Ahhhhh . . Chocolate. Pistachios. Honey. A hint of cinnamon. My Chocolate Protein “Baklava” Bites are a muscle-making take on this ancient honey and nut dessert hailing from Greece and Turkey (both countries lay claim to its origin).
You’ll notice there’s no thin layers of phyllo in this healthy sweet treat! No need to get distracted with difficulty of preparation (and gluten) this adds to the recipe. Instead, I’ve put together a 15 minute recipe that is packed full of great nutrition to fuel your active lifestyle and requires absolutely no cooking. Read on to get all the nutty details along with the full recipe! Continue reading →
I’ve had 99 problems this week, but at least getting a quick healthy dinner on the table wasn’t one of them thanks to this Sheet Pan Ginger-Honey Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Apple & Fennel. This dish is so simple to prepare, just a couple minutes of chopping, tossing on a cookie sheet and drizzling with a quick sauce to keep everything moist white it to roast for 30 minutes – and only one pan to clean up!
A bed of fresh, seasonal vegetables make a “lift” for the chicken breasts, ensuring they cook up nice and evenly – plus, I butterflied each massive breast to make a more reasonable-sized portion and speed up cooking time. I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Foods using their Organic Ginger with Honey Dressing which marries all my ingredients with just a touch of sweetness and the brightness of ginger. In case you can’t find this dressing in the refrigerated section of your produce department, I’ve adapted the recipe (and noted how to do the bottled dressing swap).
Fennel is one of the ingredients in this dish, and one I should definitely use more often. The scent of fresh fennel is amazing. It smells like black licorice but the cooked bulb has a very mild taste, you can use it as you would an onion. The crunchy raw bulbs and feathery stems can be used in salads, dips, and such to add an herby, aromatic effect.
In other news, I jumped into my first 5k since the spring and was thrilled to come in 2nd overall female despite the hills, humidity and feeling slightly off my game at the start (in training and sleep). Had the lead until halfway when a girl about half my age made her move and I just could never muster up a surge. But, anyway, it’s all good and gets my head and heart back into the game for the Fall season.
So, what non-cookie recipe have you made on a baking sheet? Have you ever tried fennel? Are you running this fall — 5ks, marathons, or around the neighborhood? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
30min Sheet Pan Ginger-Honey Chicken w/ Sweet Potatoes, Apple, Fennel
A simple yet hearty sheet pan dinner with loads of seasonal vegetables and a touch of honey and ginger. Easy clean-up, great for weeknights!
Cut bulb off fennel stalks and slice bulb, removing core and root. Set aside 2 tablespoons of snipped feathery leaves from stalks to use as garnish.
Drizzle oil on large rimmed baking sheet and fill with cut sweet potato, apple, onion and fennel in single layer (some overlap okay). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add chicken on top of vegetable layer, sprinkle entire pan with five spice.
In small bowl, whisk together "dressing" of olive oil, vinegar, honey and ginger. Drizzle approximately 1 ounce of dressing over top of each chicken piece (alternatively, use 1/2 cup of the store-bought dressing - Organic Ginger with Honey Dressing from Litehouse Foods.
Place in oven on center rack and roast for a total of 30 minutes (up to 40 minutes depending on chicken thickness), drizzling the chicken with juices collected with a baster or large spoon approximately halfway through cooking time.
Today I’m sharing a mouthwatering and marvelously moist (apologies haters of that word) cake that’s approved (by me) to eat along with your cuppa Joe at breakfast . . . or at lunch or dinner, for that matter. It’s a Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake! No, I’m not pulling your LEGume, but I did use legumes (that is, lentils from Farmer Direct Co-op) to keep my quick-to-fix cake tantalizing tender as well as boost up the nutrition.
This yummy, quick-to-fix cake is a healthy solution for those sweet breakfast or snack cravings. Free of high-gylcemic sugars and overly-refined flours and grains, this recipe relies on the wholesome goodness from plantains, lentils and a gluten-free baking mix. I used a one-to-one measure sugar replacement to keep the calories and carb count down – my go-to is Ellyndale Naturals™ Sugarless Sugar™ from NOW Foods. But, you can also swap in a different sweetener, like coconut sugar, if you prefer.
I use Farmer Direct Co-op as my source lentils, these little green gems are organic, non GMO and fair trade. In the past, I had a hard time thinking of uses for lentils past soups or stews . . . or keeping a jar of cooked lentils in the fridge to sprinkle on my salads. But then I had a light bulb moment –why not use pureed lentils (or beans) in recipes for baked goods to add moistness with less oil – plus more fiber and protein!
I knew my kids would be suspicious if I told them we were eating a cake made of plantains and lentils – so I didn’t say a word. When they gobbled it up and asked for more “banana bread,” I knew this recipe was a winner! While I have cooked it in a 10” pie dish, it also bakes up well in an 8” x 8” brownie pan or as 12 standard-sized muffins.
When it comes to being organic, farmer-owned and fair-deal, Farmer Direct Co-op is 100-percent all of the above and more. Their mission is to promote their co-op farmer’s organic products while building and promoting a healthy environment and socially just food system. When you purchase from Farmer Direct Co-op, you’re buying more than a pea, a lentil or a bean . . you’re buying into part of an evolution of eating aimed at truly nourishing the mind, body and soul.
Head on over to Farmer Direct Co-op to learn more about their awesome company and products like 1lb. shelf bags of Pinto Beans, French Green Lentils, Split Green Peas, Regular Rolled Oats and Quick Rolled Oats. STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY! They also have a nice collection of healthy recipes on their blog made with whole foods.
One bite of my Brazilian Beef & Plantain Bowl (with egg, honey and toasted coconut) and you’ll happily say “Tchau” to a tower of pancakes, waffles or buttered toast in the morning! Loaded with protein, quality complex carbohydrates, iron, potassium and other essential nutrients, this easy breakfast made with leftover steak will fuel you for a full morning of demanding activities! The flavor combination may sound weird, but trust me, it’s so delicious! Pra caramba!
The protein in the recipes is a combination of 3-oz. left over lean steak (like top sirloin, strip, tenderloin, flat iron, etc.) and a single, sunny-side up egg. Along with a little bit from the plantain, you’re getting about 28 grams of protein with this meal – the ideal amount to consume in a single sitting.
It’s the perfect morning meal for a Protein Challenge! Each day is a new start, so beat yourself up if your diet wan’t exactly “on point” yesterday — you get a new chance to eat well today!
I always feel best when I’m eating 25g – 30g protein evenly spaced at each meal. Plus, it helps prevent snacking!
If you’re not familiar with plantains, you can typically find them in most grocery stores in the “exotic produce” area. This “vegetable-banana” is a less sweet and a little more starchy tasting than a regular banana – but so yummy when baked, microwaved or sautéed! They are a common ingredient in the cuisine of Mexico and Central / South America and in Brazil go by their Portuguese name of “banana-da-terra.”
Oh, and now for something crazy beef & bananas that isn’t actually food! It’s me planking until failure the other day before teaching a Grilling 101 class at the Texas Beef Council.
A video posted by Jennifer Fisher (@thefitfork) on
I’ll teaching a class on “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness” at thePinner’s Conference in Dallas on Sept 9 & 10th. I’ll be sharing this Brazilian Beef& Plantain Breakfast Bowl along with a delicious Molasses & Pepper Flat Iron Steak recipe and Super Iron-Boosting Steak Spinach Salad. 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
Have you ever used plantains in a recipe? Do you have a planking hashtag for me? Are you watching the Summer Olympics? What has your favorite moment been so far? Please share in comments, XOXO – Jennifer
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Power up your day in savory-sweet South American style with this hearty, protein-rich steak breakfast bowl featuring plantains, coconut, honey and an egg!
Add coconut oil to medium skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Sauté chopped plantains and yellow peppers for approximately 6 to 7 minutes, or until plantains turning golden brown and peppers softening.
In the last 90 seconds or so of cooking, stir in steak chunks to gently reheat without overcooking. Slide the steak mixture into 4 cereal-sized bowl and set aside.
Immediately poach or fry eggs to your preferred level of yolk “doneness.” Slide a cooked egg on top of each bowl of beef mixture and season with salt, pepper, sprinkle of coconut and a drizzle of honey!
Summer on a stick! My recipe for Spicy Shrimp & Watermelon Kebabs is a salute to so many things I love about the warm-weather season – grilling, shrimp, watermelon, being outside and enjoying my family.
It’s also featured in the upcoming August/September issue of Simple & Delicious magazine (available on newstands July 12th). . . I just got an advance copy!
In the magazine, I mention how much my three boys love watermelon.
It never fails that every time I’m cubing the watermelon for this recipe, the kids start circling around like flies – I swear, they can eat it faster than I can prep it!
This is the perfect, light meal to make for the 4th of July weekend – guests will marvel that you grilled watermelon, and it’s so easy!
By the way, I like to use Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp from www.sizzlefish.com They are already peeled, de-veined and frozen with no additives – plus all their products are healthy, high-quality perfectly portioned and have an athlete’s lifestyle in mind! These little babies are shipped right to my door in vacuum-sealed in individual serving size packets (8 shrimp per packet) – that allows me to tweak the recipe based on how many people will be joining for dinner!
This post is sponsored by Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, however the recipes, opinions and enthusiasm are all my own!
There is so much to love about May! The weather is warmer, daylight lasts longer and backyard patios, porches and pergolas are prime party spots for good friends and great food. I don’t know about you, but my go-to cooking method from early spring well into the fall season is grilling. Whether I’m entertaining company or it’s just the family, my trusty grill is this mom’s solution when it comes to whipping up creative, healthy and quick meals.
I will grill anything and everything. I get fired up for grilling the gamut . . . meats and seafood to fruit, veggies and dessert (mmmm, banana boats)! Today, I’m sharing a recipe for Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chopped Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette that relies on one of my secret weapons when it comes to grilling and barbeque – Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Sauces, Marinades and Rubs.
Grilled corn and chicken are the stars of this simple grilled salad recipe – Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub gives just the right amount of seasoning to poultry and vegetables without being overpowering or too spicy for my kids to eat. This is the original rub of Stubb’s fame, crafted by the legend himself at his original Texas Bar-B-Q joint — “It all starts with good rub.”
To dress this chopped chicken salad that also features jicama and avocado , I’ve created a simple barbecue sauce vinaigrette that is a bit spicy, a bit sweet – and certainly fun to eat! Using Stubb’s Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce is my not-so-secret shortcut to prepping this dressing in mere minutes. Of course, this BBQ sauce with hints of brown sugar and chipotle peppers is also excellent used in the traditional way to drizzle or douse on everything from baby back ribs and burgers to pizza and sweet potatoes.
It’s also the sauce I use in my Brisket & Bean Skillet Nachos. I love that Stubb’s Bar-B-Q sauces get their bold flavors from real, wholesome ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Also, you’ll find absolutely NO (none, zip, nada) high-fructose corn syrup in these quality condiments.
Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, maker the No. 1 brand of barbecue sauce, rubs and marinades in the the country, is located right here in Austin, Texas — so I can head over and dive head-first in a vat, if I want! But, these barbecue “helpers” are also sold in 85% of grocery stores nationwide — so, run out and getcha some!
Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette is such an easy grilled recipe and the perfect fixin’s for a potluck or picnic – whether for Memorial Day, a graduation or any summer time celebration. You can also make it the night before, the dish is delicious served cold and the vinegar and lemon juice in the dressing help keep the avocado fresh for up to a day in the fridge. If you want to enjoy as a side dish or vegetarian meal — just omit the chicken and dig in!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! If you’re looking to surprise your mom with a gourmet treat my Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries are a bold choice! I always see chocolate-dipped berries at the store, but this sweet-savory fruit option makes the perfect prelude to dinner, especially when paired with a glass of wine or sparkling water.
This fruit and cheese recipe is also a spectacular appetizer to bring to either a fancy cocktail party or casual backyard get-together. It can just be our little secret that this healthy recipe only takes 15 minutes or less to prepare, and no cooking! And, I’m partial to Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles from Litehouse Foods, look for it in the gourmet cheese section of your market. Recipe at the bottom of the post!
And, speaking of healthy, yummy food, I want to announce that the Fit Foodie Race Weekend will be in Austin June 24 – 26, 2016. You DO NOT want to miss the epic event for the health-minded epicurean! I have been an ambassador for the race all three years it’s come to Austin, and it is absolutely my favorite 5k! Hosted by Cooking Light and Health Magazine, this is a food and fitness lover’s weekend dream come true – running, workouts and really good food! There are pre-race parties and post-race parties and yoga, workouts, cooking demos and an over-the-top expo area – as they say, calories burned, calories earned! The Fit Foodie Race Weekendreally is amazing! Plus, this year, marathon superstars Bill Rodgers and Ryan Hall will be making appearance – I’m bringing my selfie stick! Early registration is only $35 for the 5k and entrance into the John Hancock Vitality Village. Plus, use my discount code FITFORK for an additional 10% off! Register HERE!
Do you have a favorite fruit appetizer? Have you ever run the Fit Foodie 5k (in addition to Austin, the race is also in San Diego, Fairfax and Tampa)? Or, tell me one of your top fun 5ks! Please share in the comments below – xoxo, Jennifer
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.