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Fab-ab meals: Joy Bauer's slimmed-down mac and cheese, turkey chili, more 

by Joy Bauer /  / Updated 
Joy Bauer
Joy Bauer

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If you're following along with our “6 Months to a 6-Pack challenge," you may be looking for new recipes to add to your fab-ab diet. Try Joy Bauer's zucchini linguine, fresh salsa with endive chips, turkey chili and slimmed-down mac-n-cheese. 

Zucchini linguine
Saute 4 large zucchini squashes (peeled and julienned) with 2 teaspoons crushed garlic in a skillet lightly misted with olive oil spray for approximately 8 minutes. 

Add a half cup of your favorite marinara sauce and warm for an additional 2 minutes in skillet. Add onion powder and black pepper to taste. Enjoy! 

Fresh salsa with endive chips
Combine 4 plum tomatoes (seeded and chopped), 1/2 green bell pepper (diced), 1/2 orange bell pepper (diced), 1 bunch scallions (chopped), the juice of one lime, a pinch of cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste. 

Let mixture stand for two minutes so tomatoes can marinate in lime juice. Serve with unlimited endive leaves. Scoop away! 

Get 9 more ab-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks

Turkey chili

Turkey chili
You won’t miss the high-fat beef in this hearty, well-seasoned dish, which relies on extra-lean ground turkey and black beans for its thick consistency. Plus, you’ll get a healthy dose of magnesium, folic acid, manganese, and fiber.

2 pounds turkey, lean ground, (at least 90% lean)
1 can tomatoes, crushed, (28 ounces), preferable no-salt-added
2 cups water
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper, black
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
1/2 teaspoon pepper, red ground, or more for hotter chili
2 teaspoon flour, whole-wheat, or all-purpose flour
2 can(s) beans, black, 15 ounces each, well drained and rinsed2 cup(s) corn, whole kernel frozen

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the turkey, stirring to break up the meat. 

Drain the fat. Add the tomatoes, water, onions, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, cumin, oregano, and red pepper. 

Mix thoroughly. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the flour, and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. 

Stir in the beans and corn and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

Joy Bauer's flat-belly bonus recipes: Tuna pita, spinach turkey burger, more


Slimmed-down mac and cheese

My daughter Ayden pleaded for a healthy version of mac & cheese — and the entire Bauer brood agrees this version is to die for. Kid-tested and approved, this comfort food classic is one that will easily work its way into your regular dinner rotation.

10 ounces cheese, cheddar, sharp, reduced-fat, block, (or 2 1/2 cups pre-shredded)
1 box pasta, whole-wheat, elbow macaroni, (14- to 16-ounce)
2 1/4 cup(s) milk, fat-free, or 1%
1 teaspoon soy sauce, less sodium
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard, dry
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 leaf bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt, Kosher
1/8 teaspoon pepper, black ground
3-5 drops hot sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon margarine, reduced-fat, trans fat-free, soft tub spread (or whipped butter)

If using block cheese, shred the cheese using the large side of a box grater, and set it aside to warm to room temperature. (Having the cheese closer to room temperature helps it to melt more easily.) If using pre-shredded cheese, remove the bag(s) from the fridge and set them on the counter to warm to room temperature.

Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and follow the directions on the package for al dente pasta.

While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk with soy sauce, onion powder, dry mustard, paprika, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, and hot sauce. Place over medium heat, and cook until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer.

In a small bowl or cup, mix the cornstarch with remaining ¼ cup cold milk. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine. Return sauce to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should thicken slightly.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and add the shredded cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is completely melted and no lumps remain.

Add the butter or margarine spread to the cheese sauce and stir until it is completely melted and combined.

Drain the macaroni (do not rinse it), and return it to the pot.

Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked macaroni and stir until everything is coated. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and allow the macaroni and cheese to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, to allow the sauce to thicken before serving.

Variation: For baked macaroni and cheese with a crispy, crunchy top: After combining the cheese sauce with the cooked macaroni, transfer to a 9x13-inch baking dish coated with oil spray. Sprinkle it with ¼ cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese. Place under a preheated broiler for 4 to 7 minutes, or until top is golden brown and crispy; check often to make sure cheese does not burn.

Hearty cream of broccoli soup

2 cups broccoli if fresh (steam) or if frozen (defrosted)
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1/4 skim milk
Pepper to taste
Low fat cheddar cheese to top
Chopped jicama to to for a crunchy texture

Mix first two ingredients in blender until smooth.

Add pepper or other spices (curry, cayenne, etc.

After blended add milk and blend for a few seconds.

Heat in microwave or on stove top.

Add cheese and or jicama at end.

For more belly-slimming tips and recipes visit and follow Joy on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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