Monday, January 26, 2015

Quinoa and Black Bean Double Decker Tacos

Got this idea from a not-so-healthy fast food restaurant and made it my own. I love this because the kids can eat it without the hard taco shell falling apart on them, the flour tortilla helps keep it together.

These are a favorite of ours because of the taste, but it's a favorite of mine because it's meatless, doesn't require utensils, and is cheap and healthy to make. You can change it according to your families taste, but this is how we do it.

To make the 'taco meat':
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup chicken (or veggie) broth
1 packet of taco seasoning

Bring above ingredients to boil and simmer until quinoa is cooked (12-15 minutes). Add a can of black beans, drained and rinsed. Ta-da , you have your meatless 'taco meat'.

1 package of 12 hard taco shells
12 small as you can find flour tortillas
1 can refried beans (vegetarian version if you like)
Meatless 'taco meat' (above)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Diced tomatoes
Shredded lettuce
Your favorite taco sauce, salsa, or hot sauce

Prepare the hard taco shells according to package directions. Then take a flour tortilla and spread the refried beans on it in a thin layer, like your putting jam on toast. Carefully wrap around the hard taco shell to adhere them together. Fill your taco with meatless 'taco meat', cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and taco sauce. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"I don't have time" Dinner

Here is the answer to the question "what's for dinner?" on those nights when you just don't have time. This is also a great dish to take to someone in need of a meal. Just prepare it in an foil casserole dish.

In at 9x13 baking dish you layer halved new (red) potatoes, chicken breast (or pork chops), and fresh green beans (not canned).

You then sprinkle a package of dry Italian salad dressing mix over everything and pour 1/2 a stick melted butter over everything. You cover it with foil an bake it at 350 for one hour. Let side for 10 minutes, and you have dinner in one pan.

Stole this from

Asian Quinoa Meatballs

If you don't know how to cook quinoa click here for a very easy video to show you how. Tip: I always cook mine in chicken broth, not water.

1 pound ground turkey
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
1 large egg
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sesame seeds, for garnish

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, quinoa, garlic, onions, egg, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch meatballs, forming about 18-20 meatballs.

Place meatballs onto the prepared baking dish and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until all sides are browned and meatballs are cooked through.

To make the sauce, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium high heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Stir into soy sauce mixture until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Serve meatballs immediately with sauce, garnished with green onion and sesame seeds.

From the wonderful website:

Roasted Green Beans and Carrots

Way easy side I came up with. I hate green beans but know I should eat them. My sister in law loves to roast whatever veggie she is eating for dinner, so I thought I would try it with green beans. She also said that I had to try roasted carrots, that the sweetness of the carrot was intensified when roasted and it was delicious. So this is what I did:

Take the biggest baking sheet pan you have and line it with foil. On one side put 4-5 handfuls of fresh, or frozen fresh green beans. On the other side 1/2 lb. carrots, grated and sliced into chunks.

Drizzle about 3-4 TBS olive oil on the veggies and toss with hands to cover all the pieces in oil. Sprinkle with salt.

Bake in 425 degree over for until the ends of the green beans get crispy brown and the carrots have shrunken a little in size, about 12-17 minutes. Serve Immediately. Delicious!

Salmon with Balsamic Honey Glaze

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6-8 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

Combine the first six ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until thickened. Place salmon skin side down on a greased baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon glaze over salmon; top with oregano.

Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

1 pound penne pasta, cooked
1 pound sweet sausage (I used sage)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
2 TBS fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 can +1 cup chicken broth
1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile in an large skillet brown sausage then remove from pan and keep on a plate lined with a paper towel. Add onion and saute in the sausage drippings for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and sage and broth. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and stir to combine. Add sausage back in bring back to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add pasta and toss. Serve with parmesan cheese on top.

Veggie Lo Mein

1/2 lb. thin spaghetti
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 cups snow peas
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1 cup fresh bean sprouts (optional)
1 inch of ginger root, peeled and minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 soy sauce
2 TBS sesame oil

Boil pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile in a large skillet or wok add oil and heat on medium high. Add snow peas, pepper, onions, water chestnuts, and sprouts. Toss to coat in oil and cook about 5-8 minutes. Add ginger root and garlic and mix in for a minute or two.

Drain pasta and add to veggies, then pour soy sauce and sesame oil over. Remove from heat and gently toss. Serve immediately.

*Note: edamame, broccoli or mushrooms would be delicious to add as well. You can also add shrimp, chicken, or beef, but then it wouldn't be veggie low mein, would it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Greek Marinated Roasted Chicken

1 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ Tbsp dried oregano
Zest and juice of  1 lemon
½ tsp salt
freshly cracked pepper
¼ bunch fresh parsley
3½ to 4 lbs chicken pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the yogurt, olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt, lemon zest and  juice, and some freshly cracked pepper in a bowl. Stir until the ingredients are well combined. Roughly chop a big handful, or about ¼ bunch, of parsley and stir it into the marinade.

Add the chicken pieces and marinade to a gallon sized zip top bag. Remove as much air as possible, close the bag tightly, and massage the bag to mix the contents and make sure the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate the bag for 30 minutes.

Put the chicken pieces in a large casserole dish (9x13). Bake the chicken in the preheated 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Adapted from

Apple Poppyseed Coleslaw

I'm not a fan of coleslaw, but this I had to try! There is no added sugar, but the green apple adds a wonderful sweetness. I put it aside a sloppy joe or hamburger type meal.

2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded red cabbage
(or 1 small bag or preshredded green cabbage to make it easier!)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 Granny Smith apple, julienned
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine the green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot and apple.

In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, poppy seeds, salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour mixture over cabbage mixture and stir until well combined. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Adapted by

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rosemary Bread

1 1/4 milk
1/4 olive oil
1/4 honey
1 package (1/4 oz.) rapid rise dry yeast
1 tsp salt
2 TBS fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour

Mix milk, olive oil, and honey in small saucepan over med-low heat. Let the mixture get fairly hot, but avoid boiling and curdling. Remove from head and cool until it's no longer hot, just warm.

In mixing bowl combine yeast, salt, rosemary, wheat and 2 cups of the white flour. Add the milk mixture while stirring until well combined. Add remaining 1 cup of white flour slowly.

Knead vigorously or mix with dough hook for 6 minutes. Form into a loaf and place in greased 9x5 inch bread pan. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until dark brown.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Zucchini Mushroom Pasta Pot

1 pound spaghetti
1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced and quartered
1 cup peas
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 1/2 cups water (or veggie/chicken broth)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, combine spaghetti, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, garlic, thyme and 4 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and heavy cream.

Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Adapted from

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

A lighter version of a favorite. This recipe makes 1 9x5 loaf pan. I usually double it bcause one loaf is gone before it even cools in my house :-).

3/4 cup sugar
3 TBS vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
2 cups white flour
2 TBS unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until well blended. Stir in applesauce.
Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until moist. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Red and Green Pasta Toss

I created this recipe out of necessity. Its cheap, healthy, and versatile. Mix and match according to your taste. You need ONE ingredient from each section (red, green, pasta, sauce, and meat) to make your Pasta Toss.

- 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
- 1 package Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

- 1 medium Zucchini, sliced
- 1 bunch Asparagus, cut

- 2 to 3 cups Bow Tie or Penne, cooked
- 1 package of cheese ravioli or tortellini, frozen or fresh

- 4 TBSP of Pesto
- 1/2 cup Marinara or Spaghetti sauce

- 1 package Chicken Sausage (I love Italian three cheese flavor)
- 2 cups Leftover Chicken

Saute the red and green veggies until softened. Add pasta and meat and stir until meat is warmed through, and if you are using cheese filled pasta until your pasta is completely cooked. Add in sauce of choice and stir until it's warmed through.

Easy Cilantro Lime Rice

2 cups chicken stock
1 clove garlic, minced
2 TBS butter
1 cup long grain white
1 tsp lime zest
2 TBS lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Bring to boil chicken stock, garlic, and butter. Stir in rice, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. You might need to add a little water during the end of the cooking time. Once the rice is done remove from heat and stir in zest, juice, and cilantro and serve.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lemon Zucchini Bread

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
Juice of 2 lemons (or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)
Zest of 2 lemons
2 cup grated zucchini

Makes 2 9×5″ loaf. Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Grease two 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In medium bowl, beat 2 eggs well, then add canola oil and sugar, and blend well. Then add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend everything well.

Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and blend everything together, fold in zucchini and stir until evenly distributed in mixture.

Pour batter into 9×5″ loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely. While loaf is cooling, you can make the glaze…

Lemon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)

In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and lemon juice until well blended. Spoon glaze over cooled loaf. Let glaze set, then serve.
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