Strawberry Cheesecake Quinoa Oat Breakfast Bake

Everything in life should be accessorized, including oatmeal! Despite it’s inherent healthiness, serving of plain, unadulterated “sunrise slop” reminds me of the gruel I feed my babies when they were first learning to eat. It’s bland, it’s boring and gonna get pushed back to my pantry. But, then there’s my  When I kick of the texture of my oatmeal with quinoa and bedazzle it with berries, this morning mush turns into make-ahead morning magic!  Strawberry Cheesecake Quinoa-Oat Breakfast Bake

You MUST try my recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake Quinoa-Oat Bake, it’s healthy, hearty and will have you racing to the kitchen before the rooster crows!  Continue reading

Apricot Ginger Macadamia Oatmeal Mix /DIY Packets

So I’ve been on a meal-prepping binge for the last couple months and making different flavors of “protein oatmeal” has been one of my biggest successes. The whole idea materialized when my husband decided to ween himself off his morning $5 protein shake and said he was tired of protein bars followed by a pathetic, helpless “I don’t know what to make” look. I started making him homemade oatmeal mix made with protein powder and wholesome mix-ins that he can then prepare in the microwave (without my help – haha) in less than one minute.Apricot Ginger Macadamia Protein Oatmeal Mix

I’ve done several flavor combinations, including Strawberry Cacao Nib Protein Oatmeal Mix and Cinnamon Apple Protein Oatmeal Mix, but today’s recipe for Apricot Ginger Macadamia Nut Oatmeal Mix is his favorite to date. Continue reading

Strawberry Cacao Nib Protein Oatmeal Mix / Packets for Meal Prep

It’ National Strawberry Day, why this food holiday is not during peak summer season, I don’t know — but who cares! Let’s start off the with an easy protein-rich breakfast featuring this beloved and beautiful berry — Strawberry Cacao Nib Protein Oatmeal.Strawberry Cacao Nib Protein Oatmeal Mix

If you’re anything like me, waking up before dawn to measure out cups full is this and tablespoons before the cooking even begins is unthinkable. So, in anticipation of my fuzzy headedness and crazy morning schedule, I meal prep dry oatmeal “mix” chock full of wholesome ingredients over the weekend. In the morning I only need to measure out just how much I need, microwave with a bit of water or milk and then get after my daily goals!

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Lemon Ginger Chicken Soup + Meal Prep

I love me the soups. Nourishing, comforting, satisfying and life-simplifying, a bowl of soup really hits the spot. Unlike baking, soup making is so forgiving – just throw in what you’ve got! Plus, leftovers never get stale, in fact, they get better! My recipe for Lemon Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup makes a great meal for lunch, a light dinner or even on-the-go! Lemon Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup makes a nourishing lunch or light dinner. It's gluten-free with rice noodles and can be meal-prepped with my bonus instructions.

In addition to the directions for making a big pot full at once, I’ve also shared bonus instructions and hacks on how to shortcut the process if you are meal-prepping for enjoyment later. You don’t even have to cook the noodles!

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Overnight Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Pudding #SpoonsfulOfGoodness


 Grape-Nuts has been around forever, for almost 120 years! I’ve been eating it for decades and my parents grew up with it too – probably because their own moms and dads knew it was a great way to start the day.Overnight Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Pudding with Grape-Nuts

While snacking on Post® Grape-Nuts right out of the box or pouring it in a bowl and covering with milk is hearty, filling and exactly the way my mother served it to me (with raisins on top as a bonus), sometimes a girl wants a little more decadent flavor in her day – like, errr, chocolate-covered cherries. Nothing wrong with that, even if being mindful of New Year’s resolutions. I’m sharing right here and now that my New Year’s resolution is to start each day with a delicious, chocolate-inspired breakfast and thanks to my nutrient-dense recipe for Overnight Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Pudding, I’m prepared for sweet success!

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Let’s Lunch! Smart Meal Prep Tips & Recipes #ReynoldsHeatandEat

Lunch, you gotta eat it no matter where you are – home, work, school, errands, gym, airplane. The issues getting in the way of my healthy lunch life are meeting up with friends who don’t have the same concerns about eating “food for function” as I do, finishing a workout that went well past noon and being so hangry that I could eat the entire Shake Shack on my way home, or being stuck on travel and having the only option be airport food. Note – I have a $25 Gift Card Giveaway at bottom of post. 

Lunch Meal Prep

However, I’ve found that with a little bit of front in effort I can prep my lunches in nice little containers for the week on Sunday – the payoff is obviously a healthier meal with ingredients approved by me, less crazy mornings gathering my grub up, and saving money – yes, saving money is good! It means I can pay all the high dollar fees for getting to and entering the races I love doing.

Meal Prepping Tips & Recipes for Lunch!

These are some basic tips that I use every week when putting together my meals and packing them up in to-go containers . If you’re a pro meal prepper, these tips may sound simple. But, if you’re new to the game of big batch cooking and assembly line prep, these useful ideas will help you get started!

Prep your protein.  The slow cooker and grill are my two go-to ways to prepare large batches of beef, chicken and pork for lunches (and dinners) through the week.   On Sunday morning, it’s so easy to stick huge roast or brisket in the Crock Pot and then walk away to enjoy the day. I use darn-big slow cooker (8-qt) so that I can make the most meat possible and have even been known to have two going at the same time! For the grill, Costco-sized trays of chicken or steaks not only are more economical to buy, but will hook you up for the entire week or month – depending on your family size. For fish, fill a rimmed, oiled baking sheet with your favorite filets or one huge piece of salmon and bake in the oven ‘til done!

Get your whole grains, beans & legumes going.  Brown rice, quinoa, and ancient grains hold up really well to making ahead of time and reheating later. Often, I find that pasta gets mushy during its second showing- not always though, whole wheat pasta holds up pretty well.  Use a large stock pot or rice cooker to get the job done efficiently – mine has a 20 quart capacity!   Another benefit of cooking a week’s worth of grains at once, less mess to clean up.

Switch up the sauces & mix-ins.  Often eating meal-prepped lunches can seem monotonous, choking down the same bland thing day after day. However, adding a small serving of sauce or handful of mix-ins is an easy way to transform the same old lunchbox staples into a wider range of flavorful meals – try pestos, Asian-inspired sauces, marinaras, salsas and so on! Even some fresh, no preservative salad dressings make a good option on hot and cold dishes. As for mix-ins, the little “extras” I rotate through include nuts, seeds, cheeses and dried fruits.

Use the right container.  If taking a salad for work, a large mason jar can be layered with ingredients. Keep the dressing on the bottom and delicate ingredients up higher, leaving a little headroom at the top so that you can shake it up right before eating.  I also like to take my soup in a mason jar, placing a layer of plastic wrap over the opening and under the lid to both help prevent leaking during transport and to serve as a splatter guard when reheating in the microwave – you don’t want to put that metal lid in there!  Hot meals can be reheated in a variety of containers, but I am partial to the Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers  (more deets below)– they hold a generous portion, are a great alternative to plastic and can be tossed in the trash so no messy containers to take home.  Store small portions of dressings, nuts, and cheese in baby mason jars, cleaned baby food jars, small plastic containers or snack-sized zip-bags.

Know your food safety rules.  When meal prepping for a week of lunches, remember most pre-cooked proteins and grains will only stay fresh for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge—I prep for Monday through Thursday and then do actually treat myself to lunch out on Friday! You can also prep your “plated” meal, or bigger bags of “ingredients” for assembly later, cool and place into appropriate freezer-storage containers – in the freezer, you can keep the quality for about 6 months.   I refer to this handbook of food storage safety tips from Real Simple magazine often.  If you can’t keep your lunch in the fridge at work, make sure you’re using icepacks than keep your food chilled until chow time.

Reynolds Heat and EAt disposable containers

As I mentioned, I am digging these Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers (I purchased mine at Walmart on the food storage aisle where you find foil, plastic bag, wax paper, etc.).  Available in two sizes, these toss-away lunch tubs are a great alternative to plastic and are made with plant fibers.  The clear lids allow you to see what you’re grabbing from the fridge, but need to be set aside during the reheating process. Reynolds Heat & Eat disposable container at Walmart

Reynolds Heat & Eat disposable ContainersCheck these out for yourself by picking up a pack of new Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat Containers at your local Walmart – found on the food storage aisle. They are very reasonably priced and you can even save an additional $1.00 on one pack of Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers with this coupon.

Here are some recipes to get you going:

roasted-tomatoes-in-turmeric-sauce“Go for the Gold” Turmeric Hummus  can be tossed with pasta or zucchini noodles for a healthy option to a creamy sauce – another perk is that there is also added protein.

 

 

Beef Blue Cheese Date Jar Salad is full of protein and Iron Super Iron Boosting Beef, Blue Cheese and Date Salad relies on pre-prepped sliced steak from the freezer (or freshly cooked) and layers up nicely in a jar for on-the-go lunching. I’ve even eaten this one in the car!

 

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.comMaple Pecan Butternut Quinoa is a delicious fall-inspired salad that can be taken to work or school and eaten warm or cold.  Here’s a little tip, double up when cooking the quinoa for this recipe and bag the rest in the freezer for easy dinners later.

 

Shrimp & Sugar Snap Pea SAlad with Lemon Gremolata easily packs into a lunchbox served cold.Shrimp & Snap Pea Pasta with Lemon Gremolata – This is another dish that is just as good cold as hot. If meal prepping for lunch, I always leave the delicate veggies raw so that when I reheat, they don’t become mushy!

 

 

 

 

15 minute Beef & Veggie Fried RiceBeef & Veggie Fried Rice: I typically use sirloin or flat iron steads for this one, but prepping to eat several days in a row, I will swap up the meats with chicken, shrimp or just simply extra scrambled eggs for protein variety.

 

Don’t forget to GET YOUR $1 OFF COUPON for Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers!

walmart-25-giveawayEnter giveaway for a change to win a $25 Walmart Gift Card so you can try Reynolds™ Disposable Heat & Eat containers yourself! Ends 10/20/2016 at Midnight CT.

Enter via Rafflecopter app below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BBQ Beef Bean & Sweet ‘Tater Taquitos #TexMexAndFlex

BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos are baked and filled with wholesome ingredients. We are up to our chin guards in football season, so I’ve kicked up my family-friendly, meal-prepping madness into overtime. With just a little “overtime” work on Sunday, I can prepare a couple batches of my BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet ‘Tater Taquitos and have enough for a couple quick-fix, weeknight dinners and leftovers for snacking on the big game day. By the way and sorry for the questionable rhyming (haha), I originally developed these onfleek-o taquitos for BeefLovingTexans.com, so check it out!

BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos make a quick and easy dinner solution. Baked, not fried, and filled with wholesome ingredients to fuel an active lifestyle. Meal prep a couple batches for the freezer for busy weeknight meals or football game day snacks.

While my teenage boys and their always-hungry friends are munching what they assume to be merely crispy, crunchy, cheesy, beefy taquitos (rolled small tacos by any other name!), I snicker in silent satisfaction knowing I’ve snuck in some wholesome nutrition to fuel their busy, active bodies. Lean beef for muscle-making protein and iron, beans for even more protein plus fiber, and sweet potato in a whole grain tortillas for a double-whammy of healthy complex carbs for long-lasting giddy-up-and-go.  As Guy Fieri would say in his own punderful way, “You can’t beato these taquitos!”

These tasty taquitos can be devoured right out of the oven, or freeze a batch and then just toss in the oven (or toaster oven!) on those endless days that have gone into double overtime. This is an easy way to pass the proverbial ball over to the kids and let them do some quarterbacking in the kitchen.

mojo-citrus-guacamole-1Just add a simple side salad and your favorite Texas-style condiments like guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and barbeque sauce.My Mojo Citrus Guacamole makes a tasty team up!

 

 

 

 

 

bbq-beef-black-bean-and-sweet-tater-taquitos-preppingOne the taquito innards are made, assemble by adding a spoonful in the middle of a whole grain tortilla, rolling up and baking (no frying here and they are still super crunchy). While corn tortillas are traditional for taquitos, I’ve found that the corn-flour “mix” tortillas are more pliable and less prone to crack. If needed, insert a toothpick to keep tortillas secure, but don’t forget to remove before serving!

beef-black-bean-sweet-tater-taquito-holding-singleEnjoy!

Favorite football team? Any football players on the family roster this year? Favorite thing to roll in a tortilla? Please share in commets! XOXO , Jennifer 

 

BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos are baked and filled with wholesome ingredients.
BBQ Beef, Black Bean & Sweet 'Tater Taquitos
Print Recipe
Roll up healthy dinner plans pronto with fit and fresh BBQ Beef, Bean &Sweet Potato Taquitos - a quick dinner or snack solution. Double batch for freezer!
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos are baked and filled with wholesome ingredients.
BBQ Beef, Black Bean & Sweet 'Tater Taquitos
Print Recipe
Roll up healthy dinner plans pronto with fit and fresh BBQ Beef, Bean &Sweet Potato Taquitos - a quick dinner or snack solution. Double batch for freezer!
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In large skillet, brown ground beef over medium-high heeat, add minced garlic in last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain fat and excess water. Mix in packet of taco seasoning and chili powder and 2 tablespoons of water (do not add amount of water taco season packet calls for). Stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer cooked beef mixture to large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil to same skillet (okay if beef residue stays in there). Bring to medium-high heat and saute diced sweet potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened and browning. Add sweet potatoes to bowl with beef mixture.
  4. Add rinsed and drained beans to beef bow. Make sure beans have drained well to prevent soggy taquitos. Let entire mixture cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Gently stir in BBQ sauces and 1 ½ cups of cheese.
  6. Working one at a time, transfer tortilla to a work surface; place scant 1/3 cup beef mixture into center of tortilla. Bring the bottom edge of the tortilla tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the tortilla is reached. Secure with toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  7. Place taquitos onto rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Spray tops of taquitos with baking spray and bake until crisp and cheese has melted, about 12-15 minutes.
  8. To reheat from frozen, heat oven to 375 F degrees and place taquitos on rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Lightly cover tops of taquitos with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spray tops of taquitos with baking spray, increase heat to 400 and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until crisp, cheese has melted and tops are brown.
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