Tasty Tuesday: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Thank you Michelle for sharing this recipe with us.  Michelle is “my” AMAZING leader at Weight Watchers on Thursday mornings.  She has been through the good and the bad times with me.  It is with her help and the support of my Thursday morning family, I hit goal.  

Cooking Time: 50  Prep Time: 15     Servings: 8   SmartPoints™ value: 7

Ingredients

12 oz uncooked pasta
12 oz fat free evaporated milk
2 cup(s) cheddar, shredded, low fat
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
¼ tsp table salt
¼ tsp black pepper
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp dried plain breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup Plain nonfat Greek yogurt

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 4 quart baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in sour cream.
3. Meanwhile, heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear just around the edge (do not boil). Reduce heat and stir in the mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
4. Mix yogurt into pasta then add the milk mixture to the macaroni mixture, stirring until blended. Transfer to the baking dish. Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl; sprinkle over the casserole. Bake until the casserole is bubbly and the top is golden, about 30 minutes. Serves 8 (serving=1 cup)

Yummy stuff, even hubby likes it! Make some and freeze the leftovers for lunch. What do you carry your lunch to work in? Hopefully, it a Thirty One thermal with so many options to pick from there is something for everyone. Don’t forget there is still 48 hours to shop for both the Winter and the NEW Spring catalogs. Which thermal will you pick?

Add thermal picture options…..

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Spicy Black Bean Soup

Since the weather has been bitter cold here in NJ, I have been on a “soup kick”.  I love soup and with the NEW Freestyle points from Weight Watchers, I can made some really yummy soups for ZERO points.

Prep Time: 20     Cooking Time: 30     Servings: 8     SmartPoints™ value: 0

The key to thickening this soup without flour? Pureeing some of the beans before cooking it. You’ll love the stick-to-your-ribs texture results.

Ingredients

1 spray(s) cooking spray
1 medium uncooked onion(s), finely chopped
4 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced
45 oz canned black beans, undrained, divided (three 15 oz cans)
½ tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
14 ½ oz fat free chicken broth, or vegetable broth
10 oz canned tomatoes with green chilis
11 oz canned yellow corn, drained

Instructions

1. Coat bottom of a large stockpot with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
2. Place one can of beans in blender; add sautéed onion mixture, red pepper flakes and cumin. Cover and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour mixture back into stockpot.
3. Place second can of beans and broth in blender and puree until smooth; add to stockpot.
4. Stir third can of beans (do not puree first), tomatoes and green chilies, and corn into stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Yields about 1 1/2 cups of soup per serving.

Have some leftovers you want to take for lunch? Why not check out some of these AWESOME deals available through January 14th at Thirty One.

 The Around the Clock Thermal retails for $30 but some are on sale for $15 – $18 each.

 The Going Places Thermal retails for $25 with some on sale for $7.50 – $15. each

 The Go To Thermal (great for kids because it is machine washable) retails for $18 with sale prices from $5.40 – $9

 The LunchBreak Thermal retails for $25 with some prints on sale for $15.

 The Thermal Lunch Tote has long been a favorite and retails for $18.  Some prints are currently on sale for $9 – $10.80 each.

All prices are quoted before tax and shipping.  Thermals can be personalized for an additional cost.  Check out all of the Weekly Deals at www.partywithHope.com

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Today’s recipe is from my amazing Weight Watcher’s Leader, Michelle.  I am grateful for Michelle’s encouragement and inspiration as I walk my weightless journey.

SmartPoints™ value: 1  Servings: 8

Ingredients

1 medium uncooked spaghetti squash
1 medium uncooked onion(s)
1 medium uncooked zucchini
1 medium yellow summer squash
2 clove(s) garlic clove(s)
15 oz canned diced tomatoes
½ cup(s) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
½ cup(s) fresh mushroom(s)
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half. Take out seeds. Roast cut side down in 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes.
  2. Chop vegetables and saute in non stick pan, sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Season to taste (salt, pepper, Italian seasoning).
  3. Spray 11×13 pan with non stick cooking spray. Scoop out cooked spaghetti squash to cover bottom of the pan. Add sauteed vegetables to the top of the spaghetti squash.
  4. Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes at 350.

If there should be any leftovers…. You will want to take them for lunch the next day in one of Thirty One’s thermals..  Try my favorite, the Going Places Thermal.

The Going Places Thermal has a spacious compartment for lunch and snacks as well as a water-resistant thermal lining. The crossbody strap is ideal for taking snacks on the go for long walks, hikes, or any time when you just need your hands to be free to carry other items. A zip-around closure keeps contents sealed and protected, while an interior mesh pocket and exterior flat pocket provide extra storage spaces for other items like cell phones or keys. Holds up to 10 lbs.!  Monogramming and personalization options available.  It is 8”H x 9”L x 5.5”D

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: 15 Bean Soup Crock Pot

I love the fact you can cook 15 BEAN SOUP® beans in a crock pot or slow cooker.  This easy to follow recipe will have a pot full of 15 Bean Soup waiting for you after a day of activities.  When the weather gets COLD, soup is my go to food, what is your comfort food when it gets cold?

Cook Time about 6 hours.     Prep Time about 10 minutes.     Servings 12

Ingredients

1 pkg Hurst’s® HamBeens® 15 Bean Soup®
8 cups water (use chicken, beef, or vegetable broth for added flavor)
1 lb. smoked or ground sausage, or use a hambone with some meat on it. .
1 large. onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.)
Juice from 1 lemon
Optional: Hot sauce or crushed red pepper to taste

Cooking Directions  –  NO SOAK METHOD

  • In a colander or sieve, rinse beans thoroughly. Sort and inspect for any unwanted debris and discard.
  • Drain and pour beans in a slow cooker with 8 cups of stock/water, onions, meat or hambone, garlic and chili powder. (Not tomato or lemon juice yet!)
  • Stir to combine. Set slow cooker on high and cook for 5-7 hours then check to make sure beans are tender. The soup can continue to simmer for several hours and will develop more flavor over time.
  • After the beans are tender, remove the hambone (leave any ham in the pot), stir in the can of diced tomatoes, our Ham Flavor packet, and the lemon juice.
  • Cook for additional 30 minutes then keep warm until ready to serve.

It is recommend serving freshly baked corn bread or serve it over rice.  Keep in mind every time the lid is opened, your cooking time will be longer.

Additional Cooking Tips

  • For even more flavor, substitute beef, chicken or vegetable stock instead of water.
  • You can also try 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or 1 lb. beef roast, then shred meat before Step 5 above.
  • It’s best to wait until AFTER the beans have become tender or fully cooked before adding any acidic ingredients like tomatoes, citrus, vinegars, etc.

Leftover soup makes a GREAT lunch….. you can take it with you in Thirty One’s Going Places Thermal.  

The Going Places Thermal has a spacious compartment for lunch or snacks as well as a water-resistant thermal lining. The crossbody strap is ideal for taking snacks on the go for long walks, hikes, or any time when you just need your hands to be free to carry other items. A zip-around closure keeps contents sealed and protected, while an interior mesh pocket and exterior flat pocket provide extra storage spaces for other items like cell phones or keys. Holds up to 10 lbs.!  Keeps contents cool or warm for up to 1.25 hours.

What is YOUR favorite soup recipe?  Share it with us….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

No Cost Travel Fun

bored cats

If you are a NJ parent, your kids are probably off from school for Teacher’s Convention, right? For some, you are headed out on a mini vacation before the holiday season while others are struggling to keep boredom at a minimum.

I remember the days of being a single mom and feeing like there was just enough money to pay the bills so I can’t possibly think about traveling ANYWHERE, right? I always wanted “to do” things with my daughter besides those cheer travel trips BUT (I know I hate the word, too) everything seemed to cost money which I didn’t have.

Then I took some cues from a very wise friend who taught me so much.  She and her kids were always doing something.  We often tagged along.  The BONUS was some girl time for me and our kids got to enjoy some fun.

First, you must realize you already live in abundance.  Have you ever thought about the blessings you do have.  Healthy kids.  A job to pay the bills. Now think about the beauty of the sun rises every morning and the birds singing.  We have roads to walk on, parks to spend time in and people around us to have interesting conversations with.  Stop focusing on what you don’t have and focus on what you do have.Next, get creative.  Start looking outside the box for alternative solutions.  When was the last time you packed a snack and headed to the park with the kids.  Live close to the beach, how about a walk on the beach to collect seashells or look for sea glass.  There are ways to make even routine trips fun without spending money.  How about a ride with no destination?  Maybe you know but the kids don’t – pack a lunch and head to a new spot with a park or no cost activities.

If you were new to the neighborhood, where would you go to explore?  The library? The park? A craft show? A flea market? Check your local paper for activities.  The Fall is full of outdoor happenings – how about stopping by a local football game to cheer on the Pop Warner kids.  How many people (other than parents) attend those games?  Make it an adventure – tailgate.  Dress in the local team’s colors, bring some food & drinks and have some fun.

Pack a lunch and head to the park – embrace the child in you while you have fun with the kids.

No kids around?  How about window shopping?  Remember when you were younger and had no money.  Stop in your favorite store and try on some clothes you always wanted but would never buy.  Have fun.  Call a girlfriend and go for a walk.

Keep Looking on the Bright Side.  Let’s be honest. Staying upbeat when you have little money isn’t easy.  Seeing the bright side is a choice you make and a skill you can develop. You deserve to feel good no matter what the status of your bank account is. You deserve to have fun.  You deserve to go places without spending money.

So, where will you head this weekend?  Share with us your best NO COST travel tip.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!