Quinoa Chickpea Veggie Bowl

Happy Monday friends! Today I had the pleasure of having the day off and getting to spend it with hub! We had a wonderful day walking around outdoor shopping, having a tasty lunch, spending some time by the pool, and spending some time with Eddie (our pup!).IMG_6236

Since I had the day off, I postponed my usual Sunday meal prep to today. Ya’ll know I love a good quinoa bowl, so on the menu for lunch this week is my Quinoa Chickpea Veggie Bowl! I’m excited to share this recipe because it’s something I show a lot on IG, but just haven’t gotten around to writing down the recipe and posting about it!

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Jeff and I both love quinoa, and it has really become a weekly staple in our diets. We use it many different ways, and I have even found Jeff now cooking this on his own (proud moment!)! This bowl is super easy and fast to make, and you can change the veggies to whatever is in season or what you like best. For this bowl, I used carrots, zucchini, and kale as my main veggies. Typically my quinoa bowls all have kale because it holds up better than other greens such as spinach or arugula when cooked.

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I’ve mentioned before I usually leave a day to bring leftovers as my lunch, so when I prep on Sundays I prep for 4 days. If you wanted to prep for a full 5, I would increase the quinoa to 3/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup. Give this a try and let me know what you think! Have a great week everyone!

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Quinoa Chickpea Veggie Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 large carrots, pealed and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 full head of green kale
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (cooks to ~ 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced onion (I used vidalia)
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • paprika
  • chili powder
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

On a greased baking sheet, roast chickpeas, carrot, and zucchini with either a little olive oil or olive oil spray, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder (season to your liking). Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots begin to caramelize and the chickpeas turn a light golden brown.

Bring 1/2 cup of quinoa with ~1.5 cups of water to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer. You may need to add another splash of water as it’s absorbed into the quinoa. Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.

Roughly chop the kale. In a large sauté pan, sauté onion and kale with a little garlic powder, salt, and black pepper until kale is wilted. Add a splash of water to the pan to help kale wilt.

Once veggies and chickpeas are finished roasting and the quinoa is cooked through, add all ingredients to sauté pan and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil. If using this recipe for meal prep, allow the dish to cool for 10-15 minutes before putting it into containers and placing in the refrigerator. Can add various toppings if desired such as sriracha, salsa, avocado, or shredded cheeses.


Fresh and Fast Lemon Broccoli Salad

So ya’ll already know I’m totally ready for summer! Today is absolutely beautiful, and after my work out I decided to sit by the pool for a few minutes before coming inside to meal prep. If I’m making a salad, I want it to be flavorful, crunchy, and satisfying. This salad is super light and actually gets better with time. I usually let it sit for a day before trying it, so that made it even more perfect for meal prep!

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I’m going to give you both the dressing and the salad recipe. The dressing is super simple and can be used on other salads as well. It is so easy to make your own dressings, and if you have mason jars or small sealed containers they can keep for at least a week in the refrigerator (if not longer!). You can easily control the ingredients when you make your own dressing, allowing there to be a lot of flexibility and versatility in what you create! I tend to not like a lot of dressing on my salads, so if you want a little more liquid just double what I am going to provide today.

Quick side note. Does anyone else notice that when the weather gets nicer they tend to eat out more? I am currently trying so hard to break this habit. As soon as the sunny days and comfortable cool nights come around all I want to do is sit outside at a restaurant, people watch, and enjoy a yummy bite to eat with hub. While we never choose anything to outrageous and have a pretty good balance of healthy options with a little indulgence, there is no doubt that the more I eat out the puffier I tend to feel. Whether its the occasional alcoholic beverage or just too much salt in our meal, having multiple meals out per week can leave me feeling a little sluggish and heavy come Monday.

If you tend to have the same experience, here are a few tips for still being able to enjoy the outdoor and dining experience without the unwanted side effects! These are all things I try to do myself, so I definitely speak from experience!

  • Make dinner at home ahead of time and just go out for a drink or two. Instead of going out and getting your meal and a few drinks, skip the meal and just grab a drink. People watching and enjoying conversation with others is just as good without the food!
  • Eat something light (a greek yogurt with a little fruit, a few slices of rolled turkey with cheese, a plate of raw veggies with hummus, a small slice of leftover chicken breast with a few whole wheat crackers) so that you aren’t as hungry when you go out. Then you can just split an appetizer with your significant other or a friend and still feel satisfied at the end of the night.
  • Just drink water! There is no rule that you have to have a caloric drink or alcoholic beverage at lunch or dinner! It is ok to just drink water! If you really want that beverage, consider cutting it with something that is non-caloric. A good example of this would be ordering a wine spritzer instead of a glass of wine. Ask the serving to only pour 1/2 a glass of white wine and top it off with a little seltzer or soda water. They will typically cut the price as well!

Ok!!! Now on to that delicious recipe!! I hope you give this super easy and delicious salad a try. You can always add other elements such as more raw vegetables, slivered or chopped nuts, etc. Enjoy!

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Fresh and Fast Lemon Broccoli Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy with some prep involved
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Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Salad:

  • 1 head raw broccoli, chopped into bite-size florets (about 2.5 cups)
  • 1, 12 oz container of broccoli slaw (This is just carrots, cabbage, and broccoli already chopped! I purchased mine at Sprouts!)
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins (golden or regular is fine)
  • 1 medium Gala apple, diced (Or use whatever apple you like best!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Prepare all the fruit and veggie ingredients as needed. Chop them as fine or as large as you’d like. in a large bowl, add the broccoli, broccoli slaw, diced apple, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

In a mason jar or sealed container, add the dressing ingredients and agitate by shaking. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and lightly toss with your hands. Add a little extra squeeze of lemon juice on top with a pinch of salt and pepper if needed. Store in a sealed container for up to 4 days

 

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Looking Forward to Summer … Opening Up the Recipe Box!

Ok friends, please don’t think I’m loony but I actually kind of miss summer. Yes, 120 is a lot to swallow sometimes BUT lots of pool time and lost of fresh summer fruits and veg always get my recipe wheels turning. Today’s Thursday so I’m going to pull out some of my old recipes to re-share in hopes to get your summer food senses flowing! Of course, these recipes are great for any other time of the year as well and can maybe help brighten up some cold and gloomy days for my east-coasters (sorry, I’m not sorry I left!).

Quick side note! I have noticed recently that I have been having a lot of bloating, cramping, and discomfort when I eat a lot of grains (you have no idea how upsetting that is for me!!). Unfortunately, Celiac disease runs on my dad’s side of the family, so this has me a little nervous of what is to come in the future. Both my aunt and grandmother were diagnosed with Celiac disease later in life and have since adapted to eating gluten free. Because of these reasons, you may notice me start to play around with a few gluten-free recipes just to test the waters! If anyone has any good recipes to try — please send them my way!

Now, on to those recipes! The first one I’m going to share is one of my absolute favorites because it includes a “sauce” made with one of my favorite foods — avocado! This recipe is for my Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad.

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Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1 avocado, fairly soft
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/3-1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • garlic powder (I didn’t measure the seasonings, sorry! add to your best judgement)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika

Salad:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta, I used penne
  • 1 small container of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus, chopped
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olive without pits
  • black pepper

Directions

Add all dressing ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside while you prep your other ingredients. Cook your pasta until tender; at the last minute, throw in your chopped asparagus (make sure to chop off the woody, rough end, about 1-2 inches from the bottom). Allow your asparagus to cook for ~2 minutes in the boiling water, then drain both the pasta and asparagus. Set aside to cool.

Chop the rest of you ingredients, including the olives. I halved the olives, but feel free to chop as fine as you like or leave whole. Once pasta is no longer steaming, add the rest of your ingredients to a large bowl and pour in your dressing. Mix until all ingredients are fully coated. Finish with a little sprinkle of black pepper. Serve chilled or lukewarm. Pasta salad will stay good in the refrigerator for ~4-5 days; your avocado may just turn a little brown in color. Enjoy!

Seriously that pasta salad is one of my favs! The sauce is super creamy but light for summer days by the pool! Also, healthy fats — sign me up! Avocado is filled with monounsaturated fat which actually helps lower cholesterol levels and can help provide satiety (feeling of fullness) during a meal or snack. Avocados are also high in Vitamin E, C, and B vitamins, so girls/women reading this — it’s great for hair, skin, and nails!

The second recipe is for my Roasted Summer Vegetable Pizza. This is another one of my favorites because well, who doesn’t like pizza! I use a store-bought whole wheat pizza crust from whole foods and top with yummy summer veggies and a blend of spices and cheeses!

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Roasted Summer Vegetable Pizza

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 prepared whole wheat pizza crust (can also try gluten-free, regular white, or cauliflower crust!)
  • ~1-2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into about 1/2 in circles, then cut in half
  • 1/3 cup frozen or fresh corn (you may use yellow, white, or sweet)
  • 1/4 medium red onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup whole-milk shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh feta cheese
  • Seasonings: garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, red pepper flakes
  • hummus

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

If you are using frozen corn, thaw first, if using fresh there is no need to prep. Toss your zucchini, corn, and sliced onion in about 1-2 Tbsp canola oil, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder (use as much as you like, or you may switch up the seasonings). Roast your veggies in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they are slightly brown and caramelized. Once your veggies have cooked, top your pizza crust with the veggies and 2 different types of cheese. Top with a little extra garlic powder and a pinch of red pepper flake.

*FYI: Red pepper flakes pack a BIG kick in a very little amount, so unless you want your mouth on fire, I caution you from using to much!

Bake your pizza in the oven for ~15 minutes or until the bottom and edges of your crust are a golden brown and have nice, crispy feel. Allow your pizza 5-10 minutes to cool before slicing and digging in! Again, I topped mine with a little fresh hummus, but you can omit that if you’d like. Enjoy!

How about a burger? Burgers are a perfect summertime food, but I tend to be partial to vegetarian versions. This recipe is for my Spinach Feta Black Bean Burgers which I actually came up with a few years ago when I was in college! These were so easy and can be made in advance and frozen for later use!

Black beans are a great source of fiber and can be used as a protein for those who choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. They are creamy in texture and can provide a “meaty” flavor when used for vegetarian burgers!

Spinach Feta Black Bean Burger

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed to get ride of any extra seasoning or liquid that they may be sitting in
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 + 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2-3/4 (eyeball, about 1/2 a bag) cups frozen spinach, thawed in the microwave and pressed between paper towels to squeeze out water

Directions

In a large bowl, mash your black beans with a fork until they are fairly smooth. Add the rest of your ingredients and combine well (get your hands dirty — this works best!).

Divide your mixture into 4, forming individual patties. You can wrap and freeze the other 3 to use at another time if you are only cooking for yourself. Cook on medium heat either on a grill or stove-top in a pan with a little cooking spray. Each side should take about 3-4 minutes. Be sure to press down your burger a little when you flip it over! Each side should get a little golden brown. If you still have some of the mixture seeping out of the sides if you push down lightly, cook for a few minutes longer. When finished, top with whatever toppings you like, add your bun, and you are done! I used a little sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, a few extra leaves of spinach, a tsp of dijon mustard, and whole-wheat bread as my bun. Lettuce leaves works well too!

Hope you try one of these out, and of course let me know what you think!

 


The Easiest Roasted Chickpea Veggie Soup

Ok everyone, get ready for the most delicious, easy, and hearty soup of your new year! Luckily, most of you should still have a few cool months left to stay in soup mode and give this one a try. I’m not taking full credit for this soup; I do use a little help from a boxed soup base, but who cares! When it comes to meal prepping for my lunches, I think simple, healthy, and delicious. Adding a few special touches to a store bought soup base is a great way to take a long cooking process and shorten it up significantly while still packing a lot of flavor.

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For this soup, I use Pacific Organic Red Pepper and Tomato as my base. I always buy the low sodium version so I can control the saltiness of my soup (I’m not big into salty) and add lots and lots of other herbs and spices. This soup takes about an hour from start to finish, and that includes time to cool and portion out! I hope you give this delicious dish a try and enjoy the rest of this beautiful winter!!

—- For those of you who don’t live in Arizona, this is our most beautiful time of the year! We love for winter with cool crisp nights and blue sky afternoons with chill in the air! For those of you digging through biles of snow and negative temperatures, at least this soup will help you warm up!

Roasted Chickpea Veggie Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas – no salt added – rinsed
  • about 3-4 cups of raw green kale – chopped
  • 1/3 yellow onion
  • 2 large carrots – peeled and diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • seasonings: black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, basil, salt, onion powder
  • feta cheese (for garnish)
  • 1 box low sodium roasted red pepper and tomato soup (about 4c)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On a greased baking sheet, spread out your chikpeas and spray with a little olive or canola oil spray. Be sure to rinse and dry your chickpeas first! Top with a little sprinkling of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are a light golden brown.

In a large pot, saute onion and diced carrot in a 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-low to medium heat. If your onions start to brown or cook too quickly, add a little water to the bottle of your pot (just a splash, remember oil and water won’t mix well and can splatter, so be careful!). Once your onions have become slightly translucent, roughly chop your kale and add it to the oil and onions. I typically remove the stems of kale, as they can be tough and chewy. Add a little splash of water to your pot with a little garlic powder, pinch of salt, and pinch of pepper. Cook until kale has become slightly soft (doesn’t need to be cooked all the way).

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After about 7-10 minutes of cooking your veggies, add your boxed soup base to the pot and reduce the heat to a light simmer. Add about 1/4 tsp black pepper and a 1 tsp of dried basil (can sub dried thyme for a more savory flavor). Let your soup simmer for 20-30 minutes before adding your cooled, roasted chickpeas. Allow your soup to simmer for an addition 20-30 minutes to allow all flavors to mesh together. When finished, serve with a sprinkle of feta cheese. Can remain good in sealed containers in the refrigerator for 5-6 days. Enjoy and happy new year!

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Spinach Tortellini Salad, The perfect holiday salad!

It’s Christmas…. almost at least! It took me a while to get into the holiday swing this year, but now I am definitely ready! During this time of year there are always plenty of parties and social outings where bringing a covered dish is common. This salad is one of my favorites for this time of year, mainly because it is red and green and tastes delicious! I use a lot of store-bought pieces, but overall this salad is fresh, fun, and light in comparison to a lot of other traditional holiday dishes!

For this salad, I have commonly purchased my ingredients from Trader Joe’s because I have a slight obsession with their cheese tortellini and light champagne vinaigrette. You can get these ingredients from just about any food store, so I’ll give you the general quantities for each ingredient that I typically use.

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Side not, yes my kitchen is vey messy! I apologize in advance, but with the holidays also comes lots of mess in the Quinn household! I tried to clean it up a little, but 24 hours later it was right back to where I had started.

I really hope you give this yummy salad a try! Let me know what you think, and happy holidays!

Spinach Tortellini Salad

Ingredients: (serves 8-10)

  • 1 heaping cup dry cheese tortellini; is using fresh cheese tortellini you can use about 1 1/2 cups
  • 4 cups (or about 3/4 bag) of fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese (can sub goat cheese)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces
  • dressing to taste (I tend to use Trader Joe’s Light Champagne Vinaigrette)
  • black pepper to taste

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(PS that is my super cute golden retriever, Eddie! He loves to supervise me in the kitchen!)

Directions:

Cook your tortellini as directed, strain and let cool. I usually add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together. In a large bowl, add your fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, nuts, cheese, and cooled pasta. Wait until 5-10 minutes before serving to add your dressing and toss. I tend to finish with a little sprinkle of black pepper. Enjoy!