Creamy Taco Salad

This Creamy Taco Salad is the ultimate fun party meal for game day. It’s simple, perfect for a crowd, and oh so delicious!

Hi all! It’s Becky from The Cookie Rookie back with another fun and easy (SUPER EASY) recipe! I’m a new mom, so at our house we are all about making meals as simple as possible. That being said, every Sunday is still filled with football, and that means good food is a must. Nachos, wings, and all the fixins can be nice, but sometimes I crave a hearty salad instead. I’m not claiming this Creamy Taco Salad is healthy by any means, but it does have a lighter feel than your typical game day eats. It’s a fresh take on a classic recipe, and I hope you love it as much as we do!

The key to making this fun and easy recipe unique is mixing thin salsa with your favorite creamy dressing. The result is Tex Mex perfection. The ultimate dressing to set your Taco Salad apart. Whether you’re watching football with a crowd or just home with your family and need something fast, this is sure to please.

Enjoy!

Creamy Taco Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 10 inch flour tortillas
  • Olive Oil (divided)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 large romaine hearts, chopped/shredded (or 1 large head iceberg lettuce)
  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans
  • 2 (2¼ ounce) can sliced black olives
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can green chiles, drained
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ package (5 ounces) Nacho chips (such as doritos)
  • ½ cup thin salsa
  • ¾ cup creamy dressing (you can use ranch, thousand island, avocado lime, whatever you love!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Brush or spray both sides of each tortilla with olive oil. Place torillas inside oven safe bowls to create the shape you desire. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Set aside.
  2. In a dutch oven over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add beef. Crumble as it cooks. Add taco seasoning and tomato sauce and allow to cook down until it's your desired consistency. Drain excess sauce.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the lettuce, beef, beans, olives, cheese, onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and chips. Toss to combine.
  4. In a small container stir together the dressing and salsa. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Grilled Pizza

This easy Grilled Pizza is made from scratch with my easy yeast-free Greek yogurt dough, topped with sauce, mozzarella cheese and your choice of toppings. A great summer outdoor meal that whole family can enjoy!

This easy Grilled Pizza is made from scratch with my easy yeast-free Greek yogurt dough, topped with sauce, mozzarella cheese and your choice of toppings. A great summer outdoor meal that whole family can enjoy!

I’m sure by now, you’re no stranger to the ever-so-popular Greek yogurt dough used in these bagels, and this Breakfast Pizza. Well I tested it out on the grill and it came out perfect! And the best part of making pizza for dinner is that everyone can customize it with the toppings of their choice.

This easy Grilled Pizza is made from scratch with my easy yeast-free Greek yogurt dough, topped with sauce, mozzarella cheese and your choice of toppings. A great summer outdoor meal that whole family can enjoy!

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No Bake Buckeye Peanut Butter Balls

No Bake Buckeye Peanut Butter Bars are rich and creamy peanut butter balls that get dipped in chocolate.  This simple no-bake dessert is always a hit! 

If you are looking for no bake peanut butter desserts be sure to try:  Reese’s No Bake Peanut Butter Bars,  Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars, or Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars!

No Bake Buckeye Peanut Butter Balls

Remember that one time when I told you that I didn’t like chocolate?  Well, still to this day I don’t like to eat a slice of chocolate cake.  But the thing that got me to start eating chocolate was to combine it with peanut butter or caramel.  I LOVE the peanut butter and chocolate combination!  It is probably why I am so obsessed with these peanut butter bars.

My ten-year-old son loves to be with me in the kitchen and wanted to make a treat.  Since it is still blazing hot here in Utah, I told him that it had to be a no-bake treat and so he chose to make these!  We had fun in the kitchen making these together.  They are so simple to make and the perfect chocolate peanut butter no bake treat!

How do you make buckeye peanut butter balls?

  • Start by adding peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar to a large bowl and mix until dough forms.  Roll into 1 inch balls and put onto a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  Freeze until firm 20-30 minutes.
  • Melt chocolate chips in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.  Press a toothpick into the top of each ball and dip into the chocolate.  Drizzle the tops with melted chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
  • Place them back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until set.

 

Do Buckeyes need to be refrigerated?

I like to store mine in the refrigerator.  But if you use shelf-stable peanut butter, they may not need to be refrigerated.

How long can you keep buckeye balls in the refrigerator?

Store them in an airtight container up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze buckeye balls?

Yes.  They can be frozen for up to three months.

No Bake Buckeye Peanut Butter Balls
 
No Bake Buckeye Peanut Butter Bars are rich and creamy peanut butter balls that get dipped in chocolate.  This simple no-bake dessert is always a hit!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Start by adding peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar to a large bowl and mix until dough forms. Roll into 1 inch balls and put onto a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze until firm 20-30 minutes.
  2. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Press a toothpick into the top of each ball and dip into the chocolate. Drizzle the tops with melted chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt if desired.

 

 

Baked Chicken Milanese with Arugula and Tomatoes

Baked Chicken Milanese is made with breaded chicken cutlets, baked in the oven topped with arugula, tomatoes and balsamic. This is my favorite restaurant dish, made healthier!

Baked Chicken Milanese is made with breaded chicken cutlets, baked in the oven topped with arugula, tomatoes and balsamic. This is my favorite restaurant dish, made healthier!

Milanese is one of my favorite dishes, especially topped with arugula and tomatoes. I make a similar dish with fish in this Flounder Milanese recipe, and in this Japanese version of Togarashi Chicken.

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Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler Recipe

peach cobbler in crock pot

This Crock Pot Peach Cobbler is an easy dessert, perfect for those fresh summer peaches! With a sweet biscuit topping and thick, syrupy peach filling underneath.

peach cobbler in crock pot

I think one of the best things about summer is all the fresh fruit and veggies, right?!? I feel like that’s something we all agree on, along with sunshine, park dates and beach lounging 🙂

It’s Ashley from The Recipe Rebel and I’m back with one of my favorite ways to use up those fresh peaches (if there are any left over once the kids find them!). This Crock Pot Peach Cobbler is so easy to make and it keeps the house a lot cooler as it cooks — no oven required!

I love that you can use any fruit you have on hand, and if you don’t have any fresh fruit you can easily swap it out for canned peaches or frozen (be sure to see the notes below).

A fresh, hot fruit dessert with vanilla ice cream is one of my all-time favorite desserts, any time of the year. Whether it’s a pudding cake, this cherry cobbler, rhubarb crisp, or pretty much any other — I have to hold myself back from diving right in. The way the ice cream melts over the top gets me every time!

peach cobbler on white plate

Tips for Making this Crock Pot Peach Cobbler:

  • To use canned peaches: drain the juice from the can and continue with the recipe as written.
  • To use frozen peaches: you can add the peaches right from frozen, just be sure to add one more tablespoon of corn starch if you like it a little juicy and two more tablespoons if you like a thicker filling.
  • I recommend a shallow, casserole-style crock pot for this recipe but really any will do, as long as it is 2.5-4 quarts in size. Keep in mind that a deeper or larger crockpot may take a little extra time to cook because of the depth of the cobbler. In a shallow, casserole style crock pot, it heats up more quickly.
  • Feel free to mix up the fruit or add in as you have — raspberries would be amazing in this, as would slice strawberries or blueberries.

crock pot peach cobbler with ice cream

Crockpot Peach Cobbler Recipe
 
This Crock Pot Peach Cobbler is an easy dessert, perfect for those fresh summer peaches! With a sweet biscuit topping and thick, syrupy peach filling underneath.
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 7-8 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ¾-1 cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease a 2.5-4 quart crock pot. Place peaches, ¼ cup sugar and corn starch in the crock pot and stir until coated.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until pea-sized pieces remain.
  4. Add the vanilla and buttermilk gradually, stirring until a soft dough forms.
  5. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls over the peaches. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-5 hours.
  6. Serve warm with ice cream as desired.

 

Classic Stuffed Shells (Freezer Friendly)

stuffed shells in white baking dish

This Classic Stuffed Shells Recipe couldn’t be easier to put together! Made with Ricotta, spinach, and Italian herbs and seasonings covered with marinara sauce and smothered in cheese.

Ricotta stuffed shells are perfect for making ahead and make a great freezer meal to enjoy at a later time. Add in a side of garlic bread and a tossed salad for a delicious meal!

stuffed shells in white baking dish

 

Cheese and pasta is just one of those combinations that I don’t think anyone can refuse. From lasagna to mac and cheese to these stuffed shells, cheesy pasta is just the ultimate comfort food!

I stuffed these shells with a mixture of Ricotta, Parmesan, spinach and Italian herbs, but you could mix things up and add in Romano cheese or other herbs if you like. Have some fresh herbs exploding in the garden? Throw those in instead!

Stuffed shells are perfect for gifting to a family with a new baby or someone else in need, as they are easy to make ahead, and the creamy, comforting filling makes this recipe a hit with everyone around the dinner table.

classic stuffed shells before baking

This White Chicken Lasagna and Chicken Spaghetti Bake are more great make ahead and freezer friendly casseroles!

How to make Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells are relatively easy to make if you have a few tricks up your sleeve.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Boil Pasta: Slightly undercook shells (just to al dente). A little firmer is essential, since they will be baked later
  2. Make Filling: Prep cheese/spinach mixture.
  3. Fill Shells: Fill the shells. Stuffed shells need to bake about 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

TIPS for Stuffed Shells

  • Boil shells only to al dente (or even a little less). If you overcook them, they will fall apart when you try to stuff them.
  • Use a piping bag or a large Ziploc bag with the tip cut off to fill your shells — this will get it done so quickly and with much less mess!
  • Choose ingredients you like. If you don’t like basil, don’t add basil in. If you don’t like Ricotta, try cream cheese or cottage cheese!
  • Select a bottle of marinara with great taste and simple ingredients or better yet, make homemade Marinara Sauce.
  • For a heartier meal, swap out marinara and make stuffed shells with meat sauce.
  • Double the recipe and make a second batch to freeze for later.

stuffed shells in scoop

How long can you keep stuffed shells in the refrigerator?

Stuffed pasta shells are perfect for dinner parties, busy weeknights and gifting to a new mom or family in the neighborhood because they can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.

You can fill and refrigerate these stuffed shells up to 24 hours in advance, provided all your ingredients are as fresh as they can be. Then, simply place in the oven and bake as directed.

How to Freeze Stuffed Shells

Alternatively, you can prepare stuffed shells and freeze up to 3 months.

To freeze stuffed shells, place in the casserole dish as directed and cover with plastic wrap pressing the wrap against the shells to remove as much air as possible. Cover with foil and label. Freeze up to 2 months.

How to Cook Frozen Stuffed Shells: Defrost in the refrigerator 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350°F and remove plastic wrap. Bake 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.

stuffed shells on a plate

More Cheesy Pasta Favorites

Classic Stuffed Shells

This Classic Stuffed Shells Recipe couldn’t be easier to put together! Made with Ricotta, spinach, and Italian herbs and seasonings, they are luscious and comforting.

  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 475 grams extra smooth Ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 225 grams frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry (about 1/2 cup))
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta shells, reduce to a low boil, and cook just until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain, and cool immediately by running under cold water.
  2. Stir together the Ricotta, spinach, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, salt, parsley, basil, oregano and pepper. Place in a piping bag or large ziploc bag and snip the end off.
  3. Lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish with non-stick spray and spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Divide Ricotta mixture evenly between shells and place in prepared pan. You might have to squish a little to fit, that’s okay.
  6. Top with remaining marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly at the edges and cheese is melted. Serve.

REPIN this easy pasta recipe!

Classic Stuffed Shells baked in a white baking dish

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Ready when you are, Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup is the fix it and forget it meal for busy weeknight dinners! Rich and creamy, this Chicken Pot Pie Soup recipe is hearty and filling. Made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, so no extra trip to the store needed.

Summer is winding down faster than I’d like and with school starting in just a few short weeks, I am already filling up my dinner arsenal with easy recipes I can make when things get super busy with activities. Running around from school to the baseball field to dance practice and home again, doesn’t leave much time for making dinner at home. This Chicken Pot Pie Soup crock pot recipe is one of my absolute favorite dinners because it’s pretty much ready when I walk in the door.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup in a grey bowl garnished with pie curst and herbs

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The post Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup appeared first on Spend With Pennies.

Best Ever Zucchini Crust Pizza

Zucchini Crust Pizza is the perfect way to use up that zucchini!  A healthier and delicious low carb option that the entire family will go crazy for.

Zucchini Crust Pizza

You guys.  We LOVED this pizza!  So much that we made it two days in a row.  I am all about my pizza and it has been quite hard to pass up on the weekends when the kiddos order it while I am watching what I eat.  With the loads of zucchini that are coming in for the summer, I was thinking of ideas or ways to use it up.  So I thought…  what about zucchini crust pizza??

The crust is made up of zucchini, eggs, flour, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese.   A low carb and more healthy option, and a way to sneak in your veggies for the kids.  Top it with some cheese, pizza sauce, and your favorite toppings, and you have yourself a new family favorite!

How do you make zucchini crust pizza?

  • Start by making the zucchini crust.  Add zucchini, eggs, flour, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and salt to a mixing bowl.  Transfer to a 12-inch pizza pan and spread evenly to make a 10-inch crust.  Bake at 450 degrees for 13-16 minutes or until set and lightly brown.
  • Add pizza sauce, cheese and your favorite toppings, and return the pan to the oven at 400 degrees and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Tips and Tricks for making the best zucchini crust pizza:

  • Make sure you remove all liquid from the zucchini.  Dry zucchini will help to make the crust more firm.
  • Spread the zucchini crust to be about 10 inches in diameter on your pizza pan and bake it until it is firm and golden brown.
  • Top with pizza sauce and spread about 2 inches from the edge.  I like using freshly grated cheese for that ooey gooey melty cheese on top.  Add your favorite toppings and sprinkle with dried oregano or Italian seasoning and bake until bubbly.

How do you remove the liquid from zucchini?

  • Add the shredded zucchini to a colander.  Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • You can also wring them out by placing them into a paper towel and twisting until dry and excess water has been removed.

What is the best cheese for pizza?

Mozzarella Cheese is the most common cheese for pizza.  However, an amazing blend for pizza is provolone, cheddar, and parmesan cheese.   I  have also used monterey jack, and colby jack cheese as well.

The best cheeses for melting:

  • Mozzarella
  • Fontina
  • Gouda
  • Asiago
  • Provolone
  • Gruyere

Topping ideas for pizza:

  • Pepperoni
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Bacon
  • Black Olives
  • Pinapple and Ham
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Bell Peppers

5.0 from 2 reviews
Best Ever Zucchini Crust Pizza
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Zucchini Crust Pizza is the perfect way to use up that zucchini!  A healthier and delicious low carb option that the entire family will go crazy for.
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Zucchini crust:
  • 2½ cups zucchini, squeezed dry and liquid removed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Toppings:
  • ¼ cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup pepperoni
  • ¼ cup sliced olives
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • fresh chopped basil for garnish

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add zucchini, eggs, flour, and salt and mix. Add parmesan and mozzarella cheese and mix until incorporated. On a 12-inch pizza dish, spread zucchini crust into a 10-inch circle. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until golden brown and set.
  2. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Add pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings to the zucchini crust. Sprinkle with oregano and bake for 10-13 minutes more until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with freshly chopped basil if desired.

 

Skinnytaste Meal Plan (Aug 6-Aug 12)

A free 7-day flexible meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and Weight Watchers Freestyle™ SmartPoints®.

While we are still enjoying the rest of our summer here in the north, I know many of you are preparing for your children to go back to school (and some already have!). Let me know what your favorite back to school recipes are!

If you’re new to my meal plans, I’ve been sharing these free, 7-day flexible healthy meal plans (you can see my previous meal plans here) that are meant as a guide, with plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food, coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc or swap recipes out for meals you prefer, you can search for recipes by course in the index. You should aim for around 1500 calories* per day.

There’s also a precise, organized grocery list that will make grocery shopping so much easier and much less stressful. Save you money and time. You’ll dine out less often, waste less food and you’ll have everything you need on hand to help keep you on track.

Lastly, if you’re on Facebook join my Skinnytaste Facebook Community where everyone’s sharing photos of recipes they are making, you can join here. I’m loving all the ideas everyone’s sharing!

THE DETAILS:

Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, are designed to serve 1 while dinners and all meals on Saturday and Sunday are designed to serve a family of 4. Some recipes make enough leftovers for two nights or lunch the next day. While we truly believe there is no one size fits all meal plan, we did our best to come up with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. Everything is Weight Watchers friendly, I included the updated Weight Watcher Freestyle Points for your convenience, feel free to swap out any recipes you wish or just use this for inspiration!

The grocery list is comprehensive and includes everything you need to make all meals on the plan. I’ve even included brand recommendations of products I love and use often. Cross check your cabinets because many condiments you’ll notice I use often, so you may already have a lot of them.

And last, but certainly not least, this meal plan is flexible and realistic. There’s plenty of wiggle room for cocktails, healthy snacks, dessert and dinner out. And if necessary, you can move some things around to make it work with your schedule. Please let me know if you’re using these plans, this will help me decide if I should continue sharing them! 

MONDAY (8/6)
B: 2 hard-boiled eggs (0) and a peach (0)
L: Chicken Tzatziki Bowls* (9)
D: Veggie Lasagna Zucchini Boats (7)
Totals: Freestyle Points  16, Calories 902**

TUESDAY (8/7)
B: Avocado Toast with Sunny Side Egg (4)
L: Chicken Tzatziki Bowls (9)
D: Thai Chicken Peanut Lettuce Tacos (6) with sliced cucumbers (0)
Totals: Freestyle Points ™ Smart Points 19, Calories 898*

WEDNESDAY (8/8)
B: Avocado Toast with Sunny Side Egg (4)
L: Chicken Tzatziki Bowls (9)
D: Mediterranean Boneless Pork Chops with Julienned Vegetables (6)
Totals: Freestyle Points ™ Smart Points 19, Calories 859**

THURSDAY (8/9)
B: 2 hard-boiled eggs (0) and a peach (0)
L: Chicken Tzatziki Bowls (9)
D: Grilled Bourbon Chicken (5) with 1 cup cauliflower rice (0)
Totals: Freestyle Points ™ Smart Points 14, Calories 1,003**

FRIDAY (8/10)
B:  PB & J Yogurt (6)
L: Watermelon Arugula and Feta Salad (4)
D: Grilled Salmon with Avocado Bruschetta (3) and ¾ cup brown rice (5)
Totals: Freestyle Points ™ Smart Points 18, Calories 959**

SATURDAY (8/11)
B:  Breakfast Pizza (5)
L: Watermelon Arugula and Feta Salad (4)
D: DINNER OUT!
Totals: Freestyle ™ Smart Points 9, Calories 429**

SUNDAY (8/12)
B: ¼ Crustless Summer Zucchini Pie (4) with 1 cup grapes (0)
L: The Skinny Tuna Melt (4) with an apple (0) (Recipe x 2)
D: Cheese Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf (7) with Roasted Parmesan Green Beans (1)
Totals: Freestyle Smart Points 16, Calories 960**

*Prep/make Chicken Tzatziki Bowls on Sunday for Mon-Thurs lunch.  You can also boil your eggs for Mon/Thurs breakfast, if desired.

**This is just a guide, women should aim for around 1500 calories per day. Here’s a helpful calculator to estimate your calorie needs. I’ve left plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food such as coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc.

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