Quick and Easy Chicken Taco Salad

1 pound chicken breast, chopped
1 cup pepperjack cheese, shredded
1 can refried black beans
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 ketchup
1 package McCormick chicken taco seasoning mix
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 cup milk
tortilla chips
sour cream

1. Heat up oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken, cook and stir until no longer pink. Stir in seasoning mix and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is absorbed stirring occasionally.
2. In small mixing bowl add mayo, ketchup and pepper. Mix and set aside. This is the dressing.
3. In microwave safe bowl add refried beans, milk, and salsa to your taste. Microwave for about 90 seconds or until warm. Stir and set aside. (This can also be done in a small saucepan on the stove.)
4. To serve put a small amount of crushed tortilla chips on the bottom of the bowl. Then add a couple spoonfuls of refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, and chicken. Top with dressing, and sour cream.

Banana-Walnut Bread

This is a great super easy recipe that takes about 1/2 of prep time and 1 hour of cook time. It makes 1 loaf or 12-18 muffins.


  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour. You can substitute wheat flour if you prefer.
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus ~1 tbsp. for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork (it ends up being about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, halved not chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and (a) grease a 9”x5”x3”loaf pan with butter or line a muffin pan with muffin baking cups.
  2. For the toasted walnuts, spread the walnuts on a cookie pan in a single layer and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until golden. You will be able to smell the nuts toasting. If this is your first time toasting nuts, err on the side of under-toasting, over toasting will give them a burnt bitter taste. Stir nuts 1-2 times during the cooking time to toast them more evenly. Remove from oven and cool. If you are toasting smaller amounts like this, you can also do it on the stovetop by placing the nuts in a medium sized pot and toast over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. It is much easier to burn them over the stove to be careful and stir consistently. Set nuts aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. In a deep mixing bowl with a handheld mixer or a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour the egg mixture into the butter while mixing to combine. Add the mashed bananas and remove the bowl from the mixture. The mixture may appear curdled, don’t worry, it should!
  5. Chop the cooled, toasted walnuts into medium sized pieces.
  6. With a spatula, mix in the flour mixture until combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts and transfer the batter to the loaf pan or evenly among the muffin tins.
  7. Place in the 350 degree F oven and bake for (a) 55 minutes for the loaf or (b) 20-25 minutes for the muffins. These times may vary depending on oven so I always advise checking them and removing them when a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
  8. For the muffins, cool until room temp and they are ready to serve. For the loaf, cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Trace a knife around the edges of the bread and invert onto plastic wrap, removing the bread from the pan and let cool completely before wrapping completely in plastic wrap.

Cooks note: Banana bread is best if served the next day so I suggest making this the day before you want to serve it.

Stuffed Chicken

*I know Shannon already posted something similar, but this is a little different*

4 chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, sliced long ways
1 container spreadable cheese (I use an artichoke jalapeno)
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 cups Classico sun-dried tomato alfredo
lemon herb seasoning
garlic powder
chili powder
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Add olive oil and sliced bell pepper to small sauce pan. Sprinkle with lemon herb seasoning and saute for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
3. Pound chicken to about 1/4 inch thick. Flip and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
4. Add spreadable cheese and a couple sliced bell peppers, to the center of the chicken breast. Fold the sides over and seal with tooth picks or string.
5. Place in a baking dish with fold side down and season top with bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and just a touch of chili powder.
6. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and remove tooth picks or string. Add alfredo sauce to the top of each chicken breast. Place back in oven for 15 minutes. Remove and serve.

NOTE: If you don't like bell peppers substitute the bell peppers for sun dried tomatoes.

Chocolate-Caramel Layer Bars

1 roll (16.5 oz) chocolate chip cookie dough
1 bag (11.5 oz) milk chocolate chips
1 container (18 oz) caramel apple dip
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In ungreased 13x9 in pan break up cookie dough. Press dough evenly in bottom of pan to form crust.
2. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in 4 quart saucepan, cook 1 cup of the chips and 1 cup of the dip over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal and peanuts.
4. Spread cereal mixture over cooled crust. In 1 quart saucepan, heat remaining chips and dip over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Spread over cereal mixture. Refrigerate until chocolate mixture is set, about 30 minutes.

Tamale Pie

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound, ground hamburger
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 can (about 15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can (about 8 oz) diced tomatoes (I like the diced with onion & green bell pepper just adds more flavor)
1/2 can whole kernel corn
4 oz chipotle chiles plus adobo sauce, from can chipotle in adobo
1 cup grated Cheddar
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 package (about 10 oz) Mexican cornbread mix

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Spray baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add hamburger, onions, green peppers, and garlic and cook until the meat is no longer pink and is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain off any excess fat and sprinkle the meat mixture with the cumin.
4. Add the beans, tomatoes, corn, chiles and adobo sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until heated through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the cheese and cilantro.
5. Spread the meat mixture in the baking dish.
6. In medium mixing bowl combine the cornbread mix with milk and egg according to the manufacturer's instructions.
7. Spread the cornbread batter over the meat mixture and bake until the cornbread is golden-brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let the tamale pie stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

NOTE: For a healthier option, substitute hamburger for ground turkey.

Spanish Rice

1 cup white rice
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup El Pato Mexican Tomato Sauce
4 oz fire roasted green chiles peeled & diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper (optional)

1. In medium sauce pan brown white rice over medium heat.
2. Add bouillon cubes, water, tomato sauce, green chiles, and bell pepper. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes

NOTE: Can substitute the 2 chicken bouillon cubes and 1 1/2 cups water for 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth.

Slow Cooked Barbeque Ribs

1 rack pork baby back ribs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons liquid smoke
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup coke
1 1/2 cups bbq sauce (My fav is the Emeril's Kicked Up)

1. Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Mix brown sugar, salt, pepper, liquid smoke and garlic; rub mixture into ribs. Cut ribs into 4-inch pieces. Layers ribs and onion in slow cooker. Pour cola over ribs.
3. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours or until tender. Remove ribs from slow cooker. Drain and discard liquid.
4. Pour barbecue sauce into bowl. Dip ribs into sauce. Place ribs in slow cooker. Pour any remaining sauce over ribs. Cover and cook on low heat setting 1 hour.

Note: The ribs will be very tender and fall off the bone easily so be careful when taking them out to add the bbq sauce.

Low calorie Pita Pizza

1 whole wheat pita- halved (I prefer to find the smaller ones that look like the one in the picture and halve them all the way around as if you were turning them into two slices of bread)
1 small can tomato sauce
Mushrooms- diced small
Bell peppers- diced small (use a variety of colors if you like)
Olives- diced small
Turkey pepperoni-sliced small
Shredded mozzarella cheese (I go full fat on this since you use such a small amount getting the flavor is nice)

Halve pitas and place in preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 minute to crisp up some. Add small amount of sauce and then pile with veggies and pepper, and top with about 1.5 Tbsp shredded cheese. Bake it until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Since pitas calories are measured by a whole pita breaking it in half makes it seem like a bigger meal while still consuming the same amount of calories, plus you can load up on double the veggies this way which is extra good when you are dieting. Veggies tend to be pretty low calorie so you can pretty much throw anything you like on top of this. Dicing it small allows the veggies to cook through in such a short cooking time. This will really taste fresh and yummy when you are on a diet and needing something familiar. Olives are slightly high calorie but you only need about two whole olives chopped for this so it ends up being a small amount!

Your pizzas will look similar to this only you will have two and they will be on pita halves!!! Mmmm tasty!

Low calorie Thick Fiesta Bean soup


3 cloves garlic rough chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 2" long thin strips
1-serrano pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow onion chopped
6 mushrooms, rough chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup canned fiesta bean mix (or any mixed beans)
2 Tbsp cumin
2.5 Tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Saute vegetables in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add bean mix, broth, seasonings, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with cheese and tortilla chips crumbled on top.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 2-4
  • Amount Per Serving 1.5 cup
  • Calories: 96.1
Adding roasted and shredded chicken breast would be a great addition to this soup however, you must add in the calories for your chicken. Also the amount of tortilla chips and cheese you use, is so small it barely counts!

Low calorie No Cream, Creamy asparagus soup

I decided I would pull up a few of my recipes from my diet days that I uploaded onto my diet page in case some of you are trying to diet. I followed a low calorie diet and lost 20 pounds in 2.5 months and would have kept going if I didn't get knocked up. My first few recipes will be soups but I have plenty more. I like doing soups because you can make a lot and easily have some for lunch or dinner the next day. Something we all know about dieting is if it isn't right there in front of you, you will pick something less healthy. That is why I encourage you to work hearty soups into your diet! (Also these recipes will appear in a fancier format since I had uploaded em to my sparkpeople.com page already)


3 Pounds Asparagus
1 Cup Shallots
2 Boxes (8 cups) vegetable broth
1- large jar marinated artichoke hearts drained
salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
2- Tbsp olive oil
Directions: First bring 4 cups broth to a boil. While this is happening, separate asparagus into three parts. The woody ends, the tips and the middle. ** Tip at recipe end** Place the woody ends in the broth to boil for flavor. Chop middles and reserve for later. Reserve pretty tops for end. Boil until woody ends are tender. Remove with a slotted spoon. Reserve broth in blender or food processor. In pot add olive oil, shallots, middles of asparagus, artichoke hearts salt, pepper and cayenne. Saute over low heat until asparagus is tender. Add aspargus, shallot mixture to broth in blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Place asparagus tips on microwave safe bowl and heat with two tablespoons broth for 2 minutes. Pour soup from blender into pot and add softened asparagus tips and cayenne pepper. Add remaining broth to desired constancy. Check for seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 7
  • Amount Per Serving: About 1 1/3 cup
  • Calories: 123.3
**(To do so hold the asparagus in both hands using thumb and pointer finger, with one hand on each end. Slightly bend until asparagus snaps, this is the natural tender point. You will want to lay this piece next to all the rest and cut at the same point. everything on the edge is considered your woody edge.)**