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

Grilled Cantaloupe with Ancho Date Sauce #FireUpYourStay

isclaimer: This post is sponsored by TownPlace Suites by Marriott. However, all opinions, experiences, content/recipes and enthusiasm are my own.

If you’ve ever had to stay in a hotel for an extended period of time, whether for vacation, business, or even “between houses,” you will likely agree that both your wallet and waistline take a hit eating every meal out. TownPlace by Marriott is your home away from home and even has Weber Grills on site.

Thank goodness for TownePlace Suites by Marriott, my favorite “home away from home” that keeps me in a happy place with all of my life’s necessary comforts — free-flowing Wi-Fi, spacious living areas, a full kitchen for recipe creating, and even high-end Weber grills in the patio area. Honestly, I was so fired up after finding out that TownPlace had partnered with Weber Grills, I created a special fresh and fit recipe to celebrate – Grilled Cantaloupe with Ancho Date SauceContinue reading

Paleo Brisket, Sweet Potato & Kale Frittata Fuels Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner!

Ready to wake up and tackle the day or refuel after a long hard one with a healthy meal but feel too rushed or worn down to be in the kitchen? I have a delicious 30-minute dish that uses only five ingredients (salt, pepper and olive oil are freebies) and has a happy balance of protein, carbs and leafy greens to give you that boost of good nutrition your body craves.Brisket Kale Sweet Potato Fritttata Slice

My recipe for Brisket, Sweet Potato & Kale Frittata is destined to become a favorite in your busy workweek repertoire. It’s also a smart solution for any type of leftover beef and ideal for meal prepping, just pop individual slices in the freezer for a blazing-fast meal later. Continue reading

Grilled Avocado Tacos with Creamy Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dressing

I am about to change your life with two simple words that I frequently say separately, but never before together– Grilled Avocados. That’s right, I discovered avocados can and should be grilled! Tossing this creamy green fruit on the grates for a few minutes creates a smoky, simply marvelous flavor profile that plain ole avocados just can’t deliver. Grilled Avocado Tacos

With grilling season firing up and Cinco de May moments away, you’re definitely going to want to toss on a few avocados to go along with your barbecue. Or, if you’re vegetarian, vegan or just taking a plant-based day for variety, you’ll love my recipe for Grilled Avocado Tacos with Creamy Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dressing

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Carnitas & Street Corn Stuffed Zucchini with Ole Frijoles Pinto Bean Sauce

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Farmer Direct Co-op, however all opinions, content and enthusiasm are my own.

Spiralizing zucchini is trend that will never grow old, but every now and then I like to turn the tide and unleash deliciously stuffed zucchini boats for dinner. I’m not talking about the old-school stuffed squash my mama used to make with our backyard garden bumper crop, it might have been a bit mushy, bland, and hard to swallow (sorry mom). Instead, my recipe for Carnitas & Street Corn Stuffed Zucchini Boats with “Ole Frijoles” Pinto Bean Sauce is totally crave-worthy and turns supper-time with spicy south-of-the-border fiesta. Carnitas & Sreet Corn Stuff Zucchini With Bean Sauce

With pre-shredded pork roast and pinto beans cooked overnight, this family favorite recipe can be made in just 30 minutes – making it perfect for a busy weeknight meal. It can also be prepped the night before and popped in the oven 20 minutes before dinner. I’ve used pinto beans from Farmer Direct Co-op and, at the end of this post, you can grab the zucchini recipe and also enter to win a giveaway prize pack that includes an assortment of their top-selling organic, non-GMO and fair-trade products packaged in 1lb. bags.

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Tex-Mex Egg Drop Soup | 15-minute Meal

I’ve got so much Texas in me, it’s overflowing into my soup! Seriously though, last week, the hubby and me were feeling a little under the weather but well enough to eat a bit of something (I mean, puh-lease).  I tried my hand at an egg drop soup for the first time and it was fantastically easy and tasty – considering I added some of the flavors we love right here in the Lone Star and topped it with chopped avocado! This Tex-Mex Egg Drop Soup is the cure for WHATEVER ails you — even if it’s just hunger! Tex Mex Egg Drop Soup

I think you’ll love the new zesty attitude of a traditionally mild-mannered soup.  You can spice it up or down with your preferred amount of chipotle chile powder.  It’s the new thing in Texas comfort food (because I say so)! Continue reading

Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew w/ Sage Romano Grits + #StubbsInsider Giveaway

This post and giveaway was sponsored by Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q , however all opinions, comments and enthusiasm are my own.

Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits

This holiday season, I’ve made a vow to make all my meals with love, happiness and smiles. Not just the big celebration dinners, but also the crazy night meals when we’ve been out all day running errands, visiting with family or volunteering with our favorite charity (Brown Santa).  Some times on these chaotic nights, I get grumbly about making supper, but shortcuts with Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q products  keep me grinning even after sitting in shopping mall traffic or spending hours trying to figure out which bulb in a string of lights has burned out.

Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits in slow cooker

For this slow cooker recipe, I’ve used Stubb’s Smokehouse Bourbon Cookin’ Sauce. This convienient product (which is gluten free) works in both the skillet and slow cooker. It contains a flavorful sauce pouch made with bourbon, garlic and rosemary along with a spice packet that can be used to prep the meat. Browning Stew Meat

One little hint extra step I have for this quick and easy recipe is to brown the stew meat before putting in the crock pot. While this may seem unnecessary (and you can skip if absolutely pressed for time), it does create an amazing caramelization on the beef which helps to create a more complex flavor experience. Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits -  an easy slow cooker meat that will satisfy your guests this holiday season.

Don’t just think of Stubb’s ONLY as a way to fix traditional Texas BBQ. They have so many delicious Bar-B-Q sauces, marinades, rubs and Cookin’ Sauces that offer bold flavors to spur on your creativity in the kitchen this holiday season.

Of course, I love to create my own new holiday recipes as well as revisit family food traditions, but why recreate the wheel on every single side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other winter family gatherings when Stubb’s has complied a delicious collection of recipes for the season?! stubbs-roasted-brussels-sprouts

Yes-sir-ee, the Stubb’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts will be a delicious compliment to my Slow Cooker Cranberry-Orange Beef Stew with Rosemary Garlic Grits. You need to try these, so amazing!   

stubbs-cranberry-orange-beef-packageTo help you get cooking with down-home but daring style, I’m hosting a giveaway for one reader to win a Stubb’s Prize Pack that includes a spatula, T-shirt, Stubb’s hat and coupons for free Stubb’s products (yeehaw)!  Just enter via the Rafflecopter app below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits
Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew w/ Sage Romano Grits
Print Recipe
Warm up with this tasty beef stew that is slightly spicy, sweet and tangy -- it makes a hearty meal topped on grits but you can also pair with pasta, potatoes, and whole grains.
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits
Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew w/ Sage Romano Grits
Print Recipe
Warm up with this tasty beef stew that is slightly spicy, sweet and tangy -- it makes a hearty meal topped on grits but you can also pair with pasta, potatoes, and whole grains.
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Instructions
for stew
  1. Sprinkle stew meat with spice packet from Stubb’s Slow Cooker Sauce (or simply season with salt and pepper for alternative preparation).
  2. Heat large, heavy-duty skillet to medium-high heat and brown stew meat in single layer. Don’t overcrowd, work in batches if necessary, draining cooking liquid between.
  3. Add browned stew meat to 6-quart slow cooker along with chopped onion, cranberry sauce, orange segments, orange zest, bourbon and Stubb’s Slow Cooker Sauce. Stir to combine.
  4. Top slow cooker with lid and simmer on high heat for 4 to 6 hours, or until beef tender. If desired, add 1 cup fresh cranberries to last 1 hour of simmering.
  5. *** If you can’t find Stubb’s Cookin’ Smokehouse Bourbon Flavor, the use this substitute. To season stew meat before browning, sprinkle with mixture of 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground pepper and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. For liquid, add 1 cup beef broth, 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and add an additional 1 ounce of bourbon whiskey.
for grits
  1. Add water to saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Slowly stir in grits, sage and salt and then reduce to medium-low for simmer.
  2. Simmer for about 7 minutes stirring frequently. When thickened, stir in cheese until incorporated. Remove from heat.
  3. To serve, place a mound of grits on a plate and use a slotted spoon to remove beef, onions and fruit from slow cooker. Top with optional garnishes of grated orange zest and chopped parsley.
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Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri

When I’m looking to make a meat-free soup into an entire meal, I have couple non-negotiable. The soup needs to be hearty and thick (as opposed to thin and brothy), it needs to have tons of flavor, and also should have a decent showing of protein.  Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato SoupMy recipe for Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri meets all of these requirements and more — the “more” bonus is that it’s super easy to make and is loaded with healthy carbs to fuel my long runs and intense workouts. Slightly spicy while simultaneously smoky and just a tad sweet, a big hearty bowl of this meat-free, dairy-free, vegan soup will get you warmed up and keep you filled up until the next meal! My serving size is very generous and, sans the chimichurri, has 400 calories, 20 grams of protein, 80g healthy complex carb, 4g fat – plus is very high in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Pin this for later!Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup makes a hearty, healthy meal on busy nights. Pureed beans in the soup add extra protein, making this a great meal solution for vegans, vegetarians and those looking to go meatless for the night.

Nutrient-rich sweet potatoes blended into vegetable stock make up the bulk of this super simple soup recipe. Pureed white navy beans have been added for additional protein and fiber and help boost this soup into a full-fledged meal appropriate for vegans, vegetarians or anyone looking for a nutritious meatless option. As I mentioned, this is a great go-to soup when I’m carb-loading for winter marathons, Spartan races and other endurance events.

blooming-chipotle-powder-for-sweet-potato-soup-litehouseWhen making this simple soup, a step you don’t want to skip is to “bloom” the chipotle chile powder in the stock pot before adding any of the other soup ingredients. Blooming most spices helps to intensify their depth and complexity — the smoky flavor of ground chipotle pepper really opens up with this front-end method.

I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Food’s Living Litehouse Blog using their Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend as a quick fix in both the soup and the quick-fix Cilantro Chimichurri.  I highly recommend this freeze-dried herb product, it’s one of my all-time favorites with multiple uses beyond just guacamole making – try it in soups, stews, casseroles, stir-frys, and skillet dinners. However, if you can’t find the product in your market, I’ve asterisked the recipe with substitutions.

Cilantro ChimichurriThe Cilantro Chimichurri blended up to dress the soup is a bright and vibrant contrast to the more scarf-and-sweater vibe of the hearty soup. Plus, it adds a drizzle of heart-healthy olive oil to a soup recipe that is nearly fat-free.  You can also use this Cilantro Chimichurri on drizzled on steak and fish, as a salad dressing, or mixed into Greek yogurt as a dip.

How are you prepping your sweet potatoes this fall? What is your favorite type of soup? What fuels your running the night before? Please share in the comments, XOXO — Jennifer 

 

Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri
Print Recipe
A big bowl of this sweet-savory nourishing vegan soup provides plenty of protein and healthy complex carbs to fuel your most active endeavors.
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri
Print Recipe
A big bowl of this sweet-savory nourishing vegan soup provides plenty of protein and healthy complex carbs to fuel your most active endeavors.
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
for Soup
for Chimichurri
Servings: main dish servings
Instructions
  1. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Place potatoes, cut sides down, in an 11 x 7-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/3 cup water; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly, discard potato skins. Heat stock pot over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chipotle chili powder and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant.
  2. Place undrained beans in blender with approximately ½ cup of chicken broth, pulse until smooth. Add to stock pot.
  3. Scoop sweet potatoes out of skin and add to blender with remaining chicken broth and ¼ cup Guacamole Blend herbs. Process until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Add mixture to stock pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. If soup seems too thick add additional water or chicken broth to suit preferences.
  4. To prepare Chimichurri, add olive oil, fresh cilantro, Guacamole Blend herbs, lime juice, vinegar and salt to blender. Pulse until mixture coarsely combined.
  5. To serve, scoop soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of Chimichurri.
  6. If you can't find Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend, use this as substitute: For Soup, instead of 1/4 cup Guacamole Blend, use 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons minced garlic For Chimichurri, instead of 1/4 cup Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend, use 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons minced garlic
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