Easy Oven Baked Rice

Baked Rice is a foolproof method for getting fluffy, tender grains that have just the right texture. Combine rice, water, and butter and let it bake in the oven instead of on the stovetop.

One of the reasons oven-baked rice turns out fabulous is that the heat is distributed more evenly throughout the cooking cycle. It’s also perfect to pop in the oven alongside Oven Baked Chicken Breasts or a marinated pork tenderloin!

Close up of oven baked rice in a glass casserole dish with a fork in it.

Tips for Making Baked Rice

To get the best white rice in the oven, follow these tips for recipe success:

  • Follow the ratios in the recipe below (and not the ratios on the package)
  • Adding butter helps keep the grains from sticking.
  • Boil the water before adding to the rice.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with foil to seal in the steam.
  • Allow the rice to rest for 5-10 minutes after removing it from the oven before fluffing with a fork.

You can easily make baked brown rice too, it will take a bit longer to cook.

Rice in a glass casserole dish with two pats of butter on top.

What Rice is Best Baked?

Any kind of rice can be baked. Just be aware that cooking times can vary greatly. Basmati rice is one of the most quick-cooking varieties. Brown rice, on the other hand, takes more than twice as long as conventional white rice.

This recipe uses regular long grain white rice. If you’re changing the type of rice, you will need to adjust the cook time.

Rice with water in a glass casserole dish.

What to Serve with Baked Rice

Baked rice is the perfect starchy side dish that pairs well with saucy recipes like Salisbury steak or Crock Pot pork chops with mushroom gravy. It’s an easy way to pre-make rice for fried rice too.

Leftover rice will keep in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to four months.

How to Reheat Rice

To reheat rice in the oven or toaster oven, gently break up any lumps and moisten slightly with a small splash of water. Cover tightly and bake at 300°F for about 20 minutes.

Easy Ways to Cook Rice

Baked Rice

A practically foolproof method for getting fluffy, tender grains that have just the right texture.

  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Pour all ingredients into a 2 qt baking dish and stir. Cover tightly.
  3. Bake until the water is absorbed, 22 to 27 minutes.
  4. Rest 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

This can be doubled in a 9×13 pan.

Baked Rice in a glass baking dish.
Baked Rice in a glass baking dish.
Top photo - Baked Rice in a glass baking dish. Bottom photo - uncooked rice with two squares of butter in a clear baking dish.

Easy Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup is a simple and creamy this cauliflower soup is flavorful and comforting. Load it up with your favorite toppings or enjoy it on it’s own, this soup will please everyone! 

You can make this a complete meal by serving this soup alongside some Brussels sprouts Salad, Cast iron skillet pork chops, or some Cheesy Cheddar Garlic Breadsticks! 

cauliflower soup

Cauliflower Soup

Hey y’all! Serene from House of Yumm, bringing you creamy and comforting cauliflower soup today.

This soup is one of my favorites to make during the Fall and Winter months.

My all time favorite soup is always going to be Potato Soup, but sometimes I need something a bit lighter..which is why this cauliflower soup is a close second!

It’s very similar. Plus Cauliflower is pretty magical, when you cook it and blend it, it becomes this silky, creamy masterpiece.

And then we can toss all of our favorite toppings on. This soup is sure to become a staple in your home!

How to make Creamy Cauliflower Soup

This creamy, comforting soup comes together quick and easy on the stovetop.

Cauliflower soup is an easy soup recipe can be customized to be meat free and dairy free based on your preferences.

Naturally gluten free, this healthy, low carb soup is perfect for a weeknight meal. It’s also a great meal planning option since it reheats so well!

  1. Cook the bacon in a dutch oven or large pot. Remove the bacon and drain the grease, reserving 1 tablespoon in the pot. 
  2. Saute the onion in the bacon grease until the onions are soft and tender. Add in the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the cauliflower, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer the cauliflower for 15-20 minutes until softened. 
  4. Blend the soup. Use either an immersion blender or carefully transfer the liquid to a blender or food processor. If using a blender or processor allow the soup to cool slightly before blending. 
  5. Serve with toppings if desired! 

Some F.A.Q’s about Cauliflower Soup:

  • How to make Vegetarian/Vegan Cauliflower Soup: To make this recipe meat free you can omit the bacon in the first step. Use another fat/oil of preference to sauté the onion. Then follow the rest of the recipe as follows.
  • How to store and reheat this cauliflower soup recipe: Store this soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This soup will keep for 3-4 days. To reheat simply pour into a medium size pot and heat over medium heat. This soup can be frozen and stored in the freezer for 4-5 months. To thaw remove from the freezer, place in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat.
  • How do you thicken cauliflower soup? Blending this soup creates a thick, creamy soup all on it’s own! Nothing else is needed to be done. If once you have prepared the soup you feel it should be thicker, take one tablespoon of cornstarch and add it to 1/4 cup warm water or broth, whisking together. Add this cornstarch slurry to the soup. Whisk it together and cook for several minutes, the soup will thicken right up!

Topping Suggestions:

  • Fresh herbs: parsley, thyme, chives, dill
  • Additional roasted cauliflower 
  • Bacon 
  • Grated cheese– I love the flavor contrast of a sharp white cheddar with this soup.
  • Grated nutmeg– this flavor pairs wonderfully with cauliflower! 
  • Hot sauce
  • Sprinkle of chili powder
  • Lemon juice– just a squeeze from one lemon wedge is fantastic! 

More Soup Recipes You May Enjoy

Cauliflower soup up close in a bowl with a spoon

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup. Simple and creamy this cauliflower soup is flavorful and comforting. Load it up with your favorite toppings or enjoy it on it’s own, this soup will please everyone! 

  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 head cauliflower (approx 2 lbs) (cut into florets)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Toppings

  • 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon chives (chopped)
  1. Heat dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, add the bacon and cook to desired crispness. Remove the bacon (save for topping), drain the grease, reserving 1 tablespoon in the pot.

  2. Add the onion to the bacon grease in the pot and cook over medium heat until the onions are softened. Stirring occasionally.

  3. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.

  4. Pour in the broth, add the cauliflower, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is softened.

  5. Using an immersion blender, blender or food processor blend the soup until smooth and creamy. (Be careful when transferring hot liquids and allow the soup to cool briefly before putting a lid on the blender)

  6. Serve the soup warm with toppings of choice.

To make this vegan/vegetarian do not cook the bacon, use another fat/oil of choice to saute the onions in. 

 

 

 

Hot & Cheesy Crab Dip

Crab Dip is one of the best hot appetizers, perfect for parties! Made with lump crab meat baked in a cream cheese base with cheddar, green onion, and everyone’s favorite seafood seasoning, Old Bay!

This crab dip is a party favorite along with spinach artichoke dip and jalapeno popper dip. Serve it with bread or crackers (or veggies to keep it low carb)!

Cheesy hot crab dip baked in a casserole dish being scooped with a crostini

What’s In Crab Dip?

Crab dip is made with creamy, cheesy ingredients this crab dip is a party favorite!

  • Lump Crabmeat: It is mild, tender and sweet. I would suggest a lump crab meat which is either canned, frozen or even found fresh at the seafood counter.
  • Cheese:  I love the hint of cheddar with crab in this recipe, substitute your favorite cheeses such as mozzarella or monterey jack.
  • Creamy Base: Cream cheese and sour cream get incredibly fluffy when you beat them together, giving this dip amazing texture!
  • Seasonings: Old Bay Seasoning is the perfect compliment to almost any seafood dish.

Hot crab dip ingredients on a cutting board.

How to Make Crab Dip

  1. Combine cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise with seasonings until fluffy. Using a hand mixer this makes the dip easier to scoop.
  2. Add green onions, gently fold in the lump crab and half of the cheese. Take care to be gentle and not to break up the crab too much.
  3. Top with remaining cheese and bake until piping hot and the cheese melts!

Serve with crackers, bread, or veggies and dig in!

Crab Dip Additions

  • Add a few dashes of hot sauce, some jalapenos or a splash of buffalo sauce.
  • Add a cup of defrosted corn kernels to make this a crab corn dip
  • Add fresh herbs of your choice, parsley, cilantro or dill are all great additions.

Crab Dip prepared in a baking dish topped with cheese and parsley.

Serving Suggestions

Try offering a variety of crackers or bread to dip, like pumpernickel, Melba, won-ton wrappers, pretzels or tortilla chips. This dip will taste amazing with pretty much anything you have on hand to convey it into your mouth. (Actually, I could just eat it with a spoon.)

How to Reheat It

To Make Ahead: When making this ahead, it should be good in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking.

To Reheat: Put it in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or you could try to microwave individual portions for about 10-30 seconds, checking at intervals.

Delicious Party Dips

Hot Cheesy Crab Dip

Crab Dip is one of the best hot appetizers, perfect for parties!

  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to taste)
  • 2 green onions (thinly sliced)
  • 8 oz lump crabmeat
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded, divided)
  • baguette for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, old bay, seasoned salt, and garlic powder in a bowl. Mix on medium speed until fluffy.

  3. Add green onions, crabmeat and half of the cheddar cheese. Gently fold until incorporated.

  4. Spread into a 1.5 qt baking dish (8×8). Top with remaining cheese and bake 15-20 minutes or until melted and bubbly.

  5. Serve with toasted baguette.

Toasted baguette slices being dipped in the hot baked crab dip.
Toasted baguette slices being dipped in the hot baked crab dip.
Top photo - Toasted baguette slices being dipped in the hot baked crab dip. Bottom photo - Hot crab dip ingredients on a cutting board.

Best Banana Pancakes

Best Banana Pancakes are delicious pancakes that taste just like warm banana bread! Great for using over ripe bananas!

Mornings taste better with pancakes! If you love pancakes as much as I do try this Maple Sweet Potato Pancakes, Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes or The Best Buttermilk Pancakes.

Banana pancakes stacked on top of each other.

Banana Pancakes

I am starting to think that I buy bananas just so that they can get over ripe and I can make something delicious!

I needed a yummy breakfast and I love banana bread so I couldn’t wait to try this recipe!

I have seen banana bread pancakes  and I have been wanting to try it for a while now.

These pancakes tasted just like banana bread!

They were really thick and moist and had a delicious banana flavor.

I especially loved the vanilla maple glaze on top!

This was the perfect way to use my over ripe bananas and this breakfast was a huge hit!

What you need to make banana pancakes

  • All purpose flour: holds it all together and adds the thick, rich flavor of pancake.
  • Baking powder: helps them fluff up and stay puffy.
  • Salt: baking powder and salt have a perfect combination of raising the pancakes.
  • White sugar: a little sweetness to the pancakes.
  • Cinnamon: added taste of homemade bread.
  • Nutmeg: love the nutty, earthy flavor in these pancakes.
  • Milk: makes them nice and creamy.
  • Vanilla extract: just a hint of extra flavor.
  • Bananas: the riper the better!
  • Butter: sticks it all together.
  • Pecans: adds a more delicious topping over these banana bread pancakes.

Vanilla Maple Glaze:

  • Maple syrup: sugary and sweet for the glaze.
  • Powdered sugar: thickens the glaze up.
  • Vanilla: a dash adds so much flavor!

dry ingredients in a glass bowl being whisked together

How to make banana bread pancakes

  • Whisk together ingredients: Preheat a skillet to medium low heat. In a large mixing bowl whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. Add the milk and vanilla and stir until incorporated. It will be thick.
  • Combine and mix together:Add in mashed bananas and melted butter and mix together until the batter is smooth.
  • Prepare skillet: Spray skillet with cooking spray and add 1/3 cup of batter to the center. It takes about 1-3 minutes for the bubbles to appear because the batter is thicker. Once the bubbles appear flip to the other side.
  • Cook pancake batter: Repeat with remaining batter. I was able to get about 8 pancakes.
  • Make the vanilla maple glaze: whisk together the maple syrup, powdered sugar and vanilla. Serve over warm pancakes.

Banana mix in with ingredients in a glass bowl and spatula

Topping and add-ins for banana bread pancakes

  • Chocolate: chocolate chips, white chocolate or Nutella.
  • Nuts: pecans, walnuts, candied nuts, cashews.
  • Fruit: raspberries, cranberries, blueberries or strawberries.
  • Coconut: shredded
  • Syrup: maple, caramel, chocolate or buttermilk.

All ingredients mixed together

Tips for making banana bread pancakes

I love to make these ahead of time before my kids come down to eat.

Resting them in the oven only helps keep them warm and does not over bake them.

They are still fluffy, moist and ready to enjoy!

For fluffier pancakes let the batter rest for a moment

  • For more of a banana bread pancake divide the flour with 1 cup flour and 1 cup wheat flour.
  • Instead of white sugar, you can use brown sugar in replace of it for a sweeter taste.
  • These pancakes don’t take much time, but to make it easier you can even mix and combine the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
  • The batter does best if you give it some time to rest before cooking it on the skillet. This will activate the leavening agents and help to thicken up the batter.
  • For best results, using a non-stick skillet will help your pancakes cook throughout.
  • A little butter or non-stick grease is great to add to the skillet before pouring your batter on.
  • You will want to make sure that your skillet is warm to hot before you pour your batter on it. That way they will cook evenly throughout the pancake.
  • Once the middle begins to bubble up, the pancakes are ready to be flipped.
  • If you are planning to make these a little ahead, keep them warm and fresh by simply placing the cooked pancakes on a baking sheet and place in the oven at the lowest temperature (around 170 degrees Fahrenheit. When ready to serve, pull them out of the oven.

banana pancakes on the skillet

More banana recipes to enjoy!

banana pancakes stacked together and ready to eat.

 

Banana Pancakes

Delicious pancakes that taste just like warm banana bread! Great for using over ripe bananas!

  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • chopped pecans for garnish (optional)

Vanilla Maple Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat a skillet to medium low heat. In a large mixing bowl whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. Add the milk and vanilla and stir until incorporated. It will be thick.
  2. Add in mashed bananas and melted butter and mix together until the batter is smooth.
  3. Spray skillet with cooking spray and add 1/3 cup of batter to the center. It takes about 1-3 minutes for the bubbles to appear because the batter is thicker. Once the bubbles appear flip to the other side.
  4. Repeat with remaining batter. I was able to get about 8 pancakes.
  5. To make the vanilla maple glaze, whisk together the maple syrup, powdered sugar and vanilla. Serve over warm pancakes.

Updated on October 13, 2019

Original date on March 7, 2014

 

 

Perfect Roast Turkey (step-by-step)

Herb Roast Turkey is the most perfect holiday meal (or Sunday supper). Turkey is generously seasoned, covered with fresh herbs and roasted to tender juicy perfection. Use the drippings to create a quick and easy turkey gravy for the perfect holiday meal.

Serve this oven roasted turkey alongside creamy mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and of course cranberry sauce for traditional turkey dinner!

Sliced roasted turkey on a platter with fresh herbs and cranberries and gravy

How to Cook a Turkey

Cooking a turkey may seem daunting but I can assure you it is easy to do. As we all know, it takes a lot of time but the results are well worth it. Below I have provided step-by-step directions for how to cook a turkey to juicy perfection.

Overview of Steps for Cooking a Turkey:

  1. Prepare turkey.
  2. Stuff turkey (optional)
  3. Tie or truss the turkey
  4. Roast the turkey
  5. Rest turkey

How to Prepare a Turkey for Roasting

In order to prepare a turkey you will need to ensure it’s defrosted which, depending on the size, can take several days. How long to defrost & roast turkey printable.

  • Brine (optional): Brine turkey up to 24 hours or according to brine recipe. Drain well and pat dry. Roasting a brined turkey follows the same directions as a turkey that hasn’t been brined.
  • Remove Giblets/Neck: Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity of the turkey. I usually place them in the pan to bake alongside the turkey and flavor my drippings for gravy.

Preparing a turkey for roasting by adding olive oil and herbs.

  • Stuff turkey (optional): Loosely stuff the turkey with stuffing or herbs. Scroll below for more info if you’re stuffing the turkey. (Image #1)
  • Dab Dry: Dab the turkey dry with a paper towel, this will help the skin crisp better. If you’re stuffing the turkey, wipe the inside with a dry paper towel to remove any debris.
  • Oil & Season: Generously rub the outside of the turkey with olive oil or slightly cooled melted butter and season with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and lots of fresh herbs. (Image #2)

How to Stuff a Turkey

Stuffing a turkey is optional, a stuffed turkey will take longer to cook. If you decide not to stuff your turkey, I would suggest adding an onion and some fresh herbs to the cavity for extra flavor.

  1. Prepare stuffing according to recipe directions.
  2. Cool completely, this is important to avoid bacteria. I prepare my stuffing well in advance (but do not stuff turkey in advance).
  3. Very gently spoon the stuffing into the main cavity of the turkey, do not pack it in.
  4. Add a little bit of stuffing to the neck cavity as well, seal with the flap of skin left on the turkey with a small metal skewer.

How to Tie a Turkey

Now that this herb roasted turkey is stuffed and seasoned, it’s time to tie it up and get it in the oven.

Flip the wing tips under the turkey, this keeps the tips from burning and also helps stabilize the turkey.

If your turkey has a band of skin near the cavity opening, you can tuck the legs into the band. If not, simply criss cross the legs over the cavity and tie them together with a piece of kitchen string.

2 images of a roast turkey recipe. A turkey rubbed with fresh herbs raw and a roasted turkey in a roasting pan to serve

How to Roast a Turkey

To roast a turkey in the oven takes time but it’s actually easy! You’ll need a large roasting pan, I personally do not recommend a disposable roasting pan as they don’t tend to hold the heat as well which can sometimes add tons of extra cook time.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (per recipe below).
  2. Place prepared turkey breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. If you do not have a rack, balled up foil or large pieces of onion/celery/carrot are great to hold the turkey up and off the bottom of the roaster.
  3. Add an onion, a couple pieces of celery and a couple of carrots in the bottom of the pan (optional, this will add great flavor to your gravy). Add 1″ or so of broth to the bottom of the pan.
  4.  Place turkey in the oven, reduce heat to 325°F and roast until the turkey reaches 165°F (and if stuffed, the center of the stuffing should reach 165°F).
  5. REST the turkey at least 20-30 minutes before carving.

A roasted turkey on a platter with fresh herbs and cranberries

How Long to Roast a Turkey

Turkey roasting time can vary depending on if the turkey is stuffed or not. If you are short on time, you can Spatchcock Turkey to make cooking extra quick. For a smaller turkey meal, make Roast Turkey Breast.

  • 14 to 18 pounds
    • Unstuffed: 3 3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
    • Stuffed: 4 to 4-1/2 hours
  • 18 to 22 pounds
    • Unstuffed: 3-1/2 to 4 hours
    • Stuffed: 4-1/2 to 5 hours
  • 22 to 24 pounds
    • Unstuffed: 4 to 4-1/2 hours
    • Stuffed: 5 to 5-1/2 hours
  • 24 to 30 pounds
    • Unstuffed: 4-1/2 to 5 hours
    • Stuffed: 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

Cook times are approximate and will vary. Turkey should reach 165°F* in both the meat and the center of the stuffing.

What Temperature to Roast a Turkey

I like to preheat the oven to 350°F and then when I place the turkey in the oven, I turn the oven down. Slow roasted turkey at 325°F comes out perfectly tender and juicy.

According to the USDA, a turkey is fully cooked with both the meat and the center of the stuffing reach 165°F.  Use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh and ensure it is not touching the bone.

Favorite Turkey Dinner Sides

Herb Roast Turkey

Herb rubbed turkey roasted to juicy perfection.

  • 12-14 lb turkey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup herbs (chopped)
  • 1 recipe stuffing (optional)
  • onions and fresh herbs (optional)
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey broth
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity and pat turkey dry with paper towels. If stuffing the turkey, wipe the inside of the cavity with paper towels.
  3. Rub olive oil and chopped herbs over turkey and season generously with salt/pepper.
  4. If stuffing turkey, fill with stuffing loosely (do not pack stuffing) or add 1/2 an onion and fresh herbs to the cavity.

  5. Tie legs together with kitchen string or tuck under the flap of skin at the tail if your turkey has one. Twist the tips of the wings under the turkey.
  6. Place turkey in a roasting pan on a rack, breast side up (optional, add celery, onion, carrot and the turkey neck to the bottom of the roasting pan). Add 4 cups broth to the  bottom of the pan (or enough to fill the pan about 1" deep).

  7. Add turkey to the oven, reduce heat to 325°F and roast until turkey reaches 165°F *see below. Once the breast starts to brown, loosely tent a piece of foil over the breast so it doesn't overcook.

  8. Remove turkey from the roasting pan and tent with foil, rest at least 20 minutes.  Make gravy from the drippings while the turkey rests.

Note: The meat and the stuffing of the turkey should reach 165°F.

Skinnytaste Meal Plan (October 14-October 20)

A free 7-day flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and Weight Watchers SmartPoints®.

Finally! Pumpkin patch and hay ride time! Pumpkin Pie Dip  is one of my fall favorites! It is perfect to bring to a party, one of my friends actually serves it in a hollowed out small pumpkin for a festive presentation! Serve with apple slices or ginger snaps (those are extra points though!)

If you’re new to my meal plans, I’ve been sharing these free, 7-day flexible healthy meal plans (you can see my previous meal plans here) that are meant as a guide, with plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food, coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc or swap recipes out for meals you prefer, you can search for recipes by course in the index. You should aim for around 1500 calories* per day.

There’s also a precise, organized grocery list that will make grocery shopping so much easier and much less stressful. Save you money and time. You’ll dine out less often, waste less food and you’ll have everything you need on hand to help keep you on track.

Lastly, if you’re on Facebook join my Skinnytaste Facebook Community where everyone’s sharing photos of recipes they are making, you can join here. I’m loving all the ideas everyone’s sharing! If you wish to get on the email list, you can subscribe here so you never miss a meal plan!

Also, if you don’t have the Skinnytaste Meal Planner, now would be a great time to get one to get organized for 2019! There was a print error last year, but it’s perfect now! You can order it here!

THE DETAILS:

Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, are designed to serve 1 while dinners and all meals on Saturday and Sunday are designed to serve a family of 4. Some recipes make enough leftovers for two nights or lunch the next day. While we truly believe there is no one size fits all meal plan, we did our best to come up with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. Everything is Weight Watchers friendly, I included the updated Weight Watcher Freestyle Points for your convenience, feel free to swap out any recipes you wish or just use this for inspiration!

The grocery list is comprehensive and includes everything you need to make all meals on the plan. I’ve even included brand recommendations of products I love and use often. Cross check your cabinets because many condiments you’ll notice I use often, so you may already have a lot of them.

And last, but certainly not least, this meal plan is flexible and realistic. There’s plenty of wiggle room for cocktails, healthy snacks, dessert and dinner out. And if necessary, you can move some things around to make it work with your schedule. Please let me know if you’re using these plans, this will help me decide if I should continue sharing them!

MONDAY (10/14)
B: 2 hard-boiled eggs (0) and an orange (0)
L: Antipasto Salad (6) and 6 Triscuits (3)
D: Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Chowder (6) with a small whole wheat roll (3)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 18, Calories 885*

TUESDAY (10/15)
B: ⅓ cup quick oats (3) with 1 teaspoon honey (1), ½ an apple, chopped (0), 1 tablespoon skim milk (0), 1
tablespoon chopped pecans (2), pinch salt
L: LEFTOVER Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Chowder (6) with a small whole wheat roll (3)
D: Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken (0) with 2 tablespoons cheddar (2) Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe x 2) (6)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 24, Calories 952*

WEDNESDAY (10/16)
B: Avocado Toast with Sunny Side Egg (4)
L: LEFTOVER Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Chowder (6) with a small whole wheat roll (3)
D: LEFTOVER Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken (0) with 2 tablespoons cheddar (2) Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice (6)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 21, Calories 968*

THURSDAY (10/17)
B: Avocado Toast with Sunny Side Egg (4)
L: Antipasto Salad (6)
D: Spaghetti Carbonara (10) with a green salad (2)*

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 22, Calories 1,024*

FRIDAY (10/18)
B: ⅓ cup quick oats (3) with 1 teaspoon honey (1), ½ an apple, chopped (0), 1 tablespoon skim milk (0), 1
tablespoon chopped pecans (2), pinch salt
L: Antipasto Salad (6)
D: Mediterranean Sea Bass (4) with ¾ cup quinoa (5)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 21, Calories 996*

SATURDAY (10/19)
B: BLT Egg Sandwich (6) (recipe x 4)
L: Red Lentil Soup (1)
D: DINNER OUT!

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 7, Calories 543*

SUNDAY (10/20)
B: Yogurt Waffles (4) with 1 1 tablespoon peanut butter (3) and ½ banana, sliced (0)
L: LEFTOVER Red Lentil Soup (1)
D: Skinny Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy # (5) with Skinny Garlic Mashed Potatoes (5) and Roasted
Asparagus (0)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 18, Calories 1,036*

*This is just a guide, women should aim for around 1500 calories per day. Here’s a helpful calculator to estimate
your calorie needs. I’ve left plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food such as coffee, beverages, fruits,
snacks, dessert, wine, etc.

**Green salad includes 4 cups mixed greens, 2 scallions, ½ cup each: tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas and 2
tablespoons light vinaigrette
# Freeze any leftover you/your family won’t eat.

(more…)

The post Skinnytaste Meal Plan (October 14-October 20) appeared first on Skinnytaste.

3 Ingredient Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied Sweet Potatoes are just that, sweet and tender, juicy, bright orange sweet potatoes that will warm your home and melt in your mouth! Only 3 ingredients is all you need!

Sweet potatoes are the perfect side dish this holiday season! If you love sweet potatoes as much as I do try this Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Honey Cinnamon Butter Sweet Potatoes or The Best Sweet Potato Casserole.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes mixed with warm butter and brown sugar glaze is as simple and delicious as it gets!

What you need to make candied sweet potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes: larger sweet potatoes are best.
  • Butter: just bring on the fat and enjoy it with these sweet potatoes!
  • Brown sugar: sweetness and tastes like candy.

sweet potatoes cut up

How to make candied sweet potatoes

  • Prepare sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and scrub sweet potatoes. Peel and slice to be about 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Make your glaze: In a medium sized saucepan add the butter and melt over medium high heat. Add the brown sugar and stir.
  • Cover and bake sweet potatoes: In a 9×13 inch dish add the sweet potatoes and pour the brown sugar butter mixture on the top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake: Remove foil and stir and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender. Let sit for about 10 minutes to let the sauce thicken before serving.

Variations of candied sweet potatoes

  • Substitute honey or maple syrup instead brown sugar in the sauce for a more subtle and sweet mixture.
  • Add marshmallows, chopped pecans or a streusel mixture to make enhance your sweet potatoes.
  • Enjoy a more citrus appearance and taste to your sweet potatoes by adding some orange juice (about 1/4 cup) and orange zest (about 1/2 teaspoon) to the butter.
  • Add in apple juice or apple cider for another fall favorite flavoring.

sweet potatoes in pot with candied sauce over top

Tips for baking sweet potatoes

  • Usually you are looking for the long, skinny sweet potatoes when baking them whole. Since you are baking them in slices you will want fatter and rounder sweet potatoes.
  • Wash and dry your potatoes before cutting. Removing all the excess dirt off with be easier and smoother for you.
  • When you are cutting your sweet potatoes leave out the tips on the ends. Those tend to burn and have a harder texture.
  • Cut each of the sweet potatoes about the same thickness for them to all have the same amount of cooking time.
  • If your sweet potatoes are hard to cut through, I like to microwave them a bit so that they are soft enough to easily cut through.
  • To cook on the stove top, simply follow the instructions from the recipe and cook over the stove top with a lid on your pot, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and/ or cinnamon sticks to the dish before baking.
  • You will not want to use pre-cooked canned sweet potatoes. Fresh sweet potatoes work best for this recipe.

Candied sweet potatoes baked

Storing candied sweet potatoes

  • Storing sweet potatoes: your sweet potatoes will need to be kept stored and in a cool, dry and dark area like a pantry or even garage. The refrigerator is not a great place or direct sunlight. This will discolor your sweet potatoes and make them mushy. Try to avoid mixing your sweet potatoes in with other fruits and vegetables. They tend to go brown quicker. It is best to leave separate.
  • Making ahead: pre-slicing your sweet potatoes is a great idea and gives you a head start to your holiday dinner; however, they do not do well pre-sliced for very long. If it is within a few hours you will be great!
  • Refrigerating or Freezing: after cooking them and letting them cool completely store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days or freezing for up to 1 month.
  • Reheating: when ready to warm up, simply reheat in the microwave or stove. Microwave wit ha little more butter added to the mixture and cooking until heated through. Place in the oven and reheat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes or until warm.

More potato recipes

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied Sweet Potatoes are just that, sweet and tender, juicy, bright orange sweet potatoes that will warm your home and melt in your mouth! Only 3 ingredients is all you need!

  • 4-5 Large Sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and scrub sweet potatoes. Peel and slice to be about 1/4 inch thickness.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan add the butter and melt over medium high heat. Add the brown sugar and stir.
  3. In a 9×13 inch dish add the sweet potatoes and pour the brown sugar butter mixture on the top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove foil and stir and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender. Let sit for about 10 minutes to let the sauce thicken before serving.

 

 

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin Marinade!

Pork Tenderloin Marinade is the perfect way to make tender and juicy pork. Some honey, a little bit of Dijon mustard, some fresh rosemary, and a dash of red pepper flakes give this savory marinade a little sweet with a lot of flavor! 

Perfect pork tenderloin can be roasted or grilled and if cooked properly, will be deliciously juicy and fork tender!

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin sliced on a wood cutting board.

How to Make a Pork Tenderloin Marinade

To make pork tenderloin marinade, simply stir together honey, mustard, garlic, rosemary, a bit of oil and salt & pepper to taste (per recipe below). Ensure it is combined in a glass or plastic bowl (or a freezer bag).

Just like a chicken marinade, the best pork tenderloin marinade contains a bit of each sweet, salty, fat and bold flavors.

Ingredients in Marinade

  • Sweet: Honey adds sweetness and also helps with the caramelization process. Swap honey for maple syrup or brown sugar.
  • Flavors: Two types of mustard, rosemary and garlic add great flavor. Add in your favorite herbs or chopped green onions.
  • Oil: Olive oil smooths out the marinade and is great for grilling or roasting. I generally use vegetable or olive oil but whatever you have on hand will work just fine.

Overview of honey mustard marinade ingredients laid out on a cutting board.

TIP: To remove the leaves from fresh rosemary, hold the tip between your finger and thumb and use your other hand to in the opposite direction from the top to the bottom of the stalk. The leaves will easily separate for chopping!

How Long to Marinate Pork Tenderloin

Pour over the pork tenderloin and marinate for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours. Beyond 24 hours the salt may begin to deteriorate the meat causing a mushy pork tenderloin.

This pork marinade can also be used on grilled pork chops or large pork loin cuts.

Remember to discard any leftover marinade as it is not safe to consume. If you would like to use it as a dipping sauce, the marinade will need to be boiled for at least 2 minutes according to foodsafety.gov.

Better yet, set a little bit of the marinade aside before adding the meat and mix it with a bit of mayonnaise for a delicious dip!

How to Cook Marinated Pork Tenderloin

You can cook pork tenderloin on the grill, in a pan or roasted in the oven (my preference). To keep it juicy, cook just until it reaches 145°F as tenderloin is very lean and can easily overcook. Use a thermometer to take the temperature in the center of the thickest part of the meat.

To Roast Tenderloin:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F
  • Cook a 1lb pork tenderloin about 20 minutes or until an internal meat thermometer registers 145°F in the thickest part.
  • Remove from oven and let rest at least five minutes before slicing and serving.

Can You Freeze Pork Marinade?

You sure can freeze marinade! I often mix it up and place the pork tenderloin in the marinade and freeze it all together. Once defrosted, the pork is ready to cook right away!

Great Pork Marinades and Sauces

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin Marinade

This honey mustard marinade gives a little heat with a lot of flavor! It’s a perfect weekday or even a holiday entrée!

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (crushed )
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl add all the ingredients and whisk to combine.
  2. Marinate over pork tenderloin for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

To Cook a 1 lb Pork Tenderloin

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Brown marinaded tenderloin.

  3. Then cook for 18-20 minutes or until reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Lest rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional information is for 1 tablespoon of marinade.

Close up of honey mustard pork tenderloin sliced on a wooden cutting board.
Close up of honey mustard pork tenderloin sliced on a wooden cutting board.
Top photo = close up of honey mustard pork tenderloin sliced on a wooden cutting board. Bottom photo - Honey mustard marinade ingredients being whisked together in a glass bowl.

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole Made in the Crockpot

Crockpot Sweet Potato Casserole is everything it sounds like and the perfect set it forget version of a traditional Sweet Potato Casserole! The potatoes do not need to be boiled first, all of the cooking happens right in the slow cooker!

Serve alongside all of the classic Thanksgiving sides. Like the best mashed potatoes, a cheesy green bean casserole, and of course the classic Thanksgiving stuffing. It’s a perfect addition!

Slow cooker sweet potatoes potatoes and topped with brown sugar and pecans.

Prepping Sweet Potatoes for Casserole

It’s important to remove the tough skin from the sweet potatoes.

  1. Rinse sweet potatoes and peel them entirely.
  2. Cut into uniform cubes so they cook evenly, in this case, 1” cubes.

And, that’s it. Just toss them in the crockpot and get ready for a delicious side dish!

Two images showing cubed sweet potatoes topped with a brown sugar sauce when raw and when cooked.

How Long to Cook Sweet Potato Casserole in a CrockPot

Depending on how quickly you want them finished you can either cook them on high or low.

  • Low: Cook them overnight or while at work on low for 8 hours.
  • High: If you are in a bit of a hurry, cook them on high for about 4 hours.

Either method will yield perfectly cooked, creamy sweet potatoes! Don’t forget to add the pecan topping at the end!

To Mash Sweet Potatoes

You can serve these as smashed (with little chunks) or mashed sweet potatoes (nice and smooth). Use a potato masher for a smashed texture, if you’d like the really smooth, use a hand mixer or an immersion blender.

Two images showing the sweet potatoes before and after being mashed in the crockpot.

Toppings

I use a buttery brown sugar pecan topping. If you’d like to add marshmallows, simply add to the slow cooker and close the lid for 5 minutes or so. They will melt/soften.

A streusel topping is great on this too, combine

How to Store Leftovers

Refrigerator: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days!

Freezer: Sweet Potato Casserole can easily be frozen. Scoop it into a zippered bag or a freezer container and be sure to label it with the date.

Reheat: When you are ready to reheat, simply give it a stir, maybe give it an extra dash of pumpkin pie spice and pop it in the microwave!

Delicious Sweet Potato Dishes!

Crockpot Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy (with pecans!). This Crockpot Sweet Potato Casserole is everything it sounds like!

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into a 1-inch dice)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • salt (to taste)

Topping Mixture

  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons pecans (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Add the cubed sweet potatoes to a 6-quart slow cooker.

  2. In a small bowl whisk together brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, water, cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice.

  3. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and stir to combine.
  4. Cover the potatoes with the slow cooker lid and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours or until tender.

  5. Mash potatoes until smooth.

  6. Top with topping mixture, cover and let cook for 5 minutes.

Close up of crockpot sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows and pecans.
Close up of crockpot sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows and pecans.
Top image - sweet potato casserole being scooped out of the crockpot. Bottom image - Sweet potatoes mashed in a crockpot.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

All of the goodness of chicken parmesan packed into a delicious cheesy casserole!  Crispy chicken, marinara sauce, penne pasta, and cheese come together in this easy to make dish!

Casseroles are simple and delicious to make.  If you love casseroles as much as we do try this Easy Teriyaki Chicken Casserole, No Peek Chicken and Rice Casserole or Easy Sausage and Rice Casserole. chicken parmesan casserole

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

This time of the year is great for a delicious casserole.

It is starting to cool down outside and a good casserole is comfort food at its finest.

Chicken parmesan is one of my favorite dishes!  I love the crispy breaded chicken with the marinara sauce on top and melted cheese.

So why now turn it into a delicious casserole for my family?

I wanted to add all of my favorite things about chicken parmesan into this casserole.

Especially the crispy breaded chicken.

Oh and don’t forget the melty cheese on top and throughout!

What you need to make chicken parmesan casserole

This classic Chicken Parmesan is perfect for a casserole dish!

You can’t go wrong with this simple recipe that will please everyone around the dinner table.

  • Penne pasta: cooked according to package on the back of box.
  • Chicken breasts: boneless, skinless chicken breasts are best.
  • Vegetable oil: this will be used for frying.
  • Flour: combines the ingredients together.
  • Eggs: helps bind the ingredients and helps baking the casserole all together.
  • Bread crumbs: I prefer the Italian seasoned flavoring bread crumbs.
  • Mozzarella cheese: shredded and divided for two different spots in the recipe.
  • Parmesan cheese: fresh is best and shredded.
  • Marinara sauce: pick your favorite marinara sauce.
  • Chopped basil for garnish: this is an option but it also brings in color and added seasoning.

chickenparmesan3

How you make chicken parmesan casserole

  • Cook your pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse and drain the pasta in a colander.
  • Prepare and fry your chicken: In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Pound the chicken to be about 1/4 inch thick or slice in half so they fry easily. Place the flour, egg, and Italian bread crumbs in separate bowls. Coat the chicken in the flour, then the egg and lastly the bread crumbs. Place to fry in hot oil until brown on each side and no longer pink in center. Remove from the skillet and slice into pieces.
  • Combine ingredients: In a large bowl combine cooked pasta, chicken, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese and marinara sauce. Mix until combined.
  • Bake casserole: Spread the pasta in a 9×13 inch casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and uncover and top with remaining cheeses. Continue to bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through. Garnish with chopped basil if desired.

Best pasta for chicken parmesan casserole

Any type and shape of pasta works great for this tried and true Chicken Parmesan casserole.

My personal favorite is penne because it is dense and thick enough to enjoy the sauce and chicken all together.

Spaghetti is a little harder to enjoy this casserole with so I would avoid that pasta.

Penne or bowtie pasta holds up well and even helps to freeze well in the long run.

A thicker and dense pasta noodle is best because it can catch and hold the sauce in the grooves of the pasta.

This makes the casserole juicy and more tender chicken as well as thick and rich.

One of my favorite pasta casserole dishes!

  • Penne
  • Rotini
  • Penne
  • Fettuccini
  • Bowtie

Add ins to the chicken parmesan casserole

If you’re using a larger vegetable with a longer cooking time (like broccoli), you may want to steam the vegetables first before adding to the dish.

For something small like frozen peas, you can just add them (still frozen) straight to the baking dish towards the end of the cooking time.

  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli (frozen is best)
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Chopped up onion

Tips for making chicken parmesan casserole

  • Bite sized pieces of chicken is best when cutting it up. This will help it cook faster as well as helping while you are eating. You do not have to cut it up as you are enjoying your dinner.
  • To ensure a crispy texture that is similar to a traditional chicken parmesan, I prefer panko breadcrumbs over regular breadcrumbs.
  • If you are hoping for a healthier dish, simply use whole grain or whole wheat pasta and even panko breadcrumbs.
  • Add in vegetables or different types of meat to your casserole. Having a variety of different add-ins help make this casserole more fun when making it regularly.
  • Garnish with parsley or basil for more color and flavoring on top.

chickenparmesan2

Storing chicken parmesan casserole

This casserole became a instant family favorite.

And the best part is that if you have a smaller family you can freeze half of it for another night.

My entire family raved about this delicious casserole and I know that it will become a family favorite at your house as well!

  • Making ahead: This can be made up to 24 hours in advanced. Just cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You may need to add an additional few minutes or let rest for a few minutes outside of the refrigerator before baking it.
  • Freezer: It is best to freeze before baking.  Cover the pan tightly with foil and write down the directions on top of the container.  Remove the casserole from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator during the day before baking. This will freeze for 1 month.
  • Warming up: Because of the marinara sauce in this casserole, it reheats really well and won’t dry out. To reheat leftovers, heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bakes for 20-25 minutes or until it is warm through. You do not want to over bake.

More chicken parmesan recipes for you to enjoy

chickenparmcasserole

 

 

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

All of the goodness of chicken parmesan packed into a delicious cheesy casserole! Crispy chicken, marinara sauce, penne pasta, and cheese come together in this easy to make dish!

  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 pound boneless (skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 (32 ounce jars) marinara sauce
  • chopped basil for garnish (optional)
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse and drain the pasta in a colander.
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Pound the chicken to be about 1/4 inch thick or slice in half so they fry easily. Place the flour, egg, and Italian bread crumbs in separate bowls. Coat the chicken in the flour, then the egg and lastly the bread crumbs. Place to fry in hot oil until brown on each side and no longer pink in center. Remove from the skillet and slice into pieces.
  3. In a large bowl combine cooked pasta, chicken, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese and marinara sauce. Mix until combined.
  4. Spread the pasta in a 9×13 inch casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and uncover and top with remaining cheeses. Continue to bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through. Garnish with chopped basil if desired.

Updated on October 11, 2019

Original post on September 21, 2015