We’re well into cooler weather, have you been fueling your training diet with delicious recipes featuring winter squash? Since the onset of fall, the produce department has been bustling with beautiful displays of winter squash varieties such as butternut, acorn, spaghetti, pumpkin and more! I can’t guarantee these staples of the season will make you run faster or jump higher, but they will help keep your body health and your taste buds happy.
This post and giveaway was sponsored by Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q , however all opinions, comments and enthusiasm are my own.
This holiday season, I’ve made a vow to make all my meals with love, happiness and smiles. Not just the big celebration dinners, but also the crazy night meals when we’ve been out all day running errands, visiting with family or volunteering with our favorite charity (Brown Santa). Some times on these chaotic nights, I get grumbly about making supper, but shortcuts with Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q products keep me grinning even after sitting in shopping mall traffic or spending hours trying to figure out which bulb in a string of lights has burned out.
For this slow cooker recipe, I’ve used Stubb’s Smokehouse Bourbon Cookin’ Sauce. This convienient product (which is gluten free) works in both the skillet and slow cooker. It contains a flavorful sauce pouch made with bourbon, garlic and rosemary along with a spice packet that can be used to prep the meat.
One little hint extra step I have for this quick and easy recipe is to brown the stew meat before putting in the crock pot. While this may seem unnecessary (and you can skip if absolutely pressed for time), it does create an amazing caramelization on the beef which helps to create a more complex flavor experience.
Don’t just think of Stubb’s ONLY as a way to fix traditional Texas BBQ. They have so many delicious Bar-B-Q sauces, marinades, rubs and Cookin’ Sauces that offer bold flavors to spur on your creativity in the kitchen this holiday season.
Of course, I love to create my own new holiday recipes as well as revisit family food traditions, but why recreate the wheel on every single side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other winter family gatherings when Stubb’s has complied a delicious collection of recipes for the season?!
Yes-sir-ee, the Stubb’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts will be a delicious compliment to my Slow Cooker Cranberry-Orange Beef Stew with Rosemary Garlic Grits. You need to try these, so amazing!
To help you get cooking with down-home but daring style, I’m hosting a giveaway for one reader to win a Stubb’s Prize Pack that includes a spatula, T-shirt, Stubb’s hat and coupons for free Stubb’s products (yeehaw)! Just enter via the Rafflecopter app below:
Um, YES PLEASE! Give me that Jalapeno Feta Cornbread — and find out why I don’t mind having a second slice!My Jalapeno Feta Cornbread will be the star of your next meal and makes the perfect paring for my Best-Ever, Super-Secret Beef Chili. Bake up a batch of this old-fashioned quick bread in a cast iron skillet for the crunchiest crust, a country-style presentation and a surprising health benefit – extra iron in your diet!
You heard me right, cooking and baking in cast iron can fortify a recipe with iron transferred from the pan. Iron is an essential mineral that the body uses to deliver oxygen to the body via our red blood cell. On average 10 of American women are iron deficient with one recent study suggested that more than half (56%) of recreational joggers and competitive runners suffer from an iron deficiency that may negatively affect performance. Runners, cyclists, CrossFit athletes and other athletes typically need more iron in their diet than the average Joe because this essential mineral is lost via menstruation, pregnancy, sweat, GI distress, and even repetitive foot-strike (“footstrike hemolysis”). Also, some chronic medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease can prevent the prober absorption of iron.
The more acidic a food (like tomato sauce), the more iron will be leached from the pan, but even baked goods like this cornbread can get an iron-boost from cast iron cookware. On average, one cup of cast-iron skillet food gains 6 to 8 milligrams of iron, helping you to meet daily allowance of this mineral (For women aged 19-50, the RDA is 18 milligrams per day).
However, don’t just count on cast-iron or iron supplements to get the optimal amount – getting iron from fresh foods is optimal. Beef, spinach, broccoli, beans, legumes, and dates are all high-iron choices, you can find out more on this earlier blog post I wrote about Anemia in Runners.
Here are some iron-rich recipes to serve up with this cornbread!
Note, I originally developed this Jalapeno Feta Cornbread recipe for Litehouse Foods, using their deliciously tangy, creamy artisan feta cheese.
Also, let me just add — this cornbread is off the hook drizzled with honey — I like the new Truvia Nectar, a honey/stevia blend that has 50% fewer calories and carbs. Get a free sample! #sponsored #UseLikeHoney
What do you cook in cast iron? Cornbread fan? Do you make yours plain, or mix “extras” in? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer
I felt it for a second, the cooler morning that is. So I pulled out fringy scarf, boots and slow-cooker – yeehaw, fall weather is here. But, it was a total fake out, ended up being 90 degrees that day. Even though I shed my fall finery, my Crock Pot creation was a dinner winner not about to be tossed. Rich, meaty, hearty and amazing nutritious thanks to wholesome ingredients like lean beef, pumpkin, acorn and butternut squashes.
You absolutely must pin this photo below if you like healthy, hearty and helpful!
I originally made this recipe for my friends at BeefLovingTexans.com, I almost tried to call it Chili but then remembered some Texans don’t think beans belong in chili. Well, heck, I don’t care – I think everything belongs in chili! This one has a bit of chipotle chili powder to add smoky spice, but feel free to tone it down or kick it up with your favorite chili seasonings.
The beauty of this recipe is just dumping all the ingredients into a slow cooker and walking away. I prefer to sear my chili meat (I cubed up a sirloin steak) because that magical caramelization process that happens in the skillet creates a deeper, more complex flavor. But, if you are pressed for time, the stew still turns out dang delicious if you just dump the uncooked beef straight into the slow cooker crock.
I was worried the kids would be suspicious of the trio of winter squashes in the dish – pumpkin, acorn and butternut. But, they loved it and a new autumn family favorite was born – especially when paired with some cast-iron skillet cornbread. I can’t believe I’ve never shared this recipe in photo below — it’ll be served up on the blog next week! COME BACL!
So, why don’t you make this Steak & Squash Harvest Stew for supper this weekend – free yourself up some time to hang out with the family, hit a hay ride, visit the pumpkin patch, get lost in a corn maze. It’s also a great little warmer-upper for those chilly afternoons tailgating and talking all things football or for the neighborhood Halloween potluck!
So, do you have a special family chili (errrr, I mean “stew” recipe)? Doing any special fall activities this weekend? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
I hope you have a big spoon at the ready, my recipe for Best-Ever Beef Chili is, well, THE BEST! With freezing temperatures and heated football bowl games going down, this big pot of spicy, rich and blissfully beefy chili is what to serve by the mug, bowl or trough.
I typically make chili by breaking down a roast into bite-sized chunks, my kitchen stampeded causing Southwestern Steak Chili is a family favorite. However, the kids love ground beef (and so does my food budget) and requested a chili made with their favorite food group — hamburger meat!
Won’t lie, I was a little worried that the ground beef would come out dry and the beefy taste might get downed out by bold chili spices. After reading an article in Cooks Illustrated on achieving “better browning through science,” I knew I had to try their technique of using a baking solution on meat to enable proteins to attract more water and hold onto it during cooking and also create a higher pH level to speed up the desirable Maillard reaction (basically, the harbinger of caramelization). My dad reported success using this method to keep steaks juicy and tender, and I hoped this easy hack would help improve the taste and texture of my chili’s ground beef.
So, how does this baking soda beef hack work? Typically, when ground beef is cooked on the stove top, so much water and liquid is expelled that the beef chunks just end up steaming in their own juices — very little actually browning happens. When cooked to the point of most water evaporating, the batch of beef will be unpleasantly overdone. However, by gently tossing a baking soda solution with the meat (about ¾ teaspoon baking soda to 2 tablespoons water for 2lbs of grind) and letting sit for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking , beef loses less liquid, browns faster and tastes better. I tried it myself with 80/20 Chuck Ground Beef and I must say, I was impressed! The ground beef cooked “as-is” was almost immediately was sitting in a pool of liquids (as you can see from the picture) and when taste-tested seemed a little rubbery and bland.
However, the baking soda treated beef immediately started to brown in the pot. And, while there was still a fair deal of liquid released, it was noticely less so than the previous batch (Cook’s illustrated said about 10% less liquid, I felt like maybe even a little more). More noticeable though, was the taste – the baking-soda treated batch had a richer, more complex caramelized flavor and was markedly juicier. In fact, the cooked beef was so yummy; I worried about taste-testing my way through the whole pile before I even started the rest of the chili!
So, my final recommendation on this “baking soda treatment” is definitely try it and see what you think! It does take little bit of pre-planning because you have to let the solution sit on the meat for 20 minutes, but you can have that going while you prep the other ingredients.
So, here is my Best Ever Ground Beef Chili recipe, – every spoon is a mouthful of meaty goodness. It’s rich and spicy, without being too heavy or too “hot” for kids – I think you’ll really like it. But, feel free to use this baking soda technique with any beef chili recipe!
If you’re looking for other delicious chili recipes, check out this collection I curated for Mode! And, also head over to the Texas Beef Council for more inspiration.
Do tell, do you put beans in your chili? Do you like spicy or mild? What toppings do you put on top? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
Even though I’ve been running and working out in the beautiful warm weather that’s been gracing Austin for the last several days, the chill of winter is expected to return over weekend – it’s my guess that Jack Frost is moseying over from the Snowpocolypse on the East coast. Although, we won’t get mountains of snow (actually, not even a freeze at all), this cold-weather wimp will be tempted to stay under the blankets and skip even her civilized late-morning run. That is, unless I know I have soup waiting for lunch!
After a long run in cold weather, nothing warms up my body and nourishes my soul more than a big bowl of soup. Who wants to think about making a complicated meal when road weary, starving and chilled to the bone? That’s why I like to have a big batch of homemade soup waiting in the slow cooker or ready to simmer on the stovetop the minute I walk in the door. Warmth and convenience aren’t the only reason why soup is great for runners — soup is also an easy, one-dish recovery meal that features the right mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healing vitamins and minerals. Eating soup after a workout refuels your tank with healthy food and the extra liquid helps restore hydration! I’m sharing six soup and stew recipes that are in constant rotation at my house during the cold-weather running seasons — each is easy to make and tastes just as good (if not better) as leftovers.
- Wilted Greens, Beans & Beef Meatball Stew
- Black Bean & Pumpkin Soup
- Chipotle Squash & Chickpea Soup
- Southwestern Sweet Potato Soup
- Hatch Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Lightened Yet Still “Loaded” Baked Potato Soup
Now that one of my favorite races (3M Half Marathon) has come and gone for the year, I can focus on my upcoming events. Of course, there is the Capitol 10k later this spring (I’m going to try to peak for this one) and the Zooma Women’s Race Series in Austin on March 28th – I’m a Zooma Ambassador again for the 4th year and will be running the half marathon – they also offer a 10k and 5k. This is a fun and supportive race for women of all abilities (and men, you’re invited too) – afterward there is just an awesome party with lots of Texas Hill Country hospitality, including music, wine and massages. Come out and join me – use the discount code JENNIFER15 at registration and get 10% off the fee for any race distance.
Oh, and did I tell you that I’m running the Spartan Race in a few months when it comes to Austin. It’s a good thing that the Spartan is in May and it won’t be cold — no soup required afterward, but maybe a cold beer! I better start practicing my obstacles ASAP! Check out the workout —>
Spartan has a ton of stuff going on right now including a newly launched podcast that shares epic stories of success – ‘Spartan Up!’ If you are totally into obstacle racing, you can get hooked up with a Spartan Season Pass that offers unlimited racing, ability to sign up in any heat including elite, special travel discounts and more. And, you literally don’t want to miss the boat on this one — a Spartan Cruise where sand, surf and obstacles await your arrival on an exclusive island sprint course – leave from Miami and race in Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas (March 6 – 9, 2015) Use code CRUISE50 at registration for 50% off the cruise fee!
Don’t miss out on my Spartan Race Entry Giveaway – one winner will receive a registration code good for any any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the continental US. Enter through the rafflecopter app below. If you can’t wait to win, use code SPARTANBLOGGER for 10% off of any race.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Ring-ding-ding! Come and get it – I’m serving up Southwestern Steak Chili for dinner and you are about to miss it. A big bowl full of this hearty goodness will squash your “hangries” and fuel you up for whatever adventures you’ve got coming up – whether that’s just some causal mechanical bull riding or running roughshod right over a marathon goal (speaking hypothetically, of course).
Nutritious ingredients magnified by down-on-the-ranch seasonings create wonderful smells while simmering on the stove top – expect a stampede to the dinner table. Folks I know usually make chili with ground beef, but this easy recipe takes it to a whole ‘notha, fork-slinging level with beef stew meat. Meat labeled beef stew is whatever your butcher feels like cutting up that day. So, if you are looking to save a buck and want some control over what you’re eating, try sirloin or round for a lean option or chuck if you want juicier, fall-apart action.
I’ve used a can of pinto beans (hubby likes these best) and a can of black beans (my favorite) – but you can use whatever variety you prefer including the traditional kidney bean. Chipotle chile powder is my ace in the hole in this pot of chili. I mix up a blend of standard chili powder along with some chipotle power to add smoky undertones – chipotle peppers are just smoked jalapenos. Oh, and an awesome way to boost up the smoky, roasted flavor is to use canned fire-roasted tomatoes – this post isn’t sponsored, but Muir Glen makes a great organic option.
Southwestern Steak Chili Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 lbs beef stew meat in 1 to 1 ½ chunks (or cut your own from sirloin or round)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle or can Mexican beer
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained (I used Muir Glenn)
- 1 (15-ounce) can chile or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (7-ounce) can salsa verde
- Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add cubed stew beef and cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring gently. Remove from pan.
- Add chopped onion to pan and sauté 3 – 4 minutes or until sausage until softened. Add garlic, chile power and cumin to pot and saute for an additional 1 minute, stirring constantly. .
- Add beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return beef to pan. Stir tomatoes, beans and salsa verde; bring to boil.
- Cover Dutch oven, reduce heat and simmer approximately 90 minutes or until beef begins to fall apart with fork.
- Serve with favorite chile topping such as sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro and crumbled tortilla chips.
- Serves 6 – 8.
If you’re looking for other comforting , cold-weather chili recipes check out the collection from Cooking Light – there are enough chili recipes for every night of the month, plus a few to spare!
What kind of chili person are you — beans, no beans, beef, turkey, vegetarian, etc?
Yes, I realize that I’m opening every blog post this month with “it’s still hot in Austin.” Even as a huge fan of warm weather, I’m starting to get sick of it too. So, what do I do? I make soup and stew! Nothing like slurping up a piping hot bowl of my Wilted Greens, Beans & Meatball Stew after a run in near 90 degrees or a no air-conditioning CrossFit WOD. I’m not being snarky, I’m being serious – I’m not going to let Mother Nature infringe on the length of my soup season. And, good news, the weathermen are predicting a cold front . . . . we’ll be dipping down into the upper 70s for the high this weekend. HA!
While my Chipotle Squash & Chickpea Soup is always yummy, the soup in my pot this week is a delicious, easy and super healthy Wilted Greens, Beans & Meatball Stew that I first created for Litehouse Foods. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever winter greens you have on hand like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens or Swiss chard – use a mixture, that’s even better. It’s always sad to say my temporary goodbyes to vine-ripe tomatoes and zucchini as the sun fades out on summer, but the farmer’s market will be brimming with all of these vitamin-packed, nutritious winter greens. According to the USDA, dark leafy vegetables are plentiful in potassium, manganese and iron. Not to mention, they are all a good source for vitamins A, C, K and E as well as calcium, folic acid and fiber. So eat up!
Wilted Greens, Beans & Beef Meatball Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- ¼ cup chopped carrot
- 8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 15-oz can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Garlic (or fresh chopped)
- 1 tablespoon Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Parsley(or fresh chopped)
- 1 tablespoons Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Chives (or fresh chopped)
- 1 ½ teaspoon Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Thyme (or fresh chopped)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Parmesan rind (dry end from wedge optional)
- 8 cups of coarsely chopped mixed winter greens (spinach kale collards chard)
- 24 pre-cooked “mini” or “party size” lean beef meatballs
- Garnish: shaved Parmesan cheese if desired
- In 6-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and mushroom and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened and lightly caramelized.
- Add broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add beans, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, chives, thyme, pepper, and parmesan rind. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add one half of mixed winter greens to pot; stir for 2 to 3 minutes to allow leaves to “wilt” down thus providing room for remaining greens. Add remaining greens and continue to stir and cook down for approximately 2 minutes.
- Cover pot with lid and keep heat on low. Reheat meatballs according to manufacturer’s instructions in microwave or oven. When reheated, drain on paper towels, if needed, and add to stew. Use a spoon to remove any remnant of the parmesan rind.
- To serve, ladle among four bowls and top with shaved parmesan cheese if desired.
- Serves 4
Please visit the Living Litehouse blog for lots more yummy and convenient recipes that will work with your healthy lifestyle.
To help you work up a sweat, I’ve got a Tabata workout that will definitely make you earn that piece of cornbread with your soup. If you’re not familiar with the Tabata concept, it’s basically 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest and then repeat, repeat, repeat for four minutes. Tabata workouts are meant to increase the capacity of both your aerobic and anaerobic systems – do a couple per week and you’ll be a machine! However (disclaimer), my Tabata workout kicks it up from 4 minutes to 15 minutes – I must really like to suffer. If it’s too much for you, please stop and catch your breath with extra rest in between exercises.
So, would you rather drink a smoothie on a cold day or have soup on a hot day? What is your favorite soup?