This rich, delicious, full flavored Rigatoni IS the first entrée that people head for at ANY potluck or gathering. It will feed 5 or 6 people depending on their appetite. The recipe doubles (even triples) well.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14 ounce can water
6 ounce can tomato paste
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar (don't leave out)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (don't leave out)
2 teaspoons dry basil leaves 
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (don't leave out)
1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
Mozzarella cheese grated (as much as you like)
Rigatoni noodles (eyeball this amount - about 8 ounces)

Cook the chopped onion in a tablespoon of vegetable oil for about 5 minutes or until it starts to smell a little sweet. Add the garlic and cook/stir for another minute or so, but watch it so it doesn't burn.

Stir the ground beef into the onion-garlic and cook until  the meat is no longer pink. Drain well and addthe crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, sugar and spices. 

Stir well and simmer SLOWLY for an hour and a half (stirring once in a while). After an hour and a half, most of the liquid should have cooked away and it will look like this (not too dry). If it looks overly dry, add a cup of water.

Stir in the Parmesan and Mozzarella (but save a little mozzarella to sprinkle over the top before you bake it).

Now a word about the noodles: You can use ANY noodle you want, but we really like the hardy (thick walled) rigatoni noodles. Boil them in salted water until they are ALMOST done (about 2-3 minutes before they are totally cooked). They will cook the rest of the way in the sauce.

I use half a package of rigatoni noodles in this recipe. If you are using another kind of noodle, just eyeball the amount.

Drain the noodles well and Stir them into the meat and cheese mixture. Top with a little extra mozzarella and bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or till bubbly.

NOTE: I often make this in the Crockpot. I follow the above directions until it says "simmer for 1 1/2 hours). Instead, I put it in the slow cooker and let it "cook" for 3-4 hours on low. Then I add the partially cooked noodles and let it all "cook" for another 1/2 hour....works great.



Mummy Zucchini Pizzas

These zucchini pizzas are delicious and perfect for Halloween! It's a quick and easy meal that allows you to get those veggies in!

The kids had so much fun making these pizzas with me! Getting them to eat their veggies is difficult enough, but allowing them to make their own little mummies made it easier to convince them to give them a try! After all, it was their own creation... it couldn't be that bad! Right? I was very pleased to hear, "Mommy, this is yummy!" That's right! It sure is!

These are super duper easy to make! Remove the ends of the zucchini and slice the zucchini lengthwise using a mandolin or you can do it by hand.

Add marinara sauce, cut up cheese slices, and olives to each zucchini slice making it resemble a mummy. Bake for about 10 minutes or until cheese has melted. That's it! Enjoy this delicious healthy kid friendly meal!

Mummy Zucchini Pizzas

1 medium zucchini ~ 113 grams (2 Greens)
¼ cup Rao's marinara sauce (1 Green)
8 black olives (1 Healthy Fat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the ends of the zucchini off. 
Use a mandolin slicer and slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. I had 4 slices weighing a total of 113 grams.
Place the slices of zucchini on a baking sheet.
Add 1 tbsp marinara sauce per zucchini slice.
Cut the slices of cheese into strips and then make one cut down the center, except for the half slice.
Place the strips of cheese across the zucchini as well as diagonal adding some variation to resemble mummy bandages.
Use the black olives as eyes.
Bake the pizzas for 10 min or until cheese has melted.

* If you want to make regular zucchini pizzas, you can use 1/2 cup or 2 oz shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese or cheese that is 3 to 6 g of fat per ounce.

Makes 1 Serving
Each Serving provides:
1/2 Lean, 3 Greens, and 1 Healthy Fat

Add 1/2 Lean more to complete your Lean and Green. 
If you do not eat the olives, then you do not need to count the healthy fat. I used it for decoration only.


Sweet Chili Shrimp Sheet Pan Dinner

Here is a quick and easy sheet pan dinner that comes together in less than 20 minutes! It is simply roasted veggies and shrimp drizzled with a mixture of sugar free sweet chili sauce and soy sauce. Then I added a sprinkle of sesame seeds to finish it off.

I roasted sweet bell peppers and sugar snap peas (both 5 and 1 plan approved) along with the shrimp that was tossed with sesame oil, but feel free to use any veggies of your choice! Once roasted, I served it with some riced cauliflower. Then drizzle with the sauce.

The sauce is just sugar free chili sauce and a little bit of soy sauce. That's right! Two ingredients! The G Hughes sugar free sweet chili sauce is the star of the show and it is absolutely delicious! A little sweet... a little salty.. the best of both worlds! I bought this on Amazon, but I am sure it will be available in local stores in the future.

With just a few ingredients, this meal is pretty amazing! Give it a try!

Sweet Chili Shrimp Sheet Pan Dinner

9 oz raw shrimp, peeled, tails removed ~ 7 oz cooked (1 Leanest)
1/2 cup or 74.5 grams sweet red bell peppers (1 Green)
1/2 cup or 31.9 grams snap peas (1 Green)
2 tsp sesame or olive oil (2 Healthy Fats)
1/2 cup riced cauliflower, cooked (1 Green)
1/2 tsp sesame seeds (1/2 Condiment)

For the sauce:
2 tbsp G Hughes Sweet Chili Sauce (2 Condiments)
1/2 tbsp soy sauce (1/2 Condiment)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil for easy clean up.
Toss the shrimp, bell peppers, and snap peas with sesame oil until evenly coated.
Spread shrimp, bell peppers, and snap peas evenly on prepared baking sheet.
Bake in oven for 10 min or until shrimp is cooked through and the veggies are tender.

Place cooked shrimp and veggies on a plate with cooked riced cauliflower.
Combine sweet chili sauce with soy sauce in a small bowl.
Drizzle the sauce over shrimp and veggies.
Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top.

Makes 1 Serving
Per Serving:
1 Leanest, 3 Greens, 3 Condiments and 2 Healthy Fats



If you buy roasted almonds from the grocery store, they are, most likely, coated with oil...I don't know about you, but I certainly don't need those extra calories.

This quick and simple "recipe" has 
only 2 ingredients, almonds and kosher salt

These nuts are a slightly salty, 
toasty-crunchy, addicting healthy snack.

1 pound of whole almonds
3 tablespoons kosher salt (not table salt)
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Put 1 1/2 cups boiling water into a large bowl and add the kosher salt. Stir for about 30 seconds or until the salt is completely dissolved. NOTE: the amount of salt in this recipe sounds like a lot, but most of it stays in the water which is drained off. The final nuts have a light salty taste. 

Add the almonds to the hot water and stir again. Let them sit in the water for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, drain the almonds (but do not rinse). Place the nuts on a foil lined cookie sheet and spread them out.

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes. *I bake MINE for 30 minutes because I like them super toasty. 

Remove the baked nuts from the oven and let them cool completely before you eat or store them in an airtight container.

The nuts will be perfectly crunchy
when they cool off


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