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Day 4

I am on day 4 of my new routine and for me that is always the first big hurdle. Day 3 usually feels like hell and this time was no exception. All day yesterday I was tired, cranky and feeling completely zapped. Today didn’t feel quite so bad.

The highlight of the day though, was dinner. Before I started this new routine, I would plan, shop and prep for my dinners on Saturday or Sunday so that they would be ready for me when I got home or would require minimal work to put together on a weeknight. I am working mom who fights Northern Virginia traffic every night and if you aren’t familiar with the veritable hell that is driving around here, there are no words for how bad it is. My 16 mile commute (which most nights includes a stop off to pick the kids up from daycare) takes about 2 hours. This means when I get home, if I don’t have something prepped for dinner, I will cave and order bad food.

Since I knew I was starting this new plan this week, I planned and prepped everything last Saturday. One of the recipes that I planned to make for dinner was Hungry Girl’s Skillet Taco Meatballs. This was a low calorie meal that I wanted to make but knew that I would not have the time or energy to do it on a Thursday night so I hacked it by turning it into a Crockpot meal. My Crockpot is my single favorite thing in my kitchen (shhhh….don’t tell the coffee maker) because it makes my life ten thousand times easier. I made the meatballs (using Turkey instead of beef), popped them into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. I made the sauce separately and stored it in a separate container in the fridge. This morning before I left for work, I poured the sauce into the Crockpot, put in the meatballs, set for 6 hours on low and headed out.

The result was absolutely delicious. I wish I had taken a picture but I couldn’t wait to eat them that I forgot. I also set aside a separate portion to take as my lunch for work tomorrow.

Here is the recipe, copied from the Hungry Girl site.

Hungry Girl's Healthy Skillet Taco Meatballs Recipe

Skillet Taco Meatballs

1/4th of recipe (5 meatballs with sauce): 263 calories, 8g total fat (3.5g sat fat), 640mg sodium, 15.5g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 31g protein

SmartPoints® value 5*

Take the flavor of classic tacos, roll it up into meatballs, and top with cheese — how can you go wrong? (You can’t. That wasn’t a real question.)

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped bell pepper

1 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 tsp. chopped garlic

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. paprika

1 lb. raw extra-lean ground beef (4% fat or less), or HG Alternative

1/4 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large eggs’ worth)

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese

Directions:

Bring an extra-large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Cook and stir pepper and onion until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.

Add garlic, and cook and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Transfer skillet contents to a large bowl. Add crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. onion powder, and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Mix well.

In another large bowl, combine beef, breadcrumbs, egg whites, and remaining 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. onion powder, and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Mix thoroughly. Firmly and evenly form into 20 meatballs.

Clean skillet, if needed. Re-spray, and return to medium-high heat. Place meatballs in the skillet. Cook and rotate until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low. Carefully add tomato mixture, coating the meatballs. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

Rearrange meatballs so they are close together in the center of the skillet. Sprinkle with cheese. Re-cover and cook for 2 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

HG Alternative: If made with lean ground turkey (7% fat or less), each serving will have 278 calories, 11g total fat (4.5g sat fat), 660mg sodium, 15.5g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 30g protein, and a SmartPoints® value of 6*.

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