Lucky Day Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways!

 Kale Pesto Oven Fries an be spiralized or cut into wedges for a quick and easy potato side dish. This Irish inspired recipe is fun for St. Patrick's Day.To celebrate the plucky and persevering Irish culture, I’m sharing a “green” potato recipe I recently created for my friends at Litehouse foods – Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways with Blue Cheese Sauce. You can just thank me later, you lucky leprechauns!   Kale Pesto Oven Fries an be spiralized or cut into wedges for a quick and easy potato side dish. This Irish inspired recipe is fun for St. Patrick's Day.

The inspiration for this super easy recipe is “colcannon,” a traditional Irish dish made from creamy mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. Potatoes and Irish culture or forever linked, as we all learned in history class – at one point leading up to the mid-17th century Great Potato Famin, it was said that the average Irish laborer ate 10 pounds of potatoes a day and for three-fifths of the population it was the primary fuel of life.

Okay, eating such a potato-centric diet causes dietary imbalances, but potatoes ARE a smart choice as a side dish to protein and other fruits and vegetables in your healthy diet. Tubers are packed with wholesome nutrients including complex carbohydrates for quality energy and vitamins and minerals, especially iron, magnesium, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C.Kale Pesto Oven Fries an be spiralized or cut into wedges for a quick and easy potato side dish. This Irish inspired recipe is fun for St. Patrick's Day.

It’s no blarney, you are guaranteed to love my Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways with Blue Cheese Sauce  — just remember not to call them French fries, Irish fries is more fitting! The kale pesto is a snap to make in the food processor, and can easily be done while the potatoes are baking in the oven. Make  another batch or use leftovers on pasta, fish, chicken, pizza and more. BTW, the pesto is nut-free so everyone can enjoy!Spiral Cut Potatoes

As for prepping the potatoes – you can use a spiralizer, a mandolin, finely julienne by hand or cut into fatter wedges, it’s the cook’s choice! I’ve used tried-and-true Russet potatoes in this dish, you could use whatever variety potato you like – on super busy days, I’ve also even hacked the recipe with frozen shoestring potatoes.

Kale Pesto Oven Fries an be spiralized or cut into wedges for a quick and easy potato side dish. This Irish inspired recipe is fun for St. Patrick's Day.

To add a blast of bold to the Irish recipe, I serve Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways with the Big Blue Ultra Premium from Litehouse Foods. This incredibly creamy and rich dressing is made with extra chunks of handcrafted Artisan Blue Cheese for maximum flavor—a bowl filled for dunking is like a pot of gold at the end of a cheese-lover’s rainbow.

jennifer and dean jamaica honeymoonOh and speaking of history, did I mention my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last night! Where does the time go? And I wonder how many potatoes we’ve eaten through the years – haha! I also think you’ll get a laugh out of this honeymoon picture and the 1991-style bangs! By the way, check out these blogs I’m linking up with today Happy Fit Mama, The Fit Foodie Mama, Hello to Fit, Fairy Burger, Chocolate Runner Girl , Jill Conyers,

 

What are you doing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? What you you slather kale pesto on? Spiral or wedges? Please share in the comment below, I’d love to know! XOXO– Jennifer

This post was sponsored by Litehouse Foods. 

Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways
Print Recipe
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day or any dinner with this quick and easy Irish inspired recipe made with kale pesto, potatoes and blue cheese dressing. A delicious side dish!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 mintues
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 mintues
Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways
Print Recipe
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day or any dinner with this quick and easy Irish inspired recipe made with kale pesto, potatoes and blue cheese dressing. A delicious side dish!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 mintues
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 mintues
Ingredients
For Potatoes
For Kale Pesto
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Scrub, dry and leave peel on potatoes. Use spiralizer, mandolin or sharp knife to cut potatoes into ⅛" to 1/4” thick pieces. If preferred, cut potato into 1/3” wedges. Place the strips (or wedges) in large bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, tossing to coat well.
  3. Bake thin fries for 35 to 40 minutes, using tongs to toss halfway through cooking time. Wedge fries may need to cook for 5 to 10 additional minutes.
  4. Thin fries are done when at least half are crispy and golden brown. Thicker wedge fries will be turning golden brown on the sides.
  5. While fries are baking, add kale, olive oil, salt, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and almonds to food processor and pulse until very finely chopped and ingredients incorporated.
  6. Remove fries from oven and toss with pesto while still hot. Serve with blue cheese dressing drizzled on top or served to the side as a dip.
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5 Ways to Get Teens’ Taste Buds to Grow Up + Visa GC Giveaway

Even though my family eats (mostly) a healthy diet, I’ve been encouraging my teenagers to break their monotonous meal preferences and try new dishes with exciting flavors. As they move through high school and college there are so many diverse and cultural eating experiences that will be missed (along with a wider array of nutrients) if they are dead set on having turkey meatballs, plain brown rice and an undressed salad for dinner (an all-too-common menu). That’s why I was excited to hear how Birds Eye Veggies is on a mission to redefine the way we all eat our vegetables with their Birds Eye® Flavor Full line of bold and exciting veggies that can be enjoyed as a side dish or the main course!  Keep reading down to the end of the post for the Gift Card Giveaway.

Birds Eye Flavor Full Veggies - Buffalo Cauliflower

This got me to thinking. Can picky eating-children change, or do they just grow up into adults who are ultra finicky about their food? There are valid reasons why a young child may avoid certain foods at all costs — did someone say “temper tantrum”?!  Factors that contribute to a picky eater include all the legitimate sensory things you’d connect with food aversions like texture, temperature, taste and flavor. Picky eating is also encouraged by parental response as well as peer pressure when kids get a little older. Allergies, too, can play a welcomed defensive role in picky eating, a way your body tells you to say away from a certain harmful food – but I won’t get into that here.

I believe that with the right opportunities and encouragement, most kids can join the adult world of eating as they move into their ‘tween, teens and early twenties. One reason is that as we age, taste buds dwindle away from an average of 10,000 working taste buds in small kids to only 5,000 in adults – simply put, things start tasting less intense and we naturally seek out more flavor. To support this, a 2005 study published in the Pediatrics journal reports that most children do not like bitter tastes (often found in vegetables), while adults do not find offense.

Birds Eye Flavor Full Vegetables

Always funny or philosophical, this kiddo says “Potatoes are the ‘gateway’ vegetable”

Another interesting study conducted in 2012 at the University of Copenhagen reported that when children move into their teens, they have a decreased interest in sugary tastes and a higher sophistication to distinguish between tastes – however, they are often more resistant to trying new foods than toddlers! This is why, we as parents, need to set a good example by eating a balanced diet filled with a variety of colorful, nutrient-dense whole foods.

Here are some tips to encourage the teenagers in your family to become veggie lovers and also try out other exciting new flavors. Of course, if your teen is not eating because of control issues, an eating disorder, real or perceived allergies or other concerning reasons, please see a medical professional as soon as possible.

5 ways to get your teen's taste buds grown up

  • Get teens cooking: Not only does teaching your older children how to prepare meals create self-sufficiency; it also creates a more adventurous attitude about eating as they master various skills.
  • Host international night: Once a month, prepare a meal that features cuisine from a different culture – for example, Indian, Korean, Thai, or Italian (no pizza!). To keep everyone happy, every family member gets to select one recipe to be included on the menu, but has to eat at least three bites of every other dish. Have them invite a friend over who may just announce “ooh, I love curry” – and suddenly your son or daughter will too!
  • Focus on vegetable variety: As teens lose their taste for sugar (allegedly it’s a real thing!), support their savory side with more and more vegetables. Look past buttered green beans and toward more exotic or bold tastes, like Buffalo Cauliflower! Filling up your plate with a rainbow of vegetables is the easiest and tastiest way to optimize health, in my opinion.
  • Educate and relate: Share online resources for healthy and clean eating with your children. Older kids are smart enough to understand that eating vegetables and a variety of foods is best, but are sneaky when it comes to actually eating what you serve – just think of all the Brussels sprouts “dropped” on the floor or yogurt and berry parfaits swapped for pink cupcakes at lunch. I always share the story of how I traded my celery, peanut butter and raisin “ants on a log” for Ding Dongs at lunch and quickly lost my get-up-and-go for gymnastics practice in the afternoon.
  • Role model without pushing: No one likes a pea pusher, and even worse so if it’s your own mother or father. With most teens, realize that the more you “strongly suggest” you eat your vegetables or try new dishes, the more likely they are to rebel by absolutely doing the opposite. They are teens, they will come around – just keep the message honest yet low-key, the most important thing you can do is be a role model for clean eating.

Birds Eye Flavor Full Veggies - Buffalo Cauliflower

As I hinted, I’ve been using Birds Eye Vegetables in my covert parental plan to encourage my teens to embrace new foods. The line of Birds Eye® Flavor Full vegetables transforms plain veggies with bold and on-trend flavors – it makes eating healthy side dishes so much fun. Plus, I love the convenience of the Steamfresh packaging – you just heat up in the microwave right in the bag. When my kids are making dinner, having one less dish to clean up is a major selling point! The unexpected but utterly delicious flavors include Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli, Barbecue Sweet Corn, Sweet Chili Carrots, Wasabi Peas and Fiesta Lime Corn.  Check here for a product locator.

Head over and get a $1.00 off coupon that is good for 30 days once downloaded (but must be used by 12/31/2015).

Win a $25 Visa Gift Card at TheFitFork.comEnter to win my giveaway for a $25 Visa Gift Card — you can spend it on vegetables for your teens, or whatever you please. Although I really hope you get some cauliflower and beets!

Follow the Rafflecopter app directions to enter now through Dec 9th.

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Herb Lover’s Oven Fries for Valentine Steak Dinner + Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is sneaking up . . . do you have big plans? I doubt my husband and I will battle the crowds (or be willing to pay the bill) for a fancy dinner out, so I’ll be preparing a memorable meal at home.  Plus, there are the kids . . . .and, I’m sure those non-stop eating machines will want to be fed as well!

Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.com

With so many boys and men in the house (oldest son in almost 18 years!), there’s not a lot of appreciation for decorating food in shades of pink for Valentine’s Day.  But, I did find the way to their hearts with these darling (oh, I mean “manly”) Heart-Shaped Oven Fries.  Oven fries are so easy and inexpensive to make and my guys gobble up this healthier dude food with “amoré” – give me “amoré,”Mom!

Heart Cookie Cutter and Potaotes

I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter and baked both the hearts and the remaining potato “circles” with the cutouts missing. I wish I would have taken a photo of those as they came out of the oven, but I was just so focused on the hearts! If you want to make these baked fries “regular,” simply slice into think wedges for the same result.

Baked Potato Fries - TheFitFork.com

Pan Seared Tenderloin Steak with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - TheFitFork.comFor Valentine’s Dinner, I’ll be serving this cute side dish with the Pan-Seared Tenderloin Steak with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes I developed for BeefLovingTexans.com.  This steak dinner is a surprisingly easy way to beef up the romance on Valentine’s Day and won’t bust your budget – meaning more funds for wine, chocolate and other treats for your sweet!

If steak isn’t in your budget, these baked fries would be adorable with a romantic burger!

 

 

Hot Chocolate Fudge CakesI still haven’t decided what to serve for dessert yet – it will have to be something wonderfully chocolaty. After all, dark chocolate is a superfood that provides important nutrients that protect the heart! Cooking Light has a collection of 100 Lightened Chocolate Dessert Recipes that will make your heart skip a beat  — swoon-worthy but not sinful!

Personally, I’ve been stalking the recipe for Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes . . . warm, gooey and individually portioned to prevent “accidentally” eating the whole cake. For Valentine’s Day dinner, I think I would add some lush raspberries on top!

 

Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.com
Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries
Print Recipe
Pair these daring heart-shaped, oven-baked potatoes with your Valentine's Dinner -- simply spudtacular and spiffed up with herbs!
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.com
Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries
Print Recipe
Pair these daring heart-shaped, oven-baked potatoes with your Valentine's Dinner -- simply spudtacular and spiffed up with herbs!
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F and with rack in top.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide planks. Use small cookie cutter to punch out the center of each potato circle.
  3. Put cut potatoes in bowl and fill with hot tap water, let sit for 10 minutes. When potatoes are done soaking, drain, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Add potatoes back to dried bowl and toss with olive oil, 2 teaspoons of the salt, pepper, parsley, sage and rosemary.
  5. Spread fries out evenly across baking sheet and bake on top rack until fries are starting to turn golden brown, about 25 minutes. Use a spatula to turn fries and continue to roast until crisp on outside, about 15 - 20 minutes longer.
  6. Remove fries from oven, sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and serve while still warm.
Recipe Notes

Cut into 1/2-inch wedges, if preferred.

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“Can’t Be Beet” Salad Recipe & Bounty of Beet Benefits

can't be beet salad

Do you fancy a beet? It seems like people either love this vegetable or despise it, often without even a fair taste. If you’re in the “yuck” camp, it’s time to give this purple-red root a second (or first) chance. Beets have amazing health advantages for athletes and all of us!  A tasty way to enjoy the benefits of beets is with my “Can’t Be Beet” Salad, a savory roasted potato salad dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. The recipe follows this laundry list of reasons to love beets.

By the way, if you cant get to fresh beets, I have been using Beet Powder in my smoothies and such to reap all the benefits below.

  • Beets have been shown to guard against cancer thanks to the pigment molecule, Betacyanin, which give beets that signature red color.
  • Beets can help your cardiovascular system. Research consuming beets reduces the amount of homocysteine, a substance which can contribute to peripheral vascular disease, stroke and heart disease
  • Beets are high in natural carbohydrates (not the processed kind), making them fabulous fuel for endurance sport enthusiasts.
  • Beets are high in important minerals including sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and phosperous. Athletes need plenty of these nutrients to replace those lost through sweat, muscle use and other byproducts of exercise.
  • Beets are full of fiber and rich in vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C, and niacin!
  • Beets (drum roll) may actually help improve athletic performance. According to a 2010 study by researchers at the University of Exeter, drinking beet juice helped athletes achieve higher intensity exercise by allowing their muscles to perform the same work with less oxygen. In the same vein, the International Journal of Sport, Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, reported in the February 2012 issue, that highly-trained cyclists were able to shave more than 10 seconds off their 10-kilometer race times after drinking beet juice in a study.

“Can’t Be Beet” Salad Recipe

  • 1-1/2 pounds small red potatoes, halved
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh beets, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Place potatoes and onions in two 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; drizzle with oil and toss to coat.

Place beets in pans (do not stir). Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 35-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

For dressing, in a small saucepan, combine the broth, vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, pepper and remaining salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 1/3 cup.

Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 9 servings.

Nutritional Facts3/4 cup equals 135 calories, 3 g fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 244 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.

Created by Jennifer Fisher and originally published as Can’t-Be-Beet Roasted Potato Salad in Light & Tasty October/November 2007, p41

beet