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Easy Meals

Wild Wonders® Stuffed Pepper Taco Boats

Stuffed pepper taco boats made with Wild Wonders ® Peppers are fresh, flavorful and make for a nutritious and fun weeknight dinner. 

stuffed pepper taco boats

All the fun flavors of a traditional taco stuffed into a pepper? Sign me up! This fun, veggie-forward taco stuffed pepper recipe is sure to be a new weeknight favorite! It’s easy to make in less than 30 minutes, and well balanced with protein and fiber for more staying power in every bite. 

I’m sure you’ve heard it’s important to add more color to your plate for nutrition, well these taco pepper boats do just that as they’re bursting with color and flavor! 

Another reason to add more veggies to your meals? Gut health. Studies show that eating a variety of plant foods (upwards of 30 different kinds of plant foods a week to be specific) is beneficial for our gut. 

Sunset® Wild Wonders® Peppers 

This bright mix of red, yellow, orange and chocolate-colored peppers are way sweeter than bell peppers, and have no bitter aftertaste. I love how versatile they are — stuff ‘em or slice ‘em, you’ll step up any dish by adding these peppers into the mix. One of my other favorite ways to use them is this recipe for Mediterranean orzo stuffed peppers

I also always have a container of Sunset® Wild Wonders® tomatoes for adding to salads, pasta, dips, or just snacking on with hummus. I love how colorful and flavorful they are and that all of Sunset’s products are Non-GMO Project Verified. This means they are developed the old-fashioned way, through natural plant breeding without any additives. Don’t miss my other recipes made with Sunset® produce linked below! 

Ingredients for Stuffed Pepper Taco Boats

  • Sunset® Wild Wonders® Peppers
  • Ground chicken 
  • Garlic 
  • Onion
  • Cumin 
  • Chili powder 
  • Dried oregano
  • Salt & pepper 
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend 
  • Salsa 
  • Avocado 
  • Lime
  • Fresh cilantro

Equipment / utensils:

stuffed pepper taco boats

Wild Wonders® Stuffed Pepper Taco Boats

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
Flavorful and fun chicken taco stuffed pepper boats with cheese, shredded lettuce, avocado and salsa will quickly become your new favorite easy weeknight dinner!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small jalapeno diced (optional for more heat)
  • 1 package Wild Wonders® Peppers
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican-style cheese
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • In a sauté pan heat the olive oil, minced garlic and diced onion until fragrant being careful not to burn. 
  • Add the ground chicken and use a wooden spoon to break it up into smaller pieces while it browns. Once mostly brown add in the spice, canned tomatoes and diced jalapeno if desired. Stir together. 
  • Remove from heat and set aside. Slice each pepper lengthwise removing the seeds.
  • Spoon the chicken taco mixture into each pepper shell. Top with cheese and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes until peppers are softened. 
  • Remove from the oven and top each pepper with shredded lettuce along with sliced or diced avocado, fresh salsa and cilantro. Enjoy! 
Keyword stuffed pepper taco boat; chicken taco; stuffed peppers

More Recipes with Sunset Produce You’re Sure to Love

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flavorful and fun chicken taco stuffed pepper boats with cheese, shredded lettuce, avocado and salsa
Easy Meals

BBQ Chickpea Sweet Potatoes with Organic Campari Tomatoes

BBQ chickpea sweet potatoes made with crunchy chickpeas, Organic Campari® tomatoes, corn, avocado and smoky spices for a delicious plant-based summertime meal.  

bbq sweet potatoes with chickpeas, corn, avocado and campari tomatoes

The fresh juicy flavors of summer are in full swing right now and I’m loving finding new ways to enjoy them in meals and snacks. Getting inspiration from the season is my favorite way to infuse fun and excitement in the kitchen — something I totally recommend if you feel like you’re in a cooking rut.

BBQ roasted chickpeas add crunch and smokiness to these summer inspired sweet potatoes made with delicious  Organic Campari® tomatoes, avocado, corn and fresh cilantro. They’re easy to cook up and assemble and make for a super fresh and plant-forward meal. 

These would also be perfect alongside any main dish at your summer BBQ and you can even grill the sweet potatoes before topping them with the tomato salad.  A great way to add more plants (and fiber!) to your backyard BBQ! 

organic campari tomatoes
chickpea, corn, avocado and campari tomato salad

The star ingredient in this recipe are definitely the Organic Campari® tomatoes from SUNSET®. At just the right size and with the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, they add so much juicy flavor to this easy summer recipe! Perfect for everything from salads, pizzas, and pasta, they’re definitely a staple worth always having on hand. 

SUNSET® produce is always in my cart at the grocery store because of its unmatched quality and their overall dedication to freshness and innovation in the produce department. I love their unique variety of tomatoes, especially these Organic Campari® tomatoes. 

The fresh flavors of the tomatoes along with the smoky chickpeas and cool avocado come together to tie everything and the sweet potato together really well. It’s sort of like a salad in a sweet potato and I’m all about it! 

plant-based tomato chickpea sweet potatoes

Ingredients for BBQ chickpea sweet potatoes:

  • Organic Campari® tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fire-roasted corn kernels
  • Avocado
  • Chickpeas
  • Fresh cilantro 
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cumin 
  • Smoked paprika
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
bbq-sweet-potatoes-with-chickpeas-corn-avocado-and-campari-tomatoes

BBQ Chickpea Sweet Potatoes with Organic Campari Tomatoes

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
BBQ chickpea sweet potatoes made with crunchy chickpeas, Organic Campari® tomatoes, corn, avocado and smoky spices for a delicious plant-based summertime meal. Packed with flavor and simple to assemble,
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 package Organic Campari® tomatoes diced
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 can fire-roasted corn kernels drained
  • 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro chopped

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 415 degrees F. Rinse and drain chickpeas and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with avocado oil, and spices and bake for approximately 25 minutes, flipping halfway through until crispy.
  • In the meantime prepare the sweet potatoes and tomato salad. Use a fork to poke holes in the sweet potatoes and cook in the microwave on the potato setting or grill or broil the sweet potatoes.
  • While the sweet potatoes are cooking combine the diced tomatoes, avocado, corn, and fresh cilantro in a bowl and toss. Add roasted chickpeas once cooked.
  • Scoop out the center part of the sweet potatoes and spoon the tomato salad in the inside. Top with more fresh cilantro and the cheese of your choice if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Keyword BBQ chickpea sweet potatoes

This post was created in partnership with SUNSET®. As always all opinions are my own and I appreciate your support!

More recipes with SUNSET® you’re sure to love: 

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how to make BBQ chickpea sweet potatoes
Nutritious Treats

Avocado Key Lime Parfaits

These avocado key lime pie parfaits will blow you away with how easy they are to make and how delicious they taste! They’re made with simple ingredients, and tart and creamy just like key lime pie!

Avocado key lime pie parfaits are the perfect spring and summertime treat, made with avocado, lime and siggi’s yogurt! The “crust” is raw, made of a blend of almonds, dates and shredded coconut to tie it all together. These parfaits take no time at all to whip up in a food processor and if I didn’t tell you they were made with avocado you wouldn’t know it!

You can feel good about enjoying these whenever because they’re made with wholesome ingredients like avocados, limes, almonds, coconut, dates, maple syrup and low-sugar yogurt.

no bake avocado key lime parfaits

This post was sponsored by siggi’s, but as always all opinions are my own and I appreciate your support!

One of the things I like about siggi’s the most is that it has more protein than sugar, averaging 15 grams in a cup. When you’re reaching for a snack, choosing one like siggi’s with a substantial amount of protein will help to keep you fueled for longer. My favorite way to eat it as a snack is to add some berries to the top of the container with nut butter on top!

Another huge factor for me when it comes to picking a yogurt is the sugar content. Many on grocery store shelves could be considered a dessert with how much sugar they contain which is why I feel good knowing that siggi’s is committed to providing a lower sugar yogurt with simple ingredients and nothing artificial ever.

Can you Taste the Avocado?

Not really! To be honest, the avocado takes on the taste of the lime juice that you squeeze into the filling mixture. The avocado contributes to the texture of these parfaits and gives more healthy fat, fiber and vitamin E and potassium!

ingredients for avocado key lime parfaits

Ingredients for Avocado Key Lime Parfaits

  • avocado
  • limes
  • vanilla yogurt
  • dates
  • shredded coconut
  • almonds
  • maple syrup
  • salt

equipment / utensils

no-bake-avocado-key-lime-parfaits

Avocado Key Lime Parfaits

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
Tart, creamy and refreshing, these avocado key lime parfaits are a fun and nutritious treat for spring and summer. The 
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Servings 5 parfaits

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 medium avocados
  • 3 limes juiced*
  • 2 containers siggi’s 4% vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  •  Add almonds, dates and coconut to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on high for 5 approx. 5 minutes until a crust starts to form. Add 1 tbsp. water and continue to pulse for 3 more minutes until totally mixed together.
  • Spoon almond date mixture into the bottom of mini parfaits glasses or ball jars. Set aside.
  • Combine avocados, lime juice, 1 container of siggi’s yogurt and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth and well combined. About 3 minutes.
  • Scoop mixture on top of crust so that about 3/4 of the parfait glass is filled.
  • With the remaining container of vanilla yogurt, dollop spoonfuls on top of the avocado lime mixture. Grate extra lime zest on top and enjoy!
  • Store jars in the fridge covered for up to 4 days. The lime will prevent the avocado from browning! 

Notes

*Regular limes work just fine in this recipe. If you find key limes at your grocery store they would work too! 
Keyword avocado key lime pie parfaits; avocado; key lime;

Be sure to also check out this post about what you need to know when it comes to grocery shopping for yogurt and if you find yourself grocery shopping at Target, be sure to check out this post about what food I buy at Target!

More Healthy Recipes You’re Sure to Love

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Salads

Summer Zoodle Avocado and Peach Salad

This summer zoodle, avocado and peach salad is bursting with flavor from in season produce and packed with nutrition in every bite! It’s summer in a bowl!

Some of the best (in my opinion!) veggies are at their peak of freshness this time of year, and what better way to enjoy them than to throw them all together a salad as delicious as it is beautiful!

Take advantage of summer produce by making this summer zoodle, avocado, and peach salad! Zucchini is in season in the summer and so are peppers, peaches, berries, tomatoes and more! Check out the full list here and stop by your local farmers’ market to score some locally grown produce.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of fruit in salads, but juicy, ripe peaches add a sweetness to this salad that perfectly compliments the different veggies.

Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies and goes great with all things pumpkin as evidenced by my recipe for pumpkin zucchini bread and this one for paleo pumpkin zucchini banana bars!

The Perfect Summer Salad Dressing

I find this salad tastes great simply with olive oil and vinegar, however if you are looking for something a little more exciting, here are a few of my favorite dressings:

Summer Salad Wine Pairing

This salad is the perfect for bringing to a summer get together, because there’s something in it that everyone can like. Pick up a bottle of a dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc. My favorite is this one from Francis Coppola!

healthy summer zoodle peach salad

Summer Zoodle, Avocado, & Peach Salad

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
Packed with nearly every veggie thats in season in the summer, this salad is nutritious, delicious and a beautiful dish to bring to any summer get together! 
Servings 3 -4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups greens I like combining two like butter lettuce + arugula or baby kale + mixed greens
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini spiralized ( I have this sprilizer and it works great)!
  • 1 ripe peach sliced
  • 1-2 ears of corn grilled and cut off the cobb
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese optional
  • 3 basil leaves

Instructions
 

  • Prepare lettuce in a large bowl. Spiralize the zucchini and mix into lettuce.
  • Wash and slice tomatoes, avocado, peach. Add to salad, along with the corn.
  • Top with feta cheese and basil leaves.**

Notes

** Grilled chicken, salmon or skirt steak would be great on top! To keep it vegetarian but add a little heartiness add 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, farro, or brown rice. 

Hungry for more? Be sure to check out my guide to smart eating for summer and my favorite healthy travel hacks and snacks!

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Butternut Squash

Kale & Butternut Squash Pizza

Pizza night gets turned up a notch in terms of nutrition with this kale & butternut squash pizza! Customize is how you may, but I think this homemade kale and butternut squash combinations tastes delicious and is a healthy alternative to some of the other frozen pizzas out there. Made with Nature’s Greens ® kale that is pre-washed and bagged for connivence, this pizza take less than 25 minutes to make from start to finish.

This blog post is in partnership with Nature’s Greens®, but all opinions are my own.

Sure, the flavors are reminiscent of fall, but in my opinion they are great to enjoy all year long. I opted for frozen butternut squash that I defrosted and threw onto the pizza. When sautéing greens, make sure you always keep the heat on low to retain the most nutrients. Depending on the crust you use, this recipe makes great leftovers for the next day too!

 

 

kale and butternut squash pizza

Kale & Butternut Squash Pizza

Once Upon A Pumpkin
Pizza night meets harvest flavors! Kale and butternut squash come together for this delicious and nutritious homemade pizza that can be whipped up anytime of year.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 store bought pizza crust can use cauliflower, gluten-free depending on preference
  • 2 cups Nature’s Greens kale
  • 1 tbps. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup butternut squash cubed and roasted (can use frozen)
  • ½ cup spicy kale and lemon pesto
  • ½ avocado
  • balsamic glaze optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven according to pizza package directions.
  • Heat a medium saucepan, adding olive and garlic until fragrant. Add kale and gently sautee on low heat until kale begins absorbing the olive oil and looks moist.
  • Spread pesto on top of pizza crust and top with sauteed kale, parmesan cheese, and butternut squash.
  • Bake pizza according to package directions, remove from oven and top with sliced avocado, and drizzled balsamic  Slice into pieces and enjoy!

XOXO

MAGGIE 

Lifestyle & Wellness

Add More Nutrients To Your Diet In 4 Easy Ways

March is National Nutrition Month which is a great time to think about different ways to add more nutrients into your diet! Maybe right about now (or a month ago) we pushed our New Year’s resolutions about eating healthy to the side, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get right back to them with a couple of easy, no-fuss additions and tweaks to our diet. Take fiber for example, a nutrient that we don’t get enough of, but that is abundant in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. So let’s start there. Having something like a smoothie with beets, or cutting a half of an avocado for our salad require little to no effort (ok, plus adding them to our shopping carts, but you get picture!) with a lot of reward (hint, hint, fiber equals a happy gut and healthy digestion!).

Simple additions, and edits to the foods we’re already eating can really add up. It doesn’t have to be super fancy, and best of all it doesn’t have to be expensive to make your food work harder for you in these ways. You’ll catch me making these tweaks and additions to my weekly meals regularly, not because I feel like I have to, but because I feel more energized, satiated and nourished from eating real foods in fun combinations with other real foods!

 

  1. Rethink your starch. I’m not saying you can’t eat regular or pasta and still get the nutrients you need, but why not switch it up every once and a while with a low carb, higher nutrient version like spaghetti squash and cauliflower rice. You’ve heard me root for spaghetti squash, time and time again and that’s because it’s a great source of fiber and vitamin A, and doesn’t weigh you down or make you feel super sleepy like a big pasta dinner can sometimes. Don’t know how where to begin? Watch my short video on how to cut a spaghetti squash, and check out my favorite recipe for spaghetti squash pad thai.
  2. Mix it up with a smoothie. Some days are harder than others to get in your fruits and vegetables. I get it! What I love about smoothies is the fact that you might actually put in a vegetable you’ve never tried before or thought you didn’t like since it’s going in with other fruits, and perhaps some nut butter, yogurt or almond milk. It’s the perfect time to throw in beets, avocado, frozen cauliflower and zucchini or keep it simple with greens like spinach or kale. I challenge you to get creative and find one that you’re going to crave after a workout or make the night before for the next day’s breakfast. A great rule of thumb to follow when you’re packing your blender is to think: protein, fiber, greens, good carbs, and healthy fats. Build it based off of those and you’ll be hydrating and fueling for success.
  3. Don’t fear fat. Long gone are the days of low-fat everything, and for good reason. The healthy fat we need in our diet, called monounsaturated fat plays a huge role in heart health, keeping cholesterol levels in check, and keeping you fuller longer thus preventing the constant urge to snack. By incorporating foods like ground flax seed, walnuts, avocados, olive oil, salmon, and eggs into the foods you’re already eating and your overall weekly meal roundup, you’ll also be helping your body increase absorption of those fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. I don’t know about you, but this time of year in Chicago I could use all of the vitamin D (remember this is the one we get from the sun that helps to keep our mood up!) that I can get.
  4. Sneak fruits and vegetables into sauces and desserts. I will definitely be tricking my kids into eating vegetables by hiding them in desserts and sauces one day and you should too! But seriously, you can easily whip up a butternut squash “cheese” sauce made by blending roasted butternut squash, almond milk, and garlic in a blender and putting it on top of chicken or pasta. Another option if you are not lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy would be putting in half or a fourth of the cheese you would in a normal cheese sauce. This again is upping the fiber, vitamin A, potassium and healthy carbs you’re getting with every bite. Another crowd favorite is avocado chocolate mousse! Say what? Yes. Get out the food processor, and put it to work by combining 2 avocados, a 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/3 cup of maple syrup. You’ll be amazed at the whipped textures. Also a great idea for party treats!

Watch me on FOX Chicago this morning talking about just how fun & easy some of things are to do!

p.s. a lot of you were asking about my dress, it’s from Express and I got it on during their after Christmas clearance sale for $18 bucks! Talk about a steal!

If you try any of the foods I mentioned in my segment, I’d love to know! Tag @onceuponapumpkin or use #onceuponapumpkin on Instagram.

XOXO

MAGGIE