Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa

Roman Emperor and asparagus aficionado, Caesar Augustus, had an expression — Velocius quam asparagi conquantur!  Literally it meant “Faster that cooking asparagus,” but the point Augustus was trying to get across to his military minions was “Get going already”! Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa

Today I’m sharing a no-cook recipe that, by definition, IS FASTER than the already fast task of cooking asparagus. Try my Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa, it comes together in mere minutes and will pass muster with even the pickiest produce eaters!   Continue reading

Strawberry Cheesecake Quinoa Oat Breakfast Bake

Everything in life should be accessorized, including oatmeal! Despite it’s inherent healthiness, serving of plain, unadulterated “sunrise slop” reminds me of the gruel I feed my babies when they were first learning to eat. It’s bland, it’s boring and gonna get pushed back to my pantry. But, then there’s my  When I kick of the texture of my oatmeal with quinoa and bedazzle it with berries, this morning mush turns into make-ahead morning magic!  Strawberry Cheesecake Quinoa-Oat Breakfast Bake

You MUST try my recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake Quinoa-Oat Bake, it’s healthy, hearty and will have you racing to the kitchen before the rooster crows!  Continue reading

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

Lemony Turmeric Cauliflower-Quinoa + Quickie Crossfit 17.1 Recap

Quinoa is just such a handy grain . . . er, seed, to have around. It easily cooks up on the stove top in about 15 minutes (with less mess than rice, in my opinion) and is packed with a head-spinning assortment of nutrients including lots of iron, an abundance of fiber and plenty of protein. In fact, quinoa is considered a complete protein because it boasts all 9 of the essential amino acids — a rarity in plant foods.Lemony Turmeric Cauliflower-Quinoa

A fluffy pot of quinoa turns into pure bliss when you pair beautiful golden turmeric, a “superspice” with mild taste and beacoup de health benefits, along with a bit of lemon. Oh, and cauliflower’s in there too — dang my recipe for Lemony Turmeric Cauliflower-Quinoa is healthy!  Continue reading

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch + More Healthy Candy Recipes

Apple Walnut Quinoa CrunchReady for a curiously crunchy treat? My recipe for Apple, Walnut & Quinoa Crunch will satisfy sweet crispy cravings while filling you up longer thanks to an unexpected punch of protein from the quinoa and black walnuts– it’s a balanced candy for your “healthy tooth”!

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch is a healthy alternative to peanut brittle candy -- it packs a bit of protein from the ancient grain Quinoa and is dairy-free, gluten-free and made without traditional corn syrup (only a touch of coconut sugar and 100 percent apple cider)I like to eat it straight off the baking sheet or break up into shards of sweetness to top my Greek yogurt.

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch on Greek Yogurt

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch made with apple ciderI almost hesitate to even call this easy-to-make recipe “candy,” although it is a take on old-fashioned “nut brittle.” However, the typical peanut brittle or nut brittle uses a boatload of butter, table sugar and corn syrup – gasp! Instead, my healthy candy recipe is packed with wholesome ingredients like 100 percent juice apple cider, ancient grains, dried fruit and nuts, and just a touch of coconut sugar.

I also choose to use Black Walnuts instead of standard english walnuts. Why? The black walnut has the most protien of any tree nut and imparts a more intense, earthy, nutty flavor to recipes. I discovered this news I can definitely use at the Produce Marketing Associations recent Fresh Summit in Orlando when, I auspiciouslly bumped into Hammon Black Walnuts on my way out the door to fly home.

As far as sugars go, coconut sugar (derived from Palm) is a much healthier sweetener in moderation as it doesn’t spike blood sugar as dramatically as traditional sugars. Also, if a concern for you are a loved one, this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.

I originally made this recipe for Litehouse Foods and used the Honey Crisp Apple Cider, you can find it in the produce section this time of year. This Cold Pressed, 100 percent pure apple juice has a unique tart taste that is wonderfully balanced with sweet. It’s perfect poured straight from the container, served hot or cold, and also makes a great ingredient in recipes where you would prefer natural sweetness.

Some things to note when making this recipe — you need to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, your oven temperature may vary affecting the overall cook time. Also, it will be soft when removed from oven — give it plenty of time to set up and harden, stick in the fridge to expidite. If it still doesn’t seem crispy, then you can put it back in the oven for several minutes at a time until done.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - chocolate date candy barsAnother healthier “candy” I’m pulling from the archives to share with you today is my recipe for Sweet Date Chocolate Candy Bar Bites. These are so yummy and I love how the dates provide extra iron in my diet.

Hazelnut Pecan Protein FudgeI also like to make a batch of my Hazlenut Fudge Protein Balls to stash in the freezer and thaw out one at a time to quell my dessert cravings. These no-bake energy bits are ideal for a healthy little dessert or as pre and post workout fuel.

now-foods-ingredients-for-quinoa-crunch-candyIn addition to the Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Litehouse Foods, which you can conveniently find in your market’s produce section this time of year, here are some other ingredients used in my Quinoa Crunch.a

Do you have a “healthy” candy recipe? What is your go-to when you are craving something sweet? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Print Recipe
This healthier alternative to candy is easy to make and packs a bit of protein thanks to the ancient grain Quinoa.
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Print Recipe
This healthier alternative to candy is easy to make and packs a bit of protein thanks to the ancient grain Quinoa.
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servubgs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking liner as I did)
  2. Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa well under cold running water and spread out on a paper towel to dry. This will prevent bitterness.
  3. Add quinoa, walnuts, oats, crumbled dehydrated apples, and salt to small mixing bowl, stirring to combine.
  4. To a small saucepan, 1 ½ cups apple cider and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, until volume has been reduced to ½ cup liquid. Add coconut oil, coconut sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and simmer for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Pour apple cider “syrup” over the dry ingredients and stir to thoroughly coat. Arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into a uniform layer with a metal spoon. Uniformity in thickness will promote even cooking and keep edges from burning.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan around on the oven rack at the halfway point. When removing from oven, color should be deep golden brown in color. Allow to cool completely so that it hardens up before breaking into bite-sized pieces.
  7. If you realize, after cooling that still soft in the center, you can return it to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a close eye.
  8. Store leftovers in a sealed bag or container at room temperature up to one week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
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Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa + Pinner’s Conference

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.comIt’s happened more than once, I’ve tasted a quinoa salad and gone “meh” even though I know good for me. We are at the crescendo of the quinoa craze, so you too probably are aware that this ancient grain (which is actually a seed) boosts your diet with  nutrients like B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber. Additionally, quinoa is also one of only a few plant foods considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids — oh how I love me some protein! 

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

To add some flavor excitement to a quinoa recipe, I decided to mix up a dish that magnifies some of my favorite flavors that some consider “fall season” but I embrace year ’round – maple syrup and butternut squash! And hey, even though it was 105 degrees yesterday . . . we are getting closer to Autumn one day at a time! I’ve used two of my favorite products from NOW Foods, Organic Tri-color Quinoa and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa can be served warm, room temperature or cold -- it's a healthy vegetarian side dish or salad packed with protein and wholesome energy.Anyway,my recipe for Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa is just bursting with flavor and wholesome goodness. Not only is this recipe pretty to look at, it’s a beautiful addition to a meal-prepping lineup — especially important now that it’s Back-To-School season. You can make a big batch and eat it warm or cold — it also holds up well to being packed in a lunchbox.   Of course, I like to pair mine with a big, juicy steak!

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

By the way, I am demonstrating this Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa coming up on Friday, September 9th at the Texas Pinner’s Conference  in the Dallas area (Arlington Convention Center). My class is called “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness.” 

pinners conference class description

pinners conference pic 1Learn how to prepare enough protein (I’m grilling Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steaks) to make dinner with leftovers for breakfast and lunch — the other recipes are Iron-Boosting Beef & Date Spinach Salad and Steak & Plantain Breakfast Bowl. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE

Are you a make-ahead meal prepper? What is your favorite dish to stock in the fridge or freezer? Have the kids gone back to school yet? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake squash, stirring once halfway through, for approximately 15 minutes or until tender and turning golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions -- it should also take around 15 minutes, so you can do the squash and quinoa simultaneously to save time.
  4. When quinoa done, transfer to large bowl, fluff with fork and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. While quinoa and squash cooling down, prepare dressing by adding maple syrup, remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt to small bowl and whisk until combined.
  6. Add cooked quinoa, cooked squash, green onions, raisins, and pecans to large bowl, mix gently to combine.
  7. Pour dressing over top and stir to evenly distribute. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.
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Steak and Quinoa Squachos – NachOMG!

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionlYou may be thinking, “Ummmm, excuse me . . . but what the heck on God’s green Earth are SQUACHOS”? This quick and easy appetizer is a healthy swap for traditional nachos made with tortilla chips which are typically fried, overly salted and plentiful in carbs (if you’re counting).  Made on slices of summer’s finest squash, my Steak & Quinoa Squachos are, in two simple words, “life changing!”

Steak & Quinoa Squachos - gluten-free and low carb appetizer!

Zucchini and Summer SquashThe farmer’s markets (and personal gardens of you green-thumbers) are exploding with green zucchini and yellow summer squash this time of year — and this fun and fit finger food is a tasty way to take advantage of a bumper crop and squeeze a few extra veggies into the day.

 

Recipes similar to this use panko bread crumbs to create that familiar nacho crunch — but that defeats to purpose of my low-carb, higher protein mission. So, instead, I tossed together almond meal and cooked quinoa with a bit of cheese to create a tasty texture on top of each squash disc.

Steak and Quinoa Squachos -- a low carb, gluten free appetizer!

I used two of my go-to non-GMO, gluten-free and certified organic pantry staples from NowFoods.com Tri-Colored Quinoa  and Raw Almond Flour. This tri-color quinoa a blend of white, red and black seeds and is a great source of protein and iron — I typically serve it as a side dish or salad, but freeze leftovers for speedy recipes like this! Raw Almond Flour (or Almond Meal, as some people call it) is simply finely ground almonds and it makes a great low-carb swap for flour in many recipes. If you can’t find these products in your market, I’ve dropped the Amazon links below.
 

More Protein, More PowerNow, if you’ve been following along on the blog or social media, you know I’ve been sharing my (numerous time) journey on the Protein Challenge and encouraging others to join. This free 30-day challenge sponsored by BeefLovingTexans.com (who I also originally developed the Squacho recipe for) shows you how to tweak your daily protein intake for optimal heath — to be very succinct, you should be getting about 25 – 30 grams of protein at each of your three meals — and also protein rich snacks throughout the day and possibly at bedtime, depending on your activity level. You can register for the Protein Challenge and get tips, support and recipes HERE.

Join the 30 day Protein Challenge

Steak & Quinoa SquachosSo, are you making these Squachos this weekend, or what?!

What are your other plans – a race, a vacation, just catching up on the to-do list? Let’s chat in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Ingredients
Servings: as appetizer
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on high. 2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil, coat with baking spray.
  2. lice squash into ¼” slices. Place squash, with edges touching each other, onto baking sheets.
  3. In bowl, toss together almond meal with dry fajita seasoning. Stir in cheese, cooked quinoa and almond meal until combined.
  4. Use a tablespoon to pile a big dollop of this cheese mixture on top of each squash slice. If leftover topping in bowl at end of dolloping, sprinkle evenly across tops.
  5. Cut leftover steak or fajita meat into bite-sized pieces. Place a piece of two of beef on top of each Squacho.
  6. Place oven rack on second to top position. Broil Squachos for 2 to 4 minutes, or until cheese mixture bubbling and turning golden brown on edges Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with drained Pico de Gallo. Serve with other desired accompaniments such as guacamole, sour cream or salsa.
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