Truffle and Thyme Mushroom Quinoa

Gasp, I didn’t care for mushrooms until my mid-thirties. The simple suggestion of mushrooms sent shivers down my spine as a kid and I think I stubbornly carried that childhood aversion over into middle age. Well, that goodness I tried mushrooms again, over a decade ago. Mushrooms are super healthy, low calorie and high in important nutrients like b vitamins, selenium, copper, niacin, potassium, iron and phosphorous. It’s fine for taste purposes to put raw mushrooms on your salad, but the nutrients are best accessed through the heat of cooking! Truffle and Thyme Mushroom Quinoa is a quick and easy side this that packs major flavor solo or puts a juicy steak over the top.

So today, I’m sharing my easy side dish recipe for Truffle Mushroom and Thyme Quinoa that features sautéed mushrooms with a sprinkle of truffle salt. It’s hard to believe that such a super simple recipe can have such big flavor, but that’s the beauty of mushrooms – they marry with and magnify the flavor of whatever dish they are in. Continue reading

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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East-West Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute

Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute packed with loads of veggies and bold umami taste - TheFitFork.com

Food science nerd alert – I’m talking about umami again. You know, our fifth taste receptor, the newfound “delicious essense” those Japanese waxed so poetically about in the 20th century.  It’s all about the high concentrations of glutamates and nucleotides found in certain foods and how combing these foods creates a meaty, savory crave factor that is just really hard to describe in words. In fact, research has shown that pairing up glutamate and nucleotide rich ingredients magnifies their joint umami effect up to 8 times as much.  I’ve found that using a few umami-rich ingredients in healthier recipes is an easy way to create an amazing and indulgent-seeming eating experience.

Live Fire Beef at the Salt Lick - TheFitFork.com

There was so much umami going on at the beef-centric Live Fire event I attended this week at with friends from BeefLovingTexans.com), I wish I could have taken all of you to this meat extravaganza at the famous Salt Lick in the Texas Hill Country.  Did what I had to do as a food blogger and made all the rounds to taste meaty, marvelous dishes from chefs from all over Texas. It’s amazing how versatile beef is – not only are there a zillion cuts to choose from (I even tried tongue), beef can be served up to conjure up a fond memories. Over the night, I felt like I had been at grandma’s house getting a hug from comfort food ( with the pimento cheese grits with burnt ends brisket) to being on an exotic vacation (with the Thai NY strip satay with green mango salad).

Essential Umami Ingredients to Stock your Pantry  - TheFitFork.comFind out more about umami from this past blog post, no need to rehash it all here. I’ve also curated a handy collection of essential umami pantry staples for Mode.com, check that out too! Some of the first foods people mention when asked about umami are steaks, mushrooms, red wine, fermented sauces and aged cheeses. It’s true, all these are delicious pairing. However, did you know that as far as vegetables go, mushrooms don’t have a monopoly on umami. Lot of other veggies are high in umami, including sea vegetables (like kelp), mushrooms, corn, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, winter squash, green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard and kale.

Check out my vegetable-packed recipe for  East-West Shishito Pepper, Mushroom  and Corn Saute. Almost all the ingredient are umami-rich and it tastes super “meaty” just on it’s own – but I’ve used as a topping for brisket tacos and steak, and it was pure heaven.

Umami-Rich Mushrooms, Corn & Chile Pepper Saute - TheFitFork.com

Umami-Rich Mushrooms, Corn & Chile Pepper Saute - TheFitFork.com
East-West Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute
Print Recipe
This easy saute of mild peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions will rock your socks off with bold umami taste! Great as a vegetarian dish but also fantastic atop a steak or beef taco.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Umami-Rich Mushrooms, Corn & Chile Pepper Saute - TheFitFork.com
East-West Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute
Print Recipe
This easy saute of mild peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions will rock your socks off with bold umami taste! Great as a vegetarian dish but also fantastic atop a steak or beef taco.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in large skilled over medium-high heat.
  2. Add peppers and onion and saute for 2 minutes, or until softening.
  3. Add thawed corn and mushrooms to pepper mixture and continue to saute for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add soy sauce and stir until vegetables coated, cook for about 30 more seconds.
  5. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve as a side, on a salad, steak or taco.
Recipe Notes

This easy saute of mild peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions will rock your socks off with bold umami taste! Great as a vegetarian dish but also fantastic atop a steak or beef taco.

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Lettuce Party! 8 Healthy Appetizers for New Year’s Eve

Eight Healthy Appetizers - TheFitFork.comRing in the New Year without all the “oh I shouldn’t have eaten all that” guilt. Whether watching the ball drop in Times Square at home in your jammies or hosting an elaborate cocktail party, all your clean-eating resolutions can start early thanks to my eight healthy appetizer ideas – each under 100 calories!

blue diamond natural almond and apricot snackApricot Almond Chocolate Bites – It’s hard to believe that this little trio of tasty goodness has only has 20 calories, but it’s true! Plus, dried apricots are rich in iron, so there are no worries about having a few!

Mini Gorgonzola Cheese Balls - TheFitFork.comMini Gorgonzola Cheese Balls – Each little ball of bold, beautifully creamy cheese has just 85 calories – even less if you substitute fat-free cream cheese for the gorgonzola.  You can check out the full recipe along with variations I put together for the Living Litehouse blog.

litehouse roasted chickpeas title

Lime Coconut and Basil Roasted Chickpeas – With 95 calories for ¼ a cup (a handful), you get loads of Thai-inspired taste plus a bonus of fiber and protein.

Southwestern Shrimp & Avocado Starters - TheFitFork.com

Southwestern Shrimp and Guacamole Starter –    You’ll say “ole” to this avocado and shrimp pairing, especially when you find out it only has 55 calories (and that includes licking the little cup).

 

mushrooms stuffed with pepper jack, hatch green chile and kaleHatch Green Chile Stuffed Mushrooms –  Mushroom caps are the perfect healthy vessels to be stuffed with delicious ingredients — that’s because mushrooms sop up flavors like little sponges, have virtually no calories, and are packed with tons of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Each one of these succulent, almost meaty (although no meat – vegetarian recipe) mushroom caps has only 67 calories!

carrot beet parsnip firesBaked Root Vegetable Fries –  A fantastic substitute for traditional chips or fries, these root vegetable “fries” are baked in the oven and have only 53 calories per serving. If you add in 1 tablespoon of a light dip (I like the OPADIPITY line by Litehouse Foods made with Greek yogurt), you add only another 35 calories, bringing the grand total up to 88 calories.

Grape Blue Cheese Walnut Bites - TheFitFork.comGrape, Blue Cheese and Walnut Bites – This recipe was inspired by a much-requested fall fruit salad with the same ingredients.  No official recipe to follow, just skewer up a single grape, small hunk of blue cheese and raw walnut half on a little toothpick for a big explosion of flavor —  only 30 calories each!

Veggie Cups with Dip - TheFitFork.comVeggies-‘n-Dip Cup – Another “no-recipe” recipe, just place 1 tablespoon of your favorite light dressing (again, I used OPADIPITY Greek Yogurt Ranch) into a condiment up and add in the veggies of your choice. This fun finger food assortments has only about 50 calories per cup, depending on your exact dressing and produce selections.

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?  What do you reach for first when it comes to party food? 

Batch o’ Hatch Green Chile Stuffed Mushrooms & Other Filled Fungi

mushroom loveI came to love mushrooms later in life. Why I avoided them for so long, I’ll never know. Well, actually I do know – I found these fungi that pop up from decomposing organic material to be disturbingly earthy. A playground friend reinforced my concerns by telling me that mushrooms grow in the spots where frogs pee (this is NOT true) and too many childhood stories ended with a sympathetic character dying at the hand of a poisonous mushroom.

SAMSUNG

But, now that I’m (ahem) more mature, my taste buds finally won out over my worries – although, you’ll still never find me foraging through the woods popping wild mushrooms in my mouth, willy-nilly.  What I do love about mushrooms, however, is their meatiness and amazing umami taste. Umami is our fifth taste receptor which sends off sirens of delicious, savory satisfaction when foods rich in naturally-occurring glutamates and ribonucleotides co-mingle (this is science, people). The reason why mushrooms, beef, red wine, Parmesean, blue cheese and Worcestershire sauce all go together wonderfully in one combination or another is that they get the umami action going exponentially.   Mushrooms are also like little sponges that soak up the flavor profile of any given recipe – mild and mellow, bright and lively, exotic and unexpected – you get the idea!

mushrooms stuffed with pepper jack, hatch green chile and kale

Today, I’m sharing an easy recipe for mushrooms stuffed with kale, pepper Jack cheese, green chiles and a sprinkling of queso fresca. It will be raining Hatch green chiles (from New Mexico) here in Austin for the remainder of August and my recipes for Hatch chiles keep popping up like (errr) mushrooms.  I originally made these Hatch Chile Stuffed Mushrooms to serve as a side with my Strip Steak with Roasted Hatch Relish – these little guys would also work well atop a salad or as appetizers. And, if you have leftovers (and that’s a big IF), chop them up and put in your omelet the next day!

Hatch Green Chile Stuffed Mushrooms Recipes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 16 large (2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter) white mushrooms (1 lb)
  • 1 large Hatch green chile, seeded and coarsely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup packed chopped kale
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup shredded pepper jack
  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400°F.

  1. Pull stems from mushroom caps to create space for filling. Finely chop stems and set aside.
  2. In medium skillet, sauté chopped stems and Hatch green chiles over medium heat until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add kale, garlic, salt and pepper and sauté together for another 2 – 3 minutes.   Cool for about 10 minutes and then toss with pepper jack cheese.
  3. Mound mushroom filling in mushroom caps, pressing gently to pack in as much as possible. Top with a sprinkle of queso fresco cheese. Bake in middle of oven until mushrooms are tender and cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
  4.  Serves 8 (2 each)

thefitfork beef bluecheese mushrooms plated small text

Looking for some other stuffed mushroom ideas?

Check out my recipe for Beef and Blue Cheese Mushroom Buttons (left) or another favorite recipe hearty enough for an entree – Greek Beef and Kale Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms.

 

 

 

 

pepita-pesto-stuffed-mushrooms-ck-l

A stuffed mushroom recipe from Cooking Light that looks delish is Pepita Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms – it’s next up on my must-make mushroom list!

 

Beef & Blue Cheese Mushroom Buttons & Burpees

With the Big Game this Sunday, there is guaranteed to be some snacking going on ‘round these parts. The kids always insist on a big bucket of popcorn and a bag of M&Ms – oh, don’t act like you don’t know how awesome it is to mix the two together. My recipe for honey caramel almond popcorn also satisfies that craving for salty-sweet goodness in a healthier way.

paleo beef stuffed mushrooms

The grown-ups are going to want something a little more substantial to snack on, shall we say . . . . something beefy? A beef and blue cheese stuffed mushroom recipe from my peeps at Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner is the inspiration for one of our Super Bowl snacks – these little babies are delicious and bursting with umami flavor thanks to the lean ground beef and robust blue cheese. The only swap I have made is to replace the whole-wheat bread crumbs with almond meal thus transforming them into gluten-free, Paleo-friendly (for those who do some dairy) finger foods. If you’re worried about having more than one of these delicious little buttons; don’t fret — they are surprisingly low in calories and fat.  Click here for the nutrition guidelines (doesn’t take into account I swapped out the bread crumbs for almond meal).

beef and blue cheese stuffed mushroom ingredients

thefitfork beef bluecheese mushroom single

Beef & Blue Cheese Mushroom Buttons Recipe (Gluten-Free & Paleo-Friendly)

  • 1/2 pound Ground Beef, 93% lean or better
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 36 to 40 small button or cremini mushrooms (about 1-1/2 to 2-inch diameter)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (for brushing)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning blend
  • Minced fresh chives (optional)

cooking beef stuffed mushroom recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove and reserve stems from mushrooms. Brush mushroom caps with olive oil and season with salt; set aside. Mince stems to yield 1/2 cup; discard remaining stems.
  2. Combine Ground Beef, minced stems, blue cheese, bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons chives and steak seasoning. Spoon beef mixture evenly into mushrooms.
  3. Place stuffed mushrooms on rack in broiler pan. Bake in 375°F oven 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with additional chives, if desired.

 

Clapping Push-up Burpees

Clapping Push-up Burpees

Okay, now that I’ve lured you in with the food, it’s time to talk BURPEES.  Even if you hate burpees, you have to love what they do for you – this exercise works every muscle group you’ve got and gives you a cardio workout to boot. Sometimes, if I’m stuck in a hotel or the weather is too bad to even get to the gym and treadmill, I’ll just knock out some burpees instead of a run. I think I get more wiped out doing the burpees! Just when I think I’m getting bored of burpees, I find a new variation to liven things up — push-up burpee, lateral box jump burpee, high tuck jump burpee, burpee to pull-up, and on and on!

Fitfluential burpee challenge

Check out the 1000 Burpee Challenge through Fitfluential. You could be in the running to win a great prize from Under Armour if you show your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #FFBurpee.  I’m committing to 50 a day for 20 days. Today, I made it through 50 clapping push-up burpees, it was fun — am I weird?  Maybe, but my friend Valerie definitely is- this is what happens if you go on a trip with her — BURPEES ON THE AIRPLANE!

burpees in aisle of plane

Burpees on a plane! This really happened!

Dinner on My Doorstep! Greek Beef & Kale Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - greek beef kale stuffed portabellasSome of the best food I’ve ever eaten has been in Greece. A trip back in 1996 to run the Athens Marathon and explore the area afterward brought back a rush of fond foodie memories so fresh I instinctively want to undo the top button of my jeans.  Ahh, seared into my mind forever is the smell of succulent rosemary chicken roasting all day, the drama of feta cheese flambéed tableside, and the never-tiring taste of authentic Greek salads boasting the ripest, most aromatic tomatoes, peppers and olives plucked straight from the country’s sun-kissed groves and gardens.

Unfortunately, I’m not moving to the Greek countryside anytime soon and I just don’t have my act together enough to tend to my never-ending family obligations while taking care of a backyard garden.  So, I decided to check out Greenling.com, a home delivery service in Texas that brings the freshest local and sustainably grown produce to my doorstep. With just a few clicks on the computer, I ordered the “Local Box” that features a signature selection of in-season fruits and veggies plucked from the fertile and chemical-free soil of area farmers. The selections change weekly, so it’s always a fun surprise (although you can always see box contents a week ahead of time to start menu planning or cancel). jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - local box

This week’s local box was bountiful. I received arugula, spring lettuce mix, kale, fennel, oranges, grapefruit, baby carrots, and turnips along with a potted live thyme plant. I have absolutely no idea what to do with turnips (you could say I just fell off the truck). Thankfully, they sent along a sheet of recipe ideas to get me started.

I also ordered a few meal kits that have all the ingredients portioned, prepped and ready to go. What a lifesaver for those super-busy nights when we might be tempted to order a pizza. Last night I used the “Greek Stuffed Portabellas with Greens” kit to make a very easy, healthy and satisfying supper.  Of course, if you know me, I don’t like to follow the rules when it comes to cooking and added my own creative touches (mainly beef) to this convenient meal kit.  Here’s my version, you can order the kit or start from scratch; either way it’s a delicious meal that be easily kept vegetarian.

If you’d like to try Greenling.com and save 10% in the process, just follow this discount referral link.

Greek Beef & Kale Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Recipe

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • ½ lb ground sirloin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 large portabella caps, stemmed and washed
  • Optional: bed of spring mix

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - mushrooms ready for oven

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

In medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté red onions until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.  Remove onions and set aside.

In same skillet, cook ground sirloin over medium heat. Remove from heat and drain off any excess fat and liquid.

Add back in red onions. Add green onions and feta cheese to the meat; stir until combined.

Gently rub olive oil (approximately 1 teaspoon between the two) on the tops of portabella mushroom caps. Place on baking sheet, tops down.

Top mushroom caps with the beef mixture, pressing down slightly.

Bake at 400 F degrees for approximately 15 – 20 minutes, until mushrooms are softening and cheese is browning.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to skillet and add garlic, cook for one minute until fragrant.

Add chopped kale to skillet and cook over medium heat until wilted but still green, approximately 5 minutes. Stir frequently. To speed the process, add a tablespoon or two of water and cover skillet with a lid.

Remove mushrooms from oven and top with sautéed kale. Add parmesan cheese over this and return to oven for 5 minutes, until browned.

greek beef and kale portabella nutrition