Taco Salad – dinner and lunch

Taco salad is one of Carver’s favorites and one that I haven’t tried previously with any success. The recipe came to us from Donna. I made up the proportions and they seemed to work well. This recipe yielded four servings- two for lunch and two for dinner. The salad is so hearty that it held very well from the evening to lunch the next day. The only thing I would recommend is to keep the chips and dressing separate (from the other ingredients and each other) and add on right before eating. No one likes a soggy salad or chip!

Taco Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped and divided
1 pound ground beef (96/4)
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ounces doritos, crumbled and divided
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 ounces low-fat cheese, cubed
1/2 cup light French dressing, divided

Cook beef in large skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain off any excess fat and add in taco seasoning and 1/2 cup warm water; stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until sauce is thickened.
While sauce thickens prepare salad. Combine romaine, beans, avocado and tomatoes in a large bowl. Mix well and then divide up. Half of this will be for your lunches. Once the beef has cooked, give it a good stir and put half of the beef towards the dinner salad and the remainder for the lunch salads. Now to add in the chips, cheese and dressing. Mix away. *note: remember the dressing and chips shouldn’t go right in with the lunch salads yet.
That’s all. Yep. That wasn’t so bad, right? In about twenty minutes you have managed to get a healthy and balanced dinner on the table and tomorrow’s lunch in the fridge.
This is also a great option for last-minute guests. Super easy and tasty.




Must-Haves for a Blissful Kitchen: Lunch Edition

Next up, all your helpful ingredients for delicious lunches every time. Whether you eat it at home or brown-bag it these items will hold up and keep your lunches healthy and will provide lots of variety.


Artichoke Hearts Dijon Mustard Vegetables: baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery sticks Microwave Popcorn
Broccoli Florets FF/LF Cheese Canned Tomatoes Mixed Nuts
Chopped Onion FF/LF Yogurt Couscous Low fat & low calorie treats
Grilled chicken or steak Lettuce, variety Dried Fruit – variety Rice
Lean Cuisine or Smart One Meals LF Mayonnaise Dry Whole Wheat Pasta Roasted Red Peppers
Veggie Burgers Low-fat deli meats Garlic Salsa
Pickles Olives Vinegar – variety Spaghetti Sauce
Seltzer Pesto Canned Beans Stock/Broth


Recipes and Prep

Preparation for the week

Here is my grid for the week: Food Plan Sheet I usually print out a Blank Planner Sheet on Thursday and start brainstorming what snacks/meals I want to have. Some considerations at this point: what do I already have in the house, what is in season, what did I make/eat this week, what am I craving. I jot down all these items on a post-it or on the back of the grid – keep it all in one place! Once I have accommodated the have/want/need, I go to the WW Good Health Guidelines: 5 fruit/veggie, 2 dairy, 2 oil, lean protein, whole grains and liquids. Let’s use dairy as an example: my needs are 2 dairy servings/day and I am now on a yogurt kick. Yogurt cups super easy to grab in the morning, a good source of protein and are 6oz which is 2oz short of a single dairy serving. Lucky for me I like a splash of coffee in my coffee so I make sure I get 2oz milk/day in my coffee. I find the easiest way to get my fruit/veggie needs is to get a bit in each meal and snack. Healthy oils have always been the hardest for me to get in. This week with all the soups and salads I will get my oils in as dressing and a dip for bread.

Once I have a set of recipes/meals chosen, I write down the page number and points value for each recipe I am using and put it at the bottom of the grid. As I am copying page numbers and points values I build my grocery list. Once you have plotted dinners or major cooking I finish my grocery list based on my other meals and snacks. Then all there’s left to do is hit the store and put the goodies away. The organization and cooking/prep is saved for another day…. Lots of recipes to share today!!!


Apple Bran Muffins: these have great texture and a subtle sweetness from the raisins and apples, they are best when served warm (especially with a cup of tea)

Preheat oven to 425. Spray 12 large and 12 small muffin tins with cooking spray (or line with muffin papers). Mix 2 1/2c bran, 1 1/3c whole wheat flour, 2 1/2t baking soda, and 1/2t salt in a large bowl. Add 2 eggs, 2/3c low-fat buttermilk, 1/2c applesauce, 1/3c molasses, and 1/4c honey and mix until combined. Fold in 1 medium Granny Smith– diced and 1/2c raisins. Fill the muffin tins until 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Serves: 16; 12 regular (1/serv), 12 mini (3/serv); Points Plus: 4

Scallop-Broccoli Stir Fry

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1t vegetable oil – continue to heat until a sprinkle of water sizzles in the skillet. Add 1 1/2lb fresh scallops to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until seared and opaque – about 5 minutes. Transfer scallops to a plate. Add 3c broccoli florets and 1c sliced carrots to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until bright and tender. Add in 1/4c warm water, 1t minced garlic and 2T reduced-sodium soy sauce to the vegetables in the skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes longer, covered over medium heat. Add in scallops to warm through, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Serves:4. Points Plus: 5

Unsweetened Granola: awesome for a light crunch on fruit or yogurt

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl mix 1c rolled oats, 2T wheat bran, 1/2c sliced almonds and 4T honey; make sure all are evenly coated. Bake for 30 minutes rotating halfway through cook time. Serving size: 2T (makes 1 1/2c), Points Plus: 2

Ed Fretwell Soup: this makes a HUGE amount of soup but it is delicious and very easy!!!

Rinse beans in water- soak over night at room temperature.Drain beans and put in a large pan. Add garlic, sage and 10 cups cold water. Cook over high heat- bring to boil. Boil for 5 mins then reduce to simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour. Skim away foam.While beans cook warm oil over medium heat in a soup pan. Add  onions, celery and carrots- cook stirring frequently  for 10-15 mins. Add zucchini and broth, increase heat to med-high and bring to a simmer. Add swiss chard, cabbage and tomatoes. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 1 hr. Then add the beans and their cooking water- discard sage. Add salt and stir well. Simmer for another hour stirring frequently. Serves 24. Points Plus: 3, per cup.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Heat 1t olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 medium onion, diced and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in 4 large beefsteak tomatoes, diced, 2t minced garlic, salt, pepper, and 1c vegetable broth. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Uncover mixture, add in 1/4c tomato paste, stir and let cool about 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or regular blender) blend the soup into a smoother texture. Add in 3c skim milk, 2T minced basil and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes until warmed through. Serve hot. Serves: 4 (1 1/2c) Points Plus: 4