Broccoli Mac and Cheese

I can’t believe the weather here in Georgia…it goes from snowing, to 70+ degrees in less than a week!  We have been craving some lake time, so we cleaned up the boat and slipped on over to Lake Lanier for a family evening on the water.

I knew the hubs would be hungry so I whipped up some homemade broccoli mac and cheese for a dinner on the boat!

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Its super simple, quick, and travels nicely in small containers.  Plus you get to toss in that serving of greens too…can’t beat that!  Enjoy!!

Broccoli Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
 Ingredients:  

  • 12 ounces elbow noodlesIMG_6040
  • 2.5 Tb light butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 t oregano
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together parmesan, bread crumbs, and oregano.
  2. Cook pasta to al dente (about 8 minutes) – do not overcook since it will continue to cook slightly in the oven.
  3. Put broccoli in a microwave safe dish with 2 Tb water – cook for 7 minutes.
  4. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375.
  5. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add onion and cook over low heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add flour and cook another minute or until flour is golden brown and well combined.
  7. Whisk in milk and chicken broth, raising heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
  8. Cook about 5 minutes whisking constantly, or until the sauce is smooth and thick.
  9. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  10. Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheese.
  11. Combine noodles, broccoli, and cheese sauce and then pour into baking dish.
  12. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
  13. Broil for a few minutes to brown the bread crumbs.

Enjoy!

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Pesto, Basil, & Tomato Pizza

In this house we are in a terrible habit of ordering pizza at least once a week.  It is just so nice to not have to cook, and to have hot food just delivered to your doorstep.  Don’t judge, you know you do it too. 🙂

In an effort to eat healthier I tried a new pizza recipe.  I absolutely loved it!  I believe that am starting to form a love affair with pesto. 😉

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  • 1 can of refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 teaspoon of cornmeal
  • cooking spray
  • 3 Tablespoons of refrigerated pesto with basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced Campari tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

Pre-heat the oven as directions indicate on pizza crust package.  Sprinkle cornmeal on the baking sheet, spread out the crust and precook according to package directions.  Remove crust from oven, and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Spread pesto over the crust, leaving a 1 inch border.  Sprinkle mozzarella over the pesto, then drop the ricotta by teaspoonfuls evenly over the mozzarella.  Broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese just starts to melt.  Remove from the oven and top with tomatoes and black pepper.  Cut into 8 slices.

Makes 4 servings.  9 Weight Watchers Points+ Value per serving.

Cal:  352;  Fat: 14;  Carbs:  40;  Fiber:  2;  Protein:  16

Pesto Pasta

I absolutely love some cheese tortellini.  Of course, pasta and cheese for dinner makes me think of those V-8 commercials where they bop people on the head because they don’t eat veggies. Soooo….  We added a few veggies and a yummo sauce to our tortellini for dinner and it was a HUGE hit.  This dish was super yummy the next day for lunch too!

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  • 1 – 9 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 16 ounce package of frozen broccoli stir-fry vegetables
  • 8 ounce container of fat free sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of refrigerated traditional pesto
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Cook the tortellini and frozen veggies in a large pot of boiling water for 5 – 7 minutes or until all the pasta starts to float and is tender.  Drain the pasta and veggies and return them to the pot.  In a separate small bowl combine the sour cream, pesto and salt.  Make sure to stir well to combine.  Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the pasta/veggie mixture.  Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and pepper.  Serve as soon as possible.

Makes 4 servings.  9 Weight Watchers Points+ Value per serving.

Cal: 331; Fat:  12; Carbs: 38; Fiber:  3; Protein:  19

This was so simple to make and a great meal for when you are in a time rush for dinner.

Light Mexican Salad

Hubs and I are itching to get to summer, the warm air, the sun light, the beach, and the light meals!  There is something about fresh light salads that make me happy in the hot summer air.  So, in hopes of getting rid of cold air and wishing summer to come sooner, we tried this yummy Mexican Salad.  It was a HUGE hit.  So refreshing, yet filling at the same time!  It keeps nicely and I was able to take it to work for lunch throughout the week.

Mexican Salad

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  • 4 Tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons of Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans of reduced sodium black beans
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1 cup of diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup of diced green onions
  • 1/2 cup crushed canned pineapple (in juice)
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • 1 – 4 ounce can of green chilies

Whisk together the first 7 ingredients until well blended.  Mix together the last 7 ingredients.  Pour the dressing mixture over the second mixture and toss to coat.  Serve over one cup of baby spinach leaves.  Keep extra mixture in sealed container in the refrigerator.

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Makes 5 servings.  7 Weight Watchers Points+ Value per serving.

Calories:  316;  Fat:  7;  Carbs:  50;  Fiber 17;  Protein:  17

Cannellini Pasta Salad

Salads are fun don’t you think?  I mean, think about it….you start with a base of greens (which you can vary anytime you want) and then you get to add anything you desire!  I love it.  Meat, no meat?  Fruit or Veggies, or both!?  Creamy dressing or Vinaigrette?  Croutons, bacon bits, cheese???  I love playing with salad, and I think you will love this new salad just as much as we did!

Cannellini Pasta Salad

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  • 1 (15 oz) can of cannellini beans
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 cups of cooked penne pasta
  • 3 cups of finely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder

Rinse and drain the beans.  And chop the tomatoes.

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Add the beans, the cooked pasta, and the tomatoes to the lettuce in a large bowl.  In a smaller separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic powder.  Pour over the salad and toss.

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Makes 6 servings.  4 Weight Watchers Points+ Value per Serving.

Calories:  62;  Fat:  5;  Carbs:  22;  Protein:  5;  Fiber:  4

Creamy Pasta Salad

Do ever just have a craving for something light and refreshing?  I especially like to have something light on hand for weekend lunches when we are running around and trying to get a millions things accomplished.

We tried this recipe from www.SimplyRealMoms.com and really loved it!  It packed up really nice for lunches too!

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Creamy Pasta Salad

Adapted from SimplyRealMoms

Ingredients

  • ½ box shaped pasta
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ pkg mini pepperonis (regular size is ok, too)
  • 
8 Monterey Jack cheese sticks (snack sticks) cut into chunks (you can use any kind of cheese that you like) 
  • 

Ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Drain it.
  2. Place colander with drained pasta into a bowl with ice and water in it to cool it off.
  3. Put all the rest of the ingredients, except the ranch dressing into a bowl.
 Pour the cooled pasta onto a clean towel and really dry it off.
  4. Pour pasta into the bowl
. Stir in the ranch as you like it. A little, a lot—there’s no exact science to it.

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Lunch Box Make Over–Black Bean Wrap

This week I have been sharing with you some of the ways that I am trying to liven up our lunch boxes.  Today I am sharing my favorite new lunch box menu item!

These black bean wraps are so simple and delicious!  Here are the easy-peasy steps to create these delicious substitute to the plain ole’ peanut butter and jelly.

 

1.  Rinse and drain your beans.

 

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2.  Smash, mush, mash your beans with a fork.  You could add spices at this point such as fresh cilantro if you want to.

 

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3.  Spread your beans on a tortilla and add a little cheese, its also yummy with some salsa spread on the tortilla first.

 

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4.  Cut, cwap and package to go!

 

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