How to Top an English Muffin Ideas for Any Meal

My childhood years were fueled by a lot of English Muffin Pizzas. My parents both worked and this quick-fix meal or snack could be made in the toaster oven in under 10 minutes, reducing my mom’s worry that I was sitting at home starving, or worse yet, burning the house down. Naturally, I’ve taught my own three boys how to fend for themselves and make these little single-serve pizzas and variations of an open-faced sandwiches.Quick & Easy English Muffin Ideas For Any Meal

One of the perks of English Muffin Pizzas is that each can easily be adapted to suit picky palates and gourmet appetites alike.  With just a quick switch-a-roo of ingredients (even leftovers found in the fridge or freezer), you can come up with a one-of-a-kind, personal-sized cure for any craving – even dessert!  Check out these quick recipes using English muffins and solve your current breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack situation.  Continue reading

No-Fail 15-min Beef & Veggie Fried Rice – So Simple a Kid Could Cook it and Did

egglands-best-beef-hah-with-street-corn-salsa-jennifer-fisher-voteI 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!

 

15 minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice

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.

15 minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice is a super-quick way to get a vibrant and very healthy meal on the table. Plus, its simple enough that younger kids can help and older kids can cook on their own!

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.

skillet-vegetables-for-fried-riceAnother 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!

wiliam-and-beef-sirloin-fried-rice

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!

Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried RiceLooking for a more exotic fried rice recipe? Try my Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Rice, it is soooooo swoon-worthy!

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
Print 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!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minute
Cook Time
5 minute
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minute
Cook Time
5 minute
15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice Recipe
Print 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!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minute
Cook Time
5 minute
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minute
Cook Time
5 minute
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and add cooked rice, cooked beef and cooked eggs back to skillet with vegetables. Stir to combine.
  6. 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.
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Beef, Quinoa and Feta Meatballs – Ground Round Goodness

Beefy Quinoa Meatballs

On top of spaghetti or even nestled in a lettuce wrap, meatballs are a mainstay in my weeknight dinner rotation – the kids love them and so do I!  In fact, there is usually a stampede to kitchen to see who can get served first! These spherical mounds of ground meat goodness can be made from just about anything, but I like to use ground beef – preferably a 90/10 ground sirloin to keep them a bit leaner yet still offer loads of satisfying flavor.

Beef Quinoa Meatballs

I’m expecting a stampede to the dinner table with this beef meatball recipe!

Today, I have a deliciously nutritious recipe for you — Beefy Quinoa Feta Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps. Yup, that’s right – instead of bread crumbs or another filler, I’ve added quinoa to act as the binder in these yummy meatballs – this little swaperoo makes them ideal for folks following gluten-free, Paleo or low carb diets.  Quinoa, an edible seed that is a good source of nutrients including fiber, iron, magnesium, folate and heart-healthy omega 3s, is also considered a complete protein in itself with all the requisite amino acids. What a dynamic duo – a double punch of protein thanks to beef and quinoa, both superfoods!

Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs

Not only to you kick up the protein with this beef quinoa meatball recipe, it also helps to stretch your food budget – adding the cup of cooked quinoa to ground beef lets you roll up a few more meatballs for hardly any more money (meaning, you can buy that better sirloin grind). And, in my family, more meatballs more happy boys and less arguing over who gets second servings.

Beef Quinoa Meatball Lettuce Wraps

You could serve these Beefy Quinoa Feta Meatballs  over the pasta of your choice or even a sub sandwich. I personally love them wrapped up in “bowls” of Bibb lettuce and drizzled with a tangy Greek yogurt dressing like a tzatzikis sauce – for convenience try OPA by Litehouse™ Feta Dill for the perfect lower-cal pairing.

Lil Critters Beef Meatball Bento BoxAlso, a fun kid-friendly idea for quickly-approaching October lunchbox duty — ‘Lil Critters Beef Meatball Bento Box. I made this happy monster meal in a post on ways to beef up a bag lunch for BeefLovingTexans.com — please visit to see the other ideas!

How would you serve these meatballs? Have you ever used quinoa for anything other than a side dish? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

 

 

 

Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs
Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs
Print Recipe
Create a hearty meal that will please the whole family. These meatballs are packed with wholesome, nutritious ingredients like lean ground beef and quinoa and can be served over pasta or in lettuce leaves.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings (24 mini meatballs) 10 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings (24 mini meatballs) 10 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs
Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs
Print Recipe
Create a hearty meal that will please the whole family. These meatballs are packed with wholesome, nutritious ingredients like lean ground beef and quinoa and can be served over pasta or in lettuce leaves.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings (24 mini meatballs) 10 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings (24 mini meatballs) 10 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings (24 mini meatballs)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, ground beef, cheese, parseley, salt and peppers until well combined. Using hands or a melon-baller, shape into 24 balls and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Roast in oven until cooked through and golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes (internal temperature should reach 165 F degrees).
  4. Serve as desired -- in lettuce leaves, with pasta or in a sandwich are some ideas to get you started!
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CaliCornia Shrimp & Avocado Pizza for Labor Day

CaliCornia Shrimp Pizza is a quick and easy meal solution made on Naan bread or pre-made crusts.

Even though the calendar has turned to September and I still am getting acclimated to our back-to-school routine, it certainly feels like summer every time I step out the door. Officially, it IS still summer until fall arrives on September 22nd and no one can stop me extracting every last kernel of enjoyment from the season.   On these last warm-weather weekends, my family will eat our dinners al fresco, practice handstands barefoot the grass and usher in the autumnal equinox with our final trips to the lake.

Handstand at Lake

A fantastic outdoor meals for the end of summer or Labor Day weekend is CaliCornia Shrimp Pizza – this quick, easy and amazingly tasty pizza reminds me of the sunshine state with a laid-back vibe and showcase of Mother Nature’s best bounty. Succulent roasted shrimp, sweet corn and creamy avocado slices blend with melted fresh mozzarella and ranch dressing (I used OPA! by Litehouse™ Greek Style Yogurt Ranch Dressing). A crispy yet soft and chewy crust is easily “made’ with Naan bread or pre-baked crusts. Other convenience items like frozen shrimp and a southwestern roasted corn blend with peppers (found in freezer section), means I spend less time making meals and more time with my feet up on the chaise lounge recovering from the long run or workout of the day. And, if I’m lucky I can get one of personal pizza deliver guys (my sons) to deliver me a piece so I don’t have to move another muscle!

CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.

 

What are you eating during this long holiday weekend? Taking any dips in the ocean, lake or pool? Do tell! Share in the comments below! XOXO — Jennifer

 

CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.
CaliCornia Shrimp Pizzas
Print Recipe
Enjoy these quick and easy shrimp pizzas from the grill for a relaxed weekend meal -- naan bread or pre-baked crusts save you time!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.
CaliCornia Shrimp Pizzas
Print Recipe
Enjoy these quick and easy shrimp pizzas from the grill for a relaxed weekend meal -- naan bread or pre-baked crusts save you time!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Instructions
  1. Heat oven or gas grill to 400 F degrees.
  2. In small bowl, toss together thawed shrimp with olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper.
  3. Place shrimp on rimmed baking sheet and heat up in oven for4 to 5 minutes. Or, skewer and heat up on grill for about the same amount of time, taking care not to overcook. Remove shrimp, but leave oven/grill on.
  4. Spread each crust with approximately 2 tablespoons of OPA Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing, reserve remaining to drizzle on top of finished pizzas.
  5. Place slices of mozzarella on pizza and sprinkle with about ¼ up of thawed corn blend. Top pizzas with roasted/grilled shrimp.
  6. Place pizzas in oven or on grill with lid closed and heat up for another 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and edges are turning golden brown.
  7. Remove pizzas and top with sliced avocado and drizzle with remaining OPA Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing.
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Happy Trail Mix Day + Protein Rich Snack Ideas

The start of September signals crazy-season with my family. Mondays through Fridays have us all in the busy back-to-school routine and weekends are devoted to football games, family and friend birthday parties, and scrambling to finish home and extra-cirricular projects before the (gasp) holiday season sets in.  It’s easy to grab something less than healthy from the pantry or vending machine when this onslaught of obligations and stress sets in. Do your diet a favor and but together one of these protein-rich snacks instead – the little boost of protein will help keep you feeling full until your next mea!

7 Easy Protein Snacks

  • Cracker + Nut Butter + Hemp Seeds
  • Hummus + Carrots (or other veggies)
  • Cashews + Dried Cranberries + Chocolate Chips
  • Popcorn + Almonds + Honey Drizzle
  • Beef, Chicken or Turkey Jerky
  • Baked Broad Beans or Roasted Chick Peas (store-bought)
  • Greek Yogurt + Granola

Almond Toffee Crunch Protein Bars

Protein bars can be another sensible snack option on-the-go – although it’s important to look for those that aren’t actually candy bars in disguise. I’ve been loving the Perfectly Simple Protein Bars by ZonePerfect  — the brand is very choosey about the simple ingredients they use to make such a nutritious and delicious snack.   Right now, if you visit ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple, you can get a $1 off  coupon for a box of these nutrition bars. #FeelGooder

Nut and Cereal party mix made in crock potFinally, just want to remind you that today is National Trail Mix Day! My recipe for “So Nutty” Slow Cooker Snack Mix is actually cooked in a crock pot – it tastes fantastic and is so easy to make! I’m sending a big bag full to my son who just left for college . . . . it’s my way of sending him a hug from home!

What is your favorite ingredient to put in a trail / snack mix? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Spring (Cookie) Break! Outrageously Delicious, Gluten-Free Treats

Spring Cookie Break - Organic Gluten Free GinnyBakes.comGluten-free baking, it can be a beast. If you’ve ever attempted your own gluten-free adventures in the kitchen, you know the oh-my-gawwwd-this-is-disgusting ogre of which I speak. This monster might eat dense bread, flat cakes and cookies that could double as hockey pucks, but none of my kiddos will come near the majority of my initial gluten-free experiments. Not that I’m trying dissuade you from doing your own gluten-free baking – it can be done up right if you have a reliable recipe and know the tips for success.  I have a couple tried-and-true gluten-free goodies in my repertoire, Baked Honey Pistachio Donuts and Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pumpkin Bread , but many other recipes (like gluten free cookies) are not at all luscious and, frankly, lackluster.  I’ve got a tough crowd to please with my three teen boy taste-testers – you’d think that they’d eat ANYTHING to fill up those hollow legs, put they’re surprisingly persnickety.

cookies from ginnybakes.com

So, I’ve decided there’s no shame in buying cookies, no shame at all. Especially if they are OUTRAGEOUSLY DELICIOUS cookies— enter GinnyBakes.com into my life! Ginny Bakes creates outrageously delicious and certified organic, certified gluten-free, non-gmo cookies, bars and goodies that the whole family can enjoy. Ginny puts a lot of love and mindful attention into her products– all ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms and ionizing radiation. I appreciate that she’s treating my family with the same care and concern that she gives to her own brood.

Lucy stole our Ginny Minis!

Lucy stole our Ginny Minis!

Cookies fanatics are going to appreciate the wide variety of flavors available, included are Chocolate Chip Love, Chocolate chip Macadamia Love, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bill, Coconut Oatmeal Bliss, Double Chocolate Happiness, Buttercrisp Love, Dreamy Vegan Delight and “Ginny Minis,” little bags of bite-sized cookies that are perfect for lunchboxes or purses.

chocolate macadamia nut cookie ginny bakes

gluten free organic brownie mixOh, and if you do have the time to bake but are worried about getting “gluten-free” right or just want to make sure you have quality ingredients, GinnyBakes.com also makes several unbelievable baking mixes.  I tried Lovely Brownie Bliss Baking Mix – let me just say between the organic dark chocolate chips, coconut oil and rich cacao powder, these decadent gluten-free brownie had to HIDDEN from the family for my own personal enjoyment.

I have a couple fun ideas for using the cookies – other than eating straight out of the  box. Crumble them up on Greek yogurt, sandwich two around ice cream or decorate the buttercrisp cookies for whatever reason or season is at hand.

Ginny Bakes Crumbled on Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt, my homemade chia seed and strawberry sauce, and Ginny Bakes Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie crumbled on top!

Ginny Bakes products are available online at GinnyBakes.com or at many of your favorite retailers like Target, Whole Foods and Natural Grocers – you can even print off a coupon. Time saved, better tasting, nutritious ingredients, kids happier, mindful munching –you MUST join me at winning at this healthy mom thing!

What is your favorite flavor of cookie?

This post was sponsored by GinnyBakes.com and Sverve

Kids’ Night in the Kitchen – Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese Two Ways!

Horizon Gluten Free Organic White Mac & Cheese Two Ways - TheFitFork.comIn my perfect world, I’d be making pasta from scratch, growing veggies out in the garden and serving up meals on a magazine-spread worthy tablescape.   But as a mom to three boys juggling roles as writer, blogger, wife, athlete, cooking coach, laundry slinger and non-stop chauffer, this isn’t my season for such leisurely pursuits. Some day, some day.  In the meantime, I rely on a number of quality conveniences to tackle my to-do list – one of my favorites is making the kids macaroni and cheese FROM A BOX! Of course, it’s not any ole box, its Horizon Gluten-Free Macaroni & White Cheddar Cheese, a product I know I can trust and count on to perform time and time again. Featuring organic pasta from a blend of rice, lentil, and corn flour and real Horizon® organic cheese, this mac will satisfy every craving. The texture and taste if fantastic, plus I appreciate the fact that each serving has 10 grams of protein to help fill up the hollow-legged “hangries” these boys always have.

Organic Gluten Free White Mac & Cheese from Horizon - TheFitFork.comAnd, drum roll please, mac and cheese is such a staple at Chez Fisher that my older two kids even know how to make it BY THEMSELVES. Yeah, that’s right, I’ve passed down this tasty task to each of the little (well, actually BIG) munchers sometime in middle school and it was ABOUT TIME!  What a relief to know that if I’m running late on a carpool duty or have a late appointment, that one of the kiddos can get the meal started.

While we still have gains to make on the breadth of their kitchen skills, they are improving week by week.  When I’m not home, one cooks and the other washes the dishes – and the youngest just s tands by to give morale support critiques. One way I’ve helped make kitchen-time fun is to let the boys be creative with recipes and give them ownership of the meal-making.. Gluten Free Mac & Cheese with Meatball and Marinara - TheFitFork.com

For example, whipping up a hearty batch of Horizon Gluten-Free Macaroni & White Cheddar Cheese  topped with meatballs and marinara was a popular meal that’s been done time and time again. Again, it’s a meal they can make all on their own as the meatballs are the frozen ones that reheat in the microwave and the sauce is out of a jar — shhh! Carrot and Snap Pea Mac and Cheese - TheFitFork.com

Another mac and cheese meal that happens over here actually has vegetables – Carrots and Snap Pea Mac & Cheese!  Again, this is a “no recipe” recipe, just make the Horizon Gluten-Free Macaroni & White Cheddar Cheese  and mix in lightly steamed matchstick carrots (about ½ cup) and halved sugar snap peas (about ½ cup). Since my kids are older, I don’t have to “hide” vegetables, they’ll eat what is served  — although, maybe not going back for seconds. However, I noticed that if I let them pick a couple veggies to mix into mac & cheese, there’s not a scrap left in the pot –veggie goodness coated in creamy, cheesy deliciousness is always a winner.   I was secretly hoping that they’d mix last summer’s green chiles and calabeza squash I have stored in the freezer – but, lets’ not push it. Maybe next time some colorful bell peppers?!   Boy with Bell Peppers - Let Kids Choose Veggies

Find out more about Horizon Gluten-Free Macaroni & White Cheddar Cheese and their other delicious, family friendly products by following them on Twitter, Facebook , or the Mealtime Solutions Board on Pinterest.

So, what would YOU mix into mac & cheese?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organics. The opinions and text are all mine.

Fast, Fit Family Valentine Dinners – Mix and Match Menu

10 Ideas for Mix and Match Family Valentine Dinner - TheFitFork.comHas your week of work, working out and kids’ activities been more jam-packed and crazy than a floral shop filled with frantic husbands and boyfriends fighting for the last bouquet? Well, don’t fret that you haven’t made a menu for Valentine’s Day, I’ve got you covered!  Check out my ideas for quick-to-make, kid-friendly dinner ideas that provide the quality nutrition you love!  I have three ideas each for salads, entrees and desserts — plus a bonus baked heart fries recipe– feel free to mix and match!

SALADS:

Spinach Strawberry SaladStrawberry Spinach Salad – This beautiful berry salad will get any spinach avoider to start eating greens!

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Heart Salad

 

Simple Green Salad with Cucumber Cutouts – Dress up a simple green salad with cucumbers punched out in the center with a small heart cookie cutter.

 

 

 

 

Grapefrut and Hearts of Palm Salad

Grapefruit and Hearts of Palm Salad – Fall in love with the sweet-tart zing of this salad from Cooking Light. If you think the kids won’t like the slightly nutty, semi-firm texture of palm hearts (but I think they will), simply swap for another veggie.

 

 

 

 

ENTREES:

Give Me Amore Pizza

Give Me Amore Pepperponi Pizza

Give Me Some Amore Pizza with Quick Homemade Sauce – The kids will be begging for one more slice of this super-quick, convenience crust pizza that features homemade sauce made quickly in the blender (no simmering required).

Fish Baked in Parchment Paper

Herbed Cod with Vegetables in Papillote – This recipe I made for Litehouse foods sounds like it should be learned in a French culinary school, but it’s really super easy! Just wrap up ingredients in parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes!

 

 

 

Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steak - TheFitFork.com

Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steaks – You can’t fail with a filet – and caramelized with spices and grilled to perfection, you will win Valentine’s Day dinner hands down.  Oh, and not only is tenderloin super tender (duh), it’s one of the leaner cuts!

 

 

 

 

DESSERTS:

Chocolate Yogurt Tart with Strawberries - TheFitFork.comStrawberry Greek Yogurt Tart – This better-for-you dessert features a grain free crust, creamy filling made with stevia-sweetened Greek yogurt, and lots of lush berries on top.

 

 

 

Strawberry Yogurt Chocolate Ice Cream TopperChocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Topping  – I love this fun idea from friend Emily at the Litehouse Foods blog, she transformed Green yogurt fruit dip into a frozen “bark” to use as garnish on a favorite flavor of ice cream.

 

 

 

Strawberries and Chocolate Dip - TheFitFork.com

Berries with Chocolate Dip – Simple, sensible and a real sanity saver if you haven’t anything planned for dessert

 

 

 

 

 

Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.comThese were a popular recipe from last week — Herb Lover’s Oven Potato Fries