Turkey Tacos

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I’ve never been a fan of tacos, but that’s because I don’t eat beef. But substitute beef for ground turkey…and I’m all over these. I didn’t do anything special here but this is my version of good old regular tacos, but with turkey. Turkey is also a healthier alternative being it’s lean and has less fat than beef. But use whatever you’d like here! I’m also testing out some vegetarian taco recipes, hopefully I’ll be sharing that soon!

I love making these because they’re fast, perfect for a weeknight. You can make this even quicker by prepping some of your toppings (cut up some tomato and onions and store in the fridge). Buy the lettuce already shredded (because you can, and it will make your life that much easier!) The turkey takes minutes to prepare but you can even cook it beforehand, like I do, because girrrrrl I’m tired when I get home and I want as little prep possible. Store it in the fridge and reheat when you’re ready to eat. Oh before I forget. Taco seasoning! You can buy a packet of it at the store but if you already have all the spices in your pantry, it takes 5 seconds to make your own. And you can adjust how spicy you want it. Like with almost any recipe, there are no limits here. For my toppings, I like shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, green onions and some cheese. I have never liked sour cream or any of that and I like to keep this as healthy as I can. You can, of course, use whatever! Change up the spices and toppings to your favorites, you can’t really go wrong.

Don’t these make you want to be sitting outside on a summer night with a margarita? I can’t wait to do that when the weather warms up. On my imaginary patio. Hi Joe are you reading, build me a patio so I can sit outside and drink margaritas this summer. Okkkkk?!

So here’s what you’ll need-

– 1-1/2 lbs ground turkey
– 1 white onion, diced
– 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1/4 cup can crushed tomatoes
– hard or soft taco shells
– taco seasoning (see below)
– toppings- I used chopped tomato, sliced avocado, some shredded lettuce, a few green onions chopped and some shredded reduced fat Mexican blend cheese.

Taco seasoning
– 1 teaspoon chili powder
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
-1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
– salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet with a little bit of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook about 5 minutes. Add the turkey and keep stirring and breaking apart with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and crushed tomatoes, stir, cook another minute or so. I also added some fresh cilantro and the juice of half of a lime but not necessary, totally optional!
Bake the taco shells as directed on the package. Spoon some of the turkey into the shells and top with the toppings. I like to set this up on the counter like a taco bar, with all the toppings in little bowls so it’s easy! I also like to serve this with some Spanish style rice or some corn.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

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Oh these are bad. By bad I mean amazing. I gave this whole pan away to other people because my husband and I cannot have these in the house. We will eat the whole entire thing. If you’re going to make these, maybe wait for a special occasion or a party. Unless you have any self control. I like to share mostly healthy and quick recipes with you but I can’t forget about my love for baking. And though these aren’t ideal for a Tuesday afternoon when we are all trying to start the week off right and eat as best we can and fit in as much exercise as our schedule allows…you can save it to make on the weekend or the next time you have or go to a party. Or you could make these today if you really want to…I’m not telling anyone.
Alright, so this a chocolate chip cookie and a brownie-in one. I can’t even handle it. So you can use your own chocolate chip cookie recipe or your favorite brownie recipe if you have one that you like. I have never, in all the years I’ve been baking, have found a brownie recipe that is as good or better than Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix. I have one that I do make when I make my salted caramel brownies but nothing tops the Ghiradelli. I’m pretty sure I will never find a recipe that makes me forget about it. The original recipe actually suggested the same thing-it’s not just me…Ghiradelli rules. As far as the cookie dough goes, I followed the original recipe here as it’s very similar to the cookie dough I usually make. This does make more dough than you need but you can just make some regular cookies with it…or eat the dough out of the bowl with a spoon. What? I don’t do that, I have more self respect than that.

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What you’ll need-

– 1 stick of butter, at room temperature, very soft
– 3/4 cup white sugar
– 2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 egg
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon of salt
– 1 cup chocolate chips
– 1 box brownie mix
– (eggs, oil, and water for brownie mix)

Preheat oven to 350. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add in the egg and vanilla, mix in to combine. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined then fold in the chocolate chips. Prepare the brownies as directed on the package or if you have your own recipe, prepare as you normally would. Pour brownie batter in a 8×8 glass baking dish that has been sprayed with baking spray. Break off some pieces of the cookie dough and scatter on top the brownies and gently press down a bit. Bake 20 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil and bake another 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5-10 minutes. Less time for gooey and more time for more cakey brownies. Total baking time between 30 and 40 minutes. Let cool then cut into squares.

Original recipe from Pinch Of Yum.

Skinny Lasagna

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This is GOOD, let me tell you. I love lasagna, pasta, cheese, all that delicious stuff. But I really like to eat healthy during the week. Don’t get me wrong, once the weekend rolls around I’m stuffing my face with the regular lasagna and all that. But it’s Monday now:( boooo. So after all the stuff I ate this weekend it’s back to some healthy things for me. This is essentially eggplant and zucchini layered with sauce and reduced fat cheese. You would never know that this doesn’t have lasagna noodles in it. I was going to call this no noodle lasagna but I was thinking, no one will want to read it, that doesn’t sound good at all! I’m telling you…it’s delicious. You can even use other vegetables if you’d like. Or use all eggplant and it’s a healthier version of eggplant Parmesan. Sometimes I layer some spinach in here too, if I have some. Annnnnd this is even husband approved. I know-how did I do that? Of course, like most of my stuff, this is also so easy to make and reheats beautifully, so I have this in my fridge ready to be warmed up later for a quick dinner.

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– 1 medium eggplant, sliced in 1/4-in thick slices
– 2 large or 3 small zucchini, sliced long ways
– 1 egg
– 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, high-quality recommended, divided
– 4 cups marinara sauce
– 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

To roast vegetables, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Place eggplant slices on and spray tops with olive oil cooking spray. Bake about 5 minutes then flip and bake another 5 minutes. Then do the same with the zucchini. Next,reduce oven temperature to 350. Meanwhile, while vegetables roast, in a medium bowl, combine egg, ricotta cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with salt pepper and basil or any other italian seasonings you’d like. Coat the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish with sauce. Layer eggplant over sauce (use all the slices, overlapping). Pour some sauce over then spread half of ricotta mixture on top and sprinkle with half of mozzarella cheese. Add the zucchini slices on too then cover with remaining sauce and spread with remaining ricotta mixture and then sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake about 35 to 40 minutes.

Saturday Frittata

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It’s the weekend! Let’s all take a minute and do the Pharrell happy dance. I love the weekend for obvious reasons, but I love it mostly because of breakfast. I love to take my time on a Saturday morning and make things like this frittata. Frittata is perfect. You can have it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, brinner (not a word, but that’s ok) and dinner. It’s so easy and quick and you can add just about anything to it. Another thing I love about this is you don’t have to plan for it. I never plan to make a frittata, because when I want to make it, I always have all the ingredients. And I use whatever I have in my fridge to add to it. This time, I used spinach, red pepper and onion. Delicious. Some other things I love to put in this are; mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, potato, ham, ..the list is endless. So go through your fridge and see what you have, and you’ll have a meal in minutes. I hope you make it this weekend.

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What you’ll need-
-6 eggs
– 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
-1/2 cup grated parmesan
– 1 red pepper, diced
– a few large handfuls of fresh spinach
– some diced onion (I only used about a tablespoon worth but you can use as much as you’d like)
– 2 cloves garlic, minced

Add the eggs and cheeses in a bowl, mix well.
In a cast iron skillet, pour about a tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic, cook a minute or so. Add the pepper and onion, stir and cook another minute. Add the spinach. (You can chop it up if you’d like, if the leaves are very large, I chop only some of it). Cover for about a minute or two until the spinach wilts a bit. Take the cover off and season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. With a wooden spoon, just go around the edges pulling it in a bit so it doesn’t stick to the sides. Now, preheat your broiler while the eggs set. Cook about 5-10 minutes, until the eggs are mostly set. Put the skillet in the oven under the broiler for about 2 minutes or so until the top is golden brown.

If you’re looking for a cast iron skillet, I know they can be pricey but I found mine on Amazon for a good price.

Buffalo Chicken Panini

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I feel so boring this week. This is really just chicken, smothered in buffalo sauce, between two pieces of bread. But really…that doesn’t sound too bad right now does it? I’m sorry I’ve been lacking in exciting recipes this week but you know me, I’m all about easy and quick. I just realized I posted two buffalo things and two burgers this week…I should plan that stuff out better shouldn’t I?
Anyway, back to buffalo chicken. I love buffalo chicken in every form. I’ve shared some with you already, but look out for plenty more! This is one thing I make every now and then on a busy weeknight when I have little time to cook. I sound like a broken record with the too busy to cook thing. But that’s the reality of it, and I’m sure it is with you too!
I like this because the chicken is low in fat, buffalo sauce has zero calories and I always used reduced fat cheese. Is this the healthiest, most nutritious dinner? No. But it’s not that bad, it’s just the bread really, if that’s something you’re concerned with. If you are looking for something healthier, you can put this in a whole wheat wrap too. I also love some broccoli slaw in this as well. Anyway…I like to poach the chicken when I make buffalo chicken. I prefer to cook it this way when I want the chicken shredded. It’s impossible for me to have a meal without some kind of greens so I love this with a big Caesar salad.
P.s. The reason I didn’t post any measurements is because honestly, there aren’t any. It depends on how much chicken, cheese and sauce you want and how many sandwiches you are making.

What you need-

– boneless, skinless, chicken breast (you can use regular chicken breast, thin sliced, tenderloins, whatever you have!)
– Franks buffalo sauce
– shredded mozzarella and/or cheddar cheese (I like to use a combination of both, reduced fat)
– two slices of bread (I like the panini bread from my local supermarket, you can also use a wrap or whole wheat bread/wrap to make this a bit healthier)

To poach the chicken, put in a medium sized sauce pan and fill with water, enough to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 12 minutes. Drain, and shred with a fork. Pour in some buffalo sauce and mix together. Spoon some of the chicken on to a slice of bread, sprinkle on some cheese, top with the other slice of bread and cook in a panini press.

Dinner idea: Panko Chicken

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If you struggle with making time to prepare dinner during the week, and you want something quick and healthy, stay tuned. If you haven’t already, read this post I did on how I meal plan and cook with a busy schedule. So again, this isn’t a recipe really, but a quick, healthy dinner idea. I know it’s sometimes difficult to come up with dinner ideas, and even though this isn’t necessarily an in depth recipe, I wanted to share with you. I know many people eat grilled chicken, because it’s fast, easy and low in calories. I’m not a big chicken fan unless it’s dressed up with breadcrumbs or covered in some kind of delicious sauce. I can’t eat just plain chicken, but I like to eat healthy most of the time. So for me, panko breadcrumbs are where it’s at. It’s a healthier alternative to chicken cutlets. No egg, no breadcrumbs. Panko crumbs are lighter, but make for some awesome crispy, flakiness. All you do here, is pour some panko crumbs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and a little parmesan cheese just for flavor. (Ok fine, it’s because you know I can’t make one recipe without parmesan cheese. Whatever. Parmesan cheese for life.) Take some thin sliced chicken breasts and press them into the crumbs on both sides. In a large skillet with some oil (olive oil, canola, whatever you prefer) cook about 2 minutes on each side over medium heat. I like to serve with a vegetable and a starch. This time I did a quinoa brown rice and asparagus. I like to typically use a rice, quinoa or cous cous and any vegetable I have on hand.

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

These burgers are the best for so many reasons. Not only are these low in fat and a much healthier alternative to your average hamburger, but when you add buffalo sauce, it’s just magical. I love buffalo sauce on anything, and it really spices up an otherwise bland turkey burger. When I make these on a weeknight, the night before or the morning of, I do all of the steps below, except the cooking. I place the uncooked burgers on parchment paper wrapped up in the fridge, so when I come home, I just throw them on the pan and dinners ready in 10 minutes. And, they freeze well too. If you started grilling already, these are also even better cooked on the grill (because really anything is better on the grill!) I serve them on a sesame bun, topped with american cheese, sliced avocado and a little extra buffalo sauce, along with a big salad. To make this lighter, serve on a whole wheat bun, skip the cheese. Or even just eat it plain, it’s pretty good! Ahhh doesn’t this just make you want to be sitting outside on a summer night?
(The original recipe for these can be found at skinnytaste.com)

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What you’ll need-

-1.25 lbs lean ground turkey
-2/3 cup grated carrots
-1/4 cup breadcrumbs
-1 clove garlic, grated
-1 tbsp red onion, grated
-1/4 cup Franks Buffalo Sauce

Grate the carrots, onion and garlic in a food processor. I usually use about 3 carrots (cut into a few pieces before putting into the food processor) and just a slice off of a red onion to get those measurements above. Combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, buffalo sauce and the grated vegetables in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands then form into 5 patties. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat and spray with oil. Cook the burgers about 5-7 minutes on each side. Keep the heat on medium low so they don’t burn.

Quinoa burgers

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Quinoa cakes, patties, burgers, whatever you want to call them! It’s quinoa…and it’s delicious. I had my best friends wedding this past weekend, so needless to say, I ate and drank a lot. I needed something light for dinner and sort of made these by accident, and they were perfect! I intended to try a new recipe, quinoa stuffed peppers, but I started cooking late and that was going to take over an hour so I had to think of something else. Last year I had tried a recipe that I had found for spinach quinoa cakes. They were good, but definitely were missing some flavor. So I used what I had in my fridge and created these. I kind of created this as I went along, so I was expecting that it wouldn’t be the best, but I was not disappointed. They were delicious! They are perfect for a light meal when you don’t want something too heavy. Serve on top of a salad. Or make it a burger and throw it on a bun with a slice of cheese. You can really do anything with these. Oh look at me, I’m rhyming now.

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What you’ll need-

– 1 cup quinoa
– 1 small head of broccoli
– 1 red pepper
– handful of mushrooms (optional, see note)
– 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
– 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
– 2 eggs
– 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
– fresh parsley, chopped
-olive oil
– salt, pepper

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Cook the broccoli, either steam or sauté. Chop finely. Dice the red pepper and mushrooms finely. Sauté over medium heat in a bit of olive oil, just a couple of minutes to soften a bit. In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, quinoa, cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, garlic, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Form into patties and set aside. I made them on the smaller side and it made about 8 but you can make them larger. Heat a large skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook the patties about 6-8 minutes, flip, cook another 6-8 minutes or until the they are nicely browned.

* Note- When my veggies were cooked and chopped, they equaled just over 1 cup total. I would say to have it equal no less than a cup but no more than 1 1/4 cups. I intended to just use broccoli and pepper but I had some sliced mushrooms on hand, so I added a small handful.
* When you form the patties, if they seem too sticky and fall apart, mix in a little more of the breadcrumbs to the bowl.

Banana Bread

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I feel like a home isn’t a home until a loaf of banana bread has been made in the kitchen. When we first moved into our house, it didn’t feel like home right away. Of course, I mean how can a home feel like home when it’s empty and there haven’t been any memories made yet. Banana bread is one of those things that just makes a home really feel like home to me. I love the way it makes my kitchen and my whole entire house smell. I feel like I have baked my home into a home (haha if that makes sense). I have made so many loaves of banana bread (and many other things!) in my kitchen, and that to me, has made my home, really feel like my home. I love to make this when I’m having people over, and I also love to bring a loaf when I am going to someone else’s house. It’s the perfect housewarming gift. When I made this today, Joe had just walked in the door when it came out of the oven and before he even said hello to me, he said, “God it smells good in here”. Banana bread is such a comfort food, I feel like when I take a bite, I’m instantly soothed. Please tell me you feel this way about banana bread too, and you don’t think I’m crazy. You need to go bake this right now, I’m telling you, you’ll be happier. I know you have a bunch of brown bananas on your counter right now anyway…

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3-4 bananas, mashed, about a cup and a half (I use 4 if they’re small-medium sized or 3 if they are large)
-1 3/4 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Note- the uglier the bananas are, the better. The bananas I used here were definitely ripe enough but the more brown they are, the better the bread.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the melted butter, mashed bananas, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix well. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Fold until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour into a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Bake for about 55 minutes. Check by putting a knife or toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Spinach & Broccoli Quiche

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I just typed, “This is the easiest thing you’ll ever make.” But I feel like I say that about everything. I guess I just like to share easy recipes with you that I know anyone can make! That’s because we are all lazy busy, and I don’t want to share recipes that take hours to prepare, because who has time for that?! Seriously though, this is so easy I am pretty sure my husband could make this. (I lied, the only thing he can do is pour a bowl of cereal). If you don’t love quiche, I could almost promise you that you’ll like this. Quiche is usually very eggy, and it honestly was never my favorite thing to eat. Until my cousin made this for me a couple of years ago. She was nice enough to share the recipe with me and I have been making it ever since! (This is her moms recipe I believe. Kelly if you’re reading, correct me if I’m wrong!) I love this recipe because it’s lighter than get average quiche. Most recipes call for 6 or more eggs. You can even use reduced fat cheese to make this even lighter.
I always keep the ingredients in my fridge because it’s such a great thing to make when you have company. My grandma came over lunch when she was visiting around Christmas time, and I didn’t have any time to prepare or think of anything to make, so I thought of this, and she loved it. It’s perfect, delicious, easy and so quiche.
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If you get that reference, I love you.

Here’s what you’ll need-

-10oz box frozen chopped spinach (cooked and drained according to package)
-10oz box frozen chopped broccoli (cooked and drained according to package)
-1 egg
-5 oz can of evaporated milk
-8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
– a few slices white american cheese
-1 frozen pie crust
– parmesan cheese
– salt, pepper, garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the frozen pie crust out of the freezer and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the spinach and broccoli. Add in the mozzarella cheese, egg and evaporated milk. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix well. Line the pie crust with American cheese. Pour the vegetable mixture into the pie crust. Be careful not over-fill. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 45 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving.