fast food places as I prefer using my points on trying new and different restaurants. However, when I need to, I usually go for a whole wheat pita or green salad with grilled chicken or prawns.

Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?

I enjoy following a variety of weight loss related accounts on Instagram. They motivate me, show me that I’m not the only one on this journey of ups and downs, and provide me with some great new meal ideas.

Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?

My all-time favorite website for healthy recipes is Skinnytaste. I have made many of her recipes and have gotten my family members all hooked on her Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili.

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Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?

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“Don’t exchange what you want the most for what you want in the moment”. I’ve had this posted on my fridge since the start of my Weight Watchers journey and it’s helped to keep me grounded and on the right track.

What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?

Don’t give up and live the program! It took me 5 years to reach Lifetime with many ups and downs and long lasting plateaus. But through it all I continued to go to meetings and get re-energized each week. I believed in the program and myself enough to stick with it…and it paid off!

 

Alison, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Have questions for Alison? Share them in the comments below!

 

24 Romantic Valentine’s Dinner Recipes (With SmartPoints)!

So this week is Valentine’s!
I can’t figure out if Mr. Big and I are going out to dinner or if we’re just going to stay home and make something yummy!
In case you and yours are staying home, I’ve gone ahead and compiled a Valentine’s Dinner Guide, thanks to our friends from SkinnyTaste, Emily Bites and Simple Nourished Living!
If you’re starting your Valentine’s Day with breakfast in bed, consider trying the SkinnyTaste Heart-Shaped Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes for 6SP!
But if it’s dinner you’re making, we’ve got 24 recipes for delicious appetizers, entrees and even desserts, so you can make your Valentine a delicious meal AND know your SmartPoints intake!

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Appetizers

Roasted Strawberry Brie Chocolate Mini Tarts – 2 SmartPoints 
Shrimp Cocktail – 0 SmartPoints
Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts – 1 SmartPoint
Baked Lump Crab Cakes With Red Pepper – 3 SmartPoints
Mesclun Salad with Pears & Blue Cheese – 4 SmartPoints
Avocado & Crab Salad – 5 SmartPoints
Sausage-Stuffed Balsamic Mushrooms – 1 SmartPoint
Sea Scallops, Arugula & Beet Salad – 6 SmartPoints

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Entrees

Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini Skillet – 10 SmartPoints
Miso-Glazed Broiled Pork Tenderloin – 3 SmartPoints
Chicken Piccata – 2 SmartPoints
Shrimp Zoodles Parmesan for Two – 4 SmartPoints
Bacon Cheddar Beer Risotto – 10 SmartPoints
Angel Hair Pasta With Scallops & Tomatoes – 8 SmartPoints
Chicken Milanese with Spinach & Burst Tomatoes – 5 SmartPoints
Pizza Chicken Roulades – 3 SmartPoints
Perfect Filet Mignon for Two – 5 SmartPoints

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Desserts

Chocolate Covered Strawberries – 2 SmartPoints
Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake – 6 SmartPoints
Cherry Cheesecake Cups – 5 SmartPoints
Mixed Berry Tartlet with Dark Chocolate – 5 SmartPoints
Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cups – 3 SmartPoints
Skinny Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones – 8 SmartPoints
Mini Cinnamon-Apple Tarts – 2 SmartPoints

What about you? What’s your favorite recipe for a romantic dinner at home?