Ever have one of those mornings where protein is the only thing that will satisfy your hunger? Here’s a healthy way to tame the beast:
Warm a thin layer of pre-cooked (cold leftovers works great) quinoa with a bit of melted butter in a skillet (cast iron will prevent burning). Crack eggs over the top, season with salt, cover and reduce heat to low.
Once they’re close to set, remove from heat to finish cooking through, and serve immediately with avocado.
Part two of this week’s pre-made meal makeover was pulled pork in the crockpot, served twice (and counting!) with quinoa and veggies. It started with my recipe for taco-ready crock pot pulled pork, which basically consists of a pork tenderloin, a large can of diced tomatoes, frozen corn and taco seasoning in the crock pot.
I served mine two ways with quinoa as a base: accompanied by spinach and tomatoes on the first night…
On the second night, I melted a slice of pepper jack cheese over quinoa in the microwave, then topped it with leftover pork and sliced avocado…
And there is still plenty of leftover pork!
I’m on a mission to morph my beloved casserole-dish meals, which have supplied dinner on many consecutive weeknights, into healthier versions.
So tonight I borrowed techniques from two favorites: “hamburger sour cream” casserole and ground turkey lasagna with yogurt bechamel. Quinoa replaced lasagna noodles, which actually cuts down on quite a bit of cooking time beyond the obvious health benefits.
First, brown 1+ pound of ground turkey and then add a large can of diced or crushed tomatoes and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa according to the package. Then, mix 1-2 cups of goat/coconut milk yogurt with freshly minced basil or chopped green onions. Stir into the quinoa.
Layer meat sauce followed by quinoa mixture in a casserole dish, and repeat. Optional: sprinkle top layer with shredded Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and allow top layer to get that nice golden color. Remove and serve.
My latest obsession is a fried egg on just about anything: pasta, veggies, hash. This time, I swapped the old egg-on-toast breakfast classic with protein-packed quinoa. And it couldn’t be easier.
Just follow the instructions for making quinoa, then fry two eggs over easy (season with salt while cooking). Place the eggs on top of the quinoa in a bowl, and enjoy!
Indy licked the bowl afterwards, so it’s quite possibly dog-friendly too.
Instant doesn’t have to mean unhealthy. Every week I order healthy and/or organic pre-packaged meals and snacks from Safeway.com to smooth out the hungry edges of a busy workday or post-commute dinner. This week, I made lemonade out of lemons (salads that arrived on the same day they expired), by beefing them up for heartier dinner portions.
Using Safeway O Organics Southwestern Chicken Salad as a base, I added diced Safeway Select roasted red peppers, leftover O Organics quinoa from the previous night, Safeway Select pre-cut broccoli florets, and substituted the ranch dressing with goat milk yogurt. (David got both of our packets of tortilla chips.) I definitely recommend seasoning generously with salt.
(And if you’re listening Safeway.com, know that I’m a beyond loyal customer but I’m so tired of getting things delivered that have already expired or are about to expire in a day or two. My delivery drivers are always gracious about passing along the message to the store manager and I’ve called customer service countless times. The ability to return something doesn’t help if no replacement is delivered in its place.)
We’ve made burritos since college, but fortunately our eating habits have become much healthier since then. So tonight I decided to makeover our old standby as a quinoa burrito bowl, apropos for a more health conscious era.
Brown the ground turkey and season with salt, cumin and chili pepper. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa and prepare veggies as desired. Serve with a dollop of goat milk yogurt; season with salt, and stir to enjoy. Bye bye burrito!
I’m always on the lookout for healthy ingredients that don’t require refrigeration, or at least have a long shelf life, especially for weeknight dinners. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a $5 bag of dried Maitake mushrooms at the non-frugal Ferry Building and a bag of ready-to-cook red quinoa at a nearby market. Bingo!
First, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to instructions, and prep your ingredients of choice. I sautéed minced garlic with chopped green onions and carrots in olive oil, before stirring the mushrooms in. I added spinach directly to the pot of quinoa, and microwaved frozen peas, before pouring in the sauté mixture. For seasoning, I used a generous sprinkling of salt and a couple shakes of fish sauce.
Basically, use your imagination and enjoy guilt-free!
Austin is probably the healthiest person I know. He regularly blends kale and other fruits and veggies into meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Time to quiz Austin on the secret behind his zesty “green sauce” recipe, which involves kale (or spinach), lemons, and curry among other things:
In a blender, combine one whole tomato, a “huge ass” bunch of fresh basil (Austin recommends Whole Foods), juice of six lemons, a few seconds worth of olive oil from a bottle (half to 1/3 cup), a lot of sea salt (1/2 to 1 tablespoon), to taste, then two bunches of kale (leaves removed) or four pre-washed bags of spinach if kale is not available, and a “little kick” of cayenne pepper.
To cook quinoa, bring a three-to-one ratio of water to quinoa to a boil, with curry, sea salt, and fresh garlic. Plus, if you have tomato, sweet potato, or edamame on hand – throw it in too! It takes a total of about 30 minutes.
As a shortcut, use fresh-squeezed lemon juice in place of lemons.
The finished product will serve 6-8 people, or provides enough dinner for four nights. Now that’s what I call sustainability!
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