Tag Archive | stuffed peppers

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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three things thursday

Hello there and happy Thursday, how has your week been? First, I wanted to say that both Brandon and I are so saddened by the devastation that has occurred in Oklahoma.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected <3

On another note, I can’t believe how quickly this week has flown by!  One more week of class is complete and I have just one more to go (not that I’m counting or anything) : –)
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I was just a litttttle excited to be off to my last lab of the semester!

I’ve actually been quite productive on the study-front this week, so I am hoping (fingers crossed) I’ll get enough accomplished tomorrow so that I can take most of the weekend off from studying. We shall see. Anyway, last Thursday I shared three things that had kept me on track and focused all week, so I kept that in mind for this week, too. Here’s three things that helped keep me focused and productive this week:

1)  Staying organized:
I’m not sure what I’d do without my planner. Maybe I’m stuck in the dark ages, but I just can’t get used to an electronic calendar or planner.  I know there’s Google Calendar and zillions of other options, but I have always felt like I NEED to see something written in my planner for it to be a legitimate plan. Also, call me crazy but I love buying a new, fun, decorative planner each year. I always look forward to it because it makes it seem like I’m starting out the year with a clean slate!
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2)Rotisserie chicken to the rescue:
I struggled with meal-planning this week because I wasn’t really craving anything and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to devote to cooking dinner each night. All I can say is thank goodness for the easiness and versatility of rotisserie chicken. Most of the time, it’s actually cheaper than buying fresh chicken breasts here, and it saved me so much time! Plus, we ate it for multiple meals. First, I added it to a vegetable risotto to give it a protein boost…

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…and then I used it in a South-western  black-bean quinoa stuffed pepper meal. I’ll share the recipe soon, I was so happy with how they came out!

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3) Maximizing my time outside:
Fresh air truly does wonders for me.  To take advantage of the beautiful weather, I opted to study outside on our balcony multiple times, studied outside before and after classes rather than opt for my usual table inside the library, and exercised as much as possible outdoors, too.  I felt more awake, revived, and just felt happier. I love the outdoors, and I am especially loving Autumn in Australia!

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Thumbs down to Anatomy…thumbs up to outdoor studying
(Please excuse the hanging laundry!)

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Can’t beat that sunrise after my work-out on Wednesday : –)

So, does anyone else use a planner or am I seriously stuck in the dark ages?
Do you ever buy rotisserie chicken? If so, what do you make with it?
I often just shred the chicken and use it as salad toppers and inside of wraps or sandwiches, but I really enjoyed adding it into meals this week!

Things I’m loving in australia…week 4

Holy WOW time flies. As of this week, I’ve officially been in Australia for one month, I officially became a “Queenslander” due to registering my car, and I officially have a debit card with an Australian bank. Wooohooo! It’s the little things that make all the difference, I’m telling you.  Quite honestly, it has been little things every week that help remind me ( and Brand0n!) that we have so much to be thankful for, and help us not feel so far away from  home & our loved ones.  That being said, here are some little things I loved this week:

1) Finding American goodies in town (thank you, Tandy !) Although they were a bit pricey (fluff  at $6.99 and M&M’s at $3.00 per box),  it still made my day/week/month/year…seriously.week4.13

2) Taco salad nights. Doesn’t get much better for a healthy Mexican option than ground chicken taco mince meat, crisp lettuce, freshly roasted veggies and homemade tortilla crisps!
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3) Mini ice-cream cones (best portion control around if you ask me!)
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4) First Christmas tree sighting in Townsville!
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5)A weekend getaway to Magnetic island with my love.

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6) Watching Brandon eat gelato for breakfast…yes breakfast.
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7) Baking my first cupcakes here in the best cupcake liners around…thanks Julia!
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8)Healthy cooking: including overnight oats, coconut shrimp, stuffed peppers, and Greek pasta salad.
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9) Exercising in the sunshine
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10)Pandora and Michael Buble Christmas music… Enough said.

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What are you loving this week?

Crockpot mexican chicken stuffed pepper medley

Well, that recipe name is a mouthful…sheesh. Sorry about that. I really don’t know what to call it, but I promise you this was a delicious (and nutritious) meal . Since Brandon graciously bought me a crock-pot upon my arrival, I’ve been trying to use it once a week for two reasons: 1) because it’s so darn easy, and 2) so that he can’t say I don’t use it! Hahaha just kidding kind-of..not really.

Anyway, I’ve always enjoyed using a crock-pot for no-fuss dinners, but it’s particularly coming in  handy here in Australia due to the god-awful humidity we’re experiencing.  As much as I love cooking and baking, I can’t say I thoroughly enjoy it in 90 degree+ temperatures, so my crock-pot is coming to the rescue!

This week, chicken breasts were on sale (Amen), so I knew I wanted to make something that incorporated this source of protein. After searching Pintrest for inspiration, I stumbled across a “skinny chicken taco” recipe that I just couldn’t pass-up. After making a few tweaks of my own, and deciding that I’d incorporate it into "stuffed peppers” for dinner,  here’s what I assembled. 

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Keep in mind, you can make your own tweaks to this recipe; crock-pots are so versatile, that’s one of my favorite parts about them. If you don’t have kidney beans, use black beans. If you don’t have chicken, use beef, etc. Use what’s in your cupboard! This helps make it a budget-friendly and a waist-friendly meal.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Stuffed Pepper Medley
Ingredients
-2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
-1/2 onion, chopped
-1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or your bean of choice)
-1 10 oz can salt-reduced diced tomatoes
-1 jar salsa (I used mild, but spicy would work too!)
-1/2 jar tomato sauce ( you can use the whole jar, but this is all I had)
-1 10 oz. bag frozen corn
-1 packet reduced-salt taco seasoning
-3-4 chicken breasts
-about 1/2 cup reduced-salt chicken broth (use enough to cover the chicken)
-1 TBSP of chile powder (optional—this is if you want it spicy!)
-Peppers for stuffing (optional)-I bought 3 large green and 1 large red
-Brown rice (optional)
-Part-skim shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions
1) Spray crock-pot with cooking spray, and turn it on (I forgot to turn mine on for 20 minutes, this is why I’m reminding you!) Chop sweet potato and onion.  Then add these, along with remaining ingredients through the taco seasoning, to the pot. Mix to combine.
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2) Clean your chicken breasts, then add them to the top of the pot (just mesh them in with everything else).  Then, add the chicken broth so that the chicken breasts are mostly covered with liquid.
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3) Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 10 hours, stirring every hour or so, until chicken is cooked and fork-tender. Side-note: our crock-pot is new and ridiculously fast, so mine was done in 4.5 hours. Depending on your crock-pot, you may need 6+ hours, just judge the time based on the chicken.  Once tender, remove chicken and place in a bowl. Shred with two forks, then place back in crock-pot and stir-in. Turn off crockpot, and if you’re ready to eat now, dig in! This would be great as-is topped with low-fat cheese, and stuffed into a wrap, on a salad, or by itself. I wanted to stuff green and red peppers with the medley, so I’ll outline that next.
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4) Turn your oven to 400 degrees (about 204 degrees Celsius). Wash your peppers, then cut tops off and remove cores from inside. Assemble on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
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5) I had brown rice on hand that I needed to use up, so I added a small layer (about 2-3 tablespoons) of that to each pepper as a base. Then I filled each to the top with the crock-pot Mexican chicken medley, and topped each with part-skim shredded cheddar cheese (or your cheese of choice). Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly.

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6) Let them cool for a few minutes, and then enjoy! We ate ours with a side of steamed cauliflower and a garden salad. Healthy, nutritious, deeeelicious. The best part about this meal is the amount of leftovers you’ll have…perfect for lunch or dinner.  Hope you like it as much as we did!
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