WW Recipe MegaPost #1

As promised in my last post, I’m going to start using this blog to share crazy delicious recipes I have found that cost very few Weight Watchers SmartPoints. This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, because I really like to eat a lot of food.


For those unfamiliar, Weight Watchers (a program which I have snobbishly rolled my eyes at for over a decade for no good reason) recently changed their system in a highly controversial and intriguing way. From what I gather, they (1) expanded the number of “Zero Point” foods available and (2) in exchange for this they apparently took a bunch of daily points away from people (but gave them back as Weekly Points? I don’t really know…). What I do know is that people were pissed! It made the news. I read the news. I was curious, and glanced at the Zero Point Food list. I was amazed. Beans? Eggs? Corn? Fish? Why are people so mad? These are like basically all of my favorite foods! So at that exact moment, I said “take my money, Weight Watchers, I have to see if this works.”


I signed up on December 5 and unilaterally decided my poor wife would be signing on too. The first week was a little bit brutal, but mostly because we had bought our groceries not knowing that we would be signing up for Weight Watchers. We got used to it pretty quickly, though, adjusted our breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and as of February 5 (our last weigh in) we have each so far lost a little over 20 pounds each, for a combined 43.7 pounds. In two months. This is completely insane. While we have each lost large amounts of weight before, we have never lost weight together at the same time. We have also never lost weight while not, at the same time, being murderously miserable due to starvation. We are seriously never hungry on this plan, and once a week we do try to make it a point to have something awesome like pizza or burgers or nachos. I don’t know how it is working, but it is working.


So, while this is super great, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I can’t indiscriminately throw foods in my cart that I want to try.  I will continue to try things, though, on the weekends. Friday through Sunday is generally when I cash in all of the Weekly Points, FitPoints, and rollover points that I hoard like a squirrel on weekdays. On these days, the Curious Shopper will live on. But at the moment, my food-related obsession is finding recipes that cost minimal SmartPoints with maximal deliciousness. These recipes are mostly for Monday – Thursday, but some are so good we voluntarily eat them on weekends too.


I have been typing out all of these recipes to print out on old timey paper, because I get annoyed with touching electronic devices while cooking. So I’m going to share them here! This is Recipe MegaPost #1. I’ll do more as I acquire more recipes. Please feel free to send me recipes if you have them! I promise I will try them, but be forewarned that I can’t promise I will post them if they are not absolutely delicious. I have zero tolerance for mediocre food.


Lunch Recipes:

Costco Salsa Chicken (0 SmartPoints)

Turkey Pumpkin Chili (1 SmartPoint)


Dinner Recipes:

Salmon Corn Squash Chowder (0 SmartPoints)

Lemony Salmon (0 SmartPoints)

Ground Chicken Larb & Coconut Pineapple Cauliflower Rice (5-6 SmartPoints)


Dinner Side Recipes:

Lemony Beet & Feta Salad (0 SmartPoints)

Lemony Beet Salad

Note: Two of my diet staples that I thought were pretty healthy but still cost an unacceptable amount of SmartPoints are Kind bars and Craisins. I need something sweet on my salads, so Craisins have been replaced with beets! Here is a recipe that makes them extra tasty. I used to use oil in the dressing, but tried it without and didn’t notice the difference.

Serves: 2


  • 1 package of precooked beets, diced
  • 1 small bunch (or half a large bunch) scallions, diced
  • 1 oz (30 g) fat free feta cheese
  • Half a lemon


Toss the beets, scallions, and feta cheese in the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Weight Watchers SmartPoints breakdown: Zero points! If you use reduced fat feta, it’s a mere 1 point per serving. If you use full fat feta, it’s only 2 points per serving. Still pretty good, whatever feta you use!

Lemony Salmon

My wife makes this recipe, and it’s always better when she makes it. I ask her the temperature and cook time every. single. time. I attempt to make it, so I’m recording it here for posterity.

Serves: 4-8, depending on filet size and portion size. We are big eaters and so we generally cut each filet into 8 oz portions.

  • 2 to 3 lb skinless filet of salmon (get at Costco)
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper.


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil. Grab a large second piece of foil (large enough to wrap the salmon), and lay the salmon filet on the center of it.
  • Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of half of it over the salmon.
  • Season the salmon generously with salt and pepper.
  • Wrap up the salmon tightly in the foil, like a packet.
  • Cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. Start checking it after 20 minutes. It’s done when the thickest part is cooked through and flakes nicely when you poke it with a fork.
  • Cut the second half of the lemon into wedges and serve with the fish.

Points breakdown: Zero points!

Zero Point Salmon Butternut Squash Corn Chowder

Adapted from here: http://www.whatsthesoup.com/2010/09/nyc-seriously-soupys-salmon-butternut-squash-corn-chowder-recipe/ but edited for more deliciousness and fewer SmartPoints.

Note: My mom made this recipe for our family over Christmas. As she listed out the ingredients I was THRILLED to learn that each one was zero points, but to be perfectly honest it didn’t sound like it would be that good. Holy crap, I was wrong. We are completely addicted to this soup. To make this meal zero point, I skip the heavy cream from the original recipe. The recipe calls for a “filet” of salmon, which is about as ambiguous as you can get. It could be a small 0.75 lb filet you’d find in the grocery store, or it could be the mega 3 lb skinless filet you get at Costco. Obviously, I go with the latter, but I am also well aware that you might find this to be insane.


  • 1 butternut squash, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 4-5 ears corn, cut off the cob
  • 1 cup baby shitake mushrooms, washed and patted dry
  • 1 2-3 lb filet of salmon
  • 6 cups of water


  • Get a giant pot.
  • Add the squash.

  • Add the carrots

  • Add the corn


  • Add the scallions & onions
  • Add the mushrooms and the dill

  • Pour the water over the top.

  • Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes

  • While cooking, chop up the salmon into small pieces like so

  • After 30 minutes of simmering, add the salmon pieces to the soup. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, and you are done!

Points breakdown: Nothing in this soup has points!

WW Friendly Thai Dinner (Ground Chicken Larb, Coconut Pineapple Cauliflower Rice, and Magic One Point Peanut Sauce)

The larb is adapted/copied from this “Cooking without Recipes” post from Bon Appetit: https://www.bonappetit.com/columns/cooking-without-recipes/article/chicken-larb-lettuce-wraps

A note to Bon Appetit if you are listening: This dish is super fantastic, but I just typed it out myself below mainly because I am so freaking sick of looking up this freeform monstrosity on my phone with dirty hands and trying to scroll through and interpret it. Recipes exist because they are good, simple structured instructions one can follow when trying to cook. We like them. Don’t do this “Cooking without Recipes” thing anymore. Thanks.

The rice is adapted from a real rice recipe I found in the Weight Watchers app and I am not sure how to credit it!

The Magic One Point Peanut Sauce is my own invention.

Serves: This whole meal is four generous servings of Thai-inspired deliciousness for about 6 SmartPoints per serving.

Ground Chicken Larb

Notes: The ground chicken has to be breast meat, eg. 98% fat free, or it will cost SmartPoints, and we can’t have that! Not all stores have ground chicken breast, I have found. It sucks. Turkey breast works too, but it doesn’t taste quite the same.

  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • A couple of limes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped


  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar


  • 20 g of canola oil
  • 2 lb ground chicken breast.
  • Half a large bunch of scallions, or all of a small bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 2 chili peppers (I use serranos because I am a little b*tch but you could use Thai birds if you are braver than me)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha


  • Set the lettuce, limes and cilantro aside for later.
  • Slice the red onion thin and toss it in the rice vinegar. Cover and refrigerate until you need to use it.

  • Put the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. The recipe says until it is “shimmering,” which I find to be one of the world’s more stupid recipe instructions because oil is always shimmering. The real-world translation for “heat it until it is shimmering” is “heat it until it is hot, but not until it is smoking, and good look with that, sucker.”
  • Add the chicken breast, scallions, chili peppers and garlic.

  • Heat until chicken is fully cooked through and starting to brown.

  • Add the sauces & sugar, and mix it up real well. Cook for a few more minutes, and serve with the rice and accouterments below.

Coconut Pineapple Cauliflower Rice

Notes: This is a meal where some normally crappy Trader Joes ingredients can really shine. Specifically, Trader Joes usually has the worst riced cauliflower because it’s a bit crunchy, but that is actually best for this purpose, as it mimics the crunchy toasted rice that is usually found in larb. Also, the coconut milk. The deal with the coconut milk is that you want to use whatever portion of a can of lowfat, reduced fat, light, what have you, coconut milk that comes out to be 8 points. I have noticed that coconut milks can wildly vary in their SmartPoints. In this scenario you actually want to be aiming for the terrible cans of coconut milk (again, looking at you Trader Joes) where the fat separates from the liquid because you can pull off the fat and just use all of the liquid, it’s great.

  • 2 packages of frozen riced cauliflower
  • 8 SmartPoints worth of coconut milk, preferably light/reduced fat
  • One small can or half a full can of chunk pineapple, drained
  • Half a large bunch of scallions, or all of a small bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Put the frozen riced cauliflower in a pot over medium heat. Add the scallions, coconut milk, and ginger. Heat until cauliflower is heated through and most of the liquid is absorbed/evaportated. Add the pineapple and heat for a few more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Magic One Point Peanut Sauce

  • 2 tbsp (12 g) powdered peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp Sriracha

Dissolve the powder in the water, add the Sriracha, and mix it up good. Boom. One point deliciousness.

Other Accoutrements:

  • Peanut sauce from above
  • Pickled red onions from above
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro
  • The butter lettuce, leaves peeled off whole and laid gently upon a plate


To serve, put the rice and the larb on a plate. My wife likes to mix it all up, I do not.  Assemble wraps in the lettuce leaves with the larb filling, rice, onions, cilantro, a drizzle of peanut sauce and a squeeze of lime. So good.

Larb Servings 4
Ground chicken breast 0 points
20 g canola oil 6 points
Onion/Garlic/Chiles 0 points
Soy, fish & Sriracha sauces 1 point
2 tbsp brown sugar 6 points
Lettuce, lime and cilantro 0 points
Per serving 3 points


Rice Servings 4
Riced cauliflower 0 points
Coconut milk 8 points
Onion 0 points
Ginger 0 points
Per serving 2 points






Peanut Sauce Servings 1
12 g peanut powder 1 points
water 0 points
Sriracha 0 points
Per serving 1 point




Costco Salsa Chicken

Adapted from nowhere, because I INVENTED IT

Servings: we generally get about 12 lunch-sized (1.5 cup) servings out of this.

Notes: This is my favorite lunch that you can make entirely from 3-4 ingredients procured from Costco:


The Hand Pulled Rotisserie Chicken Breast Meat, if you didn’t know, is the most amazing thing. It can be found in this general part of Costco:

I saw it in the store, and I looked at it for a few weeks before I had the nerve to buy it. Something about precooked packaged chicken really skeeves me out, which is unfortunate because raw chicken also skeeves me out too. When I first described it to my wife, it started something along the lines of “it sounds delicious, but looks a little gross.” and then as most conversations with my wife go, I wound up talking myself into buying it, ending with “But I guess I’d also look gross if I was vacuum sealed in plastic. I’m going to try it.”

Anyways, I finally bought it, and now I buy one or two of these a week. Let me further explain this product. You know those delicious $5 rotisserie chickens at Costco? Well, someone has painstakingly pulled the breast off the delicious Costco rotisserie chicken for you, for the low low cost of $11.99. I literally have purchased dozens  if not hundreds of rotisserie chickens in the past, only to pull off the breast and discard the rest (I know, I am a monster. I married a dark meat eater to even things out). This is all the chicken breast, none of the hassle, none of the chicken skin temptation, for $11.99. It’s almost 3 lb of tender, shreddable, non-rubbery precooked chicken breast. It’s magical.

You can do TONS of recipes with this stuff, by just mixing it with whatever sauce you’d like. Barbecue! Buffalo! Curry simmer sauces! The possibilities are endless, with the caveat that they all will cost SmartPoints of the sauce. What sets this recipe apart is that there are no SmartPoints in the sauce. The sauce is salsa. Salsa is the sauce.


  • Costco “Hand Pulled Rotisserie Chicken Breast Meat” – you could use anywhere from half the package to the whole damn thing (2 lbs, 10 oz to be exact), depending on how many servings you want this to be. Go nuts. I use the whole thing most of the time.
  • Costco-sized (48 oz) jug of fresh salsa
  • Canned black beans – anywhere from 4-6 cans works. I use 5 cans to get 12 servings.
  • Limes (4 or 5)
  • Cilantro (if you have it. There’s also cilantro in the salsa so not totally necessary).


  • Drain the beans and put them in a giant pot.

  • Pour half the jug of salsa over the top.

  • Cook the beans/salsa mixture over medium heat until heated through and bubbling.

  • Put the chicken in there. It looks like a crime scene, I know.

  • Break it up into breasts but don’t worry about shredding it yet.

  • Once the chicken is warmed a bit and softened up, it should be shred-able with a fork. Shred it up nice.

  • Once the chicken is all shredded, squeeze the lime juice over the top, season to taste with salt, add the cilantro if you’re using it, and remove from the heat.

We divide this into about a dozen 2 cup lunch containers. I like to kill the second half of the salsa jug by pouring a bit of fresh salsa over the top of each portion.

Here is the Weight Watchers SmartPoints breakdown:

Servings ~12
Chicken breast meat 0 points
Salsa 0 points
Black beans 0 points
Lime juice 0 points
Cilantro 0 points
Points per serving 0 points


Turkey Pumpkin Chili

This is adapted from a recipe my mom gave me, I don’t know where from.

Notes: I have added bacon to this dish, because I think bacon is a really great and tasty way to precisely measure the amount of fat I’m adding. I like to use it in lieu of trying to weigh/measure out small portions of oil, but you totally don’t have to! Another tip is that I get the bacon from the butcher counter, which gives me a thicker cut, a precise weight (the three slices are generally between 1/8 and ¼ pound) and lets me avoid having to find a use for the other ¾ pounds of bacon that come in a pack.

Servings: we generally get about 12 lunch-sized (1.5 cup) servings out of this.


  • 2 lb ground turkey breast
  • 3 thick slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 serrano chiles, sliced
  • 2ish tbsp cumin
  • 2ish tbsp chili powder
  • 2ish tsp cayenne
  • 2 cans pumpkin puree
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes


  • Heat the diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until fat is rendered and it is browned
  • Add onions, garlic and serrano chiles to the bacon, sautee until the onions are softened
  • Add turkey breast, 1 tbsp of cumin, 1 tbsp of chili powder, 1 tsp of cayenne, plus salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat the seasoned turkey mixture until turkey is cooked through and browned.
  • Transfer turkey mixture to a crockpot. Add pumpkin, beans, and tomatoes. Add remainder of seasonings, plus more to taste.
  • Heat in crockpot on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10 hours.
  • Unplug the crockpot when you are done cooking with it, you maniac.

Weight Watchers SmartPoints breakdown:

Servings 10-12
Ground turkey breast 0 points
3 Slices Bacon 3 points
Onion/Garlic/Chiles 0 points
Spices 0 points
Pumpkin puree 0 points
Beans 0 points
Tomatoes 0 points
Per serving 1 point

I Don’t Even Know What To Call This

Hi! It is now February 4, 2018. I am now finally posting a post I wrote sometime in…May of 2017? I apologize profusely below. Did I really mean it? 

So, it’s only May and I’ve blown it already, failed in my promise to post once per month. I have let all 10 of my readers down and I’m sorry. I will say that I started this post in April and then did not post it, which is possibly even worse. Sorry. Since it’s almost June, I’m going to make this a mega post to cover April and May, reviewing every freaking thing I have eaten in the last two months. I hope you can forgive me and I will try to resume monthly posts from here (2018 me narrates: “She didn’t.”) but full disclosure, I’m moving in June so don’t hold your breath. I feel a lot of posts in the fall (2018 me narrates: “There were no posts in the fall.”) Just, be patient with me.

Last month (15 months ago) something momentous happened on this blog: I got not one but TWO comments from entities that were not Russian spambots and/or my Facebook friends/family. One of the comments was not a comment but a CHALLENGE, suggesting….no, quite literally DARING me to try Stop & Shop’s new Toasted Coconut Gouda.

I immediately freaked out. I was well aware that Stop & Shop was currently pushing Toasted Coconut items. It is part of this thing they do where they make special displays with “Limited-Time items” featuring totally conventional and standard flavors. But, that said,  I was NOT AWARE of COCONUT flavored CHEESE.

For perspective, I really should have known – Stop & Shop did this in fall with Pumpkin, and in December with Peppermint, which is how those wonderous goat cheeses came to be. In January, the flavor du jour was Chocolate. Yes, that’s right, Stop & Shop took it upon themselves to say “Let us introduce you to this taste sensation known as Chocolate. Here are some themed items to introduce you to Chocolate, the Next Big Thing.” And the display had chocolate cookies and cake and whatnot. I will admit that I did get a bit curious and tried the chocolate soda; it tasted like drinking a Tootsie Roll, and was immediately poured down the sink.

I guess I wasn’t really paying attention, because I was completely unaware that these flavor themes had spilled into cheese. NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT THE CHEESE (except commenter Elaine L. Thank you, Elaine L. Sorry this took so long.) That apology was from 2017. Just checking in to apologize again from 2018.

I IMMEDIATELY went to my local Stop & Shop to hunt down this Toasted Coconut Gouda. This was a long and painful search, as this particular Stop&Shop amazingly has no less than four different areas where you can find cheese. There were Toasted Coconut items sprinkled throughout the store, taunting me. There were toasted coconut cookies in the meat section, toasted coconut cookie dough near the cream cheese, toasted coconut cereal abutting the frozen aisle, and toasted coconut cake mix opposite the seafood. I found toasted coconut-flavored water, and even toasted coconut flavored goat cheese, but there was no toasted coconut gouda.

The 2018 version of me is going to chime in here and say that around this time our rental housing situation got flipped turned upside down and we found ourselves somehow househunting with no preparation and no knowledge of how to do so…so, yeah, that was the end of the blogging for the rest of the year. But, I will say that this experience exposed us to a LOT of Stop & Shops. So many Stop & Shops. We stopped and shopped at every Stop & Shop we passed on each of our our Open House meccas, in search of this cheese. I am not lying when I say that we visited at least 10 different Stop & Shops in the Boston metro area looking for this cheese.

So first, here is a quick roll call of all the BS we found and tasted during the weeks we spent looking for this damned cheese:

  • Toasted coconut and mango goat cheese – well, of course this is good
  • Chocolate goat cheese – well, of course this is better than above
  • Pumpkin spice gouda: Huge surprise, this pumpkin spice gouda is FOUL and DISGUSTING, the first pumpkin spice product I have ever encountered with these qualities. Run far far away from this.
  • Ok, yeah, I know, I see the pattern and I made the connection. I am still looking for the chocolate gouda. No signs yet.
  • Cheetos Sweetos Caramel Something or Other – a Cheetos Sweetos item not labeled as “Limited Edition!” My prayers answered! Please everyone buy and eat lots and lots of these so they don’t get discontinued. (2018 Me narrates: They have been discontinued).
  • Thomas Brothers Limited Edition Maple English Muffins – Oh boy, These are satanically good. (2018 Me narrates: they altered the odor profile of our entire home and it took us four months to wean off of them).
  • Trader Joe’s Honey Butter Potato Chips – Holy effing shit. Pause the coconut gouda post because these freaking potato chips are incredible. They probably deserve their own post but I am lazy, so here is a post within a post:

The Curious Shopper learned at a very early age what the best food in the world is. Do you know what the best food in the world is? I will tell you. The best food in the world is when you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (raspberry jam, obv, because grape and strawberry are gross) and you cram as many sour cream and onion chips into it as you can and then you eat it like a boss. Because you are eight and you just created a pleasingly crunchy sweet and savory PB&J, and you are a BOSS and it can only get better from there. Not sure why all of these adorable little punks on Masterchef Junior haven’t figured this out yet, because eight year old me would run circles around them with my sour-cream-and-onion-stuffed PB&J sandwiches, ok? Terrific. Outstanding. Delicious. Anyways, these chips are that sandwich. They transport you back to simpler times, potato chips that are sweet and salty and for some reason even have the little green flecks of the SC&O. Magnificent. I love these chips so much that Trader Joe’s will probably discontinue them tomorrow and send all remaining bags on the shelves to the TJ’s graveyard with the champagne vinaigrette and the creamed kale. (2018 Me narrates: THEY ARE STILL THERE!!!!)

  • Honey Jalapeno Potato Chips – After the TJs chips I was SO EXCITED about these. Boy oh boy, I do nothing but set myself up for disappointment. There is absolutely no honey to be found here, they are your standard jalapeno potato chips, indistinguishable from Ms. Vicks. Buddah snacks, you are on my last effing nerve I tell you what. Shove these in a PB&J sandwich or something, I don’t know. They aren’t sweet.
  • Lays BLT Potato Chips: These are weird shapeshifters. Some taste like bacon. Some taste like mayonnaise. As someone who unabashedly loves both potato chips and mayonnaise, no one wants a potato chip that tastes like mayonnaise. No one. It’s unnerving.
  • Lays Lime & Salt Potato Chips: I am a huge fan of the Limon chips you can for some reason only get in Mexico, so I was super excited about these. The day I tasted these my wife coincidentally brought home “Margarita” flavored cupcakes and TBH these chips were pretty funky and tasted more like the cupcakes than the limon chips, so they were kind of a bummer. My wife thought they were reminiscent of lime Trix.

On that note, I have a quick message for Lays: Let’s take a long hard look at what we’re doing here, Lays. Your new chips taste like lime Trix and mayonnaise. According to this blog post you are underperforming compared to coconut flavored cheese, Cheetos Sweetos, and whatever company’s castoff potato chips Trader Joe’s bought to resell. Not a good look. You can very quickly redeem yourself by getting those limon chips statesite. Or at least live your truth and rename the lime/salt chips margarita.

But all of these items are a distraction from the foundation of this post: the coconut gouda cheese. I finally found it! It was at the end of a horrible day when everything was going wrong, I went to the gym and then trodded into the Stop & Shop next door for my daily depressing check for the coconut gouda and it was actually there!  2018 Me narrates: “2017 was a rough year for me in a lot of ways, and it was a great feeling. Literally one of my best days of 2017. The day I found the coconut cheese. Yeah.” And it has been sitting in my fridge since APRIL 2017 and I am only reviewing it now (2018 Me narrates, “’now’ would be May, 2017”):

So, I like it. I don’t love it. I don’t have a ton to say about it, so I’m just going to state facts about it: (1) It oddly tastes really good paired with a meat (in this case I used turkey pepperoni). (2) It makes me want something coconut flavored that isn’t cheese. (3) It’s way better than the pumpkin gouda, which I never would have predicted. (4) It has a cute tropical rind. (5) That’s about it. I wouldn’t put it on a cheese board. I would probably never buy it again. But I can say I have tried it.

OK back to 2018! The wife and I are on Weight Watchers now (oprahisrightitworks). I simply CANNOT eat all things indiscriminately now, but that is OK. This blog possibly back, but is about to take a turn. Simply put, I will continue to try some things, but I am also finding and/or inventing BOMB low point recipes, and what better vehicle to share them?!

Look, don’t be sad, because it is probably for the best. I’ve tried it all, darlings. The chips are chips. The salty things taste pretty good combined with the sweet things, and vice versa. The cheeses…. are mostly bad. Time for something new!