Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cheeseburger Casserole!

This is a recipe I saw on Skinnytaste, but it's actually one of Paula Deen's recipes lightened up by one her son's. Bobby Deen has this awesome cookbook where he lightens up some of his Ma's dishes. After I prepped this on Sunday, I ended up purchasing the book and it has some great comfort food recipes in it, and many of them are under 350 calories per serving. Check it out!

This recipe is a lot like my Skillet Rotini recipe which I knew would be a hit. My kids seem to love any pasta/sauce combo and with the addition of some nice protein, it's a whole meal the entire family can get behind.  Strangely (or not!) the pickles on the top are one of the best parts of this dish.  It adds just the perfect amount of crunch and salty flavors.  Add more if you love dill pickles!

To lighten this up a bit, I used lean ground turkey instead of ground beef and whole wheat rotini instead of regular.  I'm not always convinced that whole wheat pasta is better, in taste and nutrition, so use what suits your family best. 

Cheeseburger Casserole

Servings: 9 • Size: about 1 cup •
Calories: 261 • Fat : 9 g • Protein: 21.5 g • Carb: 21.5 g • Fiber: 2 g • Sugar: 3 g
Sodium: 468.5 mg

2 cups (6 oz ) uncooked rotini pasta (use brown rice pasta for GF)
2 tsp oil
1 1/2 cups onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey (95% lean)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
28 oz diced tomatoes
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 cups reduced fat grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente and drain well.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium- low heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. St ir in the beef and cook until browned; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the tomatoes and mustard. Let the mixture bubble gently until it is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
Toss the meat mixture with the pasta and spread it into the prepared dish. Top with the cheddar and bake until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped pickles over the top and serve. Makes about 9 cups.

Recipe Source: Bobby Deen: From Mama's Table to Mine

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken

This is another Skinnytaste recipe that we tried last week and the entire family fell in love with it. It's great served over rice, in a tortilla or even as a Thai-inspired lettuce wrap. This dish has the perfect amount of sweet for a main meal and I'll definitely be making it again!

Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken

Servings: 8 • Serving Size: over 2/3 cup • Old Pts: 4 • Weight Watchers Points+: 4 Calories: 185.5 • Fat: 2 g • Protein: 27 g • Carbs: 13.5 g • Fiber: 0.7 g • Sugar: 10 g Sodium: 504 mg

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce (tamari for gluten-free) 

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp
sriracha hot chili sauce, or more to taste (To clean this up, I used Organicville chili sauce)

1 heaping tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 medium scallions, chopped for garnish


Place the chicken in the slow cooker and season with black pepper. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, 1 tbsp water, sesame oil, onion powder and chili sauce. Pour over chicken and cook on LOW 3-4 hours.
Remove chicken, leaving the sauce in the slow cooker. Shred chicken with two forks; set aside.
In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/4 cup water; add to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH until slightly thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes; return chicken to the slow cooker and mix well.
Serve chicken and sauce over rice and top with sesame seeds and chopped scallions for garnish. Enjoy!