Skinny Mexican Summer Squash Casserole

Some of my best recipes come from a last minute scan of my kitchen to find some ingredients that might come together and make something edible! Last night was one of those occasions. I had originally planned something entirely different, but had to change plans last minute. I had 1 hour to plan and prepare a meal the whole family would eat (or at least most of them!). 😉

I recently acquired LOTS of summer squash from our farm share, and I was hoping to incorporate at least a couple of them! That was my starting point. Anything “Mexican” is always a big hit at my house, so that was next. Next came some protein, and flavorful additions and boom! This was really very simple to make, and it came together quite quickly. OH! And it’s 21 Day Fix friendly! So there you go!

And here YOU go!


Mexican Summer Squash Casserole

  • 1-1.25 pounds of lean ground turkey
  • 2-3 medium summer squash (sliced) – I used yellow squash and zucchini
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1/2 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. paprika
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1/4 t. chipotle chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded colby jack (whatever variety you like)


Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 9×13 inch pan and set aside. In a large skillet, add olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the ground turkey and cook until brown and done. (Drain if necessary) Remove from pan and set aside. Add squash, beans, and tomatoes, and cook over medium-low for about 5-6 minutes until the squash is just tender. Put meat back into the pan and add the chili power, cumin, paprika, oregano, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir everything together over low heat until incorporated and heated through. Pour into the 9×13 inch pan and top with shredded cheese. Bake for approximately 15 minutes – until cheese is bubbly. Let cool for another 15 minutes before cutting into it.

Serves 8: 208 calories/21 g. protein/13 g. carb/4 g. fat – per serving

This recipe is IDEAL for 21 Day Fixers! (See container equivalents in the picture above.)

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My challengers are getting such GREAT results with it!



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Tzatziki Burps!

gyro_assembledI have had these recipes around for quite a while, and I have enjoyed them on several occasions. However, this week, I made them with ‘clean-eaters’ eyes. What I saw delighted me! These are a delicious and healthy alternative to the traditional gyro. The chicken is worth making again and again, even if just for salads, or even on its own. It is THAT good! But put in a pita, with some tomato, red onion and a healthy dollop of tzatziki sauce, and you have got yourself a CLEAN and tasty Gyro!

I lived in the Chicago area for almost 20 years and knew exactly where to go for a tasty gyro. Even before my ‘clean-eating’ days…I was always kind of health-nut. But, occasionally (like once or twice/year maybe) I would treat myself to an authentic Greek gyro! Add fries, and you’re probably looking at about 1000 calories! Yikes! But, they’re so tasty! And if you have never had a gyro, then you have never experienced how a gyro can sort of ‘stick with you’ for a while. You’re guaranteed to offend someone (even yourself!) with gastric expulsions of air for the rest of the day after you have eaten one. It’s sort of the true test of a good gyro! So using that criteria…these are almost as good! 😉

Chicken for Gyros

2 cloves minced garlic

1 lemon – juiced (2-3 T)

2 t. red wine vinegar

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

2 heaping Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

1 T. dried oregano

Salt and Pepper

1 ½ pounds (about 3 large) boneless, skinless chicken breast

*Combine all of the ingredients (except chicken) and whisk completely. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place into a large Ziploc bag. Pour marinade over the chicken and refrigerate for 1 hr-1 day (the longer the better!)

Meanwhile…make the sauce!

Tzatziki Sauce

1 C. plain, Greek, non-fat yogurt (I LOVE Fage!)

1 cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 clove minced garlic

1 t. white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Directions: Shred the cucumber or chop in food processor. Wrap in a paper towel and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. *Refrigerate 30 minutes-1 day before serving to allow flavors to blend.

To cook the chicken – You could cook it in the skillet, BUT my favorite way to prepare it is under the broiler. I think it makes it perfectly juicy and delicious! You will have to know your own broiler though for this! It also will depend on the size/thickness of your breasts (well…not YOUR breasts, but you knew what I meant!) You could even butterfly the breasts first, to make sure that it cooks all of the way through. I have a gas broiler. I set mine 2 shelves from the flame and let it cook for about 7-8 minutes on each side, watching VERY closely to make sure they weren’t burning! When they looked done on the outside, I moved them down 2 racks and let them cook another 7-8 minutes. They were done perfectly! Then, definitely move them to a plate and let them sit for about 5 minutes before slicing to seal the juices inside.

Finally, you’re ready to slice and serve! Cut the chicken into strips, heat up some whole wheat pitas. Slice some red onion and tomato. Assemble each gyro with chicken slices, tomato, onion and a big plop of tzatziki sauce. gyro_unassembled

Made this way: ½ whole wheat pita (80 calories) + 1 serving meat (90 calories) and 1 serving sauce (10 calories), you’ve got yourself a 180 calorie gyro!

Ok…now if you want to treat yourself a little read on. I grew up in Michigan and LOVED to eat at Olga’s in the mall. It’s like an Americanized gyro restaurant, but the bread is to die for! So I have this recipe for Olga bread that is an exact replica! The kids LOVE these and they are kind of fun to make. They’re going to cost you a few more calories, but if you’ve been working out and staying healthy, then you’re allowed the occasional splurge! These go quite nicely with the chicken! *I’d like to try these with all or partial whole wheat to clean them up a little.

‘Olga’ Bread

1 C. milk

¼ C. honey

¼ c. butter

1 t. salt

1 pkg. active dry yeast

¼ c. warm water

1 t. sugar

4 C. all-purpose flour, divided

1 egg

Directions– Scald milk (this means to heat until the milk just starts to bubble at the sides and then remove from heat!). Add honey, butter and salt to milk. Stir until butter is melted. Set aside to cool until lukewarm. Combine yeast, warm water and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Add 1 ½ cups of the flour to lukewarm milk mixture and beat well. Mix in egg and yeast mixture. Add remaining flour, a little at a time, until sticky dough is formed. Turn out on a floured surface. Knead about 2 minutes. Dough will be sticky, but don’t add more flour. Place dough in oiled bowl, turning once to oil whole surface of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in warm place until doubled in bulk. Punch down dough. Divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece to a thin rough circle about 1/8 inch thick and 8-10 inches in diameter.

Heat a large dry skillet over medium-high heat. Do not use any oil. Cook for 15-20 seconds, flip and bake about 10-15 more seconds on the other side, until brown spots appear. Do not over-cook. Transfer to plate turning often as you add to the pile. Eat right away, or store in a plastic bag once cooled and refrigerate or freeze for later.

Makes 16- 1 Olga bread is 152 calories, so if you use this in place of the whole wheat pita, then you’re at 252 calories per gyro.


 Add these to your meal plan! Tzatziki burps for everyone!

Cookie Dough Bites

You don’t even have to hide when you’re eating this cookie dough. No shame here! These are tasty and healthy and will satisfy your sweet tooth. And the best part is that they taste JUST like cookie dough! 🙂

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a website:, but the original recipe posted there was a little high in calories for me. So I took it to my test kitchen to see if I could come up with an alternative that still tasted delicious. And I did! It worked! It really tastes just the same as the original recipe, but with HALF the calories! Yay! So here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough Bites    cookie_dough_bites

1/3 C. raw almonds

1/3 C. raw walnuts

1 C. rolled oats

¼ t. cinnamon

1 pinch sea salt

¼ C. honey (or agave nectar)

2 t. vanilla

3 T. dark chocolate chips (chopped coarsely)

Directions: In a food processor or blender, process the almonds, walnuts, oats, cinnamon and salt to a fine meal. Transfer to bowl. Add the honey and vanilla, and mix. Next, add chocolate chips and combine. Wet hands and roll into 1 tsp.-sized balls (should make about 15) and place them on a cookie pan lined with foil or parchment paper. Place the pan into the freezer for about an hour to firm up. Store balls in a tightly covered container, or Ziploc bag in the freezer.

Each bite is 78 calories.

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White Chicken Chili, a Family-Pleaser!


This is SO tasty. The kids liked it as is, but you could spice it up a little more by adding some diced jalapenos, and/or a little more cayenne pepper. This is very satisfying and very healthy. Each serving will be about 285 calories. Makes about 6 servings. Enjoy!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked & diced)
3 (15 ounce) cans white beans
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender. Mix in the garlic, green chile peppers, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Continue to cook and stir the mixture until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in the chicken broth, chicken and 2 cans of the white beans. Puree the 3rd can of beans with a little of the broth from the chili. Add to the rest of the ingredients in the pot. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove the mixture from heat. Optional: Before serving, top w/diced avocado, light sour cream, reduced fat cheese, cilantro, etc…

For the salad: I made a tossed salad with a Honey Lime Vinaigrette Dressing.

Salad for 3-4

1 T. olive oil

juice of 1 lime

1 t. honey

1 crushed garlic clove

salt and pepper to taste

Wisk, toss and enjoy!