Smoky Peach Chipolte Vinaigrette, Dressing & Marinade

The back roads of Central Texas have been alive with the sights and smells of local farm stands selling their most anticipated summer-season specialty – Hill Country Peaches. They are so sweet and delicious straight from the bushel, sometimes it’s hard not to greedily gobble them all up before arriving home.  Grilled Peach Chipolte Vinaigrette Dressing & Marinade

This year I used restraint (by putting them in the car trunk), and we arrived home from Stonewall, Texas with plenty of this popular stone fruit to make peach cobbler, slow-cooker peach sauce, and ice cream – the July rite of passage. I even had a few extra to make an awesome salad featuring this grill fruit and the recipe I’m sharing today – Smoky Peach Chipolte Vinaigrette & Marinade. Read on the get more juicy details and the instructions. Continue reading

Watermelon, Tomato & Jicama Salad with Tajin Honey Dressing

Between my birthday on July 3rd, followed immediately by Independence Day and a family reunion at the lake beginning, July 6th, I’m happy to report that I’ll be enjoying more than a week of non-stop, fun-in-the-sun festivities. No complaints about the 100-degree weather from me, this is my absolute favorite time of the year! Watermelon Jicama Tomato Salad with Tajin Honey Dressing

On the agenda: morning runs, paddle-boarding, wake boarding, jet-skiing, fishing, helping with some landscape work and then lounging around on the dock. All this is sure to make a person thirsty and hungry. I’ll be at once hydrating and enjoying a wholesome snack thanks to watermelon and my latest recipe, Watermelon, Tomato and Jicama Salad with Tajin Honey Dressing. Read on to get the all the deets, the full recipe and how you can incorporate watermelon into your casual summer entertaining. Continue reading

Lightened-up Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch

Panzanella, a classic Italian salad made with greens and crusty bread, benefit from a hearty (but still healthy) down-south makeover with loads of lettuce, my clean-eats cornbread croutons (with healthier sugar and fat substitutes), small splurge of bacon crumbles and fresh home-style ranch dressing made with Greek yogurt. These southern-inspired swaps have been my little secret to getting teen boys to wolf down first and second servings of salad.

Bacon Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Y’all, I do declare, this Lightened-up Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch is a winner for lunch and dinner. You can even pair it up with grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs if you’d like a little extra protein. Continue reading

Slow Cooker Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce

Disclaimer: I was provided compensation for the development of this recipe and my time at #FreshSummit, however this blog post, my opinions and enthusiasm are provided complementary! 

Jennifer Fisher of TheFitFork.com at Litehouse Foods booth PMA Fresh Summit 2016

 I was in Orlando earlier in the month for Fresh Summit 2016, a massive trade show that brings together produce industry peeps from around the world to showcase innovation, provide inspiration and track trends. With more than 1,100 exhibitors on the expo floor, there were fruits, veggies, nuts, and fresh packaged foods at every turn. But, were there meatballs? Why, yes, there were!

litehouse-pma-booth-menu-2016That’s right; I was cooking up a storm again for Litehouse Foods in their beautiful, backyard inspired booth. With football playing on the big screen, a spread of apple cider and snacks, and good eats coming from the kitchen (including my Sriracha Lime Meatballs), this was the ultimate homey hangout.

 

Sriracha Lime Dressing over meatballsHopefully in your house, the crowd gathering for these (Slow Cooker) Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce will not be smaller than at the packed expo. Although, there WILL be a  crowd (just sayin’) becase this super simple, slow cooker recipe is a real weekend AND weeknight winner.  Just toss in a short list of ingredients into a Crock Pot, pour over a bottle of their new Srirarcha Lime Dressing and walk away. In a couple hours, you’ve got the ultimate football party appetizer to skewer up on toothpicks or a fusion-inspired, “take-out” take off dinner that you can serve with the slow cooker sauce over rice. My kids loved it!

Slow Cooker Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce is a super simple, easy party appetizer or easy weeknight main dish.

The Sriracha Lime Dressing is a new “sweet heat” product from Litehouse Foods that you can find in the fridge shelves of your produce department – they also make a Mango Habanero version. What I love about these two dressings is that they are super flavorful without being off the charts hot, only have 20 calories per serving, and are made with fresh ingredients that you’ve heard of – no weird chemicals or preservatives. You can also try this dressing as a glaze on chicken, dip for your spring rolls, or drizzle for your salads and wraps.

*I’ve also provided alternate instructions for the sauce in case you can’t find this dressing.

far-east-sriracha-lime-meatballs

 

far-east-sriracha-lime-meatball-appetizerServe meatballs over rice for supper or on a little bed of rainbow slaw for a healthy, balanced appetizer!

 

 

 

 

 

What are you cooking in your slow cooker these days? Can you take the heat or do you like things milder? Big plans, races, events for fall — I’m doing a Spartan Beast this weekend!  Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

(Slow Cooker) Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce
Print Recipe
Get the party (or dinner) started in spicy-sweet style with this crazy easy recipe that uses frozen meatballs and salad dressing. Lots of protein, low carb.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
(Slow Cooker) Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce
Print Recipe
Get the party (or dinner) started in spicy-sweet style with this crazy easy recipe that uses frozen meatballs and salad dressing. Lots of protein, low carb.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
Ingredients
Servings: servings dinner
Instructions
  1. Place frozen meatballs in 4-qt slow cooker. Add bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, red onion, soy sauce and Sriracha Lime Dressing and mix to coat.
  2. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 4 hours., stirring at halfway point. Serve on a toothpick as an appetizer. Or, serve with rice or noodles along with sauce in slow cooker for a meal. 
  3. *If you can’t find the dressing, swap for this mixture whisked together in a bow: 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup lime juice, ¼ cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons corn starch, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.   
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Jalapeno Feta Cornbread + Cast Iron Recipes

Um, YES PLEASE! Give me that Jalapeno Feta Cornbread — and find out why I don’t mind having a second slice!Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread SkilletMy Jalapeno Feta Cornbread will be the star of your next meal and makes the perfect paring for my Best-Ever, Super-Secret Beef Chili.  Bake up a batch of this old-fashioned quick bread in a cast iron skillet for the crunchiest crust, a country-style presentation and a surprising health benefit – extra iron in your diet!

Easy Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread makes the perfect pairing with soups, stews, and salads.  Also, did you know that cooking and baking in cast iron helps add additional iron to your diet? Another reason to make a batch for dinner tonight.,

You heard me right, cooking and baking in cast iron can fortify a recipe with iron transferred from the pan. Iron is an essential mineral that the body uses to deliver oxygen to the body via our red blood cell. On average 10 of American women are iron deficient with one recent study suggested that more than half (56%) of recreational joggers and competitive runners suffer from an iron deficiency that may negatively affect performance. Runners, cyclists, CrossFit athletes and other athletes typically need more iron in their diet than the average Joe because this essential mineral is lost via menstruation, pregnancy, sweat, GI distress, and even repetitive foot-strike (“footstrike hemolysis”). Also, some chronic medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease can prevent the prober absorption of iron.

The more acidic a food (like tomato sauce), the more iron will be leached from the pan, but even baked goods like this cornbread can get an iron-boost from cast iron cookware. On average, one cup of cast-iron skillet food gains 6 to 8 milligrams of iron, helping you to meet daily allowance of this mineral (For women aged 19-50, the RDA is 18 milligrams per day).

However, don’t just count on cast-iron or iron supplements to get the optimal amount – getting iron from fresh foods is optimal. Beef, spinach, broccoli, beans, legumes, and dates are all high-iron choices, you can find out more on this earlier blog post I wrote about Anemia in Runners.

Here are some iron-rich recipes to serve up with this cornbread!

Molasses Steak Salad Dates Blue Cheese overheadSuper-Iron Boosting Molasses Steak, Spinach & Date Salad

Steak and Squash Harvest Stew comes together in the slow cooker for a hearty, healthy meal that is perfect for dinner on busy weeknights -- weekend meals too! Slow-Cooker Steak & Squash Harvest Stew

Best Ever Beef Chili

Best-Ever, Super-Secret Beef Chili.

Note, I originally developed this Jalapeno Feta Cornbread recipe for Litehouse Foods, using their deliciously tangy, creamy artisan feta cheese.

Truvia NectarAlso, let me just add — this cornbread is off the hook drizzled with honey — I like the new Truvia Nectar, a honey/stevia blend that has 50% fewer calories and carbs. Get a free sample! #sponsored #UseLikeHoney

 

 

What do you cook in cast iron? Cornbread fan? Do you make yours plain, or mix “extras” in? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread Skillet
Easy Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread
Print Recipe
The crispy crust and homey presentation of this easy cornbread recipe is the perfect addition to your best chili, soup or stew recipe!
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread Skillet
Easy Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread
Print Recipe
The crispy crust and homey presentation of this easy cornbread recipe is the perfect addition to your best chili, soup or stew recipe!
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to large bowl and mix together.
  2. In separate medium bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk; stir into flour mixture until just combined. Stir in 3 ounces of the feta cheese, reserve remainder.
  3. Place butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or a 2-quart baking dish and set in oven for a couple minutes to melt. Remove skillet and swirl butter around to coat bottom. Pour remaining butter in batter and stir to combine.
  4. Top cornbread with sliced jalapenos, seed side up and sprinkle batter with chives and remaining feta. Bake cornbread in center rack until golden brown on top and toothpick pulls clean from center, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm. If not serving right away, turn from pan to cool on wire rack.
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Keep Austin Weird Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir FryI have been waiting all summer to share this recipe – Beef, Veggie & Watermelon Stir-Fry!  –It’s steak “meats” watermelon (and loads of fresh veggies) atop of a plate of slightly chewy, insanely satisfying udon noodles. Earlier this year, the Texas Beef Council asked me to come up with my personal take on a Texas food tradition. “Focus on pasta,” they said, and “make it your own.”

Most of us know by now what happens when I’ve been let off the proverbial leash like that – I can go a little wild. But, my creativity isn’t random; it makes sense – to me, anyway!  My jam is merging together seemingly unlikely ingredients to make a beautiful recipe that not only comes together easily but also optimizes nourishment to support an active lifestyle.

watermelon carrots beans peppersYou might be wondering how my Beef, Veggie & Watermelon Stir-Fry a Texas “thang” – there’s no BBQ sauce in sight!  The Texas spirit is found in the local lean beef and farmer’s market produce sourced from these here Central Texas parts. It also has that far-out, Far East fusion flavor going on that’s so popular with some of the food trucks found down in the hip and happening parts of Austin that do their best to Keep Austin Weird. Heck, I do my best to Keep Austin Weird!

jen vw bus

I’m especially excited how this fit and fresh dish pairs up BEEF with WATERMELON as these are two of my all-time favorite foods ever in the history of all time, period.

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry

This 30 minute dinner recipe features Top Sirloin, a super-lean cut of beef that has only about 5g fat and 150 calories per 3-ounce serving (along with about 26g protein)! Eating a protein portion approximately this size (25 – 30g), three to five times a day, gives me the power to feel fuller longer, stay active longer, and maintain a leaner muscle-to-fat body ratio. Of course, my meals aren’t always beef (variety is the spice of life, ya know), but lean beef is an AWESOME, nutrient-dense (think ZIP: Zinc, Iron, Protein) go-to choice that works beautifully in my life several times per week (or more).

profile facebook beef protein challengeIf you want to join the free Protein Challenge to learn more about how tweaking the protein intake in our life can help you feel and look better, sign up here.

 

 

 

 

 

What about the watermelon? Well, first off – it just screams summer in Central Texas.  I can’t think of a picnic, river tubing trip or day at the lake spent without sharing a huge watermelon with family and friends. If you’ve not ever tried watermelon warm and spiced up a bit, get ready to live on the wedge! The sweet heat flavor is fantastic and the high water content of this juicy fruit (92% water) helps keep you hydrated on most blazing hot days. Plus, watermelon is low in calories and a great source of electrolytes and antioxidants that help support my lifestyle as an athlete. Oh, and you’re going to LOVE the sprouted watermelon seeds sprinkled on the to — despite what your mama may have said, you CAN eat watermelon seeds (they’re very nutritious)!

Summer Squat Challenge -- Do 100 squats per day from this mix an match list!Learn much more about Watermelon for Fitness (uhh and don’t miss my Watermelon Workout Videos) at Watermelon.org. Here’s a little Watermelon Squat Workout I dare ya to try!

Note on the noodles: You don’t necessarily have to use the Udon noodles, I like to incorporate them when I need a little more carb energy in my life for long runs and endurance events. A great gluten-free option would be Soba noodles (made of buckwheat which is gluten free) or rice noodles . . . or just rice. I’m also going to make this dish in the future and try it totally grain-free by using spiralized zucchini or summer squash!

What have you been stir-frying lately? Favorite Fruit? Favorite type of Squat? Noodles, rice or nothing?  Please share in the comments  – XOXO, Jennifer 

This post was sponsored by The Texas Beef Council and the Beef Check Off, however all opinions, comments, enthusiasm and weirdness are my own. 

 

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry
Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry
Print Recipe
This fit and fresh dish features top sirloin, my favorite cut of lean beef, paired with farmer’s market-fresh produce, flavors of the Far East, and some funky South Congress food truck fusion. Keep Austin weird!
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry
Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry
Print Recipe
This fit and fresh dish features top sirloin, my favorite cut of lean beef, paired with farmer’s market-fresh produce, flavors of the Far East, and some funky South Congress food truck fusion. Keep Austin weird!
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Instructions
  1. Toss together beef with garlic, water, soy sauce and sesame oil. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together hot water with cornstarch until dissolved. Stir in watermelon juice, lime juice, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 to 2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek according to personal preference for spicy heat.
  3. Drain and discard marinade from beef. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over high heat. Add one-half of beef to skillet and brown for 45 seconds without stirring. With tongs, quickly turn beef and cook additional 30 seconds or until barely browned. Take care not to overcook. Transfer to a warm plate immediately. Repeat browning with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and beef.
  4. Add final 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add green beans and peppers and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add matchstick carrots and ginger and stir-fry an additional 1 minute. Add cooked beef and watermelon juice-chili sauce mixture and stir-fry another 1 minute, or until slightly thickened. Remove from skillet from heat and stir in watermelon.
  5. Garnish with chopped green onions and sprouted watermelon seeds. Serve immediately with prepared udon noodles.
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Caramelized Nectarines with Bacon and Blue Cheese + More Recipes

Don’t you just love nectarines?!  The sweet juicy goodness of this stone fruit is at a peak in the summer season — so I’ve celebrating with lots and lots of nectarine recipes. Nectarines salads, nectarine smoothies, nectarine salsa — you get the idea!

Caramelized Nectarines with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Yesterday, I confirmed a hunch that nectarines would go together awesomely with bacon and blue cheese – duh! What doesn’t go with bacon and blue cheese?! In order to get straight to the good stuff, let me present Caramelized Nectarines with Bacon & Blue Cheese:

Caramelized Nectarines with Bacon and Blue Cheese - pin this for a healthy dessert. Top with ice cream or Greek yorgurt if desired!

Surprisingly, this decadent sounding summer fruit recipe isn’t all that much of a healthy diet bomb. Fist, you get all the luscious nutrients found in a nectarine like fiber, potassium and quick-sourced quality carbs to provide energy for workouts and life. Plus, the color of nectarines is a dead giveaway that they are loaded with Vitamin A and the antioxidant Beta Carotene.

Less than 125 calories (without the ice cream)! Get the full macros here.

Click Here for Nutrition Infofo

Also, check out more Nectarine Recipes like my TDF Blackberry Nectarine Margarita (and virgin smoothie option).  Head here for the recipes

Summery and Insanely Delicious Nectarine Recipes

Shiner Bock Beer Short Ribs with Chipotle Cheese Grits for CrossFit 16.1 Recovery

Shiner Bock Beer Beef Short Ribs can be made ahead in the slow cooler -- and then the grits only take 10 minutes make.Oh hello, how was your weekend? Mine was very meaty and gritty, let me explain! First up, I had to, ahem, knock out Cross Fit Games Open 16.1 Workout. And, when I say “knock out” I mean muster up every gram of grit I have to lunge around with a really-heavy-to-me 65 lb. overhead bar. Seems everyone else was worried about the Chest-to-Bar Pull ups in this WOD which I nailed unbroken (need to have some silver lining in the recap).However, the Achilles heel of my scrawny rear is any task that requires more butt strength than getting up off the couch. I kid, but still.

CrossFit Games Open 16.1 Workout - thefitfork.com

In the end and with many rest breaks, I lunged 275 meters with more than half of my body weight above my head  (tongue out!). . . at the finish of one set I half dropped the bar on my head. That hurt. As I bragged mentioned, I killed the Chest-to-Bar Pullups and the positive visualization of whipping those out is what would get me through the last few lunges in each round.  And, the burpees – well, they were burpees. One young beast of a girl at the gym scored nearly double to me – so awesome, so humbling!  Right now I am hanging at 14h place in my age group for the South Central states region (and will surely drop significantly by Monday night when all scores are reported), I’m really happy that I challenged myself to do something that was out of my comfort zone. That’s what it’s all about, right?!

Shiner Bock Short Ribs and Chipotle Cheese Grits

So, I rarely write a race or workout recap without also including a recipe –for me the love of food and fitness are forever entwined.  So, anticipating my fatigue from the CrossFit 16.1 WOD, I knew I was going to need a protein-rich meal to bring the old bod back to life. In the morning before heading out, I threw some beef short ribs and a bottle of beer in the slow cooker to work their magic. To prep dinner, I only needed 10 minutes to whip up some grits and toss a salad – thank you Crock Pot for doing all the heavy lifting at dinner!

Chipotle Cheese Grits are ready in 10 minutes and add South of the Border meets The South flair to dinner.

Hope you enjoy this recipe for SHINER BOCK BEER SHORT RIBS WITH CHIPOTLE CHEESE GRITS – I originally created it for the Texas Beef Council – head on over there if you’d like to learn a little more about this cut of beef or get my useful slow cooker tips. It’s a super easy and forgiving recipe that will pamper your primal meat cravings without any fuss. Not normally on my diet, the Chipotle Cheese Grits were a delicious treat . . . and using some of the beef liquid reserved from the Crock Pot complemented the peppers’ smoky heat and kicked up the flavor of often bland grits into beast mode!  And, the ribs were literally fall off the bone tender which I feel was somewhat metaphorical for the state of my muscles.

ancho chili slow cooker pot roastIf you are looking for another beef slow cooker meal,with Texas flair, check out Ancho Mama’s Pot Roast —  cook up a chuck roast and serve over potatoes, in tacos or on a salad.

So, did you break a sweat in the CrossFit Games Open WOD 16.1 ? Have you ever eaten or made beef short ribs? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Shiner Bock Beer Beef Short Ribs can be made ahead in the slow cooler -- and then the grits only take 10 minutes make.
Shiner Bock Short Ribs with Chipotle Cheese Grits + CrossFit 16.1 Recap
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Shiner Bock Beer Beef Short Ribs can be made ahead in the slow cooler -- and then the grits only take 10 minutes make.
Shiner Bock Short Ribs with Chipotle Cheese Grits + CrossFit 16.1 Recap
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Ingredients
For Short Ribs in Slow Cooker
For Chipotle Cheese Grits
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Rub olive oil in bottom of skillet, bring to high-heat.
  2. Pour Greek seasoning into shallow dish and roll each short rib though to coat.
  3. Add seasoned short ribs to skillet, searing quickly for about 30 to 60 seconds per side. Remove from heat.
  4. Add broth, beer molasses, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper sauce to slow cooker, stir to combine.
  5. Add short ribs to liquid and place lid on slow cooker. Cook on low setting for 10 to 12 hours.
  6. Ten minutes before serving, remove 1 cup of strained short ribs cooking liquid from slow cooker, add to medium pot.
  7. Add water, salt and chipotle in adobe sauce to pot and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add instant grits, stirring frequently for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.
  8. Remove pot from heat and cheese, stir until combined.
  9. To serve, make a pile of grits and place a short rib on top. Present with strained short rib juice, if desired.
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