Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Fajitas

The warmer temps outside make us want to gather with family and friends to enjoy the
nice weather. If you’re in need of some new one-pan-grill meals, we’re here to help!

Here’s how to make chicken fajitas in a cast iron skillet on the grill:

1. Marinate and season chicken breasts, cover, and refrigerate while you prepare
the grill.
2. Set grill to medium heat.
3. Oil the skillet and put it on the grill as it is preheating so that it starts getting up to
4. Throw seasoned, marinated chicken in until it starts to turn white.
5. Add all veggies and more seasoning/marinade.
6. Cook until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender.
7. Top with pico de gallo, jalapenos, avocado, cheese, lime, sour cream, cilantro, or
whatever you prefer!

You can make your seasoning/marinade with whatever ingredients you love and keep
on hand, or you can purchase marinade ready to go at your local grocery store. These
fajitas are simple, quick, customizable, and sure to be a hit at your next cookout!
If you prefer a side with your fajitas, you can also serve them with grilled corn salad
since the grill is already fired up!

Ingredients needed:
● 6-8 ears corn
● 2 Tbsp olive oil
● ½ red onion, diced
● ½ red bell pepper, diced
● 1 avocado, chopped and peeled

Dressing ingredients:
● 4 tbsp olive oil
● 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar
● 1 tsp sugar
● 1 tsp Dijon mustard
● Juice from 1 lime
● Salt and pepper

1. Whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.
2. Add 1-2 inches of water to a large skillet. Bring to a boil. Add shucked corn
ears and cook for 3-4 minutes, rotating to cook on all sides. Drain water.

3. Heat grill on medium-high heat. Brush corn lightly with olive oil and grill for a
few minutes, rotating it as it cooks, until golden on all sides.
4. Allow the corn to cool and then cut corn off of the cob and add to a bowl.
Add remaining salad ingredients and drizzle with desired amount of dressing
Toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Corn salad recipe by Alyssa Rivers:

If you’re interested in how to care for a cast iron skillet or the benefits of cooking with
one, click the link below!

Air Fried Artichoke Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing

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Air Fried Artichoke Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing


This salad is great for Summer and it stores well in the fridge. If you prefer more protein, it also tastes great paired with lemon pepper chicken! (I seasoned mine with Mrs. Dash lemon pepper seasoning)


  • 2 cans artichokes in water, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 6 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated plus more for topping, if desired


To make the Air Fryer Artichokes:

  • Pat drained artichokes well with a tea towel, then transfer to a bowl.
  • Toss artichokes with minced garlic, one tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few cracks of black pepper.
  • Transfer them to an air fryer basket and air fry for at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.
  • Once they are crispy and browned, let them cool for a couple of minutes, then slice in half. Reserve.

To Make the Dressing and Salad:

  • In a glass jar or bowl, combine the minced shallot, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Whisk or shake to combine.
  • Shave the Brussels sprouts thinly on a mandoline, or using a very sharp knife.
  • Add these to a large serving bowl along with the white beans, celery, artichokes and parsley.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
  • Top with a little bit more Parmesan, if desired, and serve.


*This recipe is gluten free

*Recipe and photo credit: Kathleen Ashmore

More information at:

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Category: Lunch, Dinner,Salad
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 4 servings
  • Calories: 641
  • Sugar: 9
  • Sodium: 326
  • Fat: 32
  • Saturated Fat: 6
  • Carbohydrates: 69
  • Fiber: 21
  • Protein: 27
  • Cholesterol: 11

Cast Iron Skillet Benefits

Do you know the benefits of cooking in cast iron?

  • Cast iron cookware becomes non-stick when it is well seasoned. This allows you to use less oil when cooking.
  • Cast iron lasts longer and is more durable than traditional stainless-steel pots and pans.
  • Cast iron cookware provides additional iron to the diet.
  • Cast iron retains heat well and is great for searing meat.
  • Cast iron is also quite versatile. Between skillets and Dutch ovens, you can cook a wide variety of foods. They can be used in the oven, on a traditional stovetop, or even outdoors on the grill.

Cast iron skillets differ from traditional pots and pan because they need to be seasoned, not cleaned in the traditional way.  Here’s how to season cast iron cookware:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash the cookware with warm water, using a small amount of soap, then dry with a towel that won’t leave lint behind.
  3. Apply a thin layer of cooking oil such as vegetable or canola. You can also buy seasoning sprays. Be sure to apply this oil to the cookware inside and out, making sure not to miss the handles!
  4. Be cautious not to use too much oil, as it can make the pan sticky.
  5. Lastly, bake the cookware upside down at 450 degrees for one hour. After it cools, it is ready to go!

Be sure to re-season your cast iron cookware from time to time, especially if you have cooked acidic foods. These can erode the seasoning. Signs that you need to re-season your skillet are when it starts looking dull gray in color or when food starts to stick. For more information on cooking with or maintaining cast iron, click the link below:

How to Build a Strong Defense Against Disease

We are pandemic-weary as we enter our third year with COVID-19.  We have more questions than absolute answers. We want this pandemic to go away so we can resume “life as usual,” but we know “life as usual” will likely never return.  One beneficial outcome of the pandemic, however, is that we are taking greater responsibility for our health, which includes paying more attention to our lifestyle choices. Daily we are exposed to information about comorbidities such as obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, and lack of sleep that put our health at greater risk.

Studies indicate we are now focusing on health and immunity on an individual basis, in our personal kitchens and not just at the corporate level. We want nutrient–dense foods, increased plant-based eating, and foods that will help us build a strong immune system. Eating to boost a strong immune system will strengthen our body’s natural defenses and help us fight harmful pathogens and disease-causing organisms. We are finally embracing food as medicine to help prevent and fight disease.  Nutrition has moved to the forefront in our quest for good health.

Important terms to understand:

Immunity: The ability of an organism to resist a particular infection or toxin by the action of specific antibodies or white blood cells.

Immune System: A complex network of cells, tissues, and organs which together help the body fight infections and diseases.

Inflammation:  Part of the biological response of body tissue to harmful infections, injuries, and toxins.

 Free Radicals:  Unstable atoms in our body that can damage cells, causing illness and aging.

Antioxidants: Substances such as vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, selenium and zinc that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals.

Gut Microbiome: The collection of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and fungi found within the gut. Trillions of these microbes exist inside your intestines serving very important functions. The gut microbiome affects digestion of food, immune system, central nervous system and other bodily processes.

Probiotics:  A combination of live beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts that naturally live in your body. You have a combination of good and bad bacteria in your body constantly. Probiotics are part of your gut microbiome.

Prebiotics: Specialized plant fibers that act like fertilizer for the growth of probiotics, healthy bacteria in your gut.

Pathogen: A bacteria, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.

Let’s Get Started on a Strong Defense!

Focus on what to add, not take away.

  1. EAT MORE WHOLE PLANT FOODS: Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. The antioxidants in these foods help decrease inflammation by combatting free radicals that can damage cells causing diseases. Fiber in plant foods feeds your gut microbiome. A robust gut microbiome can improve your immunity.
  1. EAT MORE HEALTHY FATS: Healthy fats may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens. Olive oil, avocados, walnuts, almonds, nut and seed butters, olives, chia seeds, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and flaxseeds are good sources of healthy fats.
  1. EAT MORE FERMENTED FOODS OR CONSIDER A PROBIOTIC: Fermented foods are rich sources of good bacteria called probiotics that live in your gut microbiome. Research reveals the importance of a healthy gut microbiome because it plays an important role in fine tuning your immune system to fight diseases. Sources of fermented foods include yogurt, kefir (a yogurt-like drink), Kombucha (a fizzy fermented tea), kimchi (Korean pickled vegetables), sauerkraut, pickles (look for the words “naturally fermented” on the label — generally found in the refrigerator section of your supermarket), and fermented soybeans (found in natto, tempeh, and miso).

Finally, keep in mind that gut health and immunity are deeply interconnected. Your gut and immune system support one another to promote a healthy body and fight against disease. Nutrition is your ally to promote gut health, build a robust gut microbiota, and reinforce a strong immune system.


The Satter Hierarchy of Food Needs

Do you ever feel caught up and confused by the mixed messages out there about nutrition? There’s an endless supply of opinions about food with a quick google search. But how much of this information is actually helpful?

Because of the abundance of varied nutrition information, it can be easy for us to fall into the trap of controlling every little detail about our food choices. This micromanaging creates an obsessive relationship with food, which ultimately leaves us feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Choosing a style of eating that best serves you and your needs is the best approach to improving behavioral patterns around food.

The Ellyn Satter Hierarchy of Food Needs focuses on what’s actually important:

  1. Enough Food

    • If you are in a place of food insecurity, your main priority is ensuring you have adequate foods available to you. Food insecurity can include limited financial resources or the intentional restriction of food.

  2. Acceptable Food

    • When your home is full of plenty of foods to choose from, you then are able to apply your preferences to your food choices. Your preferences may be influenced by your culture or life experiences growing up – this is for you to explore and honor.

  3. Reliable, ongoing access to food

    • Knowing that you will have ongoing access to food means that you’re able to plan ahead for future meals. This could look like planning a fun dinner meal for the weekend with some tasty ingredients that you enjoy.

  4. Good-tasting food

    • When food is restricted or limited, foods often taste so delicious that it’s difficult to stop eating them. Overtime with consistent nourishment from all foods, you’ll notice that you’re more in control of your food choices, therefore eliminating those chaotic feelings with food.

  5. Novel Food

    • After allowing yourself to have those yummy foods for a long period of time, you may find yourself searching for new foods to try. This is because we will sometimes get bored with the same foods day after day. Food variety is key.

  6. Instrumental food

    • Once you have developed a solid, healthy relationship with food by working your way through these levels, you are then able to make food choices more specific to your goals that meet your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Remember that it takes time working through these different levels. If you have been living a life full of strict dieting and food rules, you may take some extra time in certain areas. Meet with a dietitian to help guide you through the process!


Tips to Manage Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance occurs when someone does not have the enzyme lactase or does not produce enough of it, which is required to break down lactose, which is found in things like milk and other dairy products. Without this enzyme, lactose is able to travel into the colon and is fermented by the bacteria in the colon. This fermentation is what leads to gas, cramps, diarrhea, and other discomfort. If you are lactose intolerant, you can purchase a lactase enzyme supplement called Lactaid that will help you digest lactose. However, since lactose intolerance varies in severity, it is not guaranteed to work for everyone.

Some dairy foods contain less lactose than others. A few of these low-lactose options are listed below

-hard cheeses

-Greek yogurt

-cottage cheese

-half & half

-sour cream

It is important to remember that dairy is an essential part of the diet. Dairy provides a source of calcium, which is important for building and maintaining strong bones. It is also a good source of potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

Non-dairy calcium sources:

-lactose free milks like almond (calcium-fortified is best) or coconut milk

-spinach, collards, and kale


-cooked dried beans and baked beans

-calcium-fortified cereals

We hope these tips help you manage your lactose intolerance!


Dried Fruit Nut Mixture

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Dried Fruit Nut Mixture


 Every ingredient in this fruit nut mixture is loaded with fantastic antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect against cellular damage from excess free radicals and oxidative stress. This cellular damage contributes to internal inflammation, aging and diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers,  Parkinsons,  MS, depression and memory loss.


¾ lb salted almonds

5 oz. raw pecan halves

5 oz. raw walnuts

6 oz. diced dried pineapple

8 oz. dried banana chips

10 oz. craisins


Makes approximately 9 cups

1/3 cup – approximately 200 calories, caution with portion!

I love this mixture which I always have on hand and carry it with me when biking or hiking.

3 Make Ahead Breakfast Meal Ideas

What do your mornings look like? I know for me, the morning can be a chaotic time – getting myself ready, cooking breakfast and getting two kids ready, fed and out the door by 7:30AM. Working with clients, I notice others struggling with this as well. Breakfast can often get skipped due to lack of time or busy schedules.  

Here is a little trick to help the mornings go a little smoother – plan and prep ahead. These are three of my go-to breakfast meals to prepare in advance (often on the weekend) for busy weekday mornings. It helps to save time and prevent decision making fatigue in the mornings.

  1. Overnight oats: This can be served hot or cold – whatever your preference. Let the kids in on the fun – they can add their own ingredients/toppings (cinnamon, nuts/seeds, dried fruit, etc). 
  2. Quiche: Throw in any leftover veggies from the week (bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, etc). This is another meal that can be sliced and enjoyed hot or cold.
  3. Breakfast bowl: Saute potatoes, veggies and meat (optional). Add the egg in when cooking this or “crack an egg” prior to microwaving the morning of consuming. After heating, add avocado and/or salsa.

Fresh fruit is a great pairing with any of these make-ahead breakfast meals. When setting goals, look ahead for potential hurdles to prevent letting them trip you up. Having a plan and making it an easy option, can help with the execution!


Benefits of Vegetarian Diets

Eating less meat in your diet can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Most people envision a diet of tofu and veggies. This is a common misconception. There are many new meat alternatives that taste very similar to meat. For example, there are meatless crumbles that can be used for tacos or spaghetti “meat” sauce, and the brand Morning Star has great meat alternatives including some delicious snack foods. You don’t necessarily need to make a sudden drastic change by completely cutting out all meat. You can start by introducing some meat substitutes or even start doing Meatless Monday.

Eating more plant-based foods can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, it can lower blood pressure and decrease saturated fat intake. Plant-based proteins also contain more fiber, and fiber helps you feel full longer.

The biggest concern people have about switching to a plant-based diet is whether they will get enough protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient that is required for the body to properly function. Think of proteins as the building blocks for bones, muscle, skin, and hair. The Standard American Diet actually consists of more protein than is usually needed because we normally consume protein at every meal. We also get protein in other foods like dairy products, nuts, beans, eggs, and some pastas.

For a complete protein source, combine some of these complementary proteins:

Beans + Grains, nuts, and seeds

Grains + Legumes

Nuts/seeds + Legumes

Vegetables + Grains, nuts, seeds

Corn + Legumes

Try some of these vegetarian recipes:

Taco Casserole:

*substitute meatless crumbles for the ground turkey

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili:

Vegetable Lasagna Recipe:

Chicken Pot Pie Made Healthy:

*substitute plant based chicken strips for the chicken (We promise, it tastes just as good!)


What is HAES?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of your size found by taking your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared: BMI = kg/m

Recent studies have shown that BMI alone is not an accurate depiction of overall health. This is because it does not take into account gender, race, ethnicity, age, or body composition (% of water, protein, fat and mineral in the body). As one can see, there are a lot of variables to consider. To paint a visual, this means that someone who is very muscular or pregnant would most likely be categorized as overweight. In reality, we know that nothing would be wrong with these individuals. 

Due to the stigma around BMI and weight, a movement called HAES (Health at Every Size) has surfaced.  HAES is an advocate for the following:

-Focusing on Health and Wellbeing

-Respecting and Honoring Body Diversity

-Encouraging Joyful Movement and Habits

-Fostering Self Trust and Compassion

Below is a quote from the Association for Size Diversity and Health defining what HAES is and why it is important: 

The Health At Every Size® (HAES®) approach is a continuously evolving alternative to the weight-centered approach to treating clients and patients of all sizes. It is also a movement working to promote size-acceptance, to end weight discrimination, and to lessen the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness.”

Many things can contribute to weight gain or weight loss throughout someone’s life. Remember that a number does not define who you are. At Banister Nutrition, we don’t believe that your body is a problem that needs to be fixed. 

For more information about HAES, check out their official website below: