Make Ahead Italian Ground Beef for Meal Prep

Lean ground beef is an excellent source of meal-prep protein, packed with ZIP (zinc, iron and protein) and only about 150-ish calories for a cooked 3 ounces serving (4 ounce uncooked). My master recipe for Make Ahead Italian Ground Beef is easy to make, economical, ultra-versatile and freezes/defrosts beautifully rendering it ideal for freezer meals, meal prepping and make-ahead solutions. Make Ahead Italian Ground Beef for Meal Prep

Time and time again, I’ve used these deliciously seasoned beef crumbles in wholesome, hearty recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The recipe is basic, but the way it can be used in dishes is limited only to your imagination. Read on to get all the details and get a juicy, meaty jump start on your daily protein needs. Continue reading

Frozen Yogurt-Dipped Blueberry Cherry Bites for July 4th!

Celebrate the sweet vibes of summer with no harm to your bikini bod by treating yourself to a few of my Frozen Yogurt-Dipped Blueberry Cherry Bites. These bite-sized nuggets are at once yummy and so good-for-you, made with only fruit Greek yogurt – 17 calories and 1 gram of protein each! Frozen Yogurt Blueberry Stuffed Cherries

A healthy little dessert to cool off with while watching July 4th fireworks in the backyard, splashing about at the pool, or just rocking up a storm on the porch. Read on to get all the details and recipe instructions! Continue reading

Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken – Meal Prep Winner!

Sure, you can slow cook chicken breasts with just two ingredients, chicken and water. It’s fine, it’s no-frills and it does yield a protein that is, ahem, serviceable to the body (but less so to the taste buds). However, my recipe for Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken is soooo much more flavorful, with really not any significant additional effort.

Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

While ever-so-slightly sweet and gar-lip-licking good, the seasonings are still mild enough to make this easy Crock Pot chicken recipe versatile enough for a myriad of meal prep plans. Read on to get all the easy-peasy details. Continue reading

BBQ Beef Bean & Sweet ‘Tater Taquitos #TexMexAndFlex

BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos are baked and filled with wholesome ingredients. We are up to our chin guards in football season, so I’ve kicked up my family-friendly, meal-prepping madness into overtime. With just a little “overtime” work on Sunday, I can prepare a couple batches of my BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet ‘Tater Taquitos and have enough for a couple quick-fix, weeknight dinners and leftovers for snacking on the big game day. By the way and sorry for the questionable rhyming (haha), I originally developed these onfleek-o taquitos for BeefLovingTexans.com, so check it out!

BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos make a quick and easy dinner solution. Baked, not fried, and filled with wholesome ingredients to fuel an active lifestyle. Meal prep a couple batches for the freezer for busy weeknight meals or football game day snacks.

While my teenage boys and their always-hungry friends are munching what they assume to be merely crispy, crunchy, cheesy, beefy taquitos (rolled small tacos by any other name!), I snicker in silent satisfaction knowing I’ve snuck in some wholesome nutrition to fuel their busy, active bodies. Lean beef for muscle-making protein and iron, beans for even more protein plus fiber, and sweet potato in a whole grain tortillas for a double-whammy of healthy complex carbs for long-lasting giddy-up-and-go.  As Guy Fieri would say in his own punderful way, “You can’t beato these taquitos!”

These tasty taquitos can be devoured right out of the oven, or freeze a batch and then just toss in the oven (or toaster oven!) on those endless days that have gone into double overtime. This is an easy way to pass the proverbial ball over to the kids and let them do some quarterbacking in the kitchen.

mojo-citrus-guacamole-1Just add a simple side salad and your favorite Texas-style condiments like guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and barbeque sauce.My Mojo Citrus Guacamole makes a tasty team up!

 

 

 

 

 

bbq-beef-black-bean-and-sweet-tater-taquitos-preppingOne the taquito innards are made, assemble by adding a spoonful in the middle of a whole grain tortilla, rolling up and baking (no frying here and they are still super crunchy). While corn tortillas are traditional for taquitos, I’ve found that the corn-flour “mix” tortillas are more pliable and less prone to crack. If needed, insert a toothpick to keep tortillas secure, but don’t forget to remove before serving!

beef-black-bean-sweet-tater-taquito-holding-singleEnjoy!

Favorite football team? Any football players on the family roster this year? Favorite thing to roll in a tortilla? Please share in commets! XOXO , Jennifer 

 

BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos are baked and filled with wholesome ingredients.
BBQ Beef, Black Bean & Sweet 'Tater Taquitos
Print Recipe
Roll up healthy dinner plans pronto with fit and fresh BBQ Beef, Bean &Sweet Potato Taquitos - a quick dinner or snack solution. Double batch for freezer!
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos are baked and filled with wholesome ingredients.
BBQ Beef, Black Bean & Sweet 'Tater Taquitos
Print Recipe
Roll up healthy dinner plans pronto with fit and fresh BBQ Beef, Bean &Sweet Potato Taquitos - a quick dinner or snack solution. Double batch for freezer!
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In large skillet, brown ground beef over medium-high heeat, add minced garlic in last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain fat and excess water. Mix in packet of taco seasoning and chili powder and 2 tablespoons of water (do not add amount of water taco season packet calls for). Stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer cooked beef mixture to large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil to same skillet (okay if beef residue stays in there). Bring to medium-high heat and saute diced sweet potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened and browning. Add sweet potatoes to bowl with beef mixture.
  4. Add rinsed and drained beans to beef bow. Make sure beans have drained well to prevent soggy taquitos. Let entire mixture cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Gently stir in BBQ sauces and 1 ½ cups of cheese.
  6. Working one at a time, transfer tortilla to a work surface; place scant 1/3 cup beef mixture into center of tortilla. Bring the bottom edge of the tortilla tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the tortilla is reached. Secure with toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  7. Place taquitos onto rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Spray tops of taquitos with baking spray and bake until crisp and cheese has melted, about 12-15 minutes.
  8. To reheat from frozen, heat oven to 375 F degrees and place taquitos on rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Lightly cover tops of taquitos with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spray tops of taquitos with baking spray, increase heat to 400 and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until crisp, cheese has melted and tops are brown.
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Quick & Easy Avocado Ideas and How To Freeze Leftovers

We love avocados!

Everything I need to know about avocados, I learned from my dad!

A box of bliss was delivered to my door last week – a case of Bravocado Avocados from my friends at the California Avocado Commission.  With the peak season being from May though September, California avocados are always on hand for my summer entertaining and I’ve been known to use avocados in everything from guacamole and “green eggs” to salads and smoothies.

Avocado Corn Relish

In fact, this latest windfall of ripe avocados was a reward for winning first place in the 2014 All-American Recipe Contest. You’ve might have seen my recipe for  Mom’s Black Bean Avocado & Corn Salad, it’s a favorite on Pinterest and has been popular pick at potlucks and family get-togethers.  The judges said it was packed with flavor and “combines sweet corn, black beans, bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar and spices with fresh avocado for a flavor combination that stands strong all on its own, but goes perfectly with grilled meats or tortilla chips as a dip. Put this one on your must-try list stat”

There are just so many delicious things you can do with a case of creamy, dreamy avocados – but two of my favorite ways to eat them are just so simple. And, surprise – these quick and easy recipes not straightforward guacamole (although, if I could jump in a bathtub of mashed avocado with lime and jalapeno, I would).

Bacon Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes: These cute little cups made out of super sweet Campari tomatoes are the perfect vessels for avocado blended with lime, jalapeno, cilantro – okay, I guess that is guacamole. But, sprinkle on some crumbled bacon and serve on a bed of lettuce with black beans and corn and you have a light and healthy summer meal.

Salad with Guacamole Stuffed Tomatoes

Avocado and Lime on the “Half Shell”: It doesn’t get any easier than this – slice your perfectly ripe an creamy avocados in half lengthwise and pull out the seed. Sprinkle with sea salt and squeeze fresh lime – and eat with a spoon!

avocado halves with lime

If, in the rare instance, you find yourself with too many avocados to eat before spoiling sets in, you CAN freeze them. Earlier in the year, I did a tutorial on how to freeze guacamole — check out the link. You can also freeze avocado slices with a pretty good outcome too! The texture is not quite as creamy when you thaw the frozen slices, but it’s still yummy and so much better than tossing your ripe avocados out.

freezing avocado slices

 

Do tell, what is your favorite way to eat avocados?

Bumper Crop Boogie | How to Blanch and Freeze Summer Vegetables

The sun-drenched colors, the succulent flavors; summer vegetables make me want to dance! In my opinion, a person can’t have too much of a good thing when it comes to summer season vegetables. But, often in the warmer months, even though I don’t have my very own garden, the produce bin in the fridge runneth over. When I see a sale on corn for under a quarter a cob, I can’t pass it up. When my parents bring me surplus zucchini from their urban community garden, I welcome the windfall. I can’t pass up a farmer’s market or roadside stand without pulling over to check out the local selections. You get the idea and it’s inspired a ton of great recipes, like my Green Chile & Pork Stuffed Zucchini.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com summer veggies

This week, I had more veggies on hand than my family could scarf down in a week. So, rather than sit there and watch them wrinkle and rot, I decided to take a few extra minutes and prep the abundance for the freezer. Not trying to go all Little-House-On-The-Prairie on you but “putting up your vegetables” for the winter, or whatever time of year, is a great way to reduce needless waste (did you know 40% of America’s food goes uneaten?) and enjoy the fresh flavors of the season later.

Getting your veggies ready for the freezer is easy; the main point to remember is that most vegetables (except for herbs, green peppers and, in my opinion grape tomatoes) will need blanching. Blanching is just another term for par-cooking vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time. The process of blanching stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color, texture and vitamins. The type of vegetable and how big of chunks it is cut up into (if at all) dictates the amount of time to blanch. The University of Colorado Extension Services has some good tips on how to prepare, blanch and pack your veggies for the freezer.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - tray freezing veggies

How to Prepare a Jumble of Fresh Corn, Zucchini and Grape Tomatoes for the Freezer

  1. Husk and remove silk from corn.
  2. Rinse grape tomatoes and set aside. I skip blanching and put my grape tomatoes straight in freezer.
  3. Slice zucchini into 1/2 inch slices; cut slices into quarters.
  4. Boil large pot of water.
  5. Add corn and blanch (boil) for 5 minutes.
  6. After 1 minute, add zucchini and blanch for 4 minutes along with corn.
  7. While veggies are blanching, prepare a big bowl of ice water.
  8. Remove zucchini and corn with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in ice bath to stop cooking process.
  9. After a few minutes, remove veggies to clean towel to drain excess water.
  10. Use sharp knife to remove corn kernels from cob.
  11. Lay veggies (including tomatoes) in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  12. Freeze vegetables for several hours, until hardened.
  13. Repackage vegetable mix into zip-top bags, leaving a little bit of room at the top for expansion.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - frozen vegetables bag

Even though it might seem easy to dump blanched vegetables into a container for freezing, they’ll all end up hardened together into one big lump. That’s why tray freezing is so cool (pardon the pun) and totally worth the extra step involved. Whether you want a small portion or a large portion, you can scoop out exactly what you desire if you’ve tray frozen your vegetables before pouring into a freezer bag. Vegetables blanched and then frozen in this manner will have a life of at least 12 months in a freezer set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wondering how to cook this mix of tomatoes, corn and zucchini? Just thaw out a portion from your freezer stash and toss into a skillet that has been heated with oil good for sautéing. I like grape seed oil. Cook on the stove top for just a few minutes until heated through, but not overcooked and soggy. For flavor, toss in some garlic, chopped herbs and a dash of soy sauce. The mix also works great in other recipes and could easily be incorporated into my Crustless Calabacita Quiche!