Easy Taco Seasoning & Salad Bar

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Taco Salads are one of our favorite Healthier Family Meals, but I used to rely HEAVILY on the prepackaged Taco Seasonings at the store…until I realized how much cheaper it was to make at home!

Literally, this costs pennies compared to the mixes AND you can control the ingredients that go into it. I keep getting requests for this recipe on Instagram, because we use it all the time to make some of the meals I share over there:   

  • Taco Meat (ground beef, chicken, turkey, venison, even black beans or toasted quinoa)
  • Seasoned Veggies
  • Fajitas
  • Mexican Rice
  • Shredded Crock Pot Chicken
  • Grilled Chicken

Just multiply this seasoning recipe by 10 and store it in a Mason Jar, then you’ll be all set for quick easy meals. Eating healthy doesn’t have to complicated or time consuming – because we’re all busy right?! 

Here’s the seasoning mix, along with a recipe for Taco Salads if that strikes your fancy! My son eats SO many more veggies this way, when I serve this as a “salad bar” and let him fill his own plate! It’s a great idea for dinner parties & picnics too 😍

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TACO SALADS & SEASONING MIX
Serves 4 (approx. 3 cups each)

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb lean ground beef, turkey, chicken or venison, browned and drained
(sub 1 can black beans or chickpeas for plant based)
6 cups Romaine lettuce/spinach/salad greens
2 cups chopped veggies (onions, tomatoes, peppers, etc.)
2 cups salsa (low sugar/sodium preferred)
24 whole grain tortilla chips
1-1/3 cup shredded cheese if you aren’t dairy free

Seasoning:
1 Tbsp chili powder
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp coconut sugar (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Brown meat in a pan over medium heat, breaking into small pieces as it cooks.
  2. While meat is browning, prepare salads.
  3. Add 3/4 cup water and seasoning ingredients to cooked meat.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Top salads with 3/4 cup meat, 1/3 cup cheese, 1/2 cup salsa and 6 crunched up tortilla chips.

What’s your family’s favorite way to eat Tacos? Salad, soft shell or hard shell?  

Healthier Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Panera Bread’s Broccoli Cheese soup used to be a WEEKLY obsession of mine…now that I’m trying to eat a little healthier and have realized Dairy doesn’t mix well with thyroid issues, I’ve been on the hunt for a healthier version that still tastes good! (Sounds impossible right?!)

I took several recipes and combine them into one, and I have to say even dairy fans seem to appreciate this soup! Plus you can pack a ton of hidden veggies in here, and adjust things based on your family’s tastes. The key is using Nutritional Yeast to get that cheesy-flavor, I like Bragg’s brand and get it from Amazon.com.

And this soup freezes much better than regular cheese soups that end to get all gloppy when thawed out (is gloppy a word?!)  So make extra for a busy day!

DAIRY FREE BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP
Serves 6 (approx. 2 cups each)

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups of veggies cut into bite sized pieces (cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, onions, or a combo of these)
1 box low sodium organic chicken broth/stock
4 cups (about 1 head) broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
1 can chickpeas or northern white beans
3/4 cups plain almond or cashew milk, divided
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp. thyme or poultry seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pot cook 1/2 the carton of broth and the 4 cups of veggies until tender.
  2. While veggies are cooking, chop the broccoli.
  3. Once veggies are tender, blend together in a large blender (be careful with hot liquids!)  
  4. Back into your pot, add the veggie puree, remaining broth, broccoli, garlic & onion powder, thyme or poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir and cook covered for 7-10 mins, or until broccoli is tender.
  5. While soup is cooking, rinse and drain beans. Blend with 1/2 cup non-dairy milk.  Add more liquid if needed to achieve smooth texture.
  6. Add beans and additional 1/4 cup non-dairy milk to the soup once the broccoli is tender.
  7. Add 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and stir to combine.

21 Day Fix Equivalent: 1 green veggie, ½ yellow carb

What kind of soups do you crave as the weather gets colder? Is anyone in your house eating dairy free right now too? 

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup 2

This soup is one of my favorites, because it’s fairly simple to make but has SUCH amazing flavor! Plus Bone Broth is SO nourishing, it’s great for energy, digestion and metabolism. If you want an easy Crock Pot recipe to make it from scratch, here’s the recipe I use. Or you can buy it prepackaged if you’re short on time!

I like to make a big double or triple batch of this Chicken Soup and freeze the extra for a busy day (just leave out the noodles and add them later after thawing it out)! We gotta save time wherever we can right? #busymomlife You can also sub rice for the noodles, or leave make it lower in carbs by leaving them both out and it’s still delish. (If you’re looking for more recipes, here is another one of our family’s fav soups)

EASY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:
2 large low-sodium Chicken Broths (32 oz each) OR 64 oz of Homemade Bone Broth
3 chicken breasts
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp natural chicken bouillon powder
3 cups cooked whole wheat or brown rice/quinoa pasta
salt/pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Add the onion, carrots, parsley, chicken, celery, garlic, olive oil, chicken broth, salt, pepper, chicken bouillon and italian seasoning to your crockpot. Cook on low for 7 hours or 4 hours on high.
  2. Remove chicken and either cut into pieces or shred with a fork. Add chicken back to the crockpot and cook for another 30 mins.
  3. Stir in cooked noodles and serve! (Adapted from: mistynana.com)

*When you’re in a rush, you can boil the chicken in water on the stove while you bring the remaining ingredients to a boil, then simmer. Shred the cooked, chicken then add to the rest of the soup and simmer for another 20-30 mins!

What’s your favorite comfort food, when it’s cold outside or you’re feeling under the weather? 

 

Quick Ranch Veggies

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This recipe is SO easy, but good enough to serve for a holiday dinner. And if your kids love Ranch, they might just eat broccoli this way!

The past few years we’ve been trying to incorporate some healthier options into our holiday meals (along with the ham, potatoes, pies, and all the other usual goodies, because this time of year it’s all about balance, not deprivation).

And for this healthier Ranch flavor you just need some spices from your cabinet, not the chemical-laden Ranch Seasoning Packet that I used in all my recipes before I realized I could make it at home!

What types of veggies do you typically serve up for the holidays?
This and Cranberry Apple Pecan salad are two of my favorites! (Let me know if you want that recipe too!)

RANCH VEGGIES
Yield: 4 Servings (1 cup each)

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups frozen veggies (I like the California Blend)
4 tsp olive oil or melted coconut (plus a little extra to coat baking dish)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried onion flakes
1½ Tbsp dried parsley
1½ tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried chives
1/8 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Grease baking dish with extra oil, then add in frozen veggies.
  3.  Drizzle with 4 tsp oil and sprinkle with seasonings.
  4. Toss to coat.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Stir once halfway through!

No Bake Cookie Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

We made some of these🍪 No Bake Cookie Energy Bites 🍪the other day to get more healthy fats in AND ward off the cookie cravings… instead of eating the sugar-laden granola bars we used to rely on.

😍MOMWIN: Some actually made it to the freezer to save for later without getting eaten 😉 Between my 3 year old, my husband and I they really don’t last long! I think because they taste like the No Bake Cookies we were used to eating back before trying to make our food choices a little healthier!

But eventually we just got sick and tired of being SICK and TIRED all the time, and figured we needed to find easier ways to get our health back under control as a busy family😊 And these cookies are full of healthy fats that keep our energy up, brains focused and metabolism going strong! 

I also have a Lemon Energy Bite recipe too if that’s more your style! Just comment below and I’ll get it to ya. 🍋🍋🍋

NO BAKE ENERGY BITES
Servings: 12 (two bites each)

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup toasted unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed or wheat germ
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspooon cinnamon
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional!)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Use enough water to make the dough rollable but not sticky!
  2. Roll into balls about 3/4″ in diameter.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.What would your family like better, Peanut Butter or Lemon flavored Energy Bites?

 

Chewy Quinoa Granola Bars

Chewy Quinoa Granola Bars! GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, 21 Day Fix Approved

I used to eat Granola Bars DAILY…for breakfast, for a snack, or as a dessert! They are so QUICK AND EASY! And healthy right??

But after I realized the pre-packaged options weren’t exactly the healthiest thing (full of sugars and not much protein/fiber/nutrients) I reluctantly wrote them off.

And then a few months ago, I found this recipe!! It has lots of good protein from a surprise ingredient (quinoa), but the taste and texture is the bomb! My son loves them too. I changed up a few things from the original recipe (source is listed below) and they are a new staple in my house. You can even customize them by adding more of one thing and leaving out another (nuts, coconut, etc.)

CHEWY QUINOA GRANOLA BARS
Yield: 15 servings
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup cooked quinoa (for crunchy bars, use uncooked quinoa)
1 cup oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup nut butter
1/2 cup honey (local is best)
1 Tbsp coconut oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread oats and quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 8 minute, stirring once halfway through.
  3. Place oats/quinoa in a large bowl with unsweetened coconut.
  4. Grease the same baking sheet you just used.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, peanut butter, honey, & coconut oil.
  6. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. (I’ve also used the microwave with good results)
  7. Pour over oats mixture and combine until dry ingredients are evenly coated.
  8. Press mixture down into HALF of the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Let cool for up to 2 hours and then cut and serve. (Oven times may vary. Watch your bars carefully to not burn them!)

Adapted from: Instagram.com/ditchthescale

21 Day Fix Container Equivalent: 1 bar = 1/4 Yellow, 1 orange, 3 tsp

 

Corn & Black Bean Salsa

Clean Eating Corn & Black Bean Salsa!As as life long picky eater, I was never one to get super adventurous with my food…Old El Paso taco seasoning and Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supremes were about the extent of my exposure to Mexican food (super healthy too, right?).

But after being stationed in New Mexico when my hubby was in the military, I developed an OBSESSION for real, authentic Mexican food…and I’ve found lots of way to make it fit into my cleaner eating lifestyle too!

The cilantro in this dish is also one of the most DETOXIFYING herbs around, besides just plain tasting amazing! This salsa is YUMMY on chicken, tacos, salads, quesadillas, or just plain chips!

What’s your favorite MEXICAN FOOD? Comment below, maybe I have a *healthified* recipe I can share with you!

CORN & BLACK BEAN SALSA
Yield: About 4 cups

INGREDIENTS:
1 15 oz. can of black beans
2 10 oz. cans of diced tomatoes & green chilis
1 large onion, diced
24 jarred jalapeño slices, diced
1/2 bag of frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice

DIRECTIONS:
1. Mix everything together. This gets better as it sits, so usually I make it a day in advance. Refrigerate up to 1 week.

Source: www.facebook.com/CortneyGrahamRealLifeHealthyLiving 
21 Day Fix Container Equivalent: 1 cup = 1/2 green, 1/2 yellow