Archive for the 'quinoa' Category

03
Jan
12

whole wheat carbonara & spicy turkey burgers.

Ah, blog! Look at you! It’s been ages! There’s soo much to catch up on. Like, where to begin? Let’s begin with the sweaty side of things. First off, I am fully committed to spin, I’ve found a dance class I just lurve, and I joined a fancy new gym that actually makes me want to partake in Jacob’s Ladder cardio machines and saunas and shit. I just want to go inSANE. Rut, you have officially been beaten. All signs are pointing to 2012 being the most well rounded fitness year yet. No longer will I fall into trendy fitness money sucks or obsessive cardio. It turns out that, despite several attempts at brainwashing, I have not been lacking the secret to fitness or food intake. Not in the least. The key is simply moderation and variety, and I, like, vow not to forget that this year. I’m thisclose to conquering both. Insert evil laugh ‘here.’ Muahaha.

I recently discovered Weight Watchers recipes are kinda fun. They take foods I like and make them less fatty! Now that sounds like something I’d be into. I’ve always been terrified/fascinated of a few meals that are infamous for being incredibly indulgent and defibrillator-compatible. One of those is spaghetti carbonara, which has been on my “sigh, if I had 6 more inches of height, I’d totally eat a bowl of that one day post day-long boot camp sesh and not follow it by 6 straight hours of self loathing” wish list for decades. Imagine my surprise when I found this whole wheat carbonara recipe! Delightful.

Ingredients:

whole wheat carbonara

8 oz uncooked whole-wheat spaghetti
3 slices turkey bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 large egg, beaten
1 large egg white, beaten
6 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 c baby spinach
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

I altered the recipe a little, since the original called for regular bacon and no spinach. I added that in for funsies.

Anyways, you start by cooking the pasta as instructed on the box. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over a medium-low heat. Add bacon and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crisp, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove garlic; leave bacon and bacon fat in skillet. Add spaghetti to skillet; toss well, add spinach, cook until just wilted. Remove from heat. Add eggs and cheese; toss well to coat. Season to taste, and eat immediately. ‘Twas a good diet version. I may be ready to try the real thing at some point. Of course, I’ll have to wait for a day with ample time to self-loathe afterward.

I’ve also become pretty enamored with the Whole Foods app on my phone. What? I can juggle multiple apps. I made this Tomato Bulgur soup with quinoa a few weeks ago:

tomato quinoa soup

Ingredients:
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat (I used quinoa)
1 (14-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon feta cheese crumbles (optional)

In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring 1/2 cup broth to a simmer. Add onion and garlic and cook about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent and tender. Stir in coriander and cinnamon and cook 1 minute. Add quinoa and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. As I said, the recipe calls for bulgur. Nothing against the original star, but I happened to have some unused quinoa just hanging out in my freezer, so that’s why I went with the substitute. Add remaining 3 1/2 cups broth and tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Stir in lemon juice. Garnish with parsley and feta.

Ugh, I LOVE this soup. It has all the Indian and Moroccan spices one could ask for, and I’m a big fan of any soup that you top with lemon juice, parsley and feta. So delicious. I highly recommend this one.

One of my less successful dishes came in the form of spaghetti squash. To be fair, I didn’t follow a recipe and just improvised, but that’s because I was totally sold by some infomercial where a woman makes it due to her easy-chop device and I thought it was about time I tried that, sans device.

Ingredients:

spaghetti squash pasta

1 spaghetti squash
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
cocktail tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp basil, fresh, chopped
3 tbsp Parmesan, grated

I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees like a recipe instructed, and cut the squash in half length-wise. I scooped out the seeds and pulp and baked the squash for about an hour. At this point, I was starvles the clown yet it was still tough to the touch. I had eaten more than a socially acceptable amount of Parmesan while waiting for the squash, so I had a “eff this” moment and made do. I cut the squash into fry-like pasta and topped with tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and Parmesan. Don’t judge me. It was decently delicious, actually, because you can’t really go wrong with that combo.

Continuing on my quest of have less-fatty versions of foods I fantasize about, I decided to make turkey burgers tonight. I found this great recipe on Epicurious and made a few adjustments, as per usual. Since it was a holiday (?) today, I was off work and able to make it to Trader Joe’s at the off-peak-ish hour of 2 p.m. Since there was no cranky elderly lady ramming into me with her obscenely full cart, I was able to actually browse. I ended up buying some of my old stand-bys from the earliest days of this here blog! Like, I got my Habanero Lime salsa and this Champagne-Pear Vinagrette I almost proposed to back in ’09! It was magical.

lover from '09

Ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
1/2 c Panko bread crumbs
1 cup Habanero Lime salsa
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
cooking spray

I altered this recipe quite a bit. The original called for cilantro, but I had parsley on hand so I went with that. Also, I added in the bread crumbs to help the burgers stick and eliminated the vegetable oil to save calories. All proved to be nice alterations.

You start by mixing the ground turkey, bread crumbs, salsa, shallots, parsley, hot sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Shape turkey mixture into six round patties. The recipe said 4, but I found this makes 6 quite large patties.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add cooking spray. Add burgers; cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low. Sauté until burgers are cooked through, about 4 minutes, turning occasionally.

I roasted some kale and mushrooms in a 375 degree oven with a couple of cloves of minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. I served this fancy garlic aioli mustard sauce atop the burger and alongside the kale. Delicious. My champagne-pear vinagrette better watch out. It can be replaced. See below:

spicy turkey burger, roasted kale and mushrooms

31
Oct
11

spinning round two, pumpkin soup.

Breaking news: I am ready to give spin another chance! I know; I’m just as shocked as you are, Sweaty/Spicy masses. It seemed we were wholly unmatched when I attended my first 6 a.m. class nearly three years ago, but it’s possible there was just a learning curve to dealing with the pitch black room, blasting techo and overly amped-potentially-roided-out instructors? Either that, or tastes change and that’s what I now consider motivation? In any event, I went to a class here last Friday, and I’m dying to return. The class was short (45 minutes), I sweat (buckets), and I got two entirely separate endorsements of how toned Soul Cycle-enthusiasts become (once they drop several hundies). SOLD.

This new obsession couldn’t have come at a better time, because I’m starting to lose my daily gym motivation as it’s turning to Winter far too early. It’s just not the same when you need to strip away 17 layers of clothing to change into gym clothes at lunch. And going before or after work is out of the question these days. The days are getting shorter and it’s already getting darker earlier, and that’s a notorious motivation assassin. Blerg.

I’m making more of an effort to eat healthy these days to make up for my gym aversion, though. I made this quinoa primavera courtesy of my Whole Foods app:

Ingredients:

quinoa primavera

1 c quinoa
2 c water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ c finely chopped red onion
½ lb asparagus, ends cut off and discarded, the rest cut into spears
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c frozen peas, thawed
1 c shredded cooked chicken
1 c thinly sliced spinach leaves
1 tsp paprika (my addition)
juice of one lemon (my addition)
salt and pepper, to taste

You start by rinsing quinoa under cold water, and then drain it. Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed.

I had no cooked chicken in the house, so I bought thin breasts and seasoned them with paprika, salt and pepper. I baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, and removed from the oven.

Meanwhile, I heated the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and then added onion and asparagus. Cook about 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and peas, cook for one more minute. Stir in chicken and quinoa, add spinach and stir until it wilts, 3-5 minutes. I added lemon juice, salt and pepper, and ate.

Admittedly, this dish is kind of bland. I hate to waste food, so I added hot sauce when I ate it the next few nights. In retrospect, it would have been good if it were made to be creamy, so I think next time I’ll add Greek yogurt or something to give it some body.

That was the first Whole Foods app recipe I made, and it was kind of a fail despite looks. I learned my lesson judging the spin class too soon last time, and have deprived myself of nearly 3 years of a rock hard bod because of it. And, so, I gave it another chance.

I made a kale, mushroom and polenta sauté courtesy of the Whole Foods app.

kale, mushroom, tomato and polenta saute

Ingredients:

Canola oil cooking spray
½ lb button mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes (my addition)
red onion, sliced (my addition)
5 Roma tomatoes, slice (my addition, it called for sundried tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1 18-oz roll pre-cooked polenta, sliced
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese

I learned my lesion before with the bland quinoa recipe, so I manipulated this one a bit. You start by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat with cooking spray. The recipe actually calls for olive oil, but I’m not one for greasy kale so I went spray instead. Add onions, mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic and polenta, and cook for another few. Add kale and ¼ c water, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another couple of minutes until the kale wilts. Toss well, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and serve in a bowl. Top with Parmesan, and consume.

I’ve made many iterations of kale, but this has to be one of my favorites. It ties with the cannellini beans and lemon juice recipe, which is one of my old stand-bys. Delicious. Whole Foods app, you’ve redeemed yourself.

Now that it’s basically committed to Winter outside, I’ve decided it’s time to start making soups. Unfortunately, my immersion blender croaked earlier this summer while I was making salsa (sigh), and so I bought a new one earlier today. It’s Halloween weekend, so I figured it would be economically sound if I made a pumpkin soup that also happens to be a Weight Watchers recipe.

Don’t mind if I do.

adorbs

Ingredients:

3 ½ lb pumpkin
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 c vegetable broth
1 ½ tsp fresh sage, minced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

This guy has nothing to do with anything, but I thought he was precious so he made this blog’s guest list.

You start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut pumpkin in half, horizontally, and scoop out seeds and membranes. Set pumpkin halves cut-side down, place garlic clove under each half. Bake one hour.

I baked these earlier this afternoon as make-ahead, and then stored them in the refrigerator as I dragged myself to yoga. I will never understand why I go to yoga so begrudgingly, but I’m always so insanely proud I went. It’s one of life’s mysteries, I suppose.

Later on, I scooped the pumpkin flesh out of the shells into a large bowl. Add garlic and two cups of broth. I then pureed with the immersion blender, which not surprisingly resulted in a kitchen covered in pumpkin guts. After the mixture is smooth, pour the puree into a large saucepan. Stir in remaining one cup of broth, sage, salt, allspice and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Top with sage and serve.

I would add butter to this soup and a little heavy cream; although I’m not surprised Weight Watchers omitted those two fatties. They’ll make the guest list next time:

pumpkin soup with sage

 

24
Nov
10

veggie topped quinoa, beet salad.

There was a time when I’d regularly allocate $12-$15 for a week’s worth of food, and then I’d stay within those parameters. I’d invest in some Poor Man’s Food, such as eggplant or polenta, and stretch that out over 5 or 6 meals. A solitary green bean was my go-to side dish, and bread was rationed to the point of absurdity. These days, I’m eating gold on the regular. Platinum is my choice side dish, and when my sweet tooth kicks in I reach for some diamonds. And yet, I still appreciate some veggie-centric Poor Man’s Food. Especially in pre-Thanksgiving starvation phase. Nothing but water and laxatives until prom!

Last week, I made a vegetable stir-fry atop quinoa.

quinoa with veggies

Ingredients:
1 eggplant, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2-3 dashes of Cholula
salt and pepper to taste
1 c quinoa

I started by sauteeing the onion in olive oil, and then added in the bell pepper, eggplant and mushrooms. I added in the garlic after everything was starting to soften, and then I topped with lemon juice, olive oil and Cholula. Meanwhile, I cooked the quinoa as instructed on the box. Dinner in 20 minutes? Can DO.

On the sweaty side of things, I’ve been doing cardio for about an hour a day. What?! It’s true. All the better to go with the straight veggie diet, my dear. I even had an impressive two hour stint on the elliptical while watching “The Biggest Loser” a few weeks ago. I don’t typically consume 4,000 calories in one sitting, so I’m doing my best to get lean and mean before Thanksgiving.

I roasted my first beets the other day, also. I went with two red and one golden, and they came out pretty unattractive. Luckily, I’m not too deterred by looks, so I saw the potential. I actually put together a pretty little salad featuring my beets.

roasted beets

Ingredients:
2 c arugula
1 red beet, roasted and sliced
1 golden beet, roasted and sliced
1/8 c feta cheese
1/3 gala apple, sliced
1 tbsp grey poupon mustard
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar
salt and pepper, to taste

I pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees and scrubbed the dirt off the beets as best as I could. I had the foresight to use kitchen gloves so as not to marroonify my hands, though I neglected to change my white shirt pre-scrubbing. Whoops. Ruined shirt notwithstanding, I cleaned my beets and moved on.

I drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and wrapped them in aluminum foil. I roasted for 30-40 minutes, and pulled them out of the oven to cool. Meanwhile, I mixed together the Grey Poupon mustard, agave, black pepper and sherry vinegar for a dressing. I sliced my apple, and created a bed with the arugula. I removed the skin off my beets, and then I sliced those. I combined the beets, apple, and feta, and then I topped with my honey-agave vinaigrette. So very tasty, and much more attractive than they were in their inception:

beet and apple salad with honey agave vinagrette.

11
Mar
10

quinoa stuffed bell peppers, scallops and asparagus.

I have been running, like, so very much. Like, legit running. As in, I went for a five mile run on Saturday, and followed that up with a four mile run on Sunday. It doesn’t hurt that it’s been gorgeous out with a chance of pleasant. I’ve been walking around just spewing rainbows and sunshine at everything in sight since the weather finally decided to up and ditch the “30 degrees and blustery.” Spring is happening any day now, and I could not be more thrilled. I took this picture of me doing bicycle crunches – which I typically loathe – on Sunday:

me, crunching

I also have to be swimsuit ready by the end of the month, when I take off to Pueurto Vallarta for a few days. I would looove to lose the 10 or so lbs I’ve gained honestly with my fair share of peanut butter and the inability to turn down a cookie, hard or soft. I’m upping the ante with the working out, and my foods these days need to be those that aid in a Gisele physique.

Last night, I made some stuffed peppers with quinoa. WTF is quinoa, you ask? In short, it’s a grainy thing that tastes like a slightly crunchy couscous. I bought the red kind, because in a weird way it makes me feel earthy and Native American, and that’s appealing to me.

I started by cooking the quinoa in 2 cups of water for about 15 minutes as instructed by the box. Meanwhile, I chopped the tomatoes and parsley. I mixed all three together, and added a couple tablespoons of olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste. Then, I cut the tops off both my peppers, and then cut the ribs right on out of there. I stood them up in a casserole dish, and then did a Giada trick and filled the pan with 3 cups of veggie stock. This keeps the peppers moist and whatnot. I covered the peppers in aluminum foil, and then baked for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Then, I removed the top, and covered them in parmesan cheese. Then, I baked for 15 minutes until they looked like this:

quinoa stuffed bell peppers

Ingredients:

1 cup red quinoa, cooked

2 bell peppers (one orange, one yellow)

1/4 c feta cheese

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

6 heirloom tomatoes, chopped

shredded parmesan cheese, shreddded

3 c vegetable stock

Nice, right? They tasted like something Pocahontas would get down on for sure. Ignore the murky looking veggie stock with bits of filling floating around. There’s nothing to see there.

Earlier this week, I made a much more photogenic dish of scallops and asparagus. I can’t take credit for the recipe, because I pretty much just followed this recipe step by step. It was my first time with scallops, though, so pardon my lack of originality for my virgin voyage:

Ingredients:

1 lb asparagus

3 tbsp olive oil

2 lbs scallops, muscle removed

1/2 stick of butter

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

Technically, the recipe wanted me to add 1/3 c of white wine, but I didn’t have any so I went without. I started by sauteeing the chopped asparagus in the olive oil for about 5-6 minutes, and then was instructed to remove them from the skillet. Then, I seasoned the scallops with salt and pepper, and then seared them in the skillet until they turned opaque. So that took about 2-3 minutes for each side. I then removed them from the skillet, and whisked the butter and white wine vinegar until it became frothy and such. I added the asparagus back in AGAIN, and coated them in the saucy mix. I topped the scallops with the asparagus like epicurious wanted, and then made it all disappear. Delicious, and so very attractive. See below:

seared sea scallops and asparagus




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