warm quinoa bowl with greens and mixed veggies

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Lunch is the meal I struggle with the most. Usually during lunch time, I’m at work or school and the easiest option is running to starbucks or au bon pain, or any similar option. In the mornings I’m not usually functioning enough to make myself something to bring along, so this week, I prepared a little something that I can grab and go with. This recipe is really just a base idea for something you can customize with whatever your favorite veggies are, or what ever you need to use up in your fridge!

Ingredients

1 lb of ground turkey (I use 93% lean)
1/2 lb italian sausage (I use sweet links and take them out of their casing because they are usually cheaper than the preground sausage)
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1 onion
1 large clove of garlic or 2 small
your choice of greens and veggies (I used baby spinach, brussel sprouts, italian peppers, and leeks)

Instructions

Brown your ground turkey and sausage in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I also threw in a little bit of chili powder, paprika, basil, oregano, and parsley. While the meat is browning, follow the cooking instructions for your quinoa. When the meat is fully cooked, remove it from the pan, and add your onion, garlic, leeks, and peppers with some more olive oil. Once these have started to soften add your brussel sprouts and spinach. Add the crushed tomatoes and ground beef and mix it all together. When the quinoa is finished cooking, add that to the meat and veggie mixture. Once everything is mixed together, you can use this as stuffing in stuffed peppers or stuffed squash, or you can just eat it plain. I also like to add a slice of fresh mozzarella on top as an extra treat, and melt it for a couple minutes under the broiler. Serve and enjoy!

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pesto crusted salmon on a bed of quinoa and spinach, with a side of roasted potatoes and mushrooms

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this week i decided to be adventurous and try something new- salmon. although i’ve eaten it before, i had never cooked it by myself and thought, ‘it’s time…’. I browsed through a ton of recipes regarding salmon and they all seemed too complicated and over powering so i did some inventing of my own. this is what i came up with!

Ingredients:
-Pesto (basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, parsley- optional)
-Salmon (filets of steaks will work for this!)
-A bag of small rainbow potatoes
-Sliced mushrooms
-Fresh Spinach
-Quinoa or Mixed Grains

Step One:
Mix up your pesto- for this you don’t need a ton, so grab a few good handfulls of basil, two or three clove of garlic, a few tablespoons of olive oil, a handful of pine nuts, salt and pepper, and if you have any, a bit of fresh parsley. Blend this up so everything is mixed into a paste like consistency. 

Step Two:
Prepare your potatoes and mushrooms- make sure they are rinsed! The potatoes can be roasted whole or cut in half. I coated the potatoes and mushrooms in a couple spoonfuls of the pesto and a bit more olive oil. Throw this in the oven at about 400 degrees.

Step Three:
Prepare your grain- quinoa takes about twenty minutes so you’ll want to get it up to a simmer and cooking while the potatoes are cooking.

Step Four:
The salmon- I coated this in the pesto and a few slices of lemon and grapefruit. I made a little foil pouch/packet to cook it in for the oven and threw it in with the roasting potatoes. Salmon cooking time varies so i checked mine after about eight minutes and then let it cook for another five to eight minutes until it was light pink and flaky all the way through. 

Step Five:
While everything else is cooking, you’re going to want to sauté your spinach. this goes pretty quick so thats why i saved it for last! once all the leaves were wilted down i put some garlic salt and pepper on it for flavor.

i was lucky and managed to time everything just about right so it was done at about the same  time. i served the salmon on the bed of spinach and quinoa, with the potatoes and mushrooms on the side. i also topped the salmon with some avocado slices!

stuffed squash

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Stuffed Squash

  • 1 lb ground beef (with low fat content, say 85/15 or 90/10)
  • 2-3 pieces of mild italian sausage
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 c. quinoa
  • salt & pepper
  • cinnamon & five spice powder (it’s made up of cinnamon, white pepper, star anise, cloves, and fennel)
  • chili powder
  • bay leaf (if you have it)
  • mixed veggies! – in this version i use yellow and green squash and celery

Step One:

Cut all of your squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulpy insides. Place the squash halves cut side down in a microwavable dish and put about an inch of water in the bottom of the dish. microwave this for about ten minute and check to see if the inside starts to soften. add time if needed! – to oven roast, follow the same steps, including the water, and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until soft! After this, start chopping all of your vegetables into bite size pieces, and try to be consistent with the size. Set aside to be used later!

Step Two:

Roughly chop an onion, and mince two cloves of garlic. Add this to a large sauté pan along with the pound of beef and the sausage links. *** You need to remove the sausage casing to properly make this recipe ***. Brown the meat, onions, and garlic until fully cooked through (no pink spots!), and be sure to season this with salt and pepper!

Step Three:

While the meat is browning, in a small sauce pan add one cup of quinoa with about two and a half cups of water or chicken stock. Bring this to a boil and then allow to simmer for the allotted time on the package (usually about 20 minutes). If you do not have or want to use quinoa, you can substitute in rice or another type of grain!

Step Four:

Once the meat and onions are cooked, you can add in your choice of veggies, in this case , green and yellow squash and celery, and allow to cook in with the meat for about ten minutes. Also when you throw in your veggies, you will want to start adding in your spices. I usually eyeball this part, but when using dried spices and herbs, a teaspoon is usually a good starting point. So maybe a tsp of cinnamon, a tsp of five spice, some fresh ground pepper, another pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of chili powder. You will also add in your bay leaf at this point!

Step Five:

When the quinoa is finished cooking, scoop into the meat and vegetable mixture and mix it all in, continue to cook the mixture for a few more minutes.

Step Six:

Once your mixture is just about finished cooking, you will being to fill your squash halves. Do this in a buttered/oiled glass dish, and try to fit the squash in as tight as possible. Start adding the mixture to the squash, and don’t be afraid to be generous! Once all of the squash are packed full you can choose to add on some tomato sauce if you have it, and some parmesan cheese! Bake this at 350 degrees for about a half an hour and serve!

this dish reminds me of autumn but its so easy that i don’t mind making it in any season! its a very flexible recipe and if you have any spices or flavors that you prefer feel free to try that out and let me know how it went!

three bean turkey chili and quinoa corn muffins

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Ingredients

-about a pound of ground turkey (i also added in a piece of italian sausage and a piece of left over chicken)
beans! in this case i used black, white, and pink beans. you can use a large can of mixed beans but i like to used dry beans and cook them myself
-a large can of diced tomatoes
-a small can of tomato sauce
-an onion
-two cloves of garlic
-a packet of mccormic chili seasoning
-salt & pepper to taste
-extra spices of your choice (i added more chili powder, cumin, jamaican curry powder, and a teaspoon of curry paste for heat)

Instructions:
***if using dried beans, make sure to soak over night, or for at least eight hours***
brown your ground turkey along with your onion, diced, and your garlic, minced. try and cook this most of the way before adding to your crock pot. while your meat is browning, if you used dried beans, add the soaked beans to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. turn the water down to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes (they will finish cooking in the chili). when it is finished browning, add the meat into your crock pot with the seasoning packet, canned tomatoes, and spiced of your choices. when your beans are done cooking, drain and add those to the crock pot as well. once everything is added to the crockpot, select your heat and let it cook for a few hours. usually i will keep my crockpot on medium and cook it for 4 to 6 hours.

because chili isn’t complete with out cornbread, i decided to try a recipe from my new roots, black quinoa corn muffins! the recipe is as followed:

Ingredients:
1 cup organic corn meal
¼ cup organic corn flour
1 cup cooked black quinoa (any color will work)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 cup almond milk (or any milk)
2 eggs OR 3 Tbsp. chia seeds + 9 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup high oleic sunflower oil (or oil of your choice)
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 chili, minced or ½ tsp. ground chipotle (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Put 8 muffin liners in a cupcake pan.
1A. Mix chia seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside. Check the chia gel to make sure it is thick a gloppy (it should take 15 minutes or so to obtain the right consistency).
2. In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients together. Add the cooked quinoa.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk wet ingredients together, including the eggs OR chia gel.
4. Add the wet to the dry and combine in as few strokes as possible. Fold in the cilantro and minced chili.
5. Spoon batter in to muffins cups and bake until the edges are golden brown and they pass the toothpick test (approx. 25 minutes).