April 30, 2012

Quinoa Fajita Burritos

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*See the updated recipe here!*

I've been trying to find more ways to incorporate quinoa into our diet since it's such a nutrient-packed food and awesome protein. So one of my first thoughts was... why not stuff it in a burrito? That always makes things good, right? Combine that with my love for fajitas and *poof* the quinoa fajita burrito was born! I only wish I had taken better pictures to do it justice - hopefully next time I can better capture them.

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 onion
2 bell peppers
15 oz. can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
4-5 tortillas
Taco seasoning
Shredded cheese
Salsa

Directions
Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
Meanwhile, thinly slice onion and bell pepper.
Saute onion and pepper with 2 tsp. taco seasoning and salt over med-high heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When quinoa finishes cooking, turn off heat, add beans and 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning (more to taste) and combine.
Assemble the burritos: spoon quinoa/bean mixture, onion/pepper, cheese, and salsa onto tortillas. Roll up, tucking in one or both sides.

If you like a crispier tortilla or grilled burrito, toss it on a grill pan for a few minutes on each side before serving. We love this!

To freeze: tightly wrap burritos individually in foil and freeze for up to 2-3 weeks.
To reheat: place in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. (Haven't tried microwaving, but that would work as well.)

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April 27, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Slush

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Do you hear that? Summer's knocking on the door! Let's give it a proper greeting with this healthy slush that's loaded with strawberries, uses honey instead of sugar to sweeten, and is super quick to make. Kick back and enjoy the warm, sunny days with this ultimate refreshment! Ahhhh.... :)

Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients
{Per 1 serving}
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup lemonade (such as Newman's Own or Simply Lemonade)
2 tsp. honey/agave, more to taste
Ice cubes, small handful

Directions
In a blender, combine lemonade and ice.
Add strawberries and honey and blend until thoroughly mixed.
Make any additional adjustments based on your own taste and desired consistency.

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April 26, 2012

Hummus

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Hummus is such a multi-function food. It's great served with pita bread, pita chips, tortilla chips, veggies, wraps, sandwiches, etc. It's easy to make your own and be in charge of the ingredients. The recipe is great as is, and can also be used as a base to get creative with additional flavors (roasted red pepper, artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, green onion, or roasted garlic to name a few.)


Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients
15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. tahini (or sesame oil)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Juice from 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
Salt to taste

Directions
Add ingredients to a blender and mix well.
You may need to push down ingredients with a spatula and continue blending.
If the consistency is too thick, adjust by adding water about 1 Tbsp at a time.
If you have time, chill it about an hour before serving. It can be saved in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.

Note: It's easy to make two flavor choices from this one recipe. After blending, spoon half of the hummus in a bowl. Then to the remaining half in the blender, add a roasted red pepper (or other flavor) and blend well again.

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April 23, 2012

Mediterranean Flatbread

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One of my new obsessions.... mediterranean flatbread! A light, refreshing lunch and perfect for bringing out on the deck to enjoy beautiful sunny days (I bet you could easily grill it too!) It works great as an appetizer or dinner side as well.


Ingredients
3 wheat flatbreads (pita or naan)
Baby spinach (3-4 large handfuls)
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
Feta
Olive oil
Oregano
Basil

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Meanwhile, quick saute the spinach in olive oil with salt for 2 minutes over medium heat, until just wilted. Remove from heat.
Lightly brush the flatbread with olive oil.
Top with spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, feta. Sprinkle generous seasonings on top.
Bake for about 12 minutes. Salt/pepper as needed, and cut into smaller pieces to serve.

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April 22, 2012

Taco Seasoning

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We finally ditched the store-bought seasoning packets for this quick, homemade taco seasoning! It's great to save money and control the ingredients, with no additives or excess sodium. This recipe yields about 3 Tbsp. (or one store bought package). I love making a larger batch and storing in an airtight container to have ready when needed. If you like a kick, add cayenne pepper and/or red pepper flakes. Ground chipotle is also a great twist - I love the smokiness!

Ingredients
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional - if you like heat)

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

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April 20, 2012

Tortellini Soup

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Whenever I cook tortellini it makes me giggle because I hear my 3 year old nephew's voice in my head shouting... "torta-weeny!!" Kid loves his torta-weeny :) This is a quick soup and is versatile with other veggies. I wish I would have had zucchini to toss in... next time!

Ingredients
10 oz. package fresh tortellini (spinach, cheese or other)
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
2-3 carrots
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. parsley
Salt/pepper

Directions
Dice onion and carrots, mince garlic.
In a large pot, saute onion and carrots with a bit of salt over med-high heat for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.
Add broth, 1 cup water, diced tomatoes with juice, basil, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a light boil.
Add tortellini and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tortellini is fully cooked.
Salt/pepper to taste.

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April 18, 2012

Grilled Cheese with Pesto

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Behold... our all-time favorite grilled cheese! Pesto and gooey cheese on the inside, and a garlic parmesan crust on the outside. And of course tomato soup for dunking! I keep meaning to try this with clover sprouts in there too.

Ingredients
Bread slices
Pesto (try homemade!)
Mozzarella cheese (or other)
Garlic salt
Grated parmesan-style cheese (vegetarian)
Butter (I use vegan Earth Balance)

Directions
Place griddle pan over medium heat.
Spread a thin layer of pesto on one slice of bread. Add cheese, and top with other slice of bread.
Add butter to hot pan. Melt and spread around to cover an area big enough for the bread.
Sprinkle parmesan and a small amount of garlic salt on the melted butter.
Place sandwich on the pan, sliding it around to pick up all the flavors.
Once the bottom side is browned remove the sandwich and place on a plate.
Repeat the butter, parmesan, and garlic salt on the pan. Place sandwich on the other side to brown.
Cook until both sides are browned and cheese is melted.

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April 17, 2012

Asparagus Risotto

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A great meal especially in the springtime when asparagus is in season. I had some leftover crimini mushrooms in the fridge so I threw those in as well. If you have it, fresh parsley would be great sprinkled on top!


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1-2 lbs. asparagus
Mushrooms, diced (optional)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan-style cheese (vegetarian), more to taste
Salt/pepper

Directions
Trim woody ends off asparagus. Cut into 1-2 inch pieces.
In a saucepan, heat broth and 1 cup water over med-low heat.
In a large pan, saute onion and garlic over med-high heat for about 7 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.
Add the wine and cook until liquid has absorbed.
Start adding the warmed broth, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir occasionally and wait for the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup.
Meanwhile, saute mushrooms (if using) and asparagus until tender, about 4 minutes.
When all the broth has been absorbed by the risotto, remove pan from heat.
Add asparagus, salt/pepper, and parmesan and serve immediately.

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April 16, 2012

Southwestern Chopped Salad



* Please see the updated recipe here! *

Aren't chopped salads great? We just grab a big spoon and shovel in the deliciousness! My husband and I really gobbled this up... and that's saying something for him because he's not a big salad eater. (I'm definitely starting to convert him though.) It's a fun, healthy, colorful mix of veggies with added protein from the beans. So many different dressings to try to change up the flavor. One of these days I'd really like to make my own cilantro dressing.


Ingredients
Romaine
Black beans, rinsed and drained
Corn (can use frozen, just thaw/defrost)
Tomato
Bell pepper
Green onion
Dressing (both Trader Joe's cilantro or hummus salad dressing is great)

*No set measurements for this recipe, just use as much as you want to your taste and servings needed. But make sure you have a high veggies and bean ratio - we think the best chopped salads don't skimp on all the "goodies"! (For reference, I used about 1 1/2 heads romaine, 1 can black beans, 1 1/2 cups corn, 2 big handfuls cherry tomatoes, 1 large bell pepper, 6 green onions.)

Directions
Chop romaine, dice pepper, green onion and tomato.
Put all ingredients in a large bowl and lightly toss to combine.
Add dressing to taste.

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April 13, 2012

Hawaiian Pita Pizzas

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We love pizza! But some nights the pizza craving hits and there's not enough time (or energy) to make one. That's when we bust these puppies out! So quick and easy. Try it with any pizza combination you love - BBQ, pesto or marinara, and all your favorite toppings. It's also a great activity to get kids involved in the kitchen. They'll love assembling their own little pizzas (and of course eating the rewards)!
  

Ingredients
Whole wheat pitas (I used mini pita pockets from Trader Joe's)
BBQ sauce
Pineapple tidbits
Red onion, diced
Shredded cheese (I used a 3 cheese blend)
Cilantro for topping

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Pour BBQ sauce on pitas, and spread evenly with a spoon.
Add cheese, pineapple, and red onion.
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top.

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April 12, 2012

Pesto Cavatappi

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Have you ever been to Noodles and Company? We had one in our college town and I completely fell in love with their Pesto Cavatappi dish. I knew I just had to do a remake at home, and came up with this. (Plus making it myself means I can add as many mushrooms as my little heart desires.) It comes pretty darn close to the restaurant version, and we make it often.

Looking for an appetizer to munch on? Quick and easy bruschetta always pairs great.

  
Gluten-free (with gluten-free pasta)

Ingredients
7 oz. pesto, or about 1 cup (try homemade!)
10-16 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 large tomatoes, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
14 oz. spiral pasta (cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, etc.)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (still trying to find a healthier substitute -- ideas anyone??)
Shredded parmesan-style cheese (vegetarian) for topping, optional
Salt/pepper

Directions
Cook pasta according to package directions until slightly undercooked. Drain in colander.
Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in a large skillet with salt until slightly softened.
To the skillet, add cooked pasta, garlic, and about one of the diced tomatoes. Stir and saute over medium heat for 1 minute.
Add wine, stir thoroughly, and cook a few minutes to let the wine reduce.
Add whipping cream, stir, and wait for it to reduce/thicken.
Add remaining tomatoes and heat for a couple minutes.
Turn heat to low, add pesto and stir well to combine. Salt/pepper to taste.
Serve hot with shredded parmesan cheese on top (optional).

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April 10, 2012

Wild Rice Mushroom Soup

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A thick, satisfying soup without the cream! I had an afterthought that asparagus would be pretty tasty in here too. Marking that down as a mental note for next time :)

Gluten-free (with gluten-free flour)
Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients
2/3 cup dry wild rice
10 oz. thinly sliced mushrooms (I used crimini)
1 small onion
1 1/2 cups soy milk - unsweetened is best
1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
6 oz. garlic and herb low-fat spreadable cheese (I used Laughing Cow)
1 tsp. thyme
2 Tbsp. flour (optional, for thickening)
Salt/pepper

Directions
Cook rice according to package directions.
Meanwhile, dice onion and thinly slice mushrooms.
In a large saucepan or stockpot, saute onion and mushrooms with salt over med heat for about 7 minutes.
Add milk, broth, cheese, thyme, flour, and salt. Bring to a light simmer, reduce heat and cook 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Stir in cooked rice and let heat through for 1 minute. Salt/pepper to taste.

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April 8, 2012

Asparagus with Balsamic Dressing

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This side dish only takes 10 minutes from start to finish. I've been researching and playing around with the best way to cook asparagus now that's it's in season. The World's Healthiest Foods book claims the best way to retain nutrients in asparagus is either to saute, or grill/broil (as opposed to boiling, steaming, or baking.) It was delicious after broiling with just a bit of salt, but if you want to jazz it up a little, this is a great dressing that couldn't be easier to prepare.


Vegan, gluten-free (with gluten-free soy sauce)

Ingredients
1 lb. asparagus (or more)
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt

Directions
Preheat broiler on high and set top rack about 6 inches away.
Meanwhile, rinse asparagus and break off woody ends. Lay in single file on pan and season with salt.
Broil for about 5 minutes (be sure not to overcook).
While asparagus is broiling, in a small bowl combine vinegar, soy sauce, and olive oil.
Remove asparagus from oven and brush with balsamic/soy dressing.

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April 6, 2012

Breakfast Tostadas

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The morning after I made these bean tostadas for dinner, my first thought upon awakening was... BREAKFAST TOSTADAS! Here's the result of that early morning epiphany. Add/omit ingredients to please your own taste buds.
  
Ingredients
Corn tortillas
Eggs (1-2 per tostada)
Salsa Fresca
Refried beans (leftover from bean tostadas)
Shredded cheese
Other ideas: onion, tomato, bell pepper, spinach, black beans, avacado, etc.

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly spray tortillas on both sides and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, scramble eggs and dice any veggies. I like to add cheese to my eggs at the end of their cooking to melt the cheese a bit.
To construct, I used a thin layer of leftover refried beans (optional), then topped with eggs, cheese, and pico de gallo.

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April 4, 2012

Fiesta Baked Potatoes

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Mexican toppings... meet potatoes! It's like a fiesta for your mouth. This meal is great for busy weeknights and comes together so quick and easy.


Ingredients
4 large organic russet potatoes
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup salsa (I used Trader Joe's double roasted)
1 1/2 cups corn (frozen works)
2 tsp. cumin
Shredded cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Bake potatoes for 35-45 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork.
While potatoes are cooking, dice onion and mince garlic.
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion, garlic, and 1 tsp. cumin for about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to med-low. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, corn, salsa and 1 tsp. cumin. Cook 10 minutes.
Cut potatoes lengthwise, but not all the way through. Gently squeeze and fluff with a fork.
Sprinkle cheese on potatoes and spoon the bean/tomato mixture on top.

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April 2, 2012

Bean Tostadas

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What is it about tostadas? Is it me or are they just so GOOD. Instead of buying pre-made hard tostada shells, I use corn tortillas and bake them in the oven to crisp up a little. It'll taste like it came straight out of a Mexican restaurant. Ole! ;)

Gluten-free, vegan (with dairy-free cheese)

Ingredients
Corn tortillas
1 can refried beans (I use vegetarian-style)
3/4 tsp. cumin
Shredded cheese
Tomatoes, diced
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Additional toppings of your choice: salsa, guacamole, onion, olives, cilantro

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly spray tortillas on both sides and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat refried beans and cumin in a pan over low to med-low heat, stirring occasionally.
Layer tortillas with beans, cheese, and onion. At this point, I like to return them to the oven (turned off but still hot from the tortillas) for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
Add the rest of the toppings.

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Have leftover corn tortillas after making this? 
Check out the recipe for Breakfast Tostadas!

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