Paleo Pecan-Paprika Tilapia on Bacon Brussels Sprout Toss + Fit Foodie 5k

With autumn just around the corner, it’s time to start salivating about all things that include pumpkin and pecans to bacon and Brussels sprouts – and, of course, other delicious fall-inspired ingredients. The Paleo diet embraces so many healthy foods that remind me of the cooler weather season – squashes, sweet potatoes, onions, cranberries, persimmons, pomegranates, broccoli, chard, spinach, all types of nuts, turkey, wild game and more.

Check out Fall Into Paleo

by The Fit Fork at Foodie.com

If you’ve scrolled through my blog, you may have noticed I don’t live and die by the strict rules of the Paleo diet. That being said, I DO believe that the Paleo diet has many great benefits that can contribute to a healthy lifestyle and I always feel great when I’m eating meals that follow a Paleo-esque menu. However, this regime, which eliminates wheat, cereals, dairy, starches (including most starchy vegetables & fruit), grains and anything containing gluten and/or legumes, can be difficult for me to maintain for many reasons including practicality (sometime I just can’t find or afford grass-fed beef), performance (I need extra carbs to support my athletic output – check out the book Paleo Diet for Athletes) and personal sanity (an excessive focus on food makes me freak out). So, I’m one of those “I eat 100% Paleo 80% of the time” kind of people and I don’t feel bad about it nor do I pass judgment on others who are strict abiders or those who would never, ever eat caveman style.  Also, when I’m thinking about Paleo recipes and what I should or shouldn’t do, I remember a quote from one of the go-to cookbooks on my shelf, Paleo Comfort Foods. The author makes a great point that the “Paleo (diet) is a logical framework applied to modern humans, not a historical reenactment.”  Amen. pecan crusted tilapia and warm brussels sprout salad I hope you enjoy my fall-season paleo dinner I whipped up as part of a Foodie.com campaign — Pecan-Paprika Crusted Tilapia on Bacon Brussels Sprout Toss.  Of course, this duo is delicious together, but can also be made and served individually – for example, the fish is also excellent in lettuce-wrap tacos and the warm Brussel sprouts salad makes the perfect seasonal side dish to bring to a potluck or Thanksgiving dinner. .paleo diet pecan paprika tilapia For Pecan Paprika Tilapia Recipe:

  •  1 lb tilapia filets
  • ½ cup pecan meal (ground raw pecans)
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  1.  In large shallow dish, mix together pecan meal, paprika, and salt.
  2. In another shallow dish, whisk egg.
  3. Dip each fish filet into egg and then dredge in pecan mixture.Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add fish to skillet and pan fry for 3 to 4 minutes per side, flipping once. Fish will be done when white and flakey throughout and turning golden brown on crust. Serves 4.

Paleo Bacon Brussels Sprouts For Bacon Brussels Sprout Toss:

  • 4 slices bacon
  • ¼ cup finely minced sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (sweet or hot, your preference)
  • 1/3 chopped raw pecans
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup wine or cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 lb shaved Brussel sprouts
  1. In large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from skillet and crumble up (set aside); reserve about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in skillet.
  2. In same skillet with drippings, add paprika, onion and pecans; stir over medium-high heat for several minutes until nuts are lightly toasted, onions are softened and paprika has become fragrant.
  3. Add vinegar and cooking wine to skillet; stir quickly for 1 minute to deglaze pan. Lower heat to medium and add syrup and garlic paste; stir combine.
  4.  Add shaved Brussels sprouts (either slice thinly with sharp knife or mandolin or buy prepared) to skillet and saute for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften and caramelize.

Tips: Finely slice the Brussels sprouts with a knife or mandolin – or just by them pre-prepped from the produce section of your market.  Also, it’s important to add the paprika to the beginning of the saute so the spice has time to bloom, lending a richer and deeper flavor – this is a trick of trade with chefs fiitfoodierun collage Also, I want to share with y’all an upcoming event that so matches my personality and interests, I’m assuming it must have been put together specifically for me! But, I want you to come join the fun too – it’s the Fit Foodie 5k Weekend hosted by Cooking Light and Health magazines. In addition to the 3.1 mile race, there are gourmet tastings from Texas chefs, fitness demos, sunrise yoga, an obstacle course and boot camp. Allison Sweeney from The Biggest Loser television show will be there signing her newest book and showing support for the race beneficiary, City of Hope. City of Hope is a leading treatment and research center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases – 10% of all race entry proceeds benefit this official charity.

The Fit Foodie Weekend is coming up quick (Sept. 12 – 14), but it’s not too late to register!  Use the promotion code FITFORK and get 10 percent off your registration. Please let me know if you are coming by sending me a note in the comments – I’d love to plan a meet up! Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Foodie.com, however all opinions, comments and recipes are my own.  Also, I am an ambassador for The Fit Foodie Race Series – whoot, whoot!

8 Healthier Herbed Snacks + Instantly Fresh Herb #Giveaway

Have an urge to snack, but looking for something with less salt yet still loads of flavor? In honor of Eat Less Salt and More Herbs Day (and yes, that’s a real food holiday), I have rounded up some healthy snack recipes that use herbs like rosemary, basil and lemongrass to magnify flavors and minimize salt. While too much sodium in your diet can contribute to high blood pressure and other medical concerns, it’s not completely evil – for example, athletes need to constantly replenish salt and other minerals lost through sweat. So, even if you’re not giving salt the complete shake off, making your own snacks at home gives you complete control over the amount of sodium consumed. And, I don’t know about you, but I like to be in control!

litehouse herbs banner

I’m also giving away Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh Herbs – the whole kit and caboodle, every herb in the product line! You know how a handy man totes around his tool box and a chef won’t travel anywhere without his professional knife set? Well, I won’t step foot into my kitchen to make a meal without these freeze-dried herbs on call in the pantry — I’ve become totally spoiled! Sure, fresh herbs are fabulous when you have the time and talent to grow them or have an enormous food budget – I’m a bust here on all counts. To me, traditional dried and ground herbs have always seemed (and tasted) boring, but these Instantly Fresh Herbs kick up the fun and flavor. Able to stay for months on end in the pantry, these freeze dried herbs rehydrate beautifully when coming into contact with moisture in a recipe.  And, with 17 different products in the line, you can combine multiple herbs to get great flavor – the possibilities are almost unlimited. For example (and I calculated the combinations), there are 680 different ways to combine just 3 of the herbs in the Instantly Fresh product line! For reals!

herb snacks 1

  • Italian Herb Parmesan Popcorn  An easy toss of herbs and cheese turn plain popcorn into the main attraction of your next movie night.  Stop dousing your popcorn with salt and start herbing it up!
  • Fruit Herb Pops: With three yummy flavors, you’ll want to eat these frozen treats all at once! Hmmm, but which to try first — Pineapple Coconut Ginger Pops, Mango-Strawberry-Lemongrass Pops or Black Cherry Blackberry Pops?
  • Herb Goat Cheese Logs – These cheese logs owe their festive good looks and fine flavor to a combination of Instantly Fresh herbs – follow the appetizer recipe or create your own herb combos to serve with crackers, bread or veggies.
  • Oven Baked Dill & Sea Salt Potato Chips  — So much crunch and crazy flavor, without any of the salty, fatty “feel-bads” of regular potato chips.

herb snacks 2

  • Trio of Herbed Teas – Complement your sensible snack with a refreshing ice tea steeped with spices and splashed with fruit and its natural juices. Pick from Jalapeno Pineapple Infused White Tea, Creamy Lemongrass Black Tea or Basil Peach Green Tea.
  • Cilantro Lime Feta Compound Butter – Butter elevated with herbs and other flavorings will turn ordinary snacks into the extra-ordinary. Spread a thin layer on French bread slices and toast for a simple homemade crostini.
  • Herbed Rooted Veggie Fries – Greasy drive-thru fries don’t have nothin’ on these delicious baked fries made from nutritious root vegetables. Use sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets . . . or even traditional potatoes to make this herb-dusted, to-die-for finger food.
  • Basil Fruit Kebabs – I call fruit “nature’s candy” – when threaded on a skewer and sprinkled with fresh basil snips, it’s a sweet treat on a stick that no one can resist (nor should they)!

 

Win 17 jars of herbs!

Win 17 jars of herbs!

So are you ready to win herbs?!

One reader will win every herb in the line of Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh Herbs – 17 different varieties in all!

To enter the giveaway, please follow the instructions in Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bunch of Healthy Recipes for Banana Lover’s Day

Happy Banana Lover’s Day!  I really NEED to celebrate this “a-peeling” food holiday – my potassium levels need a boost thanks (or no thanks) to all this hot weather running. In addition to keeping muscle cramps away, I think bananas are just a great all-around fruit. Not only are they cheap and tasty, but bananas are filled with fiber, antioxidents and other nutrients needed for optimal health.  Bananas are also a great source of tryptophan which the body converts into serotonin to get you in a good mood!

So, let’s peel a banana and get happy! Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy bananas:

banana milk and cereal

Eat a banana on or with your cereal. Better yet, pour banana-flavored Core Power over healthy cereal for an extra punch of protein.

banana peach smoothie with cinnamon

Cinnamon Banana Peach Protein SmoothieAdd ½ frozen banana ,frozen peach slices and a sprinkling of cinnamon to your choice of milk (almond, soy, Core Power) and blend with ice until smooth.  It’s the cinnamon and natural sugars that help with alertness and brain function.

jennifer fisher - grilled bananas - main photo option1

Grilled Chocolate Raspberry Banana Boats  - Say goodbye to the end of summer grilling with these warm and gooey sweet treats – kinda like s’mores, but so much better!

banana protein balls

Baked Banana Protein Donut Holes – Take one step out of the morning rush by baking a batch of these mini-bites the night before – just grab a coffee along and you’ve got a decent breakfast to eat on the go.jennifer fisher -thefitfork.com - multigrain pb banana muffins

Multi-Grain Peanut Butter Banana Muffins The kids love to discover these moist muffins in their lunch boxes and often request them as an afternoon snack –I like to eat mine as a refueling reward after a workout. So delicious and they freeze well, too!

honey granola with chocolate, almonds and banana protein

Not So Chunky Monkey Granola This healthy granola recipe uses mashed banana as the binder and is speckled with freeze-dried banana chunks and chocolate chips – yum!

banana foster parfait

Bananas Foster Parfait  Check out this scrumptious yet sensible treat from CookingLight.com made with Greek yogurt, pecans and bananas — I won’t even tell if you use rum! If you don’t have enough BANANA INSPIRATION yet, check out this collection of 75 Banana Recipes!

Wrap crown of banana bunch with plastic wrap to delay over-ripening.

Wrap crown of banana bunch with plastic wrap to delay over-ripening.

Did you know if you put plastic wrap around the crown of bananas, the bunch will keep for 3 – 5 days longer. I learned that fruit-lovers fact, along with some other really freakin’ awesome ways to keep produce fresher longer, from fellow Fitfluential Ambassador Jill Conyers.   Also keep in mind that bananas produce more ethelyne gas than any other fruit; so, you’ll want to keep them alone in their own area on the counter to maximize freshness – not in a mixed fruit bowl!

So, how many bananas do you eat a week? What is your favorite banana recipe?

#MyAdventure with Artichokes & the Art of Yoga

Okay, random enough for you – artichokes and yoga?!  Well, actually the pair makes perfect sense to me since discovering new ways to cook favorite foods and pushing myself into challenging and sometimes even uncomfortable situations (literally) are two of the ways I satisfy my adventure-seeking soul.

travel dress lightweight wool

I was very excited, yet a bit skeptical, when Icebreaker.com invited me to try out their New Zealand Merino wool fitness, outdoor and travel clothing for my next adventure. My first thought was wool in August – now that will definitely be a memorable experience! However, this company makes clothing in all weights that perform beautifully in the extremes of weather – cold and hot!  The clothing I ordered didn’t itch like traditional wool, didn’t leave me feeling sticky and clammy like synthetics and was never soggy or stinky like cotton can be.

The Villa Plume Dress (above) is my new favorite dress – which is a huge testament to its awesomeness because I love LOVE dresses and have a closet full to compete! What I appreciate about this 200-lightweight wool dress is that it feels as comfy as wearing my favorite nightgown around town, but is super stylish and dressy enough for business meetings or just heading to the market to shop for – ARTICHOKES! Plus, for summer trips – I just tossed it in my luggage and it came out totally wrinkle-free!

lightweight wool underwear for travel

So, on a trip to Mount Vernon this summer, I packed along some other Icebreaker gear – the Siren Hipkini Underwear. Sorry, you’re not going to get to see me modeling these panties (ha) but trust me – the underwear are under there! While I was traipsing through George Washington’s lower gardens looking at the bounty of fruit and vegetable crops (including one of his favorite — the artichoke!), I thought I was going to melt – it was pushing 100 degrees and the Potomac River humidity was only adding to the sweatfest. Thank goodness for my lightweight wool undies – they wicked moisture right away and were quick to dry. Too bad Martha and her ladies in waiting didn’t have these itty-bitty green bloomers!

merion wool running socks icebreakersI also was able to try out the Women’s Multi-Sport Ultra-Light Micro Socks as I ran around the Mall in Washington, DC – lightweight for summer sports, non-chaffing toe seams and cute colors! I’ll be stocking up on more of these for my upcoming race season!

 

artichoke plant mt vernon

At artichoke growing in the garden at Mt. Vernon.

 

When I got home from #MyAdventure, I really had a hankering for those artichokes I saw growing in George’s garden. I’ve always purchased artichokes already prepared and marinated from my local gourmet store — Central Market has some delish ones on the deli bar.  I’ve seen recipes for grilling artichokes and steaming artichokes the way my mom did back when I was a kid (I remember my parents dipping artichoke leaves into garlic butter as a special appetizer), but I was always a bit intimidated by these big thorny thistles.

Then, I had a light bulb moment – why not make them in a slow cooker? The low, slow cooking method would surely yield a tender treat – and I was right! Plus, I loved the convenience of just popping them in the slow cooker and then leaving to run errands for a few hours rather than standing around in the kitchen waiting for them to steam for 45-ish minutes. Also, instead of a decadent butter dip – I added a drizzle of Caesar dressing and a few Parmesan cheese sprinkles to keep things healthy. It’s a recipe I created for Litehouse Foods; check it out for the rest of the story and more mouthwatering photos!

caesar slow cooker artichokes

Caesar Slow Cooker Artichokes Recipe

  • 3 medium artichokes
  • 3 lemons (divided)
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine or cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup garlic croutons crushed into crumbs
  • 4 – 6 ounces Caesar salad dressing (I used Organic Caesar from Litehouse)
  1. Prepare artichokes by first washing under water and shaking dry. Next, cut off stems and remove small lower leaves with paring knife. With larger knife, cut ½” off the top of artichokes to remove the prickly spines. Use kitchen shears to snip off remaining spines on lower leaves. Cut one lemon in half and rub on exposed areas of artichoke to prevent oxidization.
  2. Pour broth, wine, garlic and bay leaf into bottom of 4 quart slow cooker. Place artichokes, bottom side down into slow cooker. Cut second lemon into slices and place a slice on top of each artichoke. Add remaining slices of that lemon to the broth mixture.  Put lid on slow cooker and cook on high for approximately 3 hours, or until softened and leaves pull off easily.
  3. Transfer artichokes from liquid to serving platter. While still hot, gently squeeze to pull apart leaves and stuff with bits of Parmesan cheese and crouton crumbs. Sprinkle remaining cheese and crumbs on tops of artichokes. Drizzle artichokes with Caesar Dressing and serve with third lemon that has been cut up into wedges.

The rest of #MyAdventure focuses on the “art of yoga” or in my case — it’s often “the agony of yoga.” I used to be a very flexible person but that bendiness got left behind a long time ago. However, I’ve been trying to build a few minutes into each day to practice some yoga moves to reclaim my flexibility – I hope the focus on a greater range of mobility will keep me from getting injured in my running and workouts as I get older.  The fitness wear from Icebreaker was perfect for my little yoga session — check out the cool and comfortable Dart Shorts and Sprite Racerback Tank from Icebreaker. These items were ultra-light weight (150 gauge wool) and super soft — almost like wearing nothing!

icebreaker merino wool shorts and tank for yoga

If you haven’t tried working out in wool, you definitely should! Head over to Icebreaker, they are having a great end-of-the-season sale and have free shipping on orders over $99 and have a “love it or send it back” policy with free return shipping. I will definitely be trying out their cold weather gear come ski season – I am always the one that is too cold and I’m not going to let that happen this winter!

Icebreaker provided me with product in return for my review, but did not tell me what to say or how to say it – all opinions are my own!

Have you ever worked out in lightweight wool?

Do you have a favorite artichoke recipe, please share!

Busy Day Fuel – Southwestern Tuna Quinoa Salad Two Ways!

5:15 am -  alarm clock, grab breakfast, run, shower, see three kids off to school, check emails, make work phone calls, start laundry, research and writing for client, leave for errands, hit the gym, eat lunch, grocery store, pick up kids from school, check mail, return emails, make more phone calls, go over kids homework, pick up clutter, make recipes, style photos, take blog photographs, chauffeur to sports practice and boy scouts, make dinner, pick up from band practice, finish laundry, pack next day’s lunches, go over family’s schedule, check emails, social media, talk to husband, play with dog, make a snack, sleep  – 11 pm (hopefully).  

alternative fish tacosOkay, so you can see I don’t usually have a lot of time for long, leisurely meals.  Normally, I am scarfing down breakfast, lunch and dinner quickly while standing up at the kitchen island or on the go. While my kids always get a nutritious, sit-down dinner before their nightly activities, my plate of food often gets pushed down the priority list while I wash the dishes, talk to them about their days and tackle the remainder of my  frenzied, gotta-get-out-the-door checklist.  Oh, if I had a dollar for every artistically-plated meal I’ve dumped into a Tupperware container to eat it in the car  . . . I’d have enough money to get the deluxe car detailing package that would remove crumbs from the nooks and crannies!

Maybe the whirlwind of life is why I love salads so much – by design, everything is meant to be jumbled up together – it’s not always pretty, but it’s productive!  Salads can be made ahead of time without worry of reheating and will wait patiently in the fridge until called into service. A big hearty salad with all the fixings is also the standard fare for my late-working, non-cooking husband.  To keep the love alive with my salads, I mix up the combination of dressings, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and extras like cheeses, nuts, grains and more – there a gazillion variations and I never get bored (this seems like an analogy for my life).

quinoa tuna saladAn easy and tasty protein that often tops my salads is tuna. I always keep a stockpile of  Bumble Bee® Tuna in the pantry and it has saved me from the “hangries” on many occasions with no-cook, no clean-up, super nutritious convenience.  I’m a fan of the single-serve, 2.5 ounce pouches of the Bumble Bee® Premium Albacore Tuna and Light Tuna because they don’t require a can opener or messy draining, making them oh-so workable in a lunch box.  But, if you’re used to the traditional cans, don’t worry, Bumble Bee® still makes those!

If you need a quick and easy dinner idea, check out my Fiesta Tuna Quinoa Salad Recipe  –  it can be served two ways! First way is to serve in a bowl as pictured above and get your protein fix with a spoon – did you know that 2.5 ounces of the Bumble Bee® Premium Albacore Tuna has 17 grams of protein and the quinoa adds even more to the mix! Red quinoa and tuna make a snappy pair and all the healthy veggies and southwestern citrus dressing will make you want to jump up, stomp your boots and shout “Ole!”  Don’t be scared that there are a lot of ingredients, it’s super easy to put together — chop, chop!

The second way to serve this healthy salad is to fill romaine lettuce leaves with this tasty tuna quinoa salad and eat them wrap-style. If you’re looking for more lunch box ideas, easy dinner recipes or other healthy meal inspiration, check out the Bumble Bee® collection of custom tuna recipessouthwestern fish lettuce tacos

Fiesta Tuna Quinoa Salad Recipe

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground chile pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup olive oil (divided)
  • 1 ½ cups red quinoa, rinsed
  •  15 ½ -oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon diced fresh jalapeno
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions (bulb and tops)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 large avocado, cubed
  • 2 (5-oz) pouches Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna or Light Tuna (or four 2.5-oz pouches)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (depending on heat preference)
  • Extras (optional): lime wedges, cilantro sprigs and romaine lettuce leaves
  1. Combine 1 tsp. salt, the cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  2. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the salt, cumin, chile powder and cinnamon; stir well and saute for 30 seconds to make flavors bloom.
  3. Add quinoa to spices, stir again for about 30 seconds. Add 2 cups water and bring mixture to a boil; reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa for about 20 to 22 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  4. Remove pot from heat and place clean dish cloth between lit and pot; let sit for about 4 to 5 minutes. This will help absorb remaining moisture and keep quinoa from getting sticky. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
  5. While quinoa is cooling, combine the black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, jalapeno, green onions, and chopped cilantro in medium bowl. Add citrus juices, remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, honey and Sriracha sauce. Stir until coated. Mix in cooled quinoa, tuna and avocado; stir gently until combined.
  6. To serve, place in bowls or lettuce leaves and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Note: this dish is excellent made the day before as flavors have more time to mingle together.
  7. Serves 4.

Do you have any favorite tuna recipes?  Please share a description or link in the comments!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Love a Loaf | Herb Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Recipe

you hate me breadBread is not necessarily the enemy. True, some people have Celiac disease and legitimate allergies to gluten and really cannot consume it without serious health repercussions leading to malnutrition. I understand. Recently though, I’ve noticed a wave of worriers, let’s call them gluten alarmists, who won’t touch traditional bread, pasta or other foods containing gluten with a 10-foot pole – in public, anyway. These folks might truly believe they are taking the healthy and virtuous high ground, but little do they realize that some (not all) of the processed gluten-free products marketed to them are filled with more calories, sugars, fillers and carby stuff.  You’re better off just eating the bread or making your own gluten-free goodies (check out this chocolate chip cookie I make for a special kid with allergies).

litehouse jennifer fisher bread and iitalian herb butter panini 700I also don’t have a problem with “carby” stuff – people always think I’m no-carb, low-carb, Paleo diet, Atkins, the Zone or whatever. True, I do typically eat a lower carb and higher protein diet, but not exclusively. I eat a what seems like an elephant’s portion of complex carbs daily in the form of vegetables and fruit, but when I want a sandwich, I eat it on bread. When I eat a burger, I have it on a bun. Okay, sometimes just one side of the bun, I’ll admit – but that’s so I can enjoy the sweet potato fries too! Plus, as an athlete, I require carbs as a quick source of energy – when the book The Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Ancient Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance came out, the authors finally acknowledged that the right carbs have a time and place.

Unless it’s a medical concern, let’s not worry so much about the gluten or the carbs. Instead, the best bet for a long life of living well focuses on a balanced diet that includes an allowance of carbs . . . and this means bread! When choosing breads, select whole grains whenever possible – whole grain products are higher in fiber and other nutrients than their bleached white counterparts and have been shown to play a role in the reduction of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic issues.  I was shocked to find out that only 3 percent of adults and 8 percent of kids are getting the recommended 3 servings of whole grains per day. Even though I already was a fan of whole grain bread, I completely switched over to serving whole wheat pasta and brown rice about five years ago and this just seems normal to the kids now.

Here’s one of my favorite easy, weekday bread treats:

jennifer fisher litehouse herb parm monkey bread

 Herb Parmesan Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Recipe

  • 2 14-ounce cans “grand” or “jumbo” style refrigerated whole wheat biscuits*
  • 3 Tbsp. Italian Herb Blend*
  • 2 Tbsp. finely diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp. finely diced fresh garlic
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup butter

1. Cut each biscuit into quarters and separate pieces.

2. Mix all herbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add dough pieces and toss around to coat evenly.

3. Layer pieces in a 9” x 9” baking dish or Bundt pan.

4. In microwave-safe dish, melt butter on and pour over dough pieces.

5. Bake in 375 F degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.

 *Granted, these are only made with “some” whole wheat flour – but still a good compromise to scratch baking or going with an all bleached and enriched convenience product.

 **I am fond of Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh freeze-dried line of herbs and herb blends.

Batch o’ Hatch Green Chile Stuffed Mushrooms & Other Filled Fungi

mushroom loveI came to love mushrooms later in life. Why I avoided them for so long, I’ll never know. Well, actually I do know – I found these fungi that pop up from decomposing organic material to be disturbingly earthy. A playground friend reinforced my concerns by telling me that mushrooms grow in the spots where frogs pee (this is NOT true) and too many childhood stories ended with a sympathetic character dying at the hand of a poisonous mushroom.

SAMSUNG

But, now that I’m (ahem) more mature, my taste buds finally won out over my worries – although, you’ll still never find me foraging through the woods popping wild mushrooms in my mouth, willy-nilly.  What I do love about mushrooms, however, is their meatiness and amazing umami taste. Umami is our fifth taste receptor which sends off sirens of delicious, savory satisfaction when foods rich in naturally-occurring glutamates and ribonucleotides co-mingle (this is science, people). The reason why mushrooms, beef, red wine, Parmesean, blue cheese and Worcestershire sauce all go together wonderfully in one combination or another is that they get the umami action going exponentially.   Mushrooms are also like little sponges that soak up the flavor profile of any given recipe – mild and mellow, bright and lively, exotic and unexpected – you get the idea!

mushrooms stuffed with pepper jack, hatch green chile and kale

Today, I’m sharing an easy recipe for mushrooms stuffed with kale, pepper Jack cheese, green chiles and a sprinkling of queso fresca. It will be raining Hatch green chiles (from New Mexico) here in Austin for the remainder of August and my recipes for Hatch chiles keep popping up like (errr) mushrooms.  I originally made these Hatch Chile Stuffed Mushrooms to serve as a side with my Strip Steak with Roasted Hatch Relish – these little guys would also work well atop a salad or as appetizers. And, if you have leftovers (and that’s a big IF), chop them up and put in your omelet the next day!

Hatch Green Chile Stuffed Mushrooms Recipes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 16 large (2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter) white mushrooms (1 lb)
  • 1 large Hatch green chile, seeded and coarsely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup packed chopped kale
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup shredded pepper jack
  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400°F.

  1. Pull stems from mushroom caps to create space for filling. Finely chop stems and set aside.
  2. In medium skillet, sauté chopped stems and Hatch green chiles over medium heat until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add kale, garlic, salt and pepper and sauté together for another 2 – 3 minutes.   Cool for about 10 minutes and then toss with pepper jack cheese.
  3. Mound mushroom filling in mushroom caps, pressing gently to pack in as much as possible. Top with a sprinkle of queso fresco cheese. Bake in middle of oven until mushrooms are tender and cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
  4.  Serves 8 (2 each)

thefitfork beef bluecheese mushrooms plated small text

Looking for some other stuffed mushroom ideas?

Check out my recipe for Beef and Blue Cheese Mushroom Buttons (left) or another favorite recipe hearty enough for an entree - Greek Beef and Kale Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms.

 

 

 

 

pepita-pesto-stuffed-mushrooms-ck-l

A stuffed mushroom recipe from Cooking Light that looks delish is Pepita Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms – it’s next up on my must-make mushroom list!

 

Strip Steak Salad with Roasted Hatch Chile Relish Recipe

There are many things to love about the end of summer. Stocking up with anticipation on new supplies for school yet slowing down to enjoy the last moments of lazing around with the kids. Oh, and the food – the boundless bounties of August produce in all its assorted sun-ripened, juicy and (in this case) spicy goodness.   I’m talking about HATCH GREEN CHILES – love them, love them, love them and have been in fire-roasting cahoots with bushels of the New Mexico superstar long before they became the “IT” food of August.


Oh, and in case you aren’t aware of my, ahem, celebrity – I am a past Central Market Hatch Green Chile Cook Off Winner (and have also placed 2nd and 3rd in other years. People, I KNOW my PEPPERS! Check out the video if you want to know how to roast, peel and seed them!

It’s so (yawn) common for people to pair Hatch green chiles with pork or chicken.  Well, I’ve put Hatch chiles in everything from gnocchi to cheesecake (seriously). Also, one of my favorite burgers (and bunless, too) is my Hot Mess Hatch Green Chile Burger on Grilled Squash “Buns.”  Today, I have delicious recipe for Strip Steak Salad with Roasted Hatch Chile Relish – it’s easy and will take your mouth to a happy place.

wet steak rub recipe

First, order of business is seasoning the beef. Strip steaks are very tender and don’t require a marinade to break them down – only a rub to enhance the natural flavors.  My “No-Flub Wet Steak Rub” can easily be made in any quantity you need – use it generously so it makes a nice crust!

beef steak salad with corn green chile relish

Strip Steak Salad with Roasted Hatch Green Chile Relish Recipe

  • 2 8-oz strip steaks

For Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning

For Relish:

  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ¾ cup fire-roasted Hatch peppers, peeled and seeded (you can buy them like this at most stores)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

For Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

8 oz baby spring lettuce mix

  1. In small bowl, mix together olive oil and spices into a paste. Apply liberally on the front and back of steaks.
  2. Grill steaks over 400 degree heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until instant read thermometer reaches 135 degrees.  Take steaks off grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Toss together corn kernels, tomatoes and red onion with 2 teaspoons olive oil and sea salt. Place in rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees in oven or on grill until edges starting to brown, approximately 15 minutes. Stir as needed.
  4. Remove vegetables and chop up roasted tomatoes. Add in roasted Hatch chiles, stir to combine.  Set aside.
  5. For dressing, shake together olive oil, vinegar, chile powder, garlic and cilantro in a mason jar. Set aside.
  6. To assemble, place lettuce on platter. Top with strip steak that has been cut thinly across the grain. Top with relish and dressing. Serves 4.

strip steak whole with hatch relish

There is no shame in saying, “no salad for me tonight.” The Hatch Green Chile Relish (roasted with corn, red onions, and tomatoes), also makes a tasty accompaniment atop a whole steak.

Do you have a favorite topping or salad recipe for steaks or are you strictly carnivorous?