Bright Beginnings Preschool

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Sharing some of my favorites.  Hope you will enjoy too!

O point Weight Watcher Vegetable Garden soup.  


2/3 cup sliced carrot (I used shredded already in a package)

1/2 cup diced onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups fat-free broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)

1 1/2 cups diced green cabbage

1/2 cup frozen or fresh green beans

1/2 cup diced zucchini

1 can tomato paste

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt


In large saucepan, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, saute the carrot, onion, and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 min.

Add broth, cabbage, beans, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and salt; bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer, covered about 15 min or until beans are tender.

Stir in zucchini and heat 3-4 minutes.  Serve hot.

42 calories, 0 fat, 0 saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 63 sodium, 8 carbohydrates. 

This is good to eat when hungry throughout the day.  Does not count on your daily points.

Vegetable Kale Soup


1 Tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped 

2 Tablespoons chopped garlic

1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped

8 cups water

6 cubes vegetable bouilion (such as Knorr)

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

6 white potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 15 oz cans cannelini beans (drained if desired)

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

2 Tablespoons dried parsley

salt and pepper to taste.


Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot; cook the onion and garlic until soft.  Stir in the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the water, vegetable bouilion, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, and parsley.  Simmer soup on medium heat for 25 min, or until potatoes are cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 



1 Tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons

2 gloves fresh garlic, minced

1 tomato, chopped

2 cups of cooked barley

1 Tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground tumeric

1 bunch kale, chopped (about 6 cups)


In a large skillet or pot, heat oil on medium.  Add onions and saute 3 minutes.

Add carrots and saute 10 minutes until soft.

Add garlic, tomato, barley, cumin, tumeric and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add 2 to 4 cups of water. (Note use 2 cups of water if you like it extremely thick.)  Recipe calls for 4 cups.  Your choice.

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add kale, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 more minutes. 

Hint:  Start the barely as soon as you walk int hedoor.  It takes 45 min to cook. 



2 sprays cooking spray

2 slices whole-wheat bread

3 Tbsp uncooked red onions, diced

3 Tbsp sweet red peppers, diced

3 Tbsp uncooked zucchini diced

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat over to 400.  Lightly coat two oven-safe, 8 ounce ramekins with cooking spray.  Cut a circle from each slice of bread and firmly press into bottoms of both ramekins; set aside. I used the ramekins to make the circle.

Lightly coat a medium saute pan with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat.  Add onion, red pepper and zucchini to pan; cook, stiring occasionally, until vegetables soften and onion is translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Promptly remove from heat; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, then 2 egg whites without the yolk, salt and pepper until well combined; stir in cooked vegetables and cheese.  Pour equal amounts of egg-vegetable mixture into each ramekin.  Bake, uncovered, until a knife inserted into center of a ramekin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Remove promptly from oven; let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

Fat Free Chicken Penne Alfredo

6 oz whole wheat penne pasta; 2 cups peeled baby carrots; 3 cups broccoli florets; 1 7.5 oz package grilled already cooked chicken strips (I purchased the pkg in the lunch meat section); 8 oz light cream cheese spread with garden vegetables included; 1/2 to 1 cup fat-free milk (begin with 1/2 and add more for consistency); 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper.  Add more pepper to taste.

In a large pot cook pasta according to directions and add carrots.  Add broccoli the last 6 minutes of cooking time.  Drain pasta and vegetables and return to large pot.  Stir chicken strips, cream cheese spread (I microwaved to get soft), 1/2 cup milk and papper into pasta mixture.  Cook and stir over low heat until cream cheese is melted.  If necessary, stir in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup milk to make sauce desired consistency.  Ready in 25 minutes.  Makes 4 2 cup servings.

Potato Boats

2 large baking potatoes; 1 lb banana squash - 1/2-3/4 cup; 1/4 butter melted; 1/4 tsp cumin; 1 tsp sea salt; 2 tsp butter, melted.

Bake potatoes at 425 until soft - 60 min.  Cut skin from squash and into small cubes and place in vegetable steamer 15 min.  Combine squash, potato pulp, 1/4 cup melted butter, cumin and sea salt and mash until creamy yellow.  Heap potato squash mixture into empty potato shells.  Brush with 2 tsp butter and sprinkle with paprika.  Place under broiler for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serves 2-4. 

Garlic Chicken

1/2 tsp garlic, minced; 1 T fresh lemon juice; 1 tsp Dijon mustard; 1/2 tsp sea salt;pinch of pepper; 1whole chicken breast, halved, skinned.

Combine all ingredients for basting in small bowl.  Brush over chicken.  Broil for 10 minutes each side 2 inches from heat, brushing frequently. 

Swope Bread

4 cups stone ground whole wheat flour; 2 cups unbleached white flour; 1/2 cup sugar/ 2 tsp sea salt; 1 quart buttermilk; 4 tsp baking soda; 2 bread pans, greased.   Preheat over to 375 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl mix first 4 ingredients.  In a separate bowl mix baking soda and buttermilk.  Stir wet ingredients into dry.  Pour into bread pans and smooth tops of loaves.  Place in center of oven.  Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake approximately 50 minutes.  Turn out and cool on wire rack. 

Healthy Mac n' Cheese

Ingredients:  2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni (they will never know the difference); 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter; 2 T all-purpose flour; 1 1/2 cup skim milk, warmed for 1 minute in the microwave, or heated on the stove; 8 oz low-fat sharp-cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/4 cups); 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce; 1/4 tsp salt.

Directions:  l.  Cook elbow macaroni until it is al dente.  2.  While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the milk.  Whisk in the flour.  Whisk until the mixture is well combined.  Bring it to a steady simmer, whisking constantly.  Keep whisking until thickened, about 2 minutes.  3.  Drain the pasta in a colander.  Remove the sauce from the heat, add the cheese, and stir until the cheese melts.  Immediately add the hot, drained pasta and stir until well-coated.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce and salt.  4. Serve and enjoy!

Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients:  1/2 onion, diced; 1 can black beans, well drained; 1/2 cup flour; 2 slices bread, crumbled; 1 tsp garlic powder; 1 tsp onion powder; 1/2 tsp seasoned salt; salt and pepper to taste; oil for frying.

Directions: 1.  Sautee the onions till soft, about 3-5 minutes.  2. In a large bowl, mash the beans until almost smooth.  3.  Add sauteed onions and the rest of the ingredients, except the oil, adding the flour a few tablespoons at a time to combine well.  Mixture will be thick.  4.  Form bean mixture into patties, approximately 1/2 inch thick and fry patties in a small amount of oil until slightly firm.  Make veggie burgers and enjoy!

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time:  10 minutes

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Egg-free and dairy-free version of the classic oatmeal raisin cookie.

Ingredients:  3/4 cup vegan margarine; 1/2 cup sugar/ 1 cup packed brown sugar; 1 tsp vanilla; 1/2 cup soy milk; 1cup flour; 1/2 tsp baking soda; 1/2 tsp salt; 1 tsp cinnamon; 1/2 tsp cloves; 1/2 tsp nutmeg; 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional); 1 cup raisins; 3 cups rolled or quick cooking oatmeal.

Directions:  1.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  2. Beat together the sugar, brown sugar, margarine and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.   3. Add the soy milk and mis until combined.  4. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and spices, and stir until well mixed.  5. Add the remaining ingredients.   Batter will be very thick.  6. Drop by 3 ich balls onto cookie sheet and flatten slightly.  Bake 12-15 min. or until done.  Cookies will still be slightly soft and chewy.

Vegetarian Tofu Chili

Ingredients:  1 green bellpepper, diced; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1 cup mushrooms, sliced; 3 tbsp chili powder; salt and pepper to taste; 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper; 1/2 tsp cumin; 1 14 oz can tomato sauce; 1 28 oz can whole or diced tomatoes, with liquid; 1 28 oz can kidney beans, drained; 3 tbsp sugar.

Directions: 1. In a large pot, sautee the tofu in the vegetable oil over medium high heat for about 3 minutes.  2.  Add the onions, green pepper, garlic, mushrooms, chili powder, salt and pepper, cayenne and cumin.  3.  Cook until veggies are just barely tender, about 5 minutes.  4. Add the tomato sauce, whole or diced tomatoes, beans and sugar.  Bring to a slow simmer.  Cover and allow to cook for at least 45 minutes.  Enjoy  Makes about 8 servings.

Alligator Pears and Apples

This is a good salad made with avocado and apple that is unexpected but delicious.

Ingredients:  2 avacados - peeled, pitted and diced; 1 large red apple - cored and diced; 2 tablespoons honey; 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in water and drained; 1 tablespoon hulled sunflower seeds.

Directions: 1. In a medium bowl, combine the avocados, apple and raisins. 2.  Drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Easy Low-Fat Baked Sweet Potato Fries

If you are craving a high-fat and salty treat like fast food French fries, try this for a healthier baked sweet potato fries.

Ingredients: 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges; 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 tsp cumin; dash cayenne pepper; 1/4 tsp paprika; 1/2 tsp salt or seasoned salt.

Directions: 1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  2. In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients until potatoes are evenally coated with oil and spices.  3. Place potatoes on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes,or until done.  You can serve plain, with ketchup, a ranch dressing dip or barbecue sauce. 

Homemade Apple-Cinnamon Fruit Bars

This recipe makes a nice-size batch of bars.  No need to use a rolling pin you just press the crust right into the baking dish.  The versatile fruit filling works with fresh, frozen or even dried fruit.  Try a combination of nuts and oats or use different flavorings to make your own unique recipe. 

Ingredients for crust:  1 cup chopped nuts or old fashion rolled oats, divided; 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour; 3/4 cup all purpose flour; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 tsp salt; 4 T cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces; 1 large egg; 2 T canola oil; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 1/4 tsp almond extract. 

Fruit fillings:  If using -cooked fruit - 4 cups diced peeled apples; uncooked fruit - 2 cups diced peeled apples.  Sugar and cornstarch 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cornstarch.  Flavoring:  1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon plus 1 tsp vanilla extract.    

To prepare crust:  Combine 3/4 cup nuts or oats, whole-wheat flour, all -purpose flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse until the nuts are finely ground.  Add butter; pulse until well incorporated.  Whisk egg, oil, vanilla and almond extracts in a small bowl.  With the motor running, add the mixture to the food processor.  Process briefly, then pulse, scraping down the sides, if necessary, until the mixture begins to clump.  30-45 seconds.  Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and combine in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup chopped nuts or oats.  Set aside for the topping.      Preheat oven to 400.  Coat a 9 by 13 inc. baking dish with cooking spray. 

To prepare the filling and assemble bars:  Combine cooking fruit, juice, sugar and corn starch in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes, sometimes 10 minutes to get a thick result.  Stir in uncooked fruit and flavoring.  Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish.  Spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom to form a crust.  Spread the fruit filling over the crust.  Sprinkle the reserved topping over the filling.  Bake the bars for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the topping is light brown, 25 - 30 minutes more.  Let cook completely before cutting into bars, at least 1 1/2 hours. 

Autumn Chicken Stew

Makes 6 servings and takes about 45 minutes.  Heat 2 tsps extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite size portions.  Cook, stiring occasionally, until just cooked through 3-5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  Add 3 tsp of extra-virgin olive oil to the pot.  Add l large onion, chopped, 4 medicum parsnips, peeled and chopped, 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped, 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth and 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped and simmer over high heat.  Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring often until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Return the chicken to the pot and stir in 2 tsp vinegar.   

Caramel Apple Chunks

Wash, dry and cut up 5 medium apples into bite size pieces.  Divide and place in 6 individual bowls.  In a small saucepan or in microwave oven, heat the 1 lb carmels and 2 T water stirring constantly.  When melted and smooth, pour over apples.  Wait until cool before serving.  Yields 6 servings. 

Shepherds Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown l-lb ground turkey and drain.  Add 1 chopped onion, 1 diced carrot, 2 cup beef broth, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes or until meat is tender.  Thicken with 2 Tablespoons corn starch dissolved in 1/2 cup water.  Stir until smooth and bubbling.  Pour into a deep baking dish.  Mash 2 cups cooked potatoes with 1 tbs. butter and 1/2 cup milk.  Spread 4 slices of cheddar cheese over meat mixture then pile potatoes on top. Bake until potatoes are golden brown.  Cool slightly before serving.

Pumpkin-Oat Bread

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Coat a 10 x 15 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, cream 1/2 cups butter, softened and 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add 3 large eggs and 2 cups canned pumpkin; beat well.  Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups uncooked quick oats, and 2 1/2 tsp baking soda, mix thoroughly.  Pour batter into prepared baking dish and place 24 pieces walnut halves (optional) on top so there will be 1 walnut in the center of each piece of cake.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 40 - 45 minutes. Preparation time 15 min.   A weight watcher 3 point desert.

Caramel Cookies

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened; 1 cup packed brown dark sugar; 1 large egg; and 1 tsp vanilla extract.  Add 1 cup all purpose flour; 3/4 cup whole wheat flour; 1/4 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp baking soda.  Mix.  Scrape dough out of bowl and onto a large piece of plastic wrap.  Roll dough into a log, about 2 1/2 inches wide; completely wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes or overnight.  Cut dough into 1/8 inch thick slices and arrange on several large ungreased cookies sheets about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake until lightly browned around edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for about 1 minute and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  You can add some spices to the cookies by sprinkling a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg into the batter. 

Creamy Fudge

Makes 32  Weight Watchers squares at  2 pts. each

Line an 8 inch square baking pan with wax paper making sure the paper hangs over the sides.

Combine 10 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I melt in microwave first), 1 14 oz can sweetened fat-free condensed milk, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, a pinch of sea salt in a saucepan.  Cook, stirring occassionally over medium-low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth, about 5 minuties.  Transfer fudge to prepared pan, spread evenly with rubber spatula.  Let cool.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.  Uncover fudge, remove from pan by lifting overhanging plastic wrap. Invert on cutting board, remove wrap.  Cut fudge into 8 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 pieces.  If making ahead, cover and chill up to 2 weeks.  To serve, return fudge to room temperature. Optional (sprinkle top evenly with 1/2 tsp of flake sea salt. 

80 calories, 3 gms fat.   

Meatless Tortilla Soup

This soup is low fat but packed with vitamins and minerals.  Cut 6 tortillas into 1/2 inch wide strips.  Cut strips in half crosswise.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 13 minutes or till crisp and lightly browned. I did this while soup was simmering.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan combine 3 cups tomatoes, 2 cups sliced carrots, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 cup water, 1-14 1/2 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, undrainied green chile peppers (optional), 1 teaspoons chilli powder (1 did 1/4 just in case too hot- experiment), 1/8 tsp salt.  Bring to boiling, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add 1-15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained and 1/3 cup snipped fresh cilantro.  Heat through.  I spread the tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl and then poured the soup over top.  Makes 4 main-dish servings.   

Cheesy Bean Enchiladas

Ingredients:  1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce; 1 tbs. oil; 3 cups frozen vegetables of any kind. I used a small bag of mixed vegetables; 1 can (21 oz) Bush's Grillin black beans, corn and red peppers in chipotle sauce; 1 pkg (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese, 2 cups; 8 white corn tortillas (microwave a little before filling); sour cream and cilantro sprigs.  

Preheat oven to 350 and spread 1/4 cup sauce over bottom of 13 x 9 baking dish.  In skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add vegetables; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Stir in beans and 1 cup cheese.  Dividing evenly, spoon vegetable mixture down center of each tortilla.  Roll up each tortilla, place seam side down in baking dish.  Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas.  Cover with foil.  Bake until bubbly about 30 minutes.  Remove foil; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.  Bake until cheese has melted, 5 min.  If desired serve with sour cream and garnish with cilantro. 

Lemon Chicken

Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper in shallow bowl. Add 4 chicken cutlets; toss to coat.  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate.  Add 1 minced shallot to skillet and cook until softened, 2 min.  Add 1 cup low sodium chicken broth; bring to boil.  Boil until reduced to 1/2 cup 2-3 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut 1 of 2 lemons into sections, discard seeds.  Grate 1/2 tsp zest and squeeze juice from remaining lemon.  Whisk lemon zest and juice, 1/2 tsp dried tarragon and 1 tsp cornstarch in small bowl until smooth.  Stir juice mixture into broth mixture; return to boil and cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Stir in chicken and lemon sections, cook stirring to coat chicken with sauce, until hot, 1 minute.   211 calories, 8 grams of fat.   5 point value.