Quinoa with feta, pecans and dried cherries

I’m a big fan of bulk cooking.  I will often cook up a batch quinoa on Monday mornings. Rarely do I have a plan for the quinoa, but I know it will be eaten. I throw it in the fridge for an easy weeknight side dish. Last week I whipped up the same mix 3 nights in a row, it was just too tasty to resist.

Quinoa with Feta, Pecans and Dried Cherries

Serves 6*

*I combined 1/3 of each ingredient each night, because I decided on a whim what I wanted.

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

1/3 cup feta, crumbled

1/3 cup chives, chopped (you can sub green onions)

1/3 cup pecan pieces, toasted or 1/3 cup candied pecans, crumbled

2 TBS butter

3/4 tsp oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Bring 2 cups water and quinoa to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. After water has been fully absorbed, add remaining ingredients. Serve hot or cold.

 

What is your favorite easy weeknight side dish?

Breakfast Quinoa

I love quinoa. The first time I had it I thought it was gross, but that is because I neglected to follow the rinsing direction. That is a very important direction! Quinoa tastes waxy and chemically without rinsing. But if you follow the directions, it is a wonderful side dish, or main course mixer.

My favorite way to eat quinoa in the morning is with lots of cinnamon, toasted pecans and either fresh or dried berries. This week I’m enjoying my bowls with blueberries and strawberries.

I like to cook up a batch of quinoa, let it cool and then serve it with my chosen toppings and vanilla almond milk. Sometimes I sweeten it with sugar or stevia, and other times I don’t.

Do you enjoy sweet quinoa?

Happy National Pecan Day!

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but today I made amazing muffins.

I had 5 neglected, and therefore overly-ripe, bananas sitting in my kitchen begging me to turn them into something delicious. I could have gone with my standby banana protein muffins, but decided instead to throw caution to the wind and whip up a batch with quinoa, chia seeds and pecans instead.

And when posting about my new concoction on twitter I discovered it is National Pecan Day, how serendipitous! So although the day is almost over, I won’t judge if you extend the celebration into tomorrow so you can whip up a batch for yourself.

Banana Pecan Quinoa Muffins

Serves 12

Wet ingredients

2 overly-ripe bananas, mashed

1 egg

4 TBS butter

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (can sub vanilla extract)

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Dry ingredients

1 cup white whole wheat flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill, but regular whole wheat or unbleached white would work too)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3 TBS chia seeds

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In medium bowl, cream brown sugar and butter. Add remaining wet ingredients and mix until combined.

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Add wet to the dry and mix well. Scoop into 12 lined & sprayed with non-stick cooking spray muffin tins, or silicone muffin cups, and bake 35-40 minutes.

Try to allow to cool before eating.

What is your favorite way to eat pecans?

Egg Quinoa Bowl

I love how versatile quinoa is. Not sure what to do with black beans? Throw them together with salsa, veggies, cheese and quinoa and you’ve got a meal. An extra can of garbanzos  hanging out in your pantry? Mix em with some garlic, zucchini, avocado, nooch* and quinoa and you have another easy meal. The same goes for chicken, Italian sausage and tofu.

*Yeah, I went there. I’m not ashamed.

But one protein source I’ve never mixed with quinoa is the incredible, edible, egg.

via

Until Monday.

I woke up late, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, pounded out an hour long elliptical run in my home gym while catching up on trashy t.v. and strolled upstairs to stare in my fridge for a solid 5 minutes. Ding, ding, ding went my alarm, alerting me to the fact that the door had been open too long. Then the light went out, forcing me to close the door and re-open. Nothing looked appealing. Nothing.

But then I spotted the eggs. All 22 of them. Clearly I needed to make something egg-centric, and Dutch Babies were sadly not an option.

Enter quinoa.

via

I whipped up a batch of this grainy goodness, and chilled 3/4ths for that night’s meatless Monday dish, and mixed it with the remnants of my veggie drawer. Topped with a drippy egg, goat cheese and hot sauce, this bowl was delicious enough for me to actually say “oh my God” out loud. To myself. Seriously.

Egg Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients

1/2 cup cooked quinoa, any color

1 egg, fried to preferred drippiness

3 sprigs cilantro, washed/chopped

1 cup arugula, washed/chopped

1/8th red bell pepper, diced (or yellow/orange, just not green – ick!)

1 small tomato, diced

2 tbs sweet onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 TBS crumbled goat cheese (feta or gorgonzola would be a great sub)

1/4 tsp cumin

hot sauce/salt/pepper to taste

Directions

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Meanwhile, chop your veggies and crumble your cheese. Mix veggies with quinoa. Fry egg and add to the top of your quinoa/veggie bowl.

Enjoy!

What is your favorite “eat down the fridge” meal?

Quinoa with Turkey Italian Sausage

It’s MPM time again, and this week I’m sticking to the plan!

Monday, Oct. 10

Quinoa with Turkey Italian Sausage (recipe below)

Tuesday, Oct. 11

Slow-cooker black beans atop brown rice

Wednesday, Oct. 12

Mini cheeseburger cupcakes

Thursday, Oct. 13

leftovers…I have a night class 😦

Friday, Oct. 14

Portabella burgers and zucchini fries

Saturday, Oct. 15

Around the World potluck party…yes, just like the one you attended in college, but with food.

Sunday, Oct. 16

Hubs birthday! We’re going out to a restaurant of his choosing.

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Last week my friend, Veronika, asked for my tried and true quinoa recipes. I sent her a few, and decided it was time for me to create another. I decided to whip up a batch of Italian inspired quinoa for two reasons. One, I already tackled Greek(ish) and Mexican(ish) quinoa dishes, and two, I had a jar of opened pasta sauce that needed to be eaten. Quinoa with turkey Italian sausage was born.

Quinoa with Turkey Italian Sausage

Serves: 4

Nutritionals: cal: 303, carb: 37g, fat: 10g, pro: 20g, sugar: 4g, fiber: 5g

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth

1 chicken bullion cube (if you use water)

2 1/2 links hot turkey Italian sausage, casings removed,  crumbled

1/2 cup sweet onion, diced

1/2 bell pepper, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup frozen chopped spinach

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/3 cup nutritional yeast*

salt to taste

2 TBS-4 TBS pasta sauce of your choosing

*can sub shredded mozzarella if you don’t like, or don’t have, nutritional yeast.

Directions

Brown turkey Italian sausage, (I brown all 5 links and freeze half for later).

Meanwhile, bring water, bullion cube (or chicken broth), and quinoa to a boil. Reduce to simmer, adding the bell pepper, onion, spinach, garlic, Italian seasoning and black pepper. Cover, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add nutritional yeast. Mix well. Add browned Italian turkey sausage.

Serve, topped with pasta sauce. Enjoy!

What is your favorite dish from another country?

I need a fun dish or app to bring to Around the World. Last year the hubs made a Russian apple cake. The year before I think we made something from Mexico…I can’t remember. I

Food fear: nutritional yeast

I have some food phobias. I know they aren’t healthy, and I know they aren’t rational, and I know they aren’t based on past experiences. There are just random foods I assume I won’t like, and therefore never try. I feel lots of shame even admitting this, as I pride myself on being an adventurous foodie.

However, I am acting like my four-year-old nephew who is convinced he doesn’t like bacon. Bacon. A four-year-old boy who doesn’t like bacon.

What? Yeah, we aren’t sure he’s related to the hubs either.

Regardless, his fear isn’t rooted in anything, as he hasn’t actually tried bacon. And just like my nephew, I am afraid of a few foods I haven’t eaten. Last week I conquered one of my food fears: nutritional yeast.

(source)

Maybe it was something about the powdery consistency. Maybe it was the pale, not quite yellow, not quite mustard, not quite crayola flesh, color. Maybe it was the fact that Vegans all over were trying to convince me* that it was a cheese substitute. I’m not really sure where the food fear was planted, but it grew roots and didn’t budge.

*not really, but cheese is often subbed with nutritional yeast in vegan recipes

 

 

But last week was different. I noticed that kale had taken over my backyard, and I needed to do something about it. I would normally whip up a batch of kale chips, but the 90+ temps kept me from turning on my oven. I scoured my favorite blogs, and settled on Mama Pea’s Sunshine in a Bowl. If you follow me on twitter you already know the outcome.

And when I planned my meal plan for this week, I decided to throw a nutritional yeast topped recipe into the line up. Tonight I tackled Chelsey’s “Cheesy” Chickpea Quinoa and Spinach.

And again, win!

I made a few modifications, including:

  • chopping my spinach and adding it to the pot at the same time I added my chickpeas
  • added 2~ cups shredded zucchini
  • added 1 tsp cumin
  • added diced avocado
  • topped with (unpictured) salsa

And you know what? I’m glad I purchased two large spoonfuls from the bulk bin at Huckleberries. My food fear is cured, and I’m on the hunt for more recipes that include nutritional yeast!

Have you tried nutritional yeast? If yes, what do you eat it with?

How pinteresting, Kale and Quinoa Salad

First, I am utterly addicted to Pinterest. I’ve been pinning food, style and classroom ideas like a mad woman. You can follow me here.

Second, I have yet another quinoa recipe to share with y’all. Lately I have been on a major quinoa kick. I need to be on a kale kick too, as it is taking over our garden.

In my opinion, quinoa salads are perfect for both lunch and dinner parties. So when the hubs and I were invited to our buddy Nate’s birthday potluck, I knew a quinoa creation*  was in my future.

*I’m counting that as alliteration

Kale and Quinoa Salad


Ingredients

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

10 kale leaves, stems removed (or half a bunch)

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil (if packed in oil, rinse/dry)

5 oz fresh mozzarella, chunked or shredded

1 extra small sweet onion, diced (or half a medium sized onion)

10 basil leaves, chiffonade

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS olive oil

1 TBS stone ground mustard

1 tsp prepared horseradish

2 tsp fresh oregano, diced (or 1/2 tsp dried)

3 garlic cloves, minced

s&p to taste

Directions

In a medium sized pot, bring water and quinoa to a boil, cover with lid, reduce to simmer, 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove kale from stems and shred. Mix with  sundried tomatoes and add to cooked quinoa. Let sit at least 10 minutes (to wilt the kale). Place in fridge to cool.

Once quinoa, tomato and kale has cooled, add onion, basil and mozzarella.

Mix dressing ingredients (lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, horseradish, garlic, salt and pepper), add to quinoa mixture, stir well.

Serve cold.

Enjoy! (Especially you, Joy Jones!)