Growing up, my father served in the Air Force and my mom worked at the Chow Hall, the military cafeteria where the soldiers ate, so my sisters and I were in charge of making dinner on the week days. One of our most recurring meals was just cooked ground beef with rice. Obviously, we got bored eating the same thing over and over again so we would experiment with different spice combinations and sauces to see who can out do the other. This recipe is based on one of those random concoctions. 

Instead of ground beef, I used ground turkey to make this dish leaner so that I could add a Healthy Fat. I also used sweet red bell peppers, but you can use any color you like. The red ones just happen to be my favorite because they are the sweetest of the bunch and I love that red pop of color! You can try using half of a red bell pepper and half of another color for a more colorful dish! Along with the ground turkey and bell peppers, this dish has a combination of minced garlic, chipotle chili pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, soy sauce, and a little bit of salt. Chipotle chili pepper is smoked, dried jalapeno grinded up into powder form so if spicy is not your thing, use chili powder instead. I happen to love that little bit of kick! All cooked together in one skillet, makes this dish a quick and easy meal! The best part about this ground turkey pepper skillet recipe? It is so versatile! Add 2 Greens of your choice and 1 Healthy Fat to complete you Lean and Green meal. Here are some options!

The first option is to make it into a salad! Who doesn't like a yummy crisp salad? Add 2 cups (85 g) of mixed greens (2 Greens) with a drizzle of your favorite approved dressing (1 Healthy Fat). I used light ranch dressing which goes well with the little kick of chipotle pepper. If you are a fan of Bolthouse Farms Dressing, I have a list of their dressings and how they are counted. Check it out!

The second option to enjoy them as zucchini boats! Zucchini boats are quickly becoming popular in the low carb community and for good reason! Zucchini boats make a great low carb, gluten free option that you can stuff with all kinds of things. To make them cut off the ends of 2 zucchini and then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seedy center of the zucchini leaving a 1/4 inch rim to create boats. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 min. You should have 6.3 ounces or 180 g cooked zucchini (2 Greens). Scoop the turkey pepper mixture into the boats and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Top with 2 tbsp sour cream (1 Healthy Fat) or 2 tbsp guacamole (1 Healthy Fat) and fresh cilantro.

The third option is to enjoy it over cauliflower rice! Top 1 cup (180 g) cooked cauliflower rice (2 Greens) with the ground turkey and peppers mixture. Add 1.5 ounces avocado (1 Healthy Fat) and garnish with cilantro.

Voila! Three ways to use your ground turkey pepper skillet! Also try it on top of a cauliflower pizza crust or make them into lettuce wraps! Make a double or triple batch and freeze the unused portions for later! I hope you enjoy this childhood concoction as much as me!

Ground Turkey Pepper Skillet

1 red sweet bell pepper, chopped (2 Greens)
1 tsp minced garlic (1 Condiment)
1 lb ground 95 to 97% lean ground turkey * (2 Leaner)
3/4 tsp chipotle chili pepper powder or chili powder (1 1/2 Condiments)
1/2 tsp cumin (1/2 Condiment)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika or paprika (1 Condiment)
1/4 tsp salt (1 Condiment)
1 tbsp soy sauce (1 Condiment)
1 tbsp fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat a non stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. Add peppers and cook until peppers are tender, about 5 min. Add 1 to 2 tbsp of water to the skillet to continue browning the peppers halfway through, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for about a minute more. Set the peppers aside.
Add the ground turkey, chipotle chili pepper powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and soy sauce to the skillet and cook over medium heat. Break the turkey up with a wooden spoon while cooking. Once the turkey is almost cooked, add peppers back to the skillet. Continue cooking until cooked through. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.

Makes 2 servings
Each serving provides
1 Leaner, 1 Green, and 3 Condiments
Add 1 additional Healthy Fat plus 2 Greens.

* If using 99% lean ground turkey, use 18 ounces raw weight and add 2 additional Healthy Fats

I grew up eating this salad and it brings back some favorite childhood memories. Have you tried this salad yet? This Tomato Cucumber Cottage Cheese Salad is the perfect salad to enjoy during the hot Summer months or even all year round when you are searching for a quick and easy protein packed meal to prepare! 

This super filling nutritious salad is made with cottage cheese, fresh halved cherry tomatoes, cut up cucumbers, and sliced avocado keeping this dish light, refreshing and delicious! The ever so popular Everything but the bagel seasoning blend of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic and onion, and sea salt makes this salad even better!

Tomato Cucumber Cottage Cheese Salad

1 1/2 cup (12 ounces) 2% cottage cheese (1 Leaner)
1 cup (149 g) cherry or mixed small tomatoes, halved (2 Greens)
1/2 cup (52 g) cucumber, striped with a peeler, sliced 1/4" thick and quartered (1 Green)
1 1/2 ounces avocado, sliced (1 Healthy Fat)
1/2 tsp Everything but the bagel seasoning (2 Condiments)
Garnish with green onions, if desired

Place cottage cheese in a large bowl.
Add tomatoes and cucumbers.
Top with sliced avocado and then sprinkle 
Everything but the bagel seasoning. 
Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Makes 1 Serving
1 Leaner, 3 Greens, 2 Condiments, and 1 Healthy Fat

Craving Bang Bang Shrimp?

This recipe is absolutely delicious and it is super duper easy to make requiring only a few ingredients! A mixture of thousand island dressing and sriracha tastes absolutely amazing together and the sriracha gives it a subtle bit of heat. Toss the sauce with air fried shrimp (or shrimp cooked any way you like ) then serve it with chopped cabbage and sliced avocado. Sprinkle a little bit of Everything but the Bagel Seasoning and you have a scrumptious Lean and Green meal that will continue to be on repeat. Thanks to Tylena Adudu for sharing this delicious recipe! It sure does hit the spot!

Copy Cat Bang Bang Shrimp

10 oz of raw shrimp, tails removed, peeled and deveined (1 Leanest)
1 1/2 oz of Avocado (1 Healthy Fat)
1 1/2 cups (4.71 ounces) cabbage, chopped (3 Greens)
2 tbsp Lite Wishbone Thousand Island (1 Healthy Fat)
1 tsp sriracha (1 Condiment)
1/4 tsp Trader Joe's Everything but the bagel seasoning (1 Condiment)

Cook shrimp in the air fryer for about 6 min at 400 degrees, shaking the basket halfway through. If you do not have an air fryer, you can use your preferred cooking method of choice. Weigh out 7 oz of cooked shrimp.
Add sliced avocado and chopped cabbage to a serving bowl; set aside.
Add Thousand Island dressing, hot sauce and cooked shrimp in a small bowl tossing to coat. Then add shrimp to the avocado and cabbage bowl.
Sprinkle Everything but the bagel seasoning on top.

Makes 1 Serving
Each serving provides
1 Leanest, 3 Greens, 2 Condiments, and 2 Healthy Fats

This is a tried and true recipe that is so easy to make! Enjoy it as a quick weeknight meal or at your next potluck or gathering! It has loads of flavor, yet it is only made with three ingredients! Say what? 

That's right! Only three ingredients! Chicken, root beer, and of course your favorite BBQ sauce! My personal favorite is G Hughes Carolina Sweet Heat! It is sugar free, low in calories, only 1 g of carbs for 2 tbsp and it tastes so delicious! Hallelujah!

Throw the chicken, root beer, and a 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce in the slow cooker and let it work it's magic. You can also use Dr. Pepper or Coke, but I prefer good old fashioned root beer. Drain some of the liquid from the chicken if you prefer, but I like to keep some to keep it more saucy. Then it's off to shredville using two forks! Add 1 cup more of BBQ sauce and give it a good stir. Then enjoy it with your favorite veggies and one additional healthy fat to make a complete Lean and Green meal. 

My favorite way to eat my Greens with only a healthy fat available and no condiments is to use an approved dressing for flavor. This could be a yummy salad using a variety of veggies with your favorite dressing. I absolutely love ranch and ranch is pretty awesome with BBQ flavors! You could also use a vinaigrette such as Italian or balsamic dressing as a marinade for an assortment of veggies such as yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. Let them marinade for about 30 min or longer for extra flavor and then toss them on the grill, roast them in the oven or cook them in an air fryer.

Can you freeze this recipe? You sure can! Allow the chicken to cool to room temperature. Pack in a freezable Ziploc bag making sure to flatten the bag and remove the air as much as possible. Label the bag with the name and date. Then store it in the freezer for up until 3 months! When you are ready to eat it, thaw in the fridge the night before and reheat. I hope you enjoy this simple family friendly meal!

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (4 Leaner)
1 cup diet root beer
1 1/2 cups G Hughes Carolina Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce, divided
(12 Condiments) *

Place chicken at the bottom of a slow cooker.
Whisk together root beer and 1/2 cup bbq sauce in a bowl.
Pour bbq mixture over chicken and toss to coat.
Cook on Low 6 to 7 hrs or on High 3 to 4 hours.
During the last 20 min of cooking, drain some of the liquid.
I like to keep some of the liquid to make it more saucy.
Then shred the chicken with two forks.
Add 1 cup bbq sauce to the chicken, stirring until combined. Continue cooking for 20 min. Enjoy!

Makes 4 Servings
Each serving provides
1 Leaner and 3 Condiments
Add 3 Greens and 1 Healthy Fat to complete your Lean and Green meal such as 3 cups mixed greens and 2 tbsp of an approved salad dressing.

* The Carolina Sweet Heat flavor is the only G Hughes BBQ sauce that is just 1 Condiment for 2 tbsp. All the other flavors are 1 Condiment for 1 tbsp. If using another flavor, add 1/4 cup bbq sauce with the root beer and use an additional 1/2 cup to stir in at the end, a total of 3/4 cup.

Enjoy this simple light refreshing shrimp salad over the upcoming warmer months! The lemon juice, dijon mustard and fresh dill gives this salad some zing! The mayo makes it creamy while the celery adds a nice crunch! Adding old bay seasoning kicks it up a notch and the splash of hot sauce gives it a little but of heat! Serve it over a bed of lettuce or with your favorite veggies!

Shrimp Salad

14 oz cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed,
chopped into small pieces (2 Leanest)
1/2 cup celery, diced (1 Green)
6 tbsp light mayo (4 Healthy Fats)
1 tsp dijon mustard (1 Condiment)
2 tsp lemon juice (1 Condiment)
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (1/16 Condiment)
3/4 tsp old bay seasoning (3 Condiments)
1/2 tsp Frank's hot sauce (1/12 Condiment)

green onions if desired, but subtract
from your Greens

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with lettuce or your favorite veggies!

Makes 2 servings
Each serving provides
1 Leanest, 1/2 of 1 Green, 3 Condiments and 2 Healthy Fats
(Add 2 1/2 Greens to complete your Lean and Green meal)

I am trying to use up what I already have in the house so I threw this together last minute! I wanted to share how easy it is to create a delicious Lean and Green meal in less than 20 minutes!

One thing I always have in the freezer is shrimp! I absolutely love shrimp and it also just happens to be a Leanest Lean so it allows me to use 2 additional Healthy Fats. Yes! I also tend to have bell peppers in the fridge. They are so good and can be used a variety of ways such as stuffed bell peppers, as nachos, in fajitas or stir-fry! They are loaded with Vitamin C with a single red bell pepper having up to 169% of the recommended daily requirement of Vitamin C! Such a great way to get that Vitamin C in and boost your immune system, especially during times like the present! I cooked the peppers in the air fryer but they are just as good roasted in the oven. Add the shrimp, peppers, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa and you have shrimp fajitas with all the fixings. but without the tortillas! So yummy!

Mexican Shrimp Bowl

9 to 10 oz raw shrimp, shells and tails removed ~ should yield 7 oz cooked (1 Leanest Lean)
1/2 tsp Stacey Hawkins Southwestern Seasoning or your favorite taco or Mexican style seasoning (1 Condiment)
1 1/2 sweet bell peppers, sliced (about 1/4 inch) ~ 7.2 ounces cooked (3 Greens)
2 tbsp sour cream (1 Healthy Fat)
2 tbsp guacamole (1 Healthy Fat)
2 tbsp red salsa (2 Condiments)

Lightly spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Add shrimp and season with Southwestern seasoning. Cook shrimp over medium high heat for about 5 to 6 minutes or until pink and cooked through. Place shrimp in a bowl.

While shrimp is cooking, add sliced sweet bell peppers to an air fryer. Cook at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through. You can also roast them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add peppers to the shrimp bowl. Then add the sour cream, guacamole, and salsa to the bowl. Enjoy!

Makes 1 Serving
Each serving provides
1 Leanest Lean, 3 Greens, 3 Condiments, and 1 Healthy Fat

I thought I would share my favorite green tea smoothie using matcha! Matcha literally means powdered tea. When you have are having traditional green tea, the leaves are infused in hot water and then discarded. With matcha, you are drinking the actual tea leaves in powder form. Because the whole leaves are ingested, it is a more potent source of nutrients than steeped green tea. It's a super food that is loaded with nutrients, potent amino acids and has 137 times the antioxidants of brewed green tea. It isn't the only super food in this shake! I also added spinach and I swear you can not taste it at all. Spinach is also packed with protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals all in a low calorie food! Plus the addition of Greek yogurt thickens the shake and adds additional protein! Enjoy!

Green Tea Smoothie

1 Optavia or Medifast Vanilla Shake (1 Fueling)
1/2 cup plain fage 2% Greek yogurt (1/3 Leaner)
1 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp Matcha Green Tea Powder (1/2 Condiment)
1 cup Baby Spinach (1 Green)
Few cubes of ice

Blend all ingredients in a blender.
Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Makes 1 Serving
Each serving provides
1 Fueling, 1/3 Leaner, 1 Green, and 1 1/2 Condiments

(You will need 2/3 Lean such as 4 ounces of chicken breasts and 2 Greens to complete your Lean and Green meal)

Here is a yummy easy dinner that is perfect for a week day meal or a busy weekend! Taco Salad made with taco seasoned lean ground beef placed on a bed of lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Then topped with Quest protein chips! I drizzled Bolthouse Cilantro Avocado dressing on top of the salad which only counts as 2 Condiments for 2 tbsp! Using the salad dressing as Condiments, allows you to use an additional Healthy Fat such as sliced avocado or sour cream. Yum! Check out some other Bolthouse dressings Here that could also be used as Condiments or Healthy Fats.

You can use any flavor of Quest protein chips, but I used Loaded Taco flavor! I grabbed them from Amazon! It is so good and a personal favorite of mine! These protein chips are approved for the 5 and 1 plan, but it is not recommended to have 2 bags as a full Lean. I like using them as an occasional treat and I love how they add a nice crunch to the taco salad! Yum!

Taco Salad with Quest Chips

4 ounces 95 to 97% uncooked lean ground beef ~ 3 ounces cooked (1/2 Leaner)
1/2 tsp taco seasoning (1 Condiment)
1/2 cup or 90 g tomatoes, chopped (1 Green)
2 cups or 94 g romaine lettuce, shredded (2 Greens)
1 bag Quest Protein Chips (1/2 Leaner)
2 tbsp Bolthouse Cilantro Avocado Dressing * (2 Condiments)
1.5 ounces avocado, sliced or 2 tbsp sour cream (1 Healthy Fat)

Place ground beef in a medium sized skillet and cook until brown. Drain meat and return to skillet. Stir in  taco seasoning and heat for about 2 more minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Add lettuce and tomatoes to a bowl. Toss in ground beef.
Top salad with Quest protein chips and drizzle dressing. Finish off with sliced avocado or sour cream.

Makes 1 Serving
Each serving provides
1 Leaner, 3 Greens, 3 Condiments, and 1 Healthy Fat

* If you decide to use a different salad dressing as your Healthy Fat instead of Condiments, do not use sliced avocado. You can use 1 tbsp of sour cream as 1 Condiment or 2 tbsp plain non-fat or low fat Greek yogurt as 1 Condiment or 2 tbsp salsa as 2 Condiments.

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This Meaty Taco Dip is quick and easy to make plus you can make it ahead of time! It is packed with all the protein and yummy nutritious veggies to get you through those action packed football games! Trust me! You do not want to be hungry during the games because well.. hungry leads to hangry, especially when your team is not winning! Boo! But you can bet that this dip will be a winner no matter who is winning! Yes!

I beefed up my taco dip by adding lean ground beef and protein rich Greek yogurt! Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute for sour cream and a wonderful choice when you are trying to not let those pesky pounds creep up on you!

To make this yummy dip, start off by layering lean ground beef that has been mixed with green chiles, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning on the bottom of a large casserole dish. Then add a creamy layer made of a mixture of plain Greek yogurt, softened cream cheese, and more taco seasoning. Then sprinkle shredded cheese, fresh lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced jalapenos, and green onions on top.

Divide the dip into 6 equal portions and serve with your favorite "chip" alternative! I absolutely love sweet mini bell peppers, but sliced cucumbers, zucchini, or celery are also great choices!

Then devour all the delicious layers of taco seasoned ground beef, the creamy goodness of Greek yogurt and cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese and all the veggies! This dip is perfect for a potluck or get-together so even after all the football games have ended, keep this recipe in mind for your next big gathering!

Meaty Taco Dip

1 ½ lb 95 to 97% lean ground beef or turkey
or sauce less than 5 g of carbs per ¼ cup
3 tbsp taco seasoning, divided
4 ounces diced green chiles
1 ½ cups plain 2% Greek yogurt
6 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened
2 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups or 144 grams iceberg lettuce, shredded
½ cup or 90 grams tomatoes, chopped
1 ounce jarred jalapeno slices
Optional garnish: green onions

In a large skillet, crumble and cook ground beef. Drain any fat. Add tomato sauce, 2 tbsp taco seasoning, and green chiles stirring until combined. Let simmer for about 2 minutes. Spread ground beef mixture on the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish and let cool to room temperature.
Use a hand mixer to mix Greek yogurt, softened cream cheese, and 1 tbsp taco seasoning in a medium sized bowl until well blended. Spread over ground beef layer.
Then sprinkle cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes on top. Add jalapeno slices and garnish with green onions if desired. Divide into 6 equal portions. Store in the fridge up to 3 days.

Makes 6 Servings
Each serving provides
1 Lean, 1 Green, 3 Condiments, 1 Healthy Fat and 1/6 Optional Snack

Add 2 additional Greens to make this a full Lean and Green meal. All the ones listed below are 2 Greens:

149 grams sweet bell peppers
144 grams cucumbers slices
153 grams zucchini slices
150 grams celery

For a Vegetarian option: Use 4 ½ cups of Morning Star Farms Grillers Crumbles

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