RecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Vegetable Teriyaki Chicken


It’s final. I can never make a single batch of this dish again. Between my husband, me and our four children, one batch of this delicious dish is just not enough anymore. Last time I made it, every last bite was gone. Gone, gone. Not even leftovers for lunch the next day. Enjoy this family favorite dish from our home to yours!

Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables

Healthy sweet and savory pasta dish made in 30 minutes!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese, Japanese
Keyword fast, healthy, pasta, vegetable teriyaki chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author heartysmarty


Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables

  • 16 oz. Dry Farfalle bow ties
  • 3 Carrots about 2 Cups, julienne
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped
  • 1 1/2 Cups Frozen or Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1 Cup Chicken cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Almonds whole
  • 1/4 Cup Green onions chopped fine
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro chopped fine
  • 3 Cups Loose Leaf Spinach optional

Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1/3 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds


  1. Add all Teriyaki Sauce ingredients to a pint-sized mason jar and screw on a tight-fitting lid. Shake the jar until the honey is dissolved. Set aside.

  2. In a large pot, bring to boil 4 quarts of water and cook the pasta until al dente.
  3. Strain pasta from pan and use the same hot water to steam the bell peppers, carrots and peas about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the vegetables are crisp tender, remove steamer from pot and drain water. Return pasta, vegetables, chicken, herbs and teriyaki sauce to the large pot. Stir to combine.
  5. Serve warm over 1/2 cup loose leaf spinach (optional).

Recipe Notes

For the chicken, I always have frozen bags of rotisserie chicken on hand, so I use that. You could boil a chicken breast and use that as well.

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Baked GoodsRecipesTreats

Hearty Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookies


Sunday nights at the Andersen house often include card games and cookies. This is our most frequently baked cookie. Dipped in a cold glass of milk, nothing says “home” better! I like to help people understand that a balanced diet includes a few treats now and then. However, because I eat so little refined sugar and flour, treats can be a bit too rich for my liking when I follow the original recipe. Thus, I usually cut out half the sugar and use whole wheat in most of my baked goods.  These cookies still belong in the “Sometimes Foods” category, but they do have a good dose of fiber at 1 gram per cookie. Enjoy!

Hearty Mrs. Fields Cookies

Course Dessert
Keyword Chocolate Chip Cookies
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 48 (2 1/2 inch) cookies
Author heartysmarty


  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar packed
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 Cups Old Fashion Oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 6 ounces Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 1/2 Cups Walnuts or Pecans chopped


  1. Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and smooth.
  2. Put small amounts of oats in a blender and grind until it turns into a powder.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, ground oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Mix one cup of dry ingredients at a time into the creamed wet ingredients.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. On an ungreased cookie sheet, spoon a tablespoon of dough for each cookie and place 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes, until tops are lightly golden. Let cool on the sheet for about 2 minutes before removing with a spatula.

Recipe Notes

As with any other baked good, this task is finished a lot faster with my Bosch Mixer. (Affiliate Link) Oh, how I love my Bosch!

Featured Product

(Includes Affiliate Link)

Bosch Universal Plus Mixer

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Creamy Mango Kefir Smoothie


When mangoes are in season, I LOVE to start my day with the most delicious dose of healthy fats, probiotics and antioxidants. This smoothie kick-starts my immune system to power me through the morning. Enjoy!

Creamy Mango Kefir Smoothie

Course Breakfast, Drinks
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword mango kefir smoothie
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • 1 Cup Kefir
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 medium Banana
  • 1 medium Mango or 3/4 Cup
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Flaxseed


  1. Add all ingredients to blender in the order listed. Blend on high speed for 60 seconds. Serve immediately.
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Food is MedicineGluten-FreeNutrition EducationRecipesSmoothies

Feeling Good With Kefir


After learning that its health benefits range from cancer prevention to stomach flu cure, we have recently added Kefir to our diet. The word, Kefir, is derived from the Turkish word, Keyif, which translates to “feeling good” after it is eaten. After drinking it for the last three months, I commend the Turks for giving these lovely grains such a fitting name! Much of the information below comes from a scholarly article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Production of Kefir

Kefir is a natural probiotic dairy beverage. To make the drink, Kefir grains acting as a culture starter are added to cow’s milk at room temperature and soaked for 18 to 24 hours. The yeasts and bacteria contained in the grains ferment the milk and create probiotics (healthy bacteria). At the end of fermentation, the grains are removed and the beverage is refrigerated. Kefir grains can be dried and reused repeatedly for up to 18 months. When soaking in milk, Kefir grains will multiply in size and number, and that is how you know that they are still working. After the grains multiply, they can be dried and shared as a culture starter for a friend. If you want to make your own Kefir beverage, Mel’s Kitchen Café has a wonderful tutorial. I make my own out of milk kefir grains I bought on Amazon.

Health Benefits

  • The probiotics contained in Kefir can treat and prevent gastroenteritis (stomach flu) and yeast infections. In our home, I use Kefir after someone in the house has battled a case of the stomach bug or has been taking an antibiotic. It helps to replace the “good” bacteria that was lost during illness.
  • In Russia, researchers are using Kefir to treat ulcers in both the stomach and large intestine.
  • Kefir and other fermented dairy beverages have anticarcinogenic properties, preventing cancer and early-stage tumor growth. The probiotics in Kefir do this in two ways: 1. by blocking the enzymes which turn pre-carcinogenic compounds into carcinogens and 2. by activating the immune system to attack the cancer on its own.
  • The active ingredients formed in the fermentation of Kefir act as immunity boosters which stimulate the immune system and decrease inflammation.
  • Research is finding cholesterol-lowering effects of Kefir with the theory that some of its bacteria binds to cholesterol and removes it from the blood system through waste.
  • There’s good news for those who suffer from lactose intolerance and still want to enjoy the health benefits of Kefir. Because it contains the active enzyme, β-galactosidase, which stays active when consumed, Kefir is easily digested. Also, many batches and brands are up to 99% lactose free.


To describe the flavor of Kefir I would say it has a tangy and tart—similar to plain, unsweetened yogurt. It’s not a beverage I would drink on its own, but mixed with fruit it tastes wonderful.


When first starting my family on Kefir, I added 2 Tablespoons per serving in all our smoothies. Thus, I used 12 Tablespoons (or 3/4 cup) when I made a 6-cup smoothie for the 6 members of our family. It’s important to ease into drinking Kefir. Not only is it a bit of an acquired taste, but too much too soon can cause diarrhea. As our bodies got more used to Kefir, I worked our way up to half almond milk and half Kefir in all our smoothies.  At some point, we will be able to drink 1/2 cup of Kefir per person, 2 to 3 times per week. Two of my favorite smoothies to put Kefir in are my Mango Kefir Smoothie and my Blueberry Sinus Remedy Smoothie.

Kefir also acts as a really good sour milk in pancakes and waffles. However, when heated at a high temperature, it deactivates some of the good enzymes and bacteria.

I still consider myself a rookie in Kefir recipes. What are your favorite ways to incorporate this lovely food into your diet? I would love to learn more ways to enjoy it.

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 Milk Kefir Grains


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RecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Chicken Zoodle Alfredo


I know I am a little late to the bandwagon, but I must say that I am loving these Zoodles (zucchini noodles)! I have a hand-held spiralizer which works well to make beautiful spirals of zucchini squash into zoodles. What a great way sneak more vegetables into your diet and cut a few carbs out for people like diabetics who need to watch their intake! Tonight, I made zoodles into an Alfredo dish that was delicious. My 7-year-old was inhaling the stuff as he told me I needed to take a picture and put this on the website. So, here it is. Enjoy!


Chicken Zoodle Alfredo

2 Chicken Breasts (2 1/2 Cups), fully cooked*
4 Medium Zucchini Squash, spiralized
8 oz. Spaghetti Noodles
1 Recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

1. Bake or grill chicken breasts until fully cooked through. Cut into bite sized cubes and set aside.
2. Prepare 1 Recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce. Set aside.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook Spaghetti noodles until tender.
4. Meanwhile, spiralize the zucchini squash and place them in a large, non-stick skillet. Steep the zoodles, covered with a lid for about 5 minutes.
5. Strain the spaghetti noodles, and add them along with the chicken and Alfredo sauce to the zoodles. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8.

*Notes: I prefer to use cooked rotisserie chicken. I always have a store on hand in my freezer. Here’s a link to a tutorial of how I store it:


Featured Product

(Contains Affiliate Link)

 OXO Goodgrips Handheld Spiralizer

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RecipesSauces and Dressings

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce from “Our Best Bites”


This is a classic Alfredo sauce recipe that I use at least twice a month in my cooking. It’s fast, easy, and a bit lighter than most versions. Any dish I make with this sauce is always a hit at our dinner table. Thus, I attribute many of my dinner successes to Sara and Kate over at “Our Best Bites.”  You can find their original recipe here.

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

The best alfredo sauce.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Healthy Alfredo
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10 people
Calories 120 kcal
Author heartysmarty


  • 2 Cups Low-fat Milk
  • 1/3 Cup Cream Cheese (3 oz.)
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour I use whole wheat
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Combine milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender. Blend on high speed until totally smooth, about 2 minutes.

  2. In a large sauce pan, sauté the minced garlic in the tablespoon of butter for about 30 seconds. Be careful not to overcook the garlic.
  3. Over medium-high heat, add the milk mixture to the saucepan of garlic and stir continuously with a wire whisk until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble.
  4. Remove sauce pan from the heat. Use a rotary cheese grater (affiliate link) to quickly shred the parmesan. Mix in the Parmesan, stirring until it melts completely.
  5. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes approximately 3 cups of alfredo sauce. For the milk, use your variety of choice. I use 2% milk, but skim still tastes good as well.

Featured Product

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ZYLISS Classic Rotary Cheese Grater

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Green Apple Smoothie


This delicious smoothie has probiotics for gut health, ginger and lemon for an immunity boost, and a whole serving of vegetables. I thought it was going to be one of those smoothies that tasted terrible, but I drank it anyways because it was “good for me.” Boy, was I wrong. This smoothie is so tasty! It’s a perfect balance of sweet and creamy goodness.

Green Apple Smoothie

Course Breakfast, Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword green smoothie
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author heartysmarty


  • 1 Cup Spinach Packed
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Ice cubes
  • 1/2 Cup Kefir plain
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice


  1. Inside your blender, pack spinach until it reaches the 1 Cup line. Add almond milk until it reaches the 1 1/2 Cup line. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and a bit frothy.
  3. Serve immediately.
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Megan’s Homemade Lasagna


I was shopping in Costco last month when I walked past the freezers with lasagnas in it. I was tempted to pick one up for a future dinner to save myself some time and energy. When I checked out the ingredient label, nutrition information and price, I realized that with a little work I could make a more nutritious version for about the same price. Below is my cost comparison and nutritional analysis of the Costco lasagna vs. my homemade lasagna:

Kirkland Signature Meat Lasagna $12.99

1 Cup Serving:

Calories: 340 calories

Fat Calories: 160 calories

Total Fat: 17 grams

Carbohydrate: 29 grams

Protein: 20 grams

Vitamin A: 20%

Calcium: 35%

Vitamin C: 20%

Iron: 15%

Megan’s Homemade Beef Lasagna $11.36

1 Cup Serving:

Calories: 270 calories

Fat Calories: 100 calories

Total Fat: 11 grams

Carbohydrate: 23 grams

Protein: 20 grams

Vitamin A: 50%

Calcium: 23%

Vitamin C: 9%

Iron: 14%

As you can see, my version has 70 less calories per serving than the Costco brand for almost all the same (and in some cases more) nutrition. Check out all that Vitamin A in my version! You will love the fresher, lighter flavor of this homemade lasagna.  From start to finish, I spent about 1 hour and 15 minutes making this dish. While that is longer than most weeknight meals I make, I believe it was worth every minute when I watched my kids lick every last bite out of the pan. I hope you and your family enjoy it as well!




Megan’s Homemade Lasagna

Fresh, light, nutritious, and delicious

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword healthy homemade lasagna
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 1-Cup Servings
Calories 270 kcal


  • 1/4 pound each Ground Beef and Mild Italian Sausage 1 Cup Cooked
  • 1 Cup Onion chopped
  • 2/3 Cup Celery chopped fine
  • 2/3 Cup Carrot shredded
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1- 15 ounce can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2- 15 ounce cans Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh Basil chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Cottage Cheese 4% milk fat
  • 1 Egg* See note
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan shredded
  • 2 Cups Packed Spinach
  • 10 Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. For sauce, cook beef, sausage, onion, celery, carrots and garlic in a large saucepan until meat is brown. Drain any excess fat.
  3. Add un-drained tomatoes, tomato sauce, chopped basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, cook noodles for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender but still firm. Drain noodles and set aside.
  5. For cheese filling, mix together cottage cheese, egg, Parmesan and spinach. Set aside.
  6. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Layer half of the noodles in the bottom of the dish, trimming with kitchen shears as necessary to fit. Spread with half of the cheese filling. Top with half of the remaining sauce and half of the mozzarella. Repeat layers.
  7. Place 9 X 13 dish on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

I have mistakenly left out the egg in the past. It still tasted great, but never really set up in a pretty square serving. So, if the soupy plate doesn't bother you, and you are trying to watch your cholesterol intake (there's plenty in the meat and cheese here) you can leave out the egg.

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Lifestyle EatingNutrition Education

5-Step Meal Planning For Busy Families


The biggest obstacle to eating healthy usually comes at the dinner hour when you are faced with no plan and no time to cook a homemade meal. Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar:

You walk in the kitchen after a busy day and you have exactly 30 minutes to make and eat dinner before you need to be out the door again for little Johnny’s soccer game. Assessing the contents of the fridge, you have lots of fresh food but no idea how to throw something together on time. Thus, you resort to hopping in the car and zipping to the drive-thru for a burger. You and the family scarf down your meal in the car as you drive to the soccer field. And there your dinner sits like a brick in your stomach while you cheer on little Johnny.

Maybe your scenario looks a little more like this one:

The dinner hour is fast approaching, and everyone is starving! You flip through Pinterest and find something that looks quick and easy. Unfortunately, half way through the meal prep, you realize you don’t have any onions for the white sauce. You cannot eat an onion-less white sauce, so now you are running to the store for an onion. Meanwhile, the kids are at home ransacking the snack cupboard and filling up on crackers and cereal.  You are so hungry that you grab a bag of chips from the check-out line. As you finish the homemade Pinterest-worthy meal, you munch on the chips to satisfy your growling stomach. Now you nor your family is really that hungry for the dinner you just made. You all eat it anyways and go to bed feeling overstuffed and not all that content with your dining experience. And then tomorrow, it happens all over again.

We have all been there! Early in my marriage and as a young mom learning the ins and outs of homemaking, I used to be an emotional wreck by the time I got dinner on the table. I was frantically trying to pull ingredients together to make a meal each night. I can’t promise that I never get a bit frantic in the kitchen anymore, but the agony over what to make each night has been removed from my life. Ever since I started meal-planning, our family eats healthier, more diverse, and less expensive meals than before. Now, I am going to show you how it’s done in five simple steps.

1. Theme each night.

It’s easy to get stumped when planning meals, so I assign a theme to each night which I know my family will enjoy. It helps me have a place to start when deciding what to make. Here’s how I set up our week:

Sunday: Crockpot Comfort Food

Monday: Baked Dishes (Winter) Grill (Summer)

Tuesday: Mexican

Wednesday: Italian

Thursday: Chinese or Soup

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner or Dine Out

2. Plan your meals.

Now that you have a starting point with themed nights, take inventory of your freezer and pantry. According to what you already have on hand, start plugging in meals to each night. I don’t do anything fancy with my meal planning. I just have a note in my phone with the meal plan on it. This is what ours looked like this week:

Meal Plan 2

3. A meal is never complete without a FRESH vegetable.

A fresh vegetable includes cooked veggies whether they were raw or frozen to begin with. It does not include ketchup or potato chips… Many times I plan the salad or veggie first and then the main dish to go along. Other times I plan two or three salads and we have side dishes for dinner. Here is our final meal plan with recipe links:


Crockpot Cranberry Chicken

Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli Salad Mix


Spinach and Feta Quinoa Cakes

Hearty Roasted Carrots with Parsley

Roasted Carrots with Parsley


Enchilada black bean and vegetable

Black Bean Vegetable Enchiladas

Peach Salsa

Fresh Peach Salsa


Poleta and Roasted Vegetables

Cheesy Polenta with Roasted Vegetables


Not-Fried Vegetable Rice

Oriental Chicken Cabbage Salad


Pizza Zucchini tomato garlic salt and sausage mozz cheese

Whole Wheat Pizza and Salad


Hearty Breakfast Bagel

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

4. Make your grocery list out of the ingredients needed for your meal plan.

I have an ongoing note on my phone for things I notice throughout the week that we are out of. Then, on Saturdays or Mondays when I sit down to meal plan, I add the ingredients we need for each night’s dinner. After that, I log into my online grocery store account (Smith’s ClickList) and order all my groceries online. This is totally optional, but it saves me a LOT of time and grief, wrangling my toddlers in the grocery store. I also feel like it saves me money, even with the $4.95 pickup fee, because not going into the store prevents me from making impulsive purchases. I order my groceries at least four hours before I need them, and schedule a pick-up time that works for me. The grocer comes to my parked car, reviews my order, loads my groceries in the trunk, and sends me on my merry way. The process takes less than 10 minutes. And it has changed my life.


5. Each evening, check out what is needed for tomorrow’s dinner.

Spend 15 minutes chopping veggies, marinating meat, assembling your crock pot, or whatever you need to do to be one step ahead for dinner the next night. Put your prepped ingredients back into the fridge. Yes, you can even put your entire Crock Pot or Instant Pot bowl in the fridge so the next morning all you need to do is place it inside the heating element and plug it in. You will come home to a dinner either totally cooked or half-way finished, and that is a lovely feeling!

vegetable pre-prep

Now, unless you accidentally burn your quinoa to a crisp while you are distracted helping someone with an equally important task (happened on Monday…), you have no excuse for eating out more than once this week.  Happy meal planning!

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BreakfastMeals for OneRecipes

Hearty Breakfast Burritos


Happy President’s Day! Aren’t Monday holidays the best? I slept in, read in bed for an hour, and then finally came downstairs to find this:


Yep. Those are my cuties who had already spent the morning making paper flags for the mantle while I was lazing in bed. I totally missed the breakfast hour, so we combined our breakfast and lunch into a Brunch late this morning.  On the menu was Breakfast Burritos with a huge bowl of fresh fruit to complete the meal. (I also often make this as breakfast-for-dinner when I need a quick fix.) Happy brunching!

Hearty Breakfast Burritos

Course Breakfast
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword breakfast, burritos, healthy
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 8 Cooked Flour Tortillas
  • 1 Cup Black Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 Avocado diced for topping
  • Salsa for topping
  • Cilantro for garnish

Hearty Vegetable Ranch Eggs

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 4 large Russet Potatoes diced
  • 1 medium zucchini diced
  • 1/4 cup onions minced
  • 1 cup bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup tomatoes diced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded


Hearty Ranch Eggs

  1. Pre-cook the potatoes by microwaving them for 5 minutes. Proceed with chopping the potatoes along with the rest of the vegetables. (See notes)

  2. Melt butter in a large skillet, and cook all chopped vegetables EXCEPT tomatoes over medium high heat for 5- 8 minutes. Stir occasionally. If needed, add a little water to the skillet and cover vegetables with a lid to prevent burning. 

  3. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl. 

  4. Push the cooked vegetables to the side of the skillet, forming a hole in the center of the pan. Add eggs into the center of the pan and mix until eggs are fully cooked, about 5 minutes.

  5. Top with tomatoes, salt and pepper, and shredded cheese. Cover with a lid until the cheese melts.


  1. Add black beans and cook until warmed through.

  2. If necessary, cook or warm your tortillas.
  3. Spread about 1 Cup burrito mix onto tortilla. Top with avocado, salsa and cilantro. Fold into burrito.

Recipe Notes

My secret trick to getting my husband to make these eggs for us almost weekly is the Vidalia Chop Wizard (Aff. Link) If I didn't have that in close reach, we would be eating the same old eggs without vegetables. It chops everything lickety split, allowing us to get a boost of nutrition in an otherwise plain, calorie dense dish. See the featured product information below for more details.


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