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?  

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!