The Tone It Up Nutrition Plan has become a staple for my Sunday grocery trips. They are all super quick and easy, which is perfect for a way to busy life. I also love that they have smaller portions (like hey, I’m only cooking for 1 over here!). I really love that multiple times a year they give a meal by meal weekly guide, including shopping list. There are weeks when that is just SO needed in life.
Within all the versions of their nutrition plan there are recipes I could eat over and over and over again (like the Red Lentil Butternut Squash Soup), recipes I had never thought of (like apple slices with cinnamon…. why had I never thought of that before?!), and then there are the recipes that got boring. Really fast. I knew they all had potential… so I started experimenting. I have to say, I have perfected a few little hacks for my favorite staple meals.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats
I make 5 servings of this recipe every Sunday. They never get old. They taste like dessert in a jar. My trick, use instead of . If I’m thinking of delicious combinations its like cookies/milk, chips/guac, chocolate/peanut butter/banana. Who doesn’t want to start the day with dessert?! I have also made prepping these even easier, because have you tried to stir peanut butter into something and keep bananas from turning brown? It is pretty much impossible. I gave up on my stirring peanut butter skills and now throw it all (except the oats!) in my . Seriously, all the ingredients other than oats, even the bananas, get blended into a smoothie type thing, then I stir in the oats. It becomes a perfect consistency and the oats end up being nice and creamy, kinda like chocolate peanut butter pudding for breakfast. Want to take it a step further with even more peanut butter goodness… save your almost empty peanut butter jars and make your ONO in them! I also love topping them with fresh banana or granola for some extra texture!
Chocolate Peppermint Mini Muffins
If you can’t tell already, I love chocolate. Any time I can sneak chocolate into a healthy recipe I consider it a win. My friend Amanda was making this donut recipe all the time and I loved when she would bring me some extra donuts. I have a donut pan, but for some reason I don’t love making donuts. I think its mental. Why eat 1 donut when I could eat 3 mini muffins. The 3 mini muffins are 2 more things, even though both are 1 serving. Right? Right. Anyway, I started making the same recipe, but in a mini muffin tin and I swear they end up being a better consistency. (Once again, could be totally mental.) These also freeze REALLY well. If I am going to be out of town I always double the recipe before leaving so I am prepped for before and after my trip! My real breakthrough came after Thanksgiving when I wanted all Christmas everything. I was thinking decorations, presents, candy canes… and it hit me. My peppermint essential oil could be my new trick for holiday meal prep. I put 10 drops of peppermint into my mini muffin batter and they came out better than I could have ever imagined. I will definitely be making these again and again… not just for Christmas.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Most recipes that have the word slimming in the title are a hard pass. I’m all for healthy food, but slimming makes it seem like I’m eating twigs and kale all day… and you’re lying if you say you enjoy that. I was looking for a good soup recipe when I found Warming Slimdown Soup I thought I might be able to overlook the slimdown part if it was warming. After reading the recipes I had an idea… it calls for chickpeas, so why not use chickpea noodles. I substitute noodles for the chickpeas and it becomes a delicious chicken noodle soup! I’ve done it in the crockpot before work and added the cooked noodles and shredded chicken after work for dinner, or on the stovetop for a quicker prep on Sundays. Either way, I don’t deal with cooking the chicken. I pick up a Rosemary Lemon Rotisserie Chicken from The Fresh Market. It is more flavorful, less dishes, and all around easier than roasting my own chicken. No one has time for that.
Butternut Squash Taco Chili
Clearly, I love tacos. Taco seasoning is by far my most used seasoning. I put it on just about anything. I was making a simple chili recipe and thought it could use a little something extra. Why not add taco seasoning? I’m glad I did! The combination of ingredients quickly turned Mexican and it was wonderful. I also love to top it with a drop of plain yogurt as sour cream, and either almond flour crackers or tortilla chips for some crunch! Another note, I never remember what beans I’m supposed to buy, or what beans I have at my house… so I have made this with every combination of beans/turkey/chicken you can think of and it is always great. My biggest risk with this recipe was when I had some spiral butternut squash that about to go bad. I figured I had added so many random things to this recipe, one more wouldn’t hurt. It ended up making the chili seem thick and creamy, and hid an extra veggie in it! Moral of the story: always add butternut squash to chili.