Gasp, I didn’t care for mushrooms until my mid-thirties. The simple suggestion of mushrooms sent shivers down my spine as a kid and I think I stubbornly carried that childhood aversion over into middle age. Well, that goodness I tried mushrooms again, over a decade ago. Mushrooms are super healthy, low calorie and high in important nutrients like b vitamins, selenium, copper, niacin, potassium, iron and phosphorous. It’s fine for taste purposes to put raw mushrooms on your salad, but the nutrients are best accessed through the heat of cooking!
So today, I’m sharing my easy side dish recipe for Truffle Mushroom and Thyme Quinoa that features sautéed mushrooms with a sprinkle of truffle salt. It’s hard to believe that such a super simple recipe can have such big flavor, but that’s the beauty of mushrooms – they marry with and magnify the flavor of whatever dish they are in. Continue reading →
I love me the soups. Nourishing, comforting, satisfying and life-simplifying, a bowl of soup really hits the spot. Unlike baking, soup making is so forgiving – just throw in what you’ve got! Plus, leftovers never get stale, in fact, they get better! My recipe for Lemon Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup makes a great meal for lunch, a light dinner or even on-the-go!
In addition to the directions for making a big pot full at once, I’ve also shared bonus instructions and hacks on how to shortcut the process if you are meal-prepping for enjoyment later. You don’t even have to cook the noodles!
Today, I am bringing you tidings of comfort (food) and joy in honor of National Comfort Food Day (December 5th). I believe it’s no coincidence that this feel-good food holiday is falling on a Monday. And, not just any Monday, but the day after I struggled through a cold, windy and rainy marathon.
Honestly, I’m still feeling a little chilled to the bone, depleted, and licking battle wounds, and embracing the opportunity to take a MAJOR rest day, hang out in my PJs and fuzzy slippers, and make comfort food my new best friend.
Y’all know I typically eat reasonably, mostly clean . . . but I’m never going to deny myself food I’m craving for comfort every now and then. Sometimes your body is telling you to eat these things for a reason, other times it’s strictly soul satisfying. Regardless, when you let go of the guilt and give your food worries a rest day, it tastes even better!
Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac – Ahh, most any pasta dish is comforting, but mac and cheese is a like coming home after being away from loved ones for too long. The addition of blue cheese and bacon makes the reunion even better!
Comforting Chicken & Rice Soup – When it’s drafty and cold, and your feeling run down and even under-the-weather, this easy chicken and rice soup comes to the rescue in a snap. And, while slurping up a big bowl is comforting to the core, it’s also a healthy choice!
Root Beer Float Fudge – Imagine if you could have the yummy flavor of root beer and vanilla ice cream in fudge format? Well, you can thanks to this recipe I develop a few years back for the magazine Simple & Delicious. While, I wouldn’t eat the whole pan at once, I certainly say CHEERS to a piece for a sweet treat.
Pre-make chimichurri by adding all ingredients to small blender or food processor. Pulse on and off in 10 second increments to break up ingredients into coarse sauce. Set aside.
Heat large skilled to medium-high. Add sliced sirloin and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Beef will be ready to remove from pan once lightly browned on edges and pink has been just taken off center. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
n same skillet (reserved with a tiny bit of beef fat and bits) add onion slices and cook over medium high, stirring as need, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add beef back into skillet with onions along with tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes; stir to combine.
Meanwhile, heat Panini press or clean skillet to medium-high heat.
Butter outer sides of two slices of bread and layer each side with mozzarella. Place slice of bread, butter side down, on pan and top with ¼ of beef mixture. Add top piece of cheese and bread.
Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side until bread turning golden brown and cheese melting. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
To serve, lift up tops of sandwiches and drizzle with chimichurri. Serve hot.
Ahi Tuna, a fish so nice they named it twice! Yup, “ahi” is simply the loosely translated name for “tuna” in Hawaiian. If you love fish, but aren’t familiar with Ahi, you need to make its acquaintance soon – and the Seared Ahi Tuna from the line of Bumble Bee SuperFresh® seafood is a quick, convenient way to make waves and earn raves at the dinner table.
With colder weather just around the corner, I tossed together some of my favorite hearty and vibrantly-hued veggies into a simple yet stunning side dish – Winter Rainbow Veggie Toss with Gingered Lemon Glaze. This healthy vegetable recipe of finely diced purple sweet potato, butternut squash and cauliflower makes a colorful sidekick to the beautiful pink center of seared Ahi but it would also be totally on fleek with other fish or lean proteins. In the summer, this no-cook tuna is the perfect protein to top a crisp, fresh salad and is sure to elevate any lunchbox and get co-worker’s tongues wagging!
I really appreciate that Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna is wild caught and harvested from sources managed to promote healthy fish stocks for future generations – that’s important to the values held by me and my family. A more selfish benefit however is the lack of nasty fish smell. Thanks to prepping straight from the freezer, there is no off-putting “fishy smell” that sometimes comes with thawing and cooking fish and seafood at home – it’s amazingly fresh tasting and fresh smelling! None of my kids has ever walked in the house and said “ewwwwww”!
So, let’s get this Ahi party started! To “prepare” the Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna, simply remove from the finely sliced fish from the freezer and vacuum pack wrapping and allow to defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours. That’s it! The wild caught, premium grade fish is already encrusted with a garlic peppercorn rub and pre-seared to enhance taste and texture. That’s it, that’s all!
While the tuna is thawing, you can prep the veggies for the Winter Rainbow Veggies with Gingered Lemon Glaze. The recipe is super simple to heat up, but there is some elbow grease required to chop all the veggies. For speed, I suggest using an official potato ricer or even a spiralizer on the squash and purple potato, dicing down the spirals afterward. Head down to the recipe below for the full detail!
Are you ready to impress your family and friends with Bumble Bee SuperFresh® products, they’ll naturally assume a lot of time and trouble went into preparing a such fine dining holiday experience. No need to mention that the Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna is simply “thaw and serve,” that will be our little secret. Head over to the Store Locator or Amazon Fresh to get your hands in this convenient, high quality product that is perfect for both special celebrations and everyday dining. If tuna isn’t your thing, the line of Bumble Bee SuperFresh® also includes Tilapia with Lemon, Pepper & Herbs, Tilapia with Garlic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salmon with Garlicky Black Pepper and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Salmon with Garden Pesto.
Noodle 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!
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. 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.
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!
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
Transfer to individual bowls or serve family style on a platter. Top with sliced beef. Garnish with chopped parsley and unsweetened, shredded coconut.
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!
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!
That’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.
Hopefully 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!
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.
Serve 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
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.
We are up to our chin guards in football season, so I’ve kicked up my family-friendly, meal-prepping madness into overtime. With just a little “overtime” work on Sunday, I can prepare a couple batches of my BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet ‘Tater Taquitos and have enough for a couple quick-fix, weeknight dinners and leftovers for snacking on the big game day. By the way and sorry for the questionable rhyming (haha), I originally developed these onfleek-o taquitos for BeefLovingTexans.com, so check it out!
While my teenage boys and their always-hungry friends are munching what they assume to be merely crispy, crunchy, cheesy, beefy taquitos (rolled small tacos by any other name!), I snicker in silent satisfaction knowing I’ve snuck in some wholesome nutrition to fuel their busy, active bodies. Lean beef for muscle-making protein and iron, beans for even more protein plus fiber, and sweet potato in a whole grain tortillas for a double-whammy of healthy complex carbs for long-lasting giddy-up-and-go. As Guy Fieri would say in his own punderful way, “You can’t beato these taquitos!”
These tasty taquitos can be devoured right out of the oven, or freeze a batch and then just toss in the oven (or toaster oven!) on those endless days that have gone into double overtime. This is an easy way to pass the proverbial ball over to the kids and let them do some quarterbacking in the kitchen.
Just add a simple side salad and your favorite Texas-style condiments like guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and barbeque sauce.My Mojo Citrus Guacamole makes a tasty team up!
One the taquito innards are made, assemble by adding a spoonful in the middle of a whole grain tortilla, rolling up and baking (no frying here and they are still super crunchy). While corn tortillas are traditional for taquitos, I’ve found that the corn-flour “mix” tortillas are more pliable and less prone to crack. If needed, insert a toothpick to keep tortillas secure, but don’t forget to remove before serving!
In large skillet, brown ground beef over medium-high heeat, add minced garlic in last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain fat and excess water. Mix in packet of taco seasoning and chili powder and 2 tablespoons of water (do not add amount of water taco season packet calls for). Stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer cooked beef mixture to large bowl.
Add olive oil to same skillet (okay if beef residue stays in there). Bring to medium-high heat and saute diced sweet potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened and browning. Add sweet potatoes to bowl with beef mixture.
Add rinsed and drained beans to beef bow. Make sure beans have drained well to prevent soggy taquitos. Let entire mixture cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.
Gently stir in BBQ sauces and 1 ½ cups of cheese.
Working one at a time, transfer tortilla to a work surface; place scant 1/3 cup beef mixture into center of tortilla. Bring the bottom edge of the tortilla tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the tortilla is reached. Secure with toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
Place taquitos onto rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Spray tops of taquitos with baking spray and bake until crisp and cheese has melted, about 12-15 minutes.
To reheat from frozen, heat oven to 375 F degrees and place taquitos on rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Lightly cover tops of taquitos with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spray tops of taquitos with baking spray, increase heat to 400 and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until crisp, cheese has melted and tops are brown.
When I want a satisfying snack that tastes super yummy, has loads of health benefits, and won’t have me hungry again in an hour, my “Go for Gold” Turmeric Curry Hummus with Minted Roast Chickpeas is a winner! It’s definitely what to bring to a football tailgate or sports watching party to show that you are the decided victor of dips and champion of chickpeas.
If you’re not familiar with turmeric, you need to get acquainted ASAP. I’ve featured it before in many recipes — my Turmeric Honey “Health” Shots have been popular! While it’s the primary spice in many Indian dishes (such as curry) and lends everything it touches (including hands) a golden yellow to orange hue, turmeric is consumed not just for its warm and mildly peppery taste, but also for the many purported health benefits.
For example, numerous studies suggest that turmeric’s active component, curcumin, helps alleviate or reduce the incidence of everything from certain cancers to depression – and it’s is highly touted as a natural pain-killer and anti-inflammatory. I take turmeric often to recover from hard workouts faster, I’m a fan of these Curcumin Capsules (from Turmeric Root Extract) sold by NOW Foods.
I do advise using fresh turmeric along with the dried ground turmeric as directed in the recipe. The fresh has a more pleasingly distinctive aroma, flavor and health benefits in root form (technically a rhizome like ginger) than from the ground powder. However, the ground turmeric helps distribute the golden-orange color evenly. If you’re looking for fresh turmeric, ask your produce manager to stock it from Frieda’s.
Make a big batch and portion into individual grab-and-go containers to stash in lunchboxes, backpacks and gym bags along with veggie sticks or crackers. However, dipping stuff INTO hummus isn’t the only way to enjoy it! My two other serving suggestions are to 1) pile up high on whole grain bread or a wrap along with other veggies to make a filling sandwich and 2) to toss with warm pasta or vegetable noodles (like “zoodles”) as a creative sauce. I wasn’t sure if the sauce idea would work one night when fixing a “clear the fridge” dinner in a pinch — but it most certainly did!
Also, if you love a crunchy, salty snack the roasted mint chickpeas that I’ve used to garnish the top make a fantastic snack on their own.
Just double up that part of the recipe and keep the extra batch for snacking right off the pan – or to use as grain-free “croutons
By the way, I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Foods using their Instantly Fresh Herbs! Check it out.
Do you use turmeric in your diet, what is a favorite recipe? If you’re at a party, do you go for the dips or the desserts? What’s on your upcoming fall season race season? Please share in the comments, XOXO — Jennifer
After draining and rinsing chickpeas, place them on a paper towel and fold over, gently rubbing them. This will remove any remaining “skins.”
Toss mint and salt together in small bowl. Take ½ cup of chickpeas and toss around with olive oil until coated. Add chickpeas to bowl with mint and shake around until dusted.
Place chickpeas in oven and bake, tossing occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on pan.
Place remaining chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger, curry powder, dried turmeric, fresh turmeric, remaining salt and pepper in a food processor and blend till smooth and creamy. If needed, add a bit of additional lime juice or water to adjust the consistency.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and roasted chickpeas.