Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad

I made this as a "good-bye" summer salad.  It would be more suited for spring or summer, but it was still very much enjoyed with the spinach and black bean burgers.  It's light and unlike any quinoa salad I've made.  And so simple, too.  What's not to love?

I got the recipe over here, and followed it pretty much to the letter.

Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad
Serves 4-6
  • 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups corn, from a cob or frozen
  • 2 green onions OR 1/4 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 T lemon zest
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 t minced/crushed garlic
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
-- Cook your quinoa
-- Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, garlic, honey and salt/pepper.  Set aside.
-- With a little oil, saute the corn and green onion for 5-7 minutes.
-- Add the quinoa in with the corn and drizzle the dressing on top.  Stir it all up and serve it warm or chilled.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spinach and Black Bean Burgers


We like burgers in this house.  And never have I made so many burgers than since we switched to eating a more heart-healthy, plant-based diet.  I hated squishing raw meat for burgers before hand.  Hated it.  So I just didn't.  Instead, I would enjoy a big fat juicy burger at cookouts where someone else had done the squishing for me.

Now that we eat meat-less burgers, I made them all the time. I've realized I never was truly in love with the burger itself, I was always more interested in the toppings. And now -- I'm in love with both.  Plain back bean burgers, quinoa and black bean ones, and now, spinach and black beans!  Still just as simple to pull together, these burgers have the added benefit of having that wonderful dark green veggies "sneaked" in there.

I say "sneaked" because, as you can see, the burgers are quite green.  But they're oh. so. good.  Scot even said they're his new favorite.  Who knew?!

Got the recipe over here, and tweaked it just a bit.  Enjoy!

Spinach and Black Bean Burgers
Makes 6
  • 1 can black beans - rinse and drained
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chop
  • 1/2 cooking onion, chop
  • 1 T soy sauce 
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice
  • 1/3 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c flax meal
-- Puree beans, bell pepper, onion, soy sauce, and spinach in a blender or food processor.
-- In a bowl, mix together the oats, quinoa, flour, and flax meal.  Add the very green wet mixture and stir stir stir!  If needed, add more flax meal or whole wheat flour, tablespoon by tablespoon, until it's the "right" consistency.  Which is a consistency that is sticky enough to adhere to itself, but not so sticky it adheres to your hands.
-- Form into 6 patties (about 3/4 cup of mixture each), and chill until ready to pan-fry.
-- With a little oil in the pan, pan fry each side 3-5 minutes.  Just like a pancake. :D

-- Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pasta Dinner with Tomatoes and Zucchini

A few weeks ago I went to a Pampered Chef party.  As always, I had a blast at the show.  It's a great time for chatting and looking at fun cooking/baking products, and this time, there was even a show-case meal that was made and enjoyed right there!

Even though I didn't have the covered stoneware dish that was used to make this meal, I still wanted to adapt it to my taste and try it at home.

This is so easy and incredibly versatile, too.  I used a squash and a zucchini in it, but I could have used all of one or the other.  I think next time I may toss in a can or two of rinsed/drained white beans for an extra protein component.

The best part?  Everyone loves a pasta dish, and my boys are no exception!

Pasta Dinner with Tomatoes and Zucchini
Feeds 6
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 3-4 c cherry tomatoes
  • 4 c vegetable broth
  • 1 box whole grain short pasta (rotini, penne, ziti, shells, bowtie...)
  • 1 T dry basil OR 1/4 c fresh, chopped
  • 2 medium squash or zucchini, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper to taste (if you use a regular broth, you may not need any extra salt, so taste first!)
  • 1 or 2 cans white beans of choice, rinsed and drained (optional if you want more protein in the dish)
-- In a large pot, or dutch oven, combine the wine, garlic and tomatoes.  Cover and heat over medium-high for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The tomatoes may start to pop and that's just perfect.
--Meanwhile, slice those squash/zucchini and saute them in a skillet until they're soft.
-- Jump back to the tomatoes when needed, and with a long handled spoon, mash the tomatoes a bit.
-- Add the broth to the tomatoes, let boil, and then add the pasta. Let cook 10 minutes, until the pasta is done and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
-- Add in sauteed squash and/or zucchini
-- Add beans in, too, if using.

-- Can serve with grated Parmesan on top.  YUM!
-- Add basil and veggies and stir to combine

On a personal note:  I'm leaving for about 10 days on vacation, but I have some recipes scheduled to post while I'm gone, so make sure to pop back and check out the blog even if you don't see anything on pinterest or facebook!  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

I love lentil soups.  I love this simple lentil soup. I love this sneaky sweet potato soup with lentils in it.  And when I saw this stew, I thought it was right up my alley.

It did not disappoint.  Flavorful and simple and the boys loved it.  I loved it, because, add a salad and some hearty bread and it's a fill-you-up meal!

It is very similar to the lentil soup, just with the addition of sweet potatoes and green beans, so if you know you liked that soup, you'll love this one!

Also, I froze half to eat later.  I can't wait.

Lentil Sweet Potato Stew
feeds 8
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, sliced 
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 2 t curry
  • 2 c dry lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 c vegetable broth + 4 c water
  • 4-5 cups cubed sweet potatoes (1/2 in cubes)
  • 1, 9oz pkg, frozen cut green beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 T dry cilantro
-- Saute onion, carrots and celery until soft.  Add garlic and curry and cook a couple minutes.
-- Add lentils and liquids.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
-- Add sweet potatoes and continue to simmer 10-15 minutes until sweet potatoes and lentils are soft (to speed this up, I nuke the sweet potatoes for a few minutes).
-- Add green beans, tomatoes and cilantro and heat through.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Heather's Quinoa

When I first started cooking with quinoa, I went on a vicious hunt for quinoa recipes.  I found this one hidden away.  As soon as I saw it again last week, I had two reactions.  One: regret for not making it when I found it last summer.  And then quickly following that was this thought: I'm glad I'm making this now, because I have extra squash and zucchini I can use in it, too!

And so began last night's dinner! 

 This is Scot's new favorite quinoa dish.  I don't know if it's just something new...or the fabulous combination of the pesto and slightly sweet tofu and the sauteed veggies.  I will tell you the boys licked their bowls clean.  Literally. And Scot and I would have followed suit, had we not been scolding the boys to get their tongues back into their mouths.

Heather's Quinoa
Serves 4-6
  • 3 c cooked quinoa (1 1/4 c quinoa + 2.5 water)
  • 1/3 c pesto
  • 1 black extra firm tofu, drained, and cut into small cubes 1 T brown sugar 
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 c 1/2 inch cubed squash and/or zucchini
  • 1 1/2 c corn
  • 2 c kale, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c sun dried tomatoes (or, roasted tomatoes if you have the time)
  • Sunflower or pumpkin seeds 
-- Combine cooked quinoa and pesto in a large bowl
--  In a skillet, brown tofu cubes in a little olive oil and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Let cook and crisp, turning over every few minutes until they're slightly brown
-- Transfer to the quinoa and heat a little more olive oil in the skillet.  Saute the onion, squash and/or zucchini, and corn until veggies are almost soft.  Add in the chopped kale and heat until wilted.
-- Add sauteed veggies and seeds to the quinoa and gently stir together.
-- Top with the tomatoes and enjoy! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Quinoa Burrito Bowl

Do you remember a few weeks ago I made a Chipotle look-a-like burrito bowl?  That dish was amazing, but it took a while.  The salsa...the guac...all that extra stuff. 

This quinoa burrito bowl is much quicker and just as tasty.   Mostly because the recipe just covers the quinoa and the beans and leaves everything else up to you.

But I like it this way.  I like simple goodness.  And this, is simple goodness.

Quinoa Burrito Bowl
serves 4
  • 1 cup dry quinoa + 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • fresh cut cilantro to taste
  • 1/4 t chili powder
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, divided
  • Additional toppings: greens, corn, salsa, sliced bell pepper (red would have been gorgeous in the pictures, but alas, I only had a green one on hand!), cheese if desired.
-- Cook your quinoa.
-- Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil, add in the beans, chili powder and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5-10 minutes until the beans are starting to break down and the liquid is almost all gone.
-- Add 2 T lime juice and some of the cilantro to the beans and stir.
-- Add the other 2 T lime juice and desired amount of cilantro into the cooked quinoa.
-- To plate: layer the quinoa on the plate, followed by the beans, followed by whatever toppings you'd like

See, I told you it was easy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spinach Quinoa Bake

You remember this soup?

You know how I said I served it with a spinach quinoa bake?

Well, now I'm here with the recipe.  Sorry I made you wait.

This is my new replacement for quiche.  I've missed quiche - let me tell ya!  So I'm excited I found this recipe and I was able to health-ify it and tweak it to fit us.  It's soft and creamy on the inside and while it's not extremely robust with flavor, it's easily tweak-able, and can fit whatever you wish.  I'm pretty excited to experiment with different ingredients to go in it other than just spinach.  Like maybe Italian diced tomatoes...or mushrooms...or both!

Spinach Quinoa Bake
Serves 6
  • OO and PAM
  • 1 lb spinach leaves - either frozen or raw (if using raw, then just wilt them)
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 t dry thyme
  • 1/4 t dry rosemary
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 c uncooked quinoa + 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1 c almond milk
  • 3 egg whites
-- Cook quinoa (this step is best left to do ahead of time to speed everything else up!)
-- Saute onion and garlic in a skillet with a little olive oil, 5-8 minutes.  Add spices mid-way through and let get fragrant!
-- Mix spinach, sauteed onion/garlic, quinoa, oats, milk and egg whites.  Mix evenly and pour into a greased 8x8 baking dish.
--Bake at 350 for about an hour - until the edges start to turn brown and the dish passes the toothpick test.