Today, I’ve got a Ranch Spaghetti & Meatballs Frittata to share – you heard me right! Simple, speedy and able to cure dinner distress in about 30 minutes. It gives leftover plain pasta new life! Now, don’t make the mistake of calling this egg recipe a “quiche” and scare your hungry men off – it doesn’t have a crust.
Who needs a crust anyway, it’s just a bunch of fattening pie dough! Instead pasta (and please feel free to use gluten-free) holds this skillet of goodness together well enough that it’s easily sliced into wedges that keep their shape.
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.
Ditch the delivery guy and make a delicious meal just about as fast as you can say “winner, winner, pizza dinner” 10 times. Today, I’m sharing a pizza crust recipe that whips up in warp speed – just grab two simple ingredients and give yourself two minutes to create homemade dough that is ready to roll out and pile up with all those favorite toppings.
I originally made this 2-ingredient, 2-topping Pizza Crust Recipe for Litehouse Foods using, their Homestyle Ranch. For Ranch Dressing devotees, the concept was capturing that signature buttermilk and herb flavor and baking it right into the crust – so no dipping, dunking or drizzling required! I must say, that crust was delicious! I’ve also swapped out the Ranch dressing with whole-fat Greek yogurt for a tangy, tasty twist that offers up a bit more protein – a consideration if you are making a veggie pizza.
While you only need 2 minutes to make the pizza crust, you’ll need another 12 minutes for it to bake in the oven, loaded with sauce, cheese, fresh veggies, meats and other toppings your crave. Still, you’re eating homemade pizza in less than 15 minutes and that is definitely faster than delivery!
You’ll also want to try my DIY Garlic Pizza Sauce, another 2 minute recipe (made in the blender) that will take your pie to a whole ‘nutha level.
Heat oven to 475 F degrees. Place pizza stone or unrimmed baking sheet in oven to pre-heat.
In medium bowl, add self-rising flour and Greek yogurt, stirring to combine. If mixture seems too sticky, add in more flour a tablespoon at a time.
Plop dough out on liberally floured portable work surface, such as large cutting board or unrimmed baking sheet. Shape into one large ball for a 12” pizza or two smaller balls for personal-sized pizzas.
Use a rolling pin to flatten dough to approximately 1/3” thickness, using fingers to mend any cracks or craggy spots on edges. Add toppings of choice onto uncooked pizza dough (like sauce, cheese, veggies, etc.).
Open door of oven and use baking mitt to pull out hot baking sheet. Carefully slide prepped pizza onto hot baking sheet.
Bake in center rack of oven for 12 minutes or until edges golden brown and cheese bubbling on top.
Well, first of all, happy Mardi Gras – Laissez les bons temps rouler! This day of eating, drinking and overindulging that can take quite a toll so, I’m sharing a healthy salad to help keep you fit and fierce for Fat Tuesday . . . or get you back on track later in the week!
You’re going to love my Spicy Creole Shrimp Salad with French Quarter Croutons, it’s like a healthier version of a Po’ Boy sandwich that exploded with loads of lettuces and farm-fresh veggies. Instead of getting fried in oh-my-gawd grease, the succulent shrimp in this quick and easy recipe get a toss in Creole Seasoning before being lightly sautéed in heart-healthy olive oil.
Forget about bland Creole seasoning from grocery store spice aisle, kick up the taste and cut down on costs by making a big batch at home – in addition, making it from scratch lets you say au revoir to weird chemicals and preservatives and control the amount of heat. Often referred to as Cajun spice, this blend of peppers, paprika, thyme, oregano, garlic and onion powders creates the base of bold flavor on practically everything in my shrimp recipe – BAM!
I also use Instantly Fresh Herbs in my Creole Spice Mix, a generous recipe that makes plenty for the salad, dressing and croutons – store leftovers in an airtight jar for up to a year. Use this Creole Spice Mix in soups and gumbos, rub into catfish and tuna, mix into meatballs, and even sprinkle on grilled fruit – this Cajun food seasoning is crazy-good!
The dressing isn’t loaded in fat either; I used the deliciously creamy Greek yogurt-based Ranch and jazzed it up a bit with Creole spices.
To make Creole Spice Mix, place ingredients in small jar with lid. Stir or shake to combine. May be stored in pantry out of direct sunlight for up to one year. Makes approximately ½ cup.
To make shrimp, heat olive oil and Worcestershire sauce in large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat thawed shrimp dry and toss with Creole Spice Mix. Place in hot skillet and sauté for approximately 2 minutes, or until heated through (take care not to over-heat since shrimp are precooked). Remove shrimp from heat to a plate while finishing remainder of dish.
To prepare salad, top lettuce with cabbage, radish and tomatoes on a large platter or individual bowls. For dressing stir, Creole Spice Mix in dressing until incorporated – use more or less depending on preference for spiciness.
For croutons, slice 8-inch length of baguette in half lengthwise. Next, slice each half in half at a long diagonal; place on baking sheet. Brush cut side of bread with olive oil and sprinkle with cheese and Creole Spice Mix. Set under broiler for 60 seconds (keep a vigilant eye) or until top beginning to bubble and brown.
To serve, place shrimp on prepared salad and add one big crouton per person; pass with dressing.
So, I ran the Spartan Beast Dallas this past Saturday. It was muddy – really, really muddy thanks to record Texas flooding. This is only the second obstacle course I’ve raced and the first as an elite — I knew to expect the unexpected, but damn – it was a crazy from just trying to get into the parking lot . . . . . . . and then trying to get out, let alone the course.
The race was delayed while they rerouted the trail due to raging rivers. I got hungry. Then I got muddy – really, really muddy. I was hoping to dominate the running, but the ankle-deep mud made lifting each footstep up out of the muck difficult for me . . .and everyone. On this course, I think my favorite obstacles were the barbed wire crawl (the mud made for good slithering) and the monkey bars (because swinging around like a chimpanzee is just plain fun).
The bucket carry and sand bag carry were both hard obstacles given the incline of the hills and the slippery footing. I made a ton of mistakes but am excited to run another and see improvements in my strategy – and I’m happy to report that I came in as the 14th Elite and 2nd Master Elite at the Spartan Beast Dallas . . . and I’m not too badly banged up. The worst of it was a thigh rope burn and a goose egg on my head where I slid right into a tree limb!
So, enough about running and hurdling over stuff – onto the food! This easy dinner recipe for Crunchy Baked Ancho Honey Salmon is deliciously flavorful and surprisingly satiating even served atop a salad thanks to protein and heart-healthy fats. I love southwestern and spicy-sweet flavors and this fish recipe was inspired by a savory-sweet Ancho Honey Granola I made a few months ago – I originally served the granola on top of an heirloom tomato salad, but the leftovers are perfect for making a crunch topping. If you want to make the whole batch of granola (keep it in the freezer for long-lasting yumminess and recipe inspiration), check out the recipe post – otherwise, I have pared down the ingredients for just enough to make a topping for 4 salmon fillets.
Add coconut oil to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat.
Add pepita seeds, slivered almonds and chili powder to skillet and stir for 1 – 2 minutes or until beginning to toast. Add 1 ½ teaspoons of the honey and stir to combine.
Mix oats, chia seeds, dried cilantro and sea salt to skillet, stirring well to coat with honey mixture. Continue to stir over medium heat for approximately 5 – 6 minutes longer, taking care that honey doesn’t start to burn.
Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes on paper towels.
Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
Place salmon filets, skin side down, on foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle tops of salmon filets with evenly with remaining honey; lightly rub in with fingers.
Top each filet evenly with oat mixture, patting down with fingers. Bake in pre-heated oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until salmon cooked through and flaking.
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.
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!
Pomegranate Steak Taco with Blue Cheese – get my recipe at TxBeef.org
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 Cheese .