Stuffed Shells | Taco Style

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taco stuffed shellsIngredients:

1.25 lbs extra lean ground beef
4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
homemade taco seasoning  
1/3 c water
12 oz. jumbo pasta shells
12 oz. jar of salsa (I used mild)
8 oz. jar of taco sauce (I used medium, and I prefer Ortega®)
1 3/4 c reduced fat, 2% Mexican cheese blend
serving suggestions:
tortilla chips
sour cream
green onion, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a baking dish (I used a 9 x 13 glass dish) with non-stick cooking spray. Pour salsa into bottom of baking dish. Spread around until bottom of dish is well coated. Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. 
3. While you are waiting for your water to boil, brown hamburger in a skillet over medium high heat. Drain excess fat and discard. Reduce heat to low. Add taco seasoning and water to hamburger. Mix until well combined and water has absorbed. 
4. Stir cream cheese into hamburger mixture until melted and well mixed. Turn off heat and set aside to cool. 
5. Add shells to boiling water. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain water and allow to cool enough to handle.
6. Place cooled shells one at a time, into bottom of dish. Fill each shell with one spoonful of hamburger mixture. Repeat until all hamburger mixture has been used. 
7. Pour taco sauce over stuffed shells so that all shells are evenly coated with sauce. 
8. Cover dish with foil and place in oven to bake for 20 minutes. 
9. Remove foil. Top stuffed shells with cheese. Place back in oven, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes. 
10. Served along side tortilla chips, and garnished with sour cream and green onion. 
 
Yields 7 servings, serving size 3 stuffed shells
8 points per serving on Weight Watchers Points+ System
 
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.
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Strawberry-Banana Oat Muffins

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strawberry banana oat muffinsIngredients:

2/3 c multi-grain oatmeal
1/4 c nonfat strawberry Greek yogurt
1/4 c skim milk
1 tsp strawberry extract
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c light brown sugar, packed
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 large, ripe banana, mashed
2 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1 c dried strawberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 410°. Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. NOTE: This recipe will make 8-11 muffins. If you like large muffins, spray 8 cups. If you prefer smaller muffins, spray for 11. 
2. In a small bowl, combine oats and yogurt. Mix until oats are well covered by yogurt. Pour milk over oats. Leave soak for about 10 minutes. 
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently mix until well combined. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, or in the bowl to your stand mixer, add banana, egg, and oil. Mix to combine.
5. Add oat & milk mixture to banana mixture. Add strawberry extract. Stir until just combined. Add in dry ingredients. Stir at low speed until just combined. Do not over mix! 
6. Fold in dried strawberries. Scoop mixture into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until tooth pick inserted into center comes out clean. 
 
Yields 8 large muffins or 11 small muffins, serving size 1 muffin
If 8 muffins are made: 4 points per serving on Weight Watchers points+ System
If 11 muffins are made: 3 points per serving on Weight Watchers points+ System
 
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.

Tomato Basil Spaghetti

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basil spaghettiIngredients:

12 oz. whole wheat spaghetti noodles, dry
1 can mild Rotel (do not drain)
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t want it with a spicy kick)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil 
4 c vegetable broth
2 tbsp basil pesto made with extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Directions:

basil spaghetti 21. Add diced onion and Rotel to a large stock pot. Pour vegetable broth over onion and Rotel. 
2. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, oregano, and dried basil to the stock pot. 
3. Add dry spaghetti to the stock pot mixture (I break my noodles in half). Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. 
4. Remove lid and stir in pesto until well incorporated and evenly distributed throughout the pasta. 
5. Serve and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
 
*I served this along side my homemade garlic bread bagels. I used my jalapeno bagel recipe, and omitted the red pepper flakes and jalapenos for a plain bagel. Then mixed 1/2 c Smart balance light butter and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Split the bagels in half, buttered them with garlic butter and put them under the broiler for about 5-6 minutes on low. As always, watch anything in the broiler as it can burn very quickly.
 
Yields 12 servings, serving size 1/2 c
 
recipe modified from www.myfridgefood.com

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