Best Health, Fitness & Recipe Books I’ve Read January 2018

I made some time before the new year got back into full swing to tackle my stack of new (or new to me) books! Not a lot of novels here, but a wonderfully random assortment of the best health, fitness & recipe books.Books I've Been Reading Jan 2018

Check out Best Health, Fitness & Recipe Books I’ve Been Reading January 2018, maybe something will pique your interest!  Continue reading

Beef, Egg and Potato Bake + Make Ahead Meals for Busy Days

Check out Double Batch Weekend Cooking

by The Fit Fork at

  Welcome! If you are stopping by via Taste of Home Feb / March 2015 Issue or my cooking segment on the Home & Family lifestyle show (Hallmark Channel), the Beef Egg and Bake recipe is featured below. I invite you to take a look around my blog, I have lots of other family-friendly recipes and meal solutions that will make your life easier and healthier! In fact, I’ve rounded up a collection of “Double Batch Weekend Cooking” recipes that are ideal for stockpiling during weekend, freezing and  thawing out for quick meal on those days when your to-do list just keeps growing.

Jennifer Fisher on Home & Family Hallmark Channel


This is the video link to the cooking segment if you have 7 minutes to spare 🙂 

Beef Egg Potato Bake Breakfast Casserole -

Back to the Beef, Egg and Potato Bake — this down-home, country-inspired breakfast casserole has been lightened for today’s hungry yet health-conscious go-getter. What tastes like sausage is actually super-lean ground beef that has been specially seasoned — but that’s not where the health swaps stop! Added dairy products are reduced in fat and nutrient-rich veggies are incorporated to round out your morning meal.


breakfast egg and beef casserole I originally made this breakfast casserole recipe as a way way to incorporate more protein into breakfast — and ended up demonstrating it all over the state of Texas at the American Heart Associations “Go Red for Women” events last year. I never had a scrap of samples left, so I think it was a hit!  When making this at home, you can save precious time my preparing it the night before and baking in the morning. Leftovers may be frozen in single-serve portions and reheated in microwave for the busiest of busy mornings. If you need to eat it while walking out the door, just wrap it in a whole grain tortilla!

Double Batch Weekend Cooking Recipes - TheFitFork.comThis post is sponsored by — however, all commentary and opinions are my own.

Beef Egg Potato Bake Breakfast Casserole -
Beef, Egg and Potato Bake
Print Recipe
To keep my family going all morning, I start with lean ground beef and spices, then sneak some spinach into this protein-packed breakfast dish.
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
50 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
50 minutes 10 minutes
Beef Egg Potato Bake Breakfast Casserole -
Beef, Egg and Potato Bake
Print Recipe
To keep my family going all morning, I start with lean ground beef and spices, then sneak some spinach into this protein-packed breakfast dish.
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
50 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
50 minutes 10 minutes
Servings: servings
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook beef with onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, sage and pepper flakes over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking up beef into 3/4-inch crumbles; drain. Stir in spinach. Remove from heat.
  2. Spread potatoes in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish; top with beef mixture.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, ricotta cheese, milk, pepper and remaining salt; pour over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with tomatoes.
  4. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes


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My Famous Salad Recipe & More Favorites (Like Pandas)

Hey, I’m just back from my vacation to Washington, DC and have lots of interesting, historical, and presidentially-inspired food discoveries to share. However, I want to recreate and “health-ify” some of the recipes at home first, so today I will leave you with one of my favorite moments in the Smithsonian – getting to see Julia Child’s kitchen! Whoot, whoot!

julia child kitchen 700

Because I’ve been eating out for the last week and not making new healthy recipes at home, today I’m sharing a recipe that’s been a real superstar for me – Tropical Fusion Salad with Spicy Tortilla Ribbons.  It’s been featured on the COVER of Taste of Home magazine and in a number of their cookbooks. This summer, they have the recipe running in the June/July issue of their sister publication (and one of my favorite reads), Simple & Delicious.

black bean, avocado and papaya salad

Below is the glamor “cover” shot! You can check out my previous post to get the full recipe – this almost no-cook recipe is perfect for these hot dog days of summer when it’s just plain miserable to turn on the oven. It’s also super nutritious too – black beans, avocado, papaya and more! While my recipe instructs baking the tortillas in the oven to crisp them into strips, you can easily crunch-ify them in the microwave or just crumble up some chips as a no-sweat alternative.

2010 MAy taste of home cover



baby panda

I just can’t resist sharing this photo — the kids and I were so lucky to get to see the panda baby toddle about. He was so cute and endearingly uncoordinated to watch climb over fallen tree trunks or roll down the grassy hill!

Talk to me, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

  • What no-cook recipes do you like to make for dinner?
  • What is your favorite thing to do in Washington, DC?
  • Have you ever seen a baby panda bear?

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?

Tropical Fusion Salad with Spicy Tortilla Ribbons Recipe

photo by Taste of HomeInspired by southwestern and tropical cuisine, this salad is substantial enough for a meal thanks to the filling black beans and avocado. Overflowing with fresh flavors and a rainbow of colors — orange, yellow, green — that are ready to do your body good!  I created this beautiful salad several years ago and Taste of Home thought it was such a stunner, they put it smack on the front of the magazine. It’s the first time I’ve ever been a cover girl!

Tropical Fusion Salad with Spicy Tortilla Ribbons Recipe

  • 2 cups cubed peeled papaya
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 serrano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground ancho chili pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 corn tortillas (6 inches), cut into 1/4-inch strips

In a large bowl, combine the papaya, beans, avocado, corn, raisins, peppers, cilantro, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper, sugar and salt.

Place tortilla strips on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining chili pepper. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Serve with salad. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1-1/4 cups salad with about 10 tortilla ribbons equals 321 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 58 g carbohydrate, 11 g fiber, 9 g protein.

Originally published in Taste of Home April/May 2010, p53.