AvocadOoooohemmmmgeee, you heard me right! It’s amazing simple and insanely appetizing to throw avocados on the grates. Grilling this creamy, savory fruit gives it delicious bits of flame-kissed char and smoky swag that you just won’t find eating it in the typical fashion. Read on to get all the directions to this game-changing avocado hack and find out why they take days (instead of minutes) to turn brown using this method. Continue reading
I have a proposition! I’ll share my 15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice recipe and with all the time you save on dinner, you’ll spend the 1 minute it takes to vote for me in the Eggland’s Best “America’s Best Recipe Contest”! My regional-inspired recipe is for Texas Egg and Steak Hash with Chipotle Street Corn Relish (copied the photo below so you know exactly what to vote for) — thank you, thank you!
Now, onto the 15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice recipe (originally developed for Beeflovingtexans,com) — it’s a win on so many levels. Not only is it a lightening speed dinner solution, it can be kept simple enough that an older kid can make it. Honestly, realizing that my teenage boys were completely capable of cooking dinner every once in a while was a light bulb moment for me. What a relief to know I can call ahead and get them to start dinner on those crazy days when I’m stuck in traffic, sitting at another kid’s sports game or even trying to finish up my own workout.
One of the tricks to cooking the recipe so quickly is super-thinly cut sirloin steak — a method that also stretches my food budget as it makes the meat look like, well, a larger quantity than it actually is! So, just firm up your steak in the freezer for 10 to 30 minutes or before getting after it with a super sharp knife across the grain in razor-thin slices (like 1/8″ or less if you can). When the meat is this thin, it literally takes 3 minutes or less to cook with the stir-fry method — toss in the hot, hot skillet and stir around constantly and quickly just long enough to take the “red” of. Beef should still look pink when you take it off the skillet as it will continue to cook a tiny bit, trust me, it will always be juicy and tender this way! Do NOT leave it in the skillet or wok as you continue to cook the veggies, that will just cause a lot of undesirable toughness.
Another WIN is my recipe also includes a scramble of eggs, an assortment chopped vegetables selected by the young chef (a good trick to get kids to eat more veggies), a simple sauce and pre-prepared rice. Of course, you can cook your rice the old-fashioned way, but in a hurry and with the kids, I either keep those rice pouches from the frozen aisle on hand or meal prep my own and package into portions.
William, the 16-year old chef who picked out all the yummy veggies for this recipe and cooked them up for his mama!
So, no need to call for Chinese take-out to solve dinner – make your own healthier version in less time than it would take the delivery guy to show up. What’s even better than this? Getting the kids in the kitchen while you kick your feet up!
Looking for a more exotic fried rice recipe? Try my Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Rice, it is soooooo swoon-worthy!
So, do you get your kids in the kitchen to cook? What’s in their repertoire? If you could only have 3 veggies (or fruits) in a stir fry – gasp – what would they be? Please share in the comments below – XOXO , Jennifer
‘Tis the season for tomatoes! Load up on this garden staple, slow-cook them in the oven to perfection,, and what you don’t gobble up right away, can be stuck in the freezer and enjoyed throughout the year – the taste of summer will last forever. Tomato lovers are going to absolutely swoon over this easy recipe for Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes!
Also, have you ever heard of the La Tomatina Festival? it’s a wild party of tomato-tossing on the cobblestone streets of a little Spanish town. I say show up with a bottle of Wocestershire and Vodka and just open your mouth! Check out the video at bottom of post!
Even though this recipe takes an hour to cook (that’s a long time in my quick-fix book), it’s well worth the wait. Roasting tomatoes in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes. This little trick is especially helpful if your using tomatoes from the produce department, which aren’t as vine-ripe as those grown at home. This make-ahead recipe serves about 10, but feel free to double, triple or otherwise multiply depending on your tomato addiction.
I’ve served these little succulent beauties on salads, pizzas, anti-pasta platters, steaks and chopped up and incorporated into so many recipes. They also make a healthy snack just plucked straight off the pan. Enjoy!
So, if you planning to be in Spain in August on the last Wednesday of the month, don’t miss La Tomatina. This is perhaps the world’s largest food fight – with tomatoes being the only thing thrown! Held in the small town of Bunol (near Valencia), this event draws in more than 50K people who pelt each other with more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes!
What is your favorite fruit or veggie of summer? Would you rather eat a tomato or throw it? Let’s connect in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
You may be thinking, “Ummmm, excuse me . . . but what the heck on God’s green Earth are SQUACHOS”? This quick and easy appetizer is a healthy swap for traditional nachos made with tortilla chips which are typically fried, overly salted and plentiful in carbs (if you’re counting). Made on slices of summer’s finest squash, my Steak & Quinoa Squachos are, in two simple words, “life changing!”
The farmer’s markets (and personal gardens of you green-thumbers) are exploding with green zucchini and yellow summer squash this time of year — and this fun and fit finger food is a tasty way to take advantage of a bumper crop and squeeze a few extra veggies into the day.
Recipes similar to this use panko bread crumbs to create that familiar nacho crunch — but that defeats to purpose of my low-carb, higher protein mission. So, instead, I tossed together almond meal and cooked quinoa with a bit of cheese to create a tasty texture on top of each squash disc.
I used two of my go-to non-GMO, gluten-free and certified organic pantry staples from NowFoods.com — Tri-Colored Quinoa and Raw Almond Flour. This tri-color quinoa a blend of white, red and black seeds and is a great source of protein and iron — I typically serve it as a side dish or salad, but freeze leftovers for speedy recipes like this! Raw Almond Flour (or Almond Meal, as some people call it) is simply finely ground almonds and it makes a great low-carb swap for flour in many recipes. If you can’t find these products in your market, I’ve dropped the Amazon links below.
Now, if you’ve been following along on the blog or social media, you know I’ve been sharing my (numerous time) journey on the Protein Challenge and encouraging others to join. This free 30-day challenge sponsored by BeefLovingTexans.com (who I also originally developed the Squacho recipe for) shows you how to tweak your daily protein intake for optimal heath — to be very succinct, you should be getting about 25 – 30 grams of protein at each of your three meals — and also protein rich snacks throughout the day and possibly at bedtime, depending on your activity level. You can register for the Protein Challenge and get tips, support and recipes HERE.
What are your other plans – a race, a vacation, just catching up on the to-do list? Let’s chat in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
Are you scrambling to get out the door on time when the sun rises and skipping (or stumbling) right past breakfast? Missing your morning meal is a mistake for sure – I always end up getting “hangry” mid-morning and end up molesting the vending machine. That’s why I like to plan ahead just a bit to have ingredients on hand to make a quick fix like the Asparagus Egg Scramble with Feta Cheese I’m sharing today or to prep a make-ahead meal such as my Barn Raiser Beef & Egg Casserole (freezable in individual portions).
So, if you’ve got 10 minutes in the morning, you have a whole 600 seconds to get cracking on this Asparagus Egg Scramble with Feta Cheese. If you prep veggies the night before, you might be able to get it done more quickly! This easy egg recipe also makes a lightning-speed dinner solution on those nights when orchestrating a complicated meal is absolutely, positively out of the question.
This is how to get the speed you need -asparagus, spinach and tomatoes sautés together on the stove top while eggs are scrambled on a nearby burner. When the two skillets are just seconds from being done, just slide out the contents from one into the next and stir!
I’ve give this breakfast dish some salty, tangy zip thanks to the distinctive flavor of feta cheese – love using the new Simply Artisan Reserve Feta Cheese Crumbles, the container sprinkles these tiny cheese pieces just like a grated Parm. It’s genius! Look for it, along with Bue Cheese Seaons in the specialty cheese section of your local grocery store.
I’ll be sharing this recipe on the Expo Floor Sunday morning, Jun 5th, at the International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Food Show in Houston, Texas. Swing on by, if you’re attending!
Meanwhile, make an easy feat of feasting with the Asparagus Egg Scramble with Feta Cheese recipe! Serve straight from the skillet or spoon atop toasted whole grain toast – I’ve even bookended between bread to eat sandwich-style when rushing out the door. Enjoy!
What is your biggest hurdle getting out the door in the morning? Eggs, how do you take them? Are you running or competing in anything this weekend? Please share in the comments — XOXO, Jennifer
Cast your net beyond nachos, tacos and enchiladas, my Pepita-crusted Salmon with Skillet Squash is a yummy Mexican cuisine inspired meal that is guaranteed to reel in compliments. Even though salmon isn’t found anywhere near the mild oceans and seas of Mexico, this seafood-loving culture enjoys fish from around the world – just like we do here in North America. So, it’s salmon for dinner tonight!
This fish and veggie recipe will be a regular in your weeknight dinner routine, it’s as easy as uno, dos, tres! First, spread with your favorite ranch or creamy dressing (I use Cotija Cilantro Ultra Premium Dressing) atop a salmon filet. Second, top salmon with crushed tortilla chips and roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and then bake for 12 minutes. While fish is cooking in the oven, a quick skillet of squash comes together in minutes for a speedy yet stunning side dish generically called “calabacitas” — I used Mexican-style zucchini but you can easily substitute with your favorite summer squash such as sunburst or crookneck.
This recipe would also work well with a variety of meatier fish types, just swap for your favorite variety. I get my fish from Sizzlefish.com, they only source the best fish and I love how it’s shipped straight to my door, flash-frozen in perfectly portioned, 4-ounce servings. It terms of protein intake for a healthy lifestyle, 4-ounces of most fish and meat proteins gives you 25g (more or less) of protein – which is the optimal amount for your body to process at any one time. So, no guesswork with how much to eat with here, just open the freezer and grab individually-packaged serving from Sizzlefish. I also love the different “collections” of fish I can order (Paleo Prime Plus my favorite with Coho Salmon, Sokeye Salmon, Wild Gulf Shrimp, Atlantic Scallops, Sable Fish, Cod and Haddock).
Through the end of May, take 10% off your order at SizzleFish.com with the discount code FITFORK10 at checkout.
What is your favorite type of fish? What did you do this weekend? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
Each time I enjoy my recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho, I want to kick off my sandals and run through the green lawn shouting “whoohoo!” That’s because this light and lovely chilled soup captures the essence of spring, and I live for the spring . . . and summer. Warmer weather calls for cooler food and this chilled soup is a twist on gazpacho, a classic Spanish recipe. For my version, I’ve added carrots, ginger and a coconut water base to help with hydration. Perfect for a light lunch, Easter brunch or way to start your pool-side dinner – save a few cucumber slices for your eyes so you can feel like a pampered spa guest.
When I serve this Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho to my family, I smile and say “some bunny loves you!” That’s because I know how much wholesome, healthy nutrition in packed into each spoonful of this chilled soup– loads of lycopene, vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber to mention a few benefits. Plus, you get all the healing benefits of ginger – it helps tame digestive issues, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system. Plus, I personally adore the zingy taste – you can add more or less fresh ginger depending on your preference.
To optimize taste and health benefits, please use fresh ginger and not ground ginger, bottled minced ginger or ginger paste. A little knobby length of ginger will stay fresh in your produce bin for a couple months and if you have the right grater, it’s easy and mess-free to get what you need. Not trying to sound infomercial-y, but this Dual Gage Grater is a must-have for ginger, garlic, turmeric, citrus zest, hard cheeses and such it’s only $3! The two sides each have a different grate size and the “V” shape catches all the teeny-tiny shavings so they don’t fall all over the counter or plate – you simply tip over into the bowl and scrape off. Plus, after you rinse off and dry, it slides back into itself for easy storage.
This recipe works for many diet types including Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinners. Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed mason jars or plastic containers for up to five days and transfer to a lunch box with ice-pack. Enjoy. Linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama and Running on Happy – please check out!
Are you a gazpacho fan? Do you prefer warm weather or hot? Did you run a race this weekend or have a competition? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer
Even though my family eats (mostly) a healthy diet, I’ve been encouraging my teenagers to break their monotonous meal preferences and try new dishes with exciting flavors. As they move through high school and college there are so many diverse and cultural eating experiences that will be missed (along with a wider array of nutrients) if they are dead set on having turkey meatballs, plain brown rice and an undressed salad for dinner (an all-too-common menu). That’s why I was excited to hear how Birds Eye Veggies is on a mission to redefine the way we all eat our vegetables with their Birds Eye® Flavor Full line of bold and exciting veggies that can be enjoyed as a side dish or the main course! Keep reading down to the end of the post for the Gift Card Giveaway.
This got me to thinking. Can picky eating-children change, or do they just grow up into adults who are ultra finicky about their food? There are valid reasons why a young child may avoid certain foods at all costs — did someone say “temper tantrum”?! Factors that contribute to a picky eater include all the legitimate sensory things you’d connect with food aversions like texture, temperature, taste and flavor. Picky eating is also encouraged by parental response as well as peer pressure when kids get a little older. Allergies, too, can play a welcomed defensive role in picky eating, a way your body tells you to say away from a certain harmful food – but I won’t get into that here.
I believe that with the right opportunities and encouragement, most kids can join the adult world of eating as they move into their ‘tween, teens and early twenties. One reason is that as we age, taste buds dwindle away from an average of 10,000 working taste buds in small kids to only 5,000 in adults – simply put, things start tasting less intense and we naturally seek out more flavor. To support this, a 2005 study published in the Pediatrics journal reports that most children do not like bitter tastes (often found in vegetables), while adults do not find offense.
Another interesting study conducted in 2012 at the University of Copenhagen reported that when children move into their teens, they have a decreased interest in sugary tastes and a higher sophistication to distinguish between tastes – however, they are often more resistant to trying new foods than toddlers! This is why, we as parents, need to set a good example by eating a balanced diet filled with a variety of colorful, nutrient-dense whole foods.
Here are some tips to encourage the teenagers in your family to become veggie lovers and also try out other exciting new flavors. Of course, if your teen is not eating because of control issues, an eating disorder, real or perceived allergies or other concerning reasons, please see a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Get teens cooking: Not only does teaching your older children how to prepare meals create self-sufficiency; it also creates a more adventurous attitude about eating as they master various skills.
- Host international night: Once a month, prepare a meal that features cuisine from a different culture – for example, Indian, Korean, Thai, or Italian (no pizza!). To keep everyone happy, every family member gets to select one recipe to be included on the menu, but has to eat at least three bites of every other dish. Have them invite a friend over who may just announce “ooh, I love curry” – and suddenly your son or daughter will too!
- Focus on vegetable variety: As teens lose their taste for sugar (allegedly it’s a real thing!), support their savory side with more and more vegetables. Look past buttered green beans and toward more exotic or bold tastes, like Buffalo Cauliflower! Filling up your plate with a rainbow of vegetables is the easiest and tastiest way to optimize health, in my opinion.
- Educate and relate: Share online resources for healthy and clean eating with your children. Older kids are smart enough to understand that eating vegetables and a variety of foods is best, but are sneaky when it comes to actually eating what you serve – just think of all the Brussels sprouts “dropped” on the floor or yogurt and berry parfaits swapped for pink cupcakes at lunch. I always share the story of how I traded my celery, peanut butter and raisin “ants on a log” for Ding Dongs at lunch and quickly lost my get-up-and-go for gymnastics practice in the afternoon.
- Role model without pushing: No one likes a pea pusher, and even worse so if it’s your own mother or father. With most teens, realize that the more you “strongly suggest” you eat your vegetables or try new dishes, the more likely they are to rebel by absolutely doing the opposite. They are teens, they will come around – just keep the message honest yet low-key, the most important thing you can do is be a role model for clean eating.
As I hinted, I’ve been using Birds Eye Vegetables in my covert parental plan to encourage my teens to embrace new foods. The line of Birds Eye® Flavor Full vegetables transforms plain veggies with bold and on-trend flavors – it makes eating healthy side dishes so much fun. Plus, I love the convenience of the Steamfresh packaging – you just heat up in the microwave right in the bag. When my kids are making dinner, having one less dish to clean up is a major selling point! The unexpected but utterly delicious flavors include Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli, Barbecue Sweet Corn, Sweet Chili Carrots, Wasabi Peas and Fiesta Lime Corn. Check here for a product locator.
Head over and get a $1.00 off coupon that is good for 30 days once downloaded (but must be used by 12/31/2015).
Follow the Rafflecopter app directions to enter now through Dec 9th.