Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa + Pinner’s Conference

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.comIt’s happened more than once, I’ve tasted a quinoa salad and gone “meh” even though I know good for me. We are at the crescendo of the quinoa craze, so you too probably are aware that this ancient grain (which is actually a seed) boosts your diet with  nutrients like B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber. Additionally, quinoa is also one of only a few plant foods considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids — oh how I love me some protein! 

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

To add some flavor excitement to a quinoa recipe, I decided to mix up a dish that magnifies some of my favorite flavors that some consider “fall season” but I embrace year ’round – maple syrup and butternut squash! And hey, even though it was 105 degrees yesterday . . . we are getting closer to Autumn one day at a time! I’ve used two of my favorite products from NOW Foods, Organic Tri-color Quinoa and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa can be served warm, room temperature or cold -- it's a healthy vegetarian side dish or salad packed with protein and wholesome energy.Anyway,my recipe for Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa is just bursting with flavor and wholesome goodness. Not only is this recipe pretty to look at, it’s a beautiful addition to a meal-prepping lineup — especially important now that it’s Back-To-School season. You can make a big batch and eat it warm or cold — it also holds up well to being packed in a lunchbox.   Of course, I like to pair mine with a big, juicy steak!

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

By the way, I am demonstrating this Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa coming up on Friday, September 9th at the Texas Pinner’s Conference  in the Dallas area (Arlington Convention Center). My class is called “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness.” 

pinners conference class description

pinners conference pic 1Learn how to prepare enough protein (I’m grilling Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steaks) to make dinner with leftovers for breakfast and lunch — the other recipes are Iron-Boosting Beef & Date Spinach Salad and Steak & Plantain Breakfast Bowl. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE

Are you a make-ahead meal prepper? What is your favorite dish to stock in the fridge or freezer? Have the kids gone back to school yet? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake squash, stirring once halfway through, for approximately 15 minutes or until tender and turning golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions -- it should also take around 15 minutes, so you can do the squash and quinoa simultaneously to save time.
  4. When quinoa done, transfer to large bowl, fluff with fork and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. While quinoa and squash cooling down, prepare dressing by adding maple syrup, remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt to small bowl and whisk until combined.
  6. Add cooked quinoa, cooked squash, green onions, raisins, and pecans to large bowl, mix gently to combine.
  7. Pour dressing over top and stir to evenly distribute. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.
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Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes and La Tomatina

Tomato toes IG‘Tis the season for tomatoes! Load up on this garden staple, slow-cook them in the oven to perfection,, and what you don’t gobble up right away, can be stuck in the freezer and enjoyed throughout the year – the taste of summer will last forever. Tomato lovers are going to absolutely swoon over this easy recipe for Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes!

Also, have you ever heard of the La Tomatina Festival? it’s a wild party of tomato-tossing on the cobblestone streets of a little Spanish town. I say show up with a bottle of Wocestershire and Vodka and just open your mouth! Check out the video at bottom of post!

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - multiply the recipe and store in the freezer or year-round enjoyment on salad, pizza, pasta, steak and more.

Even though this recipe takes an hour to cook (that’s a long time in my quick-fix book), it’s well worth the wait. Roasting tomatoes in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes. This little trick is especially helpful if your using tomatoes from the produce department, which aren’t as vine-ripe as those grown at home. This make-ahead recipe serves about 10, but feel free to double, triple or otherwise multiply depending on your tomato addiction.

 Also, if you’re looking for a top-notch olive oil, I highly recommend the Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Ellydale Organics, a division of NOW Foods.

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes 250 - thefitfork

I’ve served these little succulent beauties on salads, pizzas, anti-pasta platters, steaks and chopped up and incorporated into so many recipes. They also make a healthy snack just plucked straight off the pan. Enjoy!

So, if you planning to be in Spain in August on the last Wednesday of the month, don’t miss La Tomatina. This is perhaps the world’s largest food fight – with tomatoes being the only thing thrown! Held in the small town of Bunol (near Valencia), this event draws in more than 50K people who pelt each other with more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes!

What is your favorite fruit or veggie of summer?  Would you rather eat a tomato or throw it? Let’s connect in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Print Recipe
Celebrate summer all year long by roasting up several batches of these succulent, sweet roasted tomatoes -- so much better than sun dried!
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Print Recipe
Celebrate summer all year long by roasting up several batches of these succulent, sweet roasted tomatoes -- so much better than sun dried!
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and gently squeeze out seeds or scoop them with a spoon --leave as much as the flesh as possible.
  2. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the thyme.
  3. Roast tomatoes on center rack for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast tomatoes about 20 minutes more, or until caramelized.
  4. Let tomatoes rest until reaching room temperature. The tomatoes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or for up to 6 months in the freezer.
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Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad & Grilling Produce Tips

Take advantage of the summer's best produce with this Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad -- and check out the grilling tips.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!

Five Tips for Grilling Vegetables this Summer

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.

Balsamic Grilled Veggie Sandwich

What is your favorite vegetable (or fruit) to toss on the grill? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

 

 

 

Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad
Print Recipe
Grilling vegetables is a great way to add a hint of smoky goodness and flavor to the summer season's best vegetables. The leftovers for this grilled salad can be used on pizzas, pastas and sammies.
Servings Prep Time
4 - 6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
8 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 - 6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
8 minutes 30 minutes
Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad
Print Recipe
Grilling vegetables is a great way to add a hint of smoky goodness and flavor to the summer season's best vegetables. The leftovers for this grilled salad can be used on pizzas, pastas and sammies.
Servings Prep Time
4 - 6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
8 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 - 6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
8 minutes 30 minutes
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Skewer together mushrooms. Coat grates with oil and heat grill to medium-high — approximately 400 F degrees.
  3. Drain balsamic marinade off vegetables and reserve (never reserve marinade on raw meat, but on vegetables it is fine)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
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