What’s spicy, sweet and oh-so nice to eat? My Paleo Sichuan Date Sauce! I was looking for a sugar-free, soy-free, corn starch-free way to replicate one of my favorite take-out dishes and came up with this amazing sauce — it’s now the secret wham-bam-kapow to my Paleo Kung “Power” Chicken!
March is National Sauce Month and this easy sauce recipe makes a feisty sidekick on everything from vegetable side dishes to an entire side of salmon.
The best thing about slurping up a big bowl full of my Fast and Fit Steak Pho with Zucchini Noodlesis the overload of delicious meat and veggie goodness sans the traditional noodles (we be low carb-ing it over here). The second-best thing is cracking Pho jokes, puns and innuendos with the family while eating this fast and fit meal. Kids: “Mom, dinner tonight is pho-nomenal, it’s un-pho-gettable! You should take a picture of it, it would be good pho-tography.”Me:“Only the best pho you guys, that’s pho-sure.”
But, no joke, this quick soup is not only “good pho you” it’s weeknight dinner winner when you just don’t have hour after hour to simmer down oxtails, beef knuckles and leg bones and exotic charred spices into the traditional Vietnamese broth. So, I might have broken a few ancient tenets of pho-making here and there – but, then again, I used zoodles (gasp) instead of the thin white rice noodle that my neighbor’s grandmother would more approve of. I’m a rebel who, with my zucchini, is squashing all rules!
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.
I have a proposition! I’ll share my 15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice recipe and with all the time you save on dinner, you’ll spend the 1 minute it takes to vote for me in the Eggland’s Best “America’s Best Recipe Contest”! My regional-inspired recipe is for Texas Egg and Steak Hash with Chipotle Street Corn Relish (copied the photo below so you know exactly what to vote for) — thank you, thank you!
Now, onto the 15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice recipe (originally developed for Beeflovingtexans,com) — it’s a win on so many levels. Not only is it a lightening speed dinner solution, it can be kept simple enough that an older kid can make it. Honestly, realizing that my teenage boys were completely capable of cooking dinner every once in a while was a light bulb moment for me. What a relief to know I can call ahead and get them to start dinner on those crazy days when I’m stuck in traffic, sitting at another kid’s sports game or even trying to finish up my own workout.
One of the tricks to cooking the recipe so quickly is super-thinly cut sirloin steak — a method that also stretches my food budget as it makes the meat look like, well, a larger quantity than it actually is! So, just firm up your steak in the freezer for 10 to 30 minutes or before getting after it with a super sharp knife across the grain in razor-thin slices (like 1/8″ or less if you can). When the meat is this thin, it literally takes 3 minutes or less to cook with the stir-fry method — toss in the hot, hot skillet and stir around constantly and quickly just long enough to take the “red” of. Beef should still look pink when you take it off the skillet as it will continue to cook a tiny bit, trust me, it will always be juicy and tender this way! Do NOT leave it in the skillet or wok as you continue to cook the veggies, that will just cause a lot of undesirable toughness.
Another WIN is my recipe also includes a scramble of eggs, an assortment chopped vegetables selected by the young chef (a good trick to get kids to eat more veggies), a simple sauce and pre-prepared rice. Of course, you can cook your rice the old-fashioned way, but in a hurry and with the kids, I either keep those rice pouches from the frozen aisle on hand or meal prep my own and package into portions.
Love to use crunchy nuts for the top, NOW Foods has a great selection of organic options — cashews may be my favorite!
William, the 16-year old chef who picked out all the yummy veggies for this recipe and cooked them up for his mama!
So, no need to call for Chinese take-out to solve dinner – make your own healthier version in less time than it would take the delivery guy to show up. What’s even better than this? Getting the kids in the kitchen while you kick your feet up!
So, do you get your kids in the kitchen to cook? What’s in their repertoire? If you could only have 3 veggies (or fruits) in a stir fry – gasp – what would they be? Please share in the comments below – XOXO , Jennifer
15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice Recipe
Get a vibrant and very healthy fried rice dinner on the table in less time that it would take to wait on delivery -- faster, fitter, fresher and easy enough for older kids to prepare!
Bring large skillet to high medium-heat. Add olive oil and add cut sirloin and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 4 minutes or until no longer red but pink n the middle with edges browning. Remove from heat immediately and drain on paper towels.
Spray same skillet (now empty) with cooking spray. Add eggs, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring vigorously, until scrambled. Scoop out of skillet to rest next to beef.
Place bag of rice in microwave and cook on high for 4 minutes. Or, used 10 ounces of previously prepared rice. Remove and set aside.
Add remaining olive oil to same skillet (now empty again) and stir fry vegetables on medium-high for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Exact time will depend on size and type of chopped vegetables.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add cooked rice, cooked beef and cooked eggs back to skillet with vegetables. Stir to combine.
Quickly mix together soy sauce and Sriracha. Evenly drizzle over top of mixture and stir well to combine, continue to cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes until heated through.
Swoon, 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).
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.
I 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I don’t eat rice very often, it can be pretty boring (IMO) and really doesn’t fit into my lower-carb protein plan. However, I’m not a NO carb kind of girl – no way, no how. Sometimes I need that precious energy source to propel me through an endurance event, boost my brainpower or just keep me from going bonkers.
Brown rice, which is a great source of fiber, is a smart and easy-to-make option when it comes to eating healthy, whole grain carbs. Research has shown that brown rice can reduce diabetes risk, help manage weight, lower cholesterol and reduce the likelihood of getting certain cancers (read more about all this at The Whole Grains Council.)
So, to avoid the blah-fest that is plain rice, I decided to up to the flavors with a health take on fried rice – you’re going to go crazy for my Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Rice! Made with lots of coconut items including coconut water, coconut oil and unsweetened coconut – there is a that wonderful hint of tropical paradise with every bite. The macadamia nuts back up the beach eats vibe – and the whole thing is just loaded with healthy fats and extra protein from the eggs to help you fill filled up for longer. (get recipe at bottom of post — but below are some great NOW Foods products I used and love)
Also, I have to tell you about the best thing to show up at my door this week (aside from my Fed Ex man who loves to yap about Spartan Race just as much as me):
A box of gifts for me and it’s not even my birthday (yet) or Christmas! POPSUGAR sent me this Must Have box to try and it totally made my day, my week, my June! This monthly subscription box is aptly named “must-have” – all the most fabulous, fun things a fit and fashionable girl could want are specially curated and packed into one awesomely exciting box to open. You never know what each month’s #MustHaveBox will behold – but the surprises never fail to win me over on pure whimsy and major whoohoo!
Neutral Diamonds printed Sarong by HAT ATTACK – I’m packing this easy, breezy cover-up in my weekend bag for my next trip to the beach. It’s perfect for a swim suit cover up, but gorgeous enough to wear as a wrap at the dinner hour.
“Cheers” Gold Bottle Opener by SISTERS OF LOS ANGELES – A chic and unique upscale beer drinker would never think to use a tacky, cheap promo bottle opener. This sleek , golden opener takes the top off iced cold beverage in chic summer style.
Ridley’s Games Room “Who Am I Quiz?” by WILD AND WOLF – Oh, you know game night at my family reunion is going to get rocking with this celebrity-inspired guessing game! How fun!
Born on the 4th Nail Laquer by NCLA – So, I know what my toes are wearing on Independence Day! This glittery, glam polish!
Are You Ready Compact Mirror by KNOCK KNOCK – This cheeky compact will help me be ready for that next selfie situation.
Underarm Deoderat Wipes by PACIFICA – Lightly perfumed and oh-so convenient, this is my favorite item in the box . .. errr, uhhh, cause I stink after working out and running errands all day.
Sriracha Snacks by PRESSELS – Less fat and salt than many other snack foods and that spicy kick of Sriracha to boot – a winner!
4 large eggs, whisked
2 tablespoons coconut oil (divided)
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup thinly sliced green onions, bulb and tops
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
4 large eggs, whisked
2 tablespoons coconut oil (divided)
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup thinly sliced green onions, bulb and tops
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
Add rice to coconut water and cook on stovetop, in microwave or in rice cooker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove rice, spread out on rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add 1 teaspoon coconut oil to large skillet, bring to medium heat and add shredded, unsweetened coconut. Stir continuously for 3 to 4 minutes, or until turning golden brown. Remove from pan and let cool on paper towel.
In same skillet, add another teaspoon of coconut oil and scramble eggs for approximately 5 minutes or until set; scrape into a bowl.
In same skillet, add remainder of coconut oil and bring to medium high heat. Add cooled rice, and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until hot. Add in green onions, toasted shredded coconuts, scrambled eggs, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir around for another 1 or 2 minutes
Do 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.
That 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.
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.
This 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!
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
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.
Bring large pot of water to boil and boil noodles according to product directions. Drain and set aside.
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.
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.
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.
I love LOVE salads, many of you know that – I post my salad photos ( #saladselfie #saladrevolution #saladintheATX) nearly every day on Instagram @thefitfork. Often the mounds of lettuce I get at casual restaurants or take-away are pretty skimpy on the protein – this makes me hungry within the hour, no matter how BIG the salad was – that’s one of the reasons I prefer making my salad at home. Protein is so important for people living a fit and active lifestyle – adequate quality protein promotes heart health, helps muscles recover and grow and gives a long-lasting feeling of fullness that prevents unhealthy snacking later in the day. I got a chance to talk about this and the 30 Day Protein Challenge on Good Day San Antonio on 4th of July Morning!
Sharing ways to get more protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner on KENS5 Great Day San Antonio.
There are lots of ways to boost the protein in salads, everyone should be aiming to get 25 – 30 grams of protein per meal adding beans (edamame, garbanzo, and black beans are some of my favorites) and adding a modest amount of nuts with heart-healthy oils like (almonds, walnuts and pistachios are so good) are two ways to reach optimal protein intake – I also love these Snack Crisps from Eat Enlightened. They are baked crunchy from broad (fava) beans and come in a bunch of yummy flavors like Sriracha, Garlic and Barbeque! For only 100 calories, I get an extra 7 grams of protein and lots of satisfying crush – whoohoo, they work as paleo croutons!
Of course, the most direct way to pump up the protein in a salad is by adding lean red meat; chicken, turkey or other poultry; or fish, shrimp or type of seafood. Today, I’m sharing my recipe for Orange Miso Beef Lettuce Wraps along with a collection of other beef salad ideas I curated in a collection for Mode Stories.
Also, I wanted to share with you a yummy snack I’ve been enjoying lately – Eat Nākd from Natural Balance Foods . Eat Nākd bars are basically fruits and nuts “smooshed” together in a nutritious, healthy bar for convenience Eat Nākd Protein Crunch bars are just as delicious and are have a bit of plant-based protein added for sustained energy. Individually wrapped for convenience and available in a ton of tempting flavors (hello chocolate mint), these bars are the perfect way to get some quick energy before a workout or when you need a little pick-me-up to nosh on at the office. They are also vegetarian and Paleo diet friendly; gluten, wheat and dairy free; and have no added sugars or hidden extras. These bars are made in Britain and you can order online with quick delivery – this product totally worth checking out!
Click photo to sign up!
Join the 30 Day Protein Challenge — you’ll learn how to get enough protein in your diet. Or, you’ll discover why you should rearrange the protein you’re already eating — did you know most Americans eat 2/3s of their daily requirement at dinner? It needs to be evenly portioned out through the day! The #ProteinChallenge also gives you access to delicious recipes and support with nutrition tips and a hunger scale to help you optimize your health!
Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill 11 to 15 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.
Carve steaks into slices. Place lettuce leaves on serving platter. Evenly layer vegetables onto lettuce leaves. Top evenly with steak. Drizzle with vinaigrette; sprinkle with nuts.
Tip: To pan-broil steaks, preheat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook steaks 12 to 15 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.