Grilled Cranberry-Orange Flank Steak for Holidays

I’ve been an “elite” runner sponsored by the Texas Beef Team now for at least 6 years and am not slowing down. Okay, okay, my pace-per-mile may have bumped up a teeny tad due age (hey, I’m 50!) but I credit eating lean beef, in large part, to staying fit, fast, and on fire! More on that later.Cranberry Orange Flank Steak

Running aside, another thing that’s not slowing down is my love for grilling, even in the fall and winter months. Thanks to more delightful than frightful weather in the Lone Star State, I get to grill nearly the entire year ‘round. For the holidays, you can often catch me out on the patio, grilling up something to be very thankful for – like this Cranberry Orange Flank Steak. Read on to get more deets and the full recipe! Continue reading

Holiday How To – Easy Beef Tenderloin Roast with Root Veggies

Holiday Roast Tips -‘Tis the season for eating well and enjoying the experience with family and friends. Serving a perfectly prepared beef roast is always a showstopper at holiday celebrations and dinner parties. It can be our little secret, but roasting beef actually requires very little time and effort! I learned everything I need to know from my dad (who does a tenderloin roast every Christmas) and my friends at the Texas Beef Council.

With my easy-to-follow tips that follow, you can transform a large hunk of beef into a delicious roast ready to be carved into succulent slices — there probably won’t be a leftover morsel in sight, so consider making two roasts! Also, if you’d like to test out your skills and don’t have a recipe, try the mouth-watering recipe for Garlic and Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin Roast with Roasted Root Vegetables featured at the bottom of this post.

BTW, if you are on the Beef Team and are still in possession of your holiday Chateau Loin (which is center cut sirloin), it will easily substitute without modifications in this roast recipe.  

Tips for the Perfect Roast Beef:

1) Choose the right cut. We’re demonstrating roasting tips with a beef tenderloin roast, but the same process will work with other cuts including ribeye and tri tip roasts and more economical cuts like sirloin and round roasts. The way to ensure perfect outcomes when preparing beef is to pair a cut with the appropriate cooking method – and also your budget. The Interactive Butcher Counter  helps take the uncertainty out of selecting the right cut of beef to roast – check it out!

garlic rosemary rubbed tenderloin - pick cut and ingredients - jennifer fisher

2) You can’t flub a rub. Dry rubs are an easy way to add flavor to a roast and can be as simple as salt and pepper or as complex and spicy as you want to get – chili powder, herbs, brown sugar and even ground coffee beans are all ingredients I’ve seen used in rubs.  Really, the only must-do for a rub is to apply it generously – rub in the mixture thickly on the top, bottom and every side (including the ends) and your reward will be a crusty, caramelized exterior that adds flavor and helps to hold in juices. A variant of dry rubs is to massage olive oil, spices and even fresh aromatic herbs into the beef – that’s what we’re doing with the recipe below.

Seasoning beef tenderloin with salt and olive oil.

3) Use the proper roasting gear. Actually, very little gear is required for roasting beef in the oven. When it comes to cookware, choose a metal pan with an approximate 2 to 3-inch rim. Metal conducts heat better than other materials and yields a more evenly browned roast. You won’t need a lid, as oven roasting is a dry heat cooking method.  Also, use a roasting rack to elevate the meat above the pan so that the heat can circulate underneath. If you don’t have a roasting rack or fancy silicon roasting laurel, simply substitute heavy-duty aluminum foil that has been scrunched up and twisted into a figure-8 shape.  A reliable meat thermometer is also needed to ensure you cook your roast to perfect doneness – those inexpensive instant-read thermometers found at most grocery stores will do the job fine.

Tale your beef roast out at 135F degrees and let rest for 10 minutes for medium-rare doneness

4) Learn how to tell when your roast is done. If you’re not following a recipe, get familiar with the suggested cooking times and oven temperatures for your selected cut of beef.  I like to reference this useful chart on Beef Roast Table Times. Abiding by this chart will ensure you rule the roast every time; however, remember that temperatures vary from oven to oven making cooking times approximate. You’ll know when your roast is “done” for your taste preferences when the thermometer is stuck into the center, thickest part of the roast (but not near a bone) and reads 10 degrees LESS than the time indicated for medium-rare, medium, or well-done. When you take a roast out of the oven early like this, the temperature will continue to rise and cook the roast for a few more minutes out of the oven.For example, a medium-rare roast is finished at 145 F degrees, but should be removed at 135 F degrees. See the chart below for more details.

Temperature guidelines for beef roasts.

5) Give it a rest. As tempting as it is to cut into a roast or steak right as it comes off the heat, you must let it rest on the countertop for at least 10 minutes as just mentioned. This allows the juices time to redistribute between the relaxing muscle fibers and ultimately create a more tender and enjoyable eating experience. If you’re not sure if the roast has rested long enough, it should be ready to carve when the temperature drops to 120 F degrees or below.



Garlic & Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin and Roasted Root Vegetables -


Are you a roast-cooking newbie — or do you have well seasoned skills? Do you like the food pun?  Feel free to share a “funny,” too!  A steak pun is a rare medium well done — heehee, another pun!  XOXO, Jennifer 

Garlic & Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin and Roasted Root Vegetables -
Garlic and Rosemary Tenderloin Roast with Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe
Print Recipe
• 2 to 3 lbs. assorted root vegetables (like sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, onions, beets, parsnips) • 1 large sweet yellow onion • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Garlic & Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin and Roasted Root Vegetables -
Garlic and Rosemary Tenderloin Roast with Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe
Print Recipe
• 2 to 3 lbs. assorted root vegetables (like sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, onions, beets, parsnips) • 1 large sweet yellow onion • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
for roast beef
for roast vegetables
Servings: servings
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Massage beef with olive oil and then rub rosemary springs enthusiastically onto entire surface to release aromatic oils. Next, rub garlic paste over tenderloin and then rub in salt and pepper to entire surface. Place rosemary spring on top of roast.
  2. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Do not add water or cover.
  3. Cut vegetables into 1 to 2-inch chunks and place on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Chop up remaining rosemary and toss with vegetables along with salt, pepper, and parsley. Spread out vegetables into a single layer. Roast vegetables for approximately 45 minutes in 425F degree oven, stirring and rearranging halfway through cooking.
  4. Roast tenderloin in 425°F oven for approximately 40 – 45 minutes for medium rare (pull out at 135F degrees and will rise to 145F degrees) or 45 to 55 minutes for medium doneness (pull out at 145F degrees and will rise to 160F degrees). Tent with foil. Let stand 10 - 20 minutes until temperature has dropped to 120 F degrees or below. Slice roast across the grain and serve with roasted vegetables.
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Best Recipes for Taco Day + Beef Texas Stories

Hard, soft, puffy, or wrapped in lettuce, I have spicy, hot taco love. Wow, that sounds a little naughty, but who cares — it’s National Taco Day on Sunday, October 4th!  Just wanted to give you a heads up and share some of my favorite taco recipes (and taco-inspired takeoffs) for breakfast lunch and dinner!

Tacos and Takeoff recipes

Pomegranate Steak Taco with Blue Cheese

Pomegranate Steak Taco with Blue Cheese – get my recipe at

Also, who doesn’t love a BEEF taco, they’re some of the best — spice up a traditional grind or make tacos with your leftover steak. I also like to put a chuck roast in the slow cooker and make fork-tender shredded beef for Taco Tuesday (and every other day of the week)! You can check out the Beef Taco Roundup I did for the Beef Loving Texans Blog, I’m sure you’ll find a new favorite — maybe even my own recipe for Pomegranate Steak Tacos with Blue CheeseBeef Recipes for Taco Day

And, since I talk so often about the badassery of beef, please head over to check out Texas Stories — Tales of beef-raising and beef-loving folks across the Lone Star State.  You’ll get to meet some of the faces behind beef here in my home state — ranchers, chefs, barbecue experts, health advocates — and me! Such an honor!

Texas Beef Council - Texas Stories

How will you be celebrating National Taco Day? What is your favorite taco — or the craziest one you’ve ever tried? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer




Beef Pumpkin Tostada with Chipotle Crema Recipe {#LivingWell}

LogoMobileI recently got back from a fun experience in Chicago with the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner people. A group of us food bloggers with an affinity for healthy living (and eating meat) were invited to learn more about the role lean beef plays in #LivingWell.  Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know that I am not shy when it comes to singing the praises of beef.  I often work with beef in cooking demonstrations and it’s a mainstay on many of the menus I prepare for my husband and three teen boys. Plus, I’m on the Texas Beef Team and fueled by the 29 cuts of this lean protein source. It’s high in protein and a super-efficient source of nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium and B vitamins that are important for athletic performance and recovery.

Enjoying the company of fit-minded foodies and a delicious beef dinner.

Enjoying the company of fit-minded foodies and a delicious beef dinner.

I have more to say about this awesome #LivingWell event next week when my team puts the finishing touches on writing out our fabulously creative beef recipe we came up with during an Iron Chef-like competition. But, the whole experience reminded me just how easy it is to make a quick, healthy and creative meal with any leftover beef that may be sitting in the fridge. For dinner tonight, I whipped up these seasonally scrumptious Beef Pumpkin Tostadas with Chipotle Crema.  For the beef, I used the remnants of lean, center-cut brisket from a meal earlier in the week – but other beef leftovers could easily be substituted – try shredded roast, ground beef or thinly sliced top sirloin steak.

Jennifer Fisher - -Beef Pumpkin Tostadas

Beef Pumpkin Tostadas with Chipotle Crema Recipe

  • 8 whole grain tortillas
  •  1/2 cup pumpkin puree from can (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 4 oz pepper jack, shredded
  • 3/4 lb. leftover beef of choice
  • 1/3 cup light sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (chipotle flavor, if available)
  • 2 Tbsp. roasted, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Garnish: spring mix

Create hard tostada shells out of the tortillas by microwaving them in groups of three for one minute at a time, flipping after each minute and repeating until crunchy.

In blender or food processor, blend together pumpkin, black beans and salsa. Spread equal portion of pumpkin mixture on tortilla. Set on rimmed baking sheet.

Sprinkle with approximately ½ ounce of cheese and top with approximately 1.5 ounces of beef.

Broil on high until cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven and set aside.

Mix together sour cream with chipotle powder and Tabasco.

Sprinkle with spring mix lettuce and roasted pepitas. Drizzle with chipotle crema.  Serve warm

Makes 8 tostadas, about 4 servings.

jennifer fisher - - beef pumpkin tostadas


More to come on the Chicago trip, but I did take my signature “run the city” one-hour speed tour — here I am at the famous big silver bean!

2013_10 jennifer thefitfork chicago bean

And, other good news for the week — got hooked up with some new Karhu shoes and found my lucky lady bug earrings.

2013_10 karhu jennifer



Seven Days of Sweet & Savory Things

Aug 24: Ran the epic Hood to Coast Relay for the second year,  on a team called Cherry Limeade sponsored by the always awesome, always refreshing Nuun Hydration.  This Seattle-based maker of electrolyte tabs is focused on creating a take-along product that keeps runners and other athletes hydrated flavorfully – in fact, they have so many flavors, it will make your head spin.  My favorites are Kona Kola and Strawberry Lemonade, oh yea — and ½ a Banana tab with ½ a Watermelon tab!  I appreciate the fact that I’m not sucking down a bunch of sugar with this product, goodness knows I’ve been the poster child for losing time on a race course due to GI distress.

hood to coast van two getting ready

I was so inspired by the women runners in my team’s van 2, that I just have to shout them out —  Allison, Tanaya and Tere from Arizona, Emily (now) from Oregon and Paige from Washington. I’m already looking at the upcoming race calendars to cherry pick (or, should I say ‘cherry limeade pick’?) a few for reunion visits! BTW, all the women I met on the Nuun teams rocked; however, these particular ones though had to put up with me for 40 straight hours with no sleep. There was no do-it-yourselfing on this trip, well except the running. We had the luxury of being chauffeured around on this 200-mile race by our fearless, amusingly foul-mouthed and seriously funny van driver Vishal, a Nuun employee who also made sure that we had our Starbucks, Diet Mountain Dew, and never-ending food and pit stops expertly arranged.  Thanks to Megan Fay for organizing the chaos and chief hydrator and company president, Mason Reay, for another year of gracious hospitality. Random side note: I knew Mason lived in Austin for a while, but found out that our children attended the same preschool at the same time! Now that I think of it, he might have been the dad at the Thanksgiving Pow-wow who offered to bring beer.

August 25: Traveled the entire day, plane had mechanical problems and I wasn’t in bed until 2:30, and shortly thereafter greeted my 5:30 alarm clock. That was neither a sweet nor savory thing. But, while waiting at the airport, I did order a “personal mix” of granola from  The site is so cool, you choose a base cereal, other grains, fruits, nuts and add-ins and then bag it up and ship it straight to your door! On the back of the bag, the nutrition label reflects the exact mix that you made. And, it tastes really fantastic on my Greek yogurt.


August 26: School started, enough said. Sweet! Okay, I’ll say more – and I don’t usually dump out this much mushy personal information, so here you go! My three sons have entered 11th, 8th and 5th grades, so proud of them and it’s going to be a great year.  Got a sweet kiss from each this morning!

my three boys

August 28: Finally read my September Cooking Light magazine and made a recipe for Quinoa-Granola Cookies that I will share on the blog tomorrow. Love to put healthy cookies in my kid’s lunches. Sneak peek:


August 30:  Brought a post-practice treat to football practice, Jamba Juice smoothies! Seeing as it was 105 degrees, I had no trouble passing off every last one of the Strawberry Surf Rider smoothies to those hot, sweaty boys. This is one of the reasons why I love being a Jamba Juice Whirl’d Ambassador (disclosure).  If you sign up to receive Jamba Juice news and specials via email, you’ll receive a coupon for a $2 16-ounce smoothie. That’s a sweet-sweet situation!


August 31: Celebrated National Bacon Day by wrapping a piece of cured pork around a club cracker and rolling it in brown sugar – then baked at 400F until bubbling with greasy-salty-sweet goodness. This sweet-and-savory sin was not my own doing – inspired by the Pioneer Woman.

national bacon day

September 1: Shared my love for beef and why it is great fuel for an athlete at the Tri-Rock Triathlon Expo in Austin, Texas.  Looking for a delicious dinner idea that’s healthy and fast? Check out my recipe for Spice Crusted Tenderloin with Street Fair Corn, hurry and make it before grilling season slips away.

jen and jackie tri rock

Elite Eats: Pro Triathlete Natasha van der Merwe Spices Up With Jamaican Beef Kabob Recipe

After a day that includes numerous hours logged on a run, bike or swim, it seems like a girl could eat whatever she wanted. While I have heard pro triathlete Natasha van der Merwe  hint at these 5,000 calorie days, I know firsthand that she’s not scarfing down gut-busting pizza and McFlurrys during her typical training block – these treats are reserved for much-deserved, post-race rewards. The day-to-day menu of the “South African born but Texas trained” transplant is much more practical, drawing on foods “with a purpose” to either fuel her for the next workout or help her recover from the most recent.

As much as she can, Natasha likes to stick to “real” unprocessed foods and a gluten-free diet. During long training rides she’s made the switch from energy bars and gels for mid-ride fuel to homemade sweet potato cookies — or even sometimes just the whole baked sweet potato!  Believe it or not, a challenge for Natasha is taking in enough quality calories to stay “topped off” for Ironman training, a commitment that often has her busy working out 2 or 3 times per day. Oh, and did I also mention that she fills her downtime with coaching and taking care of the day-to-day details of Tri Team Transport, a triathlon bike and gear transport business she owns with her husband.

Because of this hectic schedule, Natasha tells me that she relies on quick and easy meals that can be thrown on the grill. Lean steak, a sweet potato and some veggies has long been her go-to selection. A perfect choice for the athlete and I’m not the only one saying so!  According to experts, a 3.5 ounce serving of lean beef supplies about 40 percent of the daily requirements for zinc, a mineral needed to keep the immune system strong. Also supplied in this modest-sized serving of beef are 2 milligrams of iron (athletes need extra to rebuild red blood cells broken down by taxing training sessions) and a boost of B vitamins which help convert carbs (like a nutrient-dense sweet potato)into usable fuel for exercise.

It sure looks like beef is working for Natasha; this year she’s had some solid breakthroughs in her sport including a 37 minute 10k (off the bike, mind you!), a sub 30 minute swim in the half-Ironman and top ten finishes in too many 70.3 distances to count. Plus, she also recently finished her first full Ironman 140.6 distance (something she said she’d “never” do) at Ironman Mont Tremblant and now has her mind set on Ironman Florida and Ironman Arizona.  Probably her only “beef” about beef is being in a rut about how to prepare it day in and day out– and that’s where I come in!

Knowing Natasha’s livelihood relies on simple, satisfying and nutritionally-sound suppers, I went to my source for no-fail beef recipes — the Texas Beef Council.  The perfect “spiced-up” dinner suggestion for my triathlete friend that contains both lean beef and sweet potatoes is (drumroll) Jamaican Beef Kabobs. You should try it for dinner tonight, if you know what’s good for you!


Jamaican Beef Kabobs Recipe






  • 1 lb. beef sirloin steak (or other lean cuts such as eye of round, sirloin, tenderloin)
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. red pepper
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium pineapple
  • 4 fresh jalapeno peppers
Mix onion powder, sugar, thyme, red pepper, allspice, salt and pepper together in small bowl. Rub mixture into steak.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place the potatoes in sauce pan with water to cover. Simmer until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Cut the steak and the pineapple into 1-inch cubes. Cut the jalapenos in half and remove the seeds.

Thread beef, sweet potatoes, pineapple and jalapenos onto skewers. Grill over medium coals until beef is done to your liking, about 10-15 minutes.

Suggestions: If you prefer a less “fiery” version, substitute green bell peppers for the jalapenos. If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 10 minutes and drain before using. This will keep them from burning on the grill. Use plastic gloves while handling jalapenos to avoid burning hands. You can substitute shoulder steak for the sirloin steak.

Nutritional Information (per serving): 287 Calories; 5g Total Fat; 2g Saturated Fat; 50mg Cholesterol; 3mg Iron; 660mg Sodium; 5mg Zinc; 28g Protein; 32g Carbohydrates; 5g Dietary Fiber

Food and Fun at the Capitol 10K

Placed 11th female overall!

This past Sunday I got my feet out on the street with about 25,000 other like-minded crazies to run the famous Capitol 10,000 in Austin, Texas. Now in its 35th year, this race is the largest 10k in Texas and the 5th in the nation.  Despite the hills, the heat and the humidity, there was plenty to be smiling about during the race including my Texas Beef Team cheering squad at mile 3 and an assortment of random sights — a guy jumping roadside on a big trampoline, a volunteer pushing bacon strips as ‘race fuel,’ and lots of interesting-to-say-the-least costumes.

Also keeping my mind off the pain during the tough 10k were the thoughts of post-race food! The party on Auditorium Shores had plenty of goodies, my favorite being the Eoni energy cakes and bars made from all natural ingredients (get them at HEB and Sprouts). While you shouldn’t pig out after a 10K, you definitely do need to take in some carbs and protein within 30 minutes to help recover. To get an idea of your energy expenditures, check out this article I wrote last year on Calories Burned Running a 10K.