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What’s for dinner? Apparently, reservations.

According to Bloomberg, for the first time ever, Americans are spending more money dining out than on purchasing groceries.

There are a few reasons for this trend:

This year millennials will bypass the baby boomers are the largest group in the U.S.
Millennials look at dining out as an opportunity to connect and be social.
And, my personal opinion: NO ONE HAS TAUGHT THEM HOW TO COOK! And may I add, I could have done a better job in this area as a parent ☺

Eating out impacts your health and your financial bottom-line. While it’s true that restaurants are doing a better job creating healthier foods and posting the nutritional content/calories on menus, it will still be a bigger calorie, fat and sodium hit than a homemade meal. And, according to a 2015 report by Visa, Americans spend $53/week eating lunch out. While I’m not great at math, even I can figure out that that’s almost $3,000/year. And let’s face it, at the end of the year you have nothing to show for it.

Here are two simple recipes that you can put together in 15 minutes or less. And, the great news is, they turn into high energy and healthy lunches for work the next day.

Let’s start with Cowboy Caviar for dinner and it’s equally delicious Fiesta Salad for lunch!

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COWBOY CAVIAR:

2 (15 ounce cans) of S&W Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce can) of S&W Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of corn, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups chopped cherry tomatoes
2 bell peppers, chopped (I prefer yellow, red or orange)
¾ cup of chopped onion
1 cup of chopped cilantro
1-2 jalapeños, ribs removed, seeded and finely chopped (you can also use canned here but also check for heat and use sparingly)
1 avocado, cubed
Tillamook Mexican Four Cheese shredded blend, about 1 cup.

Dressing:

1/3 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of one lime
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, to taste
1 tsp of cumin (or even use your favorite taco seasoning)
1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

In a large serving bowl, mix together all of the Cowboy Caviar ingredients except for the avocado and the Tillamook cheese. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad and let the mixture marinate for about 30 minutes.

Right before serving add in the avocado and sprinkle with the Tillamook Mexican cheese blend-YUM!

 

 

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TAKE TO WORK LUNCH:

Fiesta Salad:

In a clean Mason jar, fill the bottom of the jar with the Cowboy Caviar. Then layer in about ½ cup of cooked brown rice. Last into the Mason jar is some chopped lettuce and a sprinkle of Tillamook cheese. The dressing (already in the previously made Cowboy Caviar) is at the bottom so it won’t get the lettuce soggy. The rice serves as a barrier for the lettuce and helps to give more structure to the salad.

Key point: I try to include beans in my diet at least 3 days per week.

Here’s why: Beans are complex carbohydrates with both soluble and insoluble fiber (which have tons of other benefits form balancing blood sugar to removing bad cholesterol from your system). Due to the high fiber content, I stay fuller longer, which keeps me away from late night grazing or the mid-afternoon munchies.

Here’s another simple recipe that you can put together in 15 minutes or less. And, the great news is, it turns into a high energy and healthy mason jar lunch for work the next day!

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GREEK SALAD:
* 3 Cups of chopped romaine
* 1 cup of chopped cucumber
* ¾ cup of chopped bell pepper
* ¾ cup of halved cherry tomatoes
* ½ cup of sliced red onion
* 3/4 cup of crumbled or chopped Feta cheese
* ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
* 1 (15 ounce) can of S&W 50% lower sodium Garbanzo beans

Dressing (from Ina Garten)
* 2 cloves of minced garlic
* 1 tsp of dried oregano
* ½ tsp of Dijon mustard
* ¼ cup of red wine vinegar
* ½ cup of good olive oil
* Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:
Place all of the salad ingredients (except the feta) in a large bowl. For the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the olive oil. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil and then pour the mixture over the salad. Let the Greek salad marinate for about 15 minutes. Add in the feta, toss and serve.

TAKE TO WORK LUNCH:
Greek Salad with brown rice:
In the bottom of the Mason jar, add a drizzle of salad dressing and the crunchy veggies. Next up, layer in ½ cup of brown rice and ½ cup of S&W Garbanzos. Last in; add your lettuce and feta.

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