Slow Cooker BBQ Turkey Breast

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast covered in a low sugar, homemade barbecue sauce is the answer when you are wondering what to make for dinner or your next party. Made with lean turkey breast and an easy barbecue sauce that comes together right in the slow cooker, this meal is so good. Pair it with this skinny coleslaw and slow cooker pinto beans.

It's funny how I almost always incorporate ground turkey, turkey sausage, or deli turkey into my meals but always forget about turkey breast unless its Thanksgiving. In the past it could be pretty hard to find out outside of the holidays, but now I find my local supermarket almost always has turkey breast (or at least turkey breast tenderloins) available. Since I can get bored pretty quickly with chicken breast, turning to turkey is always a great option and believe me when I say you won't regret making this slow cooker barbecue pulled turkey.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Barbecue sauce on a sandwich roll with coleslaw.

Today's recipe is a twist on a traditional barbecue pulled chicken made with homemade barbecue sauce, turkey, and onions. The barbecue sauce is made with ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, cumin, and paprika. You can also throw in some chili powder or cayenne if you like things spicy. It's also flavored with onions and garlic that add tons of flavor to the sauce while it cooks.

One note is to always look for a no sugar added or lower sugar ketchup if you can. Regular ketchup tends to have a lot of sugar. If you want to avoid ketchup altogether, you could use tomato sauce instead and taste before adding it to the crockpot to see if you need more vinegar or spices. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste if you like lots of tomato flavor in your barbecue sauce.

How long does it take to cook turkey breast in the slow cooker?

It depends on what kind of turkey you are cooking. For a recipe using turkey breast without the skin and bone, it will only take 4-6 hours on low in the slow cooker depending on the size of the turkey breast. For quicker cooking, you can cut the turkey breast into smaller chunks. For a skin on and bone-in turkey breast, it will take closer to 8 hours to cook it in the crockpot.

Dinner Ideas with Slow Cooker Barbecue Turkey

  • Pulled Turkey Sandwiches: Pile the turkey onto your favorite rolls (regular or light) and top with coleslaw. If you like things spicy, add some pickled jalapenos as well.
  • Barbecue Turkey Quesadillas: This makes the best quesadilla filling. I like to fill a low carb tortilla with mozzarella, sliced red onion, cilantro, and this turkey for a spin on a barbecue chicken pizza.
  • Turkey Tacos: Grill some corn tortillas and fill them with turkey and coleslaw or just plain shredded cabbage. For heat, serve with your favorite hot sauce, Sriracha, or chipotle peppers.
  • Barbecue Turkey Hash: Hash is one of my go-to meals when I have to clean out the fridge. Add tons of veggies like sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, corn and then stir in the turkey. Top with some crumbled goat cheese or a fried egg.
  • Pulled Turkey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: I love the combination of barbecue sauce with sweet potatoes so I usually end up stuffing leftovers in a baked sweet potato. Usually I will serve a big green salad on the side to get some veggies.
  • Barbecue Turkey and Ranch Chopped Salad: Make a chopped salad using romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, black beans, and corn. Top with this tender barbecue turkey and skinny ranch dressing.
  • BBQ Turkey Burrito Bowls: Start with brown or white rice, black beans or pinto beans, then add veggies, corn, the pulled turkey, and pile with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese for a southern spin on a classic burrito bowl.
  • Barbecue Turkey Pizzas: Everyone loves a barbecue chicken pizza so why not make one with turkey instead. Grab your favorite homemade or store bought pizza crust, spread on some of the barbecue sauce, turkey, red onions, and cheese. Then top with fresh cilantro.

Slow Cooker Barbecue turkey in a sandwich bun with coleslaw and a pickle.

Can I freeze slow cooker turkey breast?

This crockpot turkey will keep in the freezer after it has been cooked. Make sure to store it with plenty of sauce. The best way to defrost it is to place it in the fridge the night before and let it thaw out overnight. It can also be defrosted in the microwave on low power so it doesn't dry out.

Can I make this with chicken instead?

If you can't find turkey or you prefer chicken, this recipe will still turn out great. You can use boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs. If you decide to use chicken breasts, make sure to only cook them for 3-4 hours on low so they don't become dry.

Can I make this with prepared barbecue sauce?

Absolutely! If you don't want to make your own sauce, you can use your favorite store bought option instead. You will need about 1.5 cups of barebcue sauce to replace the homemade one. Look for one that is low in sugar and doesn't contain lots of hard to pronounce ingredients to keep things light and healthy.

Calories 241, Total Fat 4g, Total Carbohydrate 18g, Protein 35g, Serving Size 6 oz.Original Article

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zucchini Noodles and Zoodles

Zucchini noodles, loving known as zoodles, are one of the best ways to use all your summer zucchini. From a pasta substitute to a salad star, these healthy and low carb noodles make for some delicious meals. Here's everything you have ever wanted to know about the zucchini noodle – prepping, cooking, storing, freezing, nutritional benefits, and plenty of zucchini noodles recipes.

When I was younger, my parents let me have a little patch of land in our backyard for a garden. I picked out a few veggies to grow, along with strawberries and some basil. I am not sure I really knew how the plants would grow, nor did I supply them with adequate room, I’m sure.

I do, however, remember the zucchini plant. I remember how surprised I was at how it grew in a big, long vine that stretched beyond my garden parameters. I can still see the giant leaves of this particular zucchini plant, so big, they practically dwarfed some other plants nearby. So big, they hid their own fruit, to the point that I didn’t think to look underneath the leaves. Until, one day, I did.

That’s when I found the biggest zucchini I’d ever seen, the biggest zucchini my parents had ever seen. I don’t remember its exact dimensions, but I do remember it was about as long as my 12-year-old arm, and about five inches wide. At that time I think all I knew to do with it was to make five loaves of zucchini bread. If I had only known then about zucchini noodles. That big guy could have provided me enough noodles to last me through every salad, pasta stand-in, or stir-fry I could muster up that week and beyond.

Zucchini noodles in a wooden bowl with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Today I’m happy that I now know zucchinis are good for more than just bread (though, that’s yummy, too). Spiralized, ribboned, or sliced thin, creating zucchini noodles is a great way to add a low-calorie, low-carb, and nutritious vegetable to a myriad of meals.

Are Zucchini Noodles Good for You?

Heck yes! Zucchini is one of the lowest-calorie vegetables when compared to the same serving size as other nutritious vegetables like broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Coming in at only 19 calories per cup, zucchini also packs a nutritious punch. The bright green summer squash contains potassium, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, and iron, no cholesterol and almost zero fat. Zucchini is also a super low-carb fruit, containing only 4 grams of carbs per cup when eaten raw. Plus, its high water content means it’ll keep you feeling fuller, longer with every bite.

If you’re looking for a low-carb, low-cal, weight-loss friendly, healthy alternative to pasta or fun way to sneak in those five servings, look no further than the fabulous zucchini noodle.

The Nutritional Makeup of Zucchini Noodles

According to the USDA nutrient database, one cup of sliced zucchini contains 19 calories, 1.5 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of sugar. It also provides calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and a host of other vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain optimum function.

Zoodles with shrimp and Parmesan cheese on a white plate.

The Health Benefits of Zucchini Noodles

  • They are low-carb. If you were to compare one cup of zoodles to a cup of other cut squash, you’ll find that it’s one of the lowest-carb squashes available. For this reason, you’ll often find zucchini noodles being used in recipes as a substitution for other high-carb foods such as pasta.
  • They are high in hydration. Zucchini noodles are made up of 95 percent water. (Kind of makes you wonder how they squeeze all the other good-for-you nutrients into the other five percent, doesn’t it?) When you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, why not fill up on a good food that has the bonus of keeping you hydrated?
  • They are low-calorie. Part of any good weight loss or maintenance diet is watching your calorie intake. When a cup of zoodles contains only 19 calories, and one cup of spaghetti contains 200 calories, which would you rather eat?
  • They contain potassium. Four cups of zucchini noodles contain 1,180 milligrams of potassium, which is about 25 percent of your daily needs–all in one meal. Potassium is an electrolyte that occurs naturally. Your nerves and muscles need it to perform at their peak. Potassium also helps control your blood pressure and your digestive and kidney health.
  • Zoodles are a good source of vitamin C. Put down that orange and reach for a cup of zucchini noodles instead. For every serving of the squash you eat, you’re consuming 20 milligrams of vitamin C. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is water-soluble (good thing it comes in such a water-filled vessel) and is known for its antioxidant properties. The vitamin helps your body to both grow and repair your connective tissues, blood vessels, bones, and skin. It also aids in the absorption of iron and can help decrease bad cholesterol levels.
  • They are low fat. Really, really low fat. As in, .36 grams per cup low. That means you can enjoy your zucchini noodles with a side of healthy fats, like the kind you get from eating avocado, nuts, and eggs.
  • They are good for your bones. The calcium found in zoodles can help keep your bones strong and aid in the prevention of osteoporosis. Calcium is an important mineral that your bones cannot do without. It is also responsible for contracting your muscles, making new bone tissue, and helping your blood to clot.

How to Pick Zucchini for Noodles

When choosing zucchini, make sure that the squash is firm and has a glossy look to the skin. Discard or do not purchase any that are flexible, soft, or turning brown. When you slice into a ripe zucchini, it should have a buttery texture and the inside will look yellowish, white, or slightly green.

Zucchini noodles being picked up with a chopstick in a bowl.

How to Make Zucchini Noodles

You don’t have to peel the skin off of a zucchini to make noodles. As the flesh contains most of the water of the squash, you’ll want to eat the skin to retain the zucchini’s fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Just rinse, pat dry, then slice off the stem and a bit of the end and decide which way you’d like to craft your noodles.

  • Spiralized. A spiralizer is a tool that takes the cylindrical zucchini and twists it as it cuts the entire squash into spirals. They come in many different varieties, from tabletop models to hand-held versions. No matter which spiralizer you choose, the end result will be fabulous spirals of zucchini, ready to be sauced, sauteed, or stir-fried.
  • Matchstick. You’ll have to get out your knife and cutting board to create these long stick noodles. Cut each zucchini lengthwise into three or four sections, then cut each of those sections into strips until you achieve your desired length. These make a great addition to a salad.
  • Julienned. I recommend using a kitchen mandolin for this method (though you can also use a vegetable peeler). You’ll want to be sure to use the knuckle guard as well — trust me. As you slice the zucchini alongside the blade, you’ll notice your zucchini will be transformed into nice, long ribbons. Add these ribbons to any recipe you choose — or eat them as-is with a nice vinaigrette. It’s up to you.
  • Ribboned. The other side of your vegetable peeler may also have a wider option for creating long, wide ribbons of zucchini with each pass of the tool. These long noodles work great as a wider-noodle substitute (as in lasagna noodles).
  • Pre-cut. Can I just give a shout-out to the geniuses behind pre-cut everything? Whether you’re running low on time or don’t own the tools to create your own zucchini noodles, look for pre-packaged options in your grocer’s produce section.

How to Store Zucchini Noodles

You can keep whole, unwashed, ripe zucchini for up to one week in the refrigerator in a loosely tied or perforated plastic bag. If you’d like to freeze it, you can blanch it first to keep the frozen squash from turning brown and mushy.

After you’ve made zucchini noodles, you can store them in a plastic or glass container or plastic bag in the fridge for three to four days. Be sure to line the storage container with a paper towel to absorb any extra moisture from the zucchini noodles. The paper towel will also keep them from becoming too soft.

You can freeze the zoodles, but they do end up thawing into kind of a mushy mess. This is okay if you want to add them to sauce or “hide” them in your children's food. When faced with mushy zucchini noodles, you can always blend them right into a sauce or cook them down and add them to other recipes.

Zoodles on a white plate with salmon and tomatoes.

How to Cook Zucchini Noodles

Just like other recipes that contain squash, there are many ways to cook a zoodles…or to not cook them at all. Although like any vegetable, cooking zucchini noodles does strip the squash of some of its nutrients, they still make a great low-carb, low-calorie food that tastes great any way you serve it.

I do recommend salting and draining your zucchini noodles on a paper towel or over a colander before cooking them. This results in a much firmer noodle, as some of the liquid is drawn out of the zucchini before cooking.

  • Raw. Simply slice your zucchini in spirals, ribbons, matchsticks…however you like and add to any salad, or skip the other salad ingredients and toss the noodles in a simple dressing, like this Lemon-Feta Vinaigrette.
  • Sauteed. This is easily one of my favorite ways to enjoy zucchini noodles. When choosing between rice or noodles in an Asian dish, I always go for the noodle. Simply prepare your sauce according to the recipe, then toss the noodles in toward the end for just a few minutes to cook them until al dente. Some of my favorite recipes using this method include Asian Zucchini Noodles, Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles, Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles with Sausage, and Thai Red Curry Tofu with Zucchini Noodles.
  • Microwaved. When you’re in a hurry nothing beats the microwave. Place a desired amount of noodles into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for approximately one minute, then toss with your favorite sauce, like this one for Parmesan Zucchini Noodles.
  • Baked. When you’re craving a nice, hot, cheesy pasta dish, sometimes you gotta have it. But, you don’t have to give in and toss your healthy diet to the side completely. Simply substitute zucchini noodles for pasta like I did in this recipe I created for Low-Carb Zucchini Lasagna, sit back, and enjoy every delicious morsel.

Zucchini noodles as pasta with spaghetti sauce.

Where to Buy Zoodles?

If you don't want to make your own zucchini noodles at home, there are plenty of places to buy them pre-cut these days. Check in your grocery store in the fresh produce section first. Many stores now offer spiralized veggies that are ready to grab and go. You can also check the freezer section since big brands have started making zucchini noodles as well. They are flash frozen and turn out pretty great when prepared correctly.

Looking for more zucchini noodle recipes?

We have over forty amazing recipes for main dishes, side dishes, and more. Check out all our zoodle recipes.

Calories , Total Fat g, Total Carbohydrate g, Protein g, Serving Size Original Article

Sesame Soy Grilled Tuna

This Sesame Soy Grilled Tuna with an Asian marinade with soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger makes a perfectly grilled tuna steak that is full of flavor. It's great with Sesame Soy Edamame, Asian Zucchini Noodles, or this Asian Kale Salad.

This easy grilled tuna with Asian flavors is as good as you would get in any restaurant and doesn't come with a huge price tag like the restaurant dishes normally do. It's marinated in a simple blend of soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, green onions, and sesame oil. This adds tons of flavor to the fish without adding lots of calories in a heavy sauce or oil rich marinade. It can be cooked on an outdoor grill, on a grill pan, or even pan seared. It's so good and really couldn't be simpler to make.

Grilled tuna steak on a black plate with kale salad and a green and white napkin.

Before we talk about this grilled tuna steak recipe, let's talk about the elephant in the room – cooking almost raw tuna at home. When I first made this recipe and shared it on Instagram, so many of you reported you would be scared to make this dish at home. But you shouldn't be! As long as you are buying the right fish, you can definitely cook medium rare or rare tuna at home just like you would get in your favorite sushi restaurant. It's easy, fast, and a really healthy option for dinner. And if you prefer things cooked all the way, that's an option too. This grilled tuna recipe will work for barely cooked tuna or fully cooked tuna.

A Quick Guide to Buying Tuna

Since buying fresh tuna can be expensive and a little scary for some, especially if you are preparing it raw or almost raw, it's important to know what to look for when buying tuna steaks.

  • Type of tuna: There are lots of different types of tuna and most can be enjoyed raw or just seared on the outside. Ahi tuna, also known as yellow fin tuna, is probably the most popular but you can also look for bluefin, bigeye, or albacore tuna. Most stores sell tuna as steaks and many times, these steaks are cut to order from a large loin piece.
  • Color: The color of the tuna should a deep red to pink color and should be shiny and almost translucent. Differerent species will vary slightly in color but they all should have a rich pink to red color. The tuna should never be brown or matte looking. This normally means it is getting older. Another sign of age is any gaps in the tuna steaks. They should be a nice whole piece.
  • Smell: Fresh tuna should always have a fresh ocean smell, but shouldn't smell overly fishy.
  • Previously frozen: Almost all tuna sold in grocery stores and fish markets has been flash frozen at sea to preserve freshness. So unless you are buying tuna that has just been caught, it is almost always previously frozen.
  • Frozen: You can buy frozen tuna steaks and defrost them yourself at home. Just make sure to buy high-quality fish.
  • Markets: Whenever in doubt, make sure to buy your tuna steaks at a quality market where you can count on the freshness or a fish market if there is one available. Many grocery stores have fish counters with knowledgeable staff that can ease your fears about buying fresh tuna.

Easy grilled tuna on a wooden cutting board in small slices.

How do you know when a tuna steak is done?

If you are cooking a tuna steak to medium rare, many times the best way to make sure you don't overcook it is to use a timer. To get medium rare tuna, it will only take between 2-3 minutes per side since you are just looking to sear the outside of the fish. Always make sure to use a very hot pan or grill and the tuna will naturally release when it is seared and ready to flip. If you want your tuna more cooked, you could cook it for about 5-6 minutes per side. Tuna gets dry quickly, so beware of overcooking it.

What spice blends and seasonings go with tuna steaks?

There are tons of different spice blends, seasoning, and marinade options when it comes to tuna. If you don't want to use the Asian marinade I suggested in the recipe, you can try all kinds of other combinations. Almost anything that would work as a crust for steak will work for tuna. Just make sure to not use anything too strong that will overpower the fish. Here is one of my favorite simple tuna steak seasoning blends.

Tuna Steak Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

How do I pan sear tuna steaks?

If you want to pan sear the tuna steaks instead of cook them on the grill, you can follow the exact same instructions but cook the tuna in a heavy pan or a cast iron skillet. Make sure to add some high heat oil, like vegetable oil, to the pan first. Once it is nice and hot, add the tuna and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Let the tuna rest 5 minutes before serving.

Can I keep leftover tuna in the fridge?

This tuna will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days after it has been cooked. It doesn't reheat very well so it is best to serve it cold. It is delicious in salads, over rice, or with cold Asian noodles. It also makes great tacos and lettuce wraps.

Calories 237, Total Fat 4g, Total Carbohydrate 4g, Protein 43g, Serving Size 6 oz.Original Article

Easy Healthy Carnitas – Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

These easy and healthy Carnitas can be made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot and come out deliciously tender and packed with flavor every time. They make the best filling for tacos, burritos, rice bowls, and more. Serve them with these Slow Cooker Pinto Beans or add them to this Mexican Chopped Salad.

Carnitas are the ultimate filling when it comes to all your Mexican favorites. They are crunchy and crispy on the outside while still staying moist and tender inside. Seriously good and this version couldn't be easier to make with options for the crockpot and the Instant Pot.

Slow Cooker Carnitas in corn tortillas with cilantro and onion.

If you have never had carnitas before, it is like a Mexican version of pulled pork made with spices, orange juice, and lime juice. Traditionally they are cooked in a large vat of lard until the pork gets super tender and the outside gets crispy from cooking in fat. However, as you can imagine, this isn't the healthiest option. Luckily, it is pretty easy to make a version without the lard that is still really delicious.

The key to making carnitas at home is taking the extra step to crisp up the pork after it has cooked low and slow. This can be done in the broiler or in a cast iron skillet once the pork has finished cooking and is shredded. Personally, I always do it in the broiler since it is fast and there is less clean up. However I know some people don't love using their broiler, so you can crisp them up in a skillet with a little oil.

What are Carnitas?

Carnitas are a traditional Mexican dish, usually made with pork shoulder that is cooked for hours in lard or cooking fat. It's addictive and delicious and something that almost everyone I know loves once they try it. Since it is cooked in lard, it gets incredibly tender but also gets nice and crispy on the outside. Normally it is cooked with a basic spice blend and served with corn tortillas, cilantro, onions, and a spicy salsa.

Since cooking pork in a vat of lard isn't something most people want to take on, it's actually really easy to make a version at home using the Instant Pot or slow cooker that tastes just as delicious. The only catch is that you have to crisp up the pork after cooking it in the broiler or in a hot skillet.

Instant Pot Carnitas on a baking sheet with tortillas and lime.

How to serve Carnitas?

The most traditional way to serve pork carnitas is in a taco piled high with cilantro, white onion, salsa, and plenty of lime juice. It can also be used to make burritos, rice bowls, enchiladas, nachos, and quesadillas. And around here, I love piling it high on a big green salad with black beans and corn. Honestly, this is such a versatile protein, you can use it so many different ways. And it freezes well so don't be afraid to make a big batch and keep some in the freezer for a quick meal.

How to make Carnitas in the slow cooker? Instant Pot?

Slow Cooker carnitas couldn't be easier to make. First, you will want to trim a pork shoulder to remove extra fat and cut it into three to four large pieces. Then coat it in a spice rub using chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add some lime juice, orange juice, onion, and garlic. Then cook everything for about 8 hours on low until the pork is fork tender and easily shreds.

To make pork carnitas in the Instant Pot, you will follow the same steps to start. When it comes to cooking, just use the meat setting and make sure it is on high pressure. Cook it for 30 minutes and then let is naturally release. Shred the pork using two forks.

Finally to make things crispy, turn the broiler up to high and spread the carnitas out on a baking sheet. Broil for 4-6 minutes until they begin to crisp up and then toss with some of the cooking liquid to add flavor and moisture.

Can I make Carnitas with chicken?

Absolutely! You can use the recipe included here but replace the pork with chicken thighs instead. You will also need to adjust the cooking time. It will take about 4 hours in the slow cooker and about 20 minutes in the Instant Pot. Here is a complete recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas.

Easy carnitas in three tacos with onion, limes, and cilantro.

What can I serve with carnitas?

There are so many different options when it comes to side dishes for carnitas. The most traditional would be to serve it with refried beans, rice, and a stack of warm corn tortillas. Then each person can assemble their own tacos with fresh cilantro, diced white onion, limes, and salsa. Avocados or guacamole is also always on our table when Mexican food is involved.

When we are eating carnitas tacos, I almost always serve it alongside some type of corn and black bean salad since it is something we all love and it keeps things light and healthy. Usually, I will serve some lettuce wraps as an option too for people who are eating low carb, Paleo, or Whole30.

Then I like to use the leftovers for lunches in my own Chipotle style burrito bowls and salads. I toss in beans, corn, salsa, a little bit of cheese, and some cilantro lime brown rice or cauliflower rice.

Calories 216, Total Fat 9g, Total Carbohydrate 3g, Protein 29g, Serving Size 6 oz.Original Article

Healthy Meal Plans: Week 30

Lately, I have been craving tons of fresh veggies since there are so many good ones in season right now – zucchini, corn, tomatoes, asparagus, and green beans. So this week's meal plan celebrates many of those veggies in recipes your family will love.

Now on to this week's meal plan! It starts out with Broccoli Parmesan Baked Oven Omelet, Mexican Chopped Salad, and Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chicken. Monday brings Skillet Vegetable Lasagna and Tuesday is a Lemon and Smoked Paprika Chicken Thighs. Wednesday is Broiled Flank Steak with a Grilled Vegetable Caprese and Thursday is Lemon Basil Pork Chops. To end the week, meals include Honey Lime Tilapia and Chicken Sausage with Mashed Potatoes.

Want to try a free meal plan? Click here to download a free one week meal plan.

Here are some of the meals in this week's meal plan!

Blackberry Yogurt Parfaits: With blackberries in season, this easy breakfast couldn't be more delicious and is simple to make and customize.

Blackberry granola yogurt for breakfast in this week's meal plan.

Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey Lime Dressing: This salad is packed with black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, jicama and more with an easy and super tasty honey lime dressing.

Healthy meal plan with Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey Lime Dressing for lunch.

Lemon Basil Pork Chops: These pork chops marinated in lemon and basil have so much flavor and taste great on the grill or in the oven.

Lemon Basil Pork Chops on a grill with fresh basil leaves.

Skillet Vegetable Lasagna: This lasagna is so much easier to make than the traditional version and you don't need to turn on the oven and worry about heating up the house.

Skillet Vegetable Lasagna on a wooden table in a large pan.

Remember to check out the healthy, low carb, and vegetarian meal plans all with nutritional info and Freestyle SmartPoints.

Love the idea of meal planning but don’t have time to find recipes, create shopping lists, and make meal plans?

Since I know that many people simply don’t have the time to create their own healthy meal plans, we provide delicious and healthy meal plans at Slender Kitchen that you can customize to meet your needs.

Each healthy weekly meal plan comes full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meal plans come in regular, vegetarian, and low carb options. All feature complete nutritional information, Weight Watchers SmartPoints, and categorized shopping lists! There are also two bonus fallback recipes weekly and the option for either a complete meal plan or a Dinner Only plan. This includes our interactive meal planning option where you can customize the number of servings for each meal, swap in new recipes if you don't like something, or build your own meal plan from scratch. All that for less the cost of one cup of coffee per month with the yearly plan.

Calories , Total Fat g, Total Carbohydrate g, Protein g, Serving Size Original Article

Southwest Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, and Avocado

This easy Southwest Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, and Avocado is the best quinoa salad. You will crave it. This salad is so easy to make and the homemade cilantro, lime, and yogurt dressing tastes good on everything. If you love these flavors, you may also love this Mexican Chopped Salad and Southwest Kale and Sweet Potato Salad.

I am on a quinoa salad kick and have been making huge salads almost every day for lunch. Usually, I fill them with whatever leftover veggies and protein we have in the fridge, but this Southwestern inspired one came out so good I had to recreate it and share it. Between the sweet corn, earthy black beans, creamy avocado, and the best cilantro dressing – it's hard to find a better quinoa and bean salad. And I would know, I make them all the time.

Southwestern Quinoa salad with black beans, corn, and avocado in a bowl with a spoon.

Like many good recipes, this salad was born out of necessity. I was starving and staring at a fridge of leftovers that needed to be used ASAP. There was some leftover grilled corn on the cob, a half open can of black beans, some cooked quinoa, and an avocado within minutes of its life. I quickly began to throw these things together but then realized that I needed something to bring everything together. Enter my favorite creamy cilantro dressing.

This simple dressing was made for a Southwestern Quinoa salad like this one. It's creamy, full of bright cilantro and lime flavors, and super easy to make. Everything goes into the blender and that's it. You will have a delicious homemade cilantro dressing in just a couple of minutes. This dressing will keep in the fridge for 4-6 days so consider making a double or triple batch. You can also make it spicy by throwing in some jalapeno or chipotle peppers. So good if you like spice.

How to Meal Prep this Southwest Quinoa Salad

This is a great recipe for meal prep and I love making it for lunches on the go since it is really filling and satisfying. It never leaves me looking for a snack an hour after lunch. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when prepping this salad in advance.

  • Dressing: Pack the dressing separately from the rest of the salad so that you can add it right before eating it. Sometimes if it is added in advance, it will thicken up and lose some of its creaminess.
  • Avocado: It's best to add the avocado right before eating so it doesn't brown. You can store leftover avocado in the fridge. Just squeeze some lime juice over it to prevent extra browning. And if you notice your avocado has browned, you can always scrape off the top brown layer with a knife. Underneath it is usually nice and green.
  • Extra protein: If you want to add some extra protein to the salad, consider adding some grilled chicken breast, shrimp, steak, or tofu. It's also delicious with canned tuna or canned salmon if you want something that doesn't take any extra prep time.
  • Mix it up: If you get sick of eating the same thing after a couple of days, consider mixing things up by serving it different ways. Eat it as a salad one day. Then try it wrapped up in lettuce the next day for some quinoa lettuce wraps. Finish the week by adding it to a wrap with some sliced chicken or canned tuna.

Southwest Quinoa and Bean Salad in a wooden bowl with cilantro in the background.

Is this Southwestern Quinoa Salad healthy?

There are so many healthy ingredients in this simple salad. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of these ingredients.

  • Quinoa is one of the healthiest grains out there and is high in protein and fiber. Additionally, it is a plant based source of all nine essential amino acids. Plus it is packed with vitamins and minerals including magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and various beneficial antioxidants.
  • Black beans are packed with fiber and will help you stay full. Plus they are a good source of folate and Vitamin B6.
  • Cilantro has a ton of health benefits including helping your body to rid itself of heavy metals and preventing urinary tract infections. It also supports heart health and can digestion.
  • Limes and lime juice are known to help aid digestion and pack in tons of Vitamin C.
  • Avocado is a superfood is packed with good for you fats that will keep you full. They also contain more potassium than bananas and is one of the most nutrient packed foods out there.

Tips and Tricks for this Southwest Quinoa Salad

  • Make it spicy: If you like things spicy, consider adding fresh jalapeno or canned chipotles to the dressing. You can add as little or as much as you like to get it to your desired heat level. Usually, I use about half a jalapeno for this recipe. You can also add a touch of honey or maple syrup to balance the heat if needed. Red pepper flakes will work as well but I like the flavor of the jalapenos or chipotles better.
  • Shortcut quinoa: If you don't want to spend time cooking quinoa, look for the prepared frozen quinoa instead. Cook it for about half the time required in the microwave so that it is just defrosted and warm.
  • Add greens: If you like a really voluminous salad, add greens to the mix as well. I love this salad with arugula or chopped romaine.
  • Add protein: For extra protein, you can always add grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, or tofu. For a quick option, use canned salmon or tuna.
  • As a side dish: This makes a very hearty portion. If you are planning to use it as a side dish, you can easily get eight servings from this salad.
  • Hate cilantro: Cilantro is a pretty polarizing ingredient. If you don't like cilantro, you can make the dressing with fresh basil or a combination of basil and parsley.

Calories 346, Total Fat 16g, Total Carbohydrate 45g, Protein 13g, Serving Size 1 cupOriginal Article

Honey Garlic Chicken and Asparagus

This easy Honey Garlic Chicken and Asparagus is a weeknight staple since it uses simple ingredients you likely have at home. Plus it is ready in less than twenty minutes. Love this combo? Make sure to check out this One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken and Asparagus and Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Chicken.

Chicken and asparagus and a dreamy honey mustard garlic sauce. This dish is so so good and couldn't be easier to make. It is fresh, healthy, and kid friendly and is regularly part of our weeknight dinner rotation since everyone loves it. I make it with all kinds of vegetables depending on what I have on hand and usually serve it with quinoa, brown rice, or a baked potato. Plus since I love variation, there are tons of easy ways to customize this and change up the flavors.

Chicken and asparagus in a honey mustard sauce on foil.

Before we dig into ways to customize this chicken and asparagus recipe, let's talk about the sauce because it is one I constantly use in the kitchen. It's made with a combination of honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, soy sauce (or coconut aminos), and olive oil. And let me tell you, it tastes amazing on everything. I use it on salmon, pork, chicken, tofu, and veggies. I even use it as a stir-fry sauce. This stuff is seriously simple and seriously tasty.

Honey Garlic Chicken and Asparagus Recipe Ideas

  • Make it spicy: If you like things on the spicy side, add red pepper flakes to the sauce. It will add a nice amount of heat to the dish. Sriracha also works for an Asian twist.
  • Switch out the veggies: This recipe will work with all kinds of veggies that are quick cooking. Try things like sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, summer squash, boy choy, or green beans. You can also use carrots, just make sure to cut them into matchsticks so they cook quickly.
  • Change the protein: I really like chicken breasts for this recipe since they stay juicy when they are quickly broiled. However, this can be made with chicken thighs, boneless pork chops, or fish. It also works with extra firm tofu for a vegetarian option.
  • Herbs and spices: You can add flavor and depth to the sauce with fresh or dried herbs or your favorite spices. Rosemary and thyme work really well. I also like to sprinkle the chicken with Cajun seasoning to add a touch of spice.

Chicken with asparagus and quinoa on a white plate with garlic on the side.

How do you broil chicken breast?

There are a few important steps to take to broil chicken breast. The first and most important is to cut the chicken into thinner cutlet style pieces. Normally chicken breast is too thick for the broiler and you will end up with a burnt outside and raw inside. Instead, you want to cut the chicken into thinner pieces that will cook quickly at the high temperature of broiling. You can do this by cutting a regular chicken breast in half horizontally. You can also just buy chicken cutlets or chicken tenderloins.

The next thing you think about is how long to broil chicken breast. Thin pieces of chicken breast will normally be fully cooked in 6-8 minutes when they are broiled. Once the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees, they are ready.

Do you need to blanch the asparagus first?

There is no need to blanch the asparagus before broiling it. Asparagus cooks very quickly and will come out perfect when broiled for 6-8 minutes.

Can I bake this chicken and asparagus?

Absolutely! Prepare the chicken and asparagus the same way and place them on a baking sheet. Then instead of broiling the chicken, bake it at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. If you decide to make this with thighs or bone-in chicken, it will take longer. I recommend adding the asparagus during the last ten minutes of cooking so they don't get mushy.

Can I make this as a skillet chicken and asparagus?

This recipe works great in a skillet as well. Start by heating some olive oil in a skillet. Brush the chicken with the honey garlic sauce and add it to the pan in a single layer. Let it cook for 3-5 minutes until browned and then flip and repeat on the other side. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add the asparagus to the pan and toss with the remaining sauce. Cook for 6-8 minutes until just tender and bright green. Serve alongside the chicken.

Side Dishes for Chicken with Asparagus

  • Grains: Since the sauce for this dish is so good, normally I will just serve it alongside couscous, brown rice, or quinoa. The grains soak up some of the extra sauce and it's delicious. Cauliflower rice is also a good option for a lower carb or Paleo meal.
  • Mashed Cauliflower: In colder months, I often serve this with some mashed cauliflower, mashed butternut squash, or mashed potatoes.
  • Potatoes: Our family loves potatoes so they are a popular choice. When I am pressed for time I make simple baked regular or sweet potatoes. When I have more time I will make my favorite easy roasted potatoes.

Calories 253, Total Fat 5g, Total Carbohydrate 12g, Protein 34g, Serving Size 6 oz chicken and 1/2 cup asparagusOriginal Article

7 Amazon Prime Day Kitchen Deals You Don’t Want to Miss

I am an Amazon addict and look forward to Prime Day every year. Here are some of my favorites for the kitchen this year! They include items I seriously can't live without including the Instant Pot, Vitamix, and my favorite cast iron pans.

Remember there are limited numbers so pick up your favorites before they sell out!

1. Instant Pot Duo for $58.99 (usually $99.99)

Instant pot

2. Vitamix Blender for $297.95 (usually $549.99)

Vitamix

3. Bella Air Fryer for $38.99 (usually $62.99)

Air Fryer

4. Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set (discount coming at 4:10 PM EST)

Cast iron pans

5. ThermoPro Wireless Cooking Thermometer (discount coming at 8:10 PM EST)

meat thermometer

6. Banza Chickpea Pasta Six Pack (discount coming at 8:20 PM EST)

Banza pasta

7. Mandoline Veggie Slicer (discount coming at 5:00 PM EST)

mandoline

Calories , Total Fat g, Total Carbohydrate g, Protein g, Serving Size Original Article

Healthy Meal Plans: Week 29

Lately, I have been craving tons of fresh veggies since there are so many good ones in season right now – zucchini, corn, tomatoes, asparagus, and green beans. So this week's meal plan celebrates many of those veggies in recipes your family will love.

Now on to this week's meal plan! It starts out with a delicious Protein Packed Banana Oatmeal Pancakes, Cranberry Tuna Salad, and Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken. Monday brings Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles and Tuesday is a Spicy Turkey, Green Bean, and Mushroom Stir-fry. Wednesday is a Skillet Gnocchi with Zucchini and Corn and Thursday is Grilled Lemon Dijon Chicken Thighs. To end the week, meals include Turkey Salsa Burgers and a Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak.

Want to try a free meal plan? Click here to download a free one week meal plan.

Here are some of the meals in this week's meal plan!

Potato Gnocchi with Zucchini and Corn: This easy to make creamy summer pasta dish taste like it should have a million calories but is surprisingly light and healthy.

Potato Gnocchi with Zucchini and Corn in a black skillet with fresh basil.

Cranberry Tuna Salad: My absolute favorite tuna salad recipe packed with cranberries, apples, and celery.

Healthy meal plan with Cranberry Tuna Salad for lunch.

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Feta: There is no better way to make asparagus than on the grill and adding fresh lemon and feta is always a good idea.

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Feta on a white plate with parsley.

Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles: I love shrimp scampi and this lightened up version over zucchini noodles is always a hit.

Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles on a wooden table.

Remember to check out the healthy, low carb, and vegetarian meal plans all with nutritional info and Freestyle SmartPoints.

Love the idea of meal planning but don’t have time to find recipes, create shopping lists, and make meal plans?

Since I know that many people simply don’t have the time to create their own healthy meal plans, we provide delicious and healthy meal plans at Slender Kitchen that you can customize to meet your needs.

Each healthy weekly meal plan comes full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meal plans come in regular, vegetarian, and low carb options. All feature complete nutritional information, Weight Watchers SmartPoints, and categorized shopping lists! There are also two bonus fallback recipes weekly and the option for either a complete meal plan or a Dinner Only plan. This includes our interactive meal planning option where you can customize the number of servings for each meal, swap in new recipes if you don't like something, or build your own meal plan from scratch. All that for less the cost of one cup of coffee per month with the yearly plan.

Calories , Total Fat g, Total Carbohydrate g, Protein g, Serving Size Original Article

Healthy Meal Plans: Week 33

What are you craving this week? For me it's been burgers, tacos, and meatballs so all three of those things are making an appearance in this week's meal plan.

Now on to this week's meal plan! It starts out with Sausage and Butternut Squash Casserole, Chicken Parmesan Boats, and Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas. Monday brings Angel Hair Pasta with Kale and Sausage and Tuesday is Spinach Meatballs with Creamy Polenta. Wednesday is General Tso's Pork and Thursday is Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken Thighs. To end the week, meals include Grilled Honey Lime Salmon and Pizza Turkey Burgers.

Want to try a free meal plan? Click here to download a free one week meal plan.

Here are some of the meals in this week's meal plan!

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas: We are obsessed with this recipe and every time I buy chicken thighs, my husband insists that I make these easy, super delicious tacos. They are super tender and get nice and crispy on the outside form a quick trip to the broiler.

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnita for dinner in this week's meal plan.

Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats: Have tons of zucchini in your garden? You will love these simple Chicken Parm zucchini boats.

Healthy meal plan with Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats for lunch.

Grilled Red Potatoes: We love potatoes as a side dish but when I am grilling, I don't want to turn the oven on as well. These tasty grilled potatoes are the answer.

Grilled Red Potatoes on a grill pan with spices.

Lightened Up General Tso's Pork: Sweet and spicy pork that taste just like your favorite takeout. This is too good not to make.

General Tso's pork in a bowl with rice and broccoli.

Remember to check out the healthy, low carb, and vegetarian meal plans all with nutritional info and Freestyle SmartPoints.

Love the idea of meal planning but don’t have time to find recipes, create shopping lists, and make meal plans?

Since I know that many people simply don’t have the time to create their own healthy meal plans, we provide delicious and healthy meal plans at Slender Kitchen that you can customize to meet your needs.

Each healthy weekly meal plan comes full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meal plans come in regular, vegetarian, and low carb options. All feature complete nutritional information, Weight Watchers SmartPoints, and categorized shopping lists! There are also two bonus fallback recipes weekly and the option for either a complete meal plan or a Dinner Only plan. This includes our interactive meal planning option where you can customize the number of servings for each meal, swap in new recipes if you don't like something, or build your own meal plan from scratch. All that for less the cost of one cup of coffee per month with the yearly plan.

Calories , Total Fat g, Total Carbohydrate g, Protein g, Serving Size Original Article