Finishing the Year Strong Update & Tex Mex Casserole with Egg Noodles

We last talked about our goal of finishing 2013 healthy and strong and I so appreciate your feedback in the comments.  Your courage to share where you are in your journey helps me be transparent in mine too and I feel like we’re in this together.  I got in 4 really great workouts last week, and I feel that that’s a good fit for my current schedule through the end of the year.  It takes some planning and preparation to make sure to get to the gym, but if I workout hard for at least 50 minutes, I’m good with 4 days. 
Getting started back into a weight-lifting/workout routine is especially hard because you are so SORE for the first few days.  I had to take Advil a few times, but I’m already fine.  And isn’t it funny how after just a few workouts you feel 5 pounds lighter?!  My scale says I’m down half a pound.  It’s a start!
On Halloween, I ate 2 chocolate chip cookies that a mom from my son’s school made and a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cup.  To be honest, the cookies were delicious, but I should have just had one, and the Reese’s didn’t taste that good- probably because I’m a PB cup snob now, having fallen in love with the homemade variety.  The point is, if I’m going to “cheat” I want it to be worth it!  And I know that finishing the year strong requires some sacrifice and diligence with my food especially during the week.  So, I’m being more conscious of what foods I’m choosing and having something really good to look forward to on the weekend.  On Saturday night, we went out to a great restaurant and I ate oxtails and potatoes- so good, but really rich, so I only ate about 1/3 of what was on my plate.  I had 2 glasses of wine and for dessert, had a big ole ice cream cone that I really enjoyed.  Back on the wagon for Monday.   
My other tip for this week is to SHARE MEALS when you go out to eat, if possible.  I’m usually full after half my meal, but feel like I need to finish, so I’ll end up eating too much.  Leftovers from restaurants usually end up in the trash and it’s a shame to waste the food and money.  Sharing with someone eliminates that and you don’t leave the table feeling so heavy from overeating.  
I made a healthy meal last week that I think you might like too.  I warn you that it’s not the prettiest dish, but very tasty and full of protein.  It’s kind of a Tex-Mex casserole with egg noodles.  I really believe that “abs are made in the kitchen”, which is why the eating portion is so crucial to seeing results.  My meals last week pretty much consisted of:
7am- oatmeal and coffee
10am- protein shake 
12pm- this casserole
3pm- tuna sandwich and Sun chips 
6pm- this casserole
8pm- Greek yogurt or hot cocoa
I also stopped in Starbucks a few times (which is a step back from my previous daily addiction).  
1 Jennie O- Extra Lean Ground Turkey
1 Laura’s Lean Beef (94% Lean) – or go leaner
1 bag No Yolk Egg Noodles
1/2 container of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (1/3 less fat) – or use fat free
1 cup Shredded Mexican cheese (2%) – or use fat free
1 package Taco Seasoning (low sodium)
*Update 2/16/14:  add some minced parsley, chopped onion and garlic for added flavor
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil the egg noodles for about 8 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile, (*Update 2/16/14, brown the onion and garlic) and then add the two meats until cooked though, add the seasoning mix with about a cup of water and let it boil until the water and seasoning is absorbed.  Then, I add the parsley.
Off the heat, add the cream cheese and the shredded cheese to the meat mixture and stir until all melted and mixed in.  Add in the noodles and stir until combined. 
Pour the entire thing into a 9×13 baking dish, top with remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  *Update 2/16/14:  I’m not baking this dish anymore because I felt like that dried it out.  
I based this dish on a pin from Pinterest, but lightened it up.  To make it even lighter, use leaner beef and fat free cream cheese and fat free shredded cheese.  Some people may also like to add salsa to this for more flavor. 
If you portion this dish into 10 servings, below is the nutrition information.  I use to calculate the nutrition- it’s free and really user-friendly. 
So, how’s it going for you?  If you’ve fallen off the wagon, just get back on!
via Nike

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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. I admit I fell off the wagon awhile back. I keep looking to get back on but life keeps getting in the way. I'm actually looking forward for all the leaves to fall in my yard so I have an excuse for some free exercise. I've been trying to be better about what I eat and being on a strict budget has really helped that out. I'm looking forward to a holiday season without all the gorging this year.

  2. I've been really serious and have stuck to my work outs – its the eating that still gets me (and tailgating with friends all weekend didn't help). I got back on the bandwagon yesterday and already feel better. I'm with you – if I have a cheat meal it needs to be worth it!!! And I can't wait to try this recipe! It's the perfect combination of comfort food/healthy. And I know my husband and son will love it too!

  3. I have fallen off the wagon but I'm starting a mini bootcamp tonight so I can tone up before the holidays. And I'm getting back to logging my food today. No more Halloween candy for me!

  4. The biggest thing I have been dealing with lately is fighting a bronchial cold. I have zero energy, no the lung power to get on my bike or treadmill. I decided to lay low this week, not going in to teach my littles (the germ factory) and am headed for a fun weekend with baby girl out your way. i am hoping by stepping back I can then step forward. Since my gf diagnosis…we don't eat out much. It is amazing how much less we eat now and are still so satisfied. Thanks for the motivation!!

  5. I haven't exercised in weeks! I need to get back in my groove – I really crave the outdoors and need to find a way to work in a few outdoor walks again. And I am totally with you on making sure those treats are really worth it – I can taste the artificial stuff in the Halloween candy and usually think, "That wasn't worth it" after eating it!

  6. I have completely fallen off the wagon, if we're being honest. I do good for a period of time and then allow outside factors to get me off track. I've just had zero motivation to workout which is a huge problem. When I do workout, I feel better then I tend to make better choices. I'm just having a hard time finding that motivation. I've been tracking my food via WW, even if it's not pretty at least it's making me accountable. I'm going to run tomorrow during my lunch. Gotta start somewhere!

  7. About a year ago I vowed to start getting fit as my 40th birthday was right around the corner and I wanted to feel good about 40. I dabbled in exercise at home, which fizzled pretty quickly. I am happy to report that I am wrapping up my "year of 40" better than I started it. I have been doing yoga, PiYo and bootcamp at a local gym. I even have my husband on the workout bandwagon now! I am not trying to lose weight- I am good in that department- I just need to tone up. I feel stronger and see small changes in various area if my body. 40 has been a good year!

  8. Thanks for the Tex Mex recipe! I have rolled with time change, and started going to the gym very early in the morning-5:45am! It's actually nice to get my workout done before work so i can be home with my family at night. And I'm planning on rejoining Weight Watchers today…so bring on the holidays, I'm armed and ready!!

  9. that casserole sounds good! I don't eat red meat so should I sub more turkey or just omit the red meat??

    P.S. I've been eating for lunch every day this week your suggestion of brown rice, chicken and broccoli with a splash of soy sauce. Yum!! I prepared the chicken in the crock pot on saturday then on sunday made the rice and broccoli and portioned it out for the week!! I don't think I can eat it all the time but it was a great lunch!! I didn't feel the lunch bloat when I was done eating it!

  10. I know this is an old post but I wanted to say that I've been wanting to make this for awhile. I didn't have all the items on this list so I used what I had and it was SO good. I wanted to share with you: ground turkey, taco seasoning, onion, salsa, brown rice. Cooked all that and stirred it all together then put in a pan with cheese on top and baked for 10 mins. Took out and added a little ff sour cream and jalapeños. I ate it with some shredded lettuce and it was seriously one of my fav dinners. Making it to separate for my daily meals! Thanks for the dinner inspiration. Hope you'll try this as well!

  11. I have been looking for these noodles everywhere, I love that they look like mini lasagna noodles. What store did you go to? The only ones I can find are the ones that look like they should be in chicken noodle soup. The recipe looks awesome and I plan on making it but I really want to find these noodles 🙂

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