Better-for-You Baked Mac

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This months issue of Parents Magazine couldn’t have come at a better time. Parents Magazine offered up 21 Twists on Mac ‘n’ Cheese. From a Greek Style to a Protein Boost; there’s a Mac ‘n’ Cheese for everyone!

We started with the basic Better-for-You Baked Mac recipe and added some chopped broccoli. The dish was super easy to make and was a hit with the little one!

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

3 cups dried fusilli (or pasta of your choosing)

1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (we used regular salted stick butter)

3 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp.salt

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. low fat milk

1/3lb. fontina cheese, 1.5 cups shredded ( we used 1/2 lb. of fontina cheese)

1/2 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs.

Medium head of broccoli

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2-qt square baking dish (or what ever shape you have in at least the 2 quart range) with nonstick spray; set aside.

2. Chop broccoli, place in medium sauce pan with a small amount of water and a pinch of salt. Simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally until broccoli reaches desired tenderness.

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3. Cook pasta as directed on package; drain and keep warm.

4. While pasta cooks, melt butter in medium saucepan. Add flour and salt; stir for 1 minute.

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5. Add milk and stir until thick and bubbly.

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6. Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted.

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7. Toss together pasta, broccoli and cheese sauce. Transfer to prepared dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

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Thank you Parents Magazine for 21 twists to my daughters favorite meal!

Low Fat Chicken Chili

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The picture of this Chicken Chili on Wicked Yummy was enough to make me stop at the grocery for the ingredients that I needed and make, what I hoped to be, a yummy dinner for my family.

My husband loves HOT, so I was pretty sure that this recipe, with its cup of Franks Red Hot, would be a hit! The recipe calls for an optional topping of crumble blue cheese, since I didn’t have any other recipes for the week that needed the crumble blue and the serving size that is offered for sale being quite large, I skipped buying the cheese and put out sour cream as an optional topping. The sour cream was a delicious substitute!

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directions

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Boil chicken on stove top or cook in a small amount of water in a crock pot on high. My crock pot is finicky with its heat and the amount of time that it takes to cook things. This being said, I can’t give an exact crockpot temp or cooking time. My chicken cooked on high in the crockpot for one hour. When chicken is done cooking, shred using two forks.

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Heat on high the canola oil in a large pot. Once hot, add garlic and onion. Cook stirring occasionally until tender- about 3 minutes.

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Add to the pot the peppers, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

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Add in paprika, cumin, oregano, drained and rinsed black bean along with drained and rinsed cannelloni beans. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

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Add in shredded chicken, diced and crushed tomatoes, hot sauce and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Simmer chili until veggies are at desired tenderness. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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The chili was a hit with the hubby and I, but a bit too spicy for the kiddo.
Thanks Wicked Yummy for a delicious recipe!

Blueberries!

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Blueberries are absolutely perfect here this time of year, so what better way to enjoy them then to pick them ourselves! S & G Orchards is beautiful and has the friendliest staff! The weather couldn’t have been better and all three kids were a dream!

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Henry was determined to pick enough blueberries to make a blueberry cake, while Reagan seemed more concerned with the amount of blueberries that she could consume. Whatever made them happy, worked for us!

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Then there’s this trooper, who hung out the entire time with no complaints- rock on Holden!!

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With a $20 bill lost and then immediately found, a 21 month old telling us that she was walking home (a solid 20 miles), and a few delicious gooseberries to top off our gigantic blueberry pile- I have to say, that we had one pretty fantastic morning!

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Brussel Sprouts

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My eye has been drawn to brussels sprouts lately, both at the Public Market and on Pinterest.  This past Saturday, I couldn’t resist buying these beautifully green sprouts and I’m so glad that I did because they were absolutely delicious!

Ingredients:
(this recipe fed 2 adults with leftovers for the next meal)
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8 brussel sprouts
Olive oil
Minced garlic
butter

Directions:

Heat pan over medium heat. Pour two tablespoons olive oil into hot pan. Add one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of minced garlic. Cook oil, butter and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
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While butter mixture is cooking- rinse brussels sprouts and cut in half.
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Scoop as much of the cooked garlic as you can out of the pan; being sure to leave the oil and butter mixture. I scooped the garlic and then held the spoon against the side of the pan to drain the oil mixture back into the pan.

Place the brussel spouts cut side down in the pan. Cook brussel sprouts for 5-7 minutes, pushing around on cut side, to be sure that they don’t stick to pan. I added a bit more olive oil during cooking. Flip the brussel sprouts over and cook opposite side for 2 minutes.  If you want your sprouts on the crispy side; cook for additional time.
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So Yummy!  I sprinkled parmesan cheese over the sprouts before serving!
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Blueberry Muffins

Martha has done it again! I made these delicious Blueberry Muffins that I found on her site and they are absolutely delicious! I didn’t take step by step photos, because Reagan was awake and there was just too many things happening at once. The next time around I will make a very small amount of the crumble topping. Even after generously topping all 12 muffins, I still had tons left over. You will need a had or stand mixer for this recipe, that is unless you have speedy wrists and can get the desired egg and sugar consistency without an electronic device.

REAGAN LOVED THESE MUFFINS!!

Martha’s Recipe 

Ingredients:

For The Crumb Topping
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For The Blueberry Muffins
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for tin
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large whole egg plus 2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries
Granulated sugar and mace, for topping (optional)

Directions

Make the crumb topping, if desired: Whisk together flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Pour in melted butter and toss with a flexible spatula until large crumbs form.

Make the muffins: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla; mix until well combined. Reduce speed to low; alternate adding reserved flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour. Gently fold in berries by hand.

Divide batter evenly among prepared cups; if desired, sprinkle generously with granulated sugar and mace. Alternatively, sprinkle crumb topping evenly over batter in each cup.

Bake until light golden on top, rotating tins halfway through, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes before turning out muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This is what was left over from the crumb topping