Southwest-Style Slow-Cooker Pork Chops

Thank you Pillsbury.com for today’s recipe….I know crockpot season may almost be over at least for me since I really only use it during the winter month BUT this looked too good to pass up. It’s not the same old pork chops! Tender chops slow-cooked with flavorful creamy mashed pinto beans make a tasty dinner for four.

Prep:  10 minutes     Cook time: 4 hours & 10 minutes     Servings:  4

Ingredients

4 – bone-in center-cut pork loin chops, 3/4 inch thick (about 2 lb)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired

Directions

  1. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoning. Cook pork chops in skillet 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until brown.
  2. In 3- to 4 1/2- quart slow cooker, mix remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon seasoning, the salsa, corn and beans until well blended. Top with pork chops, overlapping as necessary, pressing gently into bean mixture.
  3. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 5 hours.
  4. Remove pork chops to serving platter. Cover to keep warm. With fork or potato masher, mash beans slightly until slightly thickened. Serve pork chops over beans. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Additional Tips

  • Browning the pork chops before placing them in the slow cooker adds flavor to this dish.
  • Substitute black beans or red beans for pinto beans in this recipe.

Nutrition Facts:  Calories 360, Total Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 3 1/2g, Cholesterol 85 mg Sodium 1110mg, Potassium 760mg, Total Carbohydrate 32g, Dietary Fiber 7g, Sugars 9g, Protein 33g.  Daily Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 4 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 0 Fat;

Since I am the Queen of leftovers – LOL.  I love when there are 4 servings because it ensures I have a meal or two to freeze for hubby’s dinner.  Since he works the swing shift, he uses Thirty One’s Picnic Thermal.  It holds his dinner, snacks  and LOTS of other stuff. We actually weighed it one day and it was 35 pounds! So whether you are headed to the beach, campground or family picnic with your favorite foods. The Picnic Thermal Tote has a Leak Lock® thermal lining to hold ice when you need to keep things cool for a longer time. A removable, adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry when you have your hands full, and the zip-around closure ensures everything stays put while you’re transporting it from the car.

Share your favorite recipe with us, and if I publish it….YOU will get a FREE gift from me.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Microwave Cake

This is one of my all time FAVORITE Weight Watcher’s Recipes.  Yes, it is 105 calories and *5 WW SmartPoints BUT it is so much better than eating a box of cookies or a bag a chips.  My hubby even said it wasn’t bad when I topped it with some chocolate frosting!

This skinny 3-2-1 mug cake is a simple way to satisfy a craving for cake in minutes with just two ingredients, a mug and a microwave.  Add a little bit of whipped topping and a few pieces of chopped fruit for a yummy treat.

It is low in calories and naturally portion controlled for those of us in Weight Watchers who are tempted by an entire cake sitting on the counter.  Admit it, you shave just a little bit off each time you walk by, right?  I know I am not the only one.

STEP 1 – MAKE THE BASE

You’ll need a box of angel food cake mix (make sure it is the one step kind) and a box of another cake mix of your choice.  I love chocolate so I picked Devil’s food (gluten free). But you can use whatever flavor you like best.  Whisk together the cake mixes in a large clear bowl with a balloon whisk. Whisk the two dry mixes together until they are free of lumps and well combined. Now you have enough “321 cake mix” for about 31 little microwave mug cakes.  Store your 3-2-1 microwave cake mix in an airtight container (like a gallon zipper lock plastic bag). Be sure to label it with what it is and the instructions so you are ready the next time a cake craving strikes.

STEP 2 – MAKING A MUG CAKE

Gather your tools:  a 10 ounce mug, measuring spoons, nonstick cooking spray and your mix. Coat the mug with nonstick spray. Then add 3 level tablespoons of dry cake mix and 2 level tablespoons of water.  Stir together cake mix and water with a fork.  Stirring with a fork (acts like a little whisk) until the mixture is well combined. It is okay if it bubbles up.  Microwave your mug cake for approximately one (1) minute and voila – you have cake!

NOTE:  The actual time may vary depending on the wattage of your microwave. My microwave is 900 watts and takes 60 seconds. If your microwave has higher wattage set your time for a little less.

I will admit, it is not the prettiest thing but it tastes yummy, especially when it is still warm. You can eat it right from the mug.

Or turn it out onto a plate and pretty it up with a dusting of powdered sugar and dollop of canned whipped topping.  You can even add a little bit of chocolate frosting while it is still warm and it will melt down the sides.

It is a great recipe for playing with different cake mix flavors, additions and/or accompaniments. If you are a Weight Watcher concerned about calories and/or tracking your points be sure to adjust accordingly.

You can use any flavor of cake mix you prefer: chocolate, white, yellow, lemon, spice, funfetti, spice, carrot, strawberry, etc.

Try adding 2 to 3 teaspoons of any of the following to the cake batter before cooking: miniature chocolate chips, finely chopped dried fruit, finely chopped nuts, sprinkles.  Top with a dollop of light whipped topping.

Make a Molten Cake by placing a small piece of chocolate in the middle of the cake before microwaving.

Unknown.jpegMake a Caramel Apple Cake by adding a little bit of chopped dried apple to the cake before microwaving and then after it’s baked top with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Make a Cranberry Orange Nut Cake into yellow or white 3-2-1 cake mix by stirring in chopped nuts, dried cranberries and orange zest before microwaving.

Top your favorite cake with fruit and whipped cream for a light and tasty “shortcake.”

Drizzle finished cake with chocolate or caramel sauce.

Let us know what you think…. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Tasty Tuesday: Wicked Good Chicken Burgers

Today’s recipe is courtesy of Wicked Good Spice Mixes.  I met these amazing ladies at the Brick Farmer’s Market.  I found them last year BUT I have been using the heck out of their products this year.  I hit them every Saturday to make sure I have enough of the Peach and Wild Berry Infused Balsamic Vinegars.  I was a total salad dressing girl until I started using these with their organic olive oil.  Now, I’m hooked.  So check out these recipe….
Ingredients:
2 lbs of Lean Ground Chicken Breast or Ground Turkey
1 small jalapeno peppers , seeds removed, diced
5 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 medium onions diced
1 10oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove moisture
1 tablespoon of Garlic Explosion ( More if you love garlic as much as I do!)
1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Directions:
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute garlic and onions until caramelized and soft.
  • In a large bowl, mix chicken breast, jalapeno peppers, salt and pepper,garlic and onion mixture and Achilles heel Blend and Garlic explosion blend and spinach
  • Form mixture into 8 large burgers or 12 smaller burgers.
  • Heat a griddle pan and cook burgers  for about 4 minutes and turn.  Burgers should be nicely browned and check to make sure they reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees.
Serve with roasted veggies or salad and ENJOY!

Want to know more about Wicked Good Spice Mix Co?  Here is what they have to say on their website:  The main reason we started this company was to show people how easy, healthy and fun it can be to make a delicious meal at home!  I always think the hardest thing about cooking is how much of this spice and how much of that spice you should add.

So go ahead and throw all of those spices you use infrequently and start using our spice blends! They are fresh and economical!  Our blends are perfectly formulated to use for just about everything you like to cook.  Recently we have added fruit infused balsamic vinegars and olive oils to our collection.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

I know it is WAY too early to think about “healthy school lunches”, right?  BUT these are also some great ideas to use for trips to the beach or the park or even those outdoor activities this summer.

I never thought of Belinda as a fussy eater, she just knew what she wanted and it was one battle I did not want to fight.  So for lunch was usually carrots and dip or peanut butter and no jelly.  She wanted nothing to do with anything “green” but she did like “finger foods” for lunch so baby carrots were always good.

I’m sure some of you have a problem getting your kids to eat healthy.  Although I think it is a little easier these days.  Thanks to Thirty One for these yummy ideas!  We’ve searched far and wide to bring you the most delicious snacks you can easily swap out to boost your kids’ nutrition. (And they’re all perfect to pack in our colorful and hard-working insulated lunch bags!)

Swap out PB&J for a PB&B

We all remember pulling a pale, squashed PBJ out of our lunch bags as kids… with that dark purple splotch of jelly seeping through the soggy white bread. (Bleh.)  I loved it BUT Belinda didn’t do jelly.  Why not give your kids a healthy sammie worth celebrating? A peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat or put it in a wrap.  It is packed with 17 g of protein, 7 g of fiber, complex carbs and healthy unsaturated fats. This combo can help kids feel full and energized throughout the afternoon.  Slicing up half a medium banana instead of spreading on two tablespoons of jam adds potassium and cuts out 10 g of sugar! You can even layer in sliced strawberries for a touch of sweetness and a big dose of vitamin C.

Swap out juice boxes for a reusable water bottle

Single-serving drink boxes are convenient and fun, but many also contain artificial color, flavoring and preservatives. Even 100% fruit juices can contain up to 20 g of sugar per pouch!  Instead, try infusing a pitcher of water with citrus slices, torn fresh herbs or muddled berries at home. Combine together herbs and fruits (like strawberry-basil or blueberry-mint) for a refreshing change of pace. Leave your pitcher to infuse overnight in the fridge and pour into a leak-proof water bottle.

Our roomy new Lunch Buddy Thermals feature an elastic-topped mesh side pocket that’s perfect for toting the kids’ water bottles to school and back each day. (And the fun prints are irresistible!)

Swap out applesauce for apple slices

Packing a large, sliced apple instead of a cup of applesauce can double your kids’ fiber intake (5.4 g vs 2.7 g), boost their vitamin C (10.3 mg vs 2.7 mg) and provide them with the beneficial antioxidants contained in the skin of the apple.  Kids love to eat raw apples plain as a healthful snack, or dip slices in a delicious nut or seed butter for added protein and a salty kick. If you want to keep the convenience factor, toss in a whole apple or nab a segmented slicer tool to make quick work of lunch prep.  If you do decide to sometimes opt for applesauce, look for healthier varieties made without added sugar or artificial preservatives. Or make your own unsweetened applesauce, and be sure to leave the skins on!

Swap out chips for nearly anything else

Do your kids crave something salty to go with their meals? (Us too!) Steer clear of the fat, sodium and calorie bombs that are potato chips, which have been scientifically linked to weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.   Instead, why not offer your kids one of these tasty (and nutritious) treats?

  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Deli turkey-wrapped cucumber slices
  • Nuts (Be sure to check your school’s allergen policy first)
  • Edamame, boiled or shelled and roasted
  • Air-popped popcorn (It’s a whole grain!)
  • Cheese cubes
  • Whole wheat pretzels
  • Celery sticks with nut or seed butter and raisins, or with cream cheese and dried cranberries
  • Swap out pudding cups for Greek yogurt
  • Kids love spooning up creamy treats at lunchtime. But when you’re packing their lunch bags, think Greek: While the calorie count and amount of calcium are essentially the same, a serving of Greek yogurt can provide as much as 20 times the protein of an individual pudding cup.

Stick to plain Greek yogurt for the least sugar, and add sliced berries or a little honey for sweetness. If the kids want the flavored kind, choose one with sugar near the end of the ingredient list: The first three ingredients should be milk, live and active cultures and fruit.

Keep their yogurt – and the rest of their healthy food swap-outs – cool until lunchtime in a classic Thermal Tote personalized with your child’s name and favorite embroidered Icon-It design. Your kids will be eating healthy and noshing in style!

 

What is your kids’ favorite lunch?  Share it with us…. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Cranberry Tuna Slaw

unnamed-1.jpg

I’m a total salad girl!  I eat some variation of a salad every day for either lunch or dinner and sometimes BOTH!  I love finding new options to make.  Check out this one from Hungry Girl!

1/4th of recipe (about 1 1/3 cups): 118 calories, 2g total fat (<0.5g sat fat), 270mg sodium, 16.5g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 9.5g sugars, 8.5g protein, Freestyle™ SmartPoints® value 3*

Prep: 5 minutes     Chill: 15 minutes    MAKES 4 SERVING

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli cole slaw (about one 10-oz. container or one 12-oz. bag)
1/2 cup canned water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup light sesame ginger dressing (like Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger Dressing)
One 5-oz. can albacore tuna packed in water
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 tsp. sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Place slaw, chopped water chestnuts, and chopped cranberries in a large bowl. Add dressing, and stir to coat.
  2. Drain tuna, add to the bowl, and stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 15 minutes.
  3. Serve topped with scallions and sesame seeds.

NOTE;  Double the recipe and it is a great salad for an upcoming picnic.

There is no better way to carry your salad (for lunch or a picnic) then in a Thirty One thermal.  So many options to pick from….

Check out the options for lunch, each one will meet a different need depending on what you carry for lunch…

      SHHH!!! I have a secret.  Thirty One’s lunch tote thermals will be on SALE in July.  Stay tuned for more details.

Headed to a picnic or the farmer’s market, check out this thermal…..

Need help pick out the thermal best for you, message me and I will be glad to answer any questions.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!