Light and Easy Recipes and Meal Ideas

Parties & Entertaining

  • Watermelon Cupcakes

    Watermelon Cupcakes


    This is a fun and easy summer treat you can enjoy for special occasions or for no occasion at all. One 8oz container of lite whipped topping covers about 12 cupcakes (each cupcake having 2 tbsp of topping). Coolwhip recommended over the canned whipped cream because it holds its shape better and will not melt onto the watermelon. Be sure to use a stirdy plastic cup such as the red SOLO party cups to cut the shape of the watermelon. 


    You will have leftover watermelon which you can cut into wedges and store in the refrigerator.

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  • California Shrimp Cocktail

    California Shrimp Cocktail

    Calories: 158

    This simple dish makes a good party appetizer but I've also had it as a meal for lunch. You'll want to cut the cucumber and avocado around the same size and shape of the shrimp. Then just use a carrot peel to hold it together.


    This recipe is sponsored by my friends and partners at Seafood at Home. They are a great resource for recipes and ideas for all kinds of seafood.


    1 serving is 6 pieces

    Recipe makes 12 pieces. Nutrition facts exclude Soy Sauce.

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  • Bagel Wreath

    Bagel Wreath

    Calories: 128

    Great for parties, brunches and holiday get togethers. The dip shown in the photo here is just a few over-easy eggs mashed up. 


    For best results, I recommend that you watch the video tutorial I have for regular 2 ingredient dough bagels (if you haven't watched it already). You can find the recipe and video here.


    WW SmartPoints and nutrition information excludes the over-easy egg dip.

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  • Summer Party Bucket

    Summer Party Bucket

    Calories: 97

    This summer party bucket makes a fun centerpiece that guests can munch on. Serve it with any dip or sauce you like. You can use a basket or any type of canister. I used a lined ice-bucket here. The skewers are held in place with bread at the bottom as the base.


    Recipe fills 1 canister or basket. Serving size is 5 skewers: 2 shrimp, 1 chicken, 1 onion, 1 pineapple.

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  • Fiesta Taco Salad

    Fiesta Taco Salad

    Calories: 479

    I made this salad for a girls-day at my friend's house. My friend Jessica is filming the "how to serve" demonstration in the video clip below... so pardon the earthquake-like camera shaking. Love ya Jess.


    I used a large basket, lined with parchment paper for this, but you can use a large bowl or dish for this as well. This is a really tasty salad that makes a nice dish to bring to parties or summer barbecues. You can find my recipe for the Chili Lime Chicken marinade here


    Recipe makes 4 servings. Nutrition and WW SmartPoints values exclude Chili Lime marinade (which is marginal). For accuracy, always use the WW recipe builder to calculate SmartPoints based on the specific ingredients used since different brands of chips, salsa and sour cream may vary.

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  • Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Rolls

    Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Rolls

    Calories: 155

    These tasty grilled chicken rolls make a nice appetizer when you cut them in 1-inch peices to look like sushi rolls (see video for quick illustration). Or have them as an easy week-night dinner with a side of rice (I like Trader Joe's vegetable fried rice because you can just heat it and eat). 


    Recipe makes 6 grilled chicken rolls. 1 chicken roll per serving.


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  • Asian Inspired Salad

    Asian Inspired Salad


    Here's to staying healthy all summer long! This salad is a delicious side dish to take to summer barbecues. Any Asian-style dressing such as Sesame Ginger, or Thai Peanut Vinaigrette will work well. I sometimes do a simple home-made dressing mix of lemon juice, soy sauce, toasted sesame seed oil and a small dash of sugar.


    Recipe serves about 15 people. Zero WW Freestyle Points (excluding the dressing).

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  • Popsicles


    Calories: 81

    These festive Popsicles are great for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, or all summer long. See how I made these without "blending" the fruit, and just a small amount of real sugar used. You can use Truvia, Splenda or another zero calorie sweetner if you prefer.


    Recipe makes 10 popsicles. 


    I originally recommended the Nopro Frozen Ice Pop Maker. It was great at first, but after several washings I noticed this weird residue on the metal plate that surfaced every time it became wet. It may be because I put it in the dishwasher. Nowhere on the box did it state anything about how to wash or care for it. But I later noticed a note on the Amazon listing that said “hand washing recommended”. Apparently the product becomes unusable if you put it in the dishwasher.


    In any case, I was able to very easily return the item on Amazon for a full refund since it was less than 30 days since I purchased it. The return process was easy and free.


    Since then I tested 3 other popsicle makers (listed in order of preference). 


    Fox Run - Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    American Ice Pops - Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    Xing-Rui 10-Cavity Slicone - Frozen Ice Pop Maker


    The one I found to be best, is the Fox Run Frozen Ice Pop Maker (very similar to the Nopro). Here are the specifics on my criteria and testing:


    First, I only considered popsicle makers with wooden sticks. I like the classic look of a wooden stick verses plastic. And the shape of the pop itself had to have a classic popsicle shape. Second, I wanted a popsicle maker that made a set of 10 pops since I already developed recipes based on 10 popsicles. Last, I wanted something that costs $20 or less.


    The Xing-Rui Silicone Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    This one was ok, but I didn’t like it for a 2 reasons. 1.) The pop cavities bulged out a little when I filled them with fruit and yogurt. They didn’t hold their shape well. 2.) I can’t see the filling through the cavities since this pop maker is red. It’s hard to see how full they are as you add layers of different flavors to the pop.


    American Ice Pops Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    I found this pop maker to be very good. You can even remove the plastic cavities individually from the plate. The cavities were just slightly smaller in size (2.25 oz vs 3.0 oz). Otherwise, they held their shape well and removed fairly easily. But the price was $22.


    Fox Run Frozen Ice Pop Maker

    The price was $18.99 and they provided a coupon to save $3.60. With Amazon prime, I did not pay shipping. They hold shape really well. You can see through the semi-transparent plastic. They slide out fairly easily. But as stated on the listing “hand washing recommended”… this time, I did NOT put this popsicle maker in the dishwasher. I washed it by hand several times and it’s holding up great. The popsicles turn out beautifully.


    For all ice-pop makers, you have to run the cavities under hot water for about 30 seconds in order to remove the pops. Anything aluminum cannot go in the dishwasher. Hope this info helps. Happy popsicle making!

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  • Summer Fruit Salad with Pepitas

    Summer Fruit Salad with Pepitas

    Calories: 147

    I promise you will love this! It makes a great side dish for Mother's day brunches, lunches or a dessert. Or just make it for a healthy delicious snack to have on hand.


    Note: if you make this recipe in advance, be sure to wait to add the mint leaves until you are ready to serve. All other ingredients can be prepared before hand. The Champagne Pear Vinaigrette from Trader Joe's has a little Gorgonzola in it, so I did not add cheese such as Goat Cheese or Feta to this salad.


    If you do not live in close proximity to Trader Joe's, you can substitute the dressing with my easy recipe for Champagne Vinaigrette. I think the points are the same but the nutrition values may differ.


    Recipe makes 4 one-cup servings.

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  • Spinach & Ricotta Pinwheels

    Spinach & Ricotta Pinwheels

    Calories: 247

    These soft and cheezy pinwheels are delicious when dipped in Marinara sauce. They are so good, you could easily serve them at a party and no one would know they are a WW friendly recipe. The video shows a quick demonstration on assembling these.


    Here is the recipe for zero point Marinara Sauce.

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  • White Chili & Cheese Bake

    White Chili & Cheese Bake

    Calories: 270

    This dish is a family-friendly meal, or can be served with chips as a party appetizer. Almost all of the SmartPoints are in the full fat Shredded Pepper Jack cheese blend (Trader Joe's brand used here), which I find to be totally worth it. This dish makes me feel like I ate Taco Bell - but without the gross feeling I get after actually eating Taco Bell. :-D


    Recipe makes 8 servings. 

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  • Strawberry Shortcakes

    Strawberry Shortcakes

    Calories: 47

    Just 1 point each for these super yummy mini cakes. 


    You can find and purchase a two-pack of the Pillsbury Sugar Free Cake Mix here. You can also find and purchase the Mini Cupcake Baking Pans here.

    (commission earned if you purchase through the links)

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  • Strawberry Salad

    Strawberry Salad

    Calories: 168

    Super simple, easy and delicious. I made this salad for lunch, along with some grilled chicken and sugar snap peas - but I think it would also make a nice dish to bring to a summer barbecue.


    Recipe makes 2 one-cup servings, but multiply ingredients if you would like a bigger batch. 

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  • Mini Apple Pies

    Mini Apple Pies

    Calories: 212

    These delicious mini apple pies make a good breakfast, snack or dessert. You can serve them at parties and no one will suspect they are lightened up. The apples need a little head start in cooking because the pie crusts bake rather fast. Recipe makes 12 mini apple pies. 1 mini pie per serving.


    You can find and buy the Bisquick Heart Smart Mix here.

    Commission earned.

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  • Mini Pizza

    Mini Pizza

    Calories: 157

    These mini pizzas are easy and delicious. They make a great party appetizer or a fun dinner my kids enjoy. I used a 3 inch round cookie cutter to shape the crusts.


    Shown here is shaved Parmesan and basil on some, and 1/2 oz of mozzarella on the others. You can find the recipe for Marinara Sauce here, which is zero SmartPoints on all plans.


    Recipe makes 12 mini pies. Serving size is 2 mini pies. 

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  • Chocolate Banana Mini Muffins

    Chocolate Banana Mini Muffins

    Calories: 57

    This is a cute little treat for birthday parties or a fun snack. I think these have a bit more moisture than similar recipes I've tried that use applesauce in place of oil. Regular Pillsbury Devil's food cake mix used here (not sugar free). 


    Recipe makes 48 mini cupcakes. 1 mini cake per serving. WW SmartPoints and nutrition values exclude the additional banana slices shown in the photo (for topping).

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  • Quick Guacamole

    Quick Guacamole

    Calories: 139

    This is a quick avocado dip - a little lighter than regular guacamole because it's mixed with salsa and black beans.


    Recipe makes four servings. Serving size is 1/2 cup.

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  • Sweet and Sour Meatballs

    Sweet and Sour Meatballs

    Calories: 247

    I usually leave out breadcrumbs in lean ground chicken and turkey meatballs because the meat is dry. I find that the breadcrumbs just make it even dryer.


    The sweet and sour sauce coats about 25 meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. 

    Recipe makes 25 chicken meatballs. Serving size is 5 coated meatballs.

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  • Birthday Cake

    Birthday Cake

    Calories: 198

    I don't love using artificial sweeteners, but every now and then I do it if it's a special treat. Birthdays are a special treat. :-)


    Serving size is 1/10 th slice of the cake. 

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  • Party Platter

    Party Platter


    This is more of an idea than a recipe. It's a delicious, low-Points option for parties and entertaining. You can find a bunch of different recipes for sauces and dips in the "Sides, Sauces and Dressings" section of this site. SmartPoints and nutrition information are not listed for this party platter since it depends on what you choose to snack on.

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  • Cioppino


    Calories: 278

    This delicious seafood stew has clams, mussels and shrimp. A great dish for Christmas eve! No one will suspect it's WW friendly. 


    Scrubbing the clams and mussels are a little tedious, but when you get past that part, the rest of this recipe is a breeze. And it's so good.


    I created this recipe for my friends and partners at Seafood at Home. They are wonderful sponsors who support me and allow me to keep doing what I do. Besides this, they have so many healthy recipes and ideas for all things seafood. 


    Recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving includes 3 clams, 5 muscles, 5 shrimp and about 1 1/4 cups of broth.


    SmartPoints and nutrition facts exclude the bread shown in the photo above.




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