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Tag Archives: quick meal

Copy Cat Recipe – Taco Bell’s Meximelt (healthy option!)

6 Dec

Healthy Meximelt - The Tasty Fork

I have a secret…About once a month, usually on a Sunday night, I get a craving for Taco Bell. Yes, I know that stuff is just terrible for you but why does terrible taste so darn good?!! And why is terrible so cheap??!

I always order the same items. One of those items being a Meximelt. It has ground beef, pico de gallo and cheese all wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla. The cheese is melted and the pico de gallo has a lot of cilantro. There really isn’t much to it… which got me to thinking, “Why can’t I make meximelts at home?”

Healthy TB Meximelt --The Tasty Fork

You totally can. I made a few changes to make my at home Meximelt a healthy option. It was just as delicious! I’m not going to say I’ll never order a Meximelt again from Taco Bell, but knowing I can get my fix at home is pretty satisfying.

Do you have a favorite copy cat recipe? I’d love to know all about it! Head over to my facebook page and post your copy cat recipes. I’ll highlight the ones I want to try!

Taco Bell Inspired Meximelt

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 taco seasoning packet
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced (no seeds)
  • 1 jalepeno, diced (remove white ribs and seeds)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt & pepper
  • 8 flour tortillas, taco size
  • Reduced Fat Mexican Cheese Blend, shredded
  • Hot sauce, optional

Directions:

  1. In a warm skillet, add oil and ground turkey. Cook until browned, 8-10  minutes. Drain excess liquid. Add taco seasoning to the meat mixture. (I followed the directions on the packet by adding 2/3 cup of water along with the taco seasoning.) Cook with meat for 5 minutes.
  2. Make pico de gallo – combine tomatoes, jalepeno, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. When the taco meat is cooked, take 1/4 cup of meat and add it to the middle of a flour tortilla. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cook in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until the cheese has melted. Top with pico de gallo.  Add hot sauce, if needed.
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{Trader Joe’s Inspired} Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions & Bacon Pizza

28 Nov

I must admit, sometimes I’m all about the easy route. After working all day, the last thing I want to do is cook a time-consuming meal.  By the time I get home, I’m really wishing I planned ahead and made a meal in my slow cooker so I wouldn’t have to do anything….but most days include me going to the store to get ingredients so I can feed myself that evening. For bad planners like me, I’m happy Trader Joe’s exists.

Trader Joe’s has a lot of things to make my busy life a lot easier! One of those items being premade whole wheat pizza dough. I know what you’re going to say, “Meghan, making pizza dough is super easy.” I know this buuuut I’m going for convenience. Since they make the dough, you still have the fun of rolling out the dough to the desired thickness (which I love) and their crust cooks up great! It tastes so good! (People will think you made it yourself, so we can keep this secret between friends.)

Another great item from Trader Joe’s is butternut squash cut into cubes. I hate hate hate peeling and cutting up butternut squash. Paying a little more for a bag like this is totally worth it for me.

As you can see from the title of this post, I made myself a pizza. The pizza – Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions and Bacon – was inspired by ingredients bought at Trader Joe’s.

The first thing you need to do is set out the pizza dough for about 20 minutes. While you’re waiting for the dough, work on the prep steps for the pizza. Sprinkle the pre-cut butternut squash with brown sugar, salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Bake squash in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. While the squash is roasting, fry bacon pieces in a skillet. When the bacon is browned, remove bacon from the skillet but save the bacon fat. Put the onions in the skillet and cook in the bacon fat. Cook until caramelized.

If you time this right, all of your pizza prep work should be done within 20 minutes. Roll out your pizza dough and top with squash, onions, bacon, goat cheese crumbles and spinach. Pop pizza in the oven and 20-25 minutes later, you’ve got dinner!

Thanks to the time saver ingredients from Trader Joe’s, I spent little time in my kitchen and more time enjoying my evening! Do you have any time saver meals you love to make? If you do, share them in the comments section.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions & Bacon Pizza

  • Pre-made pizza dough
  • 2 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 strips of bacon, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • Baby Spinach
  • 1 tsp chives, chopped (garnish)

Directions:

  1. Pizza dough needs to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Set oven to 350 degrees. On a roasting pan lined with foil, mix butternut squash, brown sugar, salt & pepper and olive oil. Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  2. In a skillet, cook bacon pieces. Once bacon has browned, remove from skillet and set on a plate lined with a paper towel. In the same skillet, cook onions in the bacon fat for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Roll out pizza dough on a floured surface. On a pizza stone or vented pizza pan, place pizza dough and top with butternut squash, bacon, onions, goat cheese and spinach. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with chives. Slice & serve!

Smokey Chipotle Black Bean Soup

11 Oct

Well, hello Fall.

I will admit, I’m happy to see you. I’m ready for jeans, cute boots and chunky scarves. If you’re a follower of my Pinterest page, you’ll see I have a one track mind for all things fall.

Has anyone tried Meatless Monday? I’ve got some Veggie Friends out there who told me about this concept. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. All good things in my book.

I made this Smokey Chipotle Black Bean Soup on Monday and I was sad when the Hubby finished it off on Tuesday. This recipe will definitely be in rotation a lot for me this fall & winter. The smokey-ness from the chipotle peppers and cumin just warmed me up. Pureeing a small portion of the soup allowed thick chunks of peppers and black beans to make it a hearty meal, but not weigh me down. Also, this soup comes together really fast which is great for a weeknight meal.

So when you’re planning your meals for next week, skip the meat on Monday. This soup will make you forget about anything mooing, snorting or clucking any day of the week.

Smokey Chipotle Black Bean Soup, serves 4 -6

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-4 chipotle peppers in adobo, diced & with sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 (29 ounce) canned black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4-5 cups of vegetable stock or water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • Greek Yogurt

Directions:

  1.  Warm a soup pot to medium heat. Add olive oil, diced onion & the peppers. Saute until the onions are soft. Add garlic and chipotle pepper, stir for 2 minutes. (You may want to add a few chipotle peppers at a time, depending on your spice level.)
  2. Add black beans, cumin and lime juice. Stir until the cumin distributes.  Taste and add more cumin or chipotle peppers if needed. Pour in stock/water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. If you have an immersion blender, blend about 1/4 of the soup. If you have a blender, puree about 1 cup and add it back to the pot. If you want a smoother soup, feel free to puree more. Simmer for 5 minutes. Give it a taste – add S&P if needed.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, top soup with cilantro, diced tomatoes and a dollop of greek yogurt.
  5. Go back for seconds 🙂

New Recipe: Full Flavor Pasta Sauce – Vegetarian Meal

26 Jul

I’ve taken “Meatless Monday” to “Let’s eat meat free till the weekend.”

It’s summer time. Produce in the mid-west is at it’s very best…. so why not take advantage of it. Instead of making the typical tomato sauce for pasta, I decided to change it up a bit. I made a Roasted Red Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato sauce for my whole wheat spaghetti. SO GOOD!!

If you have a picky eater or kids in your home, an easy way to sneak in veggies is to puree them into a sauce or soup. Besides roasted red peppers & sun-dried tomatoes, I added carrots, onions, basil and garlic to the blender to make a full flavor pasta sauce. Once it’s pureed, it will be a little thick. You can thin it out with stock or some of the water your pasta cooked in.

To add some “meat” to this pasta meal, I sautéed sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Add it to the cooked pasta and throw in some spinach. The heat from the warm pasta and mushroom mixture will slighty wilt the spinach but it will still maintain some crunch.

Another great thing about this recipe, it’s on the table in 30 minutes. Very quick & easy with depths of flavor. It’s a tasty mid-week meal!

Roasted Red Pepper & sun-dried Tomato Sauce with Whole Wheat spaghetti, serves 4 to 6

  • 1 lb (uncooked) Whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 medium onion, diced and divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 12oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 5 -8 basil leaves
  • splash of cream
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • basil for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cook spaghetti according to directions. Reminder —  You might want to save some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if you don’t have stock on hand.
  2. Saute half of the diced onions & garlic with olive oil. Add carrots and cook until onions are translucent. Add to blender along with roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes & basil. Puree until smooth. Add water or stock until you get the consistency you like. Finish sauce by adding a splash of cream.
  3. In a saute pan, pour in a splash of olive oil and add the rest of the onions and garlic. Toss in sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes have evaporated. Add this mixture to cooked spaghetti. Fold in spinach — it will wilt but not overly cook it.
  4. Pour pasta sauce into the noodle mixture. When you’re ready to serve, garnish with torn basil leaves.

Quickie Breakfast Hash

27 Apr

I’m not above taking a short cut in the kitchen. Even though I can’t stand Sandra Lee on the Food Network, I do love her semi homemade mentality at times. These times usually happen for me in the morning. I’m hungry as soon as I open my eyes. “Must eat food” is my mantra and it usually gets me out of bed.

I love a good breakfast hash. I HATE cutting potatoes. Well, it’s more like I hate cutting potatoes in perfect little cubes. Can I get an Amen for frozen breakfast potatoes??

With my little short cut, this meal will be in your belly in about 15 minutes. Cut up an apple, garlic, ham, onion & red pepper. Saute with potatoes. Poach egg. Plate hash with the egg. Garnish with basil.

You’re done… and you get this.

Quickie Breakfast Hash with Poached Eggs, serves 2

  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced ham
  • 2 cups frozen breakfast potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • White wine vinegar
  • Basil leaves, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a saute pan, drizzle some olive oil. Add apples and the next 5 ingredients into the saute pan. Cook for 7 minutes at medium high heat. The potatoes are done when they start to brown. Taste and season with salt & pepper.
  2. First bring water in a saucepan to almost boiling. Add a couple splashes of vinegar to the pot. (This trick gives you the perfect poached egg!) Working with the eggs one by one, crack an egg into a small cup, then place the cup near the surface of the hot water and gently drop the egg into the water. With a spoon, nudge the egg-white closer to their yolks. This will help the egg whites hold together. Let the egg cook for 3-4 minutes, longer if you like a well done egg. Fish out the egg with a slotted spoon and let excess water drip into the pan.
  3. Top hash with poached egg & basil.

Multiple Meals: Low Carb Chicken Pizza

23 Jan

Happy Monday! Did you see my post yesterday? I made Spicy Chicken Parm Sliders…. just for myself. The recipe is scaled for 12 sliders. Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could eat 12 sliders.

So this morning I started to think of new things I can do with the main elements from yesterday’s recipe. Wanting something easy and low-key on a Monday night, I still want a meal that’s fun to eat.

Pasta would be an easy answer. I’m not going that route. My mind started to think about pizza… but I don’t have any dough to make the crust. Buuuut I do have some flour tortillas. Ding Ding Ding! I can make a low carb pizza by using the tortilla as the crust.

Tortilla size doesn’t matter. I’m using a smaller tortilla because I’m cooking for myself but you can grab a bigger tortilla if you’re sharing this meal with someone else. Or use the smaller tortillas and people can customize their pizza with their favorite toppings.

These are the ingredients you’ll need, you’ll notice they are the same ones from yesterday’s post:

  • Flour tortilla
  • Shredded chicken
  • Marinara sauce
  • Cheese
  • Basil

If you have some additional veggies, those would be good too. The main thing to remember is you don’t want to load down the tortilla with too many toppings. The tortilla needs to get crispy. I added some pepperoncinis to my pizza. I had them on hand from yesterday, plus I love the subtle spice and salty taste they give.

Turn your oven onto 415 degrees. Layer the ingredients onto the tortilla and bake for 12-15 minutes. When the edges of the tortilla are brown & crisp, your pizza is ready! I really like this meal because it gives into that pizza “fix.” Everyone has it, but it’s nice to eat something that’s really good and still healthy… instead of the calorie bomb you can get out at restaurant.

I’m planning on eating my pizza while watching some bad reality TV and sipping on some wine. How do you like to spend your Monday night?