Slow Cooker Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce

Disclaimer: I was provided compensation for the development of this recipe and my time at #FreshSummit, however this blog post, my opinions and enthusiasm are provided complementary! 

Jennifer Fisher of TheFitFork.com at Litehouse Foods booth PMA Fresh Summit 2016

 I was in Orlando earlier in the month for Fresh Summit 2016, a massive trade show that brings together produce industry peeps from around the world to showcase innovation, provide inspiration and track trends. With more than 1,100 exhibitors on the expo floor, there were fruits, veggies, nuts, and fresh packaged foods at every turn. But, were there meatballs? Why, yes, there were!

litehouse-pma-booth-menu-2016That’s right; I was cooking up a storm again for Litehouse Foods in their beautiful, backyard inspired booth. With football playing on the big screen, a spread of apple cider and snacks, and good eats coming from the kitchen (including my Sriracha Lime Meatballs), this was the ultimate homey hangout.

 

Sriracha Lime Dressing over meatballsHopefully in your house, the crowd gathering for these (Slow Cooker) Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce will not be smaller than at the packed expo. Although, there WILL be a  crowd (just sayin’) becase this super simple, slow cooker recipe is a real weekend AND weeknight winner.  Just toss in a short list of ingredients into a Crock Pot, pour over a bottle of their new Srirarcha Lime Dressing and walk away. In a couple hours, you’ve got the ultimate football party appetizer to skewer up on toothpicks or a fusion-inspired, “take-out” take off dinner that you can serve with the slow cooker sauce over rice. My kids loved it!

Slow Cooker Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce is a super simple, easy party appetizer or easy weeknight main dish.

The Sriracha Lime Dressing is a new “sweet heat” product from Litehouse Foods that you can find in the fridge shelves of your produce department – they also make a Mango Habanero version. What I love about these two dressings is that they are super flavorful without being off the charts hot, only have 20 calories per serving, and are made with fresh ingredients that you’ve heard of – no weird chemicals or preservatives. You can also try this dressing as a glaze on chicken, dip for your spring rolls, or drizzle for your salads and wraps.

*I’ve also provided alternate instructions for the sauce in case you can’t find this dressing.

far-east-sriracha-lime-meatballs

 

far-east-sriracha-lime-meatball-appetizerServe meatballs over rice for supper or on a little bed of rainbow slaw for a healthy, balanced appetizer!

 

 

 

 

 

What are you cooking in your slow cooker these days? Can you take the heat or do you like things milder? Big plans, races, events for fall — I’m doing a Spartan Beast this weekend!  Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

(Slow Cooker) Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce
Print Recipe
Get the party (or dinner) started in spicy-sweet style with this crazy easy recipe that uses frozen meatballs and salad dressing. Lots of protein, low carb.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
(Slow Cooker) Beef Meatballs with Sriracha Lime Sauce
Print Recipe
Get the party (or dinner) started in spicy-sweet style with this crazy easy recipe that uses frozen meatballs and salad dressing. Lots of protein, low carb.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
Servings Prep Time
6 servings dinner 10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hourse
Ingredients
Servings: servings dinner
Instructions
  1. Place frozen meatballs in 4-qt slow cooker. Add bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, red onion, soy sauce and Sriracha Lime Dressing and mix to coat.
  2. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 4 hours., stirring at halfway point. Serve on a toothpick as an appetizer. Or, serve with rice or noodles along with sauce in slow cooker for a meal. 
  3. *If you can’t find the dressing, swap for this mixture whisked together in a bow: 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup lime juice, ¼ cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons corn starch, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.   
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Thai Something New – Recipe & CrossFit Games Open

Even though I’ve shared my recipe for Thai Chicken Noodles in the past, it may be new to you! Spicy and super-speedy to make, this globally-inspired recipe is one of my husband’s favorite meals! He always eats his heaping plateful with chopsticks for the “full immersion” experience. I’m not quite as dexterous so I just scarf it down with a fork – that way I’ll be the first back to the stovetop for seconds.  I’m competitive like that! What a fun surprise when a friend Facebooked me to say this healthy recipe was featured in the current issue of Taste of Home magazine.

Thai Chicken Spaghettti

Look who’s in the February issue of “Taste of Home” magazine!

Really, it’s quite a nutritious meal, made with ground white meat chicken breast and whole grain noodles. The veggies include sliced red bell peppers and julienned carrots (hmm, the original also includes red onion) – I like to buy the carrots already “matchstick” cut to save time.  Oh, and there’s Sriracha sauce, natch  —  I’ve been using this now oh-so trendy red chile sauce (aka, what my kids call Thai ketchup) for years.

Thai Chicken Noodles Recipe

Thai Peanut Chicken Noodles by Jennifer Fisher

  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼  cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tsp. Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce
  • ¼ cup dried red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces uncooked multigrain spaghetti noodles
  • 1 lb lean ground chicken breast
  • 1 ½ cups julienned carrots
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup chopped unsalted peanuts
  • 4 green onions, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk the first six ingredients until blended. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook chicken, carrots, pepper and garlic over medium heat 6 – 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, breaking up chicken into crumbles; drain.

Stir in peanut butter mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 3 -5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve with spaghetti. Top with peanuts and green onions. Serves 6.

crossfit rowing

Now, here’s where the crazy “try something new” comes in – I signed up for the 2014 CrossFit Games Open . For the last three years, I’ve been doing a little CrossFit here and there (BVM CrossFit), to make me stronger as a runner, not exactly to be a more competitive in the sport of CrossFit.  CrossFit is “functional fitness,” after all, and my function in life is to run – run races, run errands, run myself ragged!

I have dramatically improved my strength, especially my core and upper body. My back no longer hurts when I run a marathon. I’ve challenged myself in ways I never thought I would, and probably no one would believe it to be true of little ole me unless they saw it with their own eyes (hello rope climbing, pull up marathons and sled pulling) But, as for the legs, they are sort of scrawny and built for distance more than deadlifts.  Workouts (err, make that WODS) with lots of Squats, Thrusters and other heavy lifting that demand hefty lower body strength have been a literal pain in the rear for me.  What I have in endurance and bodyweight skills, I lack in strength. That doesn’t keep me from trying, but it does keep me from moving for a few days sometimes!

crossfit how do you stack up

Now, don’t get excited — you’re NOT going to see me on TV in the CF Games, not even in the Master’s Division. The Open is just for anyone crazy motivated enough to take on the workouts; the top scorers move on to regional’s and then those winners advance to the much hoopla-d finals.  I am just hoping to push my limits and see how the dust settles out around after the 5 Open workouts that start later in February. To be able to finish the workouts as Rx’d would be a win for me! According to the infographic above, just being average will be quite an achievement, forget about those top three beasts . . . . . I’m in a lot of trouble here people! At least there is a week to recover between workouts! Keep you posted.

So, is anyone else out there crazy enough to have signed up for the CrossFit Games Open?  How’d it go?

Superfoodie: Kicked-up Cashew Orange Kale Recipe

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - cashew orange kaleAll signs in the vast expanse of the veggie world seemed to indicate that I should make some kale for dinner tonight. Not only did I have a huge bundle of locally-sourced kale in the produce bin courtesy of the organic delivery service Greeling.com, but every magazine I’ve opened for the last few days has been abuzz about this looser-leafed cousin to cabbage. It is a “superfood,’ after all. Convinced to put some green in this running machine, I whipped up a spicy-sweet side of kale using an orange and Sriracha sauce. Try it, you’ll like it!

Kicked-up Cashew Orange Kale Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
  • 2 ounces cashews (I used cayenne spiced cashews)

Add olive oil to large skillet; bring heat to medium-high. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for approximately 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add kale and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes; add wine, orange juice and Sriracha sauce. Stir well to combine.

Add lid to skillet and let kale steam for 3 – 4 minutes, until softened. Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring as needed, until most of the liquid has cooked off. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with orange zest and cashews.

Serves 2.

all hail the kale

So Why Kale?

And there are many nutritional reasons to exclaim “all hail the kale.” This dark leafy green veggie is high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and also has loads of iron and more calcium than a serving of milk. Kale boasts anti-cancer properties thanks to a chemical called sulforaphane. Another chemical found in kale, indole-3-carbinol, is said to encourage DNA repair in cells. Kale has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels and decrease the absorption of dietary fat.  And, all this for 36 calories per cup!

Steaming, braising, microwaving, and stir-frying are all good ways to cook kale; however, boiling this veggie can decrease some of its beneficial properties. Check out these fabulous-looking, creative ways to cook kale brought to you from some of my fellow healthy food-loving Fitfluential.com ambassadors:

Heather at fortheloveofkale.com has an awesomely unusual kale recipe she’s calling Sexy Salad of the Moment – you’ll have to click to find out what gives it so much appeal!

Laura at sprint2thetable.com threw together a lot of yummy stuff in a pot and is calling it White Bean, Butternut and Kale Soup.  Here in Austin, we’re having a weird April cold front, so I’m making this nutrient-rich and warming meal tomorrow night.

Cat at breakfasttobed.com has me motivated to prepare her make-ahead salad. Massaged Kale and Wheatberry Salad with Feta. It’s true that kale salads are so much tenderer when pampered with an olive oil massage.

 

 

Noodle Night! Thai Chicken Peanut Pasta Recipe

Speedy, spicy, and super yummy; this peanuty chicken pasta dish fuses the flavors of Thai food with plain old spaghetti noodles. It’s already nutritious, but substitute with whole grain pasta to be even healthier!  I’ve been making this Thai Chicken Peanut Pasta dish forever; it’s one of my husband’s favorite quick, weeknight meals. Until recently, the creation has always been in my head; I’d just do a little of this and a little of that. But, I’ve had a recent query to feature it in a publication, so I decided to measure everything out and take a proper picture. I’ll keep you posted on that news.  But, until then, enjoy the sneak peek!

Thai Chicken Peanut Pasta Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oli
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups julienned carrots
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Srirachai Sauce (the red “Rooster” sauce)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon (more or less to taste) dried red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces dried spaghetti noodles
  • 4 green onions chopped with tops
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

In large skillet, cook ground chicken breast over medium-high heat for 10 – 15 minutes or until lightly browned; drain grease if any. Add garlic and carrots and red onion to skillet and continue cooking mixture several more minutes over medium heat, taking care not to over-cook.

At the same time that chicken and pepper stir fry is cooking, begin preparing noodles and sauce. Cook noodles to manufacturer’s directions; drain and set aside. In medium bowl, whisk together, Sriracha sauce, soy sauce, broth, lemon juice, peanut butter and red pepper flakes.

Over medium heat, pour sauce into skillet with chicken and pepper mixture and let simmer for 3-5 minutes until heated through. To serve, place a mound of warm noodles in an individual low pasta-style bowl and top with a portion of the chicken mixture. Top with chopped green onions and peanuts. Yield: serves 6

Notes: Sriracha sauce is a Thai condiment made of hot chilies; typically found on Asian aisle in supermarket.