Tag Archive | black beans

Catching up & a Quinoa Recipe

Hey there and happy Thursday to you all! It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here. Between getting engaged(!!!!), moving,  starting classes, attending amazing weddings and still working weekends, I feel like I’ve been in “go-go-go” mode constantly. However, Brandon and I were SO excited to move into our new place. Minus the actual “moving” part, it has been so surreal to set up our new home together as fiancés! (Can I just admit how much I love saying that?!)

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I also started my Master’s Degree program last week, which was exciting yet overwhelming all at once.  Organic Chemistry will be consuming my life for the next four months. #sendhelp
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Anyway, back to our new place. I think my favorite part of our new digs is the kitchen. The counters, the cabinets, the island, the set-up…I just LOVE LOVE LOVE it (I will share a picture once it’s all set up). Plus, having a new kitchen makes me so much more motivated to cook. Healthy dinners for the win!

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Speaking of healthy dinners, my favorite vegetarian protein source lately is quinoa. I started to eat quinoa back in Australia and I haven’t turned back since. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t too fond of it, but that’s because it tasted really bland to me. However, once I researched it a bit, I learned that if you cook it in chicken broth (or vegetable broth), it’s so much more flavorful. After that, I became hooked.  It’s a great source of protein, filling, gluten-free, and simply delicious. This week, I decided to use up some random vegetables in my fridge and make a veggie-quinoa mix. It’s so easy and makes terrific leftovers, too. To complete my dinner, I stuffed a red pepper with the mixture and baked it for 15 minutes, eating it alongside of some roasted veggies and corn (off) the cob. I plan on putting the mix on salads as leftovers for the rest of the week! Here’s my recipe:

Veggie & Black Bean Quinoa Mix
1 cup quinoa
2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup black beans
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1/4 red pepper, chopped
handful of spinach
salt/pepper/seasonings to taste
1 red pepper (optional)

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2) Place quinoa and chicken (or vegetable) broth in a saucepan, stir, and put burner on high. Once it begins to boil, lower temperature to a simmer and cover (stirring every few minutes), until it’s thickened and fluffy. (This will take about 15 minutes). Trust me, one cup expands IMMENSLY!
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3) While the quinoa cooks, chop your vegetables. I chose onions, squash, mushrooms, red pepper and spinach, and at the last minute I added some black beans in, too. The beauty of this dish is you can honestly use any vegetables in your fridge.
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4) Stir-fry these on the stove until cooked thoroughly (using spices of your choice), and add the spinach in at the last minute. Once cooked, set aside until the quinoa is finished.
5) Once the quinoa has finished cooking, add the vegetables in. Voila, you have your quinoa mix!
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6) ***Optional: I cleaned a pepper out and stuffed/baked the mixture inside for about 15 minutes, but this isn’t necessary. You could also just stand at your stovetop and eat it too (yes, I am guilty of this Winking smile)

Have a great rest of your week and weekend, friends. Happy almost fall!

***9-11-2001 Never Forget***

Do you cook with quinoa? If so, what’s your favorite way to eat it?

Any recipes to share?
Any one else move in September?

Gahhhh moving is the worst!

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Appetizer obsession

Appetizers (or entrees as they say in Australia) tend to be my favorite food choices at dinner parties, holiday gatherings, and sometimes even restaurants. I think it’s because most appetizers, at least in my opinion, tend to be unique compared to the main meal options, come in smaller portions so it’s perfectly acceptable to order more than one, and you’re able to pick-and-choose as you please. Is anyone else out there guilty of over-eating appetizers during the holidays?  I know I am, but I’m not dwelling on it simply because I over-ate my favorites. These were the things that were worth the splurge to me, and since I was only home for two weeks, I sort-of had the  “I live in Australia and miss my Mom’s cooking more than anything, so I’m eating whatever I want”  mentality.  A few appetizers I splurged on included my Mom’s mushroom spread, Kenyon dip(a family recipe),  broccoli slaw, kielbasa casserole, oyster crackers and last but not least, cowboy crack dip. It.was.glorious.

While the majority of our appetizers are family recipes made around the holidays and remain the same year after year, the cowboy crack dip listed above is an exception. The recipe was given to my Mom and me last year by one of my dearest friends Julia after we tried it at her house, and now we don’t throw a party without it. It’s that good. Don’t ask me the story behind the name but it fits. This dip is addicting. SO addicting. So take it from me, you’ve been warned. If you’re looking for a quick dip that’s nutritious and delicious, make this now. The best part is, there’s no baking required. Chop chop, lets go!

Julia’s Cowboy Crack Dip
Ingredients
-1 can black beans
-1 can white shoe peg corn
-1 ripe avocado
-½ red onion
-2 plum tomatoes
Ingredients for dressing
-1/4c. olive oil
-1/2c. red wine vinegar
-½ tsp. Cumin
-½ tsp. Black pepper
-½ tsp. Salt
-3 T sugar

Directions:
1. Drain beans & corn and place in large mixing bowl.  Chop onion, tomatoes, & avocado into small pieces. Mix all together in bowl.

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2. Now whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, cumin, pepper, salt, and sugar in a separate bowl until well blended. Then, pour dressing over mixture.

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For an appetizer, serve this with chips, crackers, vegetables, or eat it straight from a spoon(that’s how I like it best!). It’s even delicious on top of fresh greens. This can take the place of a salad dressing and is a great topping choice thanks to the protein from the black beans and the healthy fats from the avocado and olive oil. Plus, the longer it sits and soaks in the dressing, the better it tastes. I wish you luck on making it last in your house…it lasts two days at most in this one!

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What’s your favorite appetizer?