Every day can be Taco Tuesday with this easy one skillet meal

I’ve been rocking my single mom status this week while my hubby is out of town for a work conference. One week may seem like a long time (and at one point it was for us too), but being a military family we have gotten used to long stretches of being split up whether for training camps or deployments. Regardless of how long he’s gone, I am a big fan of easy and quick meals that my kids don’t fuss over.

I was scrolling Pinterest last week as I normally do to get new dinner ideas and came across a super simple one skillet dinner that was healthy and delicious. Plus, it took less than 25 minutes from start to finish.. I made a few tweaks to the recipe and here is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it and let me know how you change it up, because there are literally thousands of ways this dish could be made!

 

What you need:
1 lb ground turkey ( I used 99%lean, you could use chicken or beef too)
1/2 white onion
3/4 c salsa (Costco is my favorite one)
1 whole wheat tortilla
1/3 c shredded cheese
Cumin
Chili powder
Sea salt
Garlic powder
1 can rinsed and drained kidney, black, or pinto beans (no salt added)
And your toppings of choice

To make:
Saut├ę onions until cooked (about 3 min)
Add ground meat cook, breaking apart and season with spices
Add salsa and cheese
Cook until meat is done and warmed through
Cut up tortilla into strips and add it into the mix (optional)

Serve with lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado, and green onion or any other toppings you typically like on your tacos ­čî«­čąĹ

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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┬ásize 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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Cheesecake you can feel good about

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Cheesecake has got to be one of my all time favorite desserts. I recently celebrated a birthday and it was, as you guessed it, my request for our post-dinner treat. If you’ve known me or have been following my journey over the past several months you know that I have set out to live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. I’ve been all over the board with my health from unhappy and overweight, to incredibly lean and unhappy. I am now on a mission to live balanced, healthy, AND happy. Since I am in the middle of my most recent program (21 Day Fix Extreme) I set out to find a healthier version of this favorite of mine. It was a huge hit, perfectly portioned, and not something I felt guilty about indulging in at all.

These were super simple and perfectly portioned!

Ingredients:

Filling:

1 c greek yogurt (0%)

4 oz cream cheese

1/4 c Maple syrup or honey- you could also use liquid stevia. However, if you go with the liquid stevia, you will need FAR less than 1/4 cup.

1 egg

1 t. Vanilla extract

**For a twist, try adding 2T lemon zest

 

Granola Crust:

3/4 cups Oats

1/4 c Walnuts, almonds, pecans chopped

3 T Coconut oil

1/4 t sea salt

1/2 t cinnamon

3 T maple/honey/stevia

Line muffin pan with 9 cupcake liners. Mix the ingredients for the granola crust and then press into cupcake liners. Bake crusts for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Pull out from oven and let them cool completely. Mix the filling ingredients in another bowl until smooth and blended, pour over cooled crusts. Bake for 20-25 minutes. We topped ours with fresh strawberries. You could also top with a berry compote or homemade berry sauce. These were absolutely delicious and only around 177 calories per each. We will definitely be making them again. They took less than 15 minutes to whip up and were a perfect end to a great day!

 

Chicken Souvlaki and the only “rice” my 6 year old will eat

I’ve had this recipe on my meal plan since last week, I just never got around to making it. I had the ingredients though, so I figured I better make it this week! This┬áchicken recipe originally came from a clean eating cookbook that I had gotten a couple years ago as a Christmas gift. ┬áI subbed orzo for the potato and green bean salad that we usually make it with to switch things up a bit. My nearly 6 year old son HATES rice, so that limits some of our starchy sides. He does however like rice shaped pasta..while I know it isn’t the same as rice maybe it is one step closer to him someday deciding he and rice will get along. Oh they joys of motherhood!

Chicken Souvlaki

Chicken breast

1 lemon juiced & 1 T zest

3 cloves garlic crushed

4 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 t (or more for spicier) dried red pepper flakes

1/2 c chopped fresh or 1-2 T dried oregano

2 t fresh dill or 1 t dried16865136_10202829978668260_5953350469688915722_n

To make: combine the lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano to make a marinade. Reserve some of the marinade to dress your side dish.  Marinate the chicken for 2-3 hours if possible. Grill, broil, or Traeger the chicken until it is done and the juices run clear. Note: You could serve this over a salad, with orzo, or rice. Use the reserved marinade to dress your side dish and enjoy!

Progress report:

Full disclosure: I do NOT own a scale, so I don’t know if I have actually lost any weight, but I do know my clothes fit better, I’m not starving or depriving myself, and I notice muscles popping out here and there!

3 1/2 weeks into P90X3. We have done almost all of our workouts in the mornings like we ┬áset out to do..the exceptions are the weekends : ) I am noticing that I am less sore after the workouts which is nice! The first few workouts were brutal and I felt them for a couple days afterwards. I am excited to move into transition week on Monday and am excited to see what happens in this next phase. I have found my nutrition has been pretty good overall. I would say I am following it about 90% of the time. I know what I need to do to get the results, just have to decide if what I want most outweighs the daily temptations to “slack” off. I love that I can be done with my workout in the time it would take me to drive to the gym and get warmed up. Life is busy, no need to add extra pressure. Work smarter, not harder!

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork

This is seriously such an easy and tasty recipe. This is also a recipe that we fall back on quite often when I have failed to plan or when I know that my afternoon/evening won’t allow much time for prepping and cooking.

I have learned to ALWAYS keep a few items stocked, and the makings for this has become part of that list. This is also great because you can serve it over a cabbage slaw, sweet potatoes, or on a bun.

Ingredients:

Preferred cut of pork trimmed of extra fat (roast, loin, tenderloin)

1/2 to 1 jar of BBQ sauce (depends on how much pork you’re using)

 

Cabbage slaw:

1/2 head of purple cabbage

1/2 head of green cabbage

2 carrots

1/2 red onion sliced thinly

1-2 apples (granny smith, gala, or fuji are my favorites)

1 T olive oil

1 cap full of apple cider vinegar

salt to taste

1/2 tsp stevia or other sweetener

 

To make:

Place pork in slow cooker and cover with sauce. Start with less sauce than you think as the pork will release liquid while cooking. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (until falls apart) or on high for 3-4.

To make slaw thinly slice cabbage, onion, and apple, and shred carrots. Place all in a bowl. Mix the oil, vinegar, stevia, and salt to make a dressing. Drizzle over cabbage slaw and toss to coat.

Shred pork and add more sauce at the end if needed and serve over buns, slaw, or sweet potatoes.

*Look for BBQ sauce with as little sugar as possible. I will either whip up a quick and easy sauce or usually buy one from Stubbs. 15774674_10202609385473568_1114566741843137948_o