Molasses Pepper Beef Steaks and Why Blackstrap is Better

Seeing as June is National Steak Month and I’m a bona fide beef-grilling mama, I knew I had to share my Molasses Pepper Crusted Steak as soon as possible. I originally made this super-easy, mouth-watering hunk of meat for Beef Loving Texans, it was an act of love that involved one of my favorite cuts of beef – Flat Iron.

Molasses & Pepper Crusted Flat Iron Steak

Flat Iron steaks are super tender, second only to tenderloin – yet cost half or two-thirds the price per pound. Plus, this now-trending cut of beef has yet to fail me on the grill thanks to the uniform rectangular shape. You may have passed up a Flat Iron, as they look a little thin on the meat tray, however, due to the method of the cut, they actually puff up on the grill to become surprisingly thick and hearty.  If you don’t see this must-try steak cut in the meat case, just ask the butcher and he should be able to hook you up! Read on to get more details about this 30-minute grill recipe and to learn the nutritional benefits of blackstrap molasses. Continue reading

Beefy Butternut-Carrot-Coconut Cream Noodle Bowls … Mmmm, Pasta!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®  & La Moderna but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyExceptionalPasta #GoldenHarvest  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Eating bowl full of La Moderna Golden Harvest NoodlesNoodle night has been a “thing” at my house ever since my boys were toddlers who dared venture only as far as plain buttered pasta. Now all three are teens (one’s nearly 20) with taste buds much more adventurous and welcoming to new ingredients at our noodle nights. Since this mama is a healthy foodie, my family has come to expect my pasta recipes to be packed with as much nutrition and flavor as possible to optimize our active lifestyle. Food is fuel, but it should taste good too!

Molasses Steak on Butternut Carrot coconut Cream Pasta seems rich and sinful, but is actually a health and diary-free dinner.

My healthy pasta recipe today is Butternut-Carrot-Coconut Cream Noodle Bowls with Molasses Steak. For most of us, pasta equates “comfort” and eating it out of a big bowl packed with fresh, flavorful and fit-focused ingredients is not only an edible hug of happiness, but also one of health! I’ve been one to cut carbs here and there, but I always come back to pasta when I need to fuel my long runs, intense workouts or even just jump out of a brain fog. Butternut Carrot Coconut "Alfredo"La Moderna Golden Harvest is a brand I’ve been going back to time and time again for my pasta creations. Not only is the consistency, texture and flavor of this 100% Durum Wheat product on point, it’s also a good source of protein (8 grams per serving) thanks to the special selection of high protein wheat that is harvested from desert valleys on Mexico bordering California.

butternut-carrot-coconut-cream-noodle-bowl-overhead-la-moderna

The main protein source for my pasta bowl is sirloin steak that has been soaked in a mollassas marinade, grilled indoors or out, and sliced thinly into bite-sized pieces. While I’ve used lean top sirloin, you could also use any other steak cut that you prefer (such as strip or flat iron) or even heat up leftover roast or brisket. Spinach beefs up this recipe with even more iron in addition to my steak, it’s a must-have mineral this runner girl always needs to cure her fatiuge!

butternut-carrot-coconut-cream-sauceThe sauce is super creamy and rich, but surprisingly healthy made of wholesome ingredients including pureed butternut squash, carrots, coconut butter and coconut milk – there is no cheese or traditional milk, so this recipe remains dairy-free. It’s so creamy and rich tasting, it has the texture of an alfredo sauce, but my version it’s so much more sensible for an athlete’s diet. Plus, it’s seasoned with turmeric and ginger which have a host of health benefits to support optimal wellness.

la-moderna-producgts

La Moderna comes in many familiar past shapes including spaghetti, elbow, rigate and rotini and you can find them at your local Walmart, that’s where I shop for mine. Check out the product locator before you head out shopping! Also, learn more about the brand and stay up to date on their latest products and promotions by following their social media – La Moderna Facebook, La Moderna Twitter, La Moderna Instagram, and La Moderna Pinterest

beefy-butternut-carrot-coconut-cream-pasta-toes

What is your favorite pasta shape? What is your favorite sauce or toppings? Do you use pasta to “carb-load” ? Please share in the comment below – XOXO, Jennifer

Beefy Butternut-Carrot-Coconut Cream Noodle Bowls
Print Recipe
Beef up your noodle bowl with protein rich pasta and a rich, creamy but healthy dairy-free sauce made from butternut, coconut, carrots and turmeric.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Beefy Butternut-Carrot-Coconut Cream Noodle Bowls
Print Recipe
Beef up your noodle bowl with protein rich pasta and a rich, creamy but healthy dairy-free sauce made from butternut, coconut, carrots and turmeric.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
For marinade & steak:
For Pasta & Sauce:
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. Set in refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours, flipping bag occasionally. Preheat gas, charcoal grill or indoor grill pan to 400 F degrees. Remove meat and discard marinade. Season with salt and more pepper to taste. 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 Transfer plates to platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing against the grain, and then cutting again into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, add chopped squash and carrots to microwave safe container and add ½ cup water. Loosely place lid on container or vent with plastic wrap and microwave on high for approximately 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables softened. Drain water and set aside. In large skillet, add 2 tablespoons coconut oil and bring to medium high heat. Add diced onion and cook for several, stirring constantly, until onions translucent and turning golden brown on edges. Transfer cooked squash, carrots, and onion with garlic to blender. Add ginger, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Pour in 2 cups of coconut milk and pulse until finely pureed. If needed, add up to another ½ cup of coconut milk a splash at a time to achieve desired consistency.
  3. Boil pasta according to manufacturer’s directions on box. Drain but do not rinse. Set aside. Transfer pureed mixture back to skillet to reheat gently over medium-low heat. Stir in chopped spinach and cooked noodles, stirring until combined for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer to individual bowls or serve family style on a platter. Top with sliced beef. Garnish with chopped parsley and unsweetened, shredded coconut.
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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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Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes and La Tomatina

Tomato toes IG‘Tis the season for tomatoes! Load up on this garden staple, slow-cook them in the oven to perfection,, and what you don’t gobble up right away, can be stuck in the freezer and enjoyed throughout the year – the taste of summer will last forever. Tomato lovers are going to absolutely swoon over this easy recipe for Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes!

Also, have you ever heard of the La Tomatina Festival? it’s a wild party of tomato-tossing on the cobblestone streets of a little Spanish town. I say show up with a bottle of Wocestershire and Vodka and just open your mouth! Check out the video at bottom of post!

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - multiply the recipe and store in the freezer or year-round enjoyment on salad, pizza, pasta, steak and more.

Even though this recipe takes an hour to cook (that’s a long time in my quick-fix book), it’s well worth the wait. Roasting tomatoes in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes. This little trick is especially helpful if your using tomatoes from the produce department, which aren’t as vine-ripe as those grown at home. This make-ahead recipe serves about 10, but feel free to double, triple or otherwise multiply depending on your tomato addiction.

 Also, if you’re looking for a top-notch olive oil, I highly recommend the Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Ellydale Organics, a division of NOW Foods.

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes 250 - thefitfork

I’ve served these little succulent beauties on salads, pizzas, anti-pasta platters, steaks and chopped up and incorporated into so many recipes. They also make a healthy snack just plucked straight off the pan. Enjoy!

So, if you planning to be in Spain in August on the last Wednesday of the month, don’t miss La Tomatina. This is perhaps the world’s largest food fight – with tomatoes being the only thing thrown! Held in the small town of Bunol (near Valencia), this event draws in more than 50K people who pelt each other with more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes!

What is your favorite fruit or veggie of summer?  Would you rather eat a tomato or throw it? Let’s connect in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Print Recipe
Celebrate summer all year long by roasting up several batches of these succulent, sweet roasted tomatoes -- so much better than sun dried!
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Print Recipe
Celebrate summer all year long by roasting up several batches of these succulent, sweet roasted tomatoes -- so much better than sun dried!
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and gently squeeze out seeds or scoop them with a spoon --leave as much as the flesh as possible.
  2. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the thyme.
  3. Roast tomatoes on center rack for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast tomatoes about 20 minutes more, or until caramelized.
  4. Let tomatoes rest until reaching room temperature. The tomatoes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or for up to 6 months in the freezer.
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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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Pomegranate, Blue Cheese and Quinoa Caviar – Easy & Elegant Holiday Appetizer

Blue Cheese Pomegranate and Quinoa CaviarNow that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to refocus on the remaining festival of eating that spans now through the New Year!  There is more noshing and nibbling packed into the next 30 days than perhaps in the whole calendar year! With invited (and quite possible uninvited guests) dropping by with holiday cheer and hungry appetites, I like to have a few simple yet show-stopping appetizer recipes at my fingertips so that no one is disappointed.

Pomegranate Blue Cheese Quinoa Caviar is an easy and elegant appetizer for your next party or celebration. Leftovers are delicious sprinkled on a salad.

Blue Cheese Pomegranate and Quinoa Caviar

My recipe for Blue Cheese, Pomegranate and Quinoa “Caviar” is an easy yet elegant addition to any gathering, whether you need sophisticated snacks to headline a cocktail party or as a prelude to a full-scale dinner party. Or, perhaps as an “I’m not cooking tonight” mini meal to enjoy with a bottle of wine in your fuzzy slippers after everyone heads home!

jennifer fisher pomegranate fresh summitOne of the treasures of this holiday hors d’oeuvres recipe is pomegranates. Pomegranates on their own are a quite festive fruit, the little arils inside resemble ruby-red jewels and taste decidedly more precious. When paired with a pleasingly pungent blue cheese and the almost nutty texture and taste of quinoa, you get a taste experience that I can describe no other way than Manheim steamroller for your Mouth – a modern orchestra of fa-la-la flavor!

Blue Cheese Pomegranate and Quinoa CaviarWhile this holiday appetizer looks like it spent all day getting ready for a food glamour shot, it’s actually embarrassingly easy to make. All the ingredients are just tossed together in a bowl and then molded into a standard 6-ounce ramekin dish. If you’d like to do individual servings, mold with a mini melon baller or cookie dough scoop.

I’ve served this Christmas and New Year’s Eve party recipe on one of my favorite cracker; the nearly paper-thin wafers from 34º Crisps.  However, you can use the cracker of your choice or even serve a dollop atop an apple or pear slice.

Blue Cheese Pomegranate and Quinoa Caviar on Steak Salad

If you have leftovers, a big spoonful or two of Blue Cheese, Pomegranate and Quinoa “Caviar” is fantastic on a steak salad – especially with the Pomegranate Blueberry Vinaigrette. Enjoy!

 

Make a a quick and healthy appetizer platter with these 10 Easy and Elegant Ways to Top Crackers.PS – Need some other easy cracker-topping ideas? I’m your girl, I have a gazillion combinations of goodness. Here is just a sampling of my madness — 10 Easy and Elegant Ways to Top a Cracker.

So, what are your favorite things to put on a cracker? See if you can surprise me! Share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Blue Cheese Pomegranate and Quinoa Caviar
Pomegranate, Blue Cheese and Quinoa Caviar
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 appetizer servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 appetizer servings 10 minutes
Blue Cheese Pomegranate and Quinoa Caviar
Pomegranate, Blue Cheese and Quinoa Caviar
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 appetizer servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 appetizer servings 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: appetizer servings
Instructions
  1. Add blue cheese crumbles, cooked quinoa, pomegranate arils and vinegar into small bowl, stir gently to combine.
  2. Transfer to 6-ounce ramekin dish and use back of spoon to tightly pack down.
  3. Place serving plate on top of ramekin and quickly invert.
  4. Carefully lift up ramekin, leaving mixture in mold form.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped fresh thyme and walnuts along with reserved pomegranate arils.
  6. Serve with crackers, apple slices or on a salad.
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Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad & Grilling Produce Tips

Take advantage of the summer's best produce with this Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad -- and check out the grilling tips.This coming weekend, I’m teaching 200 carnivores how to grill vegetable side dishes to go along with their beef. It’s hard to upstage a delicious, juicy flat iron steak — but I think a couple of my recipes can come close — especially this Balsamic  Grilled Vegetable Salad!

Five Tips for Grilling Vegetables this Summer

Grilled vegetables is super easy, and in the heat of the summer — there is no need to also turn on an oven or stove if the grill is already going. At BeefLovingTexans.com, I’m sharing Five Tips for Grilling Vegetables – go check that out! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this delicious, easy grilled vegetable salad that is the perfect way to take advantage of your favorite fresh seasonal vegetables — feel free to swap in the veggies you love.  It’s also a great dish for my Paleo diet and low-carb peeps.

And, if you have any leftovers, these vegetables are so good in a sandwich! Or in an egg scramble, or on a pizza, or tossed with pasta.

Balsamic Grilled Veggie Sandwich

What is your favorite vegetable (or fruit) to toss on the grill? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

 

 

 

Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad
Print Recipe
Grilling vegetables is a great way to add a hint of smoky goodness and flavor to the summer season's best vegetables. The leftovers for this grilled salad can be used on pizzas, pastas and sammies.
Servings Prep Time
4 - 6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
8 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 - 6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
8 minutes 30 minutes
Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad
Print Recipe
Grilling vegetables is a great way to add a hint of smoky goodness and flavor to the summer season's best vegetables. The leftovers for this grilled salad can be used on pizzas, pastas and sammies.
Servings Prep Time
4 - 6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
8 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 - 6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
8 minutes 30 minutes
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, oil, parsley, basil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Place veggies in large zip-top bag and add balsamic mixture; close bag and turn a few times to coat contents. Let marinate at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.
  2. Skewer together mushrooms. Coat grates with oil and heat grill to medium-high — approximately 400 F degrees.
  3. Drain balsamic marinade off vegetables and reserve (never reserve marinade on raw meat, but on vegetables it is fine)
  4. Grill veggies for 6 to 8 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Vegetables will be done when they are becoming tender (a little “crunch” is desired and have golden brown grate marks. Let vegetables cool on cutting board for several minutes and then cut down into bite sized pieces.
  5. In small sauce pan, bring balsamic mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, let simmer for a couple minutes to reduce a volume a bit.
  6. Add spinach to serving platter and top with grilled vegetables and balsamic dressing (made from the marinade). Toss with tongs and serve warm — or make the vegetables in advance, chill and serve as a cold salad
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