Clean Eating Taquitos- Fantastic Food Friday

A long time ago, way back in about 8th grade, I took a missions trip to Mexico. We ate taquitos. I fell in love.

Fast forward to college and I was introduced to the microwaveable, imitation kind. They weren’t very good, but I ate them anyway.

A few years ago, I came across a blog called The Gracious Pantry. What? You haven’t been there? GO CHECK IT OUT NOW!!!!

She just so happens to have a recipe for clean eating taquitos. They are easy and delicious. And probably the closest to the real thing. Just chicken, salsa, nutritional yeast and corn tortillas. Check out the rest of her recipe here!



Please Spray Responsibly!

This has been bothering me for a couple weeks. Several weeks ago I was in a waiting room and was flipping through a magazine (Women’s Health I think, but I’m not positive). There was an article on perfume and how to choose the right one and how leaving your scent behind when you leave a room was sexy.

I don’t have anything against perfume. I enjoy smelling good. I like the smell of my husband after he’s freshly showered and shaved. I like just washed laundry and that new baby smell. I like NOT smelling bad body odor.

I do however, have a problem with people wearing SO much perfume or cologne that people gag when you walk by. I do have a problem with strong, lingering scents, especially flowery ones.

And I am KNOW I’m not the only one. I have recently seen signs at various doctor’s offices asking people to refrain from wearing perfume and scented lotions, due to complaints. Churches are asking that you not wear them to services because of complaints.

It may seem like such a little, silly thing, but when you have headaches, migraines and allergies triggered by others perfumes, it becomes a big deal. When someone’s breath is taking away and causes an asthma attack, it’s a big deal.

Yeah, I’m complaining, but mostly because I think the article was irresponsible and insensitive to a lot of people. It was basically saying “wear so much people won’t forget you!” Leaving your scent is NOT sexy. It can cause major problems for some people. If you choose to wear perfume or cologne, PLEASE SPRAY RESPONSIBLY! People should have to be pretty close to you in order to smell your perfume and cologne. It should not be overwhelming.

And remember, just because YOU can’t smell it, doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t!

Chicken Cordon Bleu- Fantastic Food Friday

I love, LOVE this recipe. It’s easy and it might be my most favorite dinner. I don’t always serve it with the mushrooms, but they are pretty tasty! We like it with steamed broccoli or a small salad.

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine.


Clean Eating Chicken Cordon Bleu


2 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 large spinach leaves, washed stems removed

2 wedges Laughing Cow Light cheese

1 oz ham slices

Paprika, to taste

1 clove garlic, minced


1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1/8 tsp ground black pepper



1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp 1% buttermilk

2  tbsp chopped chives


Preheat oven to 400°F. Pound chicken with a mallet to 1/4-inch thickness. Be careful not to tear apart the breast. Lay 1 spinach leaf on top of each breast. Then spread cheese wedge to cover spinach. Top with 1/2 slice ham, folding ham over as needed to fit breast. Gently roll up each breast and secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle outer side of breast with paprika. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

While chicken is baking, sauté garlic in oil in a nonstick skillet for 1 minute on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and pepper. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes until soft. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside.

To prepare sauce, whisk together yogurt, mustard and buttermilk. Mix in chives.

Divide mushrooms equally between 2 plates, about 1/4 cup each. Then place chicken on bed of mushrooms and drizzle 1/4 cup yogurt sauce over top.

Eating Healthy on a Budget- Freezing

(I am totally stealing this from my former blog because it’s been one crazy week and I haven’t had much time to do anything! Original post here!)

One way we eat healthy on a budget is by shopping the manager’s specials, or clearance items. This allows me to get the things we need at a fraction of the cost. The catch is they expire in the next day or two and need to be used immediately.

When I can get quantities of fresh veggies at a reduced cost, and I know I can preserve them, I jump on the deal. (But only if they still look, smell and feel fresh!)

This past week I found red bell peppers on managers special. This excites me because on a good week, the red/orange/yellow peppers are $1.00 each. (Green ones are cheeper, but not as sweet!) I love adding red/orange/yellow peppers to casseroles, stir frys, eggs…. but they can be cost prohibitive.

Anyway, I knew I could freeze them- that’s how I preserve my extra ones from the garden (I grow all colors- purple is my favorite) At Meijer, the clearance produced are bagged and you aren’t able to sort them. Each bag had 5-6 peppers in it. I feel through the bag and found the firmest ones. You don’t want squishy ones. I got 6 peppers for $1.79. Thats about…. 30 cents a pepper.

red peppers

As you can see, one was wrinkly, I decided to use that in dinner. The other ones were perfect.

These were not organic, so I soaked them in a water/vinegar/salt mix to clean them. (I have a huge bowl and I add about 2 tablespoons vinegar and a tablespoon of salt.) Rinse them really really REALLY well. I scrub them with a vegetable brush. Let them dry completely. I put them in my dish drying rack so they were off the counter and could drain better. I let them dry for a few hours. Then I chopped them up and put one pepper in a (dated!) freezer bag.

I add them to the meat when I cook it so they get nice and tender. Or I caramelize them with onions. Or sometime I just sauté them before adding them to the dish.

One medium red pepper has 32 calories, loads of vitamin A and C, 7 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein and a trace amount of fat. For loads of flavor without all the extra stuff we don’t need, a sweet red bell pepper is one heck of a nutritional deal!

Blends, Rubs and Marinades- Fantastic Food Friday

This isn’t exactly the same types of recipes I’ve been sharing. This are recipes for some of my favorite spice blends, marinades and rubs. It’s more of a “How To” use those spices I shared with you earlier this week.

I try to share sources when possible, but I’ve used a lot of these for a few years now and that was before I knew the importance of citing recipes. If they are yours, please let me know so I can credit you or at least link to your blog/website! Or, take them down if you prefer.

All herbs and spices are dried unless otherwise noted. I usually mix mine in my manual food processor. Store in air tight container- I usually use jelly jars. Shake before each use.

Herbed Chicken Marinade
3 tbsp evoo
2 tbsp shallots
1 tbsp rosemary
2 tsp thyme
2 fresh garlic gloves, minced

Mix and add 16-24 oz of raw chicken, let marinade in fridge for a while. Cook as desired- we like grilled! I like to put it in a gallon zip top bag so I can squish it around for a few hours.

Steak Rub (Like Montreal Steak Seasoning)
4 Tablespoons Coarse Salt
1 Tablespoon Coarsely Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Paprika
½ Tablespoons Granulated Garlic
½ Tablespoons Dried Rosemary, Lightly Crushed
½ Tablespoons Crushed Red Chili Flakes
½ Tablespoons Dried Thyme
Mix together and store in a shaker.

Shake or rub 1 tablespoon seasoning onto 1 pound steaks, pork chops and hamburgers before grilling or broiling. (Seriously good on hamburgers!)

Taco Seasoning
(Per 1 pound of meat, after browned, add spices and ½ c water)

1 tbsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp garlic
¼ tsp onion
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp cayenne

Italian Seasoning

2 Tablespoons basil
2 Tablespoons marjoram
2 Tablespoons oregano
2 Tablespoons rosemary
2 Tablespoons thyme

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined.

All Purpose Seasoning (Like Mrs. Dash)

2 cups dried minced onion flakes
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup tablespoon dried orange peel (1 2-oz bottle)
1/3 cup fresh coarse ground black pepper
8 teaspoon dried parsley
4 teaspoon dried basil
4 teaspoon dried marjoram
4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 teaspoon dried savory
4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 teaspoon cumin
4 teaspoon coriander
4 teaspoon dried mustard
2 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoon kool-aid unsweetened lemonade mix (one envelope has 3 teaspoons, believe!)
1/2- 1 tsp dried rosemary

Combine everything in a food processor.

Dry Onion Soup Mix

2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake. I recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.

Use 4 tablespoons in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix. Store this in a dry, cool place.

I did several of these up for Christmas gifts a few years ago and they were a big hit. Some of my friends have used them as wedding shower gifts.

What’s your favorite combination or blend? Tell me in the comments!

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Tara Hovis

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