Tagged: quinoa

Pesto Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

It pains me to admit that I so rarely fiddle around with new recipes in the kitchen. When you’ve got a handful of quick recipes that make everyone happy it’s very easy to fall into a routine of just making the same things over and over again. I was feeling creative last night and with only six ingredients – ingredients that I always have on hand, but have never combined this way – I made a fabulous, healthy, and gorgeous dinner in 30 minutes. Seriously.

Pesto Pepper 2

Now I’m not going to lie to you. I have never had “traditional” stuffed peppers. I love peppers, don’t get me wrong, but I just never found the concept of mushy peppers stuffed with ground beef and rice all that appealing. Sounds pretty bland if you ask me.  This recipe is far from bland and packed with flavor! I also don’t cook the peppers to mush – I like them to have a little texture left to them. But if you like your stuffed peppers that way …

 Pesto Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

  • 2 bell peppers, sliced it in half
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts , diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  •  2 tablespoons of good quality, store bought pesto (if you have homemade, even better!)
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the peppers, open side up,  and place in the oven. Let cook for about 10 ten minutes.

While the peppers are cooking, cook the chicken breasts in a nonstick skillet sprayed with a little nonstick spray over medium high heat until cooked through – about 7 minutes. Add the spinach and cover with a lid to wilt. Add the cooked quinoa and pesto to the pan. Stir well to combine.

Remove the peppers from the oven and carefully spoon the chicken and quinoa mixture into each pepper cavity. Top each pepper with 1/4 cup the mozzarella. Return to the oven and let cook ten minutes more until the cheese is melted and begins to brown.

Let cool about 5 minutes before serving!

Pesto Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Pepper

 

 

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right – National Nutrition Month

G’day Mates!! Happy Tuesday!! I hope you’re all peachy-keen!! Me? I’m swell! I had a fabbbulous breakfast and I’m sippin’ on some tea (decaf earl gray, obvi), and I’ve decided it’s time to get serious with you for a moment!

I feel like some of you may know this already, particularly my fellow healthy living bloggers, but some of you may not.

March is National Nutrition Month!!

Never heard of it? Here’s a quick summary:

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. NNM also promotes the Academy and its members to the public and the media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically based food and nutrition information. (http://www.eatright.org/NNM/#.UxXVVvmwJiI)

I think it’s pretty evident at this point in time that proper nutrition is something that I’m extraordinarily passionate about. I’ve decided to join in on the party again this year and share my two cents with you about this year’s theme:

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right!

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, consumer research has proven time and time again that taste trumps nutrition in the majority of consumer food purchases.

This seems like it’s pretty obvious to me.  Take McDonald’s, for example. According to Forbes, McDonald’s ended 2013 with “lackluster earnings” – a measly $7.09 billion, up 2% from their 2012 fourth quarter earnings. What this says to me as a health conscious consumer (not in any way, shape, or form from a business standpoint) is that even posting the nutrition facts on menus hasn’t seemed to deter consumers from eating less McDonald’s. As such, I believe it is imperative that we all realize that healthy, whole, nutrient rich foods are just as capable of being as delicious (even more delicious, actually!) as the processed junk that so many people gravitate towards.

Now please keep in mind that I am nothing if not realistic. I absolutely understand that, sometimes, it’s really hard to make a healthy choice. We’re too busy, or too tired, or too broke, or too anything…these are all factors that impact the choices we make in fueling our bodies.  It’s too often, I think, that we forget that that’s really what food is: fuel! It’s what we need to keep our bodies functioning at their optimal levels. We need food, tasty or not, to live and to thrive – regardless of how busy, tired, and broke we all are! It doesn’t need to be hard to do. If we all take a little time to educate ourselves and fuel our bodies properly with foods that we enjoy, I know that we could all live and thrive with smiles on our faces, happy taste buds, and healthy bodies.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that use real, whole ingredients and help me Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right!

Barbecue Chicken Tortilla Pizzas

IMG_20130102_203759

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Oatmeal

proats

Greek Salad

Grilled Chili Lime Shrimp with Mango Salsa

Honey Walnut Apple Crisp

apple crisp

My Favorite Chili Recipe Ever

chili!

Sweet and Spicy Pineapple, Black Bean Quinoa

sweetandspicypineapplequinoa

Tilapia Tacos with Southwest Slaw

tilapia tacos with southwest slaw

I hope you can find inspiration in these recipes!!
How are you celebrating National Nutrition Month??
And how do you Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right??

 

 

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! WIAW #6

Now that I’m back on the blog scene I though it would only be appropriate to rejoin super fun What I Ate Wednesday link up – brought to you by Peas and Crayons! (Check out Jenn’s blog if you get the chance! I’m still meaning to make her sweet potato nachos! They look baaaannnggggiiinnnnn’!) Also, it’s freeeeezing outside. So I deemed it necessary to title my post as such. I’ve also been listening to the She & Him version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside – which I adore – on my “Christmas Tree Jams” playlist on Grooveshark. It’s a pretty fabulous playlist, and includes a festive combination of  the Muppets, Peanuts, Michael Bublé, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby,  annnnnd Justin Beiber. #noshame

Anywho – here’s my Wednesday of food!


Breakfast: Two Wegman’s brand organic flax waffles topped with two tablespoons of PB&CO Mighty Maple and a sliced banana. Also, “hot chocolate” made with warm nonfat milk and 2 teaspoons of Hershey’s special dark syrup. I’ve been drinking SO MUCH of this lately. It’s helping with my milk craving AND any desire I have for sweets. I was super full after this breakfast I didn’t snack at all until lunch time!

breakfast

Lunch: Now I understand that visually, this is not the most appealing photo I’ve ever taken. Buuuuut….my lunch was effing delicious. I’m obsessed with Morning Star Farm’s Veggie Corn Dogs. Corn dogs were one of my more favorite carnival treats as a kid (that, and chicken fries, and waffles with ice cream) and these babies taste just as delicious as I remember for only 150 calories plus 8 grams of protein and only 2.5 grams of fat. With it I had some baby carrots and some leftover quinoa & cheese from last night. Holy goodness, I could (and plan to) eat that quinoa & cheese every day forever. QUICK NO RECIPE-RECIPE: Cook 1.5 cups quinoa in 1.5 cups chicken stock. When it’s just about done add 2. oz fat free cream cheese, 4 oz. shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, and a sprinkle of garlic powder. Stir it up until it’s melted then try not to devour the entire pot.

lunch


Snack: One lil’ Blackberry Blended chobani yogurt. These are so delicious…and adorable! I’m a sucker for anything mini!

yogurt

Boy do I love this yogurt! I was also all smiles because it wasn’t -10 degrees in my office today. Hooray!

goofyVitamins: Next up are my prenatal vitamins!!! I have these guys every day after lunch. I have a history of getting sick after taking vitamins, so I’m so thrilled I’ve found ones that don’t make me ill. These are just OTC store Target brand prenatals, and they are delicious! They taste like a less sour version of sour patch kids and they are just delightful.

vitamins

Snack: Today’s #elf4health challenge was to pack a healthy snack for you and a friend! I pack my hubby’s lunch on the daily, and our snacks are typically quite healthy. Today I packed some peanut butter chocolate chip larabars…which in my personal opinion are the best larabars everrrrrrrr!

snackDinner: Dinner was a little random tonight. I went for a hair cut right after work and my husband decided he didn’t want to wait for me to get home for dinner. C’est la vie!! I was going to make us some simple tilapia with a salad, but since it was just me I figured I’d do something quick and fun! I took garlic, olive oil, spinach, and cherry tomatoes, sauteed them until the spinach wilted, and added two French Onion Laughing Cow cheese wedges and let them melt into the spinach. I spread that on top of a nice hearty piece of wheat toast and throw two eggs (cooked over-hard) on top. Simple, qiuck, delicious. I also whipped up a quick little pomegranete spritzer – just Pom juice and some Polar Bear Pomegranate Seltzer – just for funsies!

eggs for dinner

Now, I plan to snuggle up on the couch with my baby Quincy watching My Grandmother’s Ravioli with Mo Rocca on the Cooking Channel. I just need to stay awake for Top Chef tonight!!

I’m not going to lie – I’ll probably munch on a handful of my dark chocolate and pumpkin seed trail mix I picked up at the trail mix bar at Wegmans last week, but you guys don’t need to see that!! Happy Hump Day!

 

A Little Bit Sweet & A Little Bit Spicy

No, no, no.

We’re not talking about me…though my husband might beg to differ…(HEYO!)

What we are talking about are these deliciously, fantastically, awesomely, wonderfully (I could do this all day) spectacular recipes I’m about to share with you. (YES! I did say RECIPES – You’ve got a twofer today!)

Personally, I LOVE sweet and spicy things! I also love that according to  Women’s Health that makes me trendy (at least my food anyway…). Give me a nice fruit salsa with an extra dose of  jalapeños or some chocolate and chili peppers, like this old gem of mine – White Chocolate, Cranberry, and Chile De Arbol Bread Pudding – and I’ll be happy as a clam.

(Note to self…make that bread pudding again ASAP! )

I’ve even tried Tabasco Ice Cream, and let me tell you, it was awesome!  I just find something so pleasurable about indulging in flavors that compliment and contrast each other at the same time. I can never say no to something sweet and spicy. Can you?

(Second note to self…you gave up bread for Lent, fool, make it for Easter!)

You can enjoy this recipe hot or cold, and with or without the Spicy Lime Tilapia (below) I served it with!

Sweet & Spicy Pineapple
& Black Bean Quinoa

  •  1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water/chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, cubed (I use the canned stuff  until summer time. Still super delicious!)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Cilantro, chopped, to taste (I use SO MUCH! Because I love it. But if you’re not a fan go ahead and leave it out or sub in parsley.)
  • 1 juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Season with cumin, garlic, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the quinoa and stir to combine. Add the water and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and let simmer – covered – for about 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Add the black beans, pineapple, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice. Stir gently to combine and cover five minute more until the beans and pineapple are heated through. Serve topped with more cilantro if you’re a freak, like me!

sweetandspicypineapplequinoa

 

Spicy Lime Tilapia

  • 2 tilapia filets
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • The juice and zest of 1 lime

Combine the spices and lime zest in a small dish. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of the tilapia filets.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over high heat. Add the seasoned tilapia filets and let cook for about 5 minutes.

Carefully flip with a spatula and continue cooking for about 2 minutes more.

Add the lime juice to the pan and cover. Reduce heat to low and let cook 2 to 4 minutes more or until the fish is cooked through.

Serve with sweet & spicy pineapple & black bean quinoa!!

spicylimetilapia

This is one BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHY, SWEET & SPICY  meal you don’t want to miss out on.

Happy Monday & Morning Munchies

Happy Monday, everyone!!

I love a good breakfast – I’m sure most of ya’ll have figured that out by now.

Just about every Saturday morning  (and some Sundays, too!) I  typically make my husband three scrambled eggs with American cheese, a big cup of black coffee, and two slices of buttered whole wheat toast. Although I enjoy preparing my hubby breakfast, especially when he asks me to do so ever-so-adorably,  sometimes it’s really hard to time it so that we can sit down and enjoy our breakfast together when I want something different (which is always, because I don’t care for scrambled eggs!). This weekend, though, I found a solution!

Note: I hope ya’ll have been enjoying my quinoa recipes, because here comes another one!! I  can’t help myself!! It’s so quick to cook up, so versatile, and soooooooooooo tasty! The fact that this stuff is actually good for me is the best bonus ever!

This recipe is really quite simple and I made it WHILE I had John’s eggs cooking away. By the time the toast was buttered, my breakfast was good to go, too!! It keeps great in the fridge if you make extra, too, btw! I still have some left for later this week that I can’t wait to indulge in.

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

makes 2 servings

  • 1 cup nonfat milk (soy or almond milk would be delightful, too, I just always have skim milk on hand)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey (plus extra for drizzling as you see fit)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup apple. chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Pour the milk into a small pot and bring it to a gentle boil. Add the vanilla and the quinoa, stir to combine, and cover. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook 15 minutes. (The milk looks scary sometimes and may bubble up to the lid. Just remove the lid and stir if this happens, it’ll all turn out fine!) Remove from heat and let sit with the lid on for 5 minutes more. Stir in the honey and cinnamon.  Serve topped with chopped apple, almonds, and more honey and cinnamon if you like! (I also poured a little extra milk on mine…I’m not sure why really…to make it like a cross breed of hot and cold cereal maybe? I just thought it was a good idea at the timebreakfast quinoa. It was. 🙂 )