Healthy Lunch Week 4: Taco Salad Tostadas


For the second time this fall, I have a cold.  That’s two flus and two colds before December.

Really immune system?  You really want to go there?

Maybe I should try some really crazy remedy for my sicknesses.  Like acupuncture or aromatherapy.


But since I don’t want to be a huge bummer, I will just share these wonderful tostadas with you.

This is actually kind of a double post, because I made these for dinner but had plenty of leftovers for a super easy, delicious lunch.

I’m a cheater I’m sorry.

But to make it up to you, I will post my favorite homemade taco seasoning.  So that you don’t get a ton of extra added salts and chemicals into your body.  That’s a fair trade, right?

Taco Seasoning Ingredients:

1 Tbs. chili powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/8-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients for Taco Salad Tostadas:

1 lb. ground turkey

1 recipe taco seasoning

8 corn tortillas

Cooking spray


Lettuce for topping

Taco veggies (onions, tomatoes, olives, etc.)

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Reduced fat Mexican cheese

Dressing Ingredients:

 1 container 0% Greek yogurt, plain

2 Tbs. salsa

1 Tbs. taco seasoning

2 Tbs. cilantro, chopped

Milk (to thin, if necessary)

In a small bowl, combine taco seasoning ingredients.  Set aside.

Brown taco meat in a pan.  While it browns, spray tortillas with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 350* F for 15-18 minutes, or until browned and crispy.

Drain the fat out of turkey if necessary and add taco seasoning and 1/2 c. water.  Cover and bring to a boil for 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

While the turkey boils, combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl.  Add milk if it is too thick.

Mix lettuce with salad dressing and other veggies you like.  I made these as a last minute meal so all I had is lettuce.  However, I’ll probably add some tomatoes or something next time.

Top tostada shells with beans, cheese, turkey, and salad.

Serve and enjoy!

These tostadas may seem like they takes a lot of steps, but they actually only took me 30 minutes start to finish.  My perfect weeknight meal!


Make these for dinner one night, and have them for lunch the next day!

You know you want to.


Oh, and top these with salsa if you really, really want to.

Nutrition Facts (2 tostadas)

2 corn tortillas: 104 calories

1/2 c. beans: 101

2 oz. ground turkey: 130 calories

2 c. lettuce: 10 calories

2 Tbs. dressing: 30 calories

2 Tbs. reduced fat Mexican cheese: 25 calories

Total: 400 calories

Serve it with some extra fruits or veggies for an even healthier, filling meal!



Browned Butter Pecan Pie Cookies


Hello hello!

If these cookies are calling to you, you’re doing something right.  They are sooo good.

I want to be eating them right now in fact.

Right now.

And since I am having growing pains (and therefore feeling sorry for myself) I might just go for it.  Who gets growing pains as an adult?  I haven’t grown since I was 15.  But whatever.

Have a cookie and be quiet, Sara.

Cookie Ingredients:

1 stick butter

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. white sugar

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 c. flour (may need less depending on how your dough looks)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cornstarch

Dash salt

Pecan Pie Filling:

1/4 c. sugar syrup (recipe below)

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 egg

Pinch salt

1 Tbs. butter, melted

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. chopped pecans

Sugar Syrup Recipe:

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. water

To begin, make sugar syrup.  Combine both ingredients in a small saucepan.  Stir until dissolved and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 30 minutes and cool.

Pecan pie filling: *You can go one of two ways here.  The first time I made them, I spooned the filling on the raw cookie dough and baked them.  They were super delicious.  The second time I tried cooking the pecan pie mixture and topping already baked cookies with it.  This was also super good.  I don’t really have a favorite, but topping the already baked cookies makes it a little more pecan pie like! You can go either way.  They both will be amazing!*

To make pecan pie filling, mix all ingredients together.  If you are topping already baked cookies with filling, combine the sugars, egg, butter, and salt.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 2 minutes and remove from heat.  Add vanilla and pecans.  Set aside for a few minutes to cool.

To make cookies, start by browning the butter.  Melt butter on a stovetop and stir until it is caramel colored.  Refrigerate until harder but softened.  While it is hardening, combine flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl.

Cream browned butter and sugars together until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Add half of the flour and mix well.  Add the rest of the flour.

Spoon 1 Tbs. cookie dough at a time on a greased baking sheet.  To bake them with pecan pie mixture, press an indent in the center with your thumb and fill with a few teaspoons of the pecan pie mixture.

Bake at 350* F for about 12 minutes or until slightly browned.

Cool and top with pecan pie mixture if adding after.


Although it seems like a lot of steps, these cookies are actually super easy and don’t take all that much time.

Even if they did take forever, they’re worth it!



Healthy Lunch Week 3: Chickpea Salad


Hey everybody!

I hope you are all having a fabulous week.  Why not make it a little more fab with this salad?

It’s one of my faves.  A blend of chickpeas, cucumber, and feta with a tangy dressing?  Yes please.

You can find the recipe here.

Then just serve it with a tablespoon of cashews, a few crackers, and a glass of OJ.  Sounds complete to me!


Nutrition Facts:

Chickpea Salad: about 1 cup, 120 calories

Whole wheat crackers: 1 serving, 130 calories

Cashews: 1 Tbs. 50 calories

Orange juice*: 1 glass, 100 calories

Total: 400 calories

*You can sub with Trop50 or another low cal option to reduce even more calories.  However, 400 ain’t bad to me!


Perfect Hardboiled Eggs


For some reason, I love the way hardboiled eggs look.  I think they’re just so cute.

Maybe it’s because they remind me of Easter or something.

But either way, I love hardboiled eggs for so many things.  Breakfast, quick snacks, egg salad sandwiches, potato salad, regular salad… I’ll most likely eat it if you put hardboiled eggs on it.

So here’s an easy guide to making them.  I used to always undercook mine, but I know the secret now.

Here ya go:

1. Place eggs in a pot and cover with cold water.

2. Bring the water to a boil.  Let it boil for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

3. Cover and let stand for about 10-15 minutes.

4. Remove eggs from water and place in ice bath for about 10 minutes.

Serve immediately or place in fridge until you’re ready.



Cheesy Potato Casserole


Happy Thursday!

Every day is a reason to celebrate, in my opinion.

So last night, Brandon and I were talking and I mentioned that he should eat healthier (to which he disagreed).  After explaining various reasons why he should eat apples instead of ice cream, I was intending to say “I’m just throwing it out there that you should eat healthier.”  But for some reason I was thinking about the word ‘freeballing’ (and no, I don’t know why) and it came out as “I’m just throwballing it out there…”

Needless to say, throwballing is the new word of the year in our house.

I blame it on college brain.  Where you go to school full time, work, and other stuff like that.

So to all you busy people, cheers.

On another note, I’ve been pretty homesick lately and I cannot wait to go home for Thanksgiving, so I decided to make a casserole that reminds me of holidays and home.

Cheesy potato casserole.  We actually normally have it on Easter, but it is definitely a Thanksgiving dish too.  And trust me, it is absolutely the best EVER.  I’m serious, people.

Some of you guys may recognize this casserole as Mormon Funeral Potatoes.  That’s actually what we call it at home even though we aren’t Mormon.  However, all my Mormon friends think it’s absolutely hilarious.

So make this for Thanksgiving and watch it disappear.  I swear, you will make a lot of people very happy.


2 lb. refrigerated hash brown potatoes (the shredded kind)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 pt. sour cream

1/2 c. onion, shredded (I usually omit)

1 stick butter, melted

8 oz. Cheddar cheese (plus more for top), shredded

1/2-1 c. corn flakes, crushed

Salt and pepper, for taste

In a bowl, combine the hash browns, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onion, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper.  Spread in a greased 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle with more cheese and crushed corn flakes.  Add as much or as little as you need.  Bake at 375* for 1 hour.

To reheat: Bake at 200* for about 30 minutes after letting it warm up at room temp for about 45 minutes.

To make this extra yummy, prepare it the night before so the flavors can meld.  Just don’t add the corn flakes on top or they’ll get soggy.  Before you bake, just add them on top and bake as directed.


Can you imagine this with Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixings?  I’m in.


Have mashed potatoes and cheesy potato casserole.

I won’t tell.