Grilled Salmon Zucchini Quinoa Burgers

I’m all for adding a little veggie into my salmon burgers. Not only does it round out the nutrients, but also keeps patties moist, succulent and just so dang good straight off the grill.  Gluten Free Salmon Zucchini Quinoa Burgers

My Grilled Salmon Zucchini Quinoa Burgers are totally off the hook with fresh flavor and will make a splash at your next backyard cookout, pool party or seaside soiree. Read on to get this surprisingly simple recipe and that has just 225 calories, 18 grams of protein and a good-for-you amount of heart-healthy fats. Continue reading

How To Grill Nearly Every Vegetable from Avocado To Zucchini

Grilling season is here! It’s my favorite cooking method and I’m a lucky girl to live in a climate that permits it nearly all year. Most of us use the grill to fire up steaks, burgers, chicken and even seafood. But, don’t forget to grill your vegetables – flame-kissed, caramelized vegetables are magic! Adding grilled vegetables to your meal is the easiest way to win dinner, win compliment, and win the summer! Platter of Grilled Vegetables

There is no excuse to be stuck inside with a plate of steamed broccoli or sad salad when you can be outside kicking up the flavor. and your heels! You can grill just about any veggie, even lettuce and lemons! Read on to get vegetable grilling tips along with some great recipes.   Continue reading

Carnitas & Street Corn Stuffed Zucchini with Ole Frijoles Pinto Bean Sauce

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Farmer Direct Co-op, however all opinions, content and enthusiasm are my own.

Spiralizing zucchini is trend that will never grow old, but every now and then I like to turn the tide and unleash deliciously stuffed zucchini boats for dinner. I’m not talking about the old-school stuffed squash my mama used to make with our backyard garden bumper crop, it might have been a bit mushy, bland, and hard to swallow (sorry mom). Instead, my recipe for Carnitas & Street Corn Stuffed Zucchini Boats with “Ole Frijoles” Pinto Bean Sauce is totally crave-worthy and turns supper-time with spicy south-of-the-border fiesta. Carnitas & Sreet Corn Stuff Zucchini With Bean Sauce

With pre-shredded pork roast and pinto beans cooked overnight, this family favorite recipe can be made in just 30 minutes – making it perfect for a busy weeknight meal. It can also be prepped the night before and popped in the oven 20 minutes before dinner. I’ve used pinto beans from Farmer Direct Co-op and, at the end of this post, you can grab the zucchini recipe and also enter to win a giveaway prize pack that includes an assortment of their top-selling organic, non-GMO and fair-trade products packaged in 1lb. bags.

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Fast and Fit Steak Pho with Zucchini Noodles

The best thing about slurping up a big bowl full of my Fast and Fit Steak Pho with Zucchini Noodlesis the overload of delicious meat and veggie goodness sans the traditional noodles (we be low carb-ing it over here). The second-best thing is cracking Pho jokes, puns and innuendos with the family while eating this fast and fit meal.   Kids: “Mom, dinner tonight is pho-nomenal, it’s un-pho-gettable! You should take a picture of it, it would be good pho-tography.” Me: “Only the best pho you guys, that’s pho-sure.”

Beef and Zucchini Noodle Pho

But, no joke, this quick soup is not only “good pho you” it’s weeknight dinner winner when you just don’t have hour after hour to simmer down oxtails, beef knuckles and leg bones and exotic charred spices into the traditional Vietnamese broth. So, I might have broken a few ancient tenets of pho-making here and there – but, then again, I used zoodles (gasp) instead of the thin white rice noodle that my neighbor’s grandmother would more approve of. I’m a rebel who, with my zucchini, is squashing all rules!

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Steak and Quinoa Squachos – NachOMG!

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionlYou 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!”

Steak & Quinoa Squachos - gluten-free and low carb appetizer!

Zucchini and Summer SquashThe 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.

Steak and Quinoa Squachos -- a low carb, gluten free appetizer!

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.
 

More Protein, More PowerNow, 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.

Join the 30 day Protein Challenge

Steak & Quinoa SquachosSo, are you making these Squachos this weekend, or what?!

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 

 

 

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Ingredients
Servings: as appetizer
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on high. 2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil, coat with baking spray.
  2. lice squash into ¼” slices. Place squash, with edges touching each other, onto baking sheets.
  3. In bowl, toss together almond meal with dry fajita seasoning. Stir in cheese, cooked quinoa and almond meal until combined.
  4. Use a tablespoon to pile a big dollop of this cheese mixture on top of each squash slice. If leftover topping in bowl at end of dolloping, sprinkle evenly across tops.
  5. Cut leftover steak or fajita meat into bite-sized pieces. Place a piece of two of beef on top of each Squacho.
  6. Place oven rack on second to top position. Broil Squachos for 2 to 4 minutes, or until cheese mixture bubbling and turning golden brown on edges Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with drained Pico de Gallo. Serve with other desired accompaniments such as guacamole, sour cream or salsa.
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4 Ways to Eat a Black Bean Burger #OMGardein + Giveaway


Chipotle Black Bean Burger with Southwestern Zoodles
Black bean burgers are the bomb! Especially the Chipotle Black Bean Burgers from Gardein, with their spicy, smoky southwest flavor. I could think of a million ways to serve these plant-based patties and today I’m sharing 4 Ways to Eat a Black Bean Burger. Since these alternative burgers come four to a pouch,  you can enjoy something different with each one! And, the patties cook straight from frozen in minutes, so even on the busiest nights, you’ll can eat a healthy dinner at home instead of heading to the drive-through. Keep reading to get the recipes and to enter my giveaway for a $25 Visa Gift Card so that you can buy and try Gardein for yourself — plus there’s a $1 off coupon for everyone!

4 Ways to Eat a Black Bean Burger - make your next meal easy and healthy thanks to these plant-based patties from Gardein. #spon

I’ve always found meatless products from Gardein to be a quick and convenient way to create a plant-based meal, especially as a busy home cook who doesn’t have tons time to fuss with finding quality and adequate sources of plant-based protein – I can count on Gardein to help me out with this.

Chipotle Black Bean BurgerJust so you know, I am an eater of chicken, beef, seafood in addition to lots of plant-based proteins – I crave variety in my diet! Variety in colors, flavors and types of foods – I think it’s one of the best ways to ensure that I’m treating myself to a wholesome abundance of nutrients. Covering all the bases for my body, so to speak!

Making a meal featuring plant-based proteins is something that happens a couple times a week at my house – but when we have vegetarian and vegan relatives visiting, it’s more frequent.

Gardein products are good for your body, made with non-GMO soy and wheat, ancient grains and veggies. You get the taste, texture and protein content of meat for typically less fat, less calories and no cholesterol. And, Gardein products are all vegan and kosher.

Chipotle Black Bean & Spicy Zoodles Burger (pictured above)

Prepare black bean burger according to preferred method on package. Use spiralizer to cut ½ zucchini. Season with salt, chili pepper and cumin; steam in microwave-safe dish for approximately 1 minute or until tender but not mushy. Add prepared zoodles and patty to bun and add condiments of choice. Serves 1.

Chipotle Black Bean Burger with Southwestern Mushroom-Squash TossChipotle Bean Burger & Southwestern Mushroom-Squash Toss

  • 2 Chipotle Black Bean Burger Patties
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium summer squash or zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  • ½ pint button mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ teaspoon each: salt, cumin, chili powder

Prepare black bean burgers according to preferred method on package. In medium skillet, add olive oil and bring to medium heat. Sauté squash, mushrooms and tomatoes for approximately 2 minutes, or until softened, but not mushy. Season with salt, cumin and chili powder. Divide veggies among two bowls and top each with a patty. Serves 2.

 Black Bean Burger, Hummus and Spinach Stack - GardeinChipotle Black Bean Burger, White Hummus & Spinach Stack

  • 1 Chipotle Black Bean Burger Patty
  • ¼ cup packaged white bean hummus
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup packed fresh baby spinach
  • Garnish: pine nut relish from top of hummus or chopped nuts of choice

Prepare black bean burger according to preferred method on package. In small skillet, heat olive oil and sauté garlic and spinach for 1 to 2 minutes or until wilted. Top patty with hummus and spinach. Add garnish. Serves 1.

Gardein Black Bean Taco Bake for One Chipotle Black Bean Taco Bake for One

  • 1 Chipotle Black Bean Burger Patty
  • 2 tablespoons frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tomato
  • ¼ cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese
  • Garnish with sour cream or Greek yogurt, if desired

Prepare black bean burger according to preferred method on package. Break cooked patty into small pieces. In small baking dish or large ramekin, toss together cooked burger pieces, corn, salsa and tomato until combined. Stir in crushed tortilla chips. Top with cheddar cheese and broil for 2 to 3 minute or until warmed through and cheese bubbling on top. Serves 1.

Gardein Meatless Pepperoni Pizza Pocket

I also love the Gardein Meatless Pepperoni Pizza Pocket (a new product) that is perfect for my lunch-on-the-go or those busy weeknights when kids have overlapping sports practices and I am literally feeding them in the car.  I really appreciate how easy they are to make (kids can do them in the toaster oven) and they have 42% less fat than traditional pizza pockets.

You need to try these products for yourself  — help keep life quick, easy and healthy! Head over to Gardein and get a $1 coupon now until May 31, 2016!! #OMGardein

Win a $25 Visa Gift Card at TheFitFork.comEnter my giveaway for a $25 Visa Gift Card so that you can buy Gardein and some fresh produce to make a healthy, plant-based dinner on me! Follow the Rafflecopter instuctions below:

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Fit, Flavorful, Fast Dinner Ideas – Ragu and My Funny Family

I have to admit, making long complicated recipes is NOT a family tradition. I do it sometimes, but not on typical nights when I am trying to fit in running, working out or watching the kids play their sports – you know, HAVING FUN!  Instead, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants and let creativity reign, based on what I happen to have in the fridge, produce bin and pantry. So, I guess you could say dinner traditions in my family of five are rooted in being quick and easy yet fresh and flavorful – you’ll see this with the two RAGÚ pasta sauce recipes I’m sharing today (Eight-Minute Egg & Zucchini Ragu and Low-Carb Chicken Club Zoodles).

Ragu pasta sauces are simmered in tradition and the perfect meal solution for my busy nights.

jen and dean college

Yeah, here we are in 1986 — the early Ragu days.

One ingredient that is always on hand help me pull off a speedy supper is RAGÚ® Pasta Sauce. When I say I’m a fan, I mean it – I’ve been eating the RAGÚ® Traditional Sauce (and now Organic Traditional) for 30 years beginning when I first met my husband in college (It’s the only sauce we eat)! Who has time for homemade, really?!

I appreciate how RAGÚ® does all hard work, and when I pop open the jar it tastes just like grandmother’s secret recipe that had been simmering all day.  That’s because RAGÚ® has super high standards and uses no artificial anything or high fructose corn syrup – it’s slowly simmered to add layers of insane flavor, just like Assunta’s (the single-mom founder) original recipe from way back in 1937.

So, this first vegetable pasta recipe is seriously made in eight minutes – Egg & Zucchini Ragu. It’s my go-to meal solution when totally slammed but in need of a nutritious meal packed with protein and fresh veggies. By the way, did you now that a serving of Ragu pasta sauces is the equivalent of two servings of veggies?!

Eight Minute Egg & Zucchini Ragu

Eight Minute Egg & Zucchini Ragu

  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized or cut in julienned strips
  • 1 cup Ragu Organic Traditional Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 to 4 eggs (depending on appetite)
  • Salt and Red Pepper flakes, to taste
  • Garnish – snipped basil

Directions: Place zucchini in microwave-safe bowl, top with lid slightly cracked. Steam in microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until softened, but not mushy.  Add pasta sauce and microwave for an additional 30 to 45 seconds, stirring well after to combine. Heat olive oil in small skillet and cook eggs sunny side up, until yolks set to preferred consistency. Top eggs on pasta and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with snipped basil. Serves 2.

Low Carb Chicken Club Zoodles

My second under ten minute dinner fix (Low Carb Chicken Club Zoodles) is a yummy use for nights when I have some slowcooker chicken already in the fridge (I make big, big batches at once) or have swung by the store for a rotisserie chicken.  I love to use zucchini in place of traditional noodles to keep the grains and carbs down – I like to eat a higher protein diet and prefer most of my carbs to come from fruits and veggies.

Low Carb Chicken Club Zoodles

  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized or cut in julienned strips
  • 1 cup Ragu Organic Traditional Sauce
  • 12 ounces shredded slow cooker or rotisserie chicken with skin removed
  • 4 slices par-cooked bacon
  • 1 ounce shredded cheese of choice

Directions: Place zucchini in microwave-safe bowl, top with lid slightly cracked. Steam in microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until softened, but not mushy.  Add pasta sauce and chicken and microwave for an additional 60 seconds, stirring well after to combine. Wrap bacon in paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds or per package instructions. Sprinkle top of pasta with bacon and cheese before serving. Serves 2.

davis spoon balancing 2015I have another family dinner tradition to share – and it’s just being silly. With three now teenage boys, it can get pretty crazy and rowdy at the dinner table. More than one time, I’ve spewed water out my nose – the utensil balancing contests always crack me up.  We’ve been doing it for years, as you can see – youngest son holds the record number of spoons and forks balance.  Yes, we’re weird – but these are indelible (if insane) memories to enjoy along with the RAGÚ®  Pasta Sauce.

So, what are your favorite family dinner traditions – recipes or activities? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Hatch Salmon Cakes Recipe + More Green Chile Fish Dinners

Hatch Green Chile Salmon Cakes with Summer Veggie Saute gets a kick of southwestern green goodness from Stubbs Green Chile Anytime Sauce.It’s that time of year – Hatch Green Chile Season! I’m sure I’ll have several new recipe creations to share with you, but let me start off the Hatch love fest with three delicious dinner ideas using fish and Hatch green chile. The first is a brand new recipe of mine – Hatch Green Chile Salmon Cakes with Summer Veggie Saute!  If you have dietary needs, this recipe is Paleo friendly, gluten-free, dairy free and low carb.

Hatch Salmon Patties with Zucchini and Tomatoes makes a southwestern-inspired summer dinner.

There are fire-roasted Hatch chiles in the patties and also a delicious sauce stirred into the veggie saute. I’ve made Hatch sauces from scratch before, but the Green Chile Anytime Sauce from Stubbs BBQ Sauces was awesome and had all that familiar flavor of Hatch, lime and garlic – it’s quite spicy, which my husband and I love! It’s perfect for a sauce, marinade or dip! I was sent bottles of the Anytime Sauces to experiment with, and I love them — check out their entire line of Anytime Sauces that also includes Sweet Black Pepper and Texas Sriracha versions. Yeehaw!

Enjoy some heart-healthy fish and the flavors of the southwest with this easy-to-make, one-dish dinner.

I can’t help but blog about Hatch Green Chiles all I can each year during their short August to early September season. These Hatch salmon cakes aren’t the first time I’ve paired up fish with the chile pepper – my Hatch Green Chile Trout is a personal favorite for quick-to-fix, one skillet meals (I keep a stash of roasted chiles in the freezer at all times).

Tilapia Green Chile Nachos with Stubbs BBQ Green Chile Anytime Sauce

Stubbs BBQ has lots of  Hatch Chile recipes on their site using the Stubbs Hatch Anytime Sauce. Up next in my Hatch Queue are the Green Chile Tilapia Nachos!

2011 HAtch green chili tv segment cropDon’t feel like fish? Check out some of the award-winning recipes I’ve hatched up in years past like Hatch Green Chile Chicken Cheesecake and Hot Mess Hatch Green Chile Burgers on Squash “Buns”.

 

 

The next recipe I NEED to make is this one for Green Chile Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

Green Chile Grilled Cheese Sandwich

[Tweet “Holy Hatchtastic! Hatch Green Chile Cakes with Summer Veggie Saute #paleo]

Hatch Green Chile Salmon Cakes with Summer Veggie Saute

Are you a Hatch Green Chile fan? Please share your Hatch love in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

 

 

Hatch Green Chile Salmon Cakes with Summer Veggie Saute
Print Recipe
Spice up a healthy fish dinner with the amazing flavor of Hatch green chiles and get out of your salmon rut!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Hatch Green Chile Salmon Cakes with Summer Veggie Saute
Print Recipe
Spice up a healthy fish dinner with the amazing flavor of Hatch green chiles and get out of your salmon rut!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together salmon, chiles, green onions, salt and pepper until combined. Next stir in egg and ¼ cup of almond meal.
  2. Form salmon mixture into four 1-inch thick patties; sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons almond meal over each patty, lightly pat down. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-heat. Cook patties in hot oil until golden and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer patties to paper towels to cool off a bit while cooking veggies.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in same skillet. Add zucchini and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until starting to soften, but not getting soggy. Add halved tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring, for another 1 minutes. Add hatch green chile sauce and stir for a few more minutes until heated. Stir in 2 tablespoons of green onions.
  4. To serve, place mound of veggies on plate and top with salmon cake. Drizzle with additional Hatch sauce if desired.
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