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[RECIPE] Taco Tuesday: Taco Pizza

[RECIPE] Taco Tuesday: Taco Pizza

Tonight’s Taco Tuesday dinner was one of those “Gotta get it on the blog IMMEDIATELY” meals! I mean……just look at it……     Always looking for ways to spice up Taco Tuesday and tonight’s version – Taco Pizza – did not disappoint! This was SO […]

POOLSIDE MUST-HAVES: FitMark Meal Prep Bag

POOLSIDE MUST-HAVES: FitMark Meal Prep Bag

SUMMER IS HERE!! IT’S REALLY HERE!   Honestly, I’m partial to summer. I’m a July baby, my husband is a July baby, our dating anniversary is in July, and my second kiddo was born in July (I went into labor with him on the night […]

Budget Hack: Make Your Own Dips/Dressings [with recipes]

Budget Hack: Make Your Own Dips/Dressings [with recipes]


If you're anything like my family, we love a good dip or salad dressing.

 

I have a few favorite brands (Bolthouse Farms, Newman's Own, and Simple Truth), but as often as we use them, the expense adds up FAST!

 

Making your own dressings and dips is so EASY and so QUICK. Often times, you don't even need to buy anything - you already have a lot of the ingredients in your pantry! 

 

 

 

Check out my recipes for my favorite dips and dressings:

 

*Some of these savings have a ~ because they're "around" this much. Depending on different brands, ingredients, and yield sizes, the price difference may be slightly lower or higher.*

 

 

 

Citrus Honey Vinaigrette

 

 

 

Savings: ~$1.75

 

Recipe-

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil (or whatever oil you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients in small bowl or add to jar with lid and shake.
  2. Serve over your favorite salad.
  3. Store in fridge.

 

♥ This dressing is so great over a leafy salad with dried cranberries, soft cheese, and pecans or walnuts.

♥ I love how easy vinaigrette's are to make - simply add all ingredients to an old, clean jar, shake, and keep in fridge!

♥ I used avocado oil because I love it's incredibly light taste. It's a little pricier, so you can save even more money by using your standard oil and it tastes just as great!

♥ If you don't have an orange sitting around, trade out the white balsamic for apple cider vinegar.

 

 

 

 

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

 

 

 

Savings: ~$2.70

 

Recipe-

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk ranch dressing seasoning

Directions:

  1. Combine first three ingredients in small bowl.
  2. Whisk in the ranch seasoning.
  3. Store in airtight container in fridge for 2-3 weeks.

 

♥ The fat content of the recipe will vary depending on what kind of yogurt, milk, and mayonnaise you use. Use what you like!

♥ I used homemade Greek yogurt, but the price difference reflects if ranch is made with Fage 0% plain greek yogurt, which I sometimes do.

♥ You can use a ranch packet and still save some money, but this is still slightly more expensive than using a jar of seasoning and you will need to buy more often. Invest in a good jar of Ranch Dressing Base - you will spend a little more upfront, but save money in the long run (especially if you use ranch a lot!) I LOVE Penzeys Spices [check out the link below to see more of their great products].

♥ This ranch dressing is great as a dip for veggies! If you like a slightly runnier dressing (like for salad), adjust the recipe by adding a little more milk 1 tbsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency!

 

 

 

Honey Mustard Dip

 

 

Savings: ~$1.90

 

Recipe-

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients in small bowl.
  2. Store in fridge. for 2-3 weeks.

 

♥ My family LOVES this honey mustard recipe. We have it with baked chicken strips often! It's also great to use as your condiments for a turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato wrap.

♥ You can also use the greek yogurt method above (3/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt with 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise) to up the protein and lower the fat content.

♥ I love using olive oil mayonnaise. The calorie amount is the same as regular mayonnaise, but uses olive oil, which has those heart-healthy monounsaturafted fats!

♥ If you want to make this more of a salad dressing, skip the lemon and add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste!

 

 

 

Give these recipes a try and save yourself a little money!

 

Penzeys Spices Link:

https://www.penzeys.com/

Product Review: Beanitos

Product Review: Beanitos

It’s been a while since I did a product review and I could not have picked a better time.   My mom and I recently took a girls trip to Northwest Arkansas and while we were there we visited Whole Foods and I hit the […]

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Lemon Tart Greek Yogurt

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Lemon Tart Greek Yogurt

It’s officially April and we all know the saying…   “April showers bring May flowers.”   And as I sit and watch the rain pour out my office window, I can’t help but smile because I have a new recipe to share that is ALL sunshine. […]

Crock Pot Chicken 6-Ways

Crock Pot Chicken 6-Ways


Cook chicken ONCE and get SIX meals?!

 

Yes indeed. I promise it's not too good to be true!

 

I hear it often and I also fully understand it - cooking healthy meals can be time consuming.

 

Convenience foods require little to nothing - a preheat of the oven, removing the item from the box, a few spins of the microwave and BAM! Dinner is served.

 

A home-cooked meal requires a thought out plan and grocery list, washing and cutting of the vegetables, preparing the protein and grain, assembling and cooking - you get the point. It takes longer!

 

But there are ways to cut down on time! If you follow me on my Facebook page (Prep & Pep, LLC), you've seen my posts this week sharing my meal prep 101 tips. Most of these have included ways to eat healthy and save time doing it.

 

One of my favorite way to save time- batch cooking protein.

 

Hands down, this makes a WORLD of difference for someone who is pressed for time. I used this trick just this week. I won't even get started on my (growing) laundry list of obligations this semester, but I will say it's A LOT. And I find myself using those tips and tricks I have shared with others often.

 

 

This week I batch cooked chicken in the crock pot and made 6 meals total - 3 lunches and 3 dinners (although these could all be used for lunches OR dinners!) And the best part is I only cooked the chicken ONCE!

 

On Sunday I threw 3 pounds of chicken into the crock pot, seasoned it with a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Turned it on low and let it slow cook all day while we took a trip to the zoo.

 

 

When we got home it was finished so I pulled it out, put it on a plate, shred it with two forks, and placed it into tupperware containers  to put in the fridge.

 

 

Y'all. I can't even tell you how easy this made my life this week. I made six TOTALLY different meals using the same protein and sometimes the same veggies as well. Life-SAVER!

 

Check out what I made below!

*Note: lunches are in single-servings, dinners are four serving sizes*

 

DINNERS-

 

 

White Bean, Spinach, and Chicken Soup 

 

-4 cups chicken broth

-1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

-1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters

-2 cups spinach

-2 cups cooked chicken

-1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil

In a large soup pot I boiled 4 cups of chicken stock and brought it down to a simmer. I added the beans, tomatoes, and herbs and let it cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat. I then added the chicken and spinach and let it cook another 5 minutes. Turned to low and served in bowls topped with parmesan cheese shavings. Served with multigrain french bread.

 

 

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

 

 

-2 cups cooked chicken

-4 whole wheat hamburger buns

-1/2 cup green cabbage

-1/2 cup red cabbage

-4 tbsp bbq sauce

I simply heated up the chicken in the microwave and assembled the sandwiches! Each sandwich got 1 tbsp of bbq sauce and this was served with oven fries (recipe will be in my eCookbook) and green beans.

 

 

Lettuce Wrap Chicken & Black Bean Tacos

 

-10 pieces butter lettuce, washed and dried

-2 cups chicken

-1/2 cup black beans, cooked ahead in chicken broth

-1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

-1 avocado

-4 tbsp nonfat plain greek yogurt

-cilantro

Again, I reheated the chicken in the microwave as well as the beans. We had the ingredients set out "buffet style" so you could make your own. I also had other toppings, such as shredded cheese, salsa, jalapenos.

 

 

LUNCHES-

 

Chicken, Veggie, & Goat Cheese Pizza

 

-1 whole wheat greek style pita flatbread (Sam's choice brand)

-1/2 cup cooked chicken

-1/2 zucchini, chopped

-1/4 orange bell pepper, chopped

-1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

-2 tbsp premade pizza sauce (Kroger brand)

-2 tbsp mozzarella cheese

-2 tbsp goat cheese

-dried oregano, dried basil

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F. I lined a cookie sheet with foil, placed the veggies on one side, sprayed them with avocado oil cooking spray, salt, and pepper and let roast in the oven for 10 minutes. I then placed the wheat pita on the other side and let them cook for 5 more minutes. I removed the pan and assembled the pizza with sauce, mozzarella, chicken, veggies, goat cheese, dried herbs (in that order) and placed back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

 

 

Chinese Chicken Salad

 

-1 cup Asian style cabbage salad mix (Kroger brand)

-2 tbsp matchstick carrots

-2 tbsp red cabbage

-1/2 cup cooked chicken

-1/4 cup edamame, cooked ahead

-2 tbsp chow mein noodles

-1 tbsp sliced almonds (came with salad mix)

-1 tbsp Newman's Own Asian Sesame dressing

I ate the chicken cold with this salad. All it took was assembling! The chicken could be heated if you prefer it that way and all you really need is the bag of salad - I just happen to have the extra stuff around and needed to use it!

 

 

Berry Chicken Salad

 

 

-1 cup spinach

-1/2 cup strawberries, halved

-1/4 cup blueberries

-2 tbsp pecan pieces

-2 tbsp goat cheese

-white balsamic and apple cider vinegar dressing (recipe will be in my eCookbook), made ahead

I simply heated the chicken and assembled again!

 

 

Next time you have a busy week, try batch cooking your protein and tell me it isn't a lifesaver! You can thank me later! 🙂

RECIPE: Mom’s Breakfast Sandwich

RECIPE: Mom’s Breakfast Sandwich

A few weeks a go I spent the night with my parents to get away and work on a few projects uninterrupted. The next morning my mom brought me in a breakfast sandwich she had prepped for her week and it was DELICIOUS.   I […]

RECIPE: 2-for-1 HOMEMADE GRANOLA

RECIPE: 2-for-1 HOMEMADE GRANOLA

One of my New Years Resolutions was to try taking certain foods that we buy A LOT of at the store and make them at home in attempt to 1) save money and 2) move towards more homemade foods!   I wanted to start with […]

Apple Donuts

Apple Donuts


We made these apple donuts for our Super Bowl sweet treat and they were such a hit, we made them again a few days later!

 

We love using fruit for dessert and these apple donuts are fun because you can dress them up any way you please!

 

We recently got my 4 year old (he's a true foodie) a few kits from the Curious Chef line and we finally busted out his fruit and veggie kit which came with his own knife (totally safe for 4 years and up!), a melon baller, apple slicer, vegetable peeler, and a few other great tools.

 

 

Check out their website to browse these awesome kits that allow your kids to help you in the kitchen:

 

http://curiouschef.com/

 

He was so excited to get to use his knife for the first time so we worked on properly tucking our fingers to make sure we don't cut them. This is NOT an easy task to teach a 4 year old, but he did alright!

 

 

We had two types of apples for our donuts - granny smith and gala. I haven't met an apple variety I don't like but these two are definitely perfect for apple donuts.

 

 

I used a few different "liquid" toppings to ensure the dry toppings would stick - warmed up peanut butter and almond butter (both placed in the microwave for a few seconds until slightly runny), honey, and nonfat plain greek yogurt sweetened with a little maple syrup).

 

Check out my video on how I make these drizzle so nicely over my apple slices:

 

 

 

For the dry toppings, I made an assembly line of sorts using small tupperware containers. I filled them with goodies and let the boys decorate themselves.

 

In the containers: my homemade granola with golden raisins, pumpkin seeds, and thick oats (recipe going on the blog this week!), dried cherries, fresh blueberries, dark and white chocolate chips, pecans, maple toasted coconut, and sprinkles (of course!)

 

 

The boys love anything that they get to put together themselves and I love a snack we can feel pretty good about!

 

Check out Tom's apple donut that he made below!

 

 

Ben was a big fan too.

 

 

 

I also made a big plate for us all to snack on with three different varieties:

 

1. Greek yogurt sweetened with a little maple syrup, my homemade granola, blueberries, dried cherries, and pecans

 

 

2. Peanut butter with dark and white chocolate chips and sprinkles

 

 

3. Almond butter with a drizzle of honey, maple toasted coconut, and a sprinkle of cinnamon

 

 

All three variations were DELICIOUS, but I think the almond butter and toasted coconut was my favorite. It had the perfect amount of sweetness and crunch!

 

These are great because you can use whatever toppings you have on hand and the apples are so sweet right now you really are getting a treat!

 

Try out these apple donuts when you're looking for a sweet fix that you can feel good about!

 

Product Review: Google Keep (App)

Product Review: Google Keep (App)

Life is insane. And by insane, I mean insanely busy.   Lately it feels like for every item I check off my to-do list, another two appear.   Time management is an area of my life that I am CONSTANTLY trying to improve in. I […]