Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mixes Launch as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I received free samples of McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mixes from McCormick mentioned in this post. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.

Rich, creamy and bold chicken taco dip made easily in your slow cooker, topped with melty pepper jack. This dip is so full of flavor, you won’t be able to stay away!

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

I have a confession. I never make my own taco seasoning / pumpkin pie spice / tomato sauce seasonings / etc. I love to cook, but I am honestly all about convenience, and I’m a busy human who needs for things to be quick and easy when I’m cooking at home. Sometimes I feel like, because I have a food blog, I have to be one of those 100% from scratch type cooks. I just can’t live up to that. I mean, I guess I’m somewhere between that cookie dough that’s not just already made, but already cut for you and someone who churns their own butter.

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

Something that really surprised me when Steve found out he had a gluten intolerance was just how many things contained gluten. I mean, we’re both pretty lucky in the fact that we’re more gluten-get-grouchy than gluten intolerant (well, he is closer to intolerant, but does okay with cross contamination), but even still, so many of the seasonings that we’d used in the past contained flour–what is that about?? We learned to label check like crazy, even things you wouldn’t imagine, and it’s even more important for our friends with Celiac.

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

We LOVE that McCormick has some of our favorite seasoning mixes that are certified by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and they contain no MSG, artificial colors or flavors. The flavors are bold and spot on, and they make it so easy to turn a boring dinner into a flavorful one! I also love that their gluten-free products are the same price as their regular products. Eating gluten-free can get soooo expensive (hellloooo $5 for a loaf of bread…), and it’s really refreshing to finally have a product that has the same cost.

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

This dip couldn’t be easier–I just took some chicken breasts, a can of refried beans, a block of cream cheese and the McCormick gluten-free taco seasoning and threw ‘em in the crockpot. I added some Greek yogurt after they were done cooking then topped it with pepper jack cheese that I put in the oven on broil until it got all bubbly and dreamy. The taste and the texture were absolutely amazing. I couldn’t stop eating it, and ended up eating dip for dinner. Oh well, I guess there’s worse things. ;)

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: about 9-10 cups

Crockpot Chicken Taco Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 1 x 16 ounce can refried beans (I used fat free)
  • 3 cups salsa
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened and cut into 1" cubes
  • 2-3 tablespoons McCormick Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced (optional for serving)
  • corn tortilla chips for serving

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts at the bottom of your slow cooker. Cover with beans, salsa, cream cheese and taco seasoning. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, stirring once in between if possible.
  2. Remove chicken and shred. Take about a tablespoon of warm dip and mix into Greek yogurt to temper, then add Greek yogurt and stir to combine.Stir in shredded chicken. Transfer to an oven safe serving dish and top with shredded cheese. Cook on broil until cheese starts to brown and bubble, about 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
  3. Top with sliced jalapeno and serve immediately with chips. Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for 5-7 days.
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Other gluten-free seasoning options include Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning, Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy, and Gluten-Free Brown Gravy. For more from McCormick,  you can follow them on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

French Onion Burgers

Satisfy your craving for French onion soup in the summer time with these big, juicy beef burgers stuffed with caramelized onions, then topped with melty gruyere and even more caramelized onions. 

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

Once upon a time, I’m pretty sure I thought caramelized onions actually had caramel in them. I mean, they’re sooo sweet and delicious. I just figured they at least had buckets of sugar to get them to that point!

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

Turns out, onions are kind of magical, and you probably already know that if you let em cook on low heat for a ridiculous amount of time, they transform into the sweetest and most tender veggie you will ever eat.

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

It does take a while, but it is soooo easy. Once I get them going, I generally prep everything else I have to do for dinner and then, if dinner is super easy, sometimes I just watch Netflix and go back to the kitchen to stir them around every now and then. They are totally low maintenance.

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

As much as I love onions, ya know what really makes French onion soup for me? That thick layer of bubbly cheese on top. Bubbling cheese is like the stuff dreams are made of. Put it on top of that thick slice of bread they put on top, and your meal is pretty much guaranteed to be awesome. Bread. Cheese. Onions. Done.

French Onion Burgers with tons of caramelized onions and melty gruyere

But I have to say, it’s all even better when sitting on top of a super juicy beef burger that has even more onions hiding inside! It’s so good, you totally don’t even need the bun. In fact, I won’t eat a burger unless it’s good enough to eat bunless. It’s kind of a rule in my house because 99% of the time I toss the bun after it serves its purpose of looking cute on camera, and eat my delicious burger nekked. ;)

French Onion Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 3-4 burgers

Serving Size: 1 burger

French Onion Burgers

Satisfy your craving for French onion soup in the summer time with these big, juicy beef burgers stuffed with caramelized onions, then topped with melty gruyere and even more caramelized onions.

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • generous pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (94-96%)
  • pinch thyme (fresh or dried)
  • pinch paprika
  • 2-4 ounces sliced or shredded gruyere cheese
  • whole grain buns for serving (if desired)

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, cook onions and garlic in olive oil and balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl combine ground beef, 1/4 of the caramelized onions, thyme, paprika, and an extra pinch of black pepper. Form into 3-4 even patties (depending on how big you like your burgers).
  3. Grill burgers to desired doneness. Top immediately with gruyere and allow to melt slightly then top with a generous portion of caramelized onions. Serve immediately.

Notes

For even cooking in your burgers, gently press your thumb into the center of each patty before cooking.

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Greek Lamb Burgers

Bold, flavorful and tender half lamb/half beef burgers stuffed with feta cheese and topped with creamy tzatziki sauce. Everything you love about a classic gyro in healthy, summer burger form!

Greek Lamb Burgers: Like a healthier gyro in burger form!

I F-ing love a gyro. When I worked at my last school, we did our shows at the MAC which is dangerously close to this little hole in the wall Greek restaurant. I had actually never (whaaaaat???) eaten a gyro (and I still pronounced it with a j sound…shhhh…), but my friend Emily raved about it, and I have to tell you, I have not stopped thinking about that damn gyro ever since.

Greek Lamb Burgers: Like a healthier gyro in burger form!

We’re talking years here people. When I love food, I don’t forget about it. Trust me, I still talk about this Italian restaurant I ate at in London when I was 14.  I can’t remember to return pretty much any emails, but I can remember the meal I ate 5 zillion years ago that was “life changing”. It’s a gift. You know, like how Karen in Mean Girls can tell the weather.

Greek Lamb Burgers: Like a healthier gyro in burger form!

Okay, so we all know I have a bit of a burger problem, yes? I have actually heard my man food and meat loving husband utter the words “burgers….again?”. Yes. Once June hits (okay…May…), burgers multiple times a week are not only normal, but expected. I mean, sometimes I change it up. With a hot dog.

Greek Lamb Burgers: Like a healthier gyro in burger form!

But this was not a “burgers…again?” moment. This was one of those getting feisty and fighting over the leftovers all week long moments. I’m serious. It gets crazy over here. Like a race to the fridge to claim the good leftovers. We’re both very considerate and grown up human beings.

Greek Lamb Burgers: Like a healthier gyro in burger form!

Okay, let’s discuss what makes these burgers so flippin fantastic. First of all, they are half lamb, half beef. Lamb is delicious. If you haven’t gotten on board yet, I highly suggest it. I find lamb to be one of the juiciest, most tender and flavorful meats. Well, this has a lot to do with the high fat/calorie content. Now, if you don’t care about that sort of thing, feel free to use all lamb. That would be delicious. While I don’t count calories, or any macronutrients, or even really anything past the #8 (dancer joke…see what I did there? ;) ), I still do think about that sort of thing, and I would prefer to get all the flavor, but keep it a little on the leaner side.

Greek Lamb Burgers: Like a healthier gyro in burger form!

That being said, in the name of “health”, obviously I had to stuff them full of freshly crumbled feta and smother them with creamy tzaziki because…obviously? Oh, and you can totally use a bun. I never do. I buy them for photos. It’s pretty silly. But these babies looked gorgeous on their own with just some fresh greens, the grilled onions, black olives, green onion and fresh parsley. There was so much going on, I just wanted to show them off for exactly what they were. I can tell you that these will definitely be making their way back into my burger rotation, and they will take your next grill night not just to the next level, but like a lot of levels up. ;)

Greek Lamb Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 burgers

Serving Size: 1 burger

Greek Lamb Burgers

Bold, flavorful and tender half lamb/half beef burgers stuffed with feta cheese and topped with creamy tzatziki sauce. Everything you love about a classic gyro in healthy, summer burger form!

Ingredients

    For the burgers:
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (93% or higher)
  • 2-3 ounces freshly crumbled feta
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • generous pinch oregano (finely chopped or dried)
  • generous pinch thyme (finely chopped or dried)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • generous pinch each salt and pepper
  • For serving:
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced and grilled
  • fresh greens
  • tratziki
  • fresh chopped parsley
  • sliced olives
  • chopped green onion

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the burgers. Mix until just combined. Form into burger patties and grill to desired doneness, about 3-5 minutes per side. Lamb, like beef, does not need to be cooked well done, but do make sure it reaches 160 for food safety.
  2. Serve over fresh greens (or on tops of your favorite buns) and grilled onions. Top with tzatziki, parsley, olives and onion. Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

A healthy twist on a loaded baked sweet potato and potato salad. Looking for more sweet potato recipes? Check these out!

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

Last month we hosted a barbecue at our house. I like to do a BYOM&B (bring your own meat & booze)–I make all the sides and desserts, and everyone can choose their own meat (or non-meat) and whatever they want to drink. It saves a lot of money, and you don’t have to worry so much about numbers, RSVPs, etc. It can be more laid back, and it makes it easier to invite all your friends.

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

I created something like 5 new recipes that day, and they all turned out amazing. Let me tell you, that never  happens. It was a miracle. For the sides, I made a Thai peanut slaw (coming soon…) and this baby. There was a big debate over which side was better. Nobody could agree, but I can tell you that this was Steve’s favorite. Mine too. ;)

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

The recipe is super easy, and other than the time spent cooking the potatoes, it comes together in minutes. I just took a little spin with the concept of my loaded baked potato salad, and it was literally love at first bite. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes with salty bacon and tangy goat cheese…uggghhh–it’s just so right.

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

And I love how this is a side dish that’s perfect for all seasons–it’s perfect for a summer barbecue, but to me the sweet potatoes scream fall, and it’s such an easy dish to throw together that you can literally take it with you to just about any party, or even eat it as a meal for lunch! The Greek yogurt packs it with protein while the sweet potatoes add healthy carbs, and tons of vitamins. It’s literally the best of every world.

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8 servings

Loaded Sweet Potato Salad

Healthy, protein and vitamin packed loaded sweet potato salad with Greek yogurt, goat cheese and center cut bacon

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 lb center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 heaping cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (I used and herb goat cheese)
  • Generous pinch each salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork. Transfer to a large baking dish and cook until softened, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Cut baked sweet potatoes into 1" cubes. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and lightly toss until combined. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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Drink & Dish: Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs

Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs

So…apparently it’s football season? Or it’s about to be? To be honest, I have absolutely no idea. Sometimes people post things about it on facebook, and as soon as I even read the word football, I immediately think “Ewww” and scroll away.

Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs

I went to school at the University of Idaho (yes….Idaho), and football was a BIG deal. We had some big rivalry with Boise State, but our football team was terrible, and I’m pretty sure we never won a single game.

Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’ve never been a sports person. Like, at all. I was always the un-athletic artsy kid, and even now that I have a tumultuous love affair with endurance sports, I have to admit that I still don’t really enjoy watching  any of them. I’ve always said the only reason I wanted to go to any sporting event was for the hot dogs. I’ve never had any problem getting excited about food.

Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs

I knew I wanted to create a delicious hot dog for our tailgating episode of Drink & Dish, but I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to take it, until I had a little brainstorming sesh with one of my favorite foodies, and before I knew it, I was sold on these jalapeno popper dog. I mean, let’s get real here–it’s a hot dog wrapped in bacon topped with jalapeno cream cheese, then topped with more cheese and fresh jalapenos. It is every bit as delicious as it sounds–the flavors, the textures!–and shockingly light in the calorie department. I mean, it’s no green smoothie, but pair it with some veggies, and it is a delicious meal for any occasion.

The cream cheese mixture is easy to make ahead and take with you to your tailgating event, and the hot dogs come together in minutes! They pair perfectly with Nicole’s game day beer punch. Nicole and I both agreed that this episode of D&D has to be one of our favorites. Check it out!

Drink & Dish: Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 hot dogs*

Serving Size: 1 hot dog

Drink & Dish: Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt, nonfat or low-fat
  • 1/2 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed (+ extra for topping)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 low fat all beef hot dogs (or turkey dogs)
  • 2 slices center cut bacon
  • 2 hot dog buns, preferably whole grain (whole wheat, any whole grain gluten-free option, etc.),
  • Approx 2 tbsp freshly shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Place cream cheese, Greek yogurt, 1/2 jalapeno and garlic in food processor. Pulse until well combined.
  2. Wrap a bacon slice around each hot dog and grill over medium heat until hot dog is warmed and bacon is fully cooked, about 4-6 minutes.
  3. To serve, place cooked hot dog inside a hot dog bun (I always toast mine a little on the grill first). Top with cream cheese mixture, a pinch of cheddar cheese and a few jalapeno slices if desired. Serve immediately.

Notes

*Depending on how much cream cheese mixture you like, you may have enough to top a 3rd hot dog if desired.

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