Easy Taco Seasoning & Salad Bar

10399182_919076496856_799640789516135977_n

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 😍

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 1.14.56 PM

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?  

Sesame Chicken Lo Mein

Healthy Sesame Chicken Lo Mein

I looooove Chinese Food, but it doesn’t always love me back 😉

Making “fakeaway” at home is a great compromise when I’m craving Orange Chicken or General Tso’s. We don’t end up bloated, HANGRY and tired an hour later like we used to after getting traditional take out!

Even my husband likes this Healthier Sesame Chicken Lo Mein recipe, and he’s made many rounds through the Chinese buffets with me over the years. A quick shout out to the amazing Ree Drummond for inspiring this recipe! http://www.pioneerwoman.com  (PS Isn’t her line of dishes SO CUTE?) ❤

I just added a few healthier twists to make this recipe fit into my cleaner eating plan! It’s amazing how much better you can feel when you just make some tweaks to your eating – HELLO extra energy!! And as a busy mom, I can use all the energy I can get 😉

SPICY SESAME LO MEIN CHICKEN
Total Time: 40 minutes Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS:
3 large chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups veggies cut into uniform sized pieces (broccoli, peppers, carrots, onions, etc.)
8 oz dry whole wheat or brown rice pasta
1/2 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos or Coconut Aminos (healthier version of soy sauce)
2 Tbsp. honey
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. hot chili sesame oil (or sub regular sesame oil)
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 whole green onions, sliced thin (not necessary but pretty ;))

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut chicken into cubes and stir fry in 1 Tbsp. oil and pepper. Remove from pan.
  2. Cut veggies in uniform sized pieces and stir fry in 1 Tbsp. of oil. Once cooked, add chicken. Remove from heat.
  3. Cook noodles and drain.
  4. Whisk soy sauce, honey, garlic, rice vinegar, hot chili sesame oil and remaining 2Tbsp. olive oil together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
  5. Pour sauce over chicken/veggie mixture. Place over noodles and sprinkle with onions.

Adapted from http://www.ThePioneerWoman.com


What’s your favorite traditional Chinese dish, are you a Lo Mein fan or are you more into Fried Rice? (I have a healthier recipe for that too if you need it!!) 

 

Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

IMG_3081

My grandma always made these Chocolate/Peanut Butter treats at Christmas time when I was growing up, and they are actually pretty simple to “healthify” to remove a lot of the refined sugar and carbs!

I’ve given these Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeye Balls for Christmas gifts the past few years, and everyone ends up raving over them, even after I tell them they’re pretty healthy! I think they will be a good Valentine’s treat too, so I’m pulling out the recipe and wanted to share it with you all!

WARNING: They are addictive! Even when I try to hide them in the back of the freezer, they disappear within a week. (Mainly by my own doing! Life is all about balance right?) You really can’t get much better than chocolate and peanut butter!

HEALTHIER CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
Yield: 15 balls

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup natural smooth peanut butter (just peanuts & salt)
4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 cup whole wheat or Gluten Free brown rice flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, stir peanut butter and maple syrup until it thickens up.
  2. Add salt, then stir in flour ¼ cup at a time to reach a doughy texture that isn’t too sticky to roll. (Add a bit of water if it’s too crumbly!)
  3. Shape into small balls and place onto baking sheet covered with wax or parchment paper.
  4. In a small pot, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil over low heat stirring frequently.
  5. Once melted, remove chocolate from heat and dip the balls using a fork or toothpick. Tap off excess chocolate into the pan.
  6. Put finished buckeye balls in the freezer for 15 minutes until firm.
  7. If you have any left, store in the freezer or refrigerator!

PS Did you know Quinoa is a SUPERFOOD? It’s a grain that’s packed with protein, and the flour is perfect in this recipe. Want more SUPERFOOD SWEETS &  TREATS ideas? Just comment below! 

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

IMG_1017

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?

 

Clean Eating Fajitas w/Seasoning

IMG_0011I’m a big fan of cooking one main meal, then reusing it multiple ways later in the week. We all have a million things to do, so why spend extra time in the kitchen if we don’t have to? This fajita-seasoned chicken can be used SO many different ways.

And you don’t need any expensive/processed packets of seasoning mix loaded with sugar, it’s super simple to make this marinade at home!!! #eatrealfood #feelrealgood

I grilled a triple batch up on a sunny Sunday after church, and we used it to make 4 MEALS that week!
1. CHICKEN FAJITAS  – with Gluten Free brown rice tortillas and salsa
2. CHICKEN SALADS – leftover meat & veggies, served on salad, w/chips and salsa
3. CHICKEN BURRITO BOWLS – leftover meat & veggies, served over brown rice w/salsa
4. CHICKEN DINNER – leftover meat & veggies,with grilled pineapple & quinoa

All four meals were a hit with my toddler and hubby, AND they were super easy and healthy too!! #winwin Does your family love Fajitas too??

CLEAN EATING FAJITAS W/SEASONING
Serves: Approx. 6

INGREDIENTS:
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or sub steak)
3 sweet onions, sliced
3 green peppers, sliced
2 tsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Whisk spices into 1/4 cup olive oil.
  2. Pour mixture over chicken and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  3. Place sliced peppers and onions in foil, toss with 2 tsp oil and a dash of salt/pepper. 
  4. Grill chicken and veggies for approximately 15-20 minutes. Or bake chicken in oven-safe dish sprayed with a bit of olive oil for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees. Veggies will only take about 15-20 mins to bake
  5. Cut chicken strips, serve with veggies, tortillas, lettuce and salsa.

Source: www.cortneygraham.com

21 Day Fix Container Equivalent: 1/6 of recipe = 1 red, 1 green, 1 teaspoon