Slow Cooker Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce

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! 

Jennifer Fisher of TheFitFork.com at Litehouse Foods booth PMA Fresh Summit 2016

 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!

litehouse-pma-booth-menu-2016That’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.

 

Sriracha Lime Dressing over meatballsHopefully 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!

Slow Cooker Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce is a super simple, easy party appetizer or easy weeknight main dish.

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.

far-east-sriracha-lime-meatballs

 

far-east-sriracha-lime-meatball-appetizerServe 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
Print Recipe
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.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
(Slow Cooker) Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce
Print Recipe
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.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
Ingredients
Servings: servings dinner
Instructions
  1. Place frozen meatballs in 4-qt slow cooker. Add bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, red onion, soy sauce and Sriracha Lime Dressing and mix to coat.
  2. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 4 hours., stirring at halfway point. Serve on a toothpick as an appetizer. Or, serve with rice or noodles along with sauce in slow cooker for a meal. 
  3. *If you can’t find the dressing, swap for this mixture whisked together in a bow: 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup lime juice, ¼ cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons corn starch, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.   
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“Almost Instant” Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup, Just Add Hot Water

thefitfork jennifer fisher paddle boardLife is an adventure and many days, I’m so worn out from my adventuring that I just don’t want to make a meal – especially, if my husband and boys are gone doing their own thing, and it’s just me! But, a nourishing meal is a must to keep me fueled up for the next epic event – be that training for an obstacle race, stand up paddle boarding all day, or hurdling over parking lot puddles on my way into the store!

Spicy Shrimp and Spinach Soup with Marzetta Marinara

Today, I’m sharing a single-serve lunch or dinner solution that is, I must say, quite genius! It’s a “Just Add Hot Water” Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup that is perfect for an almost instant fix when you’ve got the hangries.  The idea is to fill up a glass jar about halfway with fresh ingredients (like marinara, veggies, brown rice and cooked shrimp), stick in the fridge until ready to eat, and then add boiling hot water and shake, shake, shake before slurping up! When you have to work at your desk through lunch, this almost instant soup recipe is 100x better than peanut butter crackers out of the vending machine and can be made just as fast by nabbing hot water from the break room. picy Shrimp Spinach Soup - just add hot water!  The perfect meal for lunch at your desk on nights when kids have to make their own!

Mezzetta Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup

Just pour in 1 1/2 cups of water heated in microwave, coffee pot or hot water spigot!

But, it’s not only for eating outside the home. If you fancy yourself a meal prepper, multiply this single-serve soup recipe and feed the family all week! Keep loaded in the fridge and your kids can make their own on those busy nights when no one is (unfortunately) sitting down for dinner at the same time. Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup

I can always count on Mezzetta® Marinara to help me whip up a quick and easy meal, whether it simple zoodles with sauce or an egg poached in marinara (yum)!  I’m all about the #MarinaraSauce . . . every jar of Mezzetta® Marinara is packed with the world’s best tomatoes hailing from the rich soils of Italy’s San Marzano region. Mezzetta® believes in using the fewest, freshest and finest ingredients in their marina sauces (which also contain no added sugar, unlike many other brands).There are six delicious flavors of Mezzetta® Marinara including the Calabrian Chili & Garlic (used in my recipe), Italian Plum Tomato, Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil, Caramelized Onion & Butter, Truffle, Porcini & Cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano

Mezzetta Pizza SauceMezzetta® also makes a pizza sauce that is out of this world!

Use it on pizza or spread it on a panni!

 

Mezzetta Win 11 day trip to Italy

You know what would be a great break from all this business of life? A fabulous Italian adventure!!! I have always dreamed of this trip, it is on my bucket list!  Mezzetta® is giving away an 11-Day Italian Vacation to Italy, you need to ENTER NOW!  One winner (and one guest) will attend culinary experiences (including cooking class and farm tour) in the San Marzano region of Italy and explore other cities of Italy. The Grand Prize trip consists of the round trip coach air transportation between the major commercial airport nearest winner’s residence and Rome, Italy, the culinary experience and tour of Italy. CLICK HERE TO ENTER

What adventure is at the top of your bucket list? What are your everyday adventures? Have a creative use for marinara sauce? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup
"Almost Instant" Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup, Just Add Hot Water
Print Recipe
Add boiling hot water to a jar full of fresh ingredients, shake, pull out a spoon and . .. viola, you've got a quick and healthy meal solution for lunch or dinner! Yay for portable instant soup!
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup
"Almost Instant" Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup, Just Add Hot Water
Print Recipe
Add boiling hot water to a jar full of fresh ingredients, shake, pull out a spoon and . .. viola, you've got a quick and healthy meal solution for lunch or dinner! Yay for portable instant soup!
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Layer all ingredients in quart-sized jar with sealing lid. Keep chilled for up to four days until ready to eat. When ready to serve, add 1 ½ cups boiling water (from microwave, tea kettle or coffee pot) and pour into jar. Add lid and shake well to combine, open and enjoy! Serves !
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Seared Scallops on Baked Rice Stick in Ginger Beer Broth

Seared Scallops on Baked Rice Stick in Ginger Beer BrothSwoon, Seared Scallops on Baked Rice Stick in Ginger Beer Broth! This Asian-inspired recipe might make your guests think they’re dining in a fancy restaurant, but it’s surprisingly fast and easy. I love to use Sea Scallops in my recipes, they are elegant in a “small plate” sort of way, yet satisfyingly meaty as a full meal. Plus, they are extremely speedy to prepare and are a great source of lean protein with just 112 calories, 1 gram of fat, 23 grams of protein and Omega 3s for 100 grams of scallop (about 4 fairly large ones).

Seared Scallops on Baked Rice Stick in Ginger Beer Broth is an elegant yet easy meal that can be done in 30 minutes!

You can find scallops in your market’s seafood department, but I prefer the Sea Scallops from Sizzlefish.com. They source scallops from the North Atlantic and pick only the best — they are off the hook, crazy good and convenient dry-packed, flash frozen in individual portions, and shipped straight to my door. No water or chemicals are added, I just get the rich flavor of unadulterated scallops that I can enjoy so many creative ways.

ellyndale coconut infusionsI was inspired by the deep-fried rice stick that you so often get in Thai food joints – I wondered if there was a healthier way to prepare it. So, I brushed the dry noodle bundles with Coconut Oil Infusions -Garlic from Ellyndale (a gourmet food line from Now Foods that includs cooking and finishing oils) and baked at 350F degrees for 20 minutes – it worked! They were a tiny bit toothy, but once simmered back into the ginger beer reduction, the result was divine!

If you’re looking for another easy scallop recipe, I made these Cumin-dusted Seared Sea Scallops last year!

Cumin Dusted Sea Scallops with Sriracha from TheFitFork.comHope you enjoy the recipe – it’s the real deal and a 30-minute meal! Check out Sizzlefish.com.for some great seafood packages designed to support an active, healthy lifestyle.

Are you a scallops fan? What is your favorite type of seafood? Are you going to the beach this summer, where? Please share in the comments below, XOXO -Jennifer

Seared Scallops on Baked Rice Stick in Ginger Beer Broth
Print Recipe
This fancy seeming Asian-fusion recipe is actually quite easy to make with sea scallops. The rice stick brushed with coconut oil and baked, rather than fried, to keep it fit!
Servings
2 servings
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings
2 servings
Cook Time
30 minutes
Seared Scallops on Baked Rice Stick in Ginger Beer Broth
Print Recipe
This fancy seeming Asian-fusion recipe is actually quite easy to make with sea scallops. The rice stick brushed with coconut oil and baked, rather than fried, to keep it fit!
Servings
2 servings
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings
2 servings
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F degrees. Brush tops and bottoms of uncooked rice stick (noodle) bundles with coconut oil. Place on baking sheet and back for 18 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside on paper towel to absorb any remaining oil.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet and saute shallots over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until caramelized. This will take 3 to 4 minutes, add garlic in last remaining minute. Remove a few caramelized shallots from skillet and set aside for garnish.
  3. Add ginger beer, soy sauce and red onion flakes to skillet with cooked shallots. Cook over medium until boiling, add baked rice stick nests and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, flipping rice nests over halfway through. Cook scallops while this is finishing.
  4. To cook scallops, add remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil to a small skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add scallops to skillet and sear on one side for approximately 3 minutes or until browning and releasing to flip. Flip scallop over and cook an additional 1 ½ minute. Season with coarse sea salt, if desired.
  5. To serve, add half of ginger beer broth to shallow bowl, add two rice stick nests and four scallops. Garnish with green onions. Repeat for remaining serving.
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Lean & Green Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats – Protein Pasta

Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta, a higher protein and gluten-free option for dinner!

So, how does a plate of pasta fit in with my higher protein diet? Let me tell you! As many of you know, I’ve been eating a higher protein diet for the last several years and really scaled back the amount of carbs that come in the form of bread, baked goods, rice . . . and pasta! You may have read one or two of my posts on the importance of protein, there have been many!

Jennifer Fisher Yoga Side Plank

A higher protein diet helps me stay lean and mean for running, Crossfit, yoga and all my other fitness endeavors. Oh yeah, and for LIFE — that especially!

As a long-time athlete, I decided it was time to take a closer look at what I’ve been eating and how wit as or was not fueling my goals. While carbs have their time and place on my plate (like leading up to and during an endurance event and, of course, pretty much any and all vegetables whenever I want), kicking up my protein intake has really helped me build some much-needed muscle I need to stay competitive as I creep up into the shadows of being 49 years old!

Explore Asian Organic, Gluten Free Pastas

So, until I recently found the Explore Asian line of higher-protein pastas, I had been eating my beef ragu on top of zucchini, my stir-fry on top of spinach and my chicken noodle soup without, err, noodles – you get the idea! As much as I love the extra servings of veggies, sometimes it’s nice and comforting to have pasta to twirl around on your fork or slurp from a spoon. Explore Asian has given me back pasta options – and options that are ridiculously healthy and can be quickly cooked into a nutritious meal that fills me up and helps me stay lean and strong. I’m winning already!

Explore Asian Organic, Gluten Free Pastas

All in all there are five flavors, but I especially love these three Explore Asian products- Black Bean Spaghetti, Edamame Spaghetti and Thai Brown Rice Noodles. Every batch is made with the finest, organic NON-GMO ingredients that are also vegan, gluten free, organic, Kosher certified and come in low on the Glycemic Index (around 20).  Additionally, Explore Asian has about 400% more protein and fiber and 60% fewer carbs than other pasta making them a great option for diabetics, vegetarians or those following a low-carb, high-protein diet!

Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta makes a high-protein vegetarian meal.

I’m sharing a yummy, easy “pasta” recipe (Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats) using the Edamame Spaghetti from Explore Asian the pasta, coming straight out of the bag, is simply made from edamame beans and water, that’s it!  One serving of this bean-based pasta offers 24g of protein in a 2 ounce dry serving – this is pretty much spot on with the recommended 25 – 30g recommended per meal. You don’t really need to add any additional protein, but I threw on a few extra edamame beans to get to the upper range and flavored it up with some zesty kumquats and feta cheese.

Explore Asian Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta

The pasta is so easy to boil up too! It basically cannot be overcooked and the fiber content from the beans offers a great texture that keeps this pasta in a constant state of just-right al dente! This means the pasta products will work well in a crock pot and left overs hold up beautifully for reheating the next day! Check out this other recipe I made earlier in the year with the Black Bean Spaghetti — Black Garlic & Steak Curry!

Black Garlic Beef and Bean Curry

You can find Explore Asian gluten-free pastas at Whole Foods, Costco and Fairway stores as well as at http://www.explore-asian.com/.  Costco is now even selling the Edamame Spaghetti in 2lb boxes!

Use the STORE LOCATOR to find the retailer closest to you.

Try this gluten-free, organic, high-protein pasta out for yourself! If you do, take a picture of your recipe using Explore Asian products and enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Whole Foods.  Head over to the recipe database for inspiration, get cooking, and then send a photo of your finished dish to info@explore-asian.com no later than December 24, 2015.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Explore Asian.

 

//

Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta makes a high-protein vegetarian meal.
Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta
Print Recipe
Make a quick and healthy dinner of edamame pasta tossed with feta and kumquats - this gluten-free, high-protein spaghetti is perfect fuel for the athlete.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta makes a high-protein vegetarian meal.
Edamame Spaghetti with Kumquats and Feta
Print Recipe
Make a quick and healthy dinner of edamame pasta tossed with feta and kumquats - this gluten-free, high-protein spaghetti is perfect fuel for the athlete.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, Srirracha, and olive oil.
  3. Put edamame beans, chopped kumquats and sauce into pot with drained pasta and toss until everything coated.
  4. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.
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No Beef with Beef! Black Garlic and Steak Curry

Black Garlic Beef and Bean CurryDo not mess with my beef. People have been eating red meat since the dawn of time and lived to tell about it. In fact, beef and other red eats fueled their bodies with some pretty dam good nutrients to help them conquer and recover from the day.  I say this in the light of all the “red meat causes” cancer hullaballoo in the media this past week.

jennifer beef for kebabsThat is such media hype. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer itself was divided on whether or not to finger point red meat (beef, lamb, pork, etc) as a “probable” source of cancer. Most scientists agree that it is unrealistic to isolate a single food as a cause of cancer from a complex dietary pattern further complicated by lifestyle and environmental factors.

You can read the beef industry’s response in this press release, Science Does Not Support International Agency Opinion on Red Meat and Cancer.

Eat Real FoodI’m still also a little riled up about the governmental recommendations for the 2015 Governmental Dietary Guidelines. They are minimizing the importance of animal-based protein and pushing plant-based — all without sound scientific study. I won’t delve back into the whole can of worms here but I did in a recent blog post. However, I will reiterate that after 30 years of the government telling us what to eat by way of the Food Pyramid and MyPlate, Americans are fatter and sicker than ever. You can find out more about this and demand better science behind the guidelines here.

So, I’m going to keep on eating beef.Just try and stop me! Here’s a new favorite weeknight recipe I’ve been making the family. It uses one of my favorite cuts of beef – top sirloin steak.  Sirloin is just such a versatile cut of beef – it’s not too pricey, it’s lean without being tough, and perfect for a range of cooking methods including grilling, pan searing and stir-frying.

black garlicThis recipe for Black Garlic, Beef and Bean Curry is amazing. The secret ingredient is Black Garlic, a new-to-me ingredient that you can find in your produce section or Friedas.com. It’s soft and mellow and packed with umami wonderfulness – it’s been fermented in soy sauce and aged. You HAVE to try this and also need to discover over friends favorite finds this week at Happy Fit Mama’s High Five Friday!

 

 

Black Garlic Beef and Bean Curry

 

 

So, do you have any concerns over eating red meat? How many times a week do you eat beef? Are you sick of media hype over every single thing in the world? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

Black Garlic Beef and Bean Curry
Black Garlic, Beef and Bean Curry
Print Recipe
Put a little "black magic" into your weeknight dinner with this easy skillet meal that features black garlic fermented and aged to amazing umami perfection.
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Black Garlic Beef and Bean Curry
Black Garlic, Beef and Bean Curry
Print Recipe
Put a little "black magic" into your weeknight dinner with this easy skillet meal that features black garlic fermented and aged to amazing umami perfection.
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Instructions
  1. Bring large pot of water to boil and boil noodles according to product directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Lightly coat large skillet with oil and quickly cook sirloin strips with black garlic for approximately 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from pan while still somewhat pink in the center. Set aside; this will be stirred back in when recipe is finished.
  3. Add mushrooms, green beans and ¼ cup of water to skillet, cover and let steam for 2 minutes. Take lid off and add curry paste, soy sauce, fish sauce and coconut milk. Stir to blend.
  4. Add drained noodles to skillet and stir until evenly coated. Cook until sauce is reduced, about 3 – 5 minutes. Stir cooked beef into recipe. Add Sriracha sauce, to taste, for desired level of hotness.
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Food for Fathers | Lemon Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Persimmons

Lemon Grlled Flank Steak Salad with Persimmons will brighten up your summer supper and taste buds!

First of all, Happy Father’s Day to the dads! I’m cooking dinner over here for my own special dad and will be hooking him up with this healthy salad. Grilling up a hunk of meat and serving it atop a bed of leafy greens is definitely my specialty – you could say I’m an expert and an addict! As far as obsessions go, at least it’s a healthy one and I’m super excited to share it with my father and the other dads in my life.

Message fpr Dad's Birthday "You are a Prime Cut aged to perfection."

Message fpr Dad’s Birthday “You are a Prime Cut aged to perfection.”

If I had my way, I’d be grilling a juicy, tender USDA Prime tenderloin for my salad every night – ahh, but I have children going to college. I know my dad understands  — if he doesn’t I hope he remember how I hooked him up with some of the best ribeyes for his birthday.

However, using a marinade is a simple solution that transforms a tough (and thusly less expensive) cut of beef into delicious, succulent slices of heaven for your salad – or any type meal.   The acidic liquids used in marinade help to break down tough muscle fibers found in beef cuts like chuck, round, flank, skirt and others. These toothsome cuts can be marinated for a minimum of 4 hours to 24 hours to improve tenderness and add flavor – don’t marinate any longer though because the texture will turn mushy. Inherently tender cuts of beef (like tenderloin, ribeyes and such) can be marinated too, but just to add flavor  –the optimal time is about 30 mintutes of soak time, don’t go any longer than 2 hours because of the mush factor. Oh, and when marinating for any purpose, always keep meat soaking in the fridge (not on the counter) and discard any marinade that has come into contact with raw meat.

This basic beef marinade uses 1/4 acidic juice, 1/3 oil and 1/3 fermented sauce to create a base recipe that can be customized with herbs, spices and other flavorful ingredients.

I’ve been putting together a post for BeefLovingTexans.com on Marinating Beef 101 – it’s yet to be published, I’ll let you know when it is! In the meantime, check out the Basic Beef Marinade Recipe I put together for them (and also the one I use in the recipe below).  What I love about this super simple marinade recipe is that it is fantastic “as-is,” but can be spiced up with your choosing of any herb, seasoning, alternate juice or fermented sauce. The possibilities are endless, just stick to the “one-third, one-third, one-third” format.

Lemon Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Persimmons

Lemon Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Persimmons
Food for Fathers | Lemon Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Persimmons
Print Recipe
This nutritious beef salad made with grilled flank steak is topped with charred lemons and persimmons and makes a lovely entree for summer outdoor entertaining.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 6.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 6.5 hours
Lemon Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Persimmons
Food for Fathers | Lemon Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Persimmons
Print Recipe
This nutritious beef salad made with grilled flank steak is topped with charred lemons and persimmons and makes a lovely entree for summer outdoor entertaining.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 6.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 6.5 hours
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. 1 1.5 lb flank steak ¼ cup fresh lemon juice ¼ cup soy sauce ¼ cup olive oil 1 tablespoon crushed garlic 4 lemons, halved 1 large red onion, sliced crosswise into 4 thick disks 1 bunch green onions with tops 2 persimmons (or can substitute peaches or another fruit of choice) 4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
  2. Add trimmed flank steak, lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil and garlic to zip top bag. Seal closed and turn several times to coat meat. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 6 hours to over night. Remove and discard all marinade, pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring grill to approximately 400 F degrees and grill flank steak for approximately 10 - 12 minutes, turning halfway through. Steak will be done at medium rare when instant-read meat thermometer pulls at 135 F degrees in thickest part of steak. Set on cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Ten minutes into grilling, add lemons,red onion and persimmons cut side down on grates. Grill alongside beef and remove when softening and have grate marks. Toss on green onions during last 2 minutes of grilling, they will cook fast.
  5. Remove veggies from grill, let cool a bit and then slice up into desired size. Add to platter of spring mix lettuce.
  6. Slice flank steak thinly across the grain. Add to top of salad, sprinkle with feta cheese and serve with dressing of choice.
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East-West Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute

Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute packed with loads of veggies and bold umami taste - TheFitFork.com

Food science nerd alert – I’m talking about umami again. You know, our fifth taste receptor, the newfound “delicious essense” those Japanese waxed so poetically about in the 20th century.  It’s all about the high concentrations of glutamates and nucleotides found in certain foods and how combing these foods creates a meaty, savory crave factor that is just really hard to describe in words. In fact, research has shown that pairing up glutamate and nucleotide rich ingredients magnifies their joint umami effect up to 8 times as much.  I’ve found that using a few umami-rich ingredients in healthier recipes is an easy way to create an amazing and indulgent-seeming eating experience.

Live Fire Beef at the Salt Lick - TheFitFork.com

There was so much umami going on at the beef-centric Live Fire event I attended this week at with friends from BeefLovingTexans.com), I wish I could have taken all of you to this meat extravaganza at the famous Salt Lick in the Texas Hill Country.  Did what I had to do as a food blogger and made all the rounds to taste meaty, marvelous dishes from chefs from all over Texas. It’s amazing how versatile beef is – not only are there a zillion cuts to choose from (I even tried tongue), beef can be served up to conjure up a fond memories. Over the night, I felt like I had been at grandma’s house getting a hug from comfort food ( with the pimento cheese grits with burnt ends brisket) to being on an exotic vacation (with the Thai NY strip satay with green mango salad).

Essential Umami Ingredients to Stock your Pantry  - TheFitFork.comFind out more about umami from this past blog post, no need to rehash it all here. I’ve also curated a handy collection of essential umami pantry staples for Mode.com, check that out too! Some of the first foods people mention when asked about umami are steaks, mushrooms, red wine, fermented sauces and aged cheeses. It’s true, all these are delicious pairing. However, did you know that as far as vegetables go, mushrooms don’t have a monopoly on umami. Lot of other veggies are high in umami, including sea vegetables (like kelp), mushrooms, corn, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, winter squash, green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard and kale.

Check out my vegetable-packed recipe for  East-West Shishito Pepper, Mushroom  and Corn Saute. Almost all the ingredient are umami-rich and it tastes super “meaty” just on it’s own – but I’ve used as a topping for brisket tacos and steak, and it was pure heaven.

Umami-Rich Mushrooms, Corn & Chile Pepper Saute - TheFitFork.com

Umami-Rich Mushrooms, Corn & Chile Pepper Saute - TheFitFork.com
East-West Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute
Print Recipe
This easy saute of mild peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions will rock your socks off with bold umami taste! Great as a vegetarian dish but also fantastic atop a steak or beef taco.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Umami-Rich Mushrooms, Corn & Chile Pepper Saute - TheFitFork.com
East-West Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute
Print Recipe
This easy saute of mild peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions will rock your socks off with bold umami taste! Great as a vegetarian dish but also fantastic atop a steak or beef taco.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in large skilled over medium-high heat.
  2. Add peppers and onion and saute for 2 minutes, or until softening.
  3. Add thawed corn and mushrooms to pepper mixture and continue to saute for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add soy sauce and stir until vegetables coated, cook for about 30 more seconds.
  5. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve as a side, on a salad, steak or taco.
Recipe Notes

This easy saute of mild peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions will rock your socks off with bold umami taste! Great as a vegetarian dish but also fantastic atop a steak or beef taco.

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Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish #TacoTakedown

Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.comI enjoyed a one-of-a-kind, sorta-strange experience as only Austin can host at the Taco Takedown that was held this past weekend near the be-hip-or-go-home scene at SXSW (South by Southwest).  I’ve been in quite a few cook-offs including the iconic Pillsbury Bake Off in Vegas with $1 Million prize (obviously I didn’t win), the Crisco Cook Off in Nashville as part of the Country Music Festival, and even many times in my home-town Hatch Green Chile Cook Off where I hold bragging rights as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner.

Taco Takedown Contenders - TheFitFork.com

The right to battle it off as a finalist in most of these showdowns required each recipe to make it through some sort of qualifying round, being made and examined in a test kitchen by professional chefs and pre-judged on factors like presentation, fit within a certain category, creativity, convenience, taste and so on. Typically, pages of rules, do’s and don’ts, and lists of disqualifications were also involved.  However, not at the Taco Takedown – basically all the info I was given was just show up with your best taco. So, of course I started over analyzing and guessing at the non-existent details. And, in the end I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. I wondered what kind of taco would win – surely in Austin, a freaky taco would beat a traditional taco any day.

My Beefy Man Hunk Taco Model

My Beefy Man Hunk Taco Model

That’s why I wrapped all my loves, as strange as the combo might sound, in one tortilla – viola, a Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce (and Pickled Rind Relish) recipe was born. Well, I guessed wrong because a Crispy Chicken with Avocado Taco dished up by Evin at Food Good, Laundry Bad took top honors.  As partial as I was to my wacky yet wonderful watermelon beef taco, I have to admit, the winner was really, super-ultra-deluxe good – and it was fried, how could I compete with that?!  But, I got to go home with the beefy man-hunk taco model — so, really, I was the WINNER!

 

Brisket Taco with Watermelon BBQ Sauce - TheFitFork.com

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of meaty beef, and summer-sweet watermelon and a surprise of spiciness, these are a few of my favorite things (is there a song here . . )?  I knew these flavors would mingle together for a memorable taco –as they did. I didn’t want to smoke the brisket, so I had four massive slow-cookers breaking down the beef into the perfect tenderness for fork shredding.  But, holy-moly, it took a long time to shred 27 pounds of brisket!    The BBQ sauce was a not-too-vinegary, not-to-tomatoey sauce sweetened with watermelon just and spiced up with Sriracha. Probably the most unique thing going on was the pickled watermelon rind that was diced up in the salsa. A true southerner uses ALL parts of the watermelon. And, of course, I topped it all off with some salty, crumbly queso fresco cheese.  Pickled Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.com

Use this Spicy Watermelon Barbecue Sauce on beef — but also on chicken, baked beans, fish, sausage, pork and more. I’ve also used it as a salad dressing!

Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce - TheFitFork.com

Because you’re probably not cooking for a 250 person crowd, I’ve scaled down the recipe for you to feed about 8 and maybe some leftovers!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve wrapped in a tortilla and called a taco? Please share in the comments!

 

Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.com
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish
Print Recipe
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish -- a strange but good recipe that will rock your next backyard party.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.com
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish
Print Recipe
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish -- a strange but good recipe that will rock your next backyard party.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Ingredients
For Brisket:
For Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce:
Pickled Watermelon Rind Relish:
Servings: servings
Instructions
For Brisket:
  1. Add ingredients for brisket into 6 - 8 quart capacity slow cooker. Cook on low setting for 10 hours. Remove brisket from cooking juices and strain out onions and peppers. Chop of onions and peppers, set aside. Cut excess fat of brisket and use fork or fingers to shred beef. Stir back in onions and peppers.
For Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce:
  1. Prepare BBQ sauce by adding all ingredients together in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and reduce to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pour desired amount over beef, remainder may be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Makes about 2 cups.
For Picked Rind Relish:
  1. To make relish, toss together all ingredients in medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To Serve:
  1. To serve, place sauced, shredded brisket in tortilla. Top with relish and queso fresco.
Recipe Notes


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