Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars are Spuds for Speed!

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA  however all opinions, comments, recipes and enthusiasm are my own!

Potatoes are a healthy source of energy-providing carbs for the athlete.

Ever heard the expression “all meat and no potatoes”?

Ironically, this old-school insult means, “Dude, you’re fat!” But, many would probably assume the opposite in this high-protein diet world where we’re all freaking out over carbs. Yes, while protein is good, so are carbohydrates. I’m not talking about sugary or highly-processed carbs that are stripped of their inherent wholesomeness, I’m talking about complex carbohydrates – like the very healthy potato.

Can I get a virtual high-five for the potato?!

As a lifelong athlete, I’ve used potatoes as part of my training diet year after year. Potatoes are an on point food choice to help fuel an active lifestyle. Spuds for speed, that’s what I’ve always told people! Potatoes are packed with complex carbs to provide the energy my body and brain needs to train, compete and recover optimally. Because they are unearthed from the ground, potatoes are also a great source of minerals including potassium, iron and magnesium. Athletes need these things in abundance and that’s why potatoes are actually a common sight along the courses of ultra-marathons, Ironmans and century rides.Pull ups with a 10 lb bag of potatoes!Oh, and you can use a 10-lb. bag of potatoes for a pull-up challenge!

Other potato perks — they come in their own wrappers, are simple to cook, extremely versatile in recipes and are inexpensive – I just love the cleverness of Mother Nature! If you need a healthy,             balanced meal on the quick and cheap, it’s a loaded baked potato piled high with all the leftovers in your fridge for the win.

Pull up with 10 pound bag of potatoes

Another way I love to eat potatoes, just roasted in a pan with some olive oil.

If you’re getting bored with potatoes, think creatively. There are so many other ways to enjoy them than the traditional baked potato. Plus, there is a rainbow array of varieties including white, red, russet, yellow, purples, fingerlings and petite potatoes. While my go-to side dish the night before an endurance event is a simple baked potato with salt, I am way more potato crazy in the weeks leading up to a marathon or long beastly obstacle race. Mashed, minced, toasted, riced, pureed, grilled, spiralized, oven-fried … whew, I’m the Bubba Gump of potatoes.

Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars

Today I’m sharing a unique and family-approved way to eat your potatoes that includes a healthy balance of protein – and, by the way, a medium (5.3 ounce) potato has more than 3g of protein on its own! My recipe for Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars uses the fluffy innards of a baked potato along with Greek yogurt, eggs and a scoop of protein powder to create a marvelously moist “bar” that has the texture of a muffin. Each muffin bar has only 70 calories and no sugar, but 10 grams of energy-boosting carbs and more than 6 grams of protein. Plus, between the potato and protein powder, there’s no need to use any type of flour, other grain or filler, meaning these muffin bars are gluten-free.

Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars are gluten-free, sugar-free and a smart way for runners, obstacle course racers, triathletes and other endurance athletes to fuel up and recover optimally.

I devour these Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars for pretty much any occasion – breakfast, pre-workout fuel, post-workout recovery snack, and dolloped with fruity yogurt for a healthy dessert. I betcha these special spud snacks won’t last long at your house. That’s why I always bake two batches and freeze bars from the second batch individually in zip-top bags for grab-and-go munching – they are always thawed out after my workout!

Get spud smart and get more information about how potatoes power performance at PotatoGoodness.com/performance!

How are you putting potatoes on your plate? Favorite recipe? What’s the last endurance event  you tanked at? tanked at? Do you think you needed more carbs?! Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars
Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars
Print Recipe
Fuel your next run or workout with this nutritionally balanced energy bar that will optimize performance -- the potatoes provide healthy carbs for energy plus potassium for hydration.
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars
Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars
Print Recipe
Fuel your next run or workout with this nutritionally balanced energy bar that will optimize performance -- the potatoes provide healthy carbs for energy plus potassium for hydration.
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: bars
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 F degrees.
  2. Wash and dry potatoes and pierce around sides with fork. Place in center of microwave and cook on high for approximately 4 minutes, or until yielding when squeezed and soft and fluffy inside. Cut in half, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Using a tablespoon, scoop pulp of potato and place in blend, discarding skins. Add eggs, Greek yogurt and ¼ cup of the milk and blend until smooth. Next, pulse in vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and white pepper until just combined.
  4. In small bowl, mix together baking soda, salt, white pepper, and protein powder. Pulse this mixture into the blender in batches until smooth, adding the additional milk if batter seems to thick.
  5. Prepare 9” x 9” rimmed baking pan with cooking spray. Pour in batter and bake for approximately 14 to 16 minutes or until turning lightly golden brown and toothpick pulls clean from the center. Let cool for 30 minutes and cut into 8 bars.
  6. Dust with additional cinnamon and a bit of powdered sugar, if desired.
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Lucky Day Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways!

 Kale Pesto Oven Fries an be spiralized or cut into wedges for a quick and easy potato side dish. This Irish inspired recipe is fun for St. Patrick's Day.To celebrate the plucky and persevering Irish culture, I’m sharing a “green” potato recipe I recently created for my friends at Litehouse foods – Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways with Blue Cheese Sauce. You can just thank me later, you lucky leprechauns!   Kale Pesto Oven Fries an be spiralized or cut into wedges for a quick and easy potato side dish. This Irish inspired recipe is fun for St. Patrick's Day.

The inspiration for this super easy recipe is “colcannon,” a traditional Irish dish made from creamy mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. Potatoes and Irish culture or forever linked, as we all learned in history class – at one point leading up to the mid-17th century Great Potato Famin, it was said that the average Irish laborer ate 10 pounds of potatoes a day and for three-fifths of the population it was the primary fuel of life.

Okay, eating such a potato-centric diet causes dietary imbalances, but potatoes ARE a smart choice as a side dish to protein and other fruits and vegetables in your healthy diet. Tubers are packed with wholesome nutrients including complex carbohydrates for quality energy and vitamins and minerals, especially iron, magnesium, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C.Kale Pesto Oven Fries an be spiralized or cut into wedges for a quick and easy potato side dish. This Irish inspired recipe is fun for St. Patrick's Day.

It’s no blarney, you are guaranteed to love my Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways with Blue Cheese Sauce  — just remember not to call them French fries, Irish fries is more fitting! The kale pesto is a snap to make in the food processor, and can easily be done while the potatoes are baking in the oven. Make  another batch or use leftovers on pasta, fish, chicken, pizza and more. BTW, the pesto is nut-free so everyone can enjoy!Spiral Cut Potatoes

As for prepping the potatoes – you can use a spiralizer, a mandolin, finely julienne by hand or cut into fatter wedges, it’s the cook’s choice! I’ve used tried-and-true Russet potatoes in this dish, you could use whatever variety potato you like – on super busy days, I’ve also even hacked the recipe with frozen shoestring potatoes.

Kale Pesto Oven Fries an be spiralized or cut into wedges for a quick and easy potato side dish. This Irish inspired recipe is fun for St. Patrick's Day.

To add a blast of bold to the Irish recipe, I serve Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways with the Big Blue Ultra Premium from Litehouse Foods. This incredibly creamy and rich dressing is made with extra chunks of handcrafted Artisan Blue Cheese for maximum flavor—a bowl filled for dunking is like a pot of gold at the end of a cheese-lover’s rainbow.

jennifer and dean jamaica honeymoonOh and speaking of history, did I mention my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last night! Where does the time go? And I wonder how many potatoes we’ve eaten through the years – haha! I also think you’ll get a laugh out of this honeymoon picture and the 1991-style bangs! By the way, check out these blogs I’m linking up with today Happy Fit Mama, The Fit Foodie Mama, Hello to Fit, Fairy Burger, Chocolate Runner Girl , Jill Conyers,

 

What are you doing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? What you you slather kale pesto on? Spiral or wedges? Please share in the comment below, I’d love to know! XOXO– Jennifer

This post was sponsored by Litehouse Foods. 

Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways
Print Recipe
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day or any dinner with this quick and easy Irish inspired recipe made with kale pesto, potatoes and blue cheese dressing. A delicious side dish!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 mintues
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 mintues
Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways
Print Recipe
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day or any dinner with this quick and easy Irish inspired recipe made with kale pesto, potatoes and blue cheese dressing. A delicious side dish!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 mintues
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 mintues
Ingredients
For Potatoes
For Kale Pesto
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Scrub, dry and leave peel on potatoes. Use spiralizer, mandolin or sharp knife to cut potatoes into ⅛" to 1/4” thick pieces. If preferred, cut potato into 1/3” wedges. Place the strips (or wedges) in large bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, tossing to coat well.
  3. Bake thin fries for 35 to 40 minutes, using tongs to toss halfway through cooking time. Wedge fries may need to cook for 5 to 10 additional minutes.
  4. Thin fries are done when at least half are crispy and golden brown. Thicker wedge fries will be turning golden brown on the sides.
  5. While fries are baking, add kale, olive oil, salt, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and almonds to food processor and pulse until very finely chopped and ingredients incorporated.
  6. Remove fries from oven and toss with pesto while still hot. Serve with blue cheese dressing drizzled on top or served to the side as a dip.
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Herb Lover’s Oven Fries for Valentine Steak Dinner + Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is sneaking up . . . do you have big plans? I doubt my husband and I will battle the crowds (or be willing to pay the bill) for a fancy dinner out, so I’ll be preparing a memorable meal at home.  Plus, there are the kids . . . .and, I’m sure those non-stop eating machines will want to be fed as well!

Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.com

With so many boys and men in the house (oldest son in almost 18 years!), there’s not a lot of appreciation for decorating food in shades of pink for Valentine’s Day.  But, I did find the way to their hearts with these darling (oh, I mean “manly”) Heart-Shaped Oven Fries.  Oven fries are so easy and inexpensive to make and my guys gobble up this healthier dude food with “amoré” – give me “amoré,”Mom!

Heart Cookie Cutter and Potaotes

I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter and baked both the hearts and the remaining potato “circles” with the cutouts missing. I wish I would have taken a photo of those as they came out of the oven, but I was just so focused on the hearts! If you want to make these baked fries “regular,” simply slice into think wedges for the same result.

Baked Potato Fries - TheFitFork.com

Pan Seared Tenderloin Steak with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - TheFitFork.comFor Valentine’s Dinner, I’ll be serving this cute side dish with the Pan-Seared Tenderloin Steak with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes I developed for BeefLovingTexans.com.  This steak dinner is a surprisingly easy way to beef up the romance on Valentine’s Day and won’t bust your budget – meaning more funds for wine, chocolate and other treats for your sweet!

If steak isn’t in your budget, these baked fries would be adorable with a romantic burger!

 

 

Hot Chocolate Fudge CakesI still haven’t decided what to serve for dessert yet – it will have to be something wonderfully chocolaty. After all, dark chocolate is a superfood that provides important nutrients that protect the heart! Cooking Light has a collection of 100 Lightened Chocolate Dessert Recipes that will make your heart skip a beat  — swoon-worthy but not sinful!

Personally, I’ve been stalking the recipe for Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes . . . warm, gooey and individually portioned to prevent “accidentally” eating the whole cake. For Valentine’s Day dinner, I think I would add some lush raspberries on top!

 

Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.com
Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries
Print Recipe
Pair these daring heart-shaped, oven-baked potatoes with your Valentine's Dinner -- simply spudtacular and spiffed up with herbs!
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.com
Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries
Print Recipe
Pair these daring heart-shaped, oven-baked potatoes with your Valentine's Dinner -- simply spudtacular and spiffed up with herbs!
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F and with rack in top.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide planks. Use small cookie cutter to punch out the center of each potato circle.
  3. Put cut potatoes in bowl and fill with hot tap water, let sit for 10 minutes. When potatoes are done soaking, drain, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Add potatoes back to dried bowl and toss with olive oil, 2 teaspoons of the salt, pepper, parsley, sage and rosemary.
  5. Spread fries out evenly across baking sheet and bake on top rack until fries are starting to turn golden brown, about 25 minutes. Use a spatula to turn fries and continue to roast until crisp on outside, about 15 - 20 minutes longer.
  6. Remove fries from oven, sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and serve while still warm.
Recipe Notes

Cut into 1/2-inch wedges, if preferred.

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