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Individual Baked Ziti

We’ve probably all had baked ziti at least once in our lives, or any kind of baked pasta with a tomato sauce, and usually those dishes are quite heavy. If you’re trying to lose weight, or watch your waistline and keep it trim, pasta is probably the last thing you’re going to want to fix. Well, folks, I have a secret. What I have here, is a delicious, healthy, filling, and not so heavy pasta dish you CAN have and eat with pride if you are like me and are watching those calories. Or, in my case, watching points. Yea, I’m one of those Weight Watchers girls. In any case, these cute little Individual Baked Zitis lack no flavor.

Another big plus, the family will love it too. They’d never know they were eating something healthy and low in fat. My kids just LOVE individual, personal sized foods, they’re fun! For me though, I love this because it’s already portioned out. I don’t have to think about it. Just scoop it right out of the pan, and you got yourself a serving!

To make these cute little things, you’re going to need a couple of jumbo muffin pans (6 oz cups) or you can use cute little 6 oz ramekins.

Don’t eat it alone though, you don’t want to forget your veggies! For us, I decided on a simple tossed salad with low-fat Ranch dressing. Steamed broccoli would be another great choice to serve alongside these cute little ziti muffins.

However you decide to serve it up, you’ll be happy to know, if you’re a weight watcher, that this recipe is only 4 SmartPoints per serving. That number was calculated by using Barilla ProteinPlus Penne pasta. I know the recipe is Ziti, but you can use Penne. Keep in mind, depending on the brand of your ingredients, that SmartPoints number can go up or down, but not usually by very much.  I hope you and your family enjoy, as much as my family and I did!

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Individual Baked Ziti Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain.
  3. Meanwhile, coat twelve jumbo (6 oz) muffin cups with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon Parmigiano-Reggiano in bottom of each and tilt ramekins or muffin pan to evenly cover bottoms.
  4. After draining pasta, return to pot. While Pasta is still warm, immediately stir in 3/4 cup of mozzarella and the ricotta. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together egg white and water until smooth. Add egg mixture to the pasta and stir to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
  6. Evenly divide pasta mixture into prepared muffin cups. Press down lightly with spoon to pack it. Sprinkle each with about 1 tbsp remaining mozzarella.
  7. Bake, uncovered, for 12 minutes or until cheese is melted and noodles begin to brown at edges. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes, perfect time to toss together a salad!
  8. Just before serving, sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp Parmesan over the top. Remove each ziti from the pan using a spoon; sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan over top. Remove each ziti from muffin pan with a spoon. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
  9. Yields 1 ziti per serving.
Recipe Notes

Slightly adapted from Weight Watchers The SmartPoints Cookbook.

1 serving = 4 SmartPoints

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Lazy Bistro Burgers

You ever get that lazy feeling? Where you’ve been busting your hump all week, you know you’re not finished, but all you want to do is as little as possible, and then just before you put your feet up in your favorite chair with a nice glass of wine, you realize you still have to prepare dinner. I love to cook, obviously, but there are days like that and it’s frustrating.

Not to fear though! I have for you today, a wonderful lazy day recipe! This recipe is so quick, and requires such little prep, that you’ll be back to that easy chair and glass of wine in no time flat! This is also perfect for a rushed weeknight meal too.

To be honest, I was not rushed when I came up with this burger. I found a recipe for a beautiful macaroni salad on Pinterest, and I really wanted to try it. So, I came up with this burger recipe to go with it. I made the salad earlier in the day, and then when dinner time came around, slapped these burgers together and YUM was all around! Everyone should have this salad in their lives, so after you’re done here, you might head over to Cooking Classy and check out her Classic Macaroni Salad. YUM!

Ok, so on with the burgers!

You only need a few ingredients. Grab 2 pounds of ground beef, an envelope of onion soup mix, about 1 tbsp of hamburger seasoning (I use McCormick Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning), and 3 tbsp of water. With your clean hands, get into that meat and mix it all up. You want this mixture mixed thoroughly. Then all you need to do is separate it into 6 equal portions, and shape into patties. I lined a baking sheet with wax paper to my patties on, that way it made it easier for my hubby (aka personal Grill Master), to take them out to the grill.

You can choose any kind of cheese you want, or no cheese if you don’t want it. We chose Pepper Jack and it really worked well with this burger. Once you’ve got your burgers cooked, your buns toasted and your cheese melted, top your burger with whatever you fancy! We chose lettuce, tomato (we have some home grown thanks to mom-in-law), and sliced red onion.

Serve this delicious, big fat juicy burger with a side of that Classic Macaroni Salad, and you have an easy dinner, your family is going to love!

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Lazy Bistro Burgers Yum
Recipe by: Christine Titus
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine beef, soup mix, hamburger seasoning and water. Combine thoroughly (I like using my hands for this).
  2. Separate beef mixture into 6 separate portions. Shape each hamburger patties.
  3. Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees and juices run clear. Place buns cut side down on grill for the last 2 minutes to toast.
  4. Serve the burgers on the buns, and along with any of your desired toppings.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Campbell's

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5 Bean Chili – #SundaySupper

Ok, so how many of you have kids that are just so sick of sandwiches? Or just don’t care for them? OR are just picky?! I happen to have a couple of those, and yet they want so badly to take lunch to school. I can’t blame them, the cafeteria food at their school is just, gross. I tried to come up with a more polite way of saying it, but lets face it, it’s gross. Poor kids don’t even get access to salt & pepper! Savage, right?!

Not to worry! #SundaySupper, along with our gracious host Christie Campbell from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures, are here to give you ideas for hot lunches to send your kids to school with. I never thought I could send hot lunches to school with my kids. I don’t know about your kids, but mine do not have access to a microwave while at school. So how do you keep food hot?

You would be amazed at the items available these days, from insulated lunch bags, to insulated containers that go beyond a thermos. Here’s one I really like:

Thermos Foogo – They have other colors besides pink, of course. This is a 10 oz food container, vacuum insulated to keep food hot or cold. It keeps things warm for 5 hours and cold for 7. The outside of the thermos doesn’t get hot, so it’s fine to put it in your lunch bag with cold items. Also, it’s easy to open. This particular one was designed with kids in mind. Yea it’s a thermos, but you can put so much more than just soup in it. Try leftover pasta from the night before, or a real kid favorite like mac & cheese.

Or, how about the recipe I’ve got for you today? This would go perfectly into that cute container, and would stay hot/warm until lunch time. My 5 bean chili! Now, I make my chili on the mild side because that’s just how I roll. My kids appreciate it too, and in fact they love this recipe. Even my bean hater doesn’t mind mom’s chili. It’s so simple too, because I make this in my 6 quart, black, oval Crockpot, and I just LOVE my Crockpot!

First you want to brown up 2 pounds of ground beef along with a bunch of chopped onion. I used two medium onions. As you can already tell, this recipe makes quite a bit of chili. It’s perfect for taking to a potluck, or you can freeze some of it. I have some in the freezer right now.

Once you’ve got the beef all browned up and the onion soft, drain it, if necessary, depending on how lean your meat is. Then just dump it in the slow cooker! The rest of this recipe, is pure dumping.

Drain your 5 cans of beans, and dump those into the slow cooker on top of your beef. I’ve got light red kidney beans, Cannellini beans, black beans, dark red kidney beans, and pinto beans.

Now dump in your 3 cans of Rotel, chili seasoning mixes, tomato sauce, water and salt & pepper. Then mix it up to combine it all real good. Cover, and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Garnish however you wish. For mine, I went heavy on some low-fat Mexican cheese blend, and a nice dollop of light sour cream. There are a lot of ways we have topped this delicious chili. We’ve used corn bread, fritos, tortilla chips, chopped fresh cilantro, jalapeno slices for those that enjoy a spicy kick. Top it with whatever your favorite toppings are.

Like I mentioned before, this makes a ton of chili, so why not turn leftovers into chili dogs? Or, how about Chili Cheese Burritos? I found that recipe over on Meggan’s blog Culinary Hill. So as you can see this chili is versatile, easy to make, delicious, and perfect for packing into your child’s thermos to take to school for lunch. Add a home made corn muffin, some fruit or a veggie like carrot sticks & celery along with their favorite dip and you’ve got a full and happy kid! It’s time to go beyond sandwiches, and add extra love into the lunch boxes!

 

Sunday Supper Hot Lunch Ideas

Hearty Hot Lunches

Soups and Stews

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Print Recipe
5 Bean Chili Yum
Recipe by: Christine Titus
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef with the onions, breaking up clumps.
  2. Transfer beef mixture to slow cooker.
  3. Add beans, Rotel, seasoning mix, tomato sauce, water and salt and pepper. Stir everything together well. Cover and cook on high setting for 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite toppings and some cornbread.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Sandra Lee

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South of the Border Hot Dogs – #SundaySupper

My wonderful #SundaySupper family has put Creative Hot Dogs on this Sunday’s menu. I love hot dogs! I swear I could live off of them. There are so many great ways you can serve up hot dogs, or include them in your meals. They are more versatile than one might think, as you’re about to find out. This is all largely thanks to our wonderful event hosts Stacy from Food Lust People Love and Mary Ellen from Recipes, Food & Cooking.

So lets do this! Fire up the grill, prepare the microwave, pre-heat the oven, get out your roasting sticks and light that fire! However it is you like cooking your hot dogs. I’ve got some South of the Border goodness for you that you are going to want to give a try! Your family will love this. If you don’t like spicy food, don’t worry, you control the heat. Make it super spicy, medium spicy or not at all spicy. You pick!

Personally, I enjoy hot dogs on the grill, or roasted over a fire. For this recipe we grill them, but you can cook them any way you wish. But first, you’ll want to prepare the taco meat. I used ground beef, but you can use ground turkey if you wish to cut down on the fat. Just brown it up, and then add a packet of taco seasoning and the water called for on the packet. Simmer as per the instructions on the packet.

While you’re preparing the taco meat, you can get the cheese sauce heating up in a small saucepan. All it is, is a can of condensed Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup. It was a bit too thick for my liking, which you can tell after it gets warmer. I just added a tiny bit of water at a time until it got to where I wanted it. One can is plenty of cheese sauce for 8 hot dogs, but I used two cans because I served some of the cheese sauce on top of fries to go along with this delicious hot dog.

Once the taco meat is cooked, and the cheese sauce is heated through, you can put them both on low, slap a lid on the pot and pan, and all that’s left to do is grill those dogs and build it! Split the hot dog bun, liberally spread guacamole over the inside of the bun. Then add your hot dog, top with taco meat, cheese sauce, crushed Doritos, and any other taco toppings your little heart desires, like red onion, sliced black olives, jalapenos, salsa, etc. The sky is the limit! You may want a fork and knife for this one.

Now dig in, and enjoy! Perhaps serve it like I did, alongside some cheesy fries. YUM!

Sunday Supper Creative Hot Dog Recipes

Cheesy Dogs

Meaty Dogs

Regional Dogs

Tex Mex Dogs

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Print Recipe
South of the Border Hot Dogs Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef until no longer pink; drain.
  2. Add taco seasoning mix to ground beef along with 3/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and alow to simmer for about 5 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat condensed soup, let simmer until heated through. If it appears to be too thick, just add a very small amount of water until desired consistency.
  4. To assemble: Top buns with guacamole, hot dog, taco meat, cheese sauce, crushed chips and any other desired toppings.
  5. Serve, and enjoy!
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Mom’s Chicken and Yellow Rice with Broccoli & Cheese

I have a quick and easy recipe for you to day on this lovely Spring Sunday! The weather here in Indiana is beautiful and it’s calling to me to come sit on the porch and sip a nice fruity cocktail or maybe just some Iced Tea. Either way, that sunshine isn’t going to soak itself up! Lets get to the recipe shall we?

Mom’s Chicken and Yellow Rice with Broccoli & Cheese is such an easy, one skillet meal. It comes together fast (especially if you pre-chop everything earlier in the day or the night before), easy clean up since it’s only one pan. Just throw a salad together and you’ve got a very tasty meal and very happy tummies!

First, season the chicken with the garlic pepper to your liking. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 – 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper; cook and stir 4 minutes or until softened. I really wanted to use an orange bell pepper here, just for a pop of color, but I couldn’t find a good orange one, so I opted for red. Really any color is fine.

Now add your water and bring to a boil, stirring to release browned bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in Rice Mix; return to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Now place broccoli and chicken over the rice; cover. Cook 5-10 minutes longer or until broccoli and chicken are heated through. Now you’ll want to sneak a taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Add more garlic pepper if you wish, or just some salt & pepper.

The final touch, sprinkle cheese over top and cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted, and enjoy!

 

 

 

Print Recipe
Mom's Chicken and Yellow Rice with Broccoli & Cheese Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Season chicken with garlic pepper to your liking. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken; set aside.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic and bell pepper; cook and stir 4 minutes or until softened. Add water; bring to boil, stirring to release browned bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in Rice Mix; return to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Place broccoli and chicken over rice; cover. Cook 5 minutes longer or until broccoli and chicken are heated through. Here is where you can have a little taste, and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Add a little more garlic pepper if you wish, or just some salt & pepper.
  4. Sprinkle cheese over top; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
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