Keep Austin Weird Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir FryI have been waiting all summer to share this recipe – Beef, Veggie & Watermelon Stir-Fry!  –It’s steak “meats” watermelon (and loads of fresh veggies) atop of a plate of slightly chewy, insanely satisfying udon noodles. Earlier this year, the Texas Beef Council asked me to come up with my personal take on a Texas food tradition. “Focus on pasta,” they said, and “make it your own.”

Most of us know by now what happens when I’ve been let off the proverbial leash like that – I can go a little wild. But, my creativity isn’t random; it makes sense – to me, anyway!  My jam is merging together seemingly unlikely ingredients to make a beautiful recipe that not only comes together easily but also optimizes nourishment to support an active lifestyle.

watermelon carrots beans peppersYou might be wondering how my Beef, Veggie & Watermelon Stir-Fry a Texas “thang” – there’s no BBQ sauce in sight!  The Texas spirit is found in the local lean beef and farmer’s market produce sourced from these here Central Texas parts. It also has that far-out, Far East fusion flavor going on that’s so popular with some of the food trucks found down in the hip and happening parts of Austin that do their best to Keep Austin Weird. Heck, I do my best to Keep Austin Weird!

jen vw bus

I’m especially excited how this fit and fresh dish pairs up BEEF with WATERMELON as these are two of my all-time favorite foods ever in the history of all time, period.

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry

This 30 minute dinner recipe features Top Sirloin, a super-lean cut of beef that has only about 5g fat and 150 calories per 3-ounce serving (along with about 26g protein)! Eating a protein portion approximately this size (25 – 30g), three to five times a day, gives me the power to feel fuller longer, stay active longer, and maintain a leaner muscle-to-fat body ratio. Of course, my meals aren’t always beef (variety is the spice of life, ya know), but lean beef is an AWESOME, nutrient-dense (think ZIP: Zinc, Iron, Protein) go-to choice that works beautifully in my life several times per week (or more).

profile facebook beef protein challengeIf you want to join the free Protein Challenge to learn more about how tweaking the protein intake in our life can help you feel and look better, sign up here.






What about the watermelon? Well, first off – it just screams summer in Central Texas.  I can’t think of a picnic, river tubing trip or day at the lake spent without sharing a huge watermelon with family and friends. If you’ve not ever tried watermelon warm and spiced up a bit, get ready to live on the wedge! The sweet heat flavor is fantastic and the high water content of this juicy fruit (92% water) helps keep you hydrated on most blazing hot days. Plus, watermelon is low in calories and a great source of electrolytes and antioxidants that help support my lifestyle as an athlete. Oh, and you’re going to LOVE the sprouted watermelon seeds sprinkled on the to — despite what your mama may have said, you CAN eat watermelon seeds (they’re very nutritious)!

Summer Squat Challenge -- Do 100 squats per day from this mix an match list!Learn much more about Watermelon for Fitness (uhh and don’t miss my Watermelon Workout Videos) at Here’s a little Watermelon Squat Workout I dare ya to try!

Note on the noodles: You don’t necessarily have to use the Udon noodles, I like to incorporate them when I need a little more carb energy in my life for long runs and endurance events. A great gluten-free option would be Soba noodles (made of buckwheat which is gluten free) or rice noodles . . . or just rice. I’m also going to make this dish in the future and try it totally grain-free by using spiralized zucchini or summer squash!

What have you been stir-frying lately? Favorite Fruit? Favorite type of Squat? Noodles, rice or nothing?  Please share in the comments  – XOXO, Jennifer 

This post was sponsored by The Texas Beef Council and the Beef Check Off, however all opinions, comments, enthusiasm and weirdness are my own. 


Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry
Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry
Print Recipe
This fit and fresh dish features top sirloin, my favorite cut of lean beef, paired with farmer’s market-fresh produce, flavors of the Far East, and some funky South Congress food truck fusion. Keep Austin weird!
4 servings
4 servings
Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry
Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry
Print Recipe
This fit and fresh dish features top sirloin, my favorite cut of lean beef, paired with farmer’s market-fresh produce, flavors of the Far East, and some funky South Congress food truck fusion. Keep Austin weird!
4 servings
4 servings
  1. Toss together beef with garlic, water, soy sauce and sesame oil. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together hot water with cornstarch until dissolved. Stir in watermelon juice, lime juice, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 to 2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek according to personal preference for spicy heat.
  3. Drain and discard marinade from beef. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over high heat. Add one-half of beef to skillet and brown for 45 seconds without stirring. With tongs, quickly turn beef and cook additional 30 seconds or until barely browned. Take care not to overcook. Transfer to a warm plate immediately. Repeat browning with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and beef.
  4. Add final 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add green beans and peppers and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add matchstick carrots and ginger and stir-fry an additional 1 minute. Add cooked beef and watermelon juice-chili sauce mixture and stir-fry another 1 minute, or until slightly thickened. Remove from skillet from heat and stir in watermelon.
  5. Garnish with chopped green onions and sprouted watermelon seeds. Serve immediately with prepared udon noodles.
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Balsamic Honey Chicken – 3 Easy Recipes + Slow Cooker #Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Hamilton Beach. However, all opinions, suggestions, recipes and content are my own.

Now that we’re well into the back-to-school routine, it’s time to kick back and enjoy the blessings of fall – however these are busy blessings that require chauffeuring, chaperoning and cheering from the stands. So, how am I supposed to provide a hot home cooked meal and gather the family round the table with everyone coming and going and looking at me for a ride? And, when I’m rewarded with a couple rare hours to take a break from mom mode, I’m often finishing up a work project or squeezing in a run  — typically cooking dinner is not at the top of my priority list, even as a food blogger!

slow cooker gone running

You parents with equally over-the-top schedules already know the two lifesaving words I’m going to say – SLOW COOKER! It was only just a few years ago that I fell in love with slow cooking, my prior history with the method was only that of an innocent child dutifully eating her dinner – I have some not-so-fond memories of old-school slow cooker meals. Mom, I know you’re reading this and it wasn’t you, I think mushy carrots and fatty meats were just culinary trends of the 70s.

artichokes in crock pot litehouseThese days, there are many creative and healthy recipes that can be made in a slow cooker. One of my favorite recent creations is a side dish recipe for Slow Cooker Caesar Artichokes. Side dishes, desserts, beverages – all these things can be made in a slow cooker. But, probably the most convenient slow cooker recipe is to make a big batch of beef, chicken or pork that can be rationed out over the week or frozen for later in the month. Since I’m a big fan of doing some global variation of chuck roast in the slow cooker (insane flavor and fall-apart fork tender), I thought I’d branch out and do some chicken breast  — enough to last me through a few recipes for my family of 5!


Needless to say, I was pretty excited that Hamilton Beach sent me the Set ‘n Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid – the stainless-steel beauty is a real workhorse in the kitchen that will cook up ever your biggest batches in hands-free, stress-free style. It’s really helpful that this particular model has three modes — program, probe and manual. The “program mode” is super convenient for those SUPER busy days – just set the cook time and then when it’s up, the slower cooker automatically shifts over to warm.  To avoid overcooking, I really appreciate the “probe mode” – here you stick a metal probe into the thickest part of a roast or other hunk of meat and, once the internal temperature you’ve indicated has been reached, it switches to warm.

Do you like to bring hot meals to holiday parties or pot luck gatherings? Another useful feature of this slow cooker is that it has travel-friendly clips that lock down the lid so you don’t end up with a big batch of chili all over your car. Want to get in on the fall slower cooker craze? I have a great chicken recipe below that can be used in three meal variations and I’m also hosting a giveaway for the Set ‘n Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker with Spoon/Lid (bottom of post).

slow cooker chicken

You get the idea — shred it up and use it in a zillion quick dinner recipes!

Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Chicken Recipe

  • 5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion (like 1015 or Vidalia)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cup balsamic vinegar (don’t use your best)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (this can be omitted if you don’t want spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1.  Place chicken breasts in bottom of 6-quart slow cooker; cut into pieces if needed. Cover chicken with chopped onion
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together broth, vinegar, ketchup, honey, Worcestershire, sriracha, garlic, pepper and salt. Pour over chicken in slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 9 – 10 hours or high for 5 – 6 hours.
  4. Transfer chicken breasts out of liquid and place on rimmed baking sheet. Let cool for 10 minutes and then shred with fingers or fork.
  5. Take 4 cups of cooking liquid (discarding any fat) and place in medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for approximately 30 – 40 minutes or until volume reduced in half.
  6. Drizzle approximately ¾ cup sauce over shredded chicken and lightly toss. Reserve remaining in refrigerator for use in other recipes.
  7. To serve, serve between a bun or with one of the three recipes below. Leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Serves 20.

loaded bbq chicken baked potato

Balsamic Honey Chicken BBQ Baked Potato Recipe

  • 1 lb. cooked, shredded Honey Balsamic Chicken (recipe above)
  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce (may use reserved sauce from chicken recipe)
  • Suggested toppings: pico de gallo, fresh cilantro leaves and queso fresco crumbles
  1.  Bake potatoes in microwave or oven until steaming and fluffy.
  2. Slice each potato lengthwise (without cutting through bottom) and top with ¼ pound warm shredded chicken.
  3. Drizzle with bbq sauce and favorite toppings.Serves 4.

fig salad with chicken

Balsamic Honey Chicken with Fig & Snap Pea Salad Recipe 

  • 1 lb. cooked, shredded Honey Balsamic Chicken (recipe above)
  • 6 ounces baby spring mix lettuce
  • ½ pound figs, quartered
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas, halved lengthwise
  • 2 ounces blue cheese crumbles

For dressing:

  •  1/4 cup reserved cooked down sauce from chicken recipe (or any BBQ sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Divide lettuce among 4 plates and top each portion with ¼ pound shredded chicken.
  2. Add figs and sugar snaps; sprinkle with blue cheese
  3. In small bowl, whisk together sauce, juice, vinegar, oil, parsley and black pepper. Drizzle over salads. Serves 4.

honey balsamic chicken pineapple pepper stir fry

Balsamic Honey Chicken Pineapple Pepper Stir Fry Recipe

You just get the photo today – recipe coming next week so check back!

To enter the giveaway for a Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker with Spoon/Lid, just follow the rafflecopter instructions below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway