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!
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 →
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
This past weekend, I teamed up with the Texas Beef Council to teach a Grilling 101 class – and it was the perfect day for outdoor cooking with members of the Beef Team. Weather was in the mid-80s and it seems nearly every Austinite was down at our venue, Zilker Park, my hometown’s favorite urban spot for relaxing and recreating!
After learning some grill basics on how to operate gas and charcoal grills and prep beef before it hits the grates, participants put their skills to practical use firing up flat iron steaks to perfection – they were delicious! A+ to everyone, especially genius, fast-learning student who cooked my steak to a magnificent medium-rare while I was off making the final salad preparations!
I’ll get back to the beef another day (oh, you know I will), but today wanted to share the dressing I made I made to accompany our steak lunch. Since I’m a huge fan of the Freedom Salad (with beef) at Freebird’s World Burrito that is drizzled with the yummiest ancho dressing ever, I knew I needed to replicate it for our post-class meal. Check out my recipe for Freebird’s Copy-Cat Ancho Dressing :
Hope you enjoy the Freebird’s Copy-Cat Ancho Dressing as much as I do!
This southwestern-inspired vinaigrette is delicious on everything from salads to corn-on-the-cob and other veggies — or use as a marinade for meats and seafood.
Did you know that Anchos are smoked poblano chile peppers?! What would you drizzle this dressing on? What is your favorite steak cut? Do you prefer chacoal or gas grilling? Please share in the comments below – xoxo, Jennifer Fisher
Copy Cat Freebirds Ancho Salad Dressing
This vinaigrette is not too spicy and a tiny, tiny bit sweet -- it's perfect for salads, side dishes and marinades.
Today is National Tortilla Chip Day! My appetite just couldn’t wait for National Nacho Day to roll around on November 6th before sharing my recipe for hot, hearty and “yippee-yee-haw” yummy Cowboy BBQ Brisket & Bean Skillet Nachos. Thousands have actually devoured this recipe, I developed it on behalf of Litehouse Foods to feed thousands of hungry expo carousers at the Produce Marketing Association’s “Fresh Summit” in Atlanta back in October. The line to get my grub was huge!
Most “skillet” nachos I’ve tasted have been limp, lame and ready to be put out to pasture, the result of wet and dry ingredients loitering too long. However, this isn’t my first nacho rodeo and I revealed a nacho hack I’d been hiding – to keep the saddle off the horse until it’s time to ride! What I mean by this is to cook up toppings in cast-iron cookware and then slop atop tortilla chips right before serving, the result passes muster with this Sheriff of Sogginess. Just imagine a platter with crisp, crunchy chips on the bottom and a hella ooey, gooey heaven on top! Don’t just imagine, try it!
Grab you some barbeque brisket, roasted corn, pinto beans and seasonings – you’ll be wrangled those ingredients up stove top in a skillet at then smothering with a heaping helping of cheddar cheese and jalapenos. I love using the center cut portion of brisket for this recipe because it is actually considered a lean cut of beef (that surprises a lot of folks) and just tastes so down home delicious. When ready to feed your hungry hombres, pile chips on a plate, cover with a generous pile of brisket and bean topping, and dollop with sour cream, guacamole, salsa or whatever scoots your boot!
These skillet nachos are perfect for a party, patio snack or last-minute meal solution with leftovers Any remaining topping from my Cowboy BBQ Brisket & Bean Skillet Nacho can be served over baked potatoes, wrapped taco style in tortillas or scrambled with eggs. And, feel free to swap out the chopped up brisket for equal proportions of lightly seasoned ground beef or shredded chuck roast — you can’t go wrong!
If this inspired by Texas recipe isn’t your style, how about some English pea and asparagus packed Skinny Garden Guacamole?
January is National Soup Month, so I’ve been busy making a new pot of healthy, hearty and warming comfort every couple days – I will share everything in a Soup Roundup soon! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my latest creation – Thai Carrot Crab Noodle Soup! It’s so delicious and packed with oodles of healthy veggie ingredients along with brown rice noodles. I’ve used crab in the recipe (mainly I was looking for an excuse to eat crab), but shrimp or chicken would make perfectly acceptable and yummy substitutes.
Y’all know with my busy family, work and fitness training schedule, I’m a convenience lover – but keep in mind I stock up on HEALTHY helpers, not your typical sodium, sugar and fat-loaded convenience products. Some of the convenience ingredients I’ve used in the soup recipe to reduce prep time include the Power Blend from Mann’s Vegetables (a blend of Brussels sprouts, Napa cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, carrots and kale) and Odowalla 100% Carrot Juice. I also used Better that Bouillon Vegetable Base and the Thai Brown Rice Pad Thai Noodles from Explore Asian (see my past recipes), as I find they taste super and the texture holds up really well!
I’m also sticking to my intention to #KeepFitFun in 2016 with handstand and backbend practice – just like I was some sort of kid!
Looking for another quick and unique carrot soup recipe? Try this Spiced Beet and Carrot Soup from CookingLight.com . . . its a delicious riot of root veggies!
I’m not bringing bacon back today, but I am sharing a recipe for Orange Jalapeno Salmon that keeps the flavor kicked up with a punch of pepper. Many similar recipes do an orange marmalade in the sauce, but I’ve opted that out to avoid added sugar. This recipe is sure to become a favorite on fish day – plus it can be finished in 30 minutes, freeing you up to spend your late afternoons in more leisurely pursuits. Of course, “leisurely” is a relative descriptor, because the hour I spent trying to straighten my legs out practicing the yoga “firefly pose” was, errr, a little more challenging that leisurely.
If you’re looking for other ways to eat this heart-healthy fish, check out the 100 Ways to Cook with Salmon from CookingLight.com — you’ll never get bored with salmon again!
Add orange juice, oil, jalepenos, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper in a small food processor or blender and pulse for about 30 seconds to a minute until combined. Set aside.
Heat oven to 400 F degrees. Place salmon, skin side down, into 2” rimmed pan or oven proof skillet that has been rubbed with oil. Top with orange slices. Pour marinade over top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until opaque.
Serve on a salad or favorite whole grain -- pictured with 50/50 mixture of brown rice and tri-color quinoa.