Crock Pot Lasagna

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Today was the first day back to school for the girls. Megan went all out. She has a very unique fashion sense. She found the vintage suspenders and tutu on Etsy. Taylor said people were going to think that it was dress like a clown day at school and she followed that with “Please don’t make me walk in with her!”

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In honor of Megan and her “explosion of greatness”….. This was really good and crock pot meals are always a plus.

1 lb Ground Beef
2 tsp Garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
26 oz Chunky Style Pasta Sauce
1/3 cup Water
8 Lasagna Noodles, uncooked
15 oz Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
1-1/2 cup Lowfat Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Cook beef, garlic, and seasoning in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain and set aside. Combine pasta sauce and water in a small bowl and set aside. Place 4 uncooked noodles in a 4-quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray, breaking noodles to fit. Layer with half of beef mixture, pasta sauce mixture. Spread ricotta. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Layer with remaining noodles, meat and pasta sauce mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 hours.

Adapted from Cooking Light.

Servings: 8
Calories 462
Total Fat 12.8g
Total Carbohydrates 49.3g
Dietary Fiber 1.5g
Protein 35.4g
Nutrition Grade B

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Dickens and Smith Fun Purple Leopard Print Blanket / Throw

Margherita Pizza

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Yesterday I took the girls to American Girl to spend some more Christmas money. That place was crazy. It was more crowded than an Apple store. We were there for the same thing everyone else was there for….Saige, her horse and her dog. I wondered where we were going to fit more AG stuff. They have almost the entire catalog. But they figured it out, the closet is now a stable for all the horses and the girls without beds are stuck using sleeping bags. I forgot my camera, so here is their very first trip to the American Girl store in New York City… Time goes by way too fast.

ry=400-5I loved, loved, loved these! As an added bonus, they are only 119 calories each.

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Sandwich Rounds
2 Plum Tomatoes, sliced thin
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
6 Tbs Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place sandwich rounds inside part down on baking sheet.

Combine oil and garlic. Brush over sandwich rounds.

Add tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil, pepper and salt. Top with cheese.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Servings: 4
Calories 119
Total Fat 5.1g8%
Total Carbohydrates 14.6g5%
Dietary Fiber 3.2g13%
Protein 6.3g
Nutrition Grade B

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Sterling Industries 72-3699 Leopard Box

Beef Macaroni and Cheese

This weekend was totally crazy and exhausting. I think I slept a total of 10 hours. Yet somehow I got a second wind to write this blog. If none of it makes sense at least you’ll know why….

The weekend started with a 40th Birthday party for my sister at Terelli’s. Once we got there  her fiancé threw a surprise at us….they were getting married on the roof top on her birthday. It was beautiful.

Next was the only non-fun part of the weekend….a funeral for a truly wonderful lady that I’ve known my entire life….Mrs. B. I love the slideshows at funerals now, but they make me a sobbing mess. Love you Mrs. B!

Then T & M’s sleepover for their 10th birthday. It started out with 6 and quickly grew to 13 because there were just too many people they couldn’t leave out. They sang karaoke, we walked up the street to look at Christmas lights (and along the way they managed to ding dong ditch a few boys) and they wrote about 5 letters with 20 questions for the elves.

One of the letters to the elves asked them to “please make a mess”. They sure did that for them….

Then finally….my niece Rya’s 4th Birthday party…little sweetheart…

After that I got to go home, Johnny still had the Cowboy game to go to.

Somehow through all of that I did manage to cook once….

1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
3 cups Crushed Tomatoes
2 lbs Ground Beef
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 small Onion, chopped
2 Tbs Vegetable Oil
1 lb Pasta Shells
2-1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking…Heat the oil in a skillet; add the onion and garlic, and saute until soft.

Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper basil, cumin and oregano.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta and the beef mixture.

Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned.

Adapted from Paula Deen

Recipe makes 8 servings
Calories 681
Total Fat 37.47g
Total Carbs 46.2g
Dietary Fiber 2.7g
Protein 38.04g

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Michael Stars Women’s Leopard Print Off Shoulder Dolman Shirt

Italian Sausage and Pasta

I realized today that we are apparently way behind on the Christmas decorating. There is already an inflatable snowman at the end of the street. The girls are ready for their elves to come back too. They ask about them daily. So now my only issue…how in the heck am I going to get 2 trees and a million boxes down from the attic when I have a hubby that has thrown out his back??? I have a feeling that by the end of the day there will be 2 of us with bad backs.

Megan’s usual meal request…pasta, broccoli and chicken. I decided to switch it up and give her 2 out of 3. She’s learning to branch out a little.

16 oz Mini Farfelle Pasta
18 oz Italian Sausage Links, casings removed
12 oz Frozen Broccoli Florets
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp Garlic Salt
8 tsp Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the broccoli florets after the first 2 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage and drop it into the skillet. Cook sausage until browned. Remove from heat and drain.

Add pasta and broccoli to the pot.

Mix 1/4 cup olive oil and garlic together in a small bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss into pasta mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

8 servings
Calories 525
Total Fat 29.98g
Total Carbs 44.83g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Protein 18.07g

Today’s Leopard Print Find: 20″ Plush Wild Red Christmas Stocking with Leopard Print Trim

Healthy Baked Ziti

I am exhausted. Apparently Megan is too. She was recovering from a sleepover. I found her sitting at the island in the kitchen with yogurt all over her face. This isn’t unusual for her because when she likes food it’s usually very obvious…it’s in her hair, all on her face and she hums when she eats. But I asked anyway…she said “I just didn’t have enough power to go get a spoon.” So yes, she licked it out of the container like a puppy. I really have to get pictures of these things. Anyway, I think I’m out of power now too. But the hubby gave me a break from cooking today so here is a back-up. But it’s a delicious back-up! One of his favorites.
Ingredients:
14-1/2 ounce Whole Grain Penne Pasta
15 ounces Fat-Free Ricotta Cheese
2 Large Egg Whites
4 cups Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tablespoons Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese, shredded
3-1/2 cups Low Sodium Spaghetti Sauce
Olive Oil Spray
Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, egg whites and 3 cups of the mozzarella cheese. Mix well. Add the garlic powder, salt, pepper and red flakes. Stir in the pasta until combined.
Spread 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the dish. Add half the pasta. Top the pasta with another cup of sauce. Layer the remaining pasta over the sauce. Spoon the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the sauce over the pasta, then sprinkle the remaining cheeses on the top.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Adapted from The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook, copyright 2009.
Servings: 8
Calories: 350
Fat: 6g
Fiber: 8g
Today’s Leopard Find: Luxury Oversized Beach Towels, Leopard, 100% Egyptian Cotton

Disney World Recap and Italian Parmesan Chicken

So here are some quick highlights of our Disney World trip (besides the meals of course)… What a wonderfully fabulous trip it was.

Love getting to Magic Kingdom before the park opens and hardly anyone is on Main Street.

Megan on Tom Sawyer’s Island with her favorite ride in the background….Big Thunder Mountain. It was closed and she was so disappointed. But not as disappointed as she was the second day when we got to Epcot and found out that her 2nd favorite ride (Test Track) was closed too.

We got to go for a special behind the scenes photo shoot with Mickey and Pluto (thanks to our Disney Rewards card from Chase). There wasn’t a line and Mickey and Pluto danced with the girls. We got a free 5×7 too.

This was our dinner at Garden Grill at Epcot. When the waitress brought it too our table the girls had a look on their face like she had just served them a plate of worms. Taylor said “This is our dinner?? Are you serious??” They ate bread…

This was the family in line in front of us at Animal Kingdom.

 

 

Okay, so when the wonderful Disney World man approached me about being in the parade at Animal Kingdom he failed to mention that there was a “costume”. I would have preferred a tiara but this was a wonderful experience. Although waving for 27.3 minutes is a lot of hard work!

There was a lot of Vinylmation trading going on. Everyone ended up happy even though they never got their favorite one.

We saw a 4′ snake. From what I can tell, it was a Black Racer and Taylor will never stay at this hotel again.

This is what a $10 tip gets you. The girls couldn’t wait to see if the maids had done anything with their animals or made them towel animals. Every day we left $2 and got nothing. Finally on the last day we left $10 and they were happy to find Stitch hanging in the window.

We ate at Wolfgang Puck Express 3 nights at Downtown Disney. Wouldn’t recommend the sandwiches but the rest was great! The staff was awesome as well.

Still trying to get back into the swing of things at home so I had to use what I had…another Kraft Fresh Take. This time Italian Parmesan Chicken.

Italian Parmesan Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package Kraft Fresh Take Italian Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Line baking pan with foil

Mix Fresh Take together in package

Moisten chicken with water and dip into mixture

Place on foil covered pan

Bake for 28-30 minutes

Servings: 6
Calories: 208
Fat: 12
Fiber: 0

Today’s Leopard Find: Oven Mitt and Pot Holder …