Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers

Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers

It had been a while since we had had stuffed bell peppers at our house, but for whatever reason, I had quite a few bell peppers that needed to be used before spoiling. I am all about easy and versatile recipes (and if I can get the kiddos to eat it without too much grumbling I’m a happy camper).  Stuffed peppers seem to fit that bill as they are usually pretty easy, inexpensive, and seem slightly fancy so would be a great way to impress your guests. They are also super versatile and you can go any number of ways depending on what kind of mood you’re in or what you happen to have on hand.

(This recipe made enough filling for about 8-10 peppers depending on size)

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 onion

2tsp oil

1 packet Trader Joe’s taco seasoning

1 cup frozen corn thawed

2-2 1/2 cups lentils (cooked)

1/4 cup salsa (look for no sugar added or very low sugar if possible)

1 can tomatoes (optional)

4 1/2 bell peppers

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded cheese

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown turkey with onion in oil and add taco seasoning, cook until turkey is done through.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients. Cook for 5-10 minutes heating all the way through and allowing flavors to develop.
  4. While filling is cooking, cut your bell peppers in half and remove the seeds.
  5. Remove filling from heat and fill each pepper, dividing mixture evenly.
  6. Top with shredded cheese and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until filling is hot all the way through and peppers are cooked to your desired texture.

We didn’t serve with a side dish, but if you needed more vegetables you could put together a simple dinner salad. You could even add some greens to the mixture and heat just until wilted.

 

No Bake, no guilt brownie bars

 

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Ever have those chocolate cravings, but you are trying to watch your waste line? Maybe there is a way you can have both..My daughter loves trying new recipes and spending time in the kitchen with her is one way we sneak some extra quality time into our crazy schedule (I’m all about multiplying my time, but I will save that for another post).

Let’s just say these didn’t even make it to the container to be stored. I ate one (or two) too many, but could do it without all the guilt knowing that they are low in sugar (which is one of the things I try to avoid getting too much of in my family’s diet) I found that the recipe alone was pretty rich, adding the peanut butter topping seemed to cut that…and let’s be real, who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate together?

4 Scoops Shakeology (or chocolate protein if you have that on hand)

1/2 cup peanut butter ( you can also sub PB2 with some water to reduce calories)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup milk (almond, coconut, or other alternative milk would work too)

1 cup rolled oats (if you have a gluten intolerance make sure your oats are processed in a GF facility)

Pinch of sea salt

 

Add ins:

If you want to spice this up a bit try adding in Raisins, dark chocolate chips, dried cherries or anything else that suits your fancy. You might even try adding some cinnamon and a small dash of cayenne for more of a Mexican mocha taste. You really can get as creative as you want. These were just some ideas that came to mind.

To make:

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. You an either use a stand mixer with the paddle or your (clean) hands.

2. Line a  9×13 inch pan with parchment paper or grease it. Press the mixture into the pan and chill in the fridge for about 3 hours.

3. Cut into squares and store in an air tight container.

 

*Notes: If you really love peanut butter like I do then I put a teaspoon of peanut butter on top too. This is where using powdered Peanut Butter like PB2 and adding a little water can come in super handy. It will give you the PB taste with the added calories.

Slow cook your way to sanity

Slow cook your way to sanity

I am a summer girl through and through, there is no doubt about that. I love the warm weather, lazy beach days, and lighter fare. But with the summer coming to a close and the kids getting ready to head back to school in just a few weeks. It has got me a little excited for a different season. Looking ahead at my calendar I know we are going to be running from soccer to karate to everything else life has for us these last few months before the end of the year.

I know that cooking dinner each night  will not really be an option. Since, I’ve got some fitness goals and my tribe depending on me, we won’t be eating take out or fast food on the reg. This means I’ve got to get proactive and ahead of the curve. Where do I turn? My Crockpot (I haven’t quite made the leap to the InstantPot just yet..but thinking that will be on the top of my Christmas list this year).

Meal planning is something I do pretty regularly, but I need something that will make weeknight dinners much easier. Let’s talk about the slow cooker. When you first hear the word crockpot what kinds of images does that conjure? If you’re like me, maybe you think of hearty and (often) fat laden dishes with tons of cheese or heavy sauces. Well, on my journey of living a healthier life, I have learned that there is almost always a way to lighten a dish without losing all the flavor.

One of the best things about learning is also sharing. One of my all time favorite slow cooker dishes is Slow Cooker Enchiladas. It lacks nothing in flavor, but is a much cleaner and lighter alternative to ones you might find at your favorite Mexican restaurant. Bonus: my kids LOVE it! If you have littles of your own or other picky eaters in your life, then you know that makes any recipe worthy of a try.

Want more inspiration on healthy slow cooker meals, fitness, clean eating, and more? Maybe you just want a tribe to belong to that is on a similar journey to you? I know it is not always easy to stick to your fitness goals when you’re on your own, that is why I want to invite you to join me and my tribe for 5 days of crock pot meals, inspiration, and quick home workouts you can do anywhere. Sound like something you’d be interested in? Click the link to fill out the application to get your name on the list. https://tinyurl.com/findyourthrive

Some like it hot! Here’s a Meal plan for those that don’t 

It’s hot here in the Pacific Northwest, and the last thing I want to think about is spending hours in the kitchen with the oven on. How do you meal prep to stay on track with your goals if you can’t or don’t want to grill everything? A No-Cook meal plan, that’s how!

This meal plan involves ABSOLUTELY no cooking and will still help you stay on track with your fitness and health goals. It is 1200-1500 calories, so depending on your goals or whether you’re breastfeeding you may need to adjust your caloric intake a smidge. You can play around by adding in more protein first, then if need be go for a little extra carbohydrates. And if you’re totally stumped, never fear, I’ve got your back! Below you’ll find the menu, recipes, prep plan, and grocery list.
BREAKFASTS
Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Tropical Overnight Oats: ½ cup raw oats, 2 tsp. chia seeds, 1 cup kefir (or Greek yogurt), ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 1 medium kiwi, ½ cup strawberries (1 purple, 1 red, 2 yellow, ½ orange)

Tuesday, Thursday

2 Hard-Boiled eggs, 1 Cup Watermelon (1 red, 1 purple)

SNACKS

Shakeology Smoothie: 1 packet Shakeology, water, and ice (1 red)

Apple with 1 tsp. Peanut Butter (1 purple, 1 tsp.)

LUNCHES

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Cobb Salad with Deli Turkey and Hard-Boiled Eggs: 3 slices deli turkey, 1 hard-boiled egg, 2 Tbsp. green onions, 2 Tbsp. diced tomatoes, 1¼ cups romaine lettuce, 2 Tbsp. Healthier Ranch Dressing (1½ green, 1 red, ½ orange)

Tuesday, Thursday

Tuna Antipasto Salad: ½ cup chickpeas, ¾ cup tuna, ¼ cup red bell pepper, ½ lemon (juiced), ¼ cup chopped parsley, 1 tsp. olive oil, 2 cups spring lettuce mix (2½ green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 tsp.)

DINNERS

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Chicken Burrito Bowls: ¾ cup shredded rotisserie chicken, ½ cup cauliflower rice, ½ cup chopped romaine lettuce, ¼ cup chopped tomato, ¼ cup chopped red onion, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, 1 Tbsp. sliced jalapeño, ¼ medium avocado, 1 tsp. olive oil (1½ green, 1 red, 1 blue, 1 tsp.)

Tuesday, Thursday

Avocado Shrimp Rolls: ¾ cup pre-cooked shrimp, ¼ medium avocado, 1 tsp. mustard, freshly ground pepper, ½ lemon (juiced), pinch of paprika, 2 Tbsp. shredded unsweetened coconut, ½ cup romaine lettuce, 1 small whole wheat bun (½ green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 blue)
PREP:

Prep the vegetables and herbs. Rinse romaine lettuce, allow to air dry, and chop 6¼ cups. Rinse spring lettuce mix and allow to air dry. Remove the skin from one red onion and dice into small pieces. Rinse, deseed, and dice ½ cup red bell pepper. Rinse and chop 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. tomato. Rinse and dice ⅜ cup (6 Tbsp.) green onion. Rinse and loosely chop ½ cup parsley. Rinse and loosely chop ⅜ cup (6 Tbsp.) cilantro. Rinse, deseed, and slice 3 Tbsp. jalapeño. Store any unused vegetables for future use.
Prep the Healthier Ranch Dressing for the Cobb Salad. In a food processor, combine 2 Tbsp. dried parsley, 2 tsp. dried onion flakes, 2 tsp. onion powder, 2 tsp. garlic powder, 1½ tsp. dried dill, 1½ tsp. dried cloves, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. ground black pepper; pulse until well mixed. Add 1 Tbsp. seasoning to ⅓ cup 2% plain Greek yogurt and ⅓ cup low-fat buttermilk; mix until well combined. Pour 2 Tbsp. dressing into 3 small containers. Store extra seasoning mix in the pantry and extra dressing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for future use.
Make the Cobb Salad in 3 large storage containers. To each container, add 1¼ cup chopped romaine lettuce, 2 Tbsp. diced green onion, 2 Tbsp. chopped tomato, 3 slices deli turkey, and 1 hard boiled egg.
Make the Tuna Antipasto Salad in 2 large storage containers. Open and drain the chickpeas and 2 cans of tuna. To each container, add 2 cups spring lettuce mix, ½ cup chickpeas, ¾ cup tuna, ¼ cup red bell pepper, and ¼ cup chopped parsley. Store the lettuce on top of the tuna salad to keep from getting soggy. When ready to eat, drizzle salad with juice from ½ lemon and 1 tsp. olive oil.
Prep the Avocado Shrimp Rolls. Stir together 2 tsp. mustard, juice from 1 lemon, large pinch paprika, and ground black pepper, to taste; divide dressing between 2 containers and store. Chop the pre-cooked shrimp into large pieces; divide between 2 containers with ¾ cup shrimp going into each container. When ready to eat, dice ¼ ripe avocado and store remaining in an air-tight container for future use. In a small bowl, toss diced avocado with ¾ cup pre-cooked shrimp and 1 container of dressing. Fill 1 small whole wheat bun with ½ cup chopped romaine lettuce, shrimp mixture, and top with 2 Tbsp. shredded unsweetened coconut.

Prep the Chicken Burrito Bowls. Microwave frozen cauliflower rice per package instructions. Meanwhile, debone the rotisserie chicken and shred the meat. Once cauliflower rice is warm and chicken is shredded, assemble the burrito bowls. To 3 large storage containers, add ½ cup cauliflower rice, ¾ cup shredded rotisserie chicken, ½ cup chopped romaine lettuce, ¼ cup chopped tomato, ¼ cup chopped red onion, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, and 1 Tbsp. sliced jalapeño. When ready to eat, top each salad with ¼ diced avocado and 1 tsp. olive oil.
Make the Tropical Overnight Oats. Slice 3 kiwi in half and use a spoon to separate the fruit from the skin; dice kiwi and set aside. Rinse and slice 1½ cups strawberries. In a large bowl, combine 1½ cups old-fashioned oats, 6 tsp. chia seeds, 3 cups kefir (or Greek yogurt), 1½ tsp. vanilla extract, 3 diced kiwi, and 1½ cups strawberries. Mix until well combined; divide mixture between 3 storage containers and refrigerate.
Prep Watermelon and Egg breakfast. Cut 2 cups watermelon into bite-sized pieces. Divide between 2 storage containers. Serve with 2 hard-boiled eggs.
Prep the Apple with Peanut Butter snack. Portion 1 tsp. peanut butter into 5 storage containers. Serve with medium apple.
Groceries:

Fruit

3 medium kiwi

1 1/2 cups strawberries

2 cups watermelon

5 medium apples

2 lemons

Vegetables

1 bunch green onions

1 large tomato

6 1/4 cups romaine lettuce (about 1 large head)

1 small red bell pepper

1 bunch parsley

4 cups spring lettuce mix

12 oz. package cauliflower rice, frozen

1 medium red onion

1 bunch cilantro

1 large jalapeño

2 medium avocados

Dry and Canned Goods

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

15 oz. can chickpeas

2 (5 oz.) cans tuna, packed in water

2 small whole wheat buns

Protein

3 cups (24 oz.) plain kefir (or an additional 24 oz. plain 2% Greek yogurt)

7 hard boiled eggs

1/3 cup (2.7 oz.) plain 2% Greek yogurt

1/3 cup (2.7 oz.) low-fat buttermilk

1 package sliced deli turkey (9 slices)

1 rotisserie chicken

6 oz. pre-cooked shrimp

Pantry

6 tsp. chia seeds

vanilla extract

5 packets Shakeology

5 Tbsp. peanut butter

dried parsley

dried onion flakes

onion powder

garlic powder

dried dill

dried cloves

salt

black pepper

olive oil

mustard

paprika

4 Tbsp. shredded unsweetened coconut

Southwestern Hash

I love breakfast for dinner..I love breakfast for breakfast too, but there is just something fun about breaking away from the normal dinner fare in favor of something less traditional.

Typically when we do breakfast for dinner, we will do pancakes and eggs. This never disappoints, but I typically struggle with getting some sort of veggie in there. My kids aren’t huge fans of veggies in their eggs and then having to make two batches of eggs gets to be cumbersome. Sorry that was a bit of a side rant, but mamas, you know the struggle!

I came across this sweet potato hash the other day and was stoked to give it a go. I found that I over cooked the eggs, so next time I’ll either fry them separately and then top the hash with them or will try to perfect the cooking of them in the oven so that we can still manage a runny yolk.
What you’ll need:

4 sweet potatoes

3 cloves of garlic

1 can black beans rinsed

2 cups corn (I thawed frozen sweet corn)

1 red bell pepper

3 cups chopped broccoli

1 onion chopped

Cumin

Chili powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Avocado or other high heat oil

Eggs
What to do:

•Preheat oven to 400 degrees

•chop potatoes, pepper, onion

•mince garlic or use a press like me

•drain beans

•combine all ingredients EXCEPT for egggs

•Toss to coat with oil and seasoning evenly distribute on parchment lined baking sheets.

•cook for 15 minutes then turn and cook for 15 more minutes or until potatoes are done.

This is where you’ll have to try your luck..either make wells for the eggs and crack them on the parchment paper OR fry them separate to your preferred done-ness and just top the hash with your eggs. (That may be easier and more consistent)
The lovely thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever veggies are in season or that you prefer.

My favorite summer spaghetti squash recipe

If I am being completely honest (which I always will be) I was not a huge fan of squash or the idea of using it in the place of delicious whole grain noodles. When I tend to comfort myself with food ( a habit I am working on breaking, or allowing the Lord to break in me rather) I go for carbs. Potato chips, bread, pasta. It’s all fair game.

However, I believe in turning over new leaves and trying new things. One of those new things for me has been the use of spaghetti squash or zucchini in place of noodles. At first I felt like I was missing out. Now, I actually look forward to it because I know that it is one more opportunity for me to get all my veggies in. And the fact that it is growing on my family helps too!

Last week when we had spaghetti squash I tossed it with some butter (but you could use olive oil), fresh minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a little fresh basil. It was my obsession. Thank goodness because we had a ton. I would have to say that while I do enjoy using it now when we make spaghetti and I used it a couple of weeks ago in a Pad Thai dish that was out of this world (so maybe I have two favorite recipes so far) there was something so yummy about this simple side dish. If you added some grilled chicken breast you would have a complete meal.

I typically roast my spaghetti squash at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or just until it is easily pierced with a knife or fork. You’ll cut the squash according to the size you want your noodles. If you are looking for more of a traditional spaghetti noodle, cut the squash width wise like shown in the picture. If you are looking for a shorter noodle, cut it in half length wise. Scoop the seeds and the center out, then use a fork to scrape the noodles out.

I’ve also just learned of another technique (haven’t had a chance to try it yet). To flash boil, you will cut the raw squash in half, scoop out the center, and drop it into salted boiling water. My source tells me this only takes about 20 seconds. I have also heard of cooking it in a crockpot. Another technique I haven’t tried, but will likely be giving it a try as well in the near future.

Ingredients:

Spaghetti squash

1-2T Butter/Olive oil (depending on size of squash)

1 garlic clove diced

Pinch of sea salt

Handful of fresh basil

 

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