Chicken Taco Salad

Since my sister’s bathroom was being renovated last week, she ended up staying with me all week. As much as I love living alone, it was really nice to have her with me for the week. I wouldn’t want a friend staying with me for the week (sorry, no offense!), but there’s something different about a sister staying with you… especially when you’ve lived together for a number of years.

As a thank you, she went shopping and got ingredients to make us taco salads. I ended up cooking since I was home from work a lot earlier than she was, but I appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to go out and buy the food!

We used ground chicken, sautéed veggies and I even made my own taco seasoning! I was talking to a coworker and she said she makes her own since the ingredients in those packets are less than stellar. And, you know what?! It was so easy and so good… and I liked that I knew exactly what I was putting into the seasoning. I adapted a recipe from Iowa Girl Eats and can now never go back to store bought seasoning packets.

To help cut back on calories and carbs, we decided to serve the meat and veggies atop spinach (with a little quinoa/rice mixture). But, let’s be honest, I only did this so I could justify having extra chips on the side 😉 Regardless, the “mix” that I came up with would be good atop a salad, in a wrap or even on it’s own. It was a quick and easy weeknight meal.

chicken taco salad


  • 1lb. ground chicken
  • 1-2 cups of cooked quinoa or rice (we used a bag of the Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice things)
  • 1/2-1 cups green pepper and red pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 cup corn (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup black beans (rinsed)
  • Romaine lettuce/spinach
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt, pepper, other herbs/seasonings of your choice (and wine- I always sautee veggies in wine)

Seasoning Ingredients (from Iowa Girl Eats)

  • 2-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprikaI didn’t have this so I skipped it
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powderI didn’t have this so I skipped it
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano


1. Cut up your peppers and onion. Heat a pan with 1-2 tbsp EVOO and add in the pepper and onion and minced garlic. Add in herbs/seasoning/wine as desired. Additionally, cook the quinoa or rice according to the package.


2. While the veggies are cooking, prepare the seasoning and set aside. Once the veggies are done, remove from the pan and brown the chicken. Once the chicken is almost fully browned, add in the seasoning mixture. Mix well and then add in the cooked peppers and onions, as well as the rinsed black beans and corn. Sautee until everything is warm.


3. Put a serving of quinoa or rice atop a bed of spinach and then place the taco mixture on top of that. You can also serve it in a wrap or taco if you wish. I topped mine with a little cheese because, well, cheese makes everything better 😉


We were so happy with the results of this quick and easy weeknight meal! It was so flavorful and healthy- a win, win (side note: I originally typed in “wine” instead of win… is that a problem?) in my book.

We both enjoyed leftovers throughout the week- she made a wrap for dinner and I ended up having another salad exactly like this!

Questions for you: Do you like to eat taco salads, wraps or plain ol’ tacos? Have you ever made your own taco seasoning?




Quinoa Granola

Say, what?! I know, it sounds a little weird, right? That’s what I thought when my sister sent me an email with a link to this recipe from her favorite blog, Iowa Girl Eats, but after making it, I can promise you there’s nothing weird about it!

I made a number of additions/substitutions based on what I had in the apartment and based on what I thought I wanted to include in it, but using her recipe as a base was a great place to start. I never would have thought to have included quinoa in a granola recipe!

Crunch Quinoa Granola– Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats



2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup sliced almonds– I used 1/2 cup chopped almonds and 1/4 cup copped pecans
2 Tablespoons flax seeds– I ran out of flax seeds so I left this out
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt
1/4 cup honey– I used a mixture of honey, maple syrup and agave. I probably used between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup combined.
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted– Left this out since I didn’t have any. I added in 2 TBSP of almond butter instead.
1 cup raisins– I used craisins instead because I like them better


1. Pre-heat oven to 350*. Combine all ingredients except for the raisins or craisins.


2. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes, checking on it periodically and stirring to ensure that everything is baked evenly.


3. When it’s cooked, remove from the oven, add the raisins or craisins and enjoy!


Not surprisingly, I couldn’t keep my hands out of this granola. Ugh, it’s such an obsession! What I loved about this granola, though, was the extra dose of protein and fiber from the quinoa that helped kept me full and satisfied for longer. It was the prefect fuel for the run I did after eating it by the BIG handful.


Needless to say, this batch didn’t last every long… whoops!

Questions for you: What’s the “weirdest”, but surprisingly delicious, recipe you’ve ever made? Do you prefer raisins or craisins?