Simple Quinoa Fried Rice

It’s hump day!!! With hump day has to come a yummy recipe right?

Are you a fan of fried rice? Hub LOVES fried rice; I could take it or leave it. I have been wanting to test out some new recipes this week and since this was one of his favs, I thought I would work on a little healthier version of fried rice. Surprisingly, both Jeff and I loved this dish! I could definitely see it becoming a staple in our weekly meal rotations!

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Another really positive thing about this dish was it only look about 25-30 minutes total including the time it took to bake 2 chicken breasts to add on top. It was so easy and so fast, which is ALWAYS a positive in my book. I chose to use quinoa because it is higher in protein and one of my favorite grains. I would put quinoa in just about any dish and enjoy it! I think it can be extremely versatile and is a great alternative to rice. It is also gluten free for those of you who eat gluten free.

I also used a low-sodium soy sauce from Sprouts Farmer’s Market in this dish. I tend to not use a lot of salt in my cooking in general, so whenever I’m choosing a condiment for a meal I try to pick a low-sodium option so I don’t overwhelm myself with an overly salty taste that I’m not use to.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend <2,300mg of salt per day for good heart health! Take a look at some of your commonly used boxed, canned or packaged foods and see what the sodium content is. I bet you will be surprised! In general I recommend <300mg of salt per serving of food as a general way to try to stay within the 2,300mg/day.

This recipe can be paired with another protein of choice, such as pork, beef or tofu, or even an extra side of veggies! It is also super yummy on its own. I hope you give this one a try, and as always feedback is welcomed!

Simple Quinoa Fried Rice

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa (dry)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1.5c)
  • 1/2 cup frozen pees
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (or cooking fat of choice; could also sup for 2 Tbsp butter)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large chicken breast, cut in half (or 2 medium size breasts)
  • Low sodium soy sauce (abut 1/3 cup for the quinoa); I used Sprouts Organic Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Seasonings:

  • 1/2-1 tsp garlic powder (depending on how garlicky you like it!)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of salt

Chicken seasonings: pinch of black pepper, garlic powder, and ground ginger

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. On a greased baking sheet, season chicken and cook for about 25-30 minutes.

In a small skillet, scramble two eggs in a little cooking spray, butter, or oil with a pinch of black pepper and salt. Set aside once finished.

While chicken is cooking, bring 1 cup quinoa with about 2.5 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir quinoa frequently, about every 5-8 minutes until water begins to evaporate. You may need to add a little more water as the quinoa cooks to assure it’s tender. Total cooking time should be about 20 minutes.

In a large sauté pan, sauté diced carrot, onion, and garlic with seasonings in 1 Tbsp olive oil for about 7-10 minutes or until onions have began to caramelize. Once quinoa has finished cooking, add to to the pan with another Tbsp of olive oil, soy sauce, and frozen peas (waiting until this time to add peas helps them hold their shape and color!). Lastly, stir in scrambled egg.

Once chicken has cooled, slice and lay on top of the fried rice.

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Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Another week, another Sunday. Little change up with this Sunday… instead of cooking food i’m dreaming of food. This morning I had the pleasure of getting my wisdom teeth out. For someone who loves to cook and loves to eat, this is definitely not fun. Protein shakes and yogurt just aren’t quite doing the trick.

Since my mouth still won’t open past an inch, I can’t help but think of everything I’d like to eat right now. While this stinks, it brought me back to a recipe that I meant to share a few weeks ago, but never quite got around to it. The recipe was for my Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

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Perfectly cheesy, yet a little milder in heat, these enchiladas are simple, delicious, and so so satisfying. My husband was a big fan (he always looks forward to my Mexican-inspired dishes), and I was happy to have leftovers for lunch the next day. These enchiladas are a little lighter, made with a green enchilada sauce and filled with veggies, shredded chicken, and wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.

I hope you try my yummy enchiladas!

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 5 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 small can diced greed chiles (it is around 1/4 cup serving)
  • 3/4 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 3 medium-sized chicken breasts
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion
  • 4 handfuls fresh spinach (or ~4 cups)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (use what you prefer; I actually used a whole milk mozzarella cheese to give the dish a rich element, but if you are really looking to take it light you may sub for low-fat moz cheese)
  • 3/4 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • Seasonings: paprika, ground red pepper, black pepper, garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, slice and sauté your chicken in a little cooking spray or olive oil. Season with paprika, ground red pepper, black pepper, and garlic powder. If you want your enchiladas to have some heat, you can be a little more generous with your red pepper; if not, use sparingly.

While your chicken is cooking, dice your onion and begin to sauté in a separate skillet on medium, also in a little cooking spray. As your onions begin to soften and turn slightly translucent, add your spinach and a splash of water (literally just a splash to add some moisture to the pan) Season with the same seasonings you use on your chicken. Let your spinach and onions sauté until the spinach begins to wilt. Add your frozen corn. Go ahead and add a little more water if you feel your veggies are starting to stick (this is how i typically avoid adding more oil or fat to a dish; the water doesn’t add flavor, but the moisture typically is enough to prevent your food from sticking!).

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After about 8-10 minutes, lower your heat to medium-low. Remove your chicken from the heat (it should be finished). Add your green chiles as well as a hefty dollop of plain Greek yogurt to your veggies (~1/2 cup) and stir until smooth. Don’t let the yogurt sit for too long or keep your heat too high; this can cause it to curdle.  Transfer your chicken to your veggie skillet and add another small spoonful (~1/4 cup). Stir until the yogurt is melted and well incorporated. You may also add a little extra seasoning, a small sprinkle of cheese, or a small spoonful of enchilada sauce to your filling mix at this time. Don’t forget, you will be adding cheese once you begin layering, so if you do choose to add a little more to the mix, don’t over-do it!

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In the bottom of a square baking dish, add a little cooking spray to prevent sticking, then a spoonful of your enchilada sauce. Place 2 tortillas onto the sauce, and add a spoonful of your filling as well as a handful of shredded cheese. Cover your filling with more tortillas (you will have to tear one tortilla to evenly cover the top) and complete the layering process again.

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Add a final layer tortillas and top with enchilada sauce and a final sprinkle of cheese. Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to turn a golden-brown color on top. Let your enchiladas rest about 8-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy with a side of salsa, avocado, or any of your other favorite toppings! Enjoy 🙂

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Portobello Mushroom Cap Pizza

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For me, summertime and Portobello mushrooms go together wonderfully. They are light and airy, yet still provide a robust, meaty flavor that I love. They are also very versatile. From chopped, sautéed, and used in pasta dishes, to grilled and used as a burger alternative, Portobello mushrooms can be jazzed up and changed around to your liking.

This recipe is for my Portobello Mushroom Cap Pizzas. Unfortunately, I live in an apartment with little room for an actual grille outside so I used my George Forman, but an outdoor gas or coal grille would have been my first choice for preparing the mushrooms!

Portobello Mushroom Cap Pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Portobello mushroom; cleaned well and patted dry (you will need to pat them a few times… they soak up water!); remove center stems (without breaking your mushroom!)
  • 4 Tbsp. roasted garlic marinara or tomato sauce (I used Trader Joes Roasted Garlic Marinara); depending on how large your mushrooms are, the sauce amount will vary
  • 2-3 Tbsp. shredded, fine parmesan cheese
  • 1 small Roma tomato
  • 6-8 spinach leaves depending on how large they are
  • dried thyme
  • dried basil
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Once your mushrooms have been cleaned, dried, and de-stemmed, place them on the grille for about 3-4 minutes (this was on my George Foreman where they were pressed, if on a normal grille, do about 2-3 minutes on each side; you may want to brush with a little olive oil as well to avoid sticking on a normal grille). Slice your Roma tomatoes to make about 1/2-1 cm thick rounds. You will need 6 slices total, so if your tomato is extra small you may need to use a second. A full-sized vine ripe or steak tomato may be used instead, just use one slice as it should take up about the same size as 3 Roma rounds. Once your mushrooms have been grilled, place them on a baking dish, lined with foil and sprayed with a little cooking spray. The stem side of the mushroom should be facing up. Spoon about 2 Tbsp. of sauce onto each mushroom cap. One top of the sauce, place a few spinach leaves to cover the sauce. Press them down gently so that they flatten out. Place 3 tomato slices on top of the spinach. Season with a pinch of dried thyme, dried basil, a little black pepper, and garlic powder. Once each mushroom has been seasoned, top each one with out 1 Tbsp. of shredded, fine parmesan cheese. If you would like your mushrooms a bit cheesier, go ahead an add a little more cheese! The parmesan cheese adds a salty taste, so there is no need to add extra salt. Place the mushrooms into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and starting to get a little golden brown on the edges. Enjoy your mushrooms with a side salad or a little pasta of your choice! Enjoy!

 

 


Easy Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili

This is a super easy recipe that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Most of the items I always have on hand. It is one of those one pot meals that packs a lot of flavor and is a great thing to add to your list of chili recipes (especially if you have a vegetarian in your house). I like spicy, so if you aren’t a spicy person, I would just omit the siracha. In my opinion, it packs a really good punch though! This recipe also highlights, once again, how versatile sweet potatoes can be! Sorry I have been mainly posting recipes lately…I have just been on a cooking kick! Hope you enjoy this one!

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Spicy Sweet Potato Crockpot Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1/2-1 inc cubes
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • chili powder
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • 1/2 tsp siracha
  • feta cheese (to top with)
  • salsa verde (to top with)

Add the sweet potato, corn, black beans, spices, water, and vegetable broth into your pot and cook on low for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. After about your 2 1/2 hour mark, pour out about 1/2 of your liquid, leaving a little still in the bottom. Give your chili a stir and add your siracha in. Add as much as you like, just remember it is very strong. A little squirt will pack a lot of heat! Let your chili cook for about another hour and a half. Total cooking time should be about 4 – 4 1/2 hours. Once it is finished, spoon yourself a bowl and top with a spoonful (about 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp) of your salsa verde; I used the Whole Foods 365 brand and would highly recommend it! Also add a small sprinkle of feta cheese. Give your chili one last stir to incorporate these final toppings and enjoy! This recipe makes 2 servings if you have it as a side, 1 if you want it for your meal


Sweet & Spicy Warm Kale Salad w/ Sweet Potato & Gnocchi

Really, I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but this dish turned out amazing. To end National Nutrition Month, I decided to to make up a dish with kale because as I have said in the past, kale is not one of my favorites. I went to Whole Foods after leaving my internship to get a little inspiration and get my recipe juices flowing. This is what I cam up with, and I definitely think it is a winner! I hope you try it out and let me know what you think. Happy cooking 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • cooking spray
  • sweet potato seasonings: chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper
  • fresh kale, about 2 cups
  • 1 Tbsp reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat gnocchi
  • extra seasonings: red pepper flakes, pinch of salt
  • dressing: 1 Tbsp canola oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, drizzle (very small drizzle) honey, black pepper, red pepper flakes

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut your sweet potatoes into small pieces, about the width of a quarter. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay down your chopped potatoes. Spray the tops of the potatoes with another layer of cooking spray, and add a generous amount of the sweet potato seasonings listed above. The only thing I would be cautious with is the chili powder if you don’t want your sweet potatoes too spicy (I like spicy so I added quite a bit!).

Let your potatoes cook for about 25 minutes, flipping them over about halfway through. Rinse and dry your kale and cook your gnocchi (should take about 3 minutes). In a large sauté pan, add a little olive oil and toss your kale and cooked gnocchi. Leave your heat on low. Season with a little black pepper, red pepper flakes (once again, a tiny bit packs a huge punch), garlic powder, and a pinch (literally a pinch) of salt.

While your kale and gnocchi is warming through, go ahead and prepare your dressing (ingredients listed above), whisking with a fork. It won’t completely combine, but that is ok! Once your sweet potatoes are through, add them to your pan, along with your dressing. The dressing should very lightly coat all of your contents. Add your sprinkle of feta cheese and you are done! Enjoy!