Homemade Guacamole

Nothing says summertime like a good dip with some tortilla chips with friends! I’ve shared my recipe for pineapple-mango salsa last summer, but you can’t have salsa without having some guacamole too!

This recipe for guacamole is super easy and delicious-none of that runny mess you get with you rice and beans. I’m talking real deal, freshly mashed avocado with lots of fresh flavor.

What you’ll need:

-5 Avocados

-3 Limes (Lime juice is okay…but fresh limes are better)

-2 Tablespoons of Sea Salt

-2 Jalapeños

-1 Can/Package of Sun-dried tomatoes

-2 Tablespoons of Cilantro

Dice up your sun dried tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeños. You can keep them in a mixing bowl together and then set aside. Next, time to slice and scoop your avocado! Just cut your avocado length wise until you can pull the two pieces a part. Next, use the blade of your knife and carefully slap the blade into the pit, this is usually the easiest way to remove the pit. From there, cut slits into the avocado and then using a spoon or fork you can scoop the slices out and into the bowl with your other ingredients. Repeat that process for all of the rest of the avocados.

Now, slice each of your limes in half. Squeeze lime juice into your mixture bowl. Add sea salt to taste. Time to smash it all up! Using either a fork or wooden spoon, smash your avocado up and mix it thoroughly.

Wah-la! You have guacamole!

 

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Eating Healthy on a Budget

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I think there’s a big misconception out there that eating healthy has to be boring and expensive. Now when I say “healthy”…I’m not talking about cutting out carbs or counting calories. I’m talking about being cognitive about what goes into your body and just knowing what’s going to be best for you. I know it’s easy to grab fast food on your way home from work…but I think you’ll find that whipping up a few simple meals that are going to fuel your energy can be easy too! I’ve come up with a grocery list that will incorporate breakfast, a snack, lunch, and dinner! I guarantee that this whole grocery list will cost you under $40 wherever you do your shopping…and will feed you and your family OR you will have a bounty of leftovers to eat throughout the week!

 

Grocery list:

  • Red apples (3)
  • Avocados (2)
  • Cucumber
  • Beef steak tomatoes (3)
  • Onion
  • Lime
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Ground Turkey
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Turkey sausage
  • Jalapeno (optional)
  • Almond butter (individual packets)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sour cream

Seasonings/other things you’ll need to have on hand:

  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Aluminum foil
  • Taco seasonings ( I usually use salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika…mainly because I have them all. If you don’t have all of those on hand, you can always just buy a taco seasoning packet J)

Breakfast

Grab 1 avocado-slice it in half lengthwise. Once it’s open use the blade of your knife and press down on the pit and you should be able to pull it right now. Using a spoon, scoop out all of the avocado from it’s casing into a small bowl and mash well.

Meanwhile…go ahead and grab 2 pieces of bread and toast to your liking. I say, the crispier the better!

Now, time to cook your breakfast turkey sausage until completely done. ( I like mine with a crispy edge.)

Slice up one tomato.

Time to put it all together! Grab your two pieces of toast and evenly spread the avocado on each slice. Top with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Throw some sausage links and tomato slices on your plate and you have yourself a well balanced breakfast!

Snack

Slice up one apple and slap on some of that almond butter. YUM!

Lunch

Grab your ground turkey, taco seasoning, and a frying pan. Brown the turkey well, drain the juices out, return to pan and add your seasoning. Cook on low until completely done.  

Make your own pico de gallo…dice up one tomato, onion, and 1 jalapeno-mix altogether in a bowl. Cut your lime in half and squeeze the entire thing into the mixture. Pick off the leaves of your cilantro until you have about 2 tablespoons worth. Chop up until fine, and add to mixture. Top with a little bit of salt and pepper.  

Wash your romaine lettuce well, and peel apart the leaves until you have about 4-5 ‘boats.’

 Take your ground turkey and scoop until one of your lettuce boats. Top with your homemade pico! Wah-la! Ground turkey lettuce wraps.

 Dinner

Time to pull out the big guns! Most of this meal will take a while to cook…so give yourself at least two hours before you plan on eating to get this meal going. Slice up your remaining two apples and place in a baking dish. Season your pork tenderloin with salt, pepper, and garlic salt and nestle down in the apples. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 275 for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, bring the temperature up to 350 and bake without the aluminum foil for a remaining 15 minutes.

Time according to how your pork tenderloin is cooking, but plan to bake your sweet potatoes for at least 45 minutes. Wash your potatoes well, cut a slit in the middle and rub lightly with some olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at same temperature as pork tenderloin.

While all of that is cooking, you can make your deconstructed salad! All you need to do is slice up your avocado, but rather than mashing it up…scoop it out and dice into one-inch cubes. Wash and cut your last tomato and cucumber also into one-inch cubes. Place your avocado, tomato, and cucumber pieces in a small bowl. Pour a drizzle of olive oil over it all, top with salt and pepper, and mix together.

Once your pork tenderloin is ready slice into medallions. Plate with 4-5 medallions, one sweet potato, and a big scoop of your salad. Sub the usual cinnamon and butter for sour cream in your sweet potato…trust me! It tastes so good!

And there’s your full day of clean eating! Trust me…on a teacher’s budget; I know that eating healthy can seem daunting. More than anything, it just takes a little bit of planning so that you can find a way to use the same ingredients in different ways. Cheers to colorful eating!


Sweet Potato Casserole

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Sweet potato casserole has always been a staple at our holiday dinners however it wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually started to partake in sweet potatoes. I was at my friend Caitlin’s house for dinner and she ended up making some thick cut sweet potatoes with just some olive oil and sea salt…I tried them and it’s like my world literally spun around. I felt like I’ve been missing out on a whole new delicious food group all these years…and it was definitely time to make up for it.

So naturally, I eat sweet potatoes any chance I can now…including at holiday dinners. This sweet potato casserole recipe is partially from family inspiration partially just what I picked up that I love in a sweet potato casserole.

Ingredients

5-6 sweet potatoes

2 cups granulated sugar

4 beaten eggs

2 sticks melted butter

2 tablespoons self-rising flour

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

(marshmallows optional…but I love to have them on mine!)

First thing you’ll want to do is peel and boil your sweet potatoes. You want to boil them just like you would if you were making regular mashed potatoes…they need to be soft enough for you to mash together.

Once your potatoes are good and mashed drain them of any access water and return to pot. In the same pot with your potatoes add the sugar, eggs, 1 stick of butter, and flour. Mix well and pour in a casserole dish.  Next, melt your other stick of butter and in a separate mixing bowl mix the butter, brown sugar, and pecans together. Layer this on top of your sweet potato mixture…top with marshmallows if you like.

Bake at 350 for one hour.


3 Ingredient Green Bean Casserole

 

Green beans have always been a staple at any of my family’s gatherings, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I was really introduced to green bean casserole. Green beans…in the delicious form of a casserole, um yes please! Now I realize most people have been eating green bean casserole for a long time and have coveted family recipes, but for me I didn’t so I had to find what I liked! For me I obviously enjoy the green beans, creamy mixture, and the crunch of the fried onions. So here it is…one easy, cheap way to make green bean casserole!

Ingredients

2 cans of cream of mushroom soup

2 cans of classic cut green beans

1 small container of French onions

(Salt and pepper to taste)

In a large baking dish mix your green beans and cream of mushroom soup together. Add salt and pepper to the mixture for taste. Top with fried onions. Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

 

 


Grandma’s Cornbread Dressing

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So basically there’s two types of people in the world; there’s stuffing people and then there’s dressing people. If you’re a stuffing person…ya might wanna go ahead and look up a different recipe because this Thanksgiving dressing is from my southern grandma and is made from real cornbread and love.

Ingredients:

2 cups Cornmeal

1 ¼ cup Buttermilk

¼ Vegetable Oil

3 Eggs

4 stalks Celery

3 Onions

4 tablespoons sage

4 tablespoons celery salt

1 large container of chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

 Bake cornbread using cornmeal, buttermilk, oil, and 1 egg according to cornmeal directions. (Usually mixing everything and baking for 15-18 minutes on 375.)

Finely chop celery onions and mix with sage, celery seasoning, 2 eggs.

Once cornbread is baked, crumble and add to celery/onion mixture.

Let this mixture sit in the fridge over night. The next day, add your chicken stock and mix well.

Spray pan well with PAM and cook until brown (about 45 minutes- 1 hour) on 375.

 


Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

 

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Maybe it’s my southern roots, but there is nothing that a good quiche can’t fix. With sausage, with ham, with roasted vegetables, with cheddar cheese, with goat cheese…literally the possibilities for a quiche are endless. Another thing I love about making a quiche is that they are literally perfect for any meal. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and it tastes amazing with everything. This particular quiche has been one of my favorites lately for meal prepping for breakfast. It’s super easy to make it on Sunday night and then just cut and heat up each morning with fruit or sausage.

Ingredients:

 1 premade crust

1 package of fresh spinach (about 10 ounces)

1 package of mushrooms (I prefer portabella)

1/2 cup of feta cheese

1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese

1 cup of parmesean cheese

1 cup of milk

4 eggs

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. pepper,

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. Minced garlic

First you’ll want to go ahead and sit out your crust if you bought the refrigerator kind, which I prefer.

Next, go ahead and thinly slice your mushrooms. Pour your olive oil in a small frying pan and add your mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Sautee your mushrooms to your liking then remove from heat.

In a small mixing bowl mix your eggs, milk, and parmesean cheese.

Time to layer the quiche! Place your crust in your pie dish and add your spinach (I prefer to chop mine roughly so that it spreads more evenly) to the bottom of the crust. Next add your mushrooms and your crumbled feta. On top of that…add your wet egg mixture. Finally, top it all off with your mozzarella.

Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until it’s done to your liking!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

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I’ll admit it, the second the fall décor comes out in stores my immediate thought is, ‘ Okay, where are all the pumpkin flavored things?’ Pumpkin spiced latte, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies…yeah I pretty much love it all. So, I’ve been on the hunt for a pumpkin flavored sweet to add to my meal prep, and I have FINALLY found it! Combining one of my absolute favorite morning treats with my seasonal addiction, I give you…pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

Ingredients

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 can pumpkin puree

1-1/2 cup canola oil

3 cups flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups chocolate chips

 

 Mix eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin puree well in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl mix the remaining dry ingredients and slowly add them to the wet mixture.

Line a muffin tin with baking cups or spray well with Pam. Pour mixture evenly in tin, I filled mine about ¾ full and had enough mixture to make 2 dozen. Bake at 400 degrees for 14-16 minutes or until brown on top.

Enjoy!


Easy Chicken Pot Pie

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There’s nothing like a good slice of chicken pot pie on a chilly, fall night…or I mean really ever. Growing up chicken pot pie was basically a staple in my house. Whenever I was sick I wouldn’t want chicken noodle soup, I would want chicken pot pie. My mom would make pre-made one that she would pick up at the store and I would lay in bed watching Robin Williams and Julia Roberts battle Dustin Hoffman in Hook. It was my little tradition, and it always made me feel better. Chicken pot pie reminds me of feeling safe, and being home. Now I’ve made elaborate chicken pot pie recipes, but honestly this one is my favorite. It’s super easy and quick, and tastes just like memories.

Ingredients

Pre-made piecrust

4 raw chicken breasts

2 cans of cream of chicken

½ cup of finely chopped celery

½ cup diced/sliced carrots

1 cup of peas, drained

Salt

Pepper

First thing you’ll want to do is cook the chicken. Like many other recipes I do, if I’m cooking chicken twice I like to boil it first so that it stays moist. Boil the chicken in a large salted pot of water until the chicken is entirely white, and you can no longer see any pink.

Take the chicken breasts out of the water and shred thinly. In a large mixing bowl pour in both cans of cream of chicken, chicken, celery, carrots, and peas. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well.

Line a pie pan with the first layer of the crust. Pour the mixture inside the pie crust, and layer with the second crust on top. Fold tightly, and cut 4 slits in the middle so that it can breath.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.


Mama’s Macaroni and Cheese

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Clearly with the name of this recipe, my love of macaroni and cheese comes from my mama. Macaroni and cheese has always been my favorite food. Growing up when we would go to restaurants that’s normally what I would get as my meal, I would get excited if they had it at school, and love to get a box of Kraft Mac and cheese for an easy dinner. However, there is no macaroni and cheese like my mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese. Everything about it makes me just…happy. It’s creamy, cheese, and has huge noodles that soak up every little bit of cheesy milk. So naturally, I had her teach me step by step exactly what to do to make it myself when I moved out.

Ingredients:

1 box of large elbow noodles (shells work too, as long as they’re large)

 1 8oz block of sharp cheddar cheese

 1 16 oz bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

 2-3 cups of milk

 ½ stick of butter

 1 cup of flour

 Salt

 

So, the first thing you’ll need to do is boil a large pot of salted water. I normally fill the pot about 2/3 full and then salt it right before it starts to boil. Once it’s boiling, I add my noodles. Let the noodles cook in the boiling water for about 5-7 minutes. Then turn the stove down to a low medium and let the noodles cook for about 20 minutes. Stir often so the noodles don’t stick together.

Right before the noodles are done, prepare your baking dash. I use a large baking dish and rather than spraying it with cooking spray I spread butter around the pan using a napkin. Then drain the noodles and pour into the dish. As soon as you pour them in I add another small portion of butter and a large chunk of the cheese block in the noodles and mix well so that the cheese and butter melts.

In the same pot you cooked the noodles in, I pour the milk and about ¼ of the shredded cheese in. Keep the pot on low and stir continuously, and slowly start to add the flour into the mixture. Do this until it starts to make a rue. Once the cheese is all melted and the flour is well mixed in, pour the milk mixture on the noodles.

Next, you’ll slice up the rest of the block of cheese as small or thick as you like and put and on top of the noodles. Top the whole thing with the remaining shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake at 425 for about 40 minutes or until the cheese is well done on top.

Serve along with your turkey and dressing for thanksgiving, with a roast and mashed potatoes, or just on a lazy Sunday afternoon with fried chicken. The possibilities with this dish are endless!


Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats

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         I feel like I am constantly struggling to find dinner options that are low carb, but still going to fill me up. That’s when I remembered seeing a bunch of recipes using zucchini as ‘boats’ and stuffing them with some of your favorite things. For me, that would be buffalo chicken dip. Buffalo chicken dip satisfies my love of cheese, chicken, and spicy food all in one delicious gooey meal. However…munching on dip and chips isn’t really a nutritious meal option. Then came the buffalo chicken zucchini boats.

Ingredients

Boneless Chicken Breasts 4

Cream Cheese 2 8oz containers

 Shredded Cheddar Cheese 2 cups

 Blue Cheese Dressing 1 ½ cup (almost a whole bottle)

 Franks Red Hot ½ a cup

Zucchini 6-8 whole zucchini

What to do:

 First you’ll want to prepare the chicken. I prefer to boil mine because it keeps it more moist since you technically cook it twice. Fill a medium sized cooking pot about ¾ full of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add chicken and cook for about ten minutes or until cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, go ahead and mix your blue cheese, Franks, cream cheese, and 1 cup of
cheddar cheese in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until cream cheese is spread out thin.

Once the chicken is cooked, go ahead and shred it into thin slices and add to the creamy mixture. Mix until all of the chicken is well covered in the mixture.

Set the buffalo chicken mixture aside.

Wash each zucchini well and slice in half, lengthwise. Using a knife and spoon cut out a little bit of the middle of each zucchini. Brush the edges of each zucchini boat with olive oil, and then stuff each boat as full as possible with the buffalo chicken mixture. Sprinkle any extra cheddar cheese on top of each boat.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is well done.

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Wah-lah! A yummy and low carb dinner that everyone will love! I love to serve my zucchini boats with a spinach salad, but these could be great with orzo.