"Spaghetti" & Meatballs Bites


Well, I came home today and it was another one of those "what am I going to make that is healthy with what I have in my house?" days.  My garden yielded a few small spaghetti squash (before the stupid squash bugs killed the plants -- stupid bugs!).  I figured I'd put one to good use and use up other ingredients from my other tasty experiments.  We always have the costco meatballs on hand.  I know they aren't the lowest fat, but they are quick and easy... if you have the time, I recommend cooking some ground turkey as a better option!


Once again, I have to say I created another winner!

Mom's (Delicious) Saucy Chicken

We all have that one meal that our mom made growing up that was our favorite.  You know, the one you loved so much so that it was your birthday dinner meal for years in a row.  Yeah...that meal was "Saucy Chicken" for me.  It is SO good!!  And SO good for a reason!  Those reasons consist of cream cheese, chive and onion cream cheese, and sour cream.  lol.  oh, and the chicken and rice!  The problem with this meal these days is that it just doesn't jive with trying to be on the healthier side of things.
So, the challenge began: 
find a new "saucy chicken" that tastes like it AND is good for me.

I'm pretty sure I rocked this challenge!
Like, for reals!
I know, you can thank me later while your scarfing it down 
and not feeling bad one bit because you just stuffed your face with healthy goodness!
(and as a bonus...it's a crock pot meal! Double Win!)


Ingredients
Saucy Chicken:
- 4-5 chicken breasts
- 1 pkg light laughing cow cheese (all 8 slices)
- 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 c. chicken broth
- 1/2 large onion chopped into large pieces (optional - not on plan with 5&1)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- fresh cut chives
- 2 cups fresh spinach (optional)
- 1/2 c. non-fat greek yogourt

Cauliflower Rice:
- 2 lb. bag cauliflower florets (or one large cauliflower)

Directions 
Saucy Chicken:

  1. Blend the individual slices of Light Laughing Cow Cheese with the chicken broth.  This breaks up the cheese because it doesn't melt as easy.  Pour it into the crock pot.
  2. Add the chicken, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, chives, garlic, and spinach (optional) to the crock pot.
  3. Cook on low 5-6 hours.

(This is before I added the spinach :) 
Before serving:
Shred chicken while still in the crock pot/sauce
Stir in non-fat greek yogurt

Cauliflower Rice:
Blend the cauliflower to tiny pieces...voila! cauliflower rice!  Put it into a microwaveable bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave for 5 min. Let sit 5 min.  Stir.  Microwave another 5 min.  Let sit for 5 min.  Check how tender the cauliflower is.  (If needed microwave an additional 5 min.)

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Scoop some cauliflower rice and pour your saucy chicken right on top!  
Aaaand begin to enjoy the guilt-free 
(almost as good as mom's saucy chicken) deliciousnesss!



Makes approximately 4-5 lean & green servings
P.S. If you aren't on 5&1 and just want a healthier version of the saucy chicken, 
this could easily be served over rice instead.  
But, honestly, cauliflower rice is a pret-ty dang good replacement!

Enjoy!


For those that are counting calories ...

Easy Cheesy Cauliflower


In an effort to create something along the lines of a healthy (easy) mac n' cheese replacement, I created this.  It could be cheesier, but it still turned out pretty dang yummy.  I would say it's somewhere in the middle between a mac n' cheese and some cheesy potatoes (depending on how long you cook it).  I definitely wouldn't put it in the same boat as mac n' cheese, but it a nice n' healthy option -- and a great way to get in your veggies for you and your fam!

Ingredients:
- 2 lb. bag cauliflower florets (or one large cauliflower)
- 8 slices light laughing cow cheese (p.s. Costco sells these in bulk!!)
- 1/2 c. chicken broth
- 3/4 c. shredded mixed cheese, divided
- 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- fresh chives (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a blender, blend chicken broth and laughing cow cheese and pour into a crock pot.
  2. Chop the cauliflower florets to smaller (bite-size) bits and add to the crock pot.
  3. Add 1/2 c. mixed cheese and mozzarella cheese, salt, and pepper and mix all together.  Cook on high for ~2 hrs. or longer if you'd like it more tender.
  4. Add remaining 1/4 c. remaining shredded cheese and allow to melt.  Add some fresh chives if your heart desires :)
And voila!
Ready to eat!
Enjoy!

Zucchini Ravioli

A few days ago my awesome mom sent a recipe my way for zucchini ravioli from Delish.com.  It looked delicious and sounded like a great lean and green meal.  SO, I decided to give it a go!  I tweaked it a bit to fit as a lean and green aaaand it turned out pret-ty dang good!  I will say, it wasn't necessarily "hard", but making each ravioli was a bit tedious.  I think next time, I'll probably do more of a lasagna, rather than ravioli to save some time and still get the awesome flavor.  I'll call it a win, though, because little mister was definitely a fan :)

Ingredients:
1 large garden zucchini or 4 medium zucchini (~1.75 lbs)
2 c. low-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. thinly sliced basil, divided
1 tbsp thinly sliced oregano
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
14.5 oz. can low sodium diced tomatoes
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella

Possible sauce Additions: (adding these to the sauce will make 4 full Lean & Green servings)
9 oz. cooked ground turkey
1 cup fresh spinach (coarsely chopped)


Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  2. Using a veggie peeler, slice thin strips of zucchini.  Slice until you reach the center (seeds).  Depending on the size of your zucchini, you may want to cut them in half.  
  3. Ricotta Mix:  In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, and Parmesan.  Mix together.
  4. Ravioli: Take your zucchini strips and make a cross (2 strips in each direction).  In the center of the cross, put a spoonful of the ricotta mix.  Flip the right side over the mix, then the bottom, then the left, then the top.  (Sorry, I definitely should have taken a pic of this. ha!) Place in baking dish seam-side down. Make up the rest and place in the baking dish. 
    Side note: the zucchini has quite a bit of water in it, as it sit some of the water will come out.
    Pour it out before adding the sauce.
  5. Sauce: Blend the tomatoes.  If you are adding the ground turkey and spinach, mix in ground turkey and spinach. Pour over top the ravioli along with the mozzarella cheese.  Bake 30 min @ 375 degrees.  
  6. Remove and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan and basil.  Cook on broil for 2-3 min.  And voila! 
      
Makes 4 servings. 
Per serving: 2/3 lean serving, 2 3/4 green servings, 3 condiments

With additions to sauce (ground turkey & spinach):
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 1 lean serving, 3 green servings, 3 condiments.

You could reduce your serving a bit and have a salad on the side if your heart so desires.
Enjoy!!