Weight Watchers Baked Macaroni and Cheese

One of my favorite comfort foods is macaroni and cheese. Some people use it as a side dish but I prefer to make it a main dish. I have made and eaten many variations of this dish but I recently found a Weight Watcher recipe that is more friendly to my figure and tastes really great.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

\"Diet Meals\"


Weight Watchers Baked Macaroni and Cheese

12 oz uncooked macaroni, elbow-type

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

12 oz fat-free evaporated milk

8 oz low-fat shredded cheddar cheese (colby cheese may be substituted for cheddar cheese or use a combination of both)

1 tbsp  Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tbsp dried bread crumbs

2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to package directions but do not add fat or salt. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. While pasta is still hot, stir in sour cream. Set aside.

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear just around the edges (this is called scalding). Reduce heat to low, add cheese and simmer until cheese melts, stirring constantly with a wire whisk (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

 Add cheese mixture to pasta and mix well. Transfer to a 3-quart casserole dish.

Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over pasta.

Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serves 8.

Weight Watcher Points Value 

5 points per 1 cup serving

My family and friends really enjoy this version of macaroni and cheese and most don't even realize that it is a Weight Watcher recipe. You don't have to be on a diet to enjoy this rich, creamy, and flavorful macaroni and cheese.

Weight Watchers Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Judy Scuderi is an Information Specialist currently living in central Florida. She is an avid cookbook collector and a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. Check out her book reviews at: http://floridamuse.wordpress.com

Is Nutrisystem Select Better Than Regular Nutrisystem?

I'm starting to get a lot of questions about Nutrisystem's new gourmet frozen foods line (called "select.") People want to know if the select line is better than the basic line. And, if it is better, they want to know if it's worth the additional cost. In the following article, I'll go over some of the details and differences in the select line to help you determine if you'd consider it better than the regular plan. Hopefully, this information will also help you evaluate if it's worth the additional cost.

Nutrisystem Basic And Select Work In The Same Way: Before I go over what sets the frozen line apart, I want to stress that the real difference between these two plans is in the additional food selections. You will still eat the diet meals five times per day. You still add in your own fresh sides. The calorie to carb to protein ratio remains the same, as does the nutritional value. The premium status of the select line is due to the quality and convenience of the frozen foods.

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Both Nutrisystem Lines Share Some Of The Same Foods, But There Are Two Weeks' Worth Of Frozen Foods Added To The Select Line: There's a misconception that the foods in these two lines are totally different. This isn't necessarily the case. The premium plan does include two weeks' worth of some of the more popular items in the basic line. But, half of the order (two weeks' worth) includes the new frozen entrees. (Of course, like with any of the packages, you can chose your own foods rather than going to with "favorites.")

Is Nutrisystem Select Better Than Regular Nutrisystem?

For breakfast, the new frozen foods are foods like pancakes, french toast, a breakfast burrito, and an omelet. Some of the lunch favorites are centered on the new lunch melts such as the ham and cheese, the meatball, and the steak and cheese melts. There's also chicken fajita and chicken quesadilla sandwiches. For dinner, they've added chicken and shrimp alfredos, glazed turkey, ravioli, turkey pepperoni pizza, Salisbury steak, macaroni and cheese, and stuffed shells.

The dessert options are standouts for me because they include ice cream products (which obviously you don't typically find on a diet.) There's sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, and fruit and ice cream bars.

So, Is The Nutrisystem Select Line Worth The Money? Is It Really Any Better Than The Regular Package?: This really does depend upon your taste and preferences. With the premium option, you are given two weeks' worth of additional variety with the new frozen foods. And the taste on these new items is very good. But there are many of the basic foods that I find to be very good as well. There is a premium price for the frozen foods. Depending on the specials running, you're generally looking at around more for the entire month. That's about more dollars per week or around more per day.

Since the select line is a package, you can usually use coupons for it, but you'll still be paying somewhat of a premium. Whether this is worth it to you depends upon how much you like the basic line. I find that most people really do like the taste of the frozen foods, particularly the desserts. And some people would rather pay a bit extra for this. Many people have the attitude that since they're going to be eating the diet meals quite regularly, they may as well make this as appealing and pleasurable as is possible.

Is Nutrisystem Select Better Than Regular Nutrisystem?

To get the latest Nutrisystem coupon codes for the packages discussed in this article, please check out my blog (where you can also read my free e book "Getting The Most Out Of Nutrisystem" which includes recipes, the latest specials (weeks free or up to 0 off), information on all of the programs, tips, support, and motivation. Check it out if you like at http://celebrity-diet-review.com/

How to Lose Weight on Medifast - Three Tips to Help You Shed the Pounds

I'm sometimes asked to share some of the tips and tricks that I used along the way to lose a decent amount of weight on medifast. Sometimes people assume that I have some mysterious "secret" or that I found a way to cheat but to still make progress. These assumptions aren't entirely true. There were some things that I learned which definitely made life on this diet easier, but there was never any major cheating or deep dark secrets.

In the following article, I will discuss how you can lose weight on medifast in what should be a relatively quick and painless process.

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Understand And Embrace Ketosis: Before I really researched the meat and potatoes of this plan, I assumed that medifast allowed you to lose weight because you were limiting your calories. This is true, but this assumption is really over simplifying things. There are actually two ways that the weight comes off. The first is probably what you suspected. You're eating a restricted amount of calories. But, you're also going to be restricting your sugar and carbohydrate intake while bumping up your protein and fiber consumption.

How to Lose Weight on Medifast - Three Tips to Help You Shed the Pounds

Now, before you think that this sounds difficult, know that the company pretty much does the work for you. The foods have been modified to meet all of these criteria. You really do not have to do anything other than educate yourself about how to prepare a "lean and green meal." As long as you eat what's in your order and follow the instructions, this is already taken care of.

The reason that this is so important is because ketosis is where your body begins to turn on its fat stores rather than using carbs to fuel itself. This makes your weight and fast loss somewhat accelerated. And, this also makes some of the actions that you may be tempted to participate in (like skipping meals) extremely ill advised.

Yes, you will be eating six times per day on medifast. This is accomplished through five of the diet's meals and one larger "lean and green." This may seem like a lot. But, the meals are small. Although you may be tempted to cut out one or two of these meals each day, resist this at all costs. In order for ketosis to happen, your body needs support through eating. If you skip this, you place ketosis in jeopardy which in turn means that you might be losing less weight than you may have hoped.

Understand That Your "Lean And Green Meal" Is So Important: I sometimes have people who email me and ask if they can just eat one of the diet meals in place of this main meal that you fix yourself. While it's understandable that it's very nice to have your meals already done for you, the "lean and green" is there for a reason. The doctors who developed medifast understood that it's important to get fresh foods and they also knew that, eventually, it was going to be important for dieters to learn how to plan for and make their own healthful meals. You may think that you're taking the easy way out by skipping this, but in the long run, it's not the greatest idea.

Also, it's very important that you understand and follow the guidelines that medifast will give you for preparing this meal. Think about it this way. You've worked very hard in being compliant with your other five meals and therefore are not going to have any problem with ketosis. But, if you chose foods that are high in calories or carbs in your main meal, then you have potentially negated all of your hard work and may jeopardize your potential fat burning and weight loss. It's just not worth it to risk this.

There are lots of resources on the medifast site and also on third party blogs that provide recipes and tips to help you with this. Making the most of this meal doesn't have to mean being a gourmet cook or being overly restrictive. It just means being smart about your choices.

Don't Be Overly Restrictive Or Too Hard On Yourself: I know that it might sound like I'm being overly restrictive or strict. I don't mean to be. I know first hand that their is some leeway in this diet. I myself add sugar free syrups to many of my diet meals as well fat free cheese and sour cream. This has not had any negative impact on my weight loss. Also, you don't have to be hard on yourself or to over think this. The research and counting really has been done for you. There is no need to over analyze any part of the process. You really can limit your responsibilities only to following the plan.

It's also important to understand that most every one cheats at some point. This is built into the medifast diet. It's not that big of a deal unless you allow it to continue on so much that you don't revisit your goals and continue on with the plan. A couple of days of cheating isn't likely to derail you too badly. But if you never get back on the diet, then obviously your weight loss is going to stop as soon as you are no longer following the diet.

It's my opinion that as long as you follow the medifast plan to a reasonable degree and keep at it until you see the results that you want, there is no reason that you can't be as successful as many others have been.

How to Lose Weight on Medifast - Three Tips to Help You Shed the Pounds

Want more resources to help you to lose the most weight on medifast? Lindsey's Medifast Review Website features recipes, a list of all of the foods (including design a menu), videos, tips, coupons ( off or two weeks free), information and products related to success on this diet. She also offers a free ebook ("Getting The Most Out Of Medifast") to help you get started. You can visit her at http://easiest-diet.com/.

Understanding Meats: Why Red Meat is Red and Why White Meat is White

Animal muscle turns to meat after slaughtering. Meat is surrounded by a layer of connective tissues, consisting almost entirely protein collagen. Meat tissues are composed of three main factors, water, protein (connective tissue) and fat. Carbohydrate also appears in meat as it gives the browning effect of meat when cooked. Without this carbohydrate, the desirable flavor and appearance of browned meat would not be achieved.

Meat are mainly referred as red or dark and white meat. Red or dark meat is mainly made up of muscles with fibers that are called slow fibers. These muscles are used for extended periods of activity, such as standing or walking and need a consistent energy source. The protein myoglobin stores oxygen in muscle cells, which use oxygen to extract the energy needed for constant activity. Myoglobin is a richly pigmented protein. The more myoglobin there is in the cells, the redder or darker, the meat is. Red meat is red because the muscle fibers that make up the bulk of the meat contain a high content of myoglobin, which are colored red. Myoglobin, a protein similar to hemoglobin in red blood cells, acts as a store for oxygen within the muscle fibers.

\"Diet Meals\"

White meat is made up of muscles with fibers that are called fast fibers. Fast fibers muscles are used for quick bursts of activity, such as fleeing from danger. These muscles get energy from glycogen, which is also stored in the muscles. White meat as in fish has a translucent "glassy" quality when it is raw. Animal such as calf and pigs are also categorized as white meat. Veal meat is white because it is slaughtered after the calf been milk fed, approximately up to one year old. Pigs are lazy animal; they are not as active as cows, so their body contains more fat than any other animal. White meat is white because there is less usage in the muscle. Myoglobin content is low in these muscles. This is why chicken breast, pork and veal are slightly pink or white, before or after cooked. Fish is white because it lives in water and does not need to support its own body weight. Basically, there are no myoglobins in these muscles.

Understanding Meats: Why Red Meat is Red and Why White Meat is White

The difference between meat and fish muscle tissue is that there is no tough connective tissue between the muscles and bones.

Cows and pigs are both sources of dark meat, though pig is often called "the other white meat." Pigs muscles do contain myoglobin, but the concentration is not as heavy as it is in beef. Chickens have a mixture of both dark and white meat, and fish is mainly white meat. Chicken spend a lot of time walking around and standing. Their thigh and leg muscles are used constantly, so the meat from these parts is slightly darker than its breast. Since they rarely fly, and then only for very short distances, the meat that comes from the breast and wings is white. In contrast, wild birds such as ducks fly a lot; the meat from their breasts and wings is dark. Same goes with their legs, as they use them for swimming.

Cows spend a lot of time standing, walking and so their muscles are constantly being used. Therefore, beef has a fairly high concentration of myoglobin and is dark red. Pigs also can spend quite a bit of time standing and roaming around. The pink color of pork is due to myoglobin, but because the animals used for pork and veal are young and small, their muscles are less developed and do less work. Therefore, pigs and calf have a lower concentration of myoglobin in their muscles than cows. The only similarity between these four animals is that they are mammals on land. Fish float in water and do not need constant muscle energy to support their skeletons. Most fish meat is white, with some red meat around the fins and tail, which is used for swimming. The pink colored of some fish, such as wild salmon and trout, is due to astaxanthin, a naturally occurring pigment in the crustaceans they eat. Fish such as sharks and tuna has a dark or red flesh because it contains more myoglobin as they are fast swimmers and a migratory fish.

Juiciness and tenderness are two very important factors when it comes to meat quality. Both factors are influenced by the cut of meat and how long the meat is cooked. The more a muscle is used, the stronger and therefore tougher, the cut of meat will be. In contrast, the longer meat is cooked, the more liquid it loses and the tougher it becomes. Factors that also influence tenderness and juiciness are: The animal's age at slaughter, the amount of fat and collagen (connective tissue) contained in particular cuts and to a small degree, brining.

Collagen is a long, stiff protein that is the most prevalent protein in mammals. It's made up of three separate molecules composed of amino acid chains, twisted around each other, something like the way fibers are twisted around each other to form a rope. This structure is what makes the collagen so strong; this strength is also what makes it more difficult to break down. The more collagen there is in a piece of meat, the tougher it is to cut and to chew. Skin is mostly collagen, as are the tendons that connect muscles to bones. For cuts that are high in collagen, cooking with methods that use slow, moist heat, such as stewing or braising, are the best. Collagen is soluble in water and when it is cooked slowly with moist heat, it becomes gelatin.

Collagen can be less tough by slicing up the meat into smaller pieces, which makes the fiber smaller and easier to break apart. Weight-bearing muscles and muscles that are constantly used contain higher amounts of collagen than muscles that aren't used for support or aren't used as frequently. Cows and pigs have higher amounts of collagen in the legs, chest, and rump. Pork is generally more tender than beef, because pigs are usually slaughtered at a younger age than cows and so their muscles are less developed and have less collagen than those of cows.

Fish muscles are quite different from those in mammals. Fish float in water and so don't need muscle to support their weight. Their muscle fiber are very short called myotomes and are held together by connective tissue called myocammata, which is much more delicate than collagen and breaks down much more easily when cooked. The only muscles that most fish use extensively are around the tail and fins (areas that aren't eaten as often by humans), which are used for constant cruising around in the water. Once caught, (dead) fish are stored in an ice room with standing temperature of 1-3°C.

Understanding Meats: Why Red Meat is Red and Why White Meat is White

Farouk is a professional Chef and has worked and travelled all over the world. As well as working full time as a senior Chef, Farouk regularly writes interesting articles such this one on meats and also contributes frequently to http://www.chefspencil.com

A Medifast Diet Food List - Examples of What You'll Eat on This Diet

People often ask me if it's possible to see a list of foods that you eat while on the medifast diet. The list for the diet is extensive. There are over 70 food choices. And, the possibilities for the "lean and green meal" that you prepare for yourself each day are endless. Still, I can offer you a list of possibilities in the article below to give you some idea of the food choices that you have on this diet.

A List Of Possible Medifast Breakfast Foods: Every one is different of course. So, what I might eat for breakfast may not sound all that good to you. But, possible choices for me are the plan's latte, cappuccino, oatmeal, and eggs. There's also the shakes, bars, and brownies. And of course, within each category, there are different flavors. For example, if you are considering the oatmeal, you can chose between blueberry, peach, apple cinnamon, and maple/brown sugar.

\"Diet Meals\"

Medifast Snacks Food Choices: Now, you are supposed to eat five of the plan's meals each day in addition to the larger meal that you need to provide. (Everything but the "lean and green meal" is prepackaged and made already for you.) So, since you have to cover this five times, most people will eat breakfast, lunch, and three snacks. For me, I have one snack mid morning, one in the afternoon, and the last one a few hours after dinner. This is in addition to breakfast and lunch.

A Medifast Diet Food List - Examples of What You'll Eat on This Diet

For snacks, the choices are things like pretzels, cheese puffs, pudding, shakes, bars, juice drinks, and brownies. Again, there are several flavors within each food category. For example there are two kinds of bars (all with their own flavors) and several kinds of shakes from which to chose. In terms of shakes, most people will opt for the regular 55, at least at first. With bars, I usually stick with the crunch bars. You can have more than one of these per day. With the maintenance bars, they only want for you to have one per day.

Medifast Lunch Food List: This diet offers a lot of different soups, stews, and chilis in several different flavors. Examples are chicken and rice, chicken noodle, crab, vegetable beef, cream of broccoli, cream of tomato, and cream of chicken. There is also a pretty good chili. I eat these a lot, but sometimes, I will make an egg burrito or wrap using the diet eggs. Other times, I will take my lean and green option at lunch time and eat out (sensibly of course.) And, you are also free to chose any of the shakes and bars or any other item on the menu for lunch.

Medifast Dinner Foods: As I alluded to, most people chose to eat their own prepared meal at dinner. This allows them to sit down to a meal with their family. This is not a requirement though. You can have this meal anytime that you want. I know some folks that eat their larger meal at breakfast or lunch and then chose one of the smaller diet meals for dinner.

A Medifast Diet Food List - Examples of What You'll Eat on This Diet

Want to see the entire Medifast diet food and product list? Visit Lindsey's Medifast Review Website. You'll find a full meal list, videos, tips, coupons information, and products related to success on this diet. She also offers a free weight loss ebook at http://easiest-diet.com/