Simple Summer Chili

Chili is traditionally a cold weather favorite, but I love that this recipe incorporates in-season zucchini! This summer has been so rainy that a cozy meal like this one has been a welcomed change to grilling outside.


I originally found this recipe from a health and fitness blog I love to read, and this may be my new favorite chili recipe (thanks, Julie!!). The best part is the spice blend–it is PERFECT. It tastes just like the chili seasoning you can purchase in packets at the grocery store, but it is so simple and easy to make yourself! And so much better for you,  too. Ground beef or ground turkey both work well in this recipe–it is completely up to you! You can also use your favorite kind of bean…I like to switch it up between black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans based on what I have in the pantry.


Whip this up for your family tonight! It will certainly be a hit!

Simple Summer Chili


  • 1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 can low sodium beans (kidney/pinto/black–whichever!), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added (do not drain!)
  • 1 cup beef broth, reduced-sodium and fat free
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic salt

1). In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and zucchini, stirring until tender and opaque. Add ground beef/turkey and stir until meat is browned.

2). Drain any excess fat from pan before adding remaining ingredients. Add as much/little beef broth as necessary to reach the desired consistency. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until flavors are well blended.

3). Enjoy topped with low-fat cheese, light sour cream, non-fat greek yogurt, or simply as is!

Servings: about 6. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 219 Carbs: 20g Fat: 7g Protein: 22g Sugar: 4g Fiber: 6g

WW PointsPlus: 6

Recipe adapted from:


Grilled Asian Flank Steak with Spicy Sweet Slaw

This recipe was passed on to me by a friend at work and I am so glad I decided to try it!


For me, the star of the show in this recipe was the slaw. The flank steak was very juicy and tender due to the marinade, but I loved the unique flavors in the secondary recipe.  While the flank steak was delicious and had the perfect amount of salt from the soy sauce, the slaw balanced everything out by being both sweet AND spicy. Very spicy, actually. Because it was the first time I made this recipe, I followed the original recipe and used both peppers. My husband and I both agreed it had too much heat. Next time, I will be using just one (and that is how the recipe is written below). Even with the extra kick, it was great!


And, in case you’re reading this and thinking that you won’t be making this recipe because you do not care for slaw…well, neither do I! Or at least, not the traditional mayonnaise-based slaw. This was light and so flavorful. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this version.

It is peak grilling season, so why not fire up the grill for a delicious and healthy meal? A couple thin strips of flank steak paired with the slaw on the side made for a perfect, light dinner.


Grilled Asian Flank Steak with Spicy Sweet Slaw


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 1 1/2-pound flank steak
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 red jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds with seeds removed
  • 5 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (about 9 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions

1) Combine the 1/4 cup soy sauce, oil, ginger, and garlic with the flank steak in a resealable bag. Marinade as long a possible (preferably 8 hours or overnight). Turn the bag occasionally.

2) In a medium sauce pan, heat the sugar with seasoned rice vinegar over medium heat until sugar dissolves; remove from heat. Add jalapeño and remaining 2 teaspoons ginger. Place cabbage and green onions in a bowl.

3) Pour vinegar mixture over cabbage and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand while grilling, tossing occasionally.

4) Grill steak until cooked to desired doneness, about 6 minutes for medium-rare or 8 minutes for medium. Transfer to a cutting board. Allow meat to rest about 10 minutes and then cut into slices against the grain. Serve with slaw and enjoy!

Serves: 6 

Nutritional Information for Flank Steak: Calories: 153 Carbs: 1g Fat: 10g Protein: 15g Sugar: 1 g Fiber: 0g

WW PointsPlus: 4 

Nutritional Information for Spicy Sweet Slaw: Calories: 69 Carbs: 12g Fat: 0g Protein: 1g Sugar: 9g Fiber: 0g

WW PointsPlus: 1

Recipe adapted from: 

Kale and Ground Beef/Turkey Taco Filling

This recipe is an amazing way to sneak in a lot of kale without having picky eaters complain! I was so pleasantly surprised at how the kale blended away among the spices and was not even noticeable. Kale is so good for you and I am always interested in new ways to incorporate it in a meal. In this case, it gets completely lost in all the other flavors of the dish. I love that the spice blend in this recipe is incredibly simple, yet it tastes even better than the (not-so-healthy) packets of taco seasoning from the store. Overall, it is not very spicy but it does have a little kick. If you want more spice, increase the amount of cayenne pepper to taste.


I served this kale, beef, and bean mixture on a bed of crisp greens for me and in small tortillas for my husband. I was curious to see how he would react to the kale being cooked into the mixture, but he did not even mention it and told me the dish was awesome! Win!

Did I mention this easily came together in well under 30 minutes? It is a great choice for a homemade meal on a busy weeknight. I have a feeling we will be enjoying this dish again soon!


I used lean, organic ground beef in this recipe, but I actually originally intended to use ground turkey. After reading this report (and several others) regarding the disgusting addition found in over 90% of ground turkey in the U.S., I am so hesitant to buy ground turkey now. Does this news enrage anyone else, or is it just me? I hate not knowing what goes into the food we put into our bodies. Anyway, perhaps organic, local, grass-fed beef is the way to go…at least for now.

You MUST try this recipe and let me know what you think. I have a feeling your whole family will enjoy it!!

Healthy Kale Taco Filling


  • 1.25 lb lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups of chopped kale
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I only used 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

1). Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ground beef. Stir until cooked through. Add the diced red pepper.

2). Add the kale and mix together well until wilted. Add the spices and the black beans. Stir occasionally until heated through.

3). Remove from heat and serve in tortillas or on a bed of salad. Enjoy!


Servings: 6. Nutritional Information per 1/6 serving: Calories: 247 Fat: 8g Carbs: 17g Protein: 25g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 2g

WW+: 6 Old points: 5

Recipe adapted from 



Pappasito’s Fajita Steak Marinade

If you live in the Atlanta area, there’s a chance you may have been to Pappasito’s. The restaurant is best known for their amazing fajitas on homemade tortillas. Having been to Mexico, I can tell you the food is not exactly authentic, but it is incredibly delicious. Their steak fajitas are to die for, and I always leave wondering, “how did they make that steak so good?” It is always tender and indescribably flavorful.

Well, the secret is out! I recently came across a “copy cat” recipe online and decided to give it a try. I was a bit skeptical but figured it was worth a shot, considering I can get a flank steak at Costco for a quarter of the price that Pappasito’s charges. Plus, the marinade itself is SO SIMPLE–but you will have to scroll down to see the ingredients. : ) Anyway, I was very pleased with the results!


Hot off the grill, this really did remind me of the steak from Pappasito’s. It was tender, juicy, and flavorful. If you make this you should taste some of the meat by itself because it is uncanny how similar it is!

Make sure to marinade the steak for at least 5-6 hours. Everything I read online advised not to marinade overnight, so I didn’t try it. I suggest 6 hours so the flavor is infused. I only let mine marinade for about 4 hours, and it was not quite enough.  When eaten as a fajita (in a tortilla with pico de gallo, lettuce, guacamole, pinto beans, or whatever other toppings you enjoy), the flavor did get a little lost. This probably could have been prevented if I had allowed the steak to marinade for the full 6 hours!



So, are you ready for the secret ingredients?

Pineapple and soy sauce! 

It makes perfect sense because both tenderize the meat. The soy sauce adds saltiness, and the pineapple juice adds a little bit of sweetness. So simple!

Pappasito’s Fajita Steak Marinade


1.75-2 lb flank steak


  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water

1). Combine marinade ingredients with flank steak in a ziplock bag and allow to marinade for at LEAST 5-6 hours, but not overnight.

2). Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Cook steak for 8-10 minutes on each side for medium to medium-well. Slice into thin strips and serve.

Servings: 4-6 depending on size of steak Nutritional Information per 3 oz serving: Calroies: 180 Carbs: 0g Fat: 9g Protein: 23g Fiber: 0g


Crock Pot Balsamic Roast Beef

“This is the best roast beef I’ve ever had,” my husband said as he took another bite of his sandwich.


What bigger compliment could I want?! I definitely think this roast beef stands out as being unique and slightly tangy due to the balsamic vinegar addition. I had a chuck roast sitting in the freezer for a few weeks since i only had used half for a previous meal, and I was so intrigued when I found this recipe. It took about 5 minutes to put mix everything together and the crock pot ensured the end result was tender and delicious. I used the kitchen aid mixer trick I wrote about in a previous post to shred the roast, but two forks works just as well.


What I loved about this recipe is that it is so versatile. My husband wanted to eat it as a french dip sandwich, so I cut a roll in half (but not all the way…leaving one edge uncut helps keep the sandwich together), melted swiss cheese on top, and he dipped it into some of the leftover gravy. I chose to eat it plain on top of quinoa with some of the gravy poured over top for added flavor. Another night we had it alongside the skinny garlic mashed potatoes and I posted recently, with the gravy on top of the potatoes. All of those ways were amazing and I’m sure there are more options we haven’t explored yet! I may never make a roast beef any other way ever again!

Crock Pot Balsamic Roast Beef


  • 2 lb chuck roast
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper

1. Spray your crock pot with pam (thank you, Robyn, for that time saving tip!!). Season the roast on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the roast in the crock pot.

2. In a 2 cup measuring cup, mix the remaining ingredients together. Pour over roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

3. Once roast beef has cooked, remove it and shred the meat. Mix with about 1/2 cup of gravy to add flavor. Serve with leftover gravy on the side.

4. Store remaining gravy in an air tight container in the fridge for another use.

Serves: about 4. Nutritional information per serving: Calories: 256 Fat: 5g Carbs: 12g Protein: 39g Sugar: 9g

Recipe adapted from: