This simple recipe is great for the end of a busy week and can accommodate almost any ingredients you have around. Sub couscous for quinoa, add in other veggies, or include other proteins if you have them handy.
Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1 lb shredded Brussels sprouts (I got them precut from Trader Joe’s – one bag will do it!)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped into thin strips
- 2 tbsp lemon juice – about one lemon worth
- salt and pepper to taste
- goat cheese (optional, for topping)
- Cook the quinoa – one cup of quinoa to 2-3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 15-20 minutes for liquid is absorbed. Let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.
- Add the oil, onion, Brussels sprouts, salt/pepper, and half the lemon juice to a frying pan over medium heat. Stir frequently – when the sprouts get bright green, add more lemon juice and bell pepper. Stir for about 7-10 minutes total, until sprouts are cooked but still crunchy.
- Add quinoa to the pan of veggies and mix well. Serve hot or cold. (I topped mine with goat cheese crumbles – SO GOOD!)
This made about four salad-sized servings – can’t wait to eat it for lunch later this week.
I am the definition of a breakfast person.
I could eat it three times a day – eggs for breakfast, cereal for lunch, crepes for dinner. Bring me to a diner at any hour and I am 99.9% likely to order hash and poached eggs. I simply can’t live without a good meal to start off my day. But when I combine my love for breakfast with my tendency to hit snooze a million times (right family?), it gets to be an expensive habit that ends up with me stopped in at Dunks on my way to work.
Luckily, I saw this pin the other day and decided to whip up some planned-ahead breakfasts so I could save some money and time in the morning. These tartlets came out great, and in 45 minutes, I was able to pack up 6 healthy breakfasts to eat and freeze for the week ahead.
Quiche Breakfast Tartlets
- 5-8 oz of baby spinach
- 1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 2 links chicken sausage (optional)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (low-fat preferred, or another kind of shredded cheese works too!)
- 3 eggs and 6 egg whites (I use them from the carton) (alternatively, you can use 5 eggs)
- Dash skim milk
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a frying pan, heat up 1 tsp olive oil and cook the mushrooms. Cut the chicken sausage into small pieces (1/2 dime sized or so) and add to mushrooms, browning lightly. Remove from pan. Wilt spinach in frying pan. add to mushrooms and sausage.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into lightly greased muffin tins, making sure that each section has all types of filling as well as some liquid.
- Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until edges are browned and tops are solid. Remove from tins and let sit before freezing/storing.
By the end, you should have 12 muffin-sized crustless quiches (mine actually made 5 mini muffins as well – use it all up!) which are each worth 2 PointsPlus each (I recommend two as one serving). In one travel-sized bite, you have cheese, eggs, meat, and veggies, or as I like to call it “perfection.”
These quiches are super versatile to whatever you have in your kitchen – asparagus and red pepper, cheese and more cheese, garlic and onion, you name it. My recommendation: go light on the fat, especially in the cheese. I only had full fat cheddar around, and these were a little more oily than I would usually eat, but they’re still quite healthy and definitely delicious.
What’s your go-to breakfast food?
Things I love: coming home to the smell of something cooking.
Things I hate: anything that could feasibly burn my house down.
I have a bit of a complicated relationship with the idea of crockpots. I just don’t trust them. I know that they work for tons of people, but I just can’t wrap my head around intentionally leaving something cooking in my kitchen when I’m so far away. So in my quest to get over this, I decided to take on a classic crockpot recipe today – with a twist – while I was out and about in the neighborhood.
The results were confidence inspiring and actually amazingly delicious – more so than anything I’ve made this way before. The recipe is modified from a “Crockpot: the original slow cooker” cookbook I nabbed for $5 outside of Borders once upon a time.
Other than the delicious taste, this recipe wins because it just involves chopping some things up (no braising the meat, etc.), cooks at one temp the whole time, and doesn’t require you to buy tons of things you’ll never use in another recipe. It’s also adaptable to almost any veggie – you can just use this as a starting point. Definitely recommend for anyone who’s looking to spice up the old classic this winter!
Asian Beef Stew – Crockpot Style
- 1 onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 1/2 pounds round steak, cut up – I got mine pre-cut into stew meat sized chunks at the deli
- 1 head of celery, sliced
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced – make your slices pretty thin, my carrots still had some crunch to them!
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (really, can use as little as 1 cup or as much as you want)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup beef broth (look for low sodium and low fat versions)
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce - the one weird ingredient!
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Combine onion, beef, celery, carrots, and mushrooms in a large crockpot (the book recommends the 5-quart version, as though you have multiple sizes just filling your cupboards).
- Combine orange juice, beef broth, hoisin sauce, cornstarch, and curry powder in a small bowl – whisk together until cornstarch is dissolved.
- Pour into crockpot and give it a good stir – cover and cook on high for 5 hours or until the beef is tender. When the beef is almost done (go ahead, peek!), stir in a cup of frozen peas and cook for a final 20 minutes or so.
Serve over rice, share, freeze, and enjoy!
This is definitely going in my list of easy favorites. It has a great warmth to it, between the spiciness of the sauce and the curry. The beef was so tender and tasty – I’m really looking forward to eating this all week. Seriously!
What’s your favorite crockpot creation? Had any major flops you learned along the way?
Yes, it exists. I love tofu in any form, but this recipe is the only one I can make and want to eat the tofu raw, and a few pieces usually get sacrificed to “taste testing” before they can reach the pan.
All it takes is mixing a few items together:
2 tbps Mirin (a sweet Japanese seasoning made from rice alcohol – keep this in your cupboard for tons of recipes!)
1 tbsp sesame oil (hint: you can get this cheap at the Christmas Tree Shop! I use it basically every day.)
1 tsp Tamari (soy sauce)
1 tsp Teriyaki sauce (I used the low sodium version)
Cut up the tofu into small cubes and pour the sauce over the top. If you have time, try to marinade for an hour or two, stirring every once in a while. If you’re in a rush, just let this sit while you prep everything else.
You can either add the extra sauce to the pan after, or use it on a side dish – I threw mine, along with some extra Mirin and Tamari, over some asparagus I was cooking at the same time. Incredible!
What’s your favorite way to give tofu some flavor?
Or should I say basil with quinoa and tofu? Basil is clearly the star of this dish, and the delivery of a massive amount of fresh basil from the Ward’s garden (thanks, Sarabeth!) inspired me to go this route in the first place. This is by far the most complicated dish I’ve ever made without having to go to the store on the way home – a major accomplishment in my book, unlikely to be repeated anytime soon.
This dish is perfect for a summer night like last night – it’s refreshing, light, and doesn’t involve too much time over the stove. And the way I portioned it, it makes six servings that will last me for lunch and dinner the rest of the week. Less time cooking later, more time enjoying those late summer evenings! What’s your go-to summer meal? Here’s how mine came together (inspired by this post):
Quinoa with Tofu and Basil
- 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
- 1 pack of tofu (I used Trader Joe’s Extra Firm High Protein kind – better than I expected!), chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange would work), cored, seeded, and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 20 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Start by cooking the quinoa – put 1 cup of uncooked quinoa along with 2 cups of water in a pot, and heat to a boil. After boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. If quinoa doesn’t seem soft by that point, add a cup of water and continue to simmer until water is absorbed – repeat as needed. When soft, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat oil over medium heat and then add tofu, stirring until lightly brown (about 5 minutes).
- Add onion and garlic to the pan with tofu – stir. After about 2 minutes, add in peppers and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add lemon juice and basil to tofu and vegetables – then mix together with quinoa.
Serve it hot or cold, with grated Parmesan on top as desired. (1 serving = 1/6 of the total = 7 PointsPlus)
You can adapt this to whatever you have around the house – tomatoes, squash, tempeh, etc. – the same basic recipe is a great start to any veggie and quinoa stir-fry. Enjoy!
Want more quinoa? Check out my quinoa and cheese recipe here!
Not only was it Pi Day this week (or “pee” day, as my European friends say it), it was my turn to make something tasty for Pie Day Friday at work. Since we decided that “round things” qualified as pies whether or not they had a bottom crust, I tested this new recipe out on my colleagues. Let’s just say we ate it all in one sitting and the inside of my lips are still blue.
This would be delicious with tea and homemade whipped cream – it’s sweet, but not cloyingly so, and just tastes really fresh, hot or cold. I based my recipe off of this one, with a bunch of changes (especially in the spices, where they asked for cardamon which costs $18 at the store!! I went for everyday spices instead, and never looked back).
Lemon Blueberry Cobbler
- 2 cups fresh of frozen blueberries (one small bag of frozen did it for me)
- zest from 1 medium lemon
- juice from 1 medium lemon
- 1/3 cup sugar (more, if you want!)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (double if you’re using frozen blueberries, they tend to give off a lot more liquid)
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F).
- Mix together blueberries, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and cornstarch with a spoon until well mixed. Transfer to a round pie plate or baking dish.
- Sift together (or mix lightly) the dry ingredients, then add cream and mix until a dough starts to form. The original recipe says to make this into five discrete dumplings, but I spread mine around like one big crust (less fighting!) and it worked really well.
- Bake at 400 for about 30-35 minutes, until the cobbler topping is cooked through and slightly brown. (Mine took 45 minutes because my oven hates me.)
By the time it had cooled overnight, all the liquid was absorbed and it was really easy to transfer (and delicious when we ate it hours later!) Eat and enjoy!
How did you celebrate Pi Day? What’s your favorite kind of pie or cobbler?
Since I made this risotto a few weeks ago, I’ve been planning to try another batch to see if its deliciousness was a fluke or if making risotto really can be that easy and amazing. The answer: YES IT CAN!
I made this tasty risotto the other night using Archer Farms four cheese risotto mix. While the risotto was cooking, I cooked up some chopped onions and thawed frozen cauliflower with some garlic, oregano, and rosemary. When the risotto had about 8 minutes left, I tossed in the veggie mixture, and finished with 1 tsp butter and 2 tbsp grated parmesan. The result was perfecto (and I didn’t even burn my mouth on it!!)! I have a few packets left (yes, I stocked up the last time I went to Target), and I’m already thinking about what I can throw into the pot next.
What’s your favorite risotto? Have you tried any like mine here and here?
Holy cookbook, Batman – I just had some of the best (and easiest to make) risotto of my life and it came from Target.
I picked up a pack of Archer Farms Wild Mushroom risotto at our local Target solely because it was $1.79. I was skeptical of the instructions on the back, which skipped the steps one usually sees in risotto (warming up the risotto, adding water gradually and letting it absorb, etc.) and instead involved just boiling water, adding the risotto and seasoning packet, and stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Impossibly simple, right? I started sautéing the risotto while I considered the recipe on the box. About 2 minutes in, I decided that it was worth seeing if this crazy recipe worked – AND IT DID. Here’s what I ended up with:
- Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil.
- Add risotto and seasoning packet to the boiling water and cook for 17-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sauté 3 cloves of chopped garlic. When lightly cooked, dd to the pot.
- Sauté 1 onion, chopped into small pieces. When tender, add to the pot.
- Risotto done yet? Cool! Mine needed another 1/2 a cup of water and enough time for it to be almost entirely absorbed.
- Add 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese and 1 tsp butter to the finished product – stir well.
That’s it! Katie agrees – utterly delicious. Just try not to burn your mouth on the first bite like I just did and you’ll probably enjoy it even more!
I have no idea what was in that seasoning packet so I’m not sure exactly how I would replicate this without the mix, but this approach definitely takes less time and resulted in one amazing dish.
Are you a fan of risotto too? Check out my other recipe – goat cheese risotto with squash!
I did it!
With the help of Katie and Nate and encouragement from Mom, I cooked my first chicken!
It was easy to make, in theory – take out the bag inside, rub with olive oil and spices (that you should prepare beforehand so you don’t have to touch anything after you start dealing with the chicken), cook at 375 degrees for 15- 20 minutes per pound until the inside is 190 degrees (a conservative estimate, since some websites say 165). But in reality, the mess and the hassle of chopping up a full chicken – as well as the actual uncertainty about when it would be done – made it not entirely worthwhile. I’ll probably go back to tofu and salmon for my dinner staples.
Still, I’m glad I got to have this hilarious cooking adventure with my awesome friends, I got to cross this off my life list, and I am one step closer to eventually being able to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family someday!
Plus, it went great with this holiday favorite, which I’ll tell you all about later this week: