Pesto, Spinach & Roast Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms – Vegan #MeetChef

Thanks to Gardein for introducing me to their Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Ground and for sponsoring today’s post.

Making a big stuffed mushroom for dinner is so satisfying and pairs so well with beef!  But, what if you’re not into beef as much as I am and are looking for a vegetarian or vegan option? You should check out The Ultimate Beefless Ground from Gardein – it’s amazing! Being the beef girl that I am (who also does meatless meal, too – variety is the spice of life),

Pesto, Spinach and Roast Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms are made with Beefless Ground and makes a satisfying vegetarian or vegan dinner.

I was skeptical of the product. I had a carnivorous family member coming over for dinner who is making some changes in diet and lifestyle and I wanted to put this meatless product to the ultimate test.

Prepping a meatless dinner is super convenient with Gardein Beefless Ground.

Prepping a meatless dinner is super convenient with Gardein Beefless Ground.

I created a recipe for Pesto-Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms and used The Ultimate Beefless Ground as the primary protein source – I served up the dish and didn’t say a word about the ingredients.  I thought was absolutely delicious and studied the face of my guest – what was he thinking?  Well, I got complement after complement on my recipe and when I finally broke the news that we were having a #MeatlessMonday meal, jaws dropped. Everyone gave the The Ultimate Beefless Ground from Gardein a thumbs up on taste and texture. And, as the chef, I have to say it was so simple to make —  I just tossed the beefless ground in my skillet with a little olive oil, spinach, pesto sauce and vegetable broth and within about 2 to 3 minutes, my portabella mushrooms were ready to stuff!

Pesto Spinach & Roast Garlic Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Each ½ portion of the beefless ground (on its own) has just 80 calories with 12 grams of protein and no cholesterol or transfat. It’s also gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and kosher.  In addition to my easy stuffed-mushroom recipe, this plant-based protein is excellent in everything from tacos to chile to pasta or crumbled on nachos. All Gardein products are found chillin’ in the freezer aisle at your favorite grocery store.  Save yourself a dollar with this coupon (available for download until May 31, 2015).

Mushrooms ready for the oven!

Mushrooms ready for the oven!

The roasted garlic I used in the recipe is so insanely good and easy to make. Roasting in the oven takes the bite out of garlic and gives it a milder, sweeter taste. The recipe is simply to take peeled garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 F degrees for about 20 minutes, turning once. You’ll definitely want to make a big batch and use in salads, on pizza, mash up as a paste to marinate!

Roasting garlic is super easy and takes out the bit, leaving a mellow and sweeter flavor that is great in so many recipes

If you are looking for other vegan and vegetarian dinner options, you will like my Teriyaki Chick’n Chop Salad.

 

Pesto, Spinach and Roast Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms are made with Beefless Ground and makes a satisfying vegetarian or vegan dinner.
Pesto, Spinach & Roast Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms - Vegan
Print Recipe
Pesto, spinach and mellow roasted garlic come together in a delicious portabella mushroom that makes an easy dinner for meatless monday or when you need a vegetarian or vegan recipes. Uses The Ultimate Beefless Ground from Gardein.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Pesto, Spinach and Roast Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms are made with Beefless Ground and makes a satisfying vegetarian or vegan dinner.
Pesto, Spinach & Roast Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms - Vegan
Print Recipe
Pesto, spinach and mellow roasted garlic come together in a delicious portabella mushroom that makes an easy dinner for meatless monday or when you need a vegetarian or vegan recipes. Uses The Ultimate Beefless Ground from Gardein.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. In medium skillet, add spinach, beefless ground, garlic and vegetable stock. Saute over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until protein crumbles are cooking and spinach is wilting.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in pesto sauce, coating everything.
  3. Brush outsides of cleaned mushrooms with olive oil. Stuff gilll side high with half the mixture each. Top with a cherry tomato and extra garlic, if desired.
  4. Bake in 400 F degree oven for 18 - 20 minutes or until mushroom is softened and juicy.
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Plant-based Protein – Asian Chop Salad with Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips

Thanks to Gardein for introducing me to their Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips and for sponsoring today’s post.

I’m that fast girl you’ve been warned about. I talk fast, I run fast . . . . and, I like to get my food fast. But NOT fast food, no way.  To keep my diet fit and fresh, I like to make the majority of my meals at home, despite the insanely busy schedule I keep.  So, while a 30-minute weeknight meal might sound pretty quick to most, I’m kicking it up into super-sonic speed on the typical night with 10-minute, pan-to-plate dinners!

Teriyaki Chick'n Chop Salad is a fit, fast and flavorful meal that takes 10 minutes to make and fills you up with healthy plant-proteins.

Tonight, I whipped up a far-out, far-east inspired dinner using Teriyaki Chick’n Strips from Gardein. These tasty strips have 15 grams of plant-based protein for a mere 120 calorie cost. They are made with non-GMO soy and wheat, ancient grains and veggies and remarkably have a similar taste and texture to real chicken breast – they are also work for those of you who keep vegan and kosher diets. My husband,  a carnivorous guy who would normally turn his nose up at such “nonsense,” didn’t even realize he was eating a meat substitute! I call that winning dinner!  #MeetChef

Teriyaki Chick'n Chop Salad is made with plant-based protein and perfect for a #MeatlessMonday mealIn addition to the Teriyaki Chick’n Strips magic, I employed my favorite busy-night trick and used what I could find in the produce bin to make the remainder of dinner.   While the strips were browning for five minutes in the skillet, I quickly chopped up some jicama, carrots and red onion and thawed out shelled edamame that I always keep in the freezer. The Teriyaki Chick’n Strips come with a sauce packet that also I also found to make a serendipitous salad dressing (there was plenty to drizzle on everything)!

This quick and easy meal solution is definitely going to be in my dinner rotation — I now have more time for running fast . . .  and running errands!

jen running in yellow flowers

Gardein makes lots of other yummy, healthy, meatless proteins like Gardein Ultimate Beefless Ground, Golden Fishless Filets. Check back next week, because I’ll have a new recipe for you! All Gardein products are found chillin’ in the freezer aisle at your favorite grocery store.  Save yourself a dollar with this coupon (available for download until May 31, 2015).

Far Out Far East Chick'n Chop Salad - TheFitFork.com

What is your quickest go-to meal to make at home?

 

Teriyaki Chick'n Chop Salad
Print Recipe
This Asian-inspired salad uses plant-based protein, teriyaki sauce and chopped fresh veggies to create a fit, fresh and fast dinner solution.
Servings Prep Time
3 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Teriyaki Chick'n Chop Salad
Print Recipe
This Asian-inspired salad uses plant-based protein, teriyaki sauce and chopped fresh veggies to create a fit, fresh and fast dinner solution.
Servings Prep Time
3 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 Servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil on medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add thawed chick'n strips and cook for about 5 minutes, flipping once. Remove from heat. Add thawed sauce packet to skillet to coat strips.
  2. Toss carrots, jicama, edamame beans and onion into skillet and stir quickly to coat veggies with sauce, yet not heat them.
  3. Divide chicken and veggies among three plates and sprinkle with cashews. Drizzle with Sriracha sauce, if desired.
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FAST! Beef Tenderloin and Tomato Pizza with Ancho Crema

Use leftover beef steak, fresh tomatoes and naan bread to make a easy weeknight meal.

I’d hard to imagine there would EVER be beef tenderloin left on the platter at my house – but there was this weekend! That’s because I cooked an extra hunk so that we’d have “leftovers on purpose” for a couple easy weeknight recipes that were floating around in my head. I had to threaten all the boys to keep their dirty meat-stealing mitts of this extra steak, and once they saw the More-eo Blondie Bars I made for dessert, they had moved on to new conquests.

This southwestern-inspired naan pizza recipe uses leftover steak dressed up with fresh tomatoes and an creamy ancho pepper drizzle.

So, the great thing about this Beef Tenderloin & Tomato Pizza with Ancho Crema is that you can use thin slices of any leftover steak like top sirloin, ribeye, flat iron — or even fajita meat! I also used naan bread for “let’s make dinner in five minutes” convenience, but feel free to do a homemade traditional crust or even a cauliflower crust if you prefer.

Tomatoes are an abundant source of lycopene, vitamin B6 and other important nutrients.The toppings are fresh and healthy with a southwestern spin – cilantro, queso fresco, hatch green chilies and a trifecta of colorful tomatoes. Red, yellow and orange – they were almost too beautiful to eat!  But gobble them up because I know how great the abundance of lycopene and vitamin B6 found in tomatoes is for athletes — you can learn more on the topic of tomatoes and working out in a post I wrote for CorePower.com.

Beef Tenderloin & Tomato Pizza with Ancho Crema Recipe

  • 4 8-inch diameter pieces of naan bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium yellow tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1 medium red tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1 medium orange tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
  • ½ cup chopped fire-roasted hatch green chilies (or can use canned)
  • 1 cup of crumbled queso freco
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 8-ounce pre-cooked beef tenderloin steak (or other steak) sliced thinly across grain.
  •  1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chili powder
  • Avocado for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Lay naan bread on a baking sheet and brush tops with olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic salt and pepper flakes.
  3. Layer each crust with tomato slices and green chilies. Sprinkle with queso fresco cheese.
  4. Bake in oven for approximately 10 minutes or until edges of bread turning golden brown and cheese beginning to bubble.
  5. Remove from oven and top with thinly sliced steak that is room temperature or has been lightly warmed — taking care not to over reheat it and make tough.
  6. To make crema, whisk together Greek yogurt, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder in small bowl. Drizzle on top of pizzas. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with avocado, if desired. Serves 4.

Slice of healthy naan bread pizza.What toppings do you like to put on your pizza? Please share in the comments below:

One-Pot Balsamic Chicken and Couscous + #Giveaway LitehouseFoods

One Pot Creamy Balsamic Chicken with Couscous - TheFitFork.com

Do you ever look around after preparing a meal and feel like you’ve dirtied up EVERY pot, pan and bowl in your collection? No one ever seems to honor the “I cooked so you clean” rule on those nights when I create a bit too much chaos in the kitchen!  But, wait until you see this delicious recipe I created for the Litehouse Foods blog —  One-Pot Cream Balsamic Chicken and Couscous!  It’s truly a busy-night blessing, only ONE dish and a couple utensils to clean up . . . and did I mention tasty?

This one-pot recipe is a well-balanced, nutritious meal inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, so pour yourself a glass of red wine if you must!  Featuring colorful red tomatoes (I love the little Cherubs) and yellow peppers, everyone’s favorite chicken breasts, whole wheat couscous, creamy balsamic sauce and a finishing crunch or garlicky croutons, I seriously doubt you’ll have any leftovers to scrape out of that one single pot!!

One Pot Balsamic Chicken and Couscous - TheFitFork.com

Please head over to Living Lighthouse to grab this recipe for One-Pot Creamy Balsamic Chicken and Couscous!

So, what’s for dessert? I love having “dressed up” fruit for dessert like my Salted Honey and Ginger Broiled Grapefruit or Watermelon with Fruit Salsa. But if you’re looking for a quick and healthy dessert that won’t dirty up any dishes in the making, how about just sticking some dark chocolate chips into raspberries and eating right out of the carton!

Chocolate Chip Stuffed Raspberries - TheFitFork.com

Win Litehouse Foods Coupons - TheFitFork.comTo encourage you to make some of these yummy recipes, I’m giving away five (5) coupons for Litehouse Food’s Products (they expire on 12/31/15).  Litehouse Foods makes all sorts of fresh products like traditional salad dressings and vinaigrettes; Greek yogurt based dressings and dips; caramels and sweet dips, freeze-dried herbs; artisanal cheeses and more. You can find most of these products in the refrigerated section of your market’s fresh produce section and gourmet cheese area. Two of the coupons are specifically designated for the Artisan Reserve Cheeses including gorgonzola, blue cheese and feta.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Busy Day Fuel – Southwestern Tuna Quinoa Salad Two Ways!

5:15 am –  alarm clock, grab breakfast, run, shower, see three kids off to school, check emails, make work phone calls, start laundry, research and writing for client, leave for errands, hit the gym, eat lunch, grocery store, pick up kids from school, check mail, return emails, make more phone calls, go over kids homework, pick up clutter, make recipes, style photos, take blog photographs, chauffeur to sports practice and boy scouts, make dinner, pick up from band practice, finish laundry, pack next day’s lunches, go over family’s schedule, check emails, social media, talk to husband, play with dog, make a snack, sleep  – 11 pm (hopefully).  

alternative fish tacosOkay, so you can see I don’t usually have a lot of time for long, leisurely meals.  Normally, I am scarfing down breakfast, lunch and dinner quickly while standing up at the kitchen island or on the go. While my kids always get a nutritious, sit-down dinner before their nightly activities, my plate of food often gets pushed down the priority list while I wash the dishes, talk to them about their days and tackle the remainder of my  frenzied, gotta-get-out-the-door checklist.  Oh, if I had a dollar for every artistically-plated meal I’ve dumped into a Tupperware container to eat it in the car  . . . I’d have enough money to get the deluxe car detailing package that would remove crumbs from the nooks and crannies!

Maybe the whirlwind of life is why I love salads so much – by design, everything is meant to be jumbled up together – it’s not always pretty, but it’s productive!  Salads can be made ahead of time without worry of reheating and will wait patiently in the fridge until called into service. A big hearty salad with all the fixings is also the standard fare for my late-working, non-cooking husband.  To keep the love alive with my salads, I mix up the combination of dressings, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and extras like cheeses, nuts, grains and more – there a gazillion variations and I never get bored (this seems like an analogy for my life).

quinoa tuna saladAn easy and tasty protein that often tops my salads is tuna. I always keep a stockpile of  Bumble Bee® Tuna in the pantry and it has saved me from the “hangries” on many occasions with no-cook, no clean-up, super nutritious convenience.  I’m a fan of the single-serve, 2.5 ounce pouches of the Bumble Bee® Premium Albacore Tuna and Light Tuna because they don’t require a can opener or messy draining, making them oh-so workable in a lunch box.  But, if you’re used to the traditional cans, don’t worry, Bumble Bee® still makes those!

If you need a quick and easy dinner idea, check out my Fiesta Tuna Quinoa Salad Recipe  —  it can be served two ways! First way is to serve in a bowl as pictured above and get your protein fix with a spoon – did you know that 2.5 ounces of the Bumble Bee® Premium Albacore Tuna has 17 grams of protein and the quinoa adds even more to the mix! Red quinoa and tuna make a snappy pair and all the healthy veggies and southwestern citrus dressing will make you want to jump up, stomp your boots and shout “Ole!”  Don’t be scared that there are a lot of ingredients, it’s super easy to put together — chop, chop!

The second way to serve this healthy salad is to fill romaine lettuce leaves with this tasty tuna quinoa salad and eat them wrap-style. If you’re looking for more lunch box ideas, easy dinner recipes or other healthy meal inspiration, check out the Bumble Bee® collection of custom tuna recipessouthwestern fish lettuce tacos

Fiesta Tuna Quinoa Salad Recipe

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground chile pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup olive oil (divided)
  • 1 ½ cups red quinoa, rinsed
  •  15 ½ -oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon diced fresh jalapeno
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions (bulb and tops)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 large avocado, cubed
  • 2 (5-oz) pouches Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna or Light Tuna (or four 2.5-oz pouches)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (depending on heat preference)
  • Extras (optional): lime wedges, cilantro sprigs and romaine lettuce leaves
  1. Combine 1 tsp. salt, the cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  2. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the salt, cumin, chile powder and cinnamon; stir well and saute for 30 seconds to make flavors bloom.
  3. Add quinoa to spices, stir again for about 30 seconds. Add 2 cups water and bring mixture to a boil; reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa for about 20 to 22 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  4. Remove pot from heat and place clean dish cloth between lit and pot; let sit for about 4 to 5 minutes. This will help absorb remaining moisture and keep quinoa from getting sticky. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
  5. While quinoa is cooling, combine the black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, jalapeno, green onions, and chopped cilantro in medium bowl. Add citrus juices, remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, honey and Sriracha sauce. Stir until coated. Mix in cooled quinoa, tuna and avocado; stir gently until combined.
  6. To serve, place in bowls or lettuce leaves and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Note: this dish is excellent made the day before as flavors have more time to mingle together.
  7. Serves 4.

Do you have any favorite tuna recipes?  Please share a description or link in the comments!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Gone Grilling | Spice-Crusted Tenderloin Steaks and Street Corn with Chipotle Garlic Butter

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - ribeye filet grilled corn

It was a glorious day of grilling at our house last night, the aroma of succulent beef and sweet corn was drifting across the backyard thanks to an unseasonal but oh-so welcomed breeze. At one point I heard the neighboring carnivores come out of their caves to make whining, whimpering noises, but sorry folks, only enough meat to feed my famished five. Maybe next time I will invite YOU over for Spice-Crusted Tenderloin Steaks and Street Corn with Chipotle Garlic Butter!

cuts of tenderloin

If you like a lean yet tender steak that doesn’t need much fussing, you’ll love my favorite cut of beef– tenderloin (flat iron steak is a close second). Before processed and carved into steaks, this long chunk of meat sits beneath the ribs near the backbone. The muscle does very little work in the life of a cow, that’s why it’s the tenderest cut available – it practically melts in your mouth! Sometimes, with all the interchangable names that are used for beef cuts, it can get confusing to understand what you are purchasing. The diagram above shows how the muscle is further butchered into the various products we buy at the market or order off the menu.

Steaks ready to hit the grill, rubbed with flavorful spices.

Steaks ready to hit the grill, rubbed with flavorful spices.

Because this portion of beef is so tender, there is no need to use a marinade. Instead, I use a homemade spice rub to create a flavorful crust that seals in natural juices. Since I had the grill already fired up for steaks, I decided to cook the whole dinner out on it. The kids voted for street fair style corn, the summer treat that smells so yummy roasting and is extra fun to eat.  Really, I can’t even tell you how good this meal was, not a leftover scrap in sight!

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - grilling corn

 

Spice-Crusted Tenderloin Steaks and Street Corn with Chipotle Garlic Butter

For Chipotle Garlic Butter:

  • ½ cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced chipotle (with adobe sauce from can)

For Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or “regular” chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 6-ounce tenderloin steaks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ears corn, unhusked
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Directions

Prepare the compound butter first, so it has time to set up while corn and steaks are cooking.

In small bowl, mix together softened butter, cilantro, garlic and chipotle peppers (using a bit of the adobe sauce).  Transfer to ramekin and stick in the refrigerator to firm up while the rest of the meal is grilling.

Next prepare rub by combine all ingredients for rub in a small bowl or zip-top bag. Shake or stir well until thoroughly mixed.

Lightly brush both sides of each steak with olive oil. Press in approximately 1 tablespoon total of rub into both sides of steak. Let sit for 15 minutes.

While steaks rest with the rub, start preparing corn. Pull down outer husks on ears of corn to the base, taking care to rip them all the way off.  Pull off silk from each corn ear and discard. Pull husks back up and set in large tub of cold water mixed with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 – 12 minutes.

Pre-heat grill to 400 F degrees.

Pull corn out of water and shake off water. Set corn, with husks still up, onto grates of grill. Cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until kernels are tender. Rotate ears once during grilling.

After corn has been started for about 5 minutes, throw steaks onto the same 400 F degree grill. Cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of the steak reads 135 F degrees. Let rest for 5 – 10 minutes; steaks will continue to cook on the serving platter and ultimately reach 140 to 145 F degrees (medium).

To serve, place a pat of Chipotle Garlic Butter on the husked ears of corn and center of steak.

Serves 4.