Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Unless it’s summer and can fire up the grill, we don’t prepare steak at home that often.  On the rare occasions I decide to make steak indoors, I’ve discovered that the best way to do so is using a cast iron skillet.  The cast iron works perfectly to get that golden brown sear and can seamlessly transition into the oven to finish thicker cuts of meat up.

Recently I’ve been loving the ease of flank steak cooked on the cast iron.  Since it’s a thinner cut of meat, it cooks up quickly to that perfectly medium center with a beautifully browned sear on the outside.  No need to stick this cut in the oven to finish!  Additionally, it’s a leaner cut of steak, being lower in fat and higher in protein than some other cuts such as ribeye.

Additionally, sliced against the grain after cooking leaves it tender enough to skip marinating it.  Pair it with a flavor bomb sauce such as chimichurri, and you’ve got dinner ready in under 20 minutes!

sliced flank steak

For those that haven’t tried chimichurri, you’re in for a treat!  It’s basically a sauce made from fresh herbs, garlic, and vinegar.  There are many variations out there, with additional ingredients such as cheese (making it more like a pesto) or roasted onions.  I keep mine pretty simple and use a blender to bring it together quickly!  Adding this sauce is a quick way to add a ton of flavor to just about any meat dish!  Just look at that beautiful bright green sauce!  Yum!

zoomed in flank steak chimichurri salad

Pair it up with your favorite vegetable side dish or throw it on a salad for a quick and very flavorful meal!

Here, I’ve made a salad with some leftovers, which made it even more quick and easy!

flank steak chimichurri salad

Ingredients:

Servings:  4          Time:  15-20 minutes

For the steak-

  1. 1 lb flank steak
  2.  1 t coconut oil or neutral cooking oil
  3. Salt and pepper

Chimichurri sauce-

  1.  1 bunch cilantro
  2.   2 cloves garlic
  3.  1 small shallot
  4.   Juice of 1/2 lime
  5.  1 T olive oil
  6.  1 T red wine vinegar
  7.  Couple good shakes of crushed red pepper flakes or 1/2 T Chile Crunch Condiment
  8.  Salt and Pepper
  9.  Warm water to thin if necessary

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add a small amount of neutral oil or butter.  Salt and pepper both sides of the flank steak.  Add the steak to the heated skillet and allow to sear for approximately 5 minutes.  Once seared and cooked about 1/3 of the way through, flip and allow to cook another 5-7 minutes to desired doneness.  I like to leave it a nice medium rare in the middle.  Remove the skillet from heat and allow the steak to sit for awhile for juices to redistribute.
  2. Meanwhile, add all the ingredients of the chimichurri sauce to a small blender or food processor.  Blend until thoroughly combined.  Taste for seasoning and test for consistency and add salt, pepper, chile pepper, and water as necessary.
  3. Once steak has cooled a bit, cut against the grain into thin strips.  Top with chimichurri and serve with desired sides!
  4. On the pictured salad, I used spinach, lightly sauteed bell peppers and onions, some leftover quinoa, and some thawed, frozen roasted corn.  I also love serving it with arugula instead of spinach, as the peppery bite of arugula pairs very well with the bright and spicy chimichurri!

Nutrition info  (for steak and sauce):

230 total cal, 14 g fat, 3 g carb, 24 g protein


Shrimp in Tomato Sauce

I’ve been focusing on making simpler, less time consuming, and fewer ingredient recipes lately as I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by life in general. 🙂

We’ve all been there, where it seems like our to do list continues to grow rather than becoming smaller and more manageable.  And while I am whole heartedly looking forward to the weather warming up once and for good this Spring, in the back of my mind I also know that means that my schedule is going to be even fuller.

I’ve consistently played sports and stayed active in adult activities since moving to Kansas City in 2008.  Three seasons a year (and even year round in years past), my husband and I play in multiple sand volleyball leagues.  On 2 evenings a week, we join our sand volleyball family for 2 hours of competitive sand volleyball.  Additionally, I’m playing in a kickball league that plays for 2 hours every Sunday afternoon.  Both volleyball and kickball have started for the Spring season, but have had game cancellations due to the midwest weather that can’t make up its mind this year!  Winter just doesn’t want to clear out!

So, with the upcoming busy weeks creeping up, I need to focus on preparing meals that continue to nourish by body, give me energy, but also don’t take an inordinate amount of time to plan and prepare.

This recipe does the job and the ingredients can be kept on hand for moments when you haven’t planned ahead yet don’t have time to run to the store to pick up ingredients to cook a meal with.

It starts with frozen, peeled, and deveined shrimp.  These get cooked in a tomatoey sauce made with canned, fire roasted tomatoes and a few seasonings.  Then you serve it alongside your favorite vegetables or for a fun twist, that makes it seem kind of fancy IMO, some cubed polenta croutons. 🙂

shrimp tomato sauce cooking

There’s the shrimp simmering away in the tomato sauce.

Here it is served with some riced cauliflower and a side of zucchini and asparagus.

shrimp tomato sauce bowl

And here’s the polenta cubes (thanks to my friend @foxeatspaleo for the inspiration on this one!)

shrimp tomato polenta cubes

Ingredients:

Servings: 4          Time:  20 minutes

  1. 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp (I generally use frozen)
  2. 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  3. 1 T paprika
  4. 1/2 T garlic powder
  5. 1/2 T onion powder
  6. 1/2 T Chile Crunch or crushed red pepper flakes
  7.  Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. If using frozen shrimp, cut the bag open and add lukewarm water and allow to thaw for about 10 minutes or so.  Drain water prior to cooking.
  2. Add tomatoes and seasoning to medium sauce pot over medium low heat.  Stir to combine.
  3. Add thawed and drained shrimp and simmer until shrimp are fully cooked and tomato sauce has thickened slightly
  4. Serve with desired sides!

Optional polenta croutons:

  1. Cut a 1 lb tube of pre-cooked polenta into small, bite sized cubes.
  2.  Toss with salt and pepper
  3.  Toast in a skillet with a small amount of EVOO or coconut oil over medium high heat until lightly browned and crispy
  4.  These soak up the smokey, tomato sauce beautifully!

Nutrition info (for shrimp in tomato sauce w/o sides):

152 total cal,  2 g fat, 8 g carb, 25 g protein


Egg Roll Bowls

I’m always on the look out for healthy, flavorful, QUICK meals.  Since I avoid dairy products, a lot of what I eat regularly is Asian inspired.  In addition to generally not containing dairy, Asian food is delicious!  Stir fries and curries are my flavor jam!  I love just about anything with garlic and ginger.

However, I’ve never been a huge fan of traditional fried egg rolls.  I know, I know…there’s just always been something a little off-putting about them to me flavor wise.  Then add in the often greasy outer fried shell, and it’s a no-go in my books.

Recently though, I stumbled upon this recipe from Peace, Love, and Low Carb that I found intriguing.  Upon looking through the ingredient list, I thought that this was an egg roll variation that I could on board with.

Garlic, ginger, soy, and sriracha form the base of the flavors so what isn’t there to like about it?  I keep many of the ingredients on hand so basically just have to grab the coleslaw and broccoli slaw mixes(and maybe fresh ground pork and ground turkey if I don’t have time to thaw out the frozen stuff) to prepare.

You can also make it both Paleo or Whole30 compliant, so along with being dairy free, many types of eaters can fit this into their eating style!  If you avoid soy or soy based products, you can use coconut aminos.  A little about coconut aminos – clearly from the name, it is made from coconut.  More specifically, coconut sap.  While I do enjoy soy sauce, I try not to consume too much soy based products because of my thyroid disorder.  Coconut aminos is a pretty good substitute and is Paleo and Whole30 compliant.  It is MUCH lower in sodium (about 75% less, which is generally a good thing) and also has a slightly sweet flavor.  It doesn’t taste like coconut, but if you use it in place of soy, be prepared to need a bit more salt in your recipe than if you use traditional soy sauce.

So, back to the recipe:  it comes together really quickly thanks to using convenient items such as bagged coleslaw mix!  And since it makes a pretty large quantity, you’ve got lunch taken care of for the next couple of days!

egg roll in a bowl meal prep

We’ve been enjoying this around our house regularly (at least every other week) for the last couple of months and I don’t intend to quit anytime soon :).  Enjoy!

*Note – you need a pretty large skillet or wok for this!  Alternatively, you could use 2 smaller skillets and split it evenly amongst them.

egg roll in a bowl in skillet

*Second note – if you use a lot of fresh garlic, I highly recommend investing in a good garlic press!  My mom bought me one from Pampered Chef for Christmas, and it’s a total game changer!  You don’t even have to peel the garlic!  Just pop the clove in, press the handle down, and scrape off the perfectly minced garlic!  Remove the skin, and repeat!  Find a similar one here, with great reviews!

egg roll in a bowl served up

Egg Roll Bowls

Servings: 6            Time: 30 min

Ingredients:

  1. 1 lb reduced fat ground pork
  2. 1 lb lean (93% or higher) ground turkey
  3. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 large onion, large dice
  5. 14 oz bag coleslaw mix
  6. 14 oz bag broccoli slaw
  7. 1 T ground ginger
  8. 1 t ground pepper
  9. 4 T coconut aminos or reduced sodium soy sauce (I used 2 T of each)
  10. 3 T rice wine vinegar (I’ve also used apple cider vinegar)
  11. 2 T sesame oil
  12. 3-4 T sriracha (or Whole30 compliant chile/hot sauce)
  13. About 5 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
  14. 2 T sesame seeds
  15. Fresh cilantro for topping, optional

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the turkey and pork and cook until no longer pink.  Drain the fat from the skillet.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute a few minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the ginger, pepper, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sriracha, and soy sauce or coconut aminos.
  4. Add the bag of coleslaw mix to the meat and onion mixture.  Pour about half of the liquid mixture to the skillet, and gently toss it, allowing the coleslaw to cook down a bit and make more room in the skillet.  This is where it gets a bit tricky to keep it all contained in one skillet so be patient.  🙂 Start adding the broccoli slaw mixture, in smaller batches, to allow room in the pan.  It helps to use tongs and just kind of flip portions of the mixture around.  Continue adding the liquid to help flavor and steam the veggies down.  Once it’s all added, test for seasoning and add more sriracha, salt, pepper, etc. as needed.
  5. Portion into bowl, top with green onion, cilantro, and sesame seeds.
  6. Dig in!

Nutrition Info:

380 total cal, 21 g fat, 10 g carbs, 31 g protein

 


Review of OnTrend Wellness Event

So I’m a few days late on posting this…I forgot to bring my notes with me when we left town last weekend to visit family!  Whoops!

Anyways, last week I attended an awesome event called OnTrend Wellness that was hosted at New You Health Studio in Mission Farms here in KC.

Four amazing ladies from Enjoy Pure Food + Drink, Fusion Fitness, Xiphium Aveda Lifestyle Salon, and New You Health Studio, all located in Mission Farms, came together to discuss current trends in health and wellness and offer their advice and knowledge on various topics.  It was such a great event offering the opportunity to learn from local experts in the health and wellness industry.

OnTrend Wellness Panel

From left to right:  Dr. Alexander, Jaime Huntoon, Darby Brender, and Staci Cross

The evening started off with a sweat session at Fusion Fitness, which unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend, but I’m sure it was a kick-butt workout just like every class I’ve attended there in the past!

Afterwards, everyone met at the beautiful New You Health Studio.  Enjoy Pure Food + Drink provided some delicious goodies such as various hummus dips and their newly added menu item, lemon turmeric protein balls – which were AMAZING!  They also provided wine – always a plus 🙂  P.S. I freaking love their food!  And they offer options for gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and paleo eaters! It’s so great to have a nutritious and delicious place to grab a bite that doesn’t require scouring the menu for something that can be easily modified to be made without dairy!  Anyways, I digress…

After attendees got settled, they transitioned in to the panel of speakers.  I’m sharing just a few of the key points that were discussed here, but there was much more information provided and it was a jam packed hour that flew by!  I could have listened to these wonderful women talk for hours!

  1. Collagen supplementation – One thing all the speakers were avid supporters of is collagen supplementation!  Collagen is a pure source of protein.  One scoop generally has 8-10 grams of purse protein, with varying amino acids depending on the type (I, II, III, or IV).  It is typically sourced from grass-fed bovine (cow) hide and connective tissue, thus it is NOT vegan.  Many brands are odorless and flavorless so can easily be added to recipes without effecting the flavor.  Pure collagen dissolves easily into liquids.  It’s slightly different from gelatin, which offers the same benefits, but gels when added to liquids.  Since I am a pharmacist, I feel obligated to mention that since collagen is a supplement, and not a medication, it is not evaluated by the FDA and studies surrounding the benefits are not as robust as those conducted for medications.  That being said, I myself use it regularly, adding it to my morning coffee each day as well as to several foods, such as my Protein Pancakes, oatmeal, even non-dairy yogurt.  I’ve only being using it for about 2 months, but I will say that my nails and hair do seem stronger and less brittle and dry.  I’ve tried two different brands – Further Food and Zhou Nutrition.  I felt like I could somewhat smell the Zhou brand, but maybe that’s just because it was the first kind I tried so psyched myself into thinking I could smell it :).  It also offers all 4 types of collagen peptides while Further Food is only type I.  Collagen’s touted health benefits include the below.
    • Gut health
    • Healthy and strong hair, skin, and nails
    • Healthy bones and joint
  2. Intermittent Fasting – this topic was primarily supported by Dr. Alexander with New You Health Studio.  She recommends working towards 16 hr fasting, starting in the evening following dinner and continuing into the following day, with 8 hr of eating/feasting.  One important point with this is to ensure adequate nutrition during the feasting portion of the day and Dr. Alexander reiterated that this feasting period is as important if not more than the fasting state.  Intermittent fasting can help promote fat burning and mimics how our bodies were designed to function, as was done during the “hunting and gathering” period.  To help reach the 16 hrs of fasting, collagen, MCT oil, and ghee can be used to help promote satiety while still maintaining a fasting state as these substances are already largely broken down or “digested” and be easily absorbed by our bodies.
  3. Darby Brender with Fusion Fitness discussed that she hopes for what she terms “body neutrality” to become a trend of the future.  Essentially, body neutrality means being okay with where you’re at and that society would stop body shaming.  I interpret this as not focusing on how your body looks, but more importantly, focusing on what your body can do and being grateful for that!
  4. Jaime Huntoon, Esthetician with Xiphium, recommended trying to make just one healthy change.  It can sometimes be overwhelming when researching how to start living a more healthy lifestyle, but if you focus on just one thing to change at a time, you can continue to make progress without being overwhelmed.  This leads me to the next topic, which is one thing I definitely recommend trying as your one healthy change!
  5. Eat your veggies!  Veggies contain MANY required nutrients necessary for optimal body functioning.  Additionally, they are filling while also generally low in calories.  As Staci Cross with Enjoy Pure Foods explained, the fiber in vegetables help expand your stomach, helping you feel full longer, and also helping keep you “regular”.
  6. Inflammation – many common foods can contribute to inflammation, with the top offender being processed sugars!  In addition to inflammation, having a diet high in processed sugars can contribute to reduced gut health and skin troubles.  Craving sugar can be caused by “bad” bacteria in your gut sending signals out in your body because they want to be fed.  Other common foods that can contribute to inflammation include dairy (yay – all my recipes are dairy-free!) and gluten.  Alternatively, there are some natural anti-inflammatories that can be included in your regular diet such as turmeric, curcumin, and ginger.  You can find both turmeric and ginger in my Immune Boosting Chicken Soup as well as in most curry seasonings, which is part of my Basil Chicken Coconut Curry.
  7. Finally, the panel discussed some of their favorite mindfulness practices, including meditation, breath work, and use of a weighted blanket.  Two recommended tools include the Insight App, which is free, and well as the Brain Health YouTube channel.  Darby had the great analogy using glitter to help explain the benefit of mindfulness practices.  Imagine every component of your life as a different color of glitter – work, family, extracurricular activities, faith, to-do lists, etc.- all layered together in a glass jar.  Then imagine shaking that jar and mixing all the different colors of glitter together.  Throughout the day, our minds can become like that mixed up jar of glitter.  Mindfulness practices help to sort out that mixed up glitter and get it back to a state of carefully sorted layers.  I didn’t explain that nearly as well as Darby, but hopefully you get the picture!

Well, I hope you find this review helpful and if you get the opportunity, I definitely recommend attending the OnTrend Wellness event if it is offered again in the future!

Food and Wellness Trends 2018

2018 Food and Wellness Trends, prepared by Staci Cross

 


Basil Chicken Coconut Curry {DF, GF}

I love curries of just about any type.  Curry is also surprisingly versatile, especially when paired with chicken, which naturally lends itself to being flavored in just about any way imaginable!

Last week, I was feeling a bit uninspired, and happened upon a recipe for basil chicken with coconut curry sauce, which sounded delicious!  I saved it, thinking I would come back to it at some point.  That some point happened to  be that very evening!

While at the grocery store, I was perusing the vegetable and produce section and realized that asparagus season is upon us!  I don’t know about you, but for me, asparagus is just SOOO much more enjoyable during the spring months when it’s in season.  So I put a few bunches of it in my cart, and aha!  inspiration hit!  Why not bump up the vegetable factor in that basil chicken recipe and add some seasonal vegetables such as asparagus!  I also knew I had some frozen peas in the freezer at home, so I ran with the idea.

What a great decision it was!  This smelled DIVINE while simmering away and was oh so delicious and flavorful! It was pretty hard to sit there and let it simmer as my mouth was watering from the smell!  I nearly burned my tongue because I didn’t wait long enough to dig in after serving it up.

It’s actually pretty mild as far as things in the curry department go, so if you’re new to curry, give this a shot!  Even if you’re a curry aficionado, I guarantee you will love this!   It’s a curry that just about anyone could get on board with!

Basil Chicken

Basil Chicken Coconut Curry

Servings: 4          Total active time:  ~ 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  3. 1 lb fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch peices
  4. 1 C frozen peas
  5. 1 14oz can light coconut milk
  6. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1/8 – 1/4 t cayenne
  8. 1 1/2 T dried basil
  9. 1/2 t chili powder
  10. 1 t ground ginger
  11. 3 t curry powder
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
  13. 1 T cornstarch (gluten free)
  14. 2 T olive oil
  15. Fresh basil for serving
  16. 3 C riced cauliflower** or cooked white rice

Instructions:

  1. Combine chili powder, curry, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bag or bowl.  Toss with chicken to coat and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat.  Cook onion, garlic, and dried basil for a few minutes until onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add chicken, asparagus, and peas and continue to saute until chicken is cooked through.  Add about 1/2 of coconut milk.  Thoroughly mix remaining coconut milk with cornstarch and add to pan.
  4. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken, about 10 minutes.
  5. Serve over cooked, riced cauliflower or rice, top with finely chopped basil, and enjoy!

**For the cauliflower rice, I used a bag of frozen riced cauliflower.  I heated a small amount of olive oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat, added the frozen cauliflower, and sauted until it was heated through.  I lighted salted it and added a few grounds of fresh black pepper as well.

Nutrition info (including 1/4 of the riced cauliflower):

396 total cals, 36 g protein, 30 g carb, 16 g fat

 

Note:  CeceOnTheGo participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  The products linked are products actually used when preparing this recipe

 

 


Miso Ginger Salmon

Miso… Ginger… Salmon

What more do I need to say about this?!?  So many delicious flavors combining to bring this beautiful flavor bomb!  And what could be easier than baking salmon and serving it along side a simple side of roasted vegetables.

Some time ago I came across a recipe for a miso salmon in a magazine in the waiting room of my doctors’ office.  I’ve kicked myself ever since for not taking a picture of that recipe or at least writing down the name of the magazine!  However, last week a memory of that flashed through my mind when I was trying to decide on how to make some frozen salmon I had on hand and I decided just to give it a shot.

Fortunately, I don’t think it could have turned out any better!  My normal taste tester (aka husband 🙂 ) even commented it was some of the best salmon I had ever prepared!  I’d call that a win! Especially since I prepare salmon so frequently!

I paired this with a simple side of roasted broccoli and cauliflower, sticking with the Asian theme and roasting it with a little soy sauce and a few other spices.

This recipe also features one of my favorite condiments, Chile Crunch.  This condiment is so versatile and delicious, and even better it has minimal ingredients! It contains just garlic, onion, chiles, canola oil, salt, and spices.  It contains no preservatives or MSG and is gluten free!

Miso Salmon Chile Crunch

I will definitely be making this again, and soon, and often! 🙂  Especially because I bought a rather large container of miso paste – any suggestions for how else to use it are welcomed!!!

Of course, fresh salmon is typically best, but that can be hard to find, especially in the mid-west, so I’ve had good luck with individually packaged and frozen fillets, from either Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  To thaw them, place them in the refrigerator the day prior to preparing or if you forget (like I often do!), place the frozen fillets, still in their packaging, in a bowl and run some lukewarm water over them for a bit.  Don’t get the water too warm or else you’ll start cooking the salmon, which is no good!

If you like to top it or like a little crunch for some extra texture, I highly recommend lightly toasting some sesame seeds and sprinkling them over the top!  To toast, place sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Shake pan frequently for a few minutes while seeds toast.  They will turn a light brownish hue – keep an eye on them as they will toast very quickly!

This could also be served over a bed of rice or quinoa (as pictured above) for a more filling meal!

Enjoy!

Miso Ginger Salmon

Miso Ginger Salmon

Serves:  6      Total Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

  1. 6 4oz salmon filets, fresh or frozen
  2. 2 t olive oil
  3. 2 t white miso
  4. 2 t rice wine vinegar
  5. 2 t reduced sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos (if using coconut aminos, reduce sweetener to 1/2 t as coconut aminos tends to be a bit sweet)
  6. 1 t mirin, honey, or sweetener of choice
  7. 1 t sesame oil
  8. 1 heaping tsp grated fresh ginger
  9. 1/2 – 1 tsp chile crunch condiment, or more to taste
  10. Couple grinds black pepper
  11. Toasted sesame seeds for topping, optional

For the veggies:

  1. 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  2. 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  3. 1 t sesame oil
  4. 2 t soy sauce
  5. Couple good shakes of onion and garlic powder and black pepper
  6. You can also add some of the chile crunch condiment to your veggies, which I frequently do!

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 450F
  2. Spread the broccoli and cauliflower on a foil lined baking sheet (yay for easy clean up!)
  3. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, and seasonings and stir to combine.
  4. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 20 min, stirring once, or until fork tender
  5. In the meantime, whisk together the sauce for the salmon – olive oil, miso, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, black pepper, chile crunch condiment, and ginger
  6. Place the salmon fillets on a separate foil lined baking sheet
  7. Pour about half of the sauce over the salmon
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until firm and flakes apart easily
  9. Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining sauce
  10. Top with sesame seeds, if desired, and serve!
Nutrition info:

202 total cal, 5.5 g fat, 15.3 g carbs, 25.8 g protein

 

Note:  CeceOnTheGo participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  The products linked are products actually used when preparing this recipe

Taco Squash Bowls

As you may have guessed by the name of my blog, I’m frequently on the go.  I have a full time job managing a team of healthcare IT professionals in the pharmacy department of a large academic medical facility plus 2 other part time/PRN pharmacist positions – one as a staff pharmacist at a smaller hospital and one as a consultant pharmacist for a physician-owned surgical center.  I’m also an active member of a women’s group focused on developing the potential of women and promoting volunteerism.  I play sand volleyball in 2 different leagues 3 out of 4 seasons of the year plus strive to squeeze in at least 4 workouts a week.

While I love cooking, there are weeks when I don’t have much time to devote to preparing meals so I have a few quick and easy things in the regular rotation.

Some variation of these taco squash bowls are eaten in my house on the reg.  They’re super quick and easy plus are basically just meat and veggies – so they pack a protein punch plus all the goodness that only vegetables can provide.  So it’s a no brainer that they make an almost weekly appearance on the menu at home.

Additionally, so many variations can be made that it never gets old!  Just use a little creativity and you’ve got a different spin every time!

Some of my favorite veggies to prepare this with include acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and even sweet potato!  These are all regularly found stocked in my kitchen so it just depends on what I’m feeling like or which one needs to be used first.

2018-02-11_20-03-57_443

I generally make these with taco meat, but I had some leftover pork tenderloin carnitas (don’t worry, I’ll post how I made that later!) in the freezer so I used that this past week and it was equally if not more delicious!

Toppings can be just about any of your favorite taco toppings as well!  I love mixing it up with diced avocado, various salsa varieties, green onions, cilantro…you name it!  I’ve also added diced, cooked onion and garlic to the taco meat mixture for even more veg and flavor!

Here’s the pork carnitas version with avocado2018-02-07_17-06-54_862

And here’s the original with taco meat, salsa, and non-dairy cheese substitute

2018-01-30_18-39-56_238

So…..let’s get started, shall we?!

Taco Squash Bowls

Serves:  6                                                         Total Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 2 lbs ground turkey, chicken, or lean beef (I generally use a 1:1 ratio of lean ground beef (at least 93% lean) plus ground turkey or chicken 99% lean)
  2. 2 packets reduced sodium taco seasoning (or 1 depending on the brand – follow instructions for 2 pounds of meat)
  3. 2/3 C water
  4. 1/4 C quick oats, optional
  5. 3 small acorn squash, roasted
  6. 1 T olive oil
  7. Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Roast the acorn squash.  Preheat the oven to 425F.  Cut the acorn squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds. Drizzle cut side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place cut side down in a baking dish lined with foil and bake for 20-25 min or until a fork inserts easily into the skin.
  2. Cook the taco meat.  Cook beef/turkey/chicken mixture in a skillet over medium heat until no pink remains.  Drain all fat.  Add taco seasoning, water, and quick oats (if using).  Stir to combine, cover, and cook for a few minutes until water has absorbed.  The addition of the oats makes the meat mixture less crumbly and makes it stick together more.
  3. Assemble the bowls:  spoon taco meat mixture into half cooked acorn squash.  Top with garnish as desired (definitely add the salsa!) and enjoy!

These store really well and reheat easily for quick weekday lunches with the leftovers!

Nutrition Info (including 2 T salsa and 1 T vegan cheese alternative shreds):

388 total cal, 36g protein, 36g carb, 10g fat

 

Note:  CeceOnTheGo participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  The products linked are products actually used when preparing this recipe