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
tuna marinade .JPG

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

tuna steak.JPG
tuna marinaded 1.JPG

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!

tuna bowl 4.JPG

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! 

macaroni pasta gluten free label.jpg

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

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.

How to Make Homemade Hummus {That everyone LOVES!}

Ahhhh hummus.

Most people either love it or do NOT (it's a strong taste and not for everyone, for sure!) 

But for those of us who DO, I'm sharing my awesome (and EASY!) recipe with you right here. If you want to save money and taste a better batch of hummus (homemade really is the BEST!) then read - or watch - on as I share with you

How to Make Homemade Hummus {that everybody loves!}

Hummus can get expensive when you're buying it in a convenient ready-to-go container at the store, but can be a great backup option. No judgy-judgy for store bought hummus here! You'll even occasionally find some in my fridge! If you're ready to taste a fresh hummus that is far and above the store bought version, here you go...

How to Make It

Pretty easy, right? Tahini is the "hummusy" ingredient that turns a grainy ground chickpea mix into a silky smooth hummus dip. It's quite expensive (around $8 a jar) but that one jar will last you through DOZENS of batches of hummus, so in the long run, it's much cheaper still to make this homemade than to pay $3-$5 per batch at the store.

and here's the recipe:


  • 1 can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) rinsed and thoroughly scrubbed with hands to remove the loose hulls

  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic (less or more to taste)

  • 1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed

  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) tahini paste

  • Drizzle of olive oil

  • sprinkle of salt


Put all of this PLUS a tiny amount of water (start with 1/4 cup and then slowly add more until you get desired consistency) into your blender or food processor (I use my Nutribullet!) and blend, then scrape, then blend, then scrape until you get the desired "feel" of your hummus!

You can serve immediately, or store the hummus in the fridge for up to a week!

We enjoy our hummus with toasted Naan bread, or raw cucumber and bell pepper slices, or our Gluten-free seed crackers. It also makes a GREAT "spread" for wraps and sandwiches!

Fresh Bean Relish

This FRESH Bean Relish is easy, Delish, and full of natural fiber! 

Our family enjoys this quick dish often with grilled chicken or as a side to fish. 

Hint: It turns out best with all the ingredients rinsed and completely drained, and then refrigerated overnight.  It’s one of those dishes that just gets better with time!

This recipe has helped our family eat more beans, which are rich in fiber and other nutrients for the body.  I personally have never enjoyed beans, but this dish has a way of hiding the “bean taste” in the goodness of the overall dish, and I have enjoyed it often now.

Here’s the recipe:

Fresh Bean Relish


•    1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas
•    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
•    1½ cups frozen sweet corn, thawed & drained
•    1/2 cup chopped onion
•    1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
•    1 (4 ounce) can mild green chiles
•    1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
•    1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
•    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


1.    In a medium bowl, combine black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes.

2.    Season with Italian-style salad dressing and garlic powder - mix well.

3.    Cover and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.

If you prefer fresh tomatoes, substitute 1 3/4 cup for the canned diced tomatoes.  For a spicier relish, switch out the mild green chiles for jalapeno peppers, either fresh diced or canned!

Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad

We just made this salad at the Healthy Changes Cooking Class we held Monday evening - mmm mm good!  I thought it would be great to share this delicious recipe with you!

Salads are still healthy – very healthy – IF they are loaded with rich greens, raw veggies, and lean proteinThis salad is exactly that, full of all the right ingredients, and super tasty.  Just squeeze a little lime over the top, and if using dressing, you only need a tablespoon drizzle.  The salad itself is so tasty, you don’t need much dressing for taste!

mexican grilled chicken salad.jpg

Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe


•    Bed of greens – spinach, romaine, or other greens
•    15 oz. can black beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
•    Medium avocado, sliced lengthwise
•    1 cup frozen or fresh corn, slightly toasted over medium heat until blackened
•    1 mango, sliced lengthwise
•    2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced in long strips
•    Red onion, sliced thin and long
•    Queso fresco, crumbled as topping
•    If desired, zesty tortilla strips as topping
•    Chopped cilantro, lime for dressing


Toss all ingredients together for a flavorful, healthy treat! You can chill ahead of time or serve immediately. Enjoy!

Enjoyed this FRESH dish? Get recipes for more delicious ideas right here in our Recipe Box!

Mediterranean Chicken Salad Recipe

Eating out the healthy way can be challenging – for many reasons in our family! Four kids with very different tastes and likes, a tight family budget and a need to stay health-conscience all create the challenge of choosing healthy meals while we are out. 

So we have found solace in one of our go-to restaurants in our southern Arizona town – Pita Jungle! The whole family orders to their liking, we make sure to go during “happy hour” between 3 and 6 pm, and we can both afford AND enjoy dinner occasionally away from home. This salad became a standby favorite for us from that restaurant. As a healthy foodie, I found myself thinking about it between visits (can anyone relate? haha!) I decided that making it at home couldn’t be that hard….and voila….it’s NOT!

So for any of you who don’t have the access to a restaurant like this, or just LOVE to enjoy a FRESH, simple salad entrée for quick family dinners, here it is!

Mediterranean Chicken Salad – Coach Bess style!


  • 1/2-1 lb chicken breast, grilled and diced

  • Romaine lettuce, sliced into ribbons and chopped

  • 1/2 cup sweet corn, roasted in olive oil stovetop for 3-4 minutes

  • 1 cucumber, diced into ½ inch chunks

  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced into ½ inch chunks

  • 2 stalks celery, sliced into thin pieces

  • Handful cilantro, chopped

  • 1/2-3/4 cup previously made Tabouli (recipe link for this below!)

  • 1/3 cup golden raisins

  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles (optional)

  • 1/4 cup toasted pinions (pinenuts - these are optional)


  • 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup


  1. Make sure that ALL ingredients are chopped and diced into the same size pieces before stirring together into a chopped salad-type dish. The chicken can easily be prepared ahead of time (previously grilled) and refrigerated, then use cold since this is a cold salad.

  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together until completely blended, taste-test and adjust as needed for taste/consistency. Dressing should be a semi-thick mixture. Pour over chopped salad, then toss all together.

  3. Serve salad immediately for best taste and texture.

Make ahead items: Grilled Chicken and Tabouli - both can be made ahead up to a day or two and refrigerated. (Find the recipe for Coach Bess’ Tabouli HERE & her classic Grilled Chicken Recipe HERE)

The delicious dressing - takes just seconds to whisk together!

The delicious dressing - takes just seconds to whisk together!

Super Simple Tabouleh Recipe

Since sharing this super simple tabouleh, an easy Mediterranean diet staple, with our Fresh Start Coaching Team at our Fall ReFRESHed Conference, there have been tons of requests for this recipe! In fact, several of our coaches were very surprised at how simple this dish is AND how totally delicious it is as a great left-over snack.

Enjoy it with seed crackers or cucumber slices, on sweet potato chips or with warm Naan or Pita bread. It’s a perfect vegan super-fresh protein main dish if you just double the quinoa! This is also a great go-to dish to take to potlucks and get-togethers too. This Tabouleh dish is ALWAYS wiped clean at any gathering!

Super Simple Tabouleh


  • 1 bunch parsley

  • 1/3 Sweet Onion

  • 1-2 Small Tomatoes

  • Olive Oil

  • Onion Powder

  • Garlic Powder

  • 1 FRESH Lemon

  • 1/2 -1 cup Cooked Quinoa (to taste)


  1. Chop the parsley fine, dice sweet onions and tomatoes, and stir them all together in medium bowl.

  2. Drizzle olive oil (about 1 Tablespoon) into mix and add a good sprinkle of the seasonings.

  3. Squeeze the lemon juice into the mix, add in the cooked quinoa and stir it all together.

  4. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least a couple hours (even overnight is fine!) to allow the flavorings to blend.

  5. Serve with seed crackers, feta cheese and olives for a Mediterranean FRESH snack!

We would LOVE to hear how you like this healthy snack too, so stop by our Facebook Page and let us know what you think of this Super Simple Tabouleh recipe!

What do you love to serve with your Tabouleh? Our favorites are seed crackers and cucumbers but we are always looking for fresh new ideas!

Southwestern Style Lettuce Wraps

Some days just call for a super-quick & easy dinner! This lettuce wrap shows off one of my personal Go-To’s for meal prep ahead of time – grilled chicken! When I meal plan and prep ahead of time, grilled or shredded chicken (either one would work fine for this delish recipe!) is ALWAYS on the must-make list. It is just too easy to throw this delicious Southwest Style Lettuce Wrap dinner together when the time-consuming part (the chicken!) is already made and waiting!

It’s easy to sell picky-eaters on this lettuce wrap entrée idea, too.

I tell mine it is a “healthy taco!” and they just switch out the avocado and onion for shredded cheese and olives, and use regular ranch instead. This is another perfect solution for busy families, another way to NOT cook multiple dinners on the same night for those hard-to-please appetites!


•    Grilled Chicken Breasts, cubed
•    Ruffle leaf lettuce (need several medium to large leaves to act as “wraps” for this salad)
•    ¼ Red Onion, Diced
•    3-4 Mini Sweet Bell Peppers, seeded & diced
•    1 Avocado, sliced
•    Handful Cilantro, chopped

Cilantro & Avocado Ranch Dressing

•    1/2 Cup Ranch
•   1/2 Avocado
•    Handful Cilantro

Blend all ingredients together in blender or food processor until smooth.  Add water 1 Tbsp at a time if consistency is too thick.


1. Lay the lettuce leaves as a “wrap” out on a plate. 
2. Place cubes of chicken along with diced and chopped toppings into lettuce leaf. 
3. Drizzle dressing over the wrap. 
4. Fold sides of leaves together and eat the salad as a “healthy taco.” 

(You can easily customize this dinner, using shredded cheese and regular ranch for your pickier eaters.)

What do you think of this lettuce wrap recipe?

I would love to hear from you in our Facebook Community…is this a recipe you can see remaining on the family’s meal plan? My heart is to bring you the best of the best in easy, quick AND healthy recipes – ones that will be used over and over in your home!

Napa Cabbage Chicken Salad Recipe

The tasty greens and protein in this Napa Cabbage Chicken Salad are always a hit at our house!

This easy dinner recipe is a family (and guest!) favorite – we never get tired of throwing this easy, fresh dish together for a light dinner. 

Even though it's a salad, you might be surprised at just how filling it is just served by itself for a meal. The chicken and cabbage combination delivers lots of tasty nutrients, which help keep you full longer than most salads, yet it doesn't feel heavy on your stomach. 

Even the kids like it, and ask for this crunchy entrée often!

Here's how to make the Napa Cabbage Chicken Salad for your own family:

Napa Cabbage Chicken Salad Recipe



  • 3 grilled chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 Head Napa Cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • Crunchies for topping:
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 package ramen noodles, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce


  1. Combine the shredded cabbage, green onions, and cilantro in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter, adding the ramen, sesame seeds, and almonds to the pan. Toast the mixture for about 3-4 minutes, or until browned nicely. Make sure not to burn them.
  3. To make the dressing, set a small saucepan on high heat, and add in all the ingredients together. Stir frequently, until the mixture comes to a quick boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat. Let the dressing cool to room temp.
  4. Toss the salad mixture, crunchies, chicken, and dressing together just before serving for this quick and delicious dinner!
small pic napa cabbage chicken salad.jpg

Cabbage really is an under-rated superfood - rich in many nutrients, but most notably Vitamin C.  Did you know that cabbage is actually higher in vitamin C than oranges?  This salad is also a delicious source of potassium, sulphur, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E!

I would love to hear how you liked the Napa Cabbage Chicken Salad after you make it! Share your food pics and happy faces in our (FREE)  FRESH Start Online Community on Facebook or you can post a comment right here on this blog!

How-to Make Falafel

Here is a fun picture tutorial on making falafel.  I am always looking for quick and easy bean recipes to add variety to our twice-weekly meatless routine, and this one is perfect!

So for vegetarian night, whip out the legumes, and get some health on your table!  

Here are the simple instructions:  

how-to make Falafel


•    1-15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
•    1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
•    1/4 cup finely crushed baked tortilla chips
•    2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
•    1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
•    1 large egg white
•    2 tsp olive or canola oil

Avocado Spread

•    1/2 mashed peeled avocado
•    3 tablespoons finely chopped tomato
•    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
•    1/8 teaspoon salt

Remaining ingredients

•    4 pita pockets
•    4 thin red onion slices, separated into rings
•    Alfalfa or spicy sprouts


1. To prepare patties, place pinto beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. 

2. Add cheese and next 5 ingredients; stir until well combined. 

3. Shape bean mixture into 4 oval-shaped patties that are about 1/2 inch thick. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.

4. When oil is ready, add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.

5. To prepare spread, combine avocado and next 5 ingredients (through salt), stirring well. Place 1 patty in each pita half. Spread about 2 tablespoons avocado spread over patty in each pita half; top with onions and greens.

What do you think?  Will you make this healthy recipe in your kitchen? 

Tell me about YOUR favorite falafel recipe, and what you think of this tutorial here in the comments or over on our Facebook community today!