Quinoa caprese bake

Quinoa caprese bake

I have been using quinoa in my meals every week. Fortunately, there are countless ways to incorporate quinoa into your meals. I use it as a substitute for pasta in a lot of recipes. This quinoa bake ended up tasting like a delicious lasagna. I will definitely be making this again!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or milk
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese or goat cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella, divided
  • 1/2-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream, parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa. Fold in half of the mozzarella and half of the tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes, then chop 6 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds or shredded mozzarella and the remaining tomatoes.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons. Allow to sit five minutes and then serve.

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Chicken and tofu lo mein

LoMein

While I love some Chinese take-out, after perusing the nutritional information on my favorite menu items, I was quite appalled. I thought there had to be a better way to get the same satisfaction out of something home made. Well, have no fear, I have found the perfect alternative!

*Veggie option: Cook without chicken and use Veggie Better Than Bullion

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Thin Spaghetti; broken in half
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Chicken or Veggie Better Than Bullion
  • 3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • Oil; for frying (Sesame oil is preferred)
  • 1 pound chicken
  • 1 package tofu
  • 8 large Carrots
  • 1 Head of Broccoli
  • 1 large Onion
  • 4 Garlic Cloves

 Instructions:

Cook spaghetti per box instructions. Drain and set aside.

Remove tofu from package, place on paper towels and sponge the moisture out of the tofu and set aside.

Using a pot or dutch oven with 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil, brown both sides of the chicken and cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side. Let chicken cool and slice it into two inch pieces.

Add sliced chicken and tofu into the same pot, fry until completely cooked. Into the cooked chicken, add sauce mixture, cook all together for about a minute, set aside.

Dice carrots, broccoli and onion into two inch pieces.

Using the same pot, sautee onions and garlic until golden brown in one tablespoon of sesame oil. Add carrots and sautee until softened, then add broccoli and cook for about three minutes. Add 1 cup water, and add the Better Than Bullion and brown sugar, stir to dissolve, and let simmer until the water reduces. Add soy sauce and spaghetti, toss, and serve immediately.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Quinoa in Balsamic Vinaigrette

Roasted veggie quinoa

For such a simple recipe, these roasted veggies and quinoa actually pack in lots of flavor. Top anything off with goat cheese, and I’m sold.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cups water or broth
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup goat, feta or blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped

Instructions:

Toss the cauliflower and mushrooms in the oil, thyme, salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in a preheated 400F oven until they start to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes, mixing half way through.

Meanwhile, bring the water and quinoa to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender and has absorbed the water, about 15-20 minutes, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, covered.

Mix everything and enjoy.

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Pork tenderloin with roasted acorn squash

pork and acorn squash

I had been waiting to try this acorn squash recipe, and found a good pork recipe that would help cut the sweetness of the squash. The two together paired quite well, and this is an easy meal you can make on the week night as it does not require much preparation time.

Pork serves 6-8, squash serves 3-4, but you can double the recipe to match the number of servings for the pork.

Ingredients

Pork

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper, cracked
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Squash

  • 1 acorn squash, halved
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

Pork

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In small bowl, combine all rub ingredients well and apply to all surfaces of the pork roast. Place roast in a shallow pan and roast in the oven for 1 hour (20 minutes per pound), until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Remove roast from oven; let rest about 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Squash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Turn acorn squash upside down onto a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven until it begins to soften, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove squash from the oven and turn onto a plate so that the flesh is facing upwards. Place butter and brown sugar into the squash, and place remaining squash over the other piece. Place squash in a baking dish (so the squash won’t slide around too much) while baking.

Place squash in the 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven and bake another 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately. You can cut the halves into quarters to make 4 servings.

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Black bean and butternut squash casserole

black bean enchilida casserole

I can’t believe I never posted this recipe. It was so delicious! You could substitute with another type of squash like yellow or acorn if butternut squash is not in season. I love finding ways to incorporate squash and veggies into traditional meals. And it made grrrreat leftovers!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive, coconut, canola, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
  • 4 cups diced butternut squash (from a small to medium butternut squash that has been peeled and seeded)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 yellow or white corn tortillas, cut into large squares (I cut each tortilla in thirds and then chopped the strips in half)
  • 2 cups green enchilada sauce (preferably homemade)
  • 2-3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions:

In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno, if using. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften. Stir in the butternut squash, salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder.

Cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the squash is tender. If you want a smoother consistency to the squash, continue cooking until it breaks down to a creamy consistency, otherwise you can cook it just until it becomes tender.

Stir in the beans, tortillas and enchilada sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes so the tortillas can soak up some of the sauce and start to cook down just a little bit.

Add the chicken, cilantro and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir to combine and heat through. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and let the mixture sit for 1-2 minutes over medium-low or medium heat until the cheese melts.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Crispy quinoa cakes with cashew cream

quinoa cakes

Let me start off by saying that my boyfriend, a trained chef, had his doubts about this recipe when I brought it up. He questioned if the cakes would fall apart while cooking. But I am glad to say that I proved him wrong! With enough egg to hold the patties together, this recipe turned out perfect! I ate it for lunch every day last week and felt so full! I will definitely be making this again and look forward to making it even better.

Ingredients:

Quinoa cakes

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked white quinoa, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup finely minced red onion
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup bread crumbs (since I cook gluten-free, I made my bread crumbs by pulsing an Udi’s bagel in the food processor)
  • Olive oil or clarified butter for coating pan

Cashew cream

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 3/4 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions:

Quinoa cakes

In a large bowl combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt; stir to mix well. Add the basil, red onion, cheese, garlic, and breadcrumbs to the bowl; stir, then let the mixture sit for a few minutes so that the bread crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. If your mixture is too wet you can add a little more breadcrumbs at this point and if it is too dry add a small amount of water.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil or clarified butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Form the mixture into 12 small patties; when the oil is hot place enough patties in the skillet so that it is full, but the patties still have room in between them. Cover, and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the bottoms are crisp and deeply browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second side for about 7 minutes more. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.

Cashew cream

Add all of the ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor and blend on high, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. Blend until the cashew cream is smooth and silky with no chunks. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

Keep in mind that you can make the cashew cream in advance so it’s ready to serve when you’re done with the quinoa. After cooking up the quinoa cakes, serve immediately with the cashew cream. I served this crunch cabbage and cashew salad along with the cakes!

Serve with crunchy cabbage salad for a nice pairing!

 

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Crunchy cabbage and cashew salad with spicy peanut dressing

quinoa cakes

I normally don’t post a lot of salad recipes because I usually throw together whatever I have in the fridge, but this one is definitely worth sharing.  The cashews give it a nice crunch and goes really well with the dressing.

Stay tuned for the amazing quinoa cake recipe that is also in the picture. The two go together perfectly! I’ll post soon :)

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 1 head napa cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions:

Combine the cabbages, carrots, snow peas, avocado and half the herbs in a large bowl.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl, adding more water to thin if necessary.

Toss the cabbage mixture with the peanut sauce and top with the reserved herbs, cashews and sesame seeds.

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