Healthy Nachos

Healthy Nachos

Yes. I realize these healthy nachos are missing a fundamental ingredient… cheese. However, just because your eyes are missing it doesn’t mean your mouth will.  The juicy chicken, soft avocado, cherry tomatoes, and black beans combined with crunchy tortilla chips will make you wonder why we even add cheese to begin with! Do you remember me sharing my sad, sad story about getting migraines from dairy in my 3 ingredient ice cream post?  Well, there’s nothing that makes you take a good look at life like ripping away one of your favorite food groups.  However, let’s be honest.  Us Americans eat WAY too much dairy.  We throw butter, cheese, and milk in everything.  It’s the American way.  Let me grab your hand and walk you in a healthier direction… like straight towards these cheese-less healthy nachos. Come on.  I know you want to ask.  What’s my source of calcium if I don’t eat dairy?  I’m pretty sure my mother has lost sleep over this very question. Since I’m the one cookin’, my family is mostly dairy-free now. My husband cannot abandon his lifelong relationship with cheese though.  It’s just too painful to say good-bye.  Since I love my family and their bones, I have found several ways to make sure we have plenty of calcium. First, I’m the daily vitamin tyrant.  You know the crazy wife in pajamas running down the street with no shoes or makeup on?  It was probably me running after my husband trying to catch him before he left without his vitamin.  If somehow I forget, my 3 year is on it.  She asks for her vitamin at...
Mango Chicken Tacos

Mango Chicken Tacos

If you need a guaranteed recipe that will be loved by all, Mango Chicken Tacos are THE only way to go (well, my Baked Burritos are similar and pretty awesome too).  They are quick, healthy, SUPER tasty, and foolproof.  People rave about this recipe each time and make me feel like a celebrity chef!  I really should feel guilty about all the praise since the hardest part is putting the lid on the slow cooker.  BUT who am I to correct someone when the juicy mango chicken DOES taste like I’ve slaved away for hours in the kitchen?  #lovemyslowcooker  Last weekend, My husband and I went shopping with our kids.  The Nike Outlet had a 30% off your total purchase coupon that could NOT be passed up.  Anyway, we spent too much time oohing and aahing over sale prices and needed to grab something to eat quick since bedtime was rapidly approaching. We quickly scanned the restaurant options and chose a random Mexican place.  When I say it was the worst Mexican we’ve ever eaten, I seriously mean Taco Bell is gourmet compared to this place.  From rubber tortillas, shredded chicken from a can, and mystery guacamole, it was disgusting! When we left, I almost felt it my civic duty to camp outside and warn fellow innocent families of the horrifying food that waited them inside.  Well, I had to make these mango chicken tacos within a couple days to remind us how great Mexican can taste. Come close.  I’m going to share my secret on how to make each healthy recipe a yummy success.  Ready?  Purchase quality ingredients!  When you have quality ingredients, the flavors automatically make everything taste exceptional.  Quality...
Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice

Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice

If your mouth was throwing a party, fresh pineapple, curry powder, and sticky rice would be the superstars on the invite list.  I love EVERYTHING about those three.  Combine them together AND I won’t stop eating until either my stomach bursts or I run out of food.  Whichever comes first. Remember our heart to heart about rice in my Steak Stir-fry recipe?  Let me put my hands on your shoulders just in case I need to shake you in a minute.  Sticky rice is the only way to go.  Not only will it make you look like a master chopstick user, but the quality is MILES above the rest. Just to make sure you don’t get mushy instead of sticky, I suggest buying rice in packaging you can’t read because it’s all in characters.  I really like the Homai brand at Costco.  Here are a couple of Amazon’s top picks.  I’m actually excited to try the Tamanishiki.  It sounds legit!  It’s worth investing in some quality rice. I lived in Taiwan for 18 months over 8 years ago.  Even though time has past, my mouth has a great memory. How could it forget juice running down my chin after gracefully (HA!) biting into a fresh mango? Or the creamy peanut butter that resembled dessert more than a nut butter?  Seriously… why does Taiwan’s taste so much better than ours? BUT, one of my most favorite dishes was pineapple fried rice. Let’s just say I don’t think 99% of Taiwan’s ‘restaurants’ would pass FDA’s safety laws.  You purchase most meals from street food vendors.  The tried and tested method for preventing food contamination was having a fan turned on high with a couple...
Chicken Fiesta Soup

Chicken Fiesta Soup

I try not to play favorites.  I really do.  BUT it’s hard not to favor the spicy tender chicken with zucchini, summer squash, and sweet corn.  No matter if I crank up the heat by adding 2 jalapenos or tone it down by omitting that awesome little green pepper, it’s a fav! When I think of slow cooker, I usually think ‘I need to get that baby prepared and cookin’ first thing in the morning or it won’t be done by dinnertime.’  Right?  That’s the benefit and disadvantage of slow cookers. Well, good news to my fellow dinner-making procrastinators!  You only need this to cook 2 to 3 hours on HIGH or 3 to 4 hours on LOW.  Any longer and your zucchini will go from crispy-tender to yucky-mush. Remember how we said au revoir to miserable, overcooked asparagus?  Let’s give our zucchini the same fighting chance!  Yes… I know how ridiculous I am. Whenever my large family (I’m the youngest of 7) gets together, they can’t resist teasing me.  Usually it has to do with healthy eating.  My brother will sympathetically put a hand on my husband’s shoulder and ask if he needs a pizza.  They chuckle as my ‘deprived’ 3 year old daughter spits out Root Beer because she doesn’t like the ‘sparkley’ drink.  Oh, they like to mock.  BUT guess who they want bringing the main dish when it’s potluck time?  This girl! This Chicken Fiesta Soup or my Classic Spaghetti or my Baked Burritos are among the most requested.  AND they’re health punked each and every time. To be fair, my sisters and sister-in-laws are pretty healthy eaters and big fans of my recipes.  And when I say big...
Easy Sausage, Potato, and Carrot Stew

Easy Sausage, Potato, and Carrot Stew

If you want an easy, quick, last minute dinner idea, stop right here on this easy sausage stew.  I FREQUENTLY make this for dinner.  And when I say frequently… I mean almost every week.  I keep waiting for my family to revolt and scream out protests of having to eat this dinner one. more. time.  BUT there’s not even ONE sign of disappointment when I whip this out on those just-be-happy-the-house-is-still-standing days. It’s pretty easy to always have the ingredients on hand for this sausage stew.  I’m really loving Al Fresco’s chicken sausage right now.  There’s a wide variety of sweet to spicy flavors along with minimal processing.  I find mine for $4 or less at Winco.  I stock up and throw them in the freezer when I get home.  It’s precooked and easy to add into recipes like my Chicken Sausage and Rice Soup. Also, I buy bulk organic carrots and sweet potatoes at Costco.  I’m slowly being converted to all organic produce because I can TASTE a huge difference.  It’s like having garden fresh fruits and vegetables.  Not to mention skipping out on all the nasty chemicals and pesticides.  Don’t believe me?  Do your own taste test.  Since organic carrots are pretty cheap, start by getting some regular fresh carrots and some organic carrots.  Compare the color, quality, and taste.  You’ll quick understand why I’ve become a believer in organic! Okay, I don’t want to keep you any longer.  If you’re making this recipe, you must be short on time.  BUT thank goodness that doesn’t mean you have to be short on a good dinner.  Here are the spices I use. Print Easy...
Chicken Sausage and Rice Soup

Chicken Sausage and Rice Soup

Although I’m loving the warm weather, I may have shed a tear that soup season is coming to a close.  Wait… was that a tear or are my eyes non-stop watering from allergies?  Either way… I had to squeeze in this chicken sausage and rice soup one last time. When it comes to soup, my husband is pretty picky.  He likes hearty meals and feels most soups are well… girly food.  It’s not that he doesn’t like the taste, he just rarely gets full off of soup.  When he doesn’t like to eat something, he might as well triple-dog-dare me.  Game on, honey, game on. I’ve played around with this recipe a few times.  I found the additional spice from the crushed red pepper to be the cherry on top.  He LOVED it!  Direct quote, “okay, I think you finally made a man’s soup… I’m getting seconds.” A major part of healthy cooking is using quality ingredients.  I can’t emphasize the importance of reading ingredients!  Take two extra seconds, flip the package over, and read what ingredients are actually making up the food your purchasing.  You’ll be surprised what junk is thrown in our foods. I like Pacific Natural broths.  Especially the ‘cage free’ portion on the chicken broth.  Thank you documentary, Food, Inc.  I don’t know if I’m more scarred or informed after watching it.  Either way, I think we all need to open our eyes a little more about what we’re putting in our bodies.  Hence, my ‘reading all ingredients’ rule. Well, get ready for this fulfilling, satisfying, flavorful, rich, and yummy-in-your-tummy chicken sausage soup.  It will be a winner!...

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