Healthy Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

There is something about the holidays that Causes us to crave familiar, homey sweet treats.

Sugar loaded cakes, cookies, fudge and pies are just a few of the not-so-healthy choices that can and many times do, put a halt to all the hard work families have put into creating a healthier lifestyle.

Enjoying tasty holiday treats doesn't have to stop completely when you're taking the steps to get your family healthy. Instead of feeling guilty for enjoying holiday goodies or forgoing them altogether and feeling like a scrooge, try the following:

  1. Choose healthier, replacement ingredients to include in your desserts.

  2. Reduce the amount of sugar you use in your recipes.

  3. Limit your portions.

These are just 3 strategies you can use any time of year, but especially during the holidays, to keep your healthy lifestyle from derailing! Here are just a few reasons this sweet potato pie is a family favorite in our house!

  • Sweet potatoes are truly a SUPERFOOD! Vitamin-packed, they have a reputation for boosting the immune system, which of course is especially helpful this time of year!

  • The benefits of eating less sugar are almost too numerous to list, but some of the top reasons are: weight loss, better heart health, and strong teeth. This recipe uses much less sugar and even that can be easily replaced.

  • It doesn't take a big helping of this pie to satisfy the taste buds of even the sweetest tooth! So healthy portions can be maintained!

Healthy Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

How To Make It:


  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, mashed

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter or ghee, softened

  • 2 eggs, separated

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or, a sprinkle!)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

  • 1/4 cup white sugar

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie crust in pie pan. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, butter, egg yolks, brown sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and evaporated milk and mix together.

  2. In another bowl, beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form, then add the sugar. (Hint: Use a metal bowl and freeze it for 10 minutes first - the peaks will form quicker!) Gently fold egg whites into the first mixture with the sweet potatoes.

  3. Pour batter into unbaked pie crust and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake until firm (approximately 30 minutes).

Go ahead, try this healthy Sweet Potato Pie this year and see what ya’ll think!

By making better choices for your holiday desserts, limiting sugar and sampling foods in moderation, your family can enjoy the delicacies of this festive season with little sacrifice and no guilt! 

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl {FRESH Start Style!}

So per the usual, I was a little behind the healthy-times and it took me til this year to try a poke bowl!

Yes, I know, they’ve been the rage for a lot longer than that…but alas, it is what it is! Now that I’ve tried one and loved it (and coerced happy-hubby recipe-taster into loving it too!) it’s fast becoming a regular around here. Now to get the kids to love it…they’ll eat it if I serve a bit of grilled chicken in place of the tuna for them…still a fast and easy family dinner!

What I love about this dish is that it’s NO-cook - the kitchen and YOU stay cool while you make a filling, healthy, FRESH dinner dish! And hubby loves to take the leftovers the next day for work.

ahi tuna poke bowl



  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil 

  • good shake of crushed red pepper flakes

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

  • good shake of sesame seeds, plus more for garnish


  • 1-2 ahi tuna steaks (palm-sized) - depending on how many people you’re feeding - use one steak for each person

  • cooked brown rice

  • fresh spring greens or romaine or spinach

  • fresh cucumber, sliced

  • sugar peas, sliced thin (diagonally)

  • shredded carrots

  • avocado

Here’s how to make it:

Step 1: Mix up all the sauce ingredients to use as marinade for tuna.

ahi tuna poke bowl marinade ingredients
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Step 2: Dice up the tuna into 1 inch chunks. Marinate in sauce for about 15-30 minutes.

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Step 3: While the tuna is marinating, chop and dice the rest of the fresh ingredients and begin plating (time-saving tip: I buy pre-packaged greens and pre-shredded carrots to save even more effort on this dish!)

ahi tuna poke bowl chopping ingredients

Step 4: Once everything is chopped, spoon some rice into the bowl, lay some greens around it, then place the tuna and desired toppings over the bed of rice and greens.

I usually just lay out the ingredients buffet-style, and let everyone make their own bowl to their liking of amount and what’s in it…then they can drizzle more sauce over it!

ahi tuna poke bowl ingredients buffet style

I can’t wait for you to try this super-easy dish and then let us know if you are a converted poke bowl lover as well! Post a comment right here and tell us what you think of this fresh and easy dish!

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Healthy Cereal Cookies {Gluten-Free!}

Who doesn't love a FRESH new healthy cookie recipe, especially when it's actually got nutrition in it? My kids were so happy when I tested this recipe this past weekend (it's 100% my invention by the way!) and we were all happy when they actually turned out!

Now that gluten is a nemesis to my body's healing from an autoimmune disorder, I avoid it as much as I can...but that doesn't mean I love all things gluten-free - I can't stand how dense many things turn out with a lot of gluten free flours out there.

So this recipe uses a $5 gluten free flour from my neighborhood grocery, nothing too fancy. I bake so rarely now, it's worth the splurge! Try it and see what I mean. No rock-hard recipe here!


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  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or 2/3 cup brown sugar and no white)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs (we use cage-free, grain-fed)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 scoops fruit and veggies powder (like the one pictured)
  • 2 cups bran cereal (fun sub: fruit n yogurt bran cereal!)


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  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on 2 cookie pans.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (first 6 ingredients listed!) and stir together,  then set aside.
  3. Mash the butter, coconut oil, and sugars and syrup together by hand, or use a handheld mixer for ease. Set this bowl aside.
  4. Whip the 2 eggs, adding in the vanilla extract. Add into the bowl with the sugars, butter and oil and stir all wet ingredients together well.
  5. On low speed with the hand mixer (or by hand) slowly add in the dry mixture to the wet ingredients bowl, a little at a time. 
  6. Then slowly, add in the fruit and veggie powder and bran flakes until fully mixed.
  7. Drop a Tablespoon of dough on the trays, about 1.5 inches apart to allow for rising. 
  8. Bake on 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, check the cookies, if they are browning on edges, they are done! Remove them from oven and let them sit on hot cookie pan for about 2-3 minutes.
  9. Move them to a cookie rack to finish cooling.
  10. Ready to enjoy! You can freeze extras for quick grab snacks for kid's lunches, after-school snack or part of an easy breakfast by serving them with a smoothie or banana!
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If you like, you can always add in nuts, dried fruit or mini-chocolate chips for extra fun or texture. You could also replace the coconut oil with peanut butter, and add in 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips to have a PB and choco snack!

These "cookies" contain enough healthy nutrients to be considered equal to a granola bar! Delicious, nutritious snacks! (This recipe is full of protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals...mmmm!)

After you try them, pop back over here and tell us what you think!

Bet your kids/family won't even know they are eating such a great blend of nutrition!

Mango & Chicken Napa Salad

Light dinner-making just got easier than ever, with this toss-and-go Mango and Chicken Napa Salad recipe! Your family will enjoy this one-bowl meal that is packed with fiber, lean protein, and delicious healthy fats! The flavor is unique and light, creating a tasty dish your loves will ask for again!

Bring it to your next gathering as a healthy, lean addition to the table!

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  • 1/3 cup low sugar orange juice

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

  • One head napa cabbage, sliced thinly

  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, sliced thinly and diagonally

  • 2 cups shredded chicken or diced grilled chicken

  • 1 medium mango, sliced

  • One handful coarsely chopped fresh mint

  • One small bunch of green onions, sliced diagonally

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


To make the dressing: whisk together the juice, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and half of the sesame seeds in a small bowl. Set aside.

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To make the salad: thinly slice up the napa cabbage and peas, toss together with the chicken, mango, mint and green onions. About 30 minutes to an hour before serving, toss everything together and then refrigerate so that the marinade can flavor the salad ingredients. Sprinkle the rest of the sesame seeds over the recipe right before serving.

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For the chicken in this recipe, you can either use grilled chicken leftover from a previous meal, or shredded cooked chicken made easily in a slow cooker.

If you like a little heat, you can always add crushed red pepper into this recipe, or even a little bit of curry paste into the dressing.

To save even more time and effort, you can always replace the Napa cabbage and sugar peas with a pre-chopped cabbage salad mixture in a store-bought kit! Toss in shredded bits of a store-bought roasted chicken and voila! You're eating dinner - EASILY!

This recipe was found originally in the Eating Well magazine, and tweaked to be FRESH Start friendly...we'd love to hear what YOU think of it! 

How to Grill Chicken & Salmon

Grilling is one of the reasons I enjoy summer so much. The fact that I live in Arizona means I get to do more of it than just during the summer months too! Yep, I’m able to grill year ‘round here. Talk about a happy girl!

Have you discovered the benefit of grilling for a healthier dinner meal plan? SO easy, so light, so yummy!

Here's some specific ideas to help you make healthier (and yummier) salmon and chicken on the grill for your healthy dinners at home.

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How to Create Tender, Savory Salmon on the Grill

  • If salmon is frozen, thaw completely. 
  • Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat, lay salmon filets out on flat pan or plate.
  • Squeeze 1 full lemon evenly over the salmon.
  • Sprinkle 3-4 garlic cloves, minced, over the fish.
  • Press the garlic into the flesh.
  • Sprinkle freshly cracked black pepper over salmon and salt lightly.
  • Sprinkle ground onion, ground garlic, paprika and a light shake of chili powder if you like a little more flavor.
  • Place salmon on light spritz of olive oil on aluminum foil packet on grill (if it has skin, you can place directly on grill plate - tastes better this way, in my opinion.
  • Your fillets are now ready to grill slowly over low heat, for about 15 minutes, or until done.

Additional Tip: Use fresh herbs, like dill, for extra flavor over salmon.

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Grilling Tips for Pull-Apart Chicken Breasts

  • Buy full boneless skinless breasts instead of tenderloins to save money.
  • Cut chicken breasts into 2-3 pieces (tenderloin-style) to promote quicker cooking and portion control.
  • Marinate breast pieces in a small amount of Italian salad dressing. I use Italian dressing because it’s a neutral flavor, keeps the chicken moist and from getting slimy/tasting weird as the week progresses.

Make Ahead Tips: Grill enough on Sunday for meals through Wednesday, then midweek, grill a new batch for the remainder of the week’s meals.

Cooking ahead like this cuts your prep time down and is a delicious grab and make option for those days you don’t want to be in the kitchen too long. 

Cooking for meals ahead of time will give you a quick protein choice for soups, salads, pastas, and sandwiches. It will be easier to stick with a healthier meal plan when you have these ready to grab and add, versus cooking them separately for each day’s meals.

Tenderness Tip:  Be sure to grill the chicken until JUST done (they’ll be white, NO pinkness), on medium heat.  If you grill them on high heat or too quickly, you’ll end up with tough meat!

Coaching tip: I've had people ask me about the "alleged" link between cooking on a grill and cancer. After researching this specific topic even further, I’ve found that so far, research has not concluded that grilling causes cancer. However, cooking foods too fast, at too high of a temperature and for too long can release carcinogenic compounds that contribute to some cancers.

So a good rule of thumb for safely grilling is:

Cook (and Grill) Low and Slow!

Got some of your own grilling tips you’d like to share?

Leave your grilling secrets in the comments below or feel free to share them with us in our Free Online Community!

Healthy Turkey Quinoa Mini Meatloaves

Family dinners can be an exhausting process for the busy mom who is trying to please all the varied preferences and taste buds in her home! 

One of our greatest goals here at FRESH Start is providing the busiest mom and their pickiest eaters with more family-favorites – more TASTY, HEALTHY recipes to make her life easier!

My picky family of six loves this recipe – in fact, it’s a regular at our dinner table! 

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It’s veggies, protein, healthy fats and whole grains all in one beautiful dish.

Makes a fabulous prep-ahead dish, too. 

Just make a few extra loaves ahead of time (I do this easily by doubling the batch I'm making for dinner) then, instead of cooking them, I freeze them ready to pop in the oven on the night in question. You can freeze them right in their mini-loaf pans, leaving no cleanup on the night you fix them! Plus you'll have a hearty, no-work dinner ready to go for one of your family's busiest nights.

Here's how to make them:


  • 1 lb or 1 package lean ground turkey (93/7)
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sweet onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 baby bell (Portobello) mushrooms, finely diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 cheese sticks (mozzarella) cut in half or thirds

Topping sauce:

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup low-sugar ketchup

1 Tbsp brown sugar or honey

Add 1 tsp of water at a time to get sauce to desired thickness. Stir all sauce ingredients together with a whisk until smoothly blended!


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, prepare 4-5 mini-meatloaf pans by spraying them with olive oil spray.
  2. Put a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tsp olive oil to pan. Add in the diced onion, mushroom, garlic cloves and carrots. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes, or until veggies are softened and smell savory.
  3. Add in the thyme and cumin. Salt and pepper to taste. Pull pan off stove, allow mixture to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey, quinoa, and egg. Once vegetable and spice mixture is cool, add that into meat mixture.
  5. Pat meat mixture into 4-6 small loaves, placing them into mini loaf pans. Put 1/2 of a cheese stick in the middle of each loaf, then form meat around cheese stick.
  6. Using your fingers, pat an indent into top of each loaf, and place 1-2 Tbsp of topping sauce into the well.
  7. Bake loaves at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, uncovered, or until cooked through.

    Serve with baked sweet potatoes and a side salad or other green selection for a well-rounded dinner selection!


Flexible enough to make ahead of time, or right on-the-spot, this family favorite is sure to become a go-to at your place as well!  Super-healthy, and tasty to boot, you’ll be glad you added this one to your family recipe rolodex!

Let us know what you think of this recipe, we’d love to hear your family’s feedback!  

How to Make Crock Pot Shredded Chicken {BONUS Chicken Enchilada Recipe!}

This shredded chicken recipe is a great “protein base” recipe, so that you have moist, tasty shredded chicken on hand for entrees later in the weekly meal plan, like salads, tacos, enchiladas or even to add to soup.

Cook up a large batch, then shred and freeze or refrigerate in pre-portioned freezer bags ready to pull out and use later. Makes nightly cooking too easy, and everyone loves the rich, brothy taste of this chicken (even the picky eaters!)

The chicken is also ready to be additionally seasoned, for instance, use chili powder and garlic for a Mexican-flavored dish, or taco seasoning for a taco salad protein topper!

Crock Pot Shredded Chicken & Healthy Chicken Enchilada Recipe.jpg

Here’s how you make it.


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can (or half box) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 6-7 whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup cooking wine (white is best)


  1. Add all ingredients together into a crock pot, cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4. Once chicken pulls apart easily, it is ready! Let chicken cool, remove from crockpot, and shred. You’ve got shredded chicken!

Here’s a quick & comforting recipe you can whip up using this easy crock pot shredded chicken: 

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  • 2 cups crock-pot shredded chicken (soaked in ¼ cup of enchilada sauce)
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • 1 small can mild enchilada sauce
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese
  • Plain Greek yogurt (optional, as topping)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat the enchilada sauce in a deep fry pan over low heat.
  3. Place corn tortillas, 2-3 at a time, into the saucepan and soak them until covered by sauce. Remove, lay flat on plate.
  4. Line one side of corn tortilla with small amount of chicken, sprinkle half handful of cheese, then roll and place into baking pan (9x9 size works if the enchiladas are rolled tight, 13x9 is better if you want them looser.)
  5. Once all enchiladas are rolled and placed together into pan, spread remaining enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle remaining cheese.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Then remove foil, put oven on broil (high) and bake for another 3-4 minutes. Watch it carefully as cheese may burn if left too long on broil.
  7. Remove finished enchiladas and enjoy with a side of rice and beans!

FRESH n’ Healthy Tip: Garnish with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream – it’s a protein-rich & healthier fat option!

If you enjoyed these recipes, we think you might like these articles & recipes too:

Turkey Carrot Quinoa Meatballs

Napa Cabbage & Chicken Salad Recipe

Healthy Fried Chicken Tenders

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Turkey Quinoa Carrot Meatballs + Bonus Pantry Soup Recipe!

Around here, discovering a simpler way to get a healthy meal choice on the dinner table (and one that everyone likes) is ALWAYS a win!

and this turkey quinoa carrot meatballs recipe is another treasure...

Turkey Quinoa Carrot Meatball

I’ve added this easy meatball recipe to my "mom’s treasure box" of easy-to-make-ahead dinner ideas. 

Make a double batch of these meatballs, freeze or refrigerate the other half to use later, and when you’re in a pinch for a quick solution to a FRESH dinner main dish - voila!

If you've never used ground turkey before, I think you'll find the addition of carrots and quinoa to add some great texture, moisture and richness to this simple can't-be-ruined Turkey Meatballs recipe.


  • 1 lb ground lean (93/7) Turkey
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs (I use gluten-free, but any will work)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup finely diced carrot
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced finely
  • 1/3 cup finely diced sweet onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning


  1. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, drizzle olive oil. When oil is hot, add carrots and onions in and stir. Lower heat, and cook until carrots and onions are soft.
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2. Add in minced garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temp.

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3. Meanwhile, stir together lean ground Turkey, breadcrumbs, cooked quinoa, egg and seasonings. Stir in cooled cooked vegetables. 

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 4. Form fully mixed meatball mixture into small meatballs (slightly smaller than golf ball-size)

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5. Cook immediately OR store in fridge for up to 3 days or in freezer for up to several weeks!

These meatballs are great baked in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, crock-pot cooked, or steamed in a saute pan for 20 minutes. They can be served in our homemade sauce or served alone, alongside a great veggie side. They are awesome in soup too, and you can find an easy recipe below to use them in!

here’s a great recipe to use these meatballs in!  

This Pantry Meatball Soup is just one easy way to use these delicious and simple Turkey Quinoa Carrot Meatballs in a quick one-pot-dinner dish. Make this even faster by having the meatballs prepped and ready to cook in the fridge or freezer. Just pull them out, uncooked, and add them to the broth in this yummy one-pot-dinner soup! Use pre-made meatball mix and the whole recipe will be ready to eat in 20 minutes, tops!

I call this my “Pantry” soup because I usually ALWAYS have these ingredients on hand in the pantry (or something close enough to it as a substitute!) You’ll see that it’s just too fast and easy to prepare this!

Once you do, it’ll become a family favorite and you’ll be glad you always have these ingredients on hand.

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Pantry Meatball Soup


  • 12-15 uncooked Turkey Quinoa Carrot Meatballs
  • 4-6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups selected “pantry” or assorted available veggies - I used leftover celery, carrots, onions and frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat or gluten-free elbow pasta
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 mashed garlic cloves
  • Shake of pink or sea salt & cracked fresh black pepper


1. Start broth, water, all seasonings and veggies together in a medium soup pot and bring to a soft bubble (uncovered) over medium-high heat.

2. Cook for about 5 minutes, then gently add in meatballs and cook for 8 minutes more.

3. Add in elbows and cook another 6-7 minutes.

4. Pull soup off heat and let settle for about 3-4 minutes, and serve.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! I'd love to hear how these recipes work for you.

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Easy Oven Kale Chips

Kale has returned to the scene as a popular green that is not only full of delicious flavor, but also as an extraordinary source of vitamins A, C and K. These three vitamins are at the top of the list of immune-boosting benefits to our bodies, so this easy-to-prepare green leafy vegetable is a great option for your family's table. 

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Aside from its rich nutrient value, Kale is great at boosting your immunity, and health! Eating kale is proven to help cancer prevention, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, promoting compounds for eye health, and more. ALL good reasons to eat more kale!

There's only one disadvantage with eating Kale (besides that it disappears from the plate too quickly!) and that is it can interfere with your body's absorption of calcium. To help prevent this problem, avoid eating calcium-rich foods at the same time. 

Besides eating kale fresh in salads or smoothies or wilted on pasta dishes, these kale chips are a popular way to get enough greens into your family and your own body!

Our friend & healthy lifestyle leader Lolita McNeal shared this easy recipe with our FRESH Start Online Community as a wonderful way to get the satisfaction of a salty crunch into our diet when we are craving chips or other salty no-no's!


Here's How To Make Them:


  • 1-2 heads fresh kale (you can find it in the produce section of your grocery store)
  • 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees.  Cut the greens into 2-inch sized pieces.  Rub the kale with extra virgin olive oil, evenly coating both sides.
  2. Spread out the pieces evenly on 2 parchment lined baking sheets; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake, rotating and switching pans halfway through cooking, until crisp, about 8 minutes.
  4. Optional: Zest lemon over the hot chips.
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Lolita shares:

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"From my experience, you need very little extra virgin olive oil, the cooking time was closer to 6 minutes than 8, and it's okay if you leave out the lemon zest.  Some other flavor suggestions included with the original recipe were:  bbq rub, sriacha [a type of hot sauce], ranch dip mix, and sesame seeds. 

My family's favorite were the ones I rubbed with a little bbq sauce. If you decide to try the bbq kale chips look for low sugar bbq sauce."



If this recipe was a hit with your family, let us know in the comments below!

Here at FRESH Start, our mission is to share simple steps to better health that the whole family can get on board with - and we want to know how we're doing! Drop a note below and let us know.

Spicy Thai Chicken Bowl

For an alternative to Thai take-out, try this fun recipe!

I discovered this delicious dish just the other night and since I made it that first time for my family, it has become a smash hit - we've had to have it two times since! I especially love serving the whole thing in one bowl.

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I won't promise you it's one of my "easy ones" - it's not! Little more advanced and time-consuming, but worth every minute of effort! Mmmmm!

It’s easy to put together and yet all the nutritional elements are here - protein, veggies & simple and delicious noodles. Perfectly seasoned for those of us who take it easier on the heat, but easy to alter for those of you who may be a little more adventurous with the spice...

So, are you ready to try this FRESH new take on a Spicy Thai Chicken Bowl?


  • 4-6 skin-on, boneless Chicken Thighs
  • 6 ounces uncooked brown rice noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced and chopped yellow squash (about 2 small squash sliced 1/2 inch thick and cut into quarters)
  • 1 cup sliced thinly baby Bok Choy (I use one bunch of 3-4 heads)
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • key limes, quartered (to use to squeeze over dish)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat a large skillet over high heat and add a swirl of canola oil. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Carefully lay the thighs, skin down, into the hot oil and cook for 3 minutes or until skin begins to brown. Remove chicken, and place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
  2. Meanwhile, line a cookie pan with aluminum foil and place chicken, skin side down, on pan. Place pan in oven and bake for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove pan and using tongs, turn chicken skin up and place pan back in oven for 2-3 minutes (or until cooked through.) Remove chicken from baking pan immediately and place on a cutting board to set for about 10 minutes. Just before serving, slice into 1 inch pieces.
  4. While chicken is setting, make sauce (instructions below) in a blender and set aside in a dish. 
  5. Boil the water for the rice noodles in a medium saucepan. Cook according to package instructions (usually rice noodles are not boiled, but rather placed in boiling water and then allowed to set for a few minutes, and then drained in strainer once they’ve softened.)
  6. In the same large skillet over medium to high heat, add a Tbsp canola oil and swirl in pan. Add in chopped squash and baby Bok Choy and sauté for about 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drizzle the soy sauce over the veggies.
  7. Place a helping rice noodles, veggies and several strips of crispy chicken thigh into a bowl, then drizzle with blender sauce and squeeze lime over dish. 

To Make Sauce:

1/3 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup water

2 tsp fresh ginger (peeled)

3 garlic cloves

handful cilantro

Thai Chile pepper (fresh) – sliced open, stem & seeds removed (IF you like it spicier, add another 1/2 to whole pepper)


1. Take all ingredients and blend in a blender or food processor until completely blended and smooth.

2. Pour into a dish and set aside.

Let us know how you like this and our other FRESH recipes in the comments below! 

Homemade Mac n Cheese

Kids and picky eaters can be tricky to please from our home kitchens, and they don’t always get as excited about nutritious dinners as we moms do! This super-easy homemade mac n cheese side dish will please both mom and picky eaters, and you'll do it in only 15 minutes!

It happens to be a lot of grownup’s favorite side dish too. In our house, we enjoy this side with fish entrees, chicken fingers and meatloaf.  


How to make it:


  • 1/2 box whole wheat elbow or gluten-free elbow noodles
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4-6 oz shredded cheese


1. Saute the uncooked noodles in a drizzle of oil for about 2-3 minutes, stirring to avoid burning them. (This step is optional, and gives the noodles more of a "crispy" texture once cooked, rather than mushy.)


2. Boil the noodles in several cups of water in medium saucepan over medium heat until just done (takes about 8 minutes.)

3. Drain noodles in strainer, add them back into the saucepan.


4. Over low heat, stir in shredded cheese, almond milk, butter and olive oil.

5. Continue stirring until just melted, then remove from heat and serve immediately.


For those of you curious about the other dish pictured here with our Homemade Mac n Cheese's Coach Bess's Salmon and Quinoa Patties. Just click here for that recipe!

NOTE: I use this brand of gluten-free noodles for our homemade mac n cheese - in case you were wondering and wanted to try them. They are NOT just "filler food" like so many other pasta options. They are full of nutrition, as you can see on the label! (The protein amount on the label is due to the quinoa used in this brand!)

Oh and they are affordable and easy to find at your regular grocers! 

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What do you think? Would you try this recipe at home? Let me know in the comments!

Orange Chutney Chicken Cutlets Recipe & How-To

With a fancy name like “Orange Chutney Chicken” one might mistakenly guess that this simple chicken cutlets recipe is too complicated or stressful to prepare.  

Be assured, it’s as easy as 1-2-3! 

For even quicker prep, prepare the cutlets ahead of time, or use a commercially baked chicken. This delicious dinner is a wonderful dish that the whole family will enjoy, and ask for again!

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Here's how to make it:


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/4 cup chutney (or same amount orange marmalade)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • 8-12 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, pre-baked plain or with panko coating in the oven at 375-400 degrees for 8-10 minutes
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1. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the sliced garlic cloves and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring for 30 seconds more.

3. Add in the chutney and orange juice, cooking until melted.

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4. Gently stir in the segmented orange and remove from heat.

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5. Serve the sauce drizzled over the chicken cutlets, over a bed of brown rice or pasta, or a FRESH Salad.

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This dish is another piece of  proof that comfort-food dinners CAN BE made healthy! They are good-for-you and can be made over, just switching out a couple ingredients as items from the old favorites aren't always the best.

Follow along with us as we introduce many new dishes on this blog - to help you keep comfort food on your family’s dinner table! It’ll just be the nutritiously delicious kind!

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Healthy Fried Chicken Tenders {Picky-Eater Approved!}

What mom isn't looking for the perfect “picky-eater-proof" recipe for a fresh and easy dinner?

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This is the topic of discussion OFTEN in our {FREE} FRESH Start Online Community as we help each other find solutions daily! This recipe is a life-saver & so EASY - takes just a couple ingredients and only 20-30 minutes to prepare, start to finish.

This Healthy "Fried" Panko Chicken recipe can also be cooked ahead of time, refrigerated for up to a couple days, and reheated (or even served chopped cold!) for a great-tasting quick dinner solution the picky eaters in our lives will actually LOVE and eat!

Here's how to make Healthy Fried Chicken Tenders for your family!


  • 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Tenderloins (or handcut tenders)
  • 1 package (about 1.5 - 2 cups or so) of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • salt and cracked pepper
  • olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Line a baking sheet with foil.

3. Place the panko breadcrumbs in one shallow dish, stirring in the Italian seasoning, and pour the almond milk in another shallow dish.

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4. Set a medium fry pan on medium-high heat and thinly drizzle olive oil over the pan.

5. Once oil is heated, begin dredging the chicken tenders in the almond milk, then immediately in the breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess crumbs from the tenders, then place carefully in the hot pan.

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6. “Fry” the tenders for only 1-2 minutes per side, then place them on foil-lined baking pan.

7. Once all tenders are “fried” crispy (they won’t be cooked through, this step is to give them the “fried” taste only!) place the pan into the pre-heated oven.

8. Bake for about 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through. (Time will vary with difference in ovens.)

9 Once cooked, serve plain or with low-sugar or homemade dipping sauces, and alongside ANY veggie dish!

Nutrition NoteBy using almond milk, we've eliminated dairy in this recipe. This healthy fried chicken recipe can EASILY be adapted to be gluten free as well by using gluten free crumbs.


*~*FRESH Prep Tip*~* This dish also works as a great protein center to pre-bake, then refrigerate and use later in the week over salads, in pasta dishes or served with creative and tasty sauce combinations, like in our Orange Chicken Chutney recipe OR our popular Spinach Chicken Parmesan recipe

After you've added this recipe to your repertoire, let us know how you use it…as a piece of a delicious and simple meal, or served alongside tasty FRESH sides. We’d love to hear your ideas!

What do you think?

Does this healthy fried chicken recipe sound kid and picky-eater approved to you?

Remember, you can very easily make up a double batch and refrigerate this healthy version of fried chicken pieces for future dinners too. Batching cook or prep-cooking is one of the favorite tools of cook-at-home healthy-minded folks. 

In our {FREE} Community we often share tips and strategies for getting through our super busy lives with our sanity intact WHILE ALSO meeting our healthy-living goals. There is a big difference between struggling alone and having a winning team on your side!

Join our growing, vibrant, encouraging exclusive and FREE group today!

Chicken N' Avocado Bagel Sandwich

Are you tired of trying to figure out what to have for a quick meal?  Why not make it super simple?  

Here is a bagel sandwich loaded with protein that you can make for your family when they need a nutritious dinner in a hurry! 


Combine it with some tortilla chips and a  salsa or hummus dip from our selection here and you will have a complete meal in minutes.  

Here's how to make this easy sandwich!


  • Leftover grilled chicken breast pieces
  • Alfalfa sprouts or any other microgreens
  • Avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Whipped cream cheese
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Whole wheat bagel (toasted if you prefer - we use mini-bagels to keep carb/calorie count lower!)


  1. Spread whipped cream cheese on bagel.
  2. Add the chicken breast, 2-3 avocado slices, red onion strands, and microgreens.
  3. Filling, rich in protein, fiber, and nutrients – this sandwich is a winner every time!
  4. Just multiply these ingredients for the amount of sandwiches you desire to make.

Nutrition Information:  One cup of chicken has 231 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 43 grams of protein.  It's low in sodium and is a good source of B6, phosphorus, niacin, and selenium.

Chicken & Spinach Melt Recipe

This healthy version of a classic favorite will have your family asking for more! 

It's a great balanced meal served with either gluten-free or whole grain pasta, (or with spaghetti squash, like in this pic!) It's filling with or without more sides.

Chicken & Spinach Melt Recipe 

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How To Make IT:


•    8 small chicken breast (boneless, skinless) cutlets (Make them ahead to save time!)
•    1 cup Panko bread crumbs
•    1/4 cup olive or canola oil
•    1/2 cup homemade marinara sauce (recipe here!)
•    2 cups baby spinach
•    1/4 - 1/2 cup grated or sliced soft mozzarella or real Parmesan cheese

chick parm ingredients.jpg


  1. Coat the chicken cutlets in the bread crumbs, pressing the chicken gently into the crumbs to help them stick to the breast. 
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  3. Place the breaded cutlets into the hot oil, and cook until golden brown, 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate to rest. (Or save time by using pre-made cutlets from this recipe.)
  4. Spread 1/2 the homemade marinara over the bottom of a lasagna dish, and top with the cooked cutlets.  Place the spinach over the chicken, and the rest of the marinara over that. 
  5. Then top the dish with the cheese.  Broil for 3-4 minutes on high, or until the cheese begins to brown.
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Try this simple, affordable 20-minute recipe, then let me know what your family thinks of it in the comments below! 

You can always post your healthy cooking questions or suggestions in our free online community as well!!!  Come join the lively, ongoing conversation!

Easy, Healthy Vegetable Side Dishes You Can Cook

Do you ever find yourself perusing the fresh foods section of the grocery store, wondering what the heck you’re to do with all those great-looking veggies? 

You know you are supposed to eat more of them, you hear about the benefits to that all the time, but just don’t know how to fix them?

Today, I’m going to give you a few ideas on how to make easy and fast veggie sides for dinner.  No, not the pop-in-the-micro kind!  Those can be a great backup plan, but let’s explore these dishes and let you decide which ones sound truly delicious to you!

Here are a few ideas to try

Greens Made Easy

Cooking greens used to intimidate me, but after a couple practice tries, this dish is now a constant go-to in this house! 

Besides being rich with benefits, like iron, antioxidants, and minerals, collard greens are also very tasty and filling. I even get a couple of the kids to dig into this one!

How to make them:


  • 1 head collard greens,
  • half fresh lemon, squeezed over the greens
  • ready-made real bacon bits
  • ¼ sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Slice up the greens in thin ribbons of about ½ inch thick, and 3-4 inches long, set aside. 
  2. Place large sauté pan or wok over medium to high heat, add oil to pan.
  3. Add onions, garlic to hot oil, sauté for about a minute.
  4. Add in the greens and bacon bits, allowing the greens to wilt for about 2 minutes. 
  5. Squeeze the fresh lemon over the wilted greens, stir one or two more times, remove from heat. Serve!

Sweet Potato “Fries”

A favorite at our place, and we were so glad to discover that sweet potatoes are a super-food, packed with many healthy benefits! 

Carotene (which is Vitamin A and gives the potato it’s orange color), and minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron give this great-tasting treat it’s superpower! 

We love it many ways, but the oven-roasted “fries” are a fave of the pickier eaters around our place!


  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes, sliced into thin strips (1/4 inch by 2-3 inches)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Himalayan pink salt (or ANY salt to your taste)
  • Fresh cracked pepper


  1. Roll the fries in the olive oil until coated gently
  2. Salt and pepper them, then roast at a high heat (375-425 degrees, depending on your oven) for about 10-15 minutes, or until crispy and done. 

    Too easy, too delicious, very healthy as a side dish or snack!

Black Bean & Sweet Corn Salsa

Over time, corn (esp sweet corn!) has gotten a bad rap in the health-eating industry ... but you may be happy to know, it is STILL healthy (as is most every other God-made food!)

Because it is a veggie higher in sugar content, it is better to eat it it in small amounts.  We mainly enjoy corn as one ingredient in a dish instead of the main dish.

Corn contains many health benefits for your body, like lutein (which fights macular degeneration in our eyes!) as well as several vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phospherous.


  • 1 cup sweet corn (you can use frozen, just allow it to thaw)
  • 1 can rinsed and drained black beans
  • ¼ sweet onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Italian dressing OR 2 fresh limes, squeezed & stirred into mixture


  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Refrigerate for two hours or more before serving for flavors to mix and blend.

Hopefully you are encouraged now to try these yummy, easy and yes, healthy dishes in your own kitchen. 

Healthy veggies sides can (and should!) be vibrant, easy and enjoyed by the whole family!  Let me know what you think of these helpful ideas in the comments below.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe

If you love banana bread as much as I do, but worry about if it's good for you, worry no more! It's full of nutrition when it's made right, and I've got the perfect recipe for you that you're entire family will love!

This recipe is made with HALF the sugar, with whole wheat flour, and you can't even taste the difference! If you feel the recipe is too heavy, it may need more moisture to lighten it up a bit.  In this case, use 1 extra banana, or 1/4 cup canola oil, or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce. Try this healthier take on a family favorite (this recipe suggests making muffins out of it) and let us know what you think!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe

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How To Make IT:


•    1 cup whole wheat flour
•    1 tsp baking soda
•    1/2 tsp salt
•    1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
•    2 eggs
•    1/2 cup sugar
•    1/2 tsp vanilla
•    3 ripe bananas


  1. Sift flours, soda and salt in medium bowl, set aside. 
  2. Whisk eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, set aside. 
  3. Prepare a muffin pan OR bread pan while the oven is preheating to 350 degrees.  You can spray the pan with an oil spray, or just use paper muffin cups.
  4. In another medium bowl, mash the bananas well, then set them aside. 
  5. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Combine the egg mix with the sugar and butter mixture, and stir together. 
  6. Add the bananas, stir. Finally, add the flour mixture and stir it all together.
  7. Place the mixture evenly in a 4-5 mini bread pans OR a full-size pan OR 12-count regular muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until they are done.  Yummy!

This recipe makes such a great make-ahead dish, and freezes easily. Just remove from freezer when you're ready to eat. You can either microwave to make them warm again, or just let them thaw to room temp. 

Either way, I guarantee this will be a new family favorite!

What's your favorite quick bread to make for your family? 

Vegetable Detox Broth Recipe

Detoxifying your body is a simple process, one that your body does naturally and does well! IF it's given the necessary ingredients to do it! Just drinking enough water (and lemon water in the morning) is a detoxing and naturally purifying habit!


It is NOT necessary to include deprivation or "juice-only" plans to cleanse your body.

Along with targeted supplements, and eating the clean, wholesome foods God gave us, you can properly detoxify your organs, gut and entire immune system.

I provide much more information on how to do this in my coaching, but you can also find much more on this topic from Dr. Mark Hyman at his website and in his books.

ONE WAY TO DETOXIFY is TO remove offensive, sludge-building "foods" from your diet

...and feed yourself plenty of vegetables, fibrous foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats instead.

This broth recipe is only one way of many to add in the rich nutrients from those foods, and provides an easy "to-go" way to do that. Make the whole recipe, then let it set to room temp. After it has cooled, refrigerate in a closed container and reheat each serving to just warm before drinking.

{This broth recipe is from Coach Bess' detoxification program, but makes a nutritious, power-packed addition to any dietary plan. It alkalizes the system, making it easier to detoxify, lose weight, and feel great!}

Enjoy 1-2 cups of this broth daily for optimal results. 


  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 sliced carrots
  • 1 cup of daikon or white radish root and tops*
  • 1 cup of winter squash cut into large cubes (i.e. butternut, acorn, etc.)
  • 1 cup of root vegetables (turnips, parsnips, rutabagas)
  • 2 cups chopped greens (kale, parsley, collard, mustard, cilantro, chard, etc.)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 cup seaweed* (nori, dulse, wakame, kelp, or kombu)
  • 1/2 cup cabbage
  • 4 - 1/2 inch slices of peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of whole garlic (not crushed or chopped)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • {If available, you can add dried shiitake or maitake mushrooms - powerful immune boosters}

    *This item is not necessary, but is a plus if you can find it! If it is difficult to find any of these items at the store, just make the broth with the items you can find – it is best to include the garlic, ginger, and greens every time you make it!


  • Add all ingredients at once, and place pot on low boil for approx 60 minutes – could take a little longer. (Or put it all in the crock pot and forget it for a couple to few hours!)
  • Simply continue to boil to taste.
  • Cool, then strain out the veggies, and toss them.
  • Keep the broth in a tightly sealed glass container in the fridge.
  • Heat broth gently and drink at least 1-2 cups a day.     


Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Just Like the Restaurants!}

Hubby and I are cheap-skates when we go out to eat ... we're always on the lookout for deals and steals for our date nights! So we were thrilled when we discovered happy hour for appetizers and small plates at a local restaurant (with food we actually enjoyed!) ... and even more ecstatic when I figured out how to duplicate this dripping-with-flavor dish at home!

A few alterations later, we created this beautiful dish...

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Here's how to make it!


  • 3/4 cup teriyaki sauce (make homemade or use low-sodium version)

  • 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy is our fave choice!)

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled & finely grated or minced

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground chicken (I use the mild Italian one in grocery store - you can also use ground turkey)

  • 1/2 cup green onion, diced

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced

  • 1 can water chestnuts, drained and finely minced

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (optional)

  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained & briefly seared, then diced into small pieces

  • 1/2 cup fresh Baby Bella mushrooms, roughly diced

  • 1 head living or butter lettuce


  • Shredded purple cabbage

  • Diced green onions

  • Shredded fresh organic carrots



  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl, whisk together and set to the side.

  2. In a large, deep, skillet over medium heat, brown ground chicken in tsp oil. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan and drain. Set aside for now.

  3. Using the same skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, water chestnuts, pine nuts, tofu and mushrooms together and saute for about 2 minutes.

  4. Add the chicken back in, and pour ½ the sauce mixture over the meat and vegetables. Cook all of it together, uncovered, for about 3 or 4 minutes.

  5. Serve the mixture in the “lettuce cups” and garnish with the shredded fresh veggies.

  6. Use the remainder of the sauce as a dipping sauce,  or to drizzle to taste over the lettuce cups!


What about you friend? What restaurant favorite have you enjoyed and then tweaked in your own kitchen at home? Tell us about it HERE, and maybe we'll feature it (and YOU!) on this blog! 

This recipe was originally found on Favorite Family Recipes ( and changed in a few ways to reflect the FRESH Start-style!

Jicama Slaw

Looking for a healthy side dish for that next gathering (to replace a maybe-not-so-healthy-choice!) or just to add as a filling and tasty side dish to your grilled chicken or fish? 

This beautiful, super-easy side salad is a perfect pairing to any FRESH entree! Try it and then tell us it's not your new favorite!

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Here's how to make this easy side dish:


  • 1 Medium Jicama Root, grated with a cheese grater
  • 1/2 finely diced orange, yellow or red bell pepper (or you can use mini-sweet bells, too!)
  • 1/2 de-seeded cucumber, diced finely
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced (less if it's a strong one! You don't want the flavor to overtake the slaw!)
  • Handful FRESH Cilantro, minced lightly with sharp knife (so as not to bruise it!)
  • 1/2 to 1 large lime, squeezing the juice directly into slaw mixture (to taste)
  • 2/3 of small can of Mandarin Orange Slices, diced (add just 1-2 Tbsp of the juice, but not all of it!)


Stir all the ingredients together, adding or tweaking anything you'd like to your unique taste (such as 1/2 fresh jalapeno, diced, for heat.) 

Refrigerate mixture for about 1-2 hours then stir thoroughly again and serve!

Enjoy as a FRESH and healthy side dish that everyone loves! At potlucks and gatherings around our house, this dish gets wiped clean!