Avocado Bacon Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Avocado Turkey BurgerThe temps are slowly rising, the yard is getting cleaned up and we picked up a new propane tank, so that means grill season is coming!

My love for Pinterest is still strong so I’ve been collecting recipes to try and I’m happy to report that this one was a winner! I looked at quit a few of the avocado turkey burger recipes on there and decided to create my own by taking a little from each and the results were moist and delish!

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I mixed everything except the avocado together first to ensure that the garlic and onion was distributed evenly, without working the avocado too much.

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Be sure the spray your grill with some nonstick spray or wipe down the grill grates with some oil so there is no risk of sticking.

Avocado Bacon Stuffed Turkey Burgers
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound lean ground turkey
  2. 1 large ripe avocado - cut into chunks
  3. 6 slices nitrate-free bacon, chopped
  4. 1 chopped clove of garlic
  5. 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  6. 1 minced Jalapeño pepper (optional but recommended, remove seeds & membrane for milder flavor)
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
  8. ¼ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl (except for the avocado) and toss gently. Once incorporated, add in the avocado and toss gently to incorporate.
  2. Shape into 4 patties and grill. (You can use an indoor grill if you prefer)
Notes
  1. Use slightly firmer avocados so they don't get too mushy when mixing.
Get Fit With Nikki http://www.getfitwithnikki.com/
 These burgers were super moist and full of flavor! They are also paleo friendly and Whole 30 friendly (if you use Whole 30 approved bacon).

We served these up with some sweet potato fries and I served mine over some baby spinach and topped it sriracha ketchup.

For those of you who follow the 21 Day Fix, these could be counted as 1 Red and 1 Blue container. (Counts are for 1 burger only without a bun)

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Hot Pepper Jelly Pork Roast

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. Life tossed our family a bunch of curve balls in December and the dust is finally settling, so I thought I would get back to posting here. My goal is to share more recipes here, especially recipes that fit into the 21 Day Fix meal plan. The program has become so popular and the nutrition portion is so important that it’s pretty much taken over Pinterest. These posts may get lost in the 1,000 of other you can find or they may help someone. I don’t know, but I certainly hope that they help!

To kick things off, I want to share a Hot Pepper Jelly Pork Roast recipe that I recently tried. If you have never heard of pepper jelly or tried it, it’s really good stuff. I personally had never tried it before this recipe, but a friend of mine owns her own pepper jelly company, Jennifer’s Kitchen, and was nice enough to hook me up with a jar of her new low sugar line. 

Doing the 21 Day Fix? I used my red container to measure out my portion and topped it with a spoonful of the sauce and some of the onions, counting it as a RED and 2 teaspoons.

Pepper Jelly
This pepper jelly packs a nice punch of sweet heat, which is the perfect pairing for pork or chicken. I happened to snag a pork roast at the grocery store the other day, so that’s what I decided to use for my first pepper jelly experience.

Pepper Jelly Pork Roast
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 lbs boneless pork loin roast
  2. 1 cup white wine
  3. 1 large onion, sliced
  4. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  5. 4 Tbsp pepper jelly
  6. salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In an oven proof pan (I used a enamel cast iron pot) heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Season the pork with salt and pepper and brown on all sides.
  4. Add the onion to the pan, stirring so it doesn't burn and begins to cook down.
  5. Add the wine to the pan to deglaze, then add 3 tablespoons of your pepper jelly and stir.
  6. Once the pork is browned, spread the last tablespoon of pepper jelly over the top, cover and put into the oven to cook for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  8. I served mine with cauliflower rice and green beans.
Get Fit With Nikki http://www.getfitwithnikki.com/
 We really enjoyed this recipe a lot. This particular jelly was hot, so if you use a hot pepper jelly and aren’t a huge fan of spice, you may want to cut back on how much you add. 

If you are a fan of pepper jelly, I would LOVE to hear how you like to enjoy it. I’m hoping to try using it for chicken wings next.

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Oven Fried Chicken {Healthy Comfort Food}

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Forget greasy fried chicken! This oven fried chicken recipe has all of the juiciness and crunch you’d expect from fried chicken, without the added fat and calories.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Nonstick Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup cornflakes, crushed finely
  • 1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4-oz pieces*

* I’m a huge fan of dark meat, so I use boneless skinless chicken thighs. 2 thighs per serving.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, Cajun seasoning, pepper and cayenne pepper together in a medium size bowl. Place buttermilk and corn flake crumbs in 2 separate shallow bowls.
  3. Roll chicken in flour mixture and evenly coat each side. Next dip chicken into buttermilk and then corn flake crumbs.
  4. Place coated chicken on your prepared baking sheet. Spray chicken with a light coating of the cooking spray.
  5. Bake until chicken is tender and no longer pink, about 25 to 30 minutes (there is no need to flip the chicken during baking).
    Makes 4 servings.

For those of you using the 21 Day Fix this is roughly 1 yellow and 1 red.

Once you have your first round of the program under your belt, try not to stress out over your containers. Life should be about balance and making healthier choices to keep yourself headed toward your goals and this recipe does that…even if you don’t have exact container counts.

Anytime you skip the KFC drive-thru, search for a healthier recipe and go to the store to buy the ingredients to make it, you’re on the right track!

What would be your side dish of choice with this chicken? We opted for some zoodles quickly sauteed with garlic.

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Shepherd’s Pie {Healthy Comfort Food}

Healthy Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie and comfort food go hand in hand to me. Mashed potatoes, beef, veggies and a creamy sauce….yuuuuum!!

In this version, I have lightened things up a lot. There is no butter, milk, cream or sour cream to be found, but there is still a lot of comforting flavor!

Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

Potato Topping:

  • 2 lbs Yukon gold or Russet potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsps Greek yogurt
  • salt & pepper to taste

Meat Filling:

  • 1.5 lbs 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas & carrots
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes in a medium pot of salted water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with chicken broth, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. In a large saute pan brown meat over medium high heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and sauté on medium heat about 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the flour, frozen vegetables, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Simmer on medium for about 8-10 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  5. Spread the meat filling on the bottom of 9×13 casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, then place under the broiler 1 to 2 minutes until the potatoes turn golden. Remove from oven and let it cool 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 6 servings.  

 

 

21 Day Fix and Fix Extreme Containers: 1.5 Yellow, 1 Red, 1 Green

For those of you following the 21 Day Fix, you can cut back on your yellow container and tack on an extra green by cutting the amount of potatoes and adding mashed cauliflower. The two mix together wonderfully and you keep the great potato flavor without going over on a yellow container.

Want to cut all of the potato? Top with just mashed cauliflower. Not sure how to make mashed cauliflower? Just steam your cauliflower, toss into a food processor with the Greek yogurt and broth and pulse it all together until creamy. (Reserve a little cooking water or add some more broth if it is too thick.)

You can also substitute mashed sweet potato for your topping!

This is a really a forgiving dish and a great way to use up veggies that you may in the fridge.

I hope you are enjoying this Healthy Comfort Food segment. Don’t forget to share YOUR favorite comfort food with me below, so I can try and share a healthy alternative to it.

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Portuguese Kale Soup {Healthy Comfort Food}

Portuguese-Kale-Soup

Fall is the official beginning of comfort food season. The temperatures drop, we dig out the sweaters and there is something about casseroles, soups and baked pastas that just warms our soul as we kick off fall.

This time of year also tends to be the start of weight gain season for many. The sweaters hide the bulge, the leggings have give and stretch along with us as we indulge in these comfort foods and baking season, which isn’t far behind.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring healthy comfort foods that will help you to combat the cold weather weight gain. These hearty meals will satisfy your cravings while keep your waist line in check. PLUS if you’re doing the 21 Day Fix, they will also be plan approved!

There are so many reasons to love this Portuguese-inspired kale and sausage soup. As with many soups, this recipe tastes even better on the second day. For that reason, this soup is great for meal prep. It makes enough for a whole week of lunches or dinners, and freezes well.

Portuguese Kale Soup

Total Time: 48 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 38 min.
Yield: 6 servings, about 1¼ cups each

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. turkey kielbasa sausage, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 medium leeks, chopped, just white and light-green parts
1 bunch kale, stems removed and discarded, torn (about 4 cups)
1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, no added salt
6 cups low-sodium organic chicken (or vegetable) broth
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

Preparation:
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add kielbasa; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned.
3. Add garlic, leeks, and kale; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.
4. Add kidney beans, tomatoes, broth, and pepper (if desired). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Nutrition-PortugeseKaleSoup

Doesn’t that look and sound delicious?!

Personally, I think the best part about this recipe is that it is meal prep friendly. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I am big on meal planning and meal prep, especially when doing the 21 Day Fix. It truly is the key to staying on plan and avoiding temptation during the week, when things can get hectic.

If you’re new to the 21 Day Fix, be sure to check out my 21 Day Fix Planning tools.

Been thinking about trying 21 Day Fix but have questions? Feel free to contact me with them! I’d be more than happy to help you figure out if it would be a good fix for you….plus it’s on special this month and I have a new accountability group beginning on October 26th! 

What’s your favorite comfort food once the temps start cooling down? 

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Football Snacks to Keep You on Track

Football

Are you ready for some football?!

I know I am!

This month I was going to run a 7 day group focused on football snacks to keep you on track, but I didn’t have any takers for it (insert sad Nikki face here). As a result, I decided to turn my idea into a blog post that might help some football fans who I have not personally connected with on Facebook yet.

(Hint Hint…you can like my Facebook page OR leave a comment below so we can connect!)

Fall equals football season, there is no denying that. Some of us can’t wait for Saturdays, so we can cheer on our favorite college teams, some are die hard NFL fans, some are into both and let’s face it…there are people who don’t care about who’s playing or who wins, they’re just in it for the snacks and the beer. I don’t know many of them, but I hear they do exist.

Personally I have always been into the NFL more (Go Broncos!) but over the last few years, I’ve been watching more Big 10 games and trying to keep all of the college rules and teams straight. I married into a family who takes football very seriously and likes to trash talk, which is really a lot of fun. Getting together with others on a Sunday to talk smack and drink a few beers is a great way to catch up and socialize, but the food that is typically served at these gathering can really screw up your week if you are trying to be healthier.

Below are some links to recipes that I love to make, as well as some that I plan on trying the football season. The goal is to help myself stay on track, while not feeling like an outcast who only eats steamed chicken and broccoli. I hope you give them a try and if YOU have any favorites that I did not list, I would LOVE to hear about them in the comments section below!

 Football Appetizers

Healthy Football Appetizers:

Football Main Dish

Healthy Football Main Dishes:

Chili, Pizza and Taco’s just come to mind when I hear football. For you, it might be burgers or sausage subs. When you select your main dishes for game day, just keep a few things in mind:

  1. Keep it lean. (Sub turkey for beef or go 90% or leaner with ground beef. Turkey sausage is also super yummy!)
  2. Keep it hand held or easy to eat. (Sliders are a perfect way to enjoy burgers on game day!)
  3. Keep it simple. (You’ll want to watch the game, not be chained to the kitchen!)

As you can see, I kept things simple and flavorful. Good fun doesn’t have to be fried, full of fat or time consuming to make. These recipes are just the tip of iceberg and I encourage everyone to search Pinterest for more ideas, share some your favorite healthy game day snacks or even share an unhealthy favorite that you might need help cleaning up!

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box by using cauliflower pizza crusts, offering Energy Bites or Cookie Dough Dip as a sweet treat instead of cookies or using mini peppers to make some Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers!

My final tip is something that you already know…… LIMIT EMPTY CALORIES FROM BEER AND ALCOHOL! I know having a beer while watching football makes the experience feel complete, and it’s okay to have one or two. It’s when you begin drinking to excess that you run into problems. As with everything in life, moderation is key!

Have fun with your food this football season and best of luck to your team!

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{21 Day Fix} Memorial Day Recipe Inspiration

21 Day Fix Memorial Day

The unofficial kick off to summer is this weekend and I bet many of you are right smack in the middle of a round of 21 Day Fix!

No need to worry, starve yourself all day in an attempt to save your containers for the BBQ (we all know this doesn’t work anyway…you just mess up your metabolism and end up over eating so please….do not even attempt to do it.) or say f*uck it and throw your goals out the window. With a little planning, you can stay within your containers and enjoy flavorful meals without guilt!

Check out my 21 Day Fix Memorial Day Recipe Inspirations below and stay on track this weekend.

Kebab Collage

Kebabs: The possibilities are endless with kebabs and they are perfect for the 21 Day Fix program. All you need to do is choose a lean protein, some fresh vegetables and a seasoning combination. Then just need to marinade before being threaded onto a skewer and grilled to perfection! Simple, right?!

The problem I think most people have is that they over think this program. I have some many clients come to me and say “I don’t know what to eat.” or “I wish the book had more recipes. I’m lost!” I felt the same way until I took a deep breathe and stop freaking out. The book is full of everything you need, especially for kebabs. Check out your red container list, green container list and then check out the seasoning blend recipes as well as the dressing recipes provided. Those dressing can make a kick-ass marinade for your protein! You just have to think outside of the box little.

For those of you who prefer step-by-step recipes, here are some delicious looking ones I’ve found on-line. They do not have 21 Day Fix breakdowns and you may need to change the oil type that is used to be “fix friendly” but they are all a great source of inspiration. Just break out your containers and have some fun with them.

Chipotle Chicken Kebabs with Avocado Cream Sauce: (Pictured on the left above) You will need to substitute the oil and brown sugar is not on the plan, but you can omit it without harm. Measure out the chicken using your red container before threading to create a single portion. The dipping sauce containers Greek yogurt & avocado and I would most likely just count it as a blue containers, but use your judgement as you make it. {Click here for the recipe}

Fajita Chicken Kebabs: (Pictured second from left above) You will need to substitute the oil in this recipe as well, everything else is plan approved. I recommend using your containers to measure out your protein and veggies before skewering them, to ensure portion size. This recipe should work out to be 1 red container and 1 green container per serving. Alter veggie amounts if needed. {Click here for the recipe}

Grilled Jerk Shrimp with Pineapple Kebabs: (Pictured second from the right above): This recipe has a few ingredients that are not on the plan but the amounts are so small I say go for it and enjoy, because in the grand scheme of what you could be eating…this is much better! As with the other recipes, measure your protein and your fruit for portioning before threading. Shrimp counts as a red container and pineapple is a purple. {Click here for the recipe.}

Chimichurri Beef Kabobs: (Pictured far right above.) Everything in this recipe is plan approved! The recipe is from the Whole30 cookbook that I just received for my birthday and I’ve been dying to try it. Just be sure to use your containers to measure your protein and veggies before you thread them to ensure portion size.

Ingredients:
For the kabobs:
1 lb lean steak (sirloin, strip, flank), cut into 1-inch dice
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares
1 onion, cut into 6 wedges
1 zucchini, cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds 

For the chimichurri:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour to prevent them from burning. 

2. Make the chimichurri: Combine the vinegar, lime juice, garlic, and shallot in a food processor and mix on low speed. Drizzle in the olive oil while mixing; the dressing will begin to emulsify. Add the cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper and continue to mix on low until the dressing is uniform in texture and the herbs are chopped quite small.

3. Place the steak in a resealable plastic bag or nonreactive bowl with a lid. Cover the steak with enough chimichurri (about 1 cup) to coat thoroughly. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and marinate the steak in the refrigerator for 1 to 8 hours; more is better, especially for tougher cuts. (Feel free to leave your steak marinating overnight, or start your dinner prep in the morning before work.) 

4. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the grill to high heat (500°F). (See below if you don’t have a grill.)

5. Remove the steak from the marinade; discard the marinade. Prepare the kabobs by threading the steak, bell pepper, onion, and zucchini onto soaked wooden skewers or metal skewers, alternating meat and vegetables. You should be able to make about 6 skewers. 

6. Grill the kabobs directly over high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to medium (or move the kabobs to indirect heat) and brush with 1/2 cup of the remaining chimichurri. Grill to desired doneness, 12 to 15 minutes. (The easiest way to check is to remove one of the kabobs from the heat and cut into the meat, checking for color.) Serve the kabobs with extra chimichurri sauce for dipping; any leftover sauce can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days or frozen in ice cube trays for up to 6 months.

If you don’t have a grill, you have two other options for the kabobs. First, buy a grill plate for your stove and follow the same directions — it’s just like a barbecue, minus the mosquitoes. Or, you can broil and then bake the skewers: Preheat the oven to broil (or 500°F) and place the skewers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil the kabobs for 3 minutes, then flip the skewers and broil for another 3 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and brush the skewers with chimichurri. Bake to desired doneness, 12 to 15 minutes. 

For more kebab recipes, check out my new Summer Grilling board over on Pinterest!

Salad Collage

Salads: They are a staple at summer BBQ’s. Cool, refreshing and packed with nutrition. Whenever you attend a gathering, scope these out first or offer to bring one with you so you know there will be at least one “safe” side dish option that isn’t full of mayo and fat.

Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad: (Pictured left above) This salad is so colorful and refreshing looking. All of the ingredients are “Fix Friendly” and each serving works out to be about 1 yellow, 1 blue, 1 green and 1 orange. {Click here for the recipe.}

Spinach and Berry Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette: (Pictured second from left above) This recipe is patriotic with the red and blue berries plus it’s straight from Beachbody so they took the container guess work out of things! 1 Green, 1/2 Purple, 1 Orange. {Click here for the recipe}

Cucumber Salad: (Pictured second from the right above) This simple and refreshing summer salad is the perfect addition to a BBQ when doing the 21 Day Fix. All of the ingredients are “Fix Friendly” and only count as 1 green container! {Click here for the recipe}

Greek Salad: (Pictured one the far right above) Here’s another colorful addition for your next cook out. This version is low in calories, high in flavor and brought to us by Beachbody, so once again, the container counts are already done for us! Container counts: 1.5 green and 1 orange. {Click here for the recipe}

For more salads and other side dish recipes, check out my new Summer Grilling board over on Pinterest!

Sweet CollageSweets: Let’s face it…it’s just not a party or gathering without them! The trick to staying on track is avoiding the cupcakes, cakes, brownies and other highly processed, sugary treats.

Fresh fruit is your friend in these situations and thankfully, since it’s warm out, there is typically some sort of fruit platter at most gatherings. Just like with the salads, you can always offer to bring some as your contribution if you know you have a killer sweet tooth and will be tempted by the other goodies that may be on display.

Grilled Fruit: (Not pictured) Pineapple, peaches and nectarines are all super yummy when grilled. Top them with a drizzle of honey or team them up with some greek yogurt for a grown-up treat! Container count: 1 purple (1 red if teaming it up with Greek yogurt)

American Flag Toast Flags: (Pictured on the left above) Have some fun with your breakfast and show your patriotism! This recipe uses cream cheese as the base but I honestly think they would be yummier with some natural peanut butter or just whole fruit jelly! Make sure you use whole grain bread and you’ll want to stick to one flag as your portion or you’ll be out of yellow containers for the day! Using a waffle or one of my Healthy Pancakes as a base is another good idea! Container counts: 1 yellow, 1 tsp, 1 purple.

Watermelon Pops: (Pictured second from left above) Simple, inexpensive and refreshing. Watermelon is the poster fruit of summer and you can’t go wrong with serving these! Container count: 1 purple.

Fruit Salad: (Pictured second from right above) Another simple and refreshing treat that won’t leave you on a sugar high. The fruit salad pictured above will take a little more time, but it’s the perfect addition to a Memorial Day or Fourth of July gathering and you only need a star shapes cookie cutter to create this conversation piece. Toss in some blue berries and viola! Container count: 1 purple

Star Spangled Fruit Pops: (Pictured far right above) Okay, so this one is for the over achiever but I couldn’t resist including it. Kids would definitely get a kick of them and your guests would truly be impressed. We’re always trying to get our kids to eat healthier, so why not make fruit as fun as the icing covered cupcakes?! {Click here for instructions on how to make these.}

For more dessert recipes and inspiration, check out my new Summer Grilling board over on Pinterest!

As you can see, there are a lot of healthy and flavorful ways to stay on track with the 21 Day Fix this summer.

I didn’t even touch grilled chicken or burgers! Both are absolutely allowed and the possibilities are endless with them too. The key to not getting bored with all of this is to experiment with seasoning. Seasoning is a free food on the program which means it is your best friend!

Be sure to check out the  Summer Grilling board over on Pinterest for more recipe inspiration. I already have some chicken and burger recipes on there that I didn’t include in this post and I’ll be adding to it regularly from now on.

Do you have a favorite 21 Day Fix Friendly recipe for BBQ gatherings? If so, please share it below! You know I love trying new things.

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