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Cheesy Beefaroni Bake

5 Aug

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package small elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded 2% reduced-fat cheddar cheese

For Sauce:

  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded 2% reduced-fat cheddar cheese

 

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain pasta, and then lightly coat pasta with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray, and sautee onion, garlic, and ground beef. Cook until beef is cooked through and onions become semi-transparent.

3. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates.

4. Add pasta to beef mixture in pan, stirring to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 9X9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

5. In a small/medium sauce pan, mix milk, flour, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk ingredients together over medium heat, until well blended. Stir constantly with a wisk until mixture thickens.

6. Once mixture has begun to thicken, add 1 cup cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour cheese mixture evenly over the top of the pasta mixture, And stir it all around a little. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

This “let it sit” part is important. This stuff is 1. molten-lava hot when it comes out of the oven, and 2. in need of some room-temp thickening. So, hold your horses here and give it 5 minutes 🙂 Enjoy.

Makes 6 Servings= 386 calories
Apps 10 weight watchers points plus

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Homemade Taco Seasoning

18 May

So, the taco seasoning I usually use in an envelope, contains 120 calories per envelope!!! This taco seasoning, contains 40 calories in the same serving size. I don’t know what’s in that store bought stuff that makes it so caloric (spices are typically really low cal, right?) So, here’s my version, which is just as delicious, but lower in calories. I also like that i can control the ingredients to make it hotter, milder, or however I like it. This version is a little on the spicy side, but I wouldn’t call it quite “hot”.

 

This Recipe makes seasoning for 3 lbs of ground meat.

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 beef bullion cubes, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 

Mix all ingredients together. Use 2 Tbsp seasoning for 1 lb of beef. After cooking beef, add 1/2 cup of water and 2 tbsp seasoning, and cook down until liquid has evaporated.

1/2 tbsp (4 oz of beef)= 10 cal per serving
0 weight watchers points plus

 

If you like this recipe, try it out with some of our other recipes!

Weight watchers Mexican Chicken

Nachos!

 

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

8 Apr

This is one of my kids favorite meals. Especially my oldest son. He is a picky eater, but he loves meatballs. I love to make meatballs from scratch, but sometimes I don’t have time. So, I either make large batches and freeze them for later, or sometimes i’ll use the kirkland frozen meatballs from Costco. This recipe is for homemade meatballs, but if you go the costco route, you get 5 meatballs per serving, and add 40 calories.

Ingredients:
– 1 lb 97% Lean ground turkey or 96% lean beef
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
– 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (for meatballs)
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp pepper
– 2 tablespoons minced garlic
– 2 tsp dried oregano
– 1/4 cup minced onion

– 1 batch of homemade marinara (or a jar of prego smartlight)
– 1 12 oz box of ronzoni smart taste spaghetti
– 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (for topping)

Directions:

1. In large bowl combine beef, egg, bread crumbs, onion, salt and pepper, oregano, 3 tbsp parmesan, and garlic. Wash your hands well, and use them to smoosh (technical culinary term) all ingredients together until well mixed.

2. Form into meatballs about 1″ in diameter ( use a cookie scoop) and place on a broiler pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are no longer pink in center.

3. Boil spaghetti noodles until they reach the desired texture, and drain. Plate 4 equal portions.

5. Divide meatballs evenly into 4 servings, and place on top of spaghetti. Top with sauce and 1 tablespoon of cheese.

4 Servings*= 575 Calories per serving
Approximately 15 weight watchers points plus

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Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

31 Mar

This recipe is from my cousin, Christy. It has made meatloaf lovers out of many folks who didn’t think they could like meatloaf. I didn’t originally consider it a. “Skinny” recipe, but if i make it into a long, thinner loaf, it easily makes 10 slices of very nutritionally reasonable meatloaf.

If you’re looking for a different sort of meatloaf altogether, check out my meatloaf muffins!

Ingredients:

– 2 lbs 92% lean beef
– 25 saltine crackers, crushed
– 2 eggs
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce, divided
– 3 tbsp mustard
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup ketchup
– 1/3 cup water
– 3 tbsp vinegar

1. Mix beef, crackers, eggs, salt, pepper, and half of tomato sauce thoroughly.

2. Form beef mixture into a long, narrow loaf stretching the length of a 9×13 pan.

3. In a small saucepan, mix remaining sauce with mustard, sugar, ketchup, water, and vinegar. Cook on low until sauce begins to thicken.

4. Pour a little over half of sauce over loaf. Reserve remaining sauce in pan.

5. Cover loaf with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15-30 min or until center is done. Scoop sauce from sides, and pour back over top of loaf about every 20 min.

6. Just before serving, cook reserved sauce down until thickened. Serve over slices of meatloaf.

Makes 10 slices = 200 calories

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Salisbury steak

27 Mar

Ingredients:

– 1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
– 1 egg
– 1/4 cup bread crumbs
– ground black pepper
– salt
– 1/2 tsp onion powder
– 1/2 tsp garlic powder
– 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
– 1 thinly sliced onion
– 1 cup sliced mushrooms
– 2 tbsp flour
– 1 can condensed french onion soup
– 1 tablespoon cooking sherry
– 1/4 cup water + 2 tbsp water, separated
– 1/2 tsp seasoned salt

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Form into 5 balls, and flatten into patties.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the patties in the oil until patties are nicely browned,and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the beef patties to a plate, and cover with foil.

3. Add onions, and 2 tbsp water to pan, Cook onions until they begin to soften.

4. Sprinkle flour over the onions, and stir with a fork, scraping bits of beef off of the bottom of the pan as you stir. Gradually mix in the onion soup and sherry.

5. Add mushrooms and 1/4 cup of water. Stir in seasoned salt.

6. Simmer and stir over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms reach desired doneness. If gravy becomes too thick, add 1 tablespoon water at a time until the gravy is desired consistency.

7. Serve patties covered with gravy. Also great over mashed potatoes.

Makes 5 servings= 265 calories per serving

Approximately 7 weight watchers points plus

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Beef Stew- Crockpot

19 Nov

Ingredients:
– 1 lb stew meat
– 1 onion, quartered
– 30 baby carrots (about 2/3 of a bag)
– 3 stalks of celery, chopped about 1 inch wide
– 1 large russet potato, chopped into roughly 1×1 inch chunks
– McCormick Beef Stew seasoning packet (1)
– 2 cups of water
– 1 tsp salt
– 3 bay leaves
– pepper to taste
– 1 tbsp. corn starch

Directions:

1. Place beef and all veggies into crockpot. Add salt, pepper, and bay leaves.
2. Mix water and Beef Stew seasoning together until mostly dissolved. Pour mixture into crockpot, over beef and veggies.
3. Stir ingredients together. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
4. 15-30 min before serving, remove about 3 tbsp. of juice, and mix in a separate cup with 1 tbsp. corn starch until smooth.
5. Add corn starch slurry back into stew. Mix, and cook on high with no lid until ready to serve. This will thicken the sauce.
6. Remove Bay leaves before eating.

Note: I like my beef stew with rice, as seen in the photo. I served with 3/4 cup of jasmine rice, which made my meal exactly 600 calories.

4 Servings= 447 Calories per Serving

beef stew

Chili

10 Nov

Note: Decent Chili takes a long time to make. Several hours. You could mix this all together, heat it up, and eat it…but it wouldn’t do the recipe or your tastebuds justice. In our house, Chili is always a Saturday night meal, for this reason. So hang onto this one until you’ve got some time to give 🙂

Ingredients:

– 1 lb lean beef (I used 96% lean)
– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
– 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
– 1 can of regular diced tomatoes
– 1 can of “chili hot” (or mild) beans
– 1 can of dark red kidney beans
– Tomato Juice (i buy a large can, and sometimes i use it all)
– 1 Tbsp brown sugar
– 1 tbsp chili powder
– 1 packet of “Chili-O” seasoning
– 1 tiny, tiny sprinkle of cinnamon (seriously, be VERY careful here.. you just want a tad. I just barely tap the container once)

Directions:

1. Brown beef and chopped onions (peppers if you got ’em) in a bottom of a large pan. Drain beef before adding seasoning packet.
2. Add seasoning packet, brown sugar, chili powder, and cinnamon and tomatoes, and stir.
3. Stir in all remaining ingredients, except tomato juice.
4. Stir in about 1/2 the can of juice, and cook on medium, stirring regularly for about 10 min.
5. Turn heat down to a simmer. Leave chili to simmer, stirring occassionally for the next 2 hours. Keep extra juice handy, the longer your chili cooks, the more you’ll want to add.
6. As juice progressively cooks down, add more tomato juice, a little at a time. You don’t want this to end up like a soup… so only add what will have time to cook down before you eat it.
7. Continue simmering chili until you’re ready to eat and consistency is good. My chili typically simmers for a good 4 hours or more, and the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.

Enjoy 🙂

*Note, i like to top with plain greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) crackers, shredded cheese. Sometimes i add noodles. Sometimes i put fritos in there. these are all yummy options, but none of these toppings are accounted for in the calorie count below, so track those separately. I also rarely eat only 1 cup of Chili. The serving size is really just a measurement to figure the calories for however much you eat.

Calories= 1 cup of chili, 215 Calories


Nachos!

1 Sep

It’s Football Season, once again. Here’s a great “game day” recipe for the calorie conscious! I have a couple of things to say about this nacho recipe. 1. It’s YUMMY. 2. I know the recipe for the nacho sauce (the “cheese”) itself sounds funny, but it is SOOOO GOOD. Please don’t let the cream of chicken soup scare you 🙂 Enjoy.

Ingredients:
-7 1/2 ounces of baked tostito’s scoops
– 1 lb 96% Lean ground beef
– 1 packet taco seasoning mix*
– 1 cup water

Cheese Sauce
– 1 can of 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
– 1 block of fat free cream cheese
– 3/4 cup milk
– 1/4 cup (or more) pickled jalapenos (with juice, chopped finely in the food processor)

Other Toppings:

– tomato
– salsa
– onion
– 10 tablespoons plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
– 1 2/3 cups shredded 2% cheddar cheese
– black olives
– lettuce

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients for cheese sauce and heat in a small pan on stovetop on low. Continue stirring to keep from sticking. Make sure it cooks long enough to incorporate all ingredients and get nice and hot. Serve hot.
2. Cook beef in a skillet, and cook down with contents of taco seasoning envelop and 1 cup water.
3. Arrange chips evenly on 5 plates, and top with even portions of beef and cheese sauce.
4. Add equal portions of any additional toppings you like! My calories include beef, cheese, shredded cheese, greek yogurt, and salsa. Other items listed would change calories, but not by much.

Editors Note: For a different take on this, try the pork version, using the pork from this recipe! Pork Tacos

* Make this even lower in calories, by using our homemade taco seasoning instead of storebought!

5 Servings= 510 Calories per serving

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Goulash

18 Jul

My Grandma and my Mom both made Goulash when I was a child, so I guess it’s probably a “comfort food” for me. It’s hot, hardy, delicious, and a little sweet. Really hits the spot on a fall or winter evening. There are a lot of different types of goulash. Some folks will argue that by “hungarian goulash” terms this isn’t a goulash at all. However, I guess this is “hillbilly goulash” because…this is what we ate in Kentucky when I was a kid, and in my house still today. When I first calculated the calories after coming up with a “slimmed down” recipe, i was excited to see just how calorie friendly it actually can be. Serve with a mixed green salad with lite dressing if you want.

Ingredients:
-1 lb lean beef (i use Laura’s lean, 97% ff)
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 1 green bell pepper, chopped
– 1 can of tomato sauce (about 1.5 cups)
– 1 can of diced tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups)
– 1 tsp brown sugar
– 1 tsp (or 3 packets) of splenda (you can use more brown sugar, but I used splenda in the calories)
– 1 tsp paprika
– salt and pepper to taste

– 8 oz of barilla elbow macarroni noodles

Directions:
1. brown beef, onions and peppers together until done. Drain fat. At same time boil noodles al dente.

2. Add noodles to beef, then add all other ingredients.

3. Cook on medium until noodles are soft and flavors are well blended.

4. Divide equal portions into a bowl, and enjoy!

4 Servings= 430 Calories per serving

Note: I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes my Granny would add a can of pineapple tidbits or chunks to this recipe. If you’re feeling a little culinary-adventurous, go ahead…drain a can of pineapple and dump it in there 🙂

Low Calorie Spaghetti with Meat sauce

28 Jun

I’m not sure that I can even call this a “recipe” since it’s really just a list of pre-packaged ingredients thrown together to make a “much more calorie friendly version” of something we all already know how to make. This is more just a “calories figured for you” documentation of what you can use to lighten up this comfort food!

Editors note: Make this a “real” recipe by using my homemade marinara!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
-1 (12 oz)box of Ronzoni Smart Taste Spaghetti (the purple box)
-1 jar of Prego SmartLight* spaghetti sauce
-1 package of Butterball turkey italian sausage (5 links)

Mushrooms, Onions, Green pepper, fresh garlic- all optional

Directions:

1. remove sausages from casing, and fry meat on medium heat, crumbling into peices as you go. Now’s a good time to add those optional ingredients like mushrooms or onions as well.
2. Drain excess grease from meat mixture.
3. Add spaghetti sauce, and any additional spices you like (I add about 1 tbsp oregano and some garlic powder)
4. Cook sauce on low in a covered pan, stirring occassionally.
5. Break pasta into manageable pieces and add to boiling water (with 1 tbsp salt if you like).
6. Cook pasta until it reaches your preferred texture.
7. Serve with sauce over drained pasta, in 4 equal parts.

4 Servings= 525 Calories per serving

*Note: Prego SmartLight is the key here. this suace has about 1/2 the calories of any other pasta sauce i’ve found out there, and it tastes good too.