Healthy Family Dinners: Cheesy Beefy Mac, Chicken Fajita Casserole

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The return of the school year means early-morning scrambling, late-night homework help, and the need for great weeknight dinner recipes. We're making one of those super easy... and super delicious!

Hungry Girl's Healthy Cheesy Beefy Mac
Cheesy Beefy Mac

1/6th of recipe (about 1 2/3 cups): 306 calories, 8.5g total fat (4.5g sat fat), 546mg sodium, 28g carbs, 5g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 27.5g protein -- PointsPlus® value 7* -- SmartPoints® value 8*

This beefed-up mac 'n cheese is serious comfort food with a healthy twist... So good!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

6 oz. (about 1 1/2 cups) uncooked high-fiber elbow macaroni 
5 1/2 cups frozen cauliflower florets 
1 lb. raw extra-lean ground beef (4% fat or less) 
1 tsp. garlic powder 
1 tsp. onion powder 
1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper 
6 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese
3 tbsp. light sour cream 
4 slices Sargento Reduced-Fat Medium Cheddar cheese
Optional seasonings: additional salt and black pepper

In a medium-large pot, cook pasta per package instructions, about 8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, place cauliflower in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Uncover and stir. Re-cover and microwave for 2 - 3 minutes, until cauliflower is hot. Drain excess liquid. 

Once cool enough to handle, transfer cauliflower to a cutting board. Chop into bite-sized pieces, and return to the large bowl. 

Drain pasta, and add to the large bowl. Cover to keep warm. 

Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add beef and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper. Cook and crumble for about 8 minutes, until beef is fully cooked. 

Add cooked beef to the large bowl. Re-cover to keep warm. 

In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir cheese wedges until smooth. Add sour cream and cheese slices, breaking the slices into pieces. Add remaining 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper. Mix well. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir mixture. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until hot and uniform. 

Add cheese mixture to the large bowl. Stir until well mixed and evenly distributed. If needed, microwave until hot. 


Hungry Girl's Healthy Chicken Fajita Casserole
Chicken Fajita Casserole

1/6th of casserole: 301 calories, 9g total fat (3g sat fat), 578mg sodium, 30g carbs, 4g fiber, 6g sugars, 25g protein -- PointsPlus® value 8* -- SmartPoints® value 6*

Fajitas are delicious, but sometimes we just can't handle more assembly after we've already prepared a meal. This recipe allows us (and you) to get right to business...

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes

Ten 6-inch corn tortillas
2 tbsp. fajita seasoning mix (about half of a 1-oz. packet)
1 lb. raw boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper
2 cups sliced onion
2 cups sliced green and red bell peppers
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup salsa with 90mg sodium or less per 2-tbsp. serving
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese
3 oz. (about 1/2 cup) chopped avocado 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9” X 13” baking pan with nonstick spray.

Stack tortillas, and cut in half. Cut the stacked halves into thin strips.

In a small bowl, mix fajita seasoning with 1/4 cup water.

Bring an extra-large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Season chicken with salt and black pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes per side, until cooked through. Transfer to a plate.

Remove skillet from heat; clean, if needed. Re-spray, and bring to medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. Cook and stir until softened, 6 - 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Thinly slice chicken. Add it to the veggies in the skillet, along with the fajita seasoning mixture. Stir thoroughly.

Transfer half of the chicken mixture to the baking pan. Top with 1/2 cup salsa, 1/2 cup cheese, and remaining chicken/veggie mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup salsa, followed by avocado, tortilla strips, and remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake until entire dish is hot, cheese has melted, and tortilla strips have lightly browned and become crispy, 25 - 30 minutes.



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Now that we're into September… Are you aware that it's National Rice Month? Rice is nice, but we'd rather spend our calories on something with a little more OOMPH. Those who agree should check out our Cauliflower Rice Paella...

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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints
® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.

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