Super Healthy Turkey Vegetable Soup

turkey veggie soup
I made this recipe expecting it to be something healthy I could have for lunches for a few days after everyone else in the family complained at dinner time. BUT it was surprisingly flavorful and quite a hit! I served it with garlic bread for everyone else to dip in the soup and we all loved it! I will definitely be making it again, especially in this cold weather. Thanks to The Lyons' Share Wellness for another great one!

10 ounces 99% lean ground turkey
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
1/2 cup salsa (I used salsa verde)
1/2 cup corn kernels (I left these out)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
2 large stalks of celery, diced
6-10 baby carrots, chopped (I used 2 regular carrots)
1 onion, diced
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Chop all your vegetables and add all ingredients (besides broth) to the crockpot.
Pour water and broth on top of all ingredients, allowing the spices to get mixed into the dish.
Give it a good stir. Set your crockpot on low for 6 hours or so.
(I had cooked a bunch of ground turkey and onion the day before so I left it out until the last couple hours and then added it in)
*Notes from Megan.. I usually stir once throughout the cooking process, but you really don’t have to. You shouldn’t stir TOO much, because it allows a ton of heat to escape from the crockpot. (If you don’t have a crockpot, brown the turkey first in a frying pan, then add all ingredients to a large pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes or so – the longer the better!).*
Ladle into bowls and add toppings of choice (she chose nutritional yeast and avocado, but suggests cheese, cilantro, Greek yogurt, sour cream, or tortilla chips). Enjoy!
If made according to these instructions (for 5 servings pre-toppings), each serving will contain 174 calories, 3g fat, 21g carbs, and 17g protein.

Easy, Tasty Powerballs

I've been browsing a lot of clean and healthy eating sites recently, probably like everyone else who is trying to start the new year off with a healthy bang, and have come across many variations of powerballs. I decided to try this recipe from Clean Eats and Treats for my first go and was really happy with how they came out. I've adjusted them a bit since and have put the changes below. They satisfy a sweet craving or when I need a little boost. The kids didn't love them unfortunately, but oh well :-).

2 cups old fashioned oats (slightly broken down in the blender) (I used Gluten Free)
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (she suggests using Adams all natural no stir which our Walmart didn't have so I got a different natural no stir brand and it worked great)
1/2 cups honey
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/2-1 cup mix ins (mini chocolate chips, dried fruit or nuts)
2 scoops vanilla or chocolate protein powder
1/8 cup hemp seeds (I didn't have these so used all chia seeds)
1/8 cup chia seeds
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
dash of sea salt

Combine all dry ingredients in a kitchen-aid mixing bowl.
Using the paddle attachment, mix until well blended. (I just used a bowl and wood spoon)
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until a "dough" forms.
Scoop into balls with a 2-inch cookie scoop. (I used a Tablespoon to scoop ours and ended up with 28 balls)
Place onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Greek Chicken Kebabs with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

I have really been missing one of my favorite restaurants in Katy where we get the most delicious kebabs so this recipe really caught my eye and I couldn't wait to try it. The homemade Tzatziki sauce was easy to make and so delicious. Since we don't have a grill right now I baked ours in the oven (and also, baked the veggies about 5 minutes extra on their own before adding them to the skewers with the chicken for the rest of the cook time). The marinade for the meat was amazing as well and I have been enjoying the leftovers immensely! Thanks Mel's Kitchen Cafe for the recipe!

Tzatziki Sauce:
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, shredded
1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Chicken and Vegetables:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 small to medium zucchini, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1-2 red peppers, cut into squares
1 red onion, cut into squares
(I also used a can of artichoke hearts)

For the tzatziki sauce, wrap the shredded cucumber in a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
For the marinade, in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients.
Place the chicken in a resealable gallon-size ziploc bag (or in a shallow dish) and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag (or cover the dish) and let marinade for 1-2 hours.
If using wooden skewers, soak them for 15-20 minutes prior to assembling.
Thread the chicken, zucchini, peppers and onion onto skewers. Give the kebabs a little sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
Grill over medium to medium-high heat until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Serve immediately with tzatziki sauce for dipping.

Chicken Mango (or Broccoli) Basil Stir Fry

The flavors in this stir fry were amazing! We subbed out the mango for broccoli and loved how it soaked up the delicious sauce. Recipe is from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10-12 mins

1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
5 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Pinch of red pepper flakes (I used sriracha)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons vegetable or coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
1 large mango, peeled, pitted and diced or 1 to 1 1/2 cups pineapple (I used 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli)
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced (I used 1 small red and 1 small yellow)
1 medium red onion, diced or cut into thin strips
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces
Hot, cooked rice, quinoa or noodles for serving

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the broth, soy sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, vinegar, red pepper flakes and sugar until smooth. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining 3 teaspoons cornstarch.
In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the chicken, breaking up any clumps, and cook until it is golden brown on all sides and just barely cooked through (it will cook a few minutes longer later in the recipe). Scrape the chicken onto a plate, keeping as much liquid in the skillet as possible.
Add the garlic, mango, bell pepper, and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet over medium heat. Whisk the sauce quickly before pouring it into the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, while the sauce simmers and thickens, 1-2 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
Sprinkle with basil and serve over rice, noodles, quinoa or by itself.

Healthy Crustless Quiche

I have made this quiche a multiple times now and love having it on hand all during the week for a quick, healthy and filling breakfast. I found it originally on The Lyons' Share Wellness. She has some great super healthy recipes.

Ingredients (6 servings)
9 eggs
1 cup liquid egg whites (or add an additional 4 eggs)
1/2 cup milk, unsweetened almond milk, or other unsweetened milk alternative
6 cups of vegetables (I always use onion, tomatoes and spinach plus various combos of broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, kale, etc)
1/2 cup salsa
(I like to sprinkle a little low fat cheese on top)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease or spray 9x13 casserole dish.
Chop veggies into bite-sized pieces, and lay in greased dish.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, and seasoning. Pour egg mixture on top of veggies.
Bake 45-50 minutes or until top is browned and middle of casserole has set.

Christmas Eve Prime Rib

Every Christmas Eve my family all gets together for a big meal and my grandfather makes an amazing prime rib. This year was our first to be on our own and making the meal for ourselves. We were quite nervous about ruining the roast, but luckily it turned out great and was actually really simple to do, you just need to allow plenty of time for it to cook.

5 pound beef rib roast
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Allow roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small cup. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan so that the fatty side is up and the rib side is on the bottom. Rub the seasoning onto the roast.
Roast for 1 hour in the preheated oven. Turn the oven off and the leave the roast inside. DO NOT open the door. Leave it in for 3 more hours.
30-40 minutes before serving, turn the oven back on at the 375 degrees F to reheat the roast.
The internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees F.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving into servings.

Cheesy Vegetable Soup

While visiting my sister right after she had a baby one of her friends brought this yummy soup over for dinner. I loved it and have been meaning to make it for quite some time! It is super creamy yet light and there are lots of veggies hidden inside as well. 3/5 of us loved it and the other two still didn't complain too much so that worked for me ;-)! (I believe it originally came from the site

1 1/2 quarts water
5 chicken bouillon cubes (I used 6)
1 small onion, chopped
1 c diced celery
2 1/2 c diced potatoes
1 1/2 c diced carrots
1 1/2 c diced broccoli
1 1/2 c diced cauliflower
1 lb Velveeta cheese (I used 2%)
2 cans cream chicken soup (I used 98% FF)
(we sprinkled a little bacon on top)

Cook until done: Water, onion, celery, potatoes, carrots, bouillon cubes, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Stir in 2 cans cream of chicken soup and cheese.
Stir constantly 6 to 8 minutes until cheese melts. Do not boil!

The Most Perfect Burger and Homemade Fries

Since we have been eating out less I have been experimenting more in the kitchen again and it has actually been so fun to get back in the cooking groove. There was a very important Georgia football game last weekend and we decided to make some homemade burgers and fries for the big event. The burgers were SOOO amazing! The kids have brought it up repeatedly since we had them, so I decided I better save the recipe forever! The fries were pretty good, but we have some additionally experimenting to do to get them perfect so I will keep updating this post as we figure it out! (the idea of the rack was great because you don't have to flip them, but I think I used a little too much oil)

The burger recipe is from Genius Kitchen
1 egg
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, finely grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
1 lb medium ground beef

Lightly oil grill& heat BBQ to medium.
Whisk egg in a bowl& add next 6 ingredients.
Crumble in beef & using your hands or a fork, gently mix together.
Handle the meat as little as possible – the more you work it, the tougher it gets.
Gently shape (don’t firmly press) mixture into burgers about ¾ inch thick.
Using your thumb, make a shallow depression in the centre of each burger to prevent puffing up during cooking.
Place burgers on the grill, close lid& BBQ until NO LONGER PINK INSIDE, turning once, about 6 – 8 minutes per side.
An instant read thermometer should read 160F.
The fries recipe came from 101 Cooking for Two
2 russet potatoesmedium
coarse salt, cajun seasoning, garlic
1 tablespoon oil

Start with a couple of medium russet potatoes. That will make four servings. Preheat oven to 425.
Peel potatoes if desired. Cut your fries.
Place in cold water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
Rinse the fries with cold water and place on a towel and dry reasonably well.
Dry the bowl and put fries back in and mix with about a tablespoon of oil.
Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil and a rack. Spray with PAM.
Spread the fries on a prepared rack. Give a light sprinkle of coarse salt. Bake until golden brown. About 30 minutes.

Healthy White Chicken Chili

I have been embracing the fact that I actually have time to cook again and it has been fun looking for new (and hopefully healthy) recipes to try! I love all kinds of chili but especially chicken chili. I found this healthy version on The Lyons' Share and changed up a couple things but it was great and made tons!

original recipe HERE, what I did below...

1-2 lbs raw chicken breast
4 stalks celery
1 small yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
1 yellow/orange bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups kale, cut in bite size pieces
2 T minced garlic
1 c salsa verde
1 t salt
2 cans beans (I used 1 great Northern and 1 cannellini)
1 carton chicken broth

- Chop all vegetables except 3 stalks of celery into bite-sized pieces and place in crock pot
- Place chicken breasts, garlic, salt and 1 can beans on top of vegetables and pour salsa over top (I used great Northern)
- In a blender place remaining 3 stalks of celery, chicken broth and other can of beans (cannellini)and blend together
- Pour mixture on top of everything else in crockpot
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours
- 30 minutes before serving shred chicken and add the chopped kale

Stuffed Enchilada Zucchinis

We loved this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe! (original recipe here) It took a little more prep work than I am willing to do every night but it was well worth it. We had plenty of leftovers for me to have for lunches the next couple days :-).

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins

4 medium zucchini, halved
12 ounces lean ground turkey or ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds and membrane removed for want less heat)
16 ounces tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Scoop out the center of each zucchini, discarding the seeds and leaving the outer zucchini flesh about 1/4-inch thick, forming little zucchini boats. Sprinkle the cut side of each zucchini with a little bit of salt (a pinch for each zucchini half). Set aside while preparing the filling.
In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook the ground turkey or beef over medium heat with the salt and pepper, breaking the meat into little pieces as it cooks. Once cooked all the way through, drain any excess grease, except for 1-2 teaspoons, and scrape the meat to a plate.
Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook the mixture until the onion has softened and turned translucent, 4-5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, and coriander. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle in about 1/3 cup of the sauce and spread across the bottom of the pan.
Stir the cooked meat and beans into the remaining sauce in the skillet.
Scoop an even amount of the meat and sauce mixture into each zucchini boat, piling it on.
Cover the baking dish with a layer of lightly greased foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and layer the cheese over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes more until the zucchini is fork tender.
Sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top and let the zucchini enchilada boats rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Permalink:

Light Sheperd's Pie

sheperd's pie
I have actually been trying new recipes occasionally again and this was one that the whole family loved so I wanted to be sure to save it. It is another winner from Skinnytaste, my go-to for dinner ideas.

•1-1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, diced
•Click to delete3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
•2 tbsp fat free sour cream
•salt and pepper
•1 lb 95% lean ground beef
•1 tsp oil
•1 medium onion, diced
•1 celery stalk, chopped
•2 cloves garlic, diced
•8 oz mushrooms, diced
•10 oz frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, green beans, baby lima beans)
•2 tbsp flour
•1 cup fat free beef broth
•2 tsp tomato paste
•1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
•1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves
•1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves
•kosher salt and pepper

Boil potatoes in a medium pot of salted water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with chicken broth, sour cream, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large saute pan brown meat over medium high heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. When cooked, set aside on a plate. Add the oil, onion, garlic, mushrooms and celery and sauté on medium heat about 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the flour, frozen vegetables, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, cooked meat and mix well. Simmer on low about 8-10 minutes.

Spread the meat on the bottom of casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, then place under the broiler 1 to 2 minutes until the potatoes turn golden. Remove from oven and let it cool 5 minutes before serving.

Servings: 6 • Size: 1/6th • Calories: 275 • Fat: 7 g • Carb: 31 g • Fiber: 5 g • Protein: 22 g • Sugar: 3 g
Sodium: 331 mg (without salt) • Cholest: 45 mg

Chicken Stir Fry with Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots

stir fry sugar snap peas carrots
I tried a new recipe's a miracle :-)!!! With my photography business really picking up this fall and not dying down since, I have been cooking a lot less. I just needed to let something go, and most nights that is one thing that does. We have been eating a lot of dinners that are partially prepped already to cut down on my involvement, but I do miss trying new recipes so often. Last week I was in the mood for a fresh, light meal and turned to Skinnytaste for ideas. This stir fry was pretty quick to make and super yummy! (I served it on brown basmati rice)

For the sauce:
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (or Tamari f or GF)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch
For the Stir Fry:
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced thin
salt, to taste
1 tbsp rice bran oil, or canola
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup carrots, sliced diagonally
scallions for garnish

Combine soy sauce, lime juice, water and cornstarch in a small bowl, mix together and set aside.
Season chicken lightly with salt. Heat a large wok over high heat. When the wok is very hot, add half of the oil, then add the chicken. Stir fry, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through and browned, about 3-4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.
Add the remaining oil to the wok; add the garlic and ginger, stir for 20 seconds. Add the sugar snap peas and carrots, stirring over medium high heat until tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
Return the chicken to the wok, add the soy sauce-lime mixture, mix well and cook another 30 seconds to one minute. Serve immediately and top with fresh scallions.

Servings:4 • Size:just under 1 cup • Calories:179 • Fat:5.6 g • Carb:7 g • Fiber: 2 g • Protein:27 g • Sugar:1.5 g Sodium:238 mg • Cholest: 0 mg

Chicken Chickpea Veggie Soup

chicken chickpea soup
I have not been cooking much lately, but I hope to get back with it soon! Here is a recipe in the mean time though :-). I made this one a couple weeks ago and really, really loved it! It was easy, healthy, soothing on a chilly day and so delicious! (recipe from Eat,Live,Run)

1 shallot, minced
2 large carrots, small diced
2 stalks celery, small diced
1 3″ knob ginger, peeled and minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 quarts chicken broth
1 rotisserie chicken, roughly chopped (I used about half of it)
1 14.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I only put half can)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped

Saute the shallot, carrot, celery, ginger, garlic and jalapeno in the olive oil for about five minutes, until veggies start to soften. Pour in the broth and add the chickpeas and chopped rotisserie chicken. Bring to a simmer, then add the salt, pepper, lemon juice, swiss chard and parsley. Simmer until greens wilt (about five minutes) then serve.

Pork, Potato and Plantain Toss with almond-cilantro pesto

potatoes plantains pork
When I saw this recipe in Clean Eating I thought it looked good, but I also knew it was definitely a hit or miss kind of recipe. It was either going to be really yummy or completely gross. And guess what? It was delicious! I absolutely loved it! The almond-cilantro pesto was SOOO good! So feel brave and give it a try :-).

- 1 lb redskin potatoes, peeled and quartered (I never peel red potatoes)
- 1 1/4 lb yellow plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick slices (I used 2 plantains)
- 1 1/2 t olive oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed
- 1 1/2 oz sliced raw unsalted almonds
- 1/2 t sea salt
- 3/4 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1/2-in thick medallions (I used loin chops)

Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
Add plantains and cook for 5 more minutes, until potatoes and plantains are easily pierced with a knife.
Drain and let sit in colander for 1 minute to cool. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 t oil on med-low for 1 minute.
Add garlic and saute stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until softened and fragrant but not browned. Remove from heat.
Prepare pesto: In bowl of food processor, combine garlic, cilantro, almonds and salt. Process for 30 seconds, until cilantro and almonds are finely chopped.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1/2 t oil on medium for 1 minute. Add pork and cook, turning occasionally for 6 minutes, until opaque and cooked through. Transfer pork and pesto to potato-plantains bowl and toss to coat.

Makes four 1 1/2 cup servings...Calories 426, total fat 9g, carbs 67g, fiber 7g, sugars 23g, protein 24g, sodium 298mg, cholesterol 55mg

Parmesan Knots

parmesan knots
So last week we made two recipes from the Friend magazine that Ella was excited about it. The pizza was fine, but everyone liked the Crazy Pizza we made a little while ago better and the recipes were very similar. These little rolls were definitely a hit though and they were really fun for the kids to help make.

1 can refrigerated biscuits
1/4 cup vegetable oil (we used less and used canola)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley

**We brushed the oil mixture on the rolls BEFORE baking**
1. Cut each biscuit into thirds. Roll each piece into a 3-inch (7-cm) rope and tie into a knot.
2. Place the knots 2 inches (5-cm) apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400°F (204°C) for 8–10 minutes or until golden brown.
3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Brush or pour on the warm knots. Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen knots.

My little helpers :-)