Thursday, October 9, 2014

4 Homemade Weight Watcher Dinners in 2 Hours and $47

When school started up in September, my sister and I were brainstorming ways that we could save on time during the week, and we came up with the idea to meal swap one meal a week with each other. It was brilliant because we got homemade meals that were Weight Watcher friendly, it wasn't much more work to cook for an additional 2-3 people, and we got to take one night off cooking every week.

So I thought we were brilliant, but then we become beyond brilliant! After weeks of difficulties finding time to swap meals, buying the wrong things in bulk, and then having to write down the instructions so the other person knew how to cook the meal, we came up with a better idea: pick one day a week to go grocery shopping together, buy double the menu for the week, and cook a week's worth of WW meals together!

So our experiment went something like this: we were able to cook FOUR homemade dinners that are less than EIGHT Weight Watcher Points-Plus each, in TWO hours for $47 (so, $94 total for me and my sister, split in half...and includes the disposable pans)!  Granted, it took some time on my part to plan, make out the list, calculate the points, and buy everything at the grocery store, but thanks to me, you can do it in about half the time, because I've already sorted through the recipes for you! 

So, here's how our Four Dinners for Under $50 Experiment went...

Day One:


Japanese-Rubbed Roasted Chicken with Bok Choy and Carrots

Looks good, right?  Well, it wasn't very good and it was a lot of steps, so scrap this recipe and trade it for this recipe:

Honey-Roasted Chicken

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 2

Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 4

Weight Watcher Points: About 6 points for 4oz with substitution (Sub the 3/4C Honey for 1/4C)


1 whole raw chicken
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 TSP salt
1/2 TSP pepper
1 TBSP garlic salt
2 TBSP thyme
1-2 C chicken broth (make this from the neck if you like)
1/4 C honey
1/2 C peeled and sliced shallots
1/2 C white wine
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 small lemon, thinly sliced

How to make it ahead of time:

Prep the chicken by rubbing it in the olive oil, and then pat with salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme. In a separate dish, combine broth, honey, shallots, wine, peas, and lemon.  Refridgerate seperately until ready to cook.

When ready to cook:

Roast the chicken at 375 for 1-1/4 hours. Drizzle with a small amount of honey over the chicken and roast an additional 5 minutes.  Ad pea/broth mixture to roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes. Remove peas with a slotted spoon.

Day Two:

Sirachi Turkey Burgers

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 2
Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 4
Weight Watcher Points: 8 POINTS PLUS for a 4oz burger on a whole wheat bun


1 Pound of Ground Turkey
1/4C Chopped Onion
2TBSP Soy Sauce
2TBSP Chopped Cilantro
1 Clove Garlic
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
Cilantro, Onion, and Sirachi Mayo (to dress the burger)

How to make it ahead of time:

Combine turkey, onion, soy sauce, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper together and mix with hands. Form into burger patties and separate layers with wax paper.

When ready to cook:

Grill or pan fry burger patties until fully-cooked.  Dress a bun with Sirachi mayo, cilantro, onion, and even stone ground mustard if you like.  Serve with cut potatoes lightly sprayed with olive oil and dusted with panko bread crumbs. Cook potatoes on 425 until crunchy.

Day 3:

Ancho Chili Steaks with Black Beans and Southwest Salad

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 1
Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 5
Weight Watcher Points: 6 POINTS PLUS for a 3oz of steak


2-4 Steaks (we used sirloin but you could even use a cheaper cut, like flank steak or tri-tip)
2 TBSP Ancho Chili Powder (I could only find Ancho Pepper so I used that and cut the pepper in half)
2 TBSP Paprika
1 TBSP Ground Cumin
2 TSP Oregano 
2 TSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 TSP Ground Black Pepper
Half a Onion, Cut it large pieces
1 Can Black Beans
1 Bag of Southwest Cabbage Salad 

How to make it ahead of time: 

In a bowl, mix together Ancho Chili spice (chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, cocoa and black pepper). In a large ziploc bag, add steaks and drizzle with a light coating of olive oil. Add Ancho Chili spice and onions, close the bag and massage into steak using the bag.  

When ready to cook:

Remove steaks and shake off access marinade/rub. Grill steak on a BBQ to your desired doneness. You can put the onions in tin foil and grill those as well. Serve over a bed of black beans and with a Southwest Cabbage Salad.
Day 4

Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 3.5 
Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 3
Weight Watcher Points: 7 POINTS PLUS for 1/4 of the pan


1-1/2 TBSP Oil
2 C Cooked Quinoa (I used the wild rice blend from Costco)
1 Head Fresh Broccoli (cooked)
1 C Sliced Mushrooms
12 Oz Cooked Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 TSP Salt
1/2 TSP Pepper
1-1/2 C Chopped Onion
6 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 C Skim Milk
2-1/2 TBSP Flour
1-1/2 C Chicken Broth
1/2 C Parmesan
1/4 C Lowfat Mayo
2 C Sharp Cheddar (shredded)

How to make it ahead of time: 

Add cooked quinoa, cooked chicken, steamed broccoli and mushrooms to a casserole pan. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over Med-High heat, add oil, onions, and garlic. Cook until transparent. Slowly stir in a mixture of the milk and flour to avoid clumping. Add chicken broth, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add Parmesan, mayo and cheddar with a whisk.  Pour mixture over the quinoa/chicken/veggie pan and cover with tin foil and refrigerate (or freeze) until ready. 

When ready to cook:

Bake at 400 until warm in the middle (about 25-30 minutes).

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