Zesty Taco Salad

Wednesday nights in our house have become taco salad night.  I’ve never been one to fix the same meal weekly, but for some reason it’s turned out this way.  Since the kiddos aren’t complaining about it, I take it as a sign that it’s a good thing and will keep it up as long as I can!

Time for cooking on Wednesday night is short.  I usually get home from work at 5:30 and we leave for mid-week Bible study at 6:35.  Putting together this flavorful taco salad is so easy and fast that it works perfectly in crunch time!

Fresh, Healthy and easy ... What more could you wnat in a meal for your family?

Fresh, Healthy and easy … What more could you want in a meal for your family?


For the Protein…

2 pounds ground turkey breast or extra-lean ground beef (I always overcook for my lunch the next day)

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon minced garlic

pinch of salt (optional)

For the Salad…

Chopped mixed romaine and butter lettuce

chopped tomatoes



red onion

fresh limes


jalapeños (optional)

fresh cilantro (optional)

Making Supper in 30 Minutes:

In a large skillet brown your ground turkey or beef on medium high.  Season with the chili, onion and garlic powders, as well as the minced garlic and salt if you desire.


While the meat is browning take just a few minutes to chop your fresh veggies and the limes for your meal.  I try not to use more veggies than what I have time to prepare as the meat cooks.  This keeps you on schedule for having supper on the table in a 30 minute time frame.

Our favorite toppings for taco salad

Our favorite toppings for taco salad

Layer lettuce, fresh veggies, protein and salsa on your plate, then top with salsa.  I love to use deli salsa from Publix (if I don’t have any homemade on hand) because it tastes so much fresher than what is in a jar on the shelf.  Squeeze lime juice over your salad and sprinkle a little fresh cilantro over the top.


Since I don’t eat cheese, the kids (even my son) will sometimes help in the kitchen by shredding a little cheese for their salads.  Also a dollop of greek yogurt really adds a dressing twist to the salad.

Keeping things simple!

Keeping things simple!

This meal is made even easier by taking a little time for meal prepping on Sunday afternoon.  There are many times I will chop Gladware containers of onion, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons, limes, etc…. for use in meals all throughout the week.  It takes about an hour and its a real time saver when trying to have supper on the table in a timely manner after work each evening!  If I see that I won’t use everything those same fresh ingredient make great toppings for a fresh green salad to carry to work for lunch.

The beauty of having an easy meal like this for crazy, busy nights is that if I am running behind at the gym, my girls have had supper waiting on the table for us on more than one occasion.

If you would like to check out another one of our “fast food” at home options, you can try these fabulous Buffalo Chicken lettuce wraps.

Do you have a go-to meal for those busy nights?


Fit Friday: Taco Soup

There are no words to describe how busy it’s been since the new year rolled over.  I have been working five days a week at the gym with varying hours throughout the day and evening, plus a couple of Saturday mornings.  My client schedule is finally growing as people are making the decision to change their lives for a bit healthier style.
It’s crazy, but I’m having fun!
Despite being so busy, I am still finding time to get into the kitchen and cook for the family.  It may be as simple as grilled chicken and a salad (doesn’t everyone use their grill in 30 degree weather?), but it is made with love and the anticipation of a family supper each night.
It has been a little chilly downright cold around here, so last week I put together a hearty pot of Taco Soup for our supper.  There are a lot of great recipes out there for taco soup, but I created my own lightened up and heart healthy version.
And it was soooo good!!
And it was even easier to make!


64 ounces unsalted beef broth + any extra water for coverage
3 pounds ground turkey breast or extra lean (97/3) beef
2 cups frozen corn
2 cans no-salt added pinto beans, drained & rinsed
2 cans no-salt added black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cans no-salt added basil, garlic & oregano diced tomatoes
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
3 large jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 packages Mrs Dash Taco seasoning
fresh chopped garlic, & chili powder for cooking the ground meat
Fresh chopped cilantro for a garnish
In a large skillet add your ground meat to brown.  Sprinkle with chili powder and add the chopped garlic to cook with it as well.
While the meat cooks, in a large stock pot (or crock pot) add the beef stock, corn, beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, jalapeños, onion and the contents of the Mrs Dash seasoning packets.  Mix together and heat on medium.
When the meat is ready, drain well and add to the stock pot.
Allow to simmer on medium 30-45 minutes to give the flavors time to mesh and the veggies to cook through.
See, I told you it was easy to make!
I served the family’s soup with a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt and thin & crispy no-salt Xochitl corn chips.
I promise, this is so good that you won’t miss the salt.
Or the fat.
In fact you’ll want another bowl for lunch the next day!

I hope your New Year is off to a great start!  Now that things are settling down a bit, I hope to be posting more and I definitely plan on catching up with all of you!


Zesty Dijon Marinade for Beef

I love easy. 
I mean seriously, with three teenagers my schedule screams busy, so I am always looking for something flavorful and easy to serve up at mealtime.

And who doesn’t like simple?

One of my favorite quick and easy dinners is London Broil or beef shoulder tender, marinated and thrown on the grill, served up with fresh veggies or a salad.


Ingredients for this marinade are ingredients that are usually found in most pantries:
3/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cloves minced garlic
freshly ground black pepper
**Fresh herbs of choice (I like a little fresh rosemary or basil from time to time)
Whisk all of the ingredients together and pour over your preferred cut of beef.  We use London Broil or Shoulder Tender as they are some of the leaner cuts of beef you can find in the grocery store.

Pour over the beef and let sit for 1-2 hours, turning the meat several times to coat well.
Remove from the marinade and grill.


(You can use the oven to cook your meat, but I think it has so much more flavor from the grilling.)

Preheat your grill to 400 degrees.  Grill meat until your desired doneness.  We prefer our meat cooked to a nice medium.

{Invest in a good set of thermometers to use when you are grilling, you won’t regret it.}

That’s it.


Super simple, very flavorful, nice to dress-up or make for a casual meal.

And it looks like you literally spent hours perfecting your dinner.

I love to marinate our beef while sitting at a track meet or wrestling match, then it is grill ready when we get home.  Any vegetable I serve up steam while the meat is on the grill ….. Usually 30 minutes until supper is served.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with Foodie Friday, Food on Friday, Simple Living and Eating’s Foodie FridayOn the Menu Monday.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

When I was a kid my mother would make us cringe with the creations that she would bring to the table in an effort to get us to try new things.  As I look back now I am ever so glad that she did because it broadened my horizons in trying new things.

Now it’s my privilege to make my own family cringe as I play in the kitchen.

The latest of these meals was stuffed bell peppers.  I don’t know about you, but I love bell pepper and the flavor it adds to many a dish.  I was looking for something different to bring to the table after what seemed like a long list of repeat meals and saw stuffed bell peppers on a friend’s Facebook page.  I had never made these before and was trying to keep them fairly healthy, so it was definitely an experiment.
Stuffed Bell Peppers take a fair amount of prep time, so if you are looking for a quick meal this probably isn’t it, but on the plus side you can prepare much of this ahead of time and make it an easy to assemble meal.
3-4 large bell peppers
2 cups cooked rice (I used Jasmine rice)
1 pound ground London Broil; cooked, drained & set aside (they will grind this for you at the meat counter if you ask)
 1 medium onion, diced
11/2 cups sliced, fresh okra
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your taste)
2 8 oz. can no-salt tomato sauce (I use Publix brand)

Mrs. Dash Chipotle seasoning

Putting It Together:

Clean out your bell peppers of seed and the membrane so that you have a hollow “bowl” which to stuff.   Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the prepared rice, ground London Broil, onion, okra, diced tomatoes, one can of the tomato sauce and 3 tablespoons of the chipotle seasoning.  Mix well together.

“Stuff” as much of the mixture as possible into the prepared bell pepper.

Place the “stuffed” peppers in a cast iron Dutch oven (or other oven dish that can be covered).  Pour the remaining can of tomato sauce over the tops of the bell peppers.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees about 20-30 minutes.  I like my peppers to remain crisp, but heated through, so I left mine in about 20 minutes.  You will also want to cook this longer if you prepped the ingredients head of time and they are cold.

Serve with any of the leftover rice mixture (that you have heated either with the peppers in the oven, or on the stovetop).

This made for a filling dinner without sides, but a crisp salad would go well with this if needed.  My stuffed peppers had a little cajun taste to it, but that was just my hubbys opinion.

I’m linking up with Foodie Friday this week.

Bon Appetite’!