Italian Roast Beef Crescent Ring – Love at First Bite!

Indulge your little sweethearts with a heart-shaped dinner, it’s a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family. I’m not talking about lobster tails or expensive steaks, but a meal that everyone can appreciate. My recipe for Italian Roast Beef Crescent Ring is cheesy, meaty goodness shaped like a heart to win hearts! Italian Beef Crescent Ring -- a quick and easy sandwich recipe to share for weeknight dinner, potluck, party, super bowl, Valentines Day or anytime for casual entertaining.

Speaking of food crushes, I first made this recipe for BeefLovingTexans.com and have become obsessed with it, making it again and again for casual weeknight dinners and to take to a Super Bowl party (in a football shape, naturally)! It can be cut into small pieces for an appetizer or paired a larger portion with a green salad for a well-balanced meal.

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Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl

Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl

One bite of my Brazilian Beef & Plantain Bowl (with egg, honey and toasted coconut) and you’ll happily say “Tchau” to a tower of pancakes, waffles or buttered toast in the morning!  Loaded with protein, quality complex carbohydrates, iron, potassium and other essential nutrients, this easy breakfast made with leftover steak will fuel you for a full morning of demanding activities! The flavor combination may sound weird, but trust me, it’s so delicious! Pra caramba!

Brazilian Beef & Plantain Breakfast Bowl is a healthy way to start the day, packed with 28g protein and quality complex carbs for energy.

The protein in the recipes is a combination of 3-oz. left over lean steak (like top sirloin, strip, tenderloin, flat iron, etc.) and a single, sunny-side up egg. Along with a little bit from the plantain, you’re getting about 28 grams of protein with this meal – the ideal amount to consume in a single sitting.

Each Day is a New Start! It’s the perfect morning meal for a Protein Challenge!  Each day is a new start, so beat yourself up if your diet wan’t exactly “on point” yesterday — you get a new chance to eat well today!

I always feel best when I’m eating 25g – 30g protein evenly spaced at each meal. Plus, it helps prevent snacking!

 

 

If you’re not familiar with plantains, you can typically find them in most grocery stores in the “exotic produce” area. This “vegetable-banana” is a less sweet and a little more starchy tasting than a regular banana – but so yummy when baked, microwaved or sautéed! They are a common ingredient in the cuisine of Mexico and Central / South America and in Brazil go by their Portuguese name of “banana-da-terra.”

Oh, and now for something crazy beef & bananas that isn’t actually food! It’s me planking until failure the other day before teaching a Grilling 101 class at the Texas Beef Council. 

pinners conference pic 1I’ll teaching a class on “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness”  at the Pinner’s Conference in Dallas on Sept 9 & 10th. I’ll be sharing this Brazilian Beef & Plantain Breakfast Bowl along with a delicious Molasses & Pepper Flat Iron Steak recipe and Super Iron-Boosting Steak Spinach Salad. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE

Have you ever used plantains in a recipe? Do you have a planking hashtag for me?  Are you watching the Summer Olympics? What has your favorite moment been so far? Please share in comments, XOXO – Jennifer

 

Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Print Recipe
Power up your day in savory-sweet South American style with this hearty, protein-rich steak breakfast bowl featuring plantains, coconut, honey and an egg!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Print Recipe
Power up your day in savory-sweet South American style with this hearty, protein-rich steak breakfast bowl featuring plantains, coconut, honey and an egg!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add coconut oil to medium skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Sauté chopped plantains and yellow peppers for approximately 6 to 7 minutes, or until plantains turning golden brown and peppers softening.
  2. In the last 90 seconds or so of cooking, stir in steak chunks to gently reheat without overcooking. Slide the steak mixture into 4 cereal-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Immediately poach or fry eggs to your preferred level of yolk “doneness.” Slide a cooked egg on top of each bowl of beef mixture and season with salt, pepper, sprinkle of coconut and a drizzle of honey!
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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 Watermelon.org. 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!
Servings
4 servings
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!
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Instructions
  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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Copy Cat Freebird’s Ancho Salad Dressing Recipe

Grilling 101 - Texas Beef Council & The Fit ForkThis past weekend, I teamed up with the Texas Beef Council to teach a Grilling 101 class – and it was the perfect day for outdoor cooking with members of the Beef Team. Weather was in the mid-80s and it seems nearly every Austinite was down at our venue, Zilker Park, my hometown’s favorite urban spot for relaxing and recreating!  Texas Beef Council - Grilling 101

beef team grill

After learning some grill basics on how to operate gas and charcoal grills and prep beef before it hits the grates, participants put their skills to practical use firing up flat iron steaks to perfection – they were delicious!  A+ to everyone, especially genius, fast-learning student who cooked my steak to a magnificent medium-rare while I was off making the final salad preparations!

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I’ll get back to the beef another day (oh, you know I will), but today wanted to share the dressing I made I made to accompany our steak lunch. Since I’m a huge fan of the Freedom Salad (with beef) at Freebird’s World Burrito that is drizzled with the yummiest ancho dressing ever, I knew I needed to replicate it for our post-class meal. Check out my recipe for Freebird’s Copy-Cat Ancho Dressing :

Freebirds Copy Cat Ancho Salad Dressing

Ancho Salad Dressing Hope you enjoy the Freebird’s Copy-Cat Ancho Dressing as much as I do!

This southwestern-inspired vinaigrette is delicious on everything from salads to corn-on-the-cob and other veggies — or use as a marinade for meats and seafood.

 

Copy Cat Freebirds Ancho Salad Dressing

Did you know that Anchos are smoked poblano chile peppers?!  What would you drizzle this dressing on? What is your favorite steak cut? Do you prefer chacoal or gas grilling? Please share in the comments below – xoxo, Jennifer Fisher

 

Copy Cat Freebirds Ancho Salad Dressing
Print Recipe
This vinaigrette is not too spicy and a tiny, tiny bit sweet -- it's perfect for salads, side dishes and marinades.
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 4 hours
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 4 hours
Copy Cat Freebirds Ancho Salad Dressing
Print Recipe
This vinaigrette is not too spicy and a tiny, tiny bit sweet -- it's perfect for salads, side dishes and marinades.
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 4 hours
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 minutes 4 hours
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add dried ancho chiles to bowl of water, weight down with a plate so they don’t float to the top. Soak 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain water off rehydrated ancho chiles. Discard stems and cut open to remove seeds. Chop.
  3. Add chopped chiles, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, honey, salt, pepper and chile powder to blender.
  4. Pulse blender on and off, blending ingredients until smooth and combined – about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in 16-ounce Mason jar or salad dressing cruet and refrigerate until serving time.
  6. Makes 12 – 14 ounces.
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Surf & Turf Recipes for a Delicious Date Night

Surf & Turf Recipes - simple and delicious dishes featuring beef and seafoodEver find it hard to decide between serving seafood or steak when making a romantic dinner or special date night? I say, why deny – the marriage of meaty, mouthwatering steaks with delicate, succulent seafood is a bond that shouldn’t be broken. In fact, I’m pretty sure SURF AND TURF are those three little words your significant other wants to hear on Valentine’s Day. And, maybe “I LOVE YOU” later! Here are a few favorites from my personal recipe collection and from friends at Cooking Light and Texas Beef Council. Pair up one from the beef list and one from the seafood list for a memorable meal your love will LOVE!

FAVORITE STEAK RECIPES FOR DATE NIGHT:

Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steak - TheFitFork.comSpice-Crusted Tenderloin Steaks – I don’t know how many times I’ve made this insanely good beef recipe – you just can’t go wrong with tenderloin.  Slice up your beef into filet steaks (or ask the butcher) and get grilling. If it’s still cold outside, this simple recipe works well on an indoor grill pan like this one XOXOX.

 

Pomegranate Steak with Quinoa makes a healthy date night meal

 

 

Pomegranate Steak with Quinoa – The additional of an ancient grain makes this strip steak super well balanced!

Pan Seared Strip Steak is surprisingly lean, but tastes sinfully delicious.Pan-Seared Strip Steak – Smoky, savory and seemingly sinful, this recipe is made with a strip steak which is actually quite lean. I’d be inclined to sprinkle some blue cheese on top for an umami one-two!

 

 

 

 

Mojo Flat Iron Steak

Mojo Flat Iron Steak – Flat iron is a very tender cut of beef, slice thin and serve with some grilled shrimp for a tasty tropics-inspired treat!

FAVORITE SEAFOOD RECIPES FOR DATE NIGHT:

Cumin-Dusted Seared Sea Scallops are so quick and easy to make -- plus very healthy!Cumin-Dusted Seared Sea Scallops – My simple recipe for scallops is super flavorful and can be made in mere minutes while steaks are resting!

Crab Stuffed Lobster with Citrus DressingCrab-Stuffed Lobster with Citrus Vinaigrette – I went coastal crazy when I tried this — this easy lobster (and crab!) recipe is so easy and elegant plated as a side dish with the perfect steak.

 

 

 

Shrimp sauteed with Cajun spices

Sauteed Creole Shrimp – I originally made these quick Cajun-inspired shrimp to toss on a salad but found a few strategically placed atop a steak are spicy magic!

Lemon Grilled Bay Shrimp are sure to add some zest to any meal!Lemon Grilled Bay Shrimp – Let shrimp soak up flavors in a 10-minute pre grill marinade of lemon juice, garlic and simple spices. I serve with the wedges, it looks so lovely!

 

 

 

 

So what are your dinner plans for Valentine’s Day? Do you love beef and seafood — are you more surf or more turf when it comes to life?  Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Best Recipes for Taco Day + Beef Texas Stories

Hard, soft, puffy, or wrapped in lettuce, I have spicy, hot taco love. Wow, that sounds a little naughty, but who cares — it’s National Taco Day on Sunday, October 4th!  Just wanted to give you a heads up and share some of my favorite taco recipes (and taco-inspired takeoffs) for breakfast lunch and dinner!

Tacos and Takeoff recipes

Pomegranate Steak Taco with Blue Cheese

Pomegranate Steak Taco with Blue Cheese – get my recipe at TxBeef.org

Also, who doesn’t love a BEEF taco, they’re some of the best — spice up a traditional grind or make tacos with your leftover steak. I also like to put a chuck roast in the slow cooker and make fork-tender shredded beef for Taco Tuesday (and every other day of the week)! You can check out the Beef Taco Roundup I did for the Beef Loving Texans Blog, I’m sure you’ll find a new favorite — maybe even my own recipe for Pomegranate Steak Tacos with Blue CheeseBeef Recipes for Taco Day

And, since I talk so often about the badassery of beef, please head over to check out Texas Stories — Tales of beef-raising and beef-loving folks across the Lone Star State.  You’ll get to meet some of the faces behind beef here in my home state — ranchers, chefs, barbecue experts, health advocates — and me! Such an honor!

Texas Beef Council - Texas Stories

How will you be celebrating National Taco Day? What is your favorite taco — or the craziest one you’ve ever tried? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

 

 

 

No-Fail Holiday Roast Plan! Tips & Recipes

Are you expecting a herd of carnivores for Christmas and aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to making a holiday roast? Don’t fret, it’s super easy to roast a hunk of meat that will make a jaw-dropping, mouth-watering, plate-licking impression with your guests. I’m sharing tips for beef roasting success and some delicious roast recipes that may make you even more popular than jolly old St. Nick.

Holiday Roast Tips - TheFitFork.com

Select the proper cut. Personally, I love a beef tenderloin roast, but other cuts that are easy to roast in the oven include rib eye, tri tip, sirloin and even the economical round roast. Check out the Interactive Butcher Counter  before you head to the market it helps you match the right cut of beef for your recipe and budget.

beef tenderloin spice rubRub in flavor. Dry rubs are a simple way to elevate the flavor of your roast and – often salt and pepper is all you need! But it can be fun to experiment with different herbs and spices to make a roast suit your personal taste preferences – one of my favorite easy rubs is my Countdown Rub.  There’s not much to remember when it comes to applying a rub other than do so liberally on all sides of the meat – this makes a nice crust when it caramelizes that not only adds flavor but locks in juices.

Use the right roasting gear. You’ll need a metal pan with an approximate 2 to 3-inch rim, no lid needed as roasting is a dry heat cooking method.  Also, a roasting rack helps to raise the meat above the pan so that the heat can get around to the underneath side. You can make a makeshift rack in a pinch simply by twisting heavy-duty aluminum foil up into a figure-8 shape and placing it under the roast.   A reliable meat thermometer will ensure your roast is cooked to your expectations  – instant-read thermometers are only a couple bucks at the grocery store.

Know when it’s done. I like my beef medium rare (which is 145 F degrees), so that means I pull it out of the oven about 10 degrees earlier. Why? Because a roast continues to cook on the counter as it rests! If you like your beef cooked to a lesser or greater degree of doneness, please visit the  Beef Roast Table Times to determine the finish temperature and approximate cook time.

garlic rosemary rubbed tenderloing - resting 120F - jennifer fisherLet your roast rest.  Do NOT cut into a roast or steak immediately after removing from the heat! All the flavorful juices will come flowing out and pool around your roast – what you’ll have left is a tough mess of meat. A short rest period (about 10 minutes) allows juices to redistribute around the relaxing muscle fibers and create the tender, succulent bit of meat you were dreaming of. By the time the thermometer has dropped back down to 120 F degrees, your roast should be ready to enjoy.

Now, on to the recipes! Head over to BeefLovingTexans.com to get my recipe for Garlic & Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin with Roasted Root Vegetables. Soooo good and perfect for a Christmas feast!

Garlic & Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin and Roasted Root Vegetables - TheFitFork.com

Nut Crusted Beef Roast with Radish Fennel SaladWhile this isn’t my own personal creation, I’m also fond of Nut Crusted Sirloin Roast with Radish Fennel Salad.

 

 

roast cooking light

 

Cooking Light also has a good Roasting 101 that will get you up to speed on this tried-and-true oven cooking technique that yields succulent meats and richly browned vegetables.

What type of main course do you make over the holidays? 

Kebabs at the Lake & Obstacle Course WOD

 

jennifer beef for kebabs

Ready to make 200+ Beef Kebabs!

Wow, I had a busy weekend – how about you?! Friday and Saturday were spent shopping, prepping and putting on a cooking demonstration for a fundraiser ultimately benefiting the Flatwater Foundation, an important organization providing families with access to mental health support while dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

dtc_board

The final event takes place on June 9th, when a group of stand-up paddlers will complete a 21-mile course during an all-day event called “Tyler’s Dam that Cancer” – every SUP-er raises funds as part of their participation, so I was so happy to help friends with this event so close to their hearts. I’m hoping next year I can join them out on the lake!

Thankful for my hunky hubby who did all the hard work!

Thankful for my hunky hubby who did all the hard work!

The friend who hosted this party had such an awesome backyard on the lake, it was a little hard to keep my mind on the  “lean beef is good for you” message I was giving on behalf of the Texas Beef Council with all the boats and beverages floating around! Usually, I just do the “show and tell,” while a grill-master experienced in feeding a crowd does the heavy cooking – however this time, everyone was booked and it was just me! Wow, putting together over 200 kebabs is a lot harder than I thought and thank goodness I recruited my husband to do all the grilling while I entertained the crowd with my fit foodie antics.

The recipe chosen for this evening is one of my favorites for the grill – Mojo Beef Kebabs.  Check it out, I even have a video.

jennifer fisher_thefitfork_mojo beef kabobs

 

 

searing grillSunday was busy getting the kids ready for a week of end-of-school events – concerts, finals, SATs, field trips and more. Amazingly I did find a bit of time to experiment on another grilling recipe I’ve developed for Hamilton Beach and their really cool Searing Grill. I can’t divulge the recipe now, but stay tuned. The post will run in mid-June and I will also be giving away one of the grills – whoohooo!

All this running around makes me feel like I’m navigating a never-ending obstacle course, I’m sure you’ve felt like this too?! So, to stay in shape for all of life’s crazy ups and downs and detours, try this Obstacle Course Workout I created for Core Power.

Core Power Workout

 

corepower summer saleYou know I love my Core Power – it is such a convenient way to take in quality protein after a hard workout at the gym. You don’t want to waste that 30 minute window to refuel with protein and carbs to help muscles recover. Check out the Summer Sale – when you take advantage of  Subscribe & Save for home delivery, you’ll get $5 off  your favorite @CorePower shakes http://bit.ly/CPSaleAmazon.

Answer me this – What did you do this weekend? What is your favorite meat to eat on a stick? Have you ever done an obstacle race and if so, would you do another?