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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Sloppy Joes

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sloppy joeIngredients:

1.25 lbs extra lean ground beef
small onion, chopped
homemade taco seasoning 
1/8 c water
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire 
1/2 c ketchup
1 tbsp yellow mustard
3 tbsp brown sugar

Directions:

sloppy joe 21. Add onion to large skillet over medium heat. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. 
2. Add hamburger to onions cook over medium-high until brown. Drain and discard excess grease from skillet. 
3. Reduce heat to low. Add taco seasoning and water until well mixed. Stir in Worcestershire, ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar. Continue heating over low for an additional 5 minutes, or until evenly heated. 
4. Remove from heat. Scoop 1/3 c of sloppy joe mixture onto bun. Top with cheese, if desired.
 
Yields 9 servings, serving size 1/3 c
3 points on Weight Watchers Points+ System
 
*add additional points for bun and/or cheese
 
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.

Crescent Roll Taco Ring

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taco ringIngredients:

for the dough-
**if you don’t want to make your crescents from scratch, use 2 cans of store-bought crescent rolls
 
1 c warm water
5 tbsp + 1 tsp dry milk powder
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 c Smart Balance Light butter + 1 tbsp melted (to brush on top)
2 tbsp Egg Beaters
3 1/4 c all-purpose flour
for the filling-
homemade taco seasoning OR one packet of store-bought taco seasoning
3/4 lb extra lean ground hamburger
3/4 c reduced fat Mexican cheese, shredded
1/4 c water
(optional serving suggestions) taco toppings-
refried beans
taco sauce
white con queso cheese dip
sour cream

Directions:

**If making your crescents from scratch follow steps 1-7. If using store-bought crescents, skip to step 8.
 
taco ring 21. Begin by combining water and milk powder in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined.
2. Add in yeast, sugar, salt, butter, egg beaters and 1 1/4 c of the flour. Mix on low speed until all ingredients are just wet. Increase mixing speed to medium for 2 minutes.
3. Reduce speed back to low. Add in another 1 c flour. Once flour is mixed in, increase mixing speed to medium for 2 minutes. Switch attachment to dough hook at this time for easier mixing. Add remaining 1 c flour at low speed until integrated in, then increase mixing speed to medium for 2 minutes.
4. If necessary, add additional flour until you reach the desired consistency. Dough should be soft and not overly sticky, but not stiff either.
5. Scrape dough down into bottom of bowl with spatula. Coat the sides of the bowl with non-stick spray or a tbsp of oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and place in a warm place. Allow dough to rise (about a 1 hour to 1.5 hours) and double in size.
6. Scrape dough from bowl onto flour-dusted counter top (if dough is still sticky, kneed a little flour into it until you are able to work with it without it sticking). Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a circle.
7. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 16 triangles. 
8. On a round pizza pan, begin overlapping triangles to form a circle. Each time you add a new triangle, pinch dough seems together. Repeat until all 16 triangles have been used and dough forms a complete circle.
9. In a large skillet, brown hamburger over medium high heat. Drain excess grease from hamburger and discard. Add taco seasoning and 1/4 water to cooked hamburger. Reduce heat to low and stir until the water has been absorbed and the meat is evenly coated with seasoning.
10. Spoon hamburger filling onto crescent ring. I try to fill it as much as possible. Sprinkle 3/4 c shredded cheese over the top of the hamburger.
11. Begin pulling the triangle pieces over the meat and cheese filling. Pinch the crescent dough underneath the ring so that it won’t separate when cooking. Repeat with the remaining triangles until all of the meat and cheese filling is encased in crescent dough. 
12. Brush 1 tbsp melted butter on top of the taco ring. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top of the brushed, melted butter. 
13. Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until crescent dough is baked through.
14. Cut taco ring into eight equal pieces. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.
 
Yields 8 servings, serving size 1 piece
7 points on Weight Watchers Points+ System
*add additional points for toppings
 
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.

Homemade Taco Pizza

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photo 2 (91)Ingredients:

for the crust-
2 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 c warm water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp Italian seasoning
pinch garlic powder
Toppings-
3/4 c fat free refried beans
1/2 lb. extra lean ground hamburger
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1/4 c water
1 c lettuce, shredded
1/2 c fat free cheddar cheese, shredded
1 oz. tortilla chips, crushed (about 7 of the large restaurant style chips)
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 c tomato, diced (I left these off)
(optional) taco sauce
(optional) sour cream

Directions:

photo 1 (92)1. Prepare the crust. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in your stand mixer mixing bowl. Add water and 1 tbsp of oil into bowl with dry ingredients. Knead dough for 5 minutes with dough hook attachment.
5. Scrape dough down and remove from bowl. Spray mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray and return dough ball to bowl. Toss to coat dough with non-stick spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm area for 20 minutes to let rise.
3. With about 5 min. remaining of dough rise time, brown hamburger in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease and discard. Add taco seasoning and water to hamburger and simmer for a few minutes until water is absorbed into meat and seasoning. Turn off heat and set meat aside.
photo 3 (57)11. Remove dough from mixing bowl. Spread dough out with hands (do not use rolling pin) on greased pizza pan all the way to the edge of the pan. Make sure dough is an even thickness all the way around.
12. In a small dish, combine remaining 1 tbsp oil, Italian seasoning, and dash of garlic powder. Brush mixture about 2 inches around the outside edge of the pizza dough for the crust.
13. Spread refried beans inside the ring you just made with the oil mixture, leaving about 2″ around the outside for the crust. Top with hambruger. 
14. Bake at 450 for 12-14 minutes or until pizza is golden brown and dough is cooked through. Remove from oven, top with cheese, lettuce, onion, chips, and tomato (if desired). Cut into 8 or 12 pieces.
 
if cut into 8:  
Yields 8 servings, serving size 1 piece
7 points on Weight Watchers Points+ System
 
if cut into 12:
Yields 6 servings, serving size 2 pieces
9 points on Weight Watchers Points+ System (4.5 points/slice)
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.

Taco Salad Bowls

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photo 1 (77)Ingredients:

1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
6 tsp taco seasoning (1/2 packet), reserve 1 1/4 tsp of remaining taco seasoning for dressing
1/3 c water
5 tbsp Bolthouse Ranch dressing (found in refrigerated produce section of grocery)
5 tortilla shells (I suggest using white flour tortillas, as they crisp the best when baked)
1 1/4 c fat free refried beans
1/2 c + 2 tbsp fat free cheddar cheese, shredded
1 bag shredded lettuce
5 tbsp taco sauce (I like Ortega brand)
optional toppings:
salsa
diced tomato
avocado

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly brush front and back of each tortilla shell with photo 2 (76)olive oil. Turn a regular size muffin pan upside down and press each tortilla into the spaces between the muffin cups (you could also use a tortilla bowl if you have one). It might be necessary to use two muffin pans or do it in two batches. Bake shells for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Let set on cooling rack when finished baking.
2. Brown hamburger in skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess liquid and discard. Reduce heat to low. Add 1/2 packet of taco seasoning and water to hamburger. Stir to mix well. Simmer on low until water is absorbed into meat.
3. In a small dish, combine ranch dressing and 1 1/4 tsp taco seasoning. Stir to combine. 
4. Assemble taco salad bowls as follows:
1 tortilla bowl filled with a handful of shredded lettuce.  Top with 1/4 c hamburger mixture, 1/4 c refried beans, and 1/8 c (or 2 tbsp) shredded cheese. Drizzle with 1 tbsp seasoned ranch and 1 tbsp taco sauce. Add any optional or additional toppings, if desired.
 
Yields 5 servings, serving size 1 taco salad bowl
5 points on Weight Watchers Points+ System (if assembled with amounts and ingredients suggested)
 
*add additional points for any additional toppings

Mexican Pie

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photo 1 (71)Ingredients:

1 lb. extra lean ground hamburger
1/4 c egg beaters (equal to one egg)
1 1/2 tbsp  taco seasoning, divided 2/5 tsp
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 c yellow corn
10 oz. red enchilada sauce
4 oz. green chilies, chopped, seeded
3/4 c reduced-fat Mexican cheese, shredded (Use Cheddar flavored Soy shreds for dairy free option)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c sugar
1 c all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like XOXO Baking Co. brand)
1/2 c yellow corn meal
1/3 + 1/8 c Rice Dreams Rice Milk (or your favorite milk, any will work)
1/2 tbsp Smart Balance Light, dairy free butter, melted
Optional toppings:
Cilantro
Sour cream
Diced tomato

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 9″ pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, 2 1/2 tsp of the taco seasoning, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.  Stir until well mixed. 
3. In a separate small bowl, combine egg beaters and sugar.  Mix until well combined.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture.  Stir until mixed together.
4. Add milk, green chilies, melted butter, and corn meal to flour/egg mixture. Stir until just moist. 
5. Fold corn into flour mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
6. While corn bread crust is baking, cook hamburger and remaining 2 1/2 tsp taco seasoning over medium-high heat in skillet until brown and cooked through (it might be necessary to add a few tbsp of water to hamburger mixture to mix seasoning in). Drain and discard any excess grease. 
photo 2 (69)7. When corn bread crust is finished baking, remove from oven and pierce entire surface with a fork, creating several small holes in corn bread crust. Pour enchilada sauce over top of pierced corn bread crust. 
8. Spoon cooked hamburger over enchilada sauce. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of hamburger. Place back in oven and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and enchilada sauce is bubbling. 
9. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into 8 equal “pie” slices.
10. Serve garnished with cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, and diced tomatoes, if desired.
 
Yields 8 servings, serving size 1 “pie” slice
6 points on Weight Watchers Points+ System
*add additional points for sour cream
 
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.

Oven Baked Camper Packs

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photo (76)Ingredients:

1 lb extra lean ground hamburger
1/2 + 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 + 1/4 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c fat free cheddar cheese (or Soy cheddar flavored cheese for milk free option)
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 small green pepper, seeded, sliced
1 c carrot chips or thinly sliced carrot rounds
1.5 lbs small red or golden potatoes, diced
1/4 tsp thyme, dried, ground
1/2 tsp basil, dried, ground
6 tbsp Ketchup
6 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

Directions:

photo 1 (70)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Tear 4 large sheets of aluminum foil and lay out flat on counter top.
2. In a large bowl, combine hamburger, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, garlic, and cheese. Once mixed well, form four equal patties of hamburger mixture. Flatten with the palm of your hands.  Place each patty in middle of a sheet of foil.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, toss potatoes in 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, thyme, and basil until all potatoes are well coated with seasonings. Spoon potatoes around or on top of hamburger patties in the middle of each sheet of foil.
4. Add sliced onion, green pepper (the amount of these is really up to your liking and your own personal taste) and 1/4 c carrots to the top of each hamburger/potato foil sheet.
5. In a small dish stir together ketchup, Worcestershire, and brown sugar until well combined. Spoon 2 tbsp of ketchup mixture on top of each patty and vegetables.
6. Fold foil over and make a series of tight, overlapping folds all the way around  to form a tightly sealed foil pack.  Place foil packs on cookie sheet. 
7. Bake 375 for 45-60 min or until vegetables are tender and hamburger is cooked through. Carefully check for doneness at 45 minutes (steam will escape so be careful not to burn yourself).
8. Remove foil packs from oven.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until foil is cool enough to handle to open each pack.  Carefully open each pack, being careful not to burn yourself on escaping steam. 
 
Yields 4 servings, serving size 1 foil pack
8 points on Weight Watchers Points+ System
 
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.

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