Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Mason Jar Salads

Oh, I have a blog.

Apparently I forgot for a few weeks.  Unfortunately, on occasion, I get so busy being a mom, running FIT4MOM Phoenix Scottsdale, and just living, that the planning, the prepping, and even the pouring get forgotten.  In other words, my family is super sick of Chick Fil A and rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  I am equally sick of existing on chocolate mint builder bars, raw almonds, clementines and gummy bears.   After 5 days on the road, part of my reintroduction to polite society today involved breakfasts and lunches for the next few days.

Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Mason Jar

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 c. quinoa (measured before cooking), prepared according to package (I used a multi-color variety and cooked it in the rice cooker with vegetable broth and some lime juice), cooled
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c. frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 can of rotel, cilantro and lime variety (or you could just use fresh tomatoes and cilantro, but let’s be honest, any of this was a stretch today for me)
  • 4-5 sliced green onions
  • 1 diced green pepper (or whatever color you want!  I had green)
  • 1 large avocado, diced and tossed in lime juice
  • 4 cups of shredded romaine

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3 TB olive oil (I used a chile lime variety)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1-2 tsp of taco seasoning (I used my homemade), depending how much spice you want to add
  • 1-2 tsp of honey, depending how much sweet you’d like


  1. Combine all salad ingredients other than avocado and romaine.
  2. Blend salad dressing ingredients together.
  3. Toss salad with dressing.
  4. Divide among 4 wide-mouthed, quart sized mason jars.
  5. Add avocado to jars.
  6. Finish with romaine.
  7. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.  Immediately before serving, shake to mix, and pour into a bowl or onto a plate.
Posted in Lunch, Make Ahead, Mason Jar Meals, salad, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chopped Chicken Cobb Salad in a Mason Jar

This recipe makes 4 large salads, perfect for lunch or dinner!  They will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard


  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced, tossed with lime juice
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and chopped
  • 16 oz of cooked chicken breast, cubed or shredded
  • 4 TB blue cheese crumbles
  • 4 cups of thinly chopped romaine lettuce


  1. Whisk dressing ingredients together until blended thoroughly.  Divide evenly among 4 quart sized mason jars.
  2. Add 1/4 of the remaining ingredients to each jar, in the order above (starting with tomatoes, ending with lettuce).
  3. Seal jars tightly (I like these plastic lids) and store in refrigerator.
  4. When ready to eat, shake jar, dump on a plate or into a bowl and serve!

Cobb salad1



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Make Ahead and Freeze Black Bean and Cheese Burritos

When things get really busy, and I haven’t prepped and planned enough, one of my on the go favorite foods is Amy’s Burritos.  While these aren’t the worst choice I could make, they obviously are pretty processed and full of sodium (and the ingredient list isn’t short either).  I decided to try my hand at my own this week.  I like these for breakfast or for lunch.


  • 1 lb dried black beans, rinsed and soaked
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried crushed jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1, 14.5 oz can of no salt added petite diced tomatoes
  • 15 tortillas or wraps (large-sized/burrito sized)
  • 8 oz shredded cheese (I did some with cheddar and some with pepper jack)


  1. Place soaked beans, onion, garlic, salt, cumin and jalapeno (if using) in 8 cups of water in a large pot on the stove.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, semi-covered, for 2 to 2.5 hours, or until beans are cooked to desired consistency.
  2. Remove beans from pan and drain off excess water, if any.
  3. Heat oil in pan over medium heat, and return beans to pan.  Using a potato masher, mash beans to desired consistency (I like to leave some whole beans and chunks, but you may like a smoother consistency).  Add tomatoes (undrained if you need a little more liquid, drain first if not).  Stir and cook, uncovered, for 4-6 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust any seasonings, as necessary.
  5. Allow bean mixture to cool to room temperature.  If your tortillas are refrigerated, allow to come to room temperature.
  6. To assemble each burrito:
  • Lay the tortilla on a sheet of aluminum foil.  Place the cheese on the tortilla, then the bean mixture.
  • Roll the burrito up.  Here’s a video showing how.
  • Wrap the burrito in the foil.

Freezer storage:

  1. The vast knowledge of the google indicated that I should then freeze them all individually, then remove them to gallon zip lock bags together.  Instead, I placed each burrito in a smaller zip lock bag and tried to get all the air out, sealed, and froze that way.
  2. Google also tells me these should be good in the freezer for 3 months.  At the rate I am going, mine will not last that long.  But then I needed to eat them this week so I could experiment with reheating!

Reheating instructions:

  1. Toaster or regular oven: I removed the burrito from the zip lock bag and popped it in my toaster oven in the foil at 375 degrees for around 30 minutes and it was good to go!
  2. Microwave: remove burrito from all wrapping and place on a microwave safe plate.  Microwave for around 2.5 minutes (this may vary depending on the microwave).


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Weekly Meal Plan, February 13 through 19, 2017

This was one of those weeks where I’m typing up what we did, after the fact, because I did not have my sh*% together enough to plan it in advance.  I suppose we all have weeks like that – but it sure made life harder.  As we move into spring sports season, I’m hoping to not have another one where I’m flying by the seat of my pants!


1 egg + 1/3 c egg whites scrambled with pico de gallo.  Every day!  Sometimes I added diced avocado or cheese.  And a side of fruit.


Thank goodness for those single serving leftovers!  I pulled out White Chicken ChiliNavy Bean Soup With Ham and Chicken Tortilla Soup for lunches, supplemented with veggies and dip or fruit on the side.


Monday – Crockpot/Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Pork Loin, brown rice and green beans.

Tuesday – Taco Tuesday!  Not very Valentine’s Day celebratory of us, but a meal that everyone enjoys.  BONUS: last time I did some bulk cooking, I had browned ground beef and frozen it in one pound bags.  So I pulled one out, defrosted, added it to a pan with a can of diced tomatoes and chiles and 2 TB of Taco Seasoning Blend and simmered it all together for 10 minutes or so.  Easy, quick dinner.  Everyone built their own from crispy shells, flour tortillas, chips and all the usual taco toppings.

Wednesday – Repurposed Leftovers!  I love a meal that does double duty.  I turned the Crockpot/Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Pork Loin leftovers into Pork Fried Rice for a one pan dinner!

Thursday – here’s where the lack of planning caught up with me.  The kids and spouse enjoyed the Arcadia Chick-Fil-A while I had some eggs and veggies…

Friday – here again….fail to plan, plan to fail?  Well, my children didn’t think so.  Because they enjoyed pizza that came to the door.  Yes.  Again.  If you’re counting, I’m pretty sure it’s the 4th Friday in a row.  The spouse and I went out for dinner.  I had a fantastic chopped salad at Cowboy Ciao.  If you’re local to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and haven’t had this salad, well, why are you still reading, get over there and have it.  NOW.  It’s that good.

Saturday – No Boil Chicken Sausage and Pasta Casserole, salad and a veggie tray.

Sunday – Black Bean, White Bean and Beef Taco Chili, cornbread and a veggie tray.

Posted in Baked Pasta, Breakfast, casserole, Dinner, Leftovers, Lunch, Make Ahead, Meal Plans, Repurposed Leftovers, Slow Cooker | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pork Fried Rice

I love repurposed leftovers!  And fried rice is super easy to throw together on a busy weeknight.  You could also use leftover chicken, beef…..really anything you have in this one.  No leftovers?  Make veggie fried rice!  My best tip for fried rice is this: you don’t want freshly cooked, warm rice.  You want to use rice from yesterday that’s been chilled in the fridge.  Or even 2 days ago.  I don’t know why.  I just know it works better.

Pork Fried Rice (Serves 4-5)


  • 4 tsp canola or vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 TB minced garlic (I use the jarred stuff)
  • 1 TB minced ginger (luckily, you can now buy this in a jar or tube too!)
  • 1 bag of frozen carrots and peas (or, if, like me, you only have the bag that has corn too, that), defrosted (I also added some leftover green beans from the Honey Mustard Pork, chopped small)
  • 3 c leftover COLD rice (we like brown)
  • 2-3 TB soy sauce (adjust to your tastes)
  • 8-12 oz of leftover Crockpot/Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Pork Loin or Soy Ginger Pork Roast (or any other already cooked protein of your choice), chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 c sliced green onions (optional)


  1. Heat 2 tsp oil in wok over medium high heat.
  2. Add beaten eggs to pan.  Scramble/cook eggs, breaking into small pieces.  Remove eggs and set aside, keeping warm.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tsp of canola/veggie oil in wok over medium high heat.
  4. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 30-60 seconds.
  5. Add veggies and cook, 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add rice and soy sauce and continue to cook until rice is heated and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally.
  7. When rice is warmed and browned, add eggs and pork and stir, cooking until everything is heated through.
  8. Finish with sesame oil and (optional) sliced green onions.



Posted in Dinner, Leftovers, Make Ahead, Repurposed Leftovers, Slow Cooker | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crockpot/Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Pork Loin

I threw this together last Monday for dinner, and was able to repurpose it into Pork Fried Rice on Wednesday as well – I love when I can get 2 meals with minimal effort!

Honey Mustard Pork Loin (Serves 6-8)


  • 1 boneless pork loin roast, 2 to 2.5 pounds
  • 1/2 c hot water
  •  1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons of whole grain or Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  •  16 oz bag of frozen green beans (or use fresh)


  1. Place pork loin in slow cooker.
  2. Whisk together remaining ingredients, other than green beans, and pour over pork.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. 1 hour before roast is done, add green beans to slow cooker, replace cover and continue cooking.  If you aren’t home then to do this step, simply steam the green beans on the stove top or microwave right before dinner instead.
  5. Serve over rice, with the sauce from the slow cooker drizzled over the top.


Posted in Dinner, Slow Cooker | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekly Meal Plan, February 6 through February 12

Better late than never?  I’ve had this one taped to my fridge since that week, waiting for me to have time to type it up – I keep thinking I should create a meal planner form that I could just upload instantly to here.  Anyone have a really great form they use that would do that?  Let me know!


  1. Egg Muffins with Pico and Spinach
  2. Avocado toast with a fried egg – I love a piece of hearty whole-grain toast with smashed avocado, a runny-yolked fried egg and tajin seasoning!


Thankfully I had leftovers, because I didn’t get a ton of time for prep work!  I pulled some single servings out of the freezer and used them up this week.  I ate cut up veggies and ranch dip on the side – or sometimes mixed some baby spinach in to bulk them up!

  1. White Chicken Chili
  2. Chicken Tortilla Soup


Monday:   Cheater Korean Beef  Chicken.  We love this recipe with beef, but I had chicken, so I figured why not!  It was also delicious.  And super easy.  I bulked it up by adding a bag of broccoli slaw while it simmered.  We also had green beans and brown rice.

Tuesday:   No Boil Chicken Sausage and Pasta Casserole.  We just had a veggie tray with this.

Wednesday:   Leftovers.

Thursday:   Chicken Tikka Masala.  This was a new one for us, and it’s definitely going into the rotation.  Everyone loved it.

Friday:   Dinner out for the spouse and I, pizza came to the door for the kids.

Saturday:  Leftover clean out.

Sunday:   Family dinner with my dad, stepmom, niece and brother.  We did ribs on the grill, coleslaw with cabbage my niece grew and some roasted vegetables.  Delicious!



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No Boil Chicken Sausage and Pasta Casserole

So I first discovered you can make a pasta casserole without first cooking the pasta when I made this Chicken Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole from the Skinnytaste site. Unfortunately, due to the mushrooms, the spouse and 2 out of 3 small people would not consume that version.  I found it delicious.  So if you are not completely unreasonable when it comes to the use of mushrooms, you might too.

Obviously this is great LIFE CHANGING information to have.   So now, whenever I want to make a casserole with pasta, I just add more liquid and let the pasta cook that way.  Seriously.  Mind = blown.  Life is immeasurably better now.  Okay, I’m exaggerating.  A little.

No Boil Chicken Sausage and Peppers Pasta Casserole (serves 8)


  • 1 lb of sweet Italian chicken sausage (removed from casings)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 bell peppers, color of your choice, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5 oz can) petite diced tomatoes, undrained (no salt added if possible)
  • 1, 25 oz jar of marinara sauce (or use homemade)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz uncooked whole wheat penne or fusilli


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add sausage and brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon or other utensil, until cooked through.
  4. Add the onions, garlic and peppers; sauté until the vegetables soften, about 6 to 7
  5. Add the remaining ingredients except for the water, pasta and cheese.  Use the water to rinse out the marinara sauce jar, and get its remaining contents.  Then add to the pan.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10  minutes.
  7. Spoon just enough of the sauce mixture into a 9 X 13 casserole dish to cover the bottom.
  8. Top with pasta, then the remaining sausage and sauce mixture.
  9. Spread cheese evenly over the top.
  10. Cover with foil and bake for 50-55 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
  11. Serve.

Other Notes:

  1. You can make this ahead and refrigerate prior to baking.  I’ve done it in the morning or early afternoon and then baked for dinner that night.
  2. You can also break it into 2, smaller casseroles, and freeze one for later.


Posted in Baked Pasta, casserole, Dinner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Make Ahead Mason Jar Omelets

I had almost forgotten about this easy, partially made ahead breakfast until a friend posted her version on Facebook this week.  I made this with some fresh vegetables I needed to use up, but it’s also a great way to use leftover veggies from dinner.  As you put the leftovers away, you can prep for breakfast the next day!

I mix these up in wide-mouthed pint-sized mason jars and seal them with plastic lids.  I usually make only as many as I will use in 3-4 days.  But you can make 1 at a time if that’s what you’ve got ingredients to use up for!

Egg base: for each omelet, I use 1/3 c of egg whites and one whole egg.  If you prefer all egg or all white, either way works – also, adjust the amounts to how much you want to eat.  This is a perfect breakfast size for me.

Ingredients: a total of 3/4 to 1 c. of raw or leftover cooked veggies, chopped to the size desired.  In the jars pictured, I have 1/3 of a diced red bell pepper, around 7 halved cherry tomatoes and 3/4 c. of fresh baby spinach.


  1. Beat eggs and egg whites together in jar.
  2. Add vegetable ingredients to jar.
  3. Seal tightly and store in refrigerator until using.
  4. When ready to cook, heat a nonstick pan over low heat.  Spray with cooking spray or coat with oil of your choice.
  5. Dump contents of jar into the pan, cover, and cook on low for 5-7 minutes, or until done.
  6. Add cheese, if desired.
  7. Flip to fold over in half, and serve!
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Weekly Meal Plan, January 30 through February 5, 2017

This week I did a lot of prep work – thank goodness – because it seems like every day, something happened making it difficult to eat healthfully!


I had my usuals.  Some days was eggs with veggies, some were avocado toast topped with an egg.


Navy Bean Soup with Ham, cut up veggies and yogurt ranch dip every day!


Monday: Crockpot Lemon Chicken, brown rice and salad.  We prepped this meal at my MOPs group a couple months ago, and it was nice to have something easy to pop in the crockpot.  Everyone loved this – so I’m going to make several the next time I prep it.  You can also grill or bake it.  Here’s the site we got it from – Lemon Garlic Dump Chicken.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday.  Just kidding!  That was one of the days where life got in the way and I had no time to cook.  Fortunately we had some leftover lasagna from Sunday, and the last of the Chicken Tortilla Soup from last week.  So we ate that with a veggie tray and yogurt dip.

Wednesday:  Taco Tuesday now on Wednesday!  I made both Crockpot Chicken For Tacos, Taco Salads, Nachos and more! and ground beef with taco seasoning, and everyone made their own tacos or nachos with various choices of shells, tortillas, chips etc. and cheese, veggies, salsas.

Thursday: Leftovers.  Well, I ate leftovers.  The children suckered me into taking them through the Chick Fil A drive-through on the way home from football practice.

Friday: it was FIT4MOM Phoenix Scottsdale’s annual team party, so I got to go out, and my kids were thrilled to have “pizza that comes to the door,” as they call delivery.

Saturday: The second boy child, who eats almost nothing, as you will recall, requested pasta.  So pasta it was.  But I didn’t have time for a sauce from scratch, so we did Trader Joe’s organic tomato basil marinara, with a can of no salt diced tomatoes added, and organic lean ground beef.  Simple one!  We had whole wheat spaghetti noodles with.

SundayWhite Chicken Chili, veggie tray, chips and salsa and guacamole (and I made up a few mini slider burgers for super bowl watching too!)


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