Top Healthy Recipe Pins from 2015

First of all — HAPPY NEW YEAR! Before I move forward into 2016 with all the healthy recipe ideas that are bouncing around in my head, I wanted to share my most loved recipe pins from the last 12 months. If we’re not already following each other on Pinterest, let’s connect today!  So, here you go — a collection of pins that are my most popular. Top Healthy Recipe Pins from TheFitFork.com

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Mash – This simple-to-make sweet potato dish is paired up with cauliflower for a creamy, dreamy side dish for Thanksgiving or any other time of the year. This side dish recipe has been pinged on Good Housekeeping, Canadian Running Magazine, Glamour and a zillion food, health and wellness blogs.

(Slow Cooker) Salted Chocolate Caramel Crunch –  Crunchy cereal, pretzels and an assortment of nuts get a sweet upgrade with a coating of caramel and chocolate. The secret surprise is that this easy snack mix recipe is made in the slow cooker!

Black Bean, Zucchini and Corn Tacos – This summer-inspired vegetarian meal is quick and easy dinner solution for the patio – when the season passes, just swap out the zucchini for a winter squash like butternut!

Balsamic Slow Roasted Tomatoes – Scrumptious beyond imagination, this easy veggie recipe turns what I consider to be a typically bland tomato (if purchased from a consumer grocery store) into a magical topping for salads, eggs, steaks, pasta and more.   Also, freezeable!

Mom’s Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad – This versatile veggie salad can be served as a side dish, atop a bed of lettuce or as a relish for tacos.  Inspired by my mom’s family favorite recipe and kicked up with a little of my chipotle chili powder addiction. A winner in the California All-American Avocado Recipe Contest.

Brain-Boosting Cinnamon Peach Smoothie – One of the things I love most being a healthy food bloggers is explaining how the ingredients in my recipes help optimize well-being. For example,  the cinnamon and natural sugars in this smoothie recipe help improve alertness and brain function – the perfect snack for study sessions or work day pick-me-ups.

Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce – I made this quirky barbeque sauce to accompany my Brisket Tacos with Watermelon Rind Relish for the SXSW Taco Takedown in Austin this year.  Basically, in Austin, the weirder and wackier the better and this crazy condiment stole the show!

Southwestern Steak Chili – This delicious chili recipe fills the kitchen with the scent of smoky, spicy goodness and just might cause a stampede to the table. A bowl full (or two) makes a hearty, happy and healthy meal for even the hungriest hombres in your home.

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Tart – Not only is this strawberry tart gorgeous, it’s better for you made with protein-packed Greek yogurt and a gluten-free chocolate crust. A stunning finale to any celebration or Sunday dinner.

Yoga and Fitness Bloopers from TheFitFork.comAlso, don’t miss my Running and Fitness Recap (with Bloopers) from last week.

 

 

 

 

 

And, because everyone else is doing it (haha), my #BestNine2015 on Instagram. These are the nine most “liked” posts, but not necessarily my favorite – it’s a bunch of abs, inversions and the peculiarly popular yellow shorts.

Best Nine 2015 on Instagram - @TheFitForkl

What is YOUR favorite recipe of 2015? Please share the link or just give me the down and dirty description in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish #TacoTakedown

Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.comI enjoyed a one-of-a-kind, sorta-strange experience as only Austin can host at the Taco Takedown that was held this past weekend near the be-hip-or-go-home scene at SXSW (South by Southwest).  I’ve been in quite a few cook-offs including the iconic Pillsbury Bake Off in Vegas with $1 Million prize (obviously I didn’t win), the Crisco Cook Off in Nashville as part of the Country Music Festival, and even many times in my home-town Hatch Green Chile Cook Off where I hold bragging rights as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner.

Taco Takedown Contenders - TheFitFork.com

The right to battle it off as a finalist in most of these showdowns required each recipe to make it through some sort of qualifying round, being made and examined in a test kitchen by professional chefs and pre-judged on factors like presentation, fit within a certain category, creativity, convenience, taste and so on. Typically, pages of rules, do’s and don’ts, and lists of disqualifications were also involved.  However, not at the Taco Takedown – basically all the info I was given was just show up with your best taco. So, of course I started over analyzing and guessing at the non-existent details. And, in the end I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. I wondered what kind of taco would win – surely in Austin, a freaky taco would beat a traditional taco any day.

My Beefy Man Hunk Taco Model

My Beefy Man Hunk Taco Model

That’s why I wrapped all my loves, as strange as the combo might sound, in one tortilla – viola, a Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce (and Pickled Rind Relish) recipe was born. Well, I guessed wrong because a Crispy Chicken with Avocado Taco dished up by Evin at Food Good, Laundry Bad took top honors.  As partial as I was to my wacky yet wonderful watermelon beef taco, I have to admit, the winner was really, super-ultra-deluxe good – and it was fried, how could I compete with that?!  But, I got to go home with the beefy man-hunk taco model — so, really, I was the WINNER!

 

Brisket Taco with Watermelon BBQ Sauce - TheFitFork.com

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of meaty beef, and summer-sweet watermelon and a surprise of spiciness, these are a few of my favorite things (is there a song here . . )?  I knew these flavors would mingle together for a memorable taco –as they did. I didn’t want to smoke the brisket, so I had four massive slow-cookers breaking down the beef into the perfect tenderness for fork shredding.  But, holy-moly, it took a long time to shred 27 pounds of brisket!    The BBQ sauce was a not-too-vinegary, not-to-tomatoey sauce sweetened with watermelon just and spiced up with Sriracha. Probably the most unique thing going on was the pickled watermelon rind that was diced up in the salsa. A true southerner uses ALL parts of the watermelon. And, of course, I topped it all off with some salty, crumbly queso fresco cheese.  Pickled Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.com

Use this Spicy Watermelon Barbecue Sauce on beef — but also on chicken, baked beans, fish, sausage, pork and more. I’ve also used it as a salad dressing!

Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce - TheFitFork.com

Because you’re probably not cooking for a 250 person crowd, I’ve scaled down the recipe for you to feed about 8 and maybe some leftovers!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve wrapped in a tortilla and called a taco? Please share in the comments!

 

Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.com
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish
Print Recipe
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish -- a strange but good recipe that will rock your next backyard party.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.com
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish
Print Recipe
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish -- a strange but good recipe that will rock your next backyard party.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Ingredients
For Brisket:
For Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce:
Pickled Watermelon Rind Relish:
Servings: servings
Instructions
For Brisket:
  1. Add ingredients for brisket into 6 - 8 quart capacity slow cooker. Cook on low setting for 10 hours. Remove brisket from cooking juices and strain out onions and peppers. Chop of onions and peppers, set aside. Cut excess fat of brisket and use fork or fingers to shred beef. Stir back in onions and peppers.
For Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce:
  1. Prepare BBQ sauce by adding all ingredients together in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and reduce to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pour desired amount over beef, remainder may be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Makes about 2 cups.
For Picked Rind Relish:
  1. To make relish, toss together all ingredients in medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To Serve:
  1. To serve, place sauced, shredded brisket in tortilla. Top with relish and queso fresco.
Recipe Notes


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#SlowCookerMeals – Ancho Mama’s Pot Roast Recipe & Tacos!

Taught a class on economical cuts of beef last night – ground beef immediately comes to mind when the word “budget” is tossed around. However, top sirloin and chuck roast are both versatile cuts that can stretch your family’s food allowance and still give you that “mmmmmm” satisfaction that comes along a nice, hearty and yet healthy beef dinner.

win me slow cookerI’ve been in slow-cooker mode for the past few weeks and want to remind you about my giveaway for a programmable slow cooker from Hamilton Beach – this modern convenience will transform your life. I broke in this bad boy with Honey Balsamic Chicken (with 3 recipes) earlier this week.  Typically when I pull the slow cooker out of the cabinet, I think of time-honored comfort foods like a fork-tender, juicy pot roast.

 

jennifer fisher thefitfork beef chuckA chuck roast is THE cut of choice when it comes to fall-apart, fork-tender deliciousness.  This budget-friendly hunk of meat may look intimidating, but there is no way you can mess it up with any type of liquid-based, low-and-slow cooking method like braising or the slow cooker. Chuck roast in the slow cooker will rock your world, just add some chopped up veggies, a little broth, the spices you like and then WALK AWAY. IT’S JUST THAT EASY. I now reclaimed the time I need to manage my crazy life and workout routine —  and even indulge in frivolous hobbies  like gardening, reading and catching up with friends.

If you love southwestern foods, you’ll be all over this slow cooker recipe for Ancho Mama’s Pot Roast.  Ancho is just a dried poblano pepper –  this flavor profile adds a mild heat and smoky flavor to recipes. For convenience, I buy ground ancho chili powder at the market – you can usually find the McCormick brand on the spice aisle.

ancho chili slow cooker pot roast

Ancho Mama’s Pot Roast Recipe for Slow Cooker (aka Crock Pot)

  • 1 2 ½ to 3 lb boneless beef chuck pot roast
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 16-ounce container salsa (I used fresh salsa from produce dept.)
  1. Trim fat from meat and cut down, if needed, to fit into 4 qt. slow cooker.
  2. Add onion and corn to slow cooker and top with meat.
  3. Sprinkle garlic, chili powder, pepper, and salt over meat. Pour salsa over spices.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat in slow cooker for 8 – 10 hours or on high heat for 4 – 5 hours.
  5. Transfer roast to rimmed baking sheet and shred. Top with strained corn, onion and salsa mixture.
  6. Serves 8

So how can you serve this delicious dinner – well, one night we usually have it over rice and the next night is TACO NIGHT!  You can’t beat the leftovers on this recipe for tacos, quesadillas or mixed into a breakfast hash.

shredded ancho chili chuck roast tacos

Also, check out these 23 slow cooker meals from Cooking Light — I love this collection of recipes that represent a healthy, balanced eating plan. Easy to make comfort food CAN be good for you!

slow cooker ideas from cooking light

What would you do with the time saved by preparing dinner in a slow cooker? Please share in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Summer Suppers – Black Bean, Zucchini & Corn Taco Recipe

Y’all know I like to get my daily dose of lean protein — particularly beef, fish and Greek yogurt (though not all mixed together)!  But sometimes I like a meal that focuses on veggies and alternative proteins – I don’t discriminate!   This recipe for Black Bean, Zucchini and Corn Tacos shows off my favorite bean source for protein (the black bean) and some yummy seasonal produce – it’s the perfect recipe for al fresco feasting, inviting vegetarians over dinner  or a #MeatlessMonday meal.

veggie black bean tacos

Black beans are plain awesome, not just because they taste good but because they work in so many different types of cuisines – South American, Mexican, Cuban, Indian, Creole, Cajun and more!  They are super-packed with phytonutrients, rank low on the Glycemic Index (meaning they provide long-lasting energy) and are, I’m pleased to report, the highest-fiber bean around.  In addition to providing 15 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving (almost 60% of DV), the same size serving offers about 15 grams of protein.

I like to put black beans in my omelets, in soup, on salads, sprinkled on baked sweet potatoes – and of course as the star of tacos.

black bean tacos

Black Bean, Zucchini and Corn Tacos Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped ¼’
  • ¾ cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 8 tortillas (I like the corn-flour mix tortillas)
  • Cilantro springs for garnish

Add olive oil to skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add zucchini, corn, onion and jalapeno and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until veggies are softening and zucchini is starting to turn lightly brown.  Add black beans, garlic, chile powder, cumin and salt to skillet and stir around for approximately 2 more minutes, or until heated through.

If desired, lightly crisp tortillas over gas burner or in a skillet. Add 1/8 of mixture to each tortilla, top with ½ ounce of crumbled cheese, and garnish with cilantro. Serves 4 (2 tacos each)

 

watermelon pureeIf you are wondering what I’m drinking with the tacos (the pink beverage) – it’s watermelon juice and a Nuun Hydration Electrolyte Tab. In the Texas heat, it’s hard to stay properly hydrated – but Nuun is a tasty, sparkling and sugar-free way to keep everything in check. To make the drink, pour about 8 ounces of watermelon juice in a glass (just the stuff that collects in the bottom of your bowl when cutting up a melon or you can puree watermelon chunks) and add ½ Nuun tablet in the flavor of your choice – they even have watermelon!

Just a little hint of things to come starting July 1 – WATERMELON!!! I’ll be talking all things watermelon , every day, for one week – including how watermelon juice actually can benefit athletic performance and recovery!

So, what are you eating for dinner tonight? Please share in the comments, I am always looking for new ideas!