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 is a bad news, good news post. Unfortunately, it’s that time of year when the sneezes, sniffles and the stuffy-head crud comes on. But the upside is that a comforting bowl full of chicken soup (your grandmother’s remedy) actually has some merit to making you feel better — plus, it tastes great too!
I whipped up a huge batch of my Best-Ever Chicken and Rice Soup when the kids came back from our recent trip to the mountains feeling under the weather. I had them licking their colds . . . and the bottom of their bowls in record time.
Dozens upon dozens of scientific studies have investigated the basis for this centuries-old remedy — from how the hot temperature unblocks stuffy airways to how the zinc found in certain ingredients might just shorten the length of a cold. Science aside, it’s pretty much agreed on that slurping up soup helps keep you hydrated, chases away chills associated with fever and reduce certain annoying symptoms of being sick. Plus, the addition of turmeric, a golden spice related to ginger, helps to provide the antioxident power you need to start feeling better.
If you’re not feeling up to par, please see a doctor to make sure it’s nothing serious. But, I’d also highly recommend a batch of my Best Ever Chicken and Rice Soup.
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This easy soup recipe is also ideal for light dinner and lunch leftovers to keep your wellness in check every day of the year. Plan ahead and double the recipe – freeze in single serve portions for busy or sick day convenience.
I’ve used Instantly Fresh Italian Herb Blend as a recipe shortcut to lighten and brighten the broth – it’s a medley of basil, oregano, garlic, red onions, red pepper, marjoram, rosemary and sage conveniently bottled together. I love these freeze-dried Instantly Fresh Herbs by Litehouse Foods — they have a huge assortment (I also love the Mint). Find them in the produce section or herb aisle of your grocery store. Head over to my Instagram profile (@thefitfork) now through this Monday (1/4) at midnight for a flash giveaway for three free product coupons. Look for my Chicken Soup photo and follow the post instructions to enter.
Prepare rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
In large stock pot, boil chicken breasts in water for 15 to 20 minutes or until no longer pink inside and internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165 F degrees.
Remove chicken breasts from pot, but do not discard water. Skim off any residue not desired in soup. When chicken is cool enough to handle, pull apart with fingers or fork into large shreds. Add back to pot with water. Add bouillon cubes. Turn heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, add olive oil to large skilled and bring to medium high heat. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, and carrots. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are softening. Add garlic and continue to cook for 1 more minute.
Add vegetables to stock pot with chicken. Return skillet to stove top. Add Instantly Fresh Herb Blend to pot with chicken and vegetables, keep simmering and stirring occasionally.
To make thickening roux, melt butter in skillet over medium heat. When butter is beginning to bubble, whisk in flour and stir constantly and quickly for several minutes, or until it has turned a light golden brown. Remove skillet from heat and allow roux to cool a bit.
Once roux is no longer hot (can be warm), scrape into stock pot and stir well to combine. Stir in prepared rice. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Continue to simmer soup for 15 more minutes, or until everything heated through.
Eggs for dinner, I’m all about that! Nothing worse than coming home from a busy day of work, training and kid stuff being hungrier than a linebacker and have nothing planned, thawed or leftover. But, with a jar of pasta sauce in the pantry (loving of Mezzetta® Napa Valley Homemade pasta sauce) and some eggs in the fridge, I’ve found I can win dinner and be the champion of chow every night!
I came up with this really delicious, nutritious and filling meal that I can make in about 15 to 20 minutes – Portobello Eggs Inferno. The recipe is single serving, but it can easily be tweaked to feed a larger crowd. With three teenagers and a husband who often works late, I usually know until the last minute how many will be sitting around the table each night, so I love flexible, expandable recipes like this!
Since I have a taste for spicy things, I used the “Spicy Marinara” flavor from the line of Mezzetta Pasta Sauces – and it’s pretty spicy (in a good way)! Some people call recipes that poach or bake eggs in spicy tomato sauce “Eggs in Hell” or “Eggs in Purgatory,” but I call the outcome pure heaven! Instead of just cracking eggs into the sauce, I decided to bake the two little guys right on top of a meaty Portobello mushroom boat floating in a sea of spicy awesome sauce! If you eat bread, the warmed, oozy sauce is perfectly sopped up with the crusty ends of a loaf – or I let mine meander over to my side of salad as a hot dressing.
I’m lucky my kids like most spicy foods too! They use the pasta sauce to make traditional spaghetti and meatballs (okay, the meatballs are store-prepared, but they can make the rest themselves)! If your young ones don’t like spicy, don’t fret – Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade pasta sauce has six flavors – Spicy Marinara (what I’m showing), Marinara, Tomato & Sweet Basil, Roasted Garlic & Caramelized Onions, Parmesan, Asiago & Romano and Wild Mushroom.
So, are you getting hungry for these Napa Valley Homemade sauces?! You can find them on the pasta aisle at most grocery stores – in the meantime, enter for your chance to win a Perfect Pasta Night, the awesome grand prize includes all six Mezzetta® Napa Valley Homemade™ Pasta Sauce flavors and lots of other goodies – including a $500 grocery gift card! There are also 10 runner up prizes that include the entire sauce collection with recipes cards. Enter now!
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!
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.
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.
Skewer together mushrooms. Coat grates with oil and heat grill to medium-high — approximately 400 F degrees.
Drain balsamic marinade off vegetables and reserve (never reserve marinade on raw meat, but on vegetables it is fine)
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.
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.
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