Grilled Avocado Boats with Blistered Tomatoes

Last week, I grilled cantaloupe and today it’s avocados! I’ve been getting my fruit freak on by firing up whatever pretty produce catches my eye. This isn’t big news at my house. When it comes to backyard cooking, I’m always in beta mode and, thankfully, it’s nearly impossible to mess up a simple, fresh meal on the grill. Grilled Avocado Boats

Are you ready to swoon over the “smoky swag” of my Grilled Avocado Boats with Blistered Tomatoes. Trust me, you’ll swoon and then run for a spoon! Continue reading

Thai-Style Shrimp & Watermelon Rind Ceviche #LeaveNoRindBehind

This post is sponsored by The National Watermelon Board (Watermelon.org), however all comments, opinions, enthusiasm and content is my own.

I can’t even count how many watermelons have met their final fate at my house, at least dozens of dozens (meaning hundreds) if not more! Watermelon, after all, is my favorite fruit and I eat it every which way including whacked into a wedge and as a featured ingredient in smoothies and on salads, skewers, sandwiches and such.

thai style watermelon rind shrimp ceviche

I’ve used the typically discarded watermelon rind in recipes too – my latest creation is Thai-style Watermelon Rind Shrimp Ceviche!  Check out the recipe and join me to #LeaveNoRindBehind ! Continue reading

Brisket, Corn & Kale Salad with Low-fat Creamy Texas Dressing (+ Other Leftover Beef Recipes)

Mmmmm, so I made a beef brisket this weekend. I used to be afraid of cooking large hunks of meat, but now I say “bring it on” – plus, the center cut of brisket is a lean cut, so no worries there! One of the biggest perks, aside from gobbling up slices of meaty heaven straight off the grill, is having leftovers! I’ve shared recipes I’ve prepared with leftover brisket in the past (hit the bottom of this post for links), and today I have a brand new salad to add to the collection! Brisket Corn and Kale Salad

You will love the smoky sweet satisfaction that my Brisket Kale and Corn Salad with Low-Fat Creamy Texas Dressing offers. Also, since kale is really only one of the salad greens holds up (if not gets better) to prepping ahead, this beef salad is also perfect for packing in a jar for lunch as school, work or the gym. Continue reading

Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa

Roman Emperor and asparagus aficionado, Caesar Augustus, had an expression — Velocius quam asparagi conquantur!  Literally it meant “Faster that cooking asparagus,” but the point Augustus was trying to get across to his military minions was “Get going already”! Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa

Today I’m sharing a no-cook recipe that, by definition, IS FASTER than the already fast task of cooking asparagus. Try my Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa, it comes together in mere minutes and will pass muster with even the pickiest produce eaters!   Continue reading

Pomegranate Roasted Pears with Pine Nuts & Blue Cheese

I have a thaaaaaaaaaang for pears, eating right out of hand and using them as the star ingredient in healthy desserts. If I was a partridge, I’d never fly out of my pear tree –the fruit is just so dang delicious and nutritious. Pomegranate Roasted Pears with Pine Nuts & Blue Cheese is a super simple yet sorta fancy-schmancy dessert or side dish that can be made in 30 minutes! Pomegranate Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts

Continue reading

“Gimme Mo” Mojo Citrus Guacamole

"Gimme Mo" Mojo Citrus Guacamole brings a Latin American twist to your favorite avocado dip -- loaded with garlic and zesty oranges!  Dollop on salads, sandwiches or fish tacos! Or, just dip a chip at your next party!We eat guacamole by the truckload over here and I see nothing wrong with that! — I mean, HELLO heart-healthy, creamy, satiating fats! This simple pleasures is a staple in my life, dolloped on my salads, sandwiches and veggies sticks. Making a yummy meal and NOT having guacamole within lifting distance from my lips feels like a hot date that didn’t end with a kiss. Such a bummer!

I’ve used avocados every which way and have a dozens of guacamole recipes in my mealtime rotation. A recent creation is “Gimme Mo” Mojo Citrus Guacamole with a sensational Latin American-inspired twist that is perfect for plantain chip dipping, toast smearing and fish taco topping.

"Gimme Mo" Mojo Citrus Guacamole brings a Latin American twist to your favorite avocado dip -- loaded with garlic and zesty oranges!  Dollop on salads, sandwiches or fish tacos! Or, just dip a chip at your next party!

Before jumping into this quick and easy guacamole recipe, let me give you the quick 411 on the magical sauce that inspired it. While originating in the Canary Islands, mojo is a simple sauce that is now splattered and slathered on nearly everything edible in Central America, the Caribbean and parts of the southern U.S. With as many regional variations as there are uses for this quintessential Latin condiment, I’m most familiar with the Cuban preparation. Cuban mojo is made with olive oil, sour citrus juices (like bitter orange and lime juice), oregano, and garlic – loads and loads of garlic. It’s often used as a marinade for pork, chicken and seafood, a dip for fried plantains or yucca, or for dressing veggies and potatoes.

I love the mojo flavor profile and have done past recipes like Mojo Steak Kebabs and Mojo Chicken with Grilled Oranges (below) are both delicious!  This guacamole would be a perfect complement to both! Not only can “Gimme Mo” Mojo Citrus Guacamole be served atop a main dish on the dinner plate, to the side of a salad, or in a festive dip bowl – it also makes a clever single-serve presentation scooped into the emptied halves of the orange peel.

grilled chicken breasts and oranges

I originally developed this recipe for the new Guacamole Herb and Spice Blend from the Instantly Fresh line at Litehouse Foods.It’s a mixture of freeze-dried herbs and seasonings (including cilantro, garlic, red onion and red chili) that make it easy to get the guacamole bowl filled to the top “chop-chop” without endless slicing and dicing!  There are no preservatives or other yucky chemicals in this convenient spice blend that you can pick up on the spice aisle or in the produce department (although it doesn’t need to be chilled).  If you find a bottle, just swap out the red onion, jalapeno and cilantro in the recipe below for 4 tablespoons of this magical spice blend.

Litehouse Foods Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend

Are you an avocado addict? How many would you guesstimate you eat in a month? What is best thing you’ve dipped a chip or carrot stick into lately?  Please share in the comments, XOXO – Jennifer 

“Gimme Mo” Mojo Citrus Guacamole
Print Recipe
This Latiin-inspired take on guacamole adds loads of garlic and zesty orange juice! The perfect condiment for your main dishes . . . but mainly for dipping!
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
“Gimme Mo” Mojo Citrus Guacamole
Print Recipe
This Latiin-inspired take on guacamole adds loads of garlic and zesty orange juice! The perfect condiment for your main dishes . . . but mainly for dipping!
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Instructions
  1. In bowl, mash together peeled and pitted avocados with orange juice and lime juice (if avocados are extra large, you may need a small splash extra of each).
  2. Stir in onion, pepper, cilantro,oregano (or 4 Tbsp swap of the guacamole blend mentioned in blog post), salt and garlic.
  3. Use zester, to remove approximately 1 tablespoon zest from orange. Stir into guacamole.
  4. Peel orange and cut away any pith and most membrane. Dice into small chunks. Gently stir into guacamole.
  5. Serve as dip or condiment for sandwiches, burgers, fajitas, salads, etc.
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Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steaks + Iron-Boosting Salad

Molasses Marinated Flat Iron Leftover steak from the grilling makes the BEST next day salad. Tossing a few extra steaks on the grill is my little secret to putting together a quick meal when life just starts getting too crazy to cook. Since we are now officially “Back to School,” my recipe for Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steak and the next-day “Super Iron Boosting” Steak Salad with Dates, Pistachios and Peppers will most likely be in my weekly lunch and dinner rotation until soup season hits (which is still months away in Texas).

pinners conference pic 1I’ll be showing these two recipes (along with a couple others) in my “Empowered Meal Prepping – Protein for Fitness” class line-up for the Pinner’s Conference in the Dallas area on Sept 9th.  Sign up for my class; I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPINGRESISTER HERE

So, let’s start with the steak . . . since you need steak leftovers to make the salad! The beef cut I’ve used is the very tender and quite economical Flat Iron steak, but Top Sirloin, Tenderloin or Strip steaks would all work equally well.   The natural sugars from the molasses in this recipe caramelize along with the pepper to make a deliciously crispy crust on the outside of a mouthwatering and juicy center.  I like to pair this steak with Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Quinoa Molasses and Pepper-Crusted Grilled Steak is a quick dinner to grill up and the leftovers can be used in salads, tacos, breakfast hashes and more.

Make sure to save some steak so you can use the leftovers to make my “Super Iron Boosting” Steak Salad with Dates, Pistachios and Peppers.  Almost everything about this salad is iron-boosting from the red meat and molasses, to the dates, pistachios (highest iron nut), and spinach.  All of us, especially athletes, need iron, a mineral that helps red blood cells get oxygen to the muscles, thusly improving energy, athletic performance and mental functioning.

uper Iron Boosting Steak Spinach Salad with Dates, Pistachios and Peppers is a quick and easy meal-solution made with leftover beef. Nearly every ingredients is an abundant source of iron, making it perfect for athletes or those with anemia.

Molasses Steak Salad with Dates Blue Cheese toesThe salad isn’t a “recipe” per se, just pile fresh baby spinach on a plate and add 3 ounces of leftover steak cut in bite-sized pieces. Top that with other veggies you love, like yellow pepper strips, and a couple tablespoons each of sliced dates, blue cheese and pistachios. I’ve served with my favorite store-purchased Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing from Litehouse Foods.

How to Layer a Jar Salad

Above are some useful tips for prepping your salad in a jar, if taking to school or work.

Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast BowlAnother recipe in my class, and so delicious with these steak leftovers is a Brazilian Beef & Plantain Breakfast Bowl (with Coconut and Honey).

 

 

 

 

 

What is your favorite cut of steak to grill? Do you like your salads savory, sweet or both? Do you go back and make recipes from pins you’ve saved? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steak
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steak
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Whisk together molasses, vinegar, oil, pepper, garlic, ginger, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and pour into plastic zip-top bag containing steaks. Seal tightly and flip a few times to evenly distribute marinade.
  2. Set in refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours, flipping bag occasionally.
  3. Preheat gas or charcoal grill to 400 F degrees. Remove meat and discard marinade. Season with salt and more pepper to taste.
  4. Place steaks on oiled grates and grill for approximately 7 to 9 minutes on one side, or until moisture starts to pool on the top and beef releases easily from grates with tongs. Flip once, grilling on the other side for 6 to 8 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135 F degrees with instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of steak
  5. Transfer plates to platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.
  6. *Double recipe if you’d like to have leftovers to make steak salad and beef breakfast bowl.
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Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa + Pinner’s Conference

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.comIt’s happened more than once, I’ve tasted a quinoa salad and gone “meh” even though I know good for me. We are at the crescendo of the quinoa craze, so you too probably are aware that this ancient grain (which is actually a seed) boosts your diet with  nutrients like B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber. Additionally, quinoa is also one of only a few plant foods considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids — oh how I love me some protein! 

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

To add some flavor excitement to a quinoa recipe, I decided to mix up a dish that magnifies some of my favorite flavors that some consider “fall season” but I embrace year ’round – maple syrup and butternut squash! And hey, even though it was 105 degrees yesterday . . . we are getting closer to Autumn one day at a time! I’ve used two of my favorite products from NOW Foods, Organic Tri-color Quinoa and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa can be served warm, room temperature or cold -- it's a healthy vegetarian side dish or salad packed with protein and wholesome energy.Anyway,my recipe for Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa is just bursting with flavor and wholesome goodness. Not only is this recipe pretty to look at, it’s a beautiful addition to a meal-prepping lineup — especially important now that it’s Back-To-School season. You can make a big batch and eat it warm or cold — it also holds up well to being packed in a lunchbox.   Of course, I like to pair mine with a big, juicy steak!

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

By the way, I am demonstrating this Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa coming up on Friday, September 9th at the Texas Pinner’s Conference  in the Dallas area (Arlington Convention Center). My class is called “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness.” 

pinners conference class description

pinners conference pic 1Learn how to prepare enough protein (I’m grilling Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steaks) to make dinner with leftovers for breakfast and lunch — the other recipes are Iron-Boosting Beef & Date Spinach Salad and Steak & Plantain Breakfast Bowl. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE

Are you a make-ahead meal prepper? What is your favorite dish to stock in the fridge or freezer? Have the kids gone back to school yet? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake squash, stirring once halfway through, for approximately 15 minutes or until tender and turning golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions -- it should also take around 15 minutes, so you can do the squash and quinoa simultaneously to save time.
  4. When quinoa done, transfer to large bowl, fluff with fork and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. While quinoa and squash cooling down, prepare dressing by adding maple syrup, remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt to small bowl and whisk until combined.
  6. Add cooked quinoa, cooked squash, green onions, raisins, and pecans to large bowl, mix gently to combine.
  7. Pour dressing over top and stir to evenly distribute. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.
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