Deb Holland

Deb Holland

At this point I'm nearly one month into my New Year's resolution and probably justifying that flavored cream cheese is a type of cheese and therefore I can have it by the spoonful on my low-carb eating plan.

Of the 45 percent of the population who make resolutions, only 8 percent are successful in achieving them according to statisticbrain.com.

Weight loss has and continues to be the No. 1 resolution on the top 10 of New Year's resolutions. Second is getting organized, third is spend less money and saving more, fourth is enjoying life to the fullest and fifth is staying fit and healthy.

University of Scranton psychologist John Norcross says some pundits would have you believe that New Year's resolutions are a waste of time. But he told webmd.com that the very act of making resolutions improves your odds of success.

"Studies show that people who resolve to change behaviors do much better than nonresolvers who have the same habits that need to be changed," Norcross said.

Statistics show that, at the end of January, some 64 percent of resolvers are still hanging in there; six months later, that number drops to 44 percent, according to Norcross, author of "Changing for Good."

Making resolutions is the first step, but, experts say, you need a plan and a healthy dose of perseverance if you want to succeed.

"These habits and behaviors are very difficult to change, and when you don't have a well-thought-out plan on how you are going to make sustainable changes that fit into your lifestyle, it leads to failure," he says.

In other words, it's not enough to simply say, "I want to lose weight and exercise more." You need a detailed blueprint that addresses how you'll reach these goals.

Great advice for all of us. Happy New Year and good luck with that blueprint. Here's a few recipes to help you, and me, stick to that weight loss resolution.

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 package (8 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened

1/2 cup fat-free ranch dressing

1/3 cup Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce

2 tablespoons water

1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend or reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

2 tablespoons chopped green onions (2 medium)

Whole grain crackers or celery sticks, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in dressing, buffalo wing sauce and water until blended. Stir in chicken and cheese. Spread in ungreased 1-quart baking dish or 9-inch pie plate; cover with foil.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Stir; top with onions. Serve hot with crackers or celery sticks.

Skinny Salsa-Beef Chili

1 pound extra-lean (at least 90 percent) ground beef

1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 jar (16 ounces) mild or medium salsa

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained, rinsed

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons sugar (or sweetner)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Reduced-fat sour cream, if desired

Chopped green onions, if desired

In 4-quart nonstick Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Return to Dutch oven. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute.

Stir in remaining ingredients except sour cream and green onions. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. To serve, top individual servings with sour cream and green onions.

Skinny Garlic Shrimp Pasta

8 ounces uncooked multigrain angel hair (capellini) pasta or spaghetti

4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

1-1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

3 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1-1/2 pounds fresh medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail shells removed

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3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup dry white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)

1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons butter

In 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, cook pasta as directed on package. Drain; return to saucepan. Stir in spinach, tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of the oil. Cover to keep warm.

While pasta is cooking, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir 1 minute. Add shrimp, garlic and pepper flakes; cook and stir 2 minutes.

Stir in wine, broth, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and butter until butter is melted. Add shrimp mixture to pasta mixture in saucepan; toss to mix.

Skinny Peach Cobbler

1 cup Bisquick Heart Smart mix

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup fat-free (skim) milk

3 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup sugar

1 can (29 ounces) peach slices in light syrup, drained

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Vanilla ice cream, if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In ungreased 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish, stir Bisquick mix and cinnamon. Stir in milk and oil with wire whisk or fork until blended.

In medium bowl, mix sugar, peaches and lemon juice. Spoon over batter in baking dish. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand about 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm with ice cream.

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