Category Archives for "Recipes"

Recipes to Spice Up Your Life

My family really enjoys Mexican foods. Taco, burritos, enchiladas, Mexican Casserole, Refried beans are all a hit when I make them. Since I work hard at bringing healthy to the table too, I attempt to make my own spice mix, salsa and lately Enchilada Sauce. I make them in quantity so they will last several meals. Enjoy. Go Forth and Spice Up Your Life. 

This homemade red enchilada sauce has authentic Mexican flavor! It’s so good and easy, you’ll never go back to store-bought sauce again. I made a double batch and put half of it for later. Yields about 2 cups (16 ounces) sauce.

Enchilada Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour (whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and gluten-free flour blends all work!)
  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

This sauce comes together quickly once you get started. Mix the dry ingredients (the flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and optional cinnamon) into a small bowl and place it near the stove. Place the tomato paste and broth near the stove as well. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, warm the oil until it’s it’s hot enough that a light sprinkle of the flour/spice mixture sizzles on contact. This might take a couple of minutes, so be patient and don’t step away from the stove! Once it’s ready, pour in the flour and spice mixture. While whisking constantly, cook until fragrant and slightly deepened in color, about 1 minute. Whisk the tomato paste into the mixture, then slowly pour in the broth while whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, whisking often, for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit and a spoon encounters some resistance as you stir it. (The sauce will thicken some more as it cools.) Remove from heat, then whisk in the vinegar and season to taste with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Add more salt, if necessary.

Taco Seasoning

This mixture of spices approximates what you might buy in a package. It tastes just as good and you eliminate the unwholesome ingredients in the store bought variety.

Depending on your taste you can use as much or as little as you like.  I usually make 4 times this much so I have it ready when I need it.

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.

My daughter Amy was fixing lunch for our family to have a picnic outside. Her heart was set on tacos. She worked hard to feed her family. She had to thaw the hamburger, cook it and then create a taco spice blend. She sliced the olives. She mashed the avocado for guacamole and she made homemade salsa. (her mom didn’t have a stash in the fridge)

I was so proud of her. She did all of this because she wanted too. We all enjoyed the Spring weather but most of all I enjoyed being the mom of this brilliant 11 year old.

Homemade Salsa

  • 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1teaspoon pepper
  • 3 dashes hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse 3-10 times.

If you have a child who loves to cook, allow them the spread their wings and serve you lunch. They can very well surprise you.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Goulishly Good Treats

Today is one of those training day at Cr8 Fitness that we dream up tricks of all kinds and then add in a few treats for kicks. RockStar Chris has been experimenting with Rocky Road UMP. She Cr8 -ed Bon Bons that will knock those Halloween socks right off .

Chris' Bon Bons

  • 2 scoops Rocky Road UMP (protein powder from Beverly International)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 10 Mejoul Dates
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon flax seed
  • 2 Tablespoon cacoa nibs
  • Water as needed
  • coconut for rolling

Place all ingredients except water and coconut in a food processor. Pulse until mixed and chopped. Slowly add in water until it is chunky. Roll into 1 inch balls and then into flaked coconut if desired. Put in the freezer. Makes 35 1- inch balls

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 scoop vanilla UMP (from Beverly International)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 ounce water
  • ice

Place all ingredients in a blender. Mix throughly. Enjoy. 

What a great combination of tricks and treats today. 

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

CrockTober Fest – Freezer Meals

I'm passing out all my secrets in this post. I love my crockpot. I believe I could use it every day. And the best combination to go with my crockpot is Freezer Meals. This is how it works. 

Head to the store and grab everything you need for these 5 recipes below including the Ziplock bags. When you get home instead of unloading them into your fridge, freezer, cupboard, or shelves. Pack each recipe in a Ziplock bag and Voila. You now have 5 meals to add to your freezer and then to the crockpot. All the work is done, right after the store. 

Cashew Chicken:

  • 2-3 pounds chicken breast (depending on how much chicken you want)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ c coconut aminos
  • ½ c apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ c ketchup
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ c cashews (add when ready to serve)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (coconut or olive, to grease the slow cooker)

Add all ingredients to a Ziplock bag or freezer container. Write on bag: thaw slightly and put in slow cooker on low 4-6 hours. Add cashews and serve.

Chicken Balsamic

  • 3 pounds chicken breasts
  • 28 oz tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic diced
  • ¾ c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (coconut or olive)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Add all ingredients to a Ziplock bag or freezer container. Write on bag: thaw slightly, cook on low 4-6 hours.

Thai-ish chicken wings

  • 2- 2 ½ pounds chicken wings
  • ½ c salsa
  • ¼ c almond butter
  • 3 T lime juice
  • 3 T coconut aminos
  • 3 T water
  • 3 T ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic diced

Add all ingredients to a Ziplock bag or freezer container. Write on bag: thaw slightly, cook on low 6-8 hours.

Italian Sausage

  • 2 pounds Italian sausage links
  • 2 large green peppers
  • 2 onions
  • 4 c diced tomatoes
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T garlic powder

Add all ingredients to a Ziplock bag or freezer container. Write on bag: Cook on low 6 hours.

*This recipe is great on top of a spaghetti squash!

Beef Stew

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat or deer meat
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 ½ c tomato juice
  • 4 cloves garlic diced
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 bunch celery chopped
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a ziplock bag or freezer container. Write on bag: add 3-4 sweet potatoes, cubed (optional) and cook on low 8-9 hours.

You have my secret to fast meal prep. Great food in a crockpot. 

Enjoy Good Food,

Coach Nancy

P.S. One thing I have found, is many times I will give these meals away to friends who need a quick meal due to a family issue or a personal challenge. They love it like I do. They can make it when they need it most.

CrockTober Fest – Chicken Enchilada Soup

One of the easiest, fastest ways to prepare a meal on a chilly Fall day is Chicken Enchilada Soup in the Crockpot. There is little to no chopping or cleaning of veggies. There is a few cans to open and spices to mix in. BAM- great tasting soup. 

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

  • 1 onion, chopped (I use the frozen chopped onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of Chipolte chili in adobo sauce (you can add more if you like the heat)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped or 2 Tablespoons dried cilantro
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 3 skinless chicken breast (I use frozen chicken breast)

Pick your favorite for garnish:

scallions, chopped cilantro, cheddar cheese, jalepenos, avocado slices, black bean dip, or salsa

To make the soup.

Add the ingredients, except the garnish, to a crock pot in the order listed after with the onion. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Adjust the seasonings. Serve in bowls and top with your favorite garnish. Serves 6.

BAM, Great food fixed simply,

Coach Nancy

CrockTober Fest – Chicken Cacciatore

Time saver is one of the best things I like about the crockpot. Another is the fact that I can place frozen items into the crockpot. I often make an entire meal in a freezer bag. Then I can store it in my freezer for days when I have time to eat but not all the time to prepare my food. I simply peal off the Ziploc bag and place the frozen meal in the crockpot. Cooking it on low for 8 - 10 hours is perfect for coming home to a hot dinner. 

Chicken Cacciatore

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces 
  • 1 cup mushroom, sliced (fresh, frozen or canned) 
  • 1 cup green peppers, sliced (fresh or frozen) 
  • 1 cup onions, chopped (fresh or frozen) 
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced 
  • 1 Tablespoon canned tomato paste 
  • 14 1/2 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 

Place chicken in a 3- to 5-quart slow cooker. Add mushrooms, green pepper, onion, garlic, tomato paste, tomatoes and juice, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Cover slow cooker; cook on high heat for 5 to 6 hours or on low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Taste just before serving and add remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt if necessary. 

Enjoy Good Food,

Coach Nancy

CrockTober Fest – Quince

I was just introduced to Quince this year. I love how beautiful this fruit is. I also love how beautiful the sauce that is made from quince turns out. I've made two batches of quince sauce this Fall. I did the first batch traditionally on the stove top. The second batch I used my crockpot. Both made great sauce and left the house smelling amazing for hours. I didn't have to watch the crockpot batch as closely for burning, which is helpful when you get busy. 

Quince Sauce 

Everything goes in the crockpot except the sugar. I don't typically use a lot of sugar and if you have ever tried quince alone you'll know you need some in order to take out some of the tartness. I use less sugar by adding in the apples to this recipe. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Stir occasionally to help mash the fruit. Add only as much sugar as you need up to 1/2 cup. It will depend on your apples. It's that easy. 

Enjoy Good Food,

Coach Nancy

CrockTober Fest – Whole Chicken

Meals that are simple to prepare are my favorite. This is one of those. A whole chicken can cook all day while you're working on other things. Then use the chicken as is or add in another recipe that needs cooked chicken. This is a one ingredient recipe. What could be simpler then that? 

Crockpot Whole Chicken

  • 1 Whole Chicken

Place it in the crockpot, add salt and pepper if you want. Cook on low 6-8 hours. This is fall off the bone goodness.

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

CrockTober Fest – Minestrone

This morning Lisa from the 6:15 brought in two beautiful bouquets of Kale. She was sharing her garden's bounty. I am a fan of Kale. After making Kale chips I used the rest to make a double batch of Minestrone Soup. What didn't fit in my crockpot is simmering on the stove- Wow does it smell good. 

Minestrone Soup in the Crockpot

Serves 10-12

  • 2 cups cannelloni beans or other favorite white beans
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 28- ounce can crushed tomato
  • 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 ½ cups diced zucchini
  • 1 lb. kale (remove the stems and chop coarsely)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place Cannelloni beans and the chicken stock in a crockpot. Heat a large frying pan add the oil, garlic, carrots, onions, and celery. Saute until tender and add to the pot. Add the tomato, potatoes, parsley, and the basil. Cook for 4-6 hours on high. Add the zucchini, kale. Cook 30 minutes more or until the soup is nice and thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

I can't wait for tonight. 

Happy CrockTober,

Coach Nancy

CrockTober Fest – Mexican Chicken

This is the busiest time of year for so many people. Sports for our kids have us out 3-4 nights a week, plus special events. Work seems to be winding up to end the year instead of winding down. Of course our extended family and friends have expectations on us as well. I rely heavily on my crockpot when life tends to get busy. When I fail to plan, I spin out of control and my eating is the first to end up in the gutter. If you're like me, you wish it wouldn't happen each year. This year I am going to do the Transform in 4 Challenge in order to stop that from happening. Here's a recipe from the guide book to tempt your tastebuds. 

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • 1¼ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder 
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth, or water
  • 2 limes
  • ⅓ cup cilantro leaves
  • green onion, sliced, optional garnish
  • chopped cilantro, optional garnish

In a small bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, coriander, salt and black pepper. Stir until well mixed. 2. Place the chicken inside the your crock pot. Sprinkle the top of the chicken breasts with half of the seasoning. Then, flip the chicken and sprinkle the other side with the remaining seasoning mixture. 3. Add the chicken broth or water to the crock pot. Squeeze the juice from the limes over the top of the seasoned chicken. 4. Add the cilantro leaves, onion wedges, and jalapeño slices to the crock pot, arranging them in and around the seasoned chicken breasts. 5. Cook on low for 3-5 hours, or until cooked through (different crock-pots cook at varying heats) and tender 6. Remove chicken breasts from the crock pot, shred and place in a bowl. Set aside. 7. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, reserving the liquid and discarding the solids. Add all of the juices back to the shredded chicken. 8. Stir to distribute them all over the meat. Garnish, if desired, with chopped cilantro and sliced green onions.

Enjoy in a variety of ways throughout the week: - taco salad - burrito bowl with rice, beans, salsa, vegetables - fajitas with peppers and onions - in a lettuce wrap

Serves: 4 Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 5 hours Adapted from Good Life Eats

One of my favorite parts of this recipe is the fact that it gives ways to mix it up just a bit with the leftovers. If your intrigued by the recipe, and need to find a way to stay in control as the end of the year approaches check out our Transform in 4 Challenge. You'll want to sign up now as the challenge starts November 1st.  

Happy Crocktober,

Coach Nancy

CrockTober Fest – Pumpkin Overnight Oats

 Easy, healthy steel cut oats, made in the slow cooker while you sleep! With pumpkin, cinnamon, and vanilla. This is like eating a pumpkin muffin warm out of the oven. 

Pumpkin Overnight Oats.

  • 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats (do not substitute quick cooking, instant, or rolled oats)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups milk, any kind you like (I will use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal (or swap an equal amount of chia seeds or hemp seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Place all ingredients in the crockpot and cook 4 hours (on high) or 7 hours (on low) ​Since I am up well before my kids, I can put this together the night before and get the crockpot going at 4:30am. Otherwise just let it cook on low all night long. You'll wake up to all sorts of yummy smells.

Happy Crocktober,

Coach Nancy

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