Quinoa Stuffed Peppers…

quinoa stuffed peppers2

One of my favorite meals is my mom’s stuffed peppers; and over the past couple of years, every time I’ve made it, I’ve asked myself, “what if I used quinoa in place of the rice?”. Joel and I both love quinoa, so this was a no-brainer. Finally, I did it, and surprise, surprise- we loved it! This dish is SO full of flavor- I’m so happy with it every single time I make it, which has earned it a regular spot in our dinner rotation. The best part is, my baby girl loves it (and I feel great about giving it to her)!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

2 medium bell peppers
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and cooked
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, drop the peppers in and boil for 5-6 minutes. In a small bowl, mix tomato sauce, basil, and sugar and set aside. Brown meat and onion in a large skillet; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, salt, and cooked quinoa. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon meat/quinoa mixture into peppers and place into skillet. Pour any remaining meat mixture around the peppers (you should have quite a bit left). Top with cheese. Cover and cook on low for another 8-10 minutes. Serves 4.

Recipe source: adapted from my mom’s recipe

**Looking for good, non-candy ideas for your baby’s Easter basket? Check out my list of helpful ideas at my family blog, A Little Something Lovely!

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Mexican Quinoa with Chicken…

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Ours was wonderful- Cassidy seemed to really love Thanksgiving food, which made mommy proud. :) We’ve been eating nothing but leftovers lately, which is awesome, but I’m ready for some different flavors now (I think it’s probably a good idea to lay off the pie for awhile, too). ;) When I saw a recipe for Mexican quinoa on Annie’s blog, I immediately added the idea to my short list. So glad I did- this exceeded my expectations big time! I really love quinoa any way I can get it, but the addition of chicken, tomatoes, and Mexican spices just puts it over the top.

If you’re feeling hesitant about this recipe, just go for it! Trust me, you’ll love it! Quinoa might sound intimidating and weird, but it’s really not- it’s easy as can be and super yummy! Give this one a try- you’re Thanksgiving-overloaded taste buds will thank you!

Mexican Quinoa with Chicken

1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
half an onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can rotel tomatoes (diced tomatoes with green chiles)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, fully cooked and shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
juice from half a lime

shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for garnish

In a large pot, sauté onion in the olive oil until translucent; about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add water, quinoa, salt, and spices and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook for 20-25 minutes, until water is absorbed. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chicken, and lime juice. Top with cheese and sour cream if desired. Serves 2.

Recipe source: heavily adapted from Annie’s Eats; originally from Peanut Butter Runner

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Sushi Bowls…

You all know how much we enjoy sushi, and even though Joel and I found making sushi at home to be extremely easy, we opt for a slightly easier version every now and then. Like these sushi bowls. It’s the most ingenious idea ever and SO easy! Gather up all your favorite sushi fixin’s, pile it in a bowl and voilà- sushi bowl awesomeness! We used cucumbers, imitation crab meat, avocado, shelled edamame and our favorite spicy sauce- the mayo/sriracha sauce; and BOY did we love this! If you’re searching for a quick, delicious weeknight dinner, I highly suggest making these; for one thing, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than going out for sushi and it’s ready in no time! Perfect!

Sushi Bowls

1⅓ cups rice, rinsed well
1⅓ cups water
3 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into sticks
imitation crab meat (as much as you like), cut into sticks
1 avocado, sliced and cut into chunks
shelled, steamed edamame (as much as you like; you can find pre-shelled edamame in the freezer section of most grocery stores)
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2-1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce, depending on how spicy you like it

soy sauce and wasabi for serving

Rinse the rice. Place the rice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Combine the rice vinegar and sugar in a separate small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds, until the sugar dissolves. Transfer the rice into a large bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold and cut thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Allow to cool. Do not refrigerate.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sriracha; set aside.

Pile the rice, cucumber, crab meat, avocado and edamame in individual bowls and top with sesame seeds, soy sauce/wasabi (if desired) and sriracha mixture. Serves 4.

Recipe source: adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

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Pineapple-Cilantro Quinoa…

With all this grilling we’ve been doing lately, I always like to serve lots of easy, fast side dishes. However, we were getting a little tired of rice, so one night I decided to try quinoa. You know, anything you do with rice, you can pretty much do with quinoa- that’s the beauty of it! So I decided to try simple quinoa mixed with fresh juicy pineapple and cilantro- it was a HIT! I served it alongside these pork chops and it was the perfect pairing! Such a delicious meal! The next time you find yourself in a rice rut, try this quinoa instead! Light, summery and full of flavor- a perfect Springtime side dish!

Pineapple-Cilantro Quinoa

1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt

Bring the chicken broth and quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and has soaked up all the liquid. Stir in the pineapple and cilantro.
Serves 4.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

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Mediterranean-Style Quinoa…

[keen-wah]. You thought it was [kwin-oah], didn’t you? ;) That’s ok, so did I at first. Up until a couple of years ago, I had never even heard of this stuff, much less know how to cook it. But it’s become pretty popular lately- mostly due to how healthy it is (very high in protein and fiber), but also because it’s extremely versatile. You can bake with it, eat it for breakfast (like oatmeal), make a salad with it, cook it like rice and throw in lots of yummy vegetables…the list goes on! It’s a grain-like seed with a texture similar to a cross between rice and couscous (you can read all about quinoa here). Joel and I both loved the texture and thought it was all-around a delicious new food to add to our menu rotation! I cooked it with red and yellow bell peppers, red onions, garlic, baby portobella mushrooms, black olives and feta cheese for a flavorful Mediterranean twist – absolutely delicious! I’m so happy I finally decided to try quinoa and can’t wait to experiment with all kinds of flavors and dishes!

Mediterranean-Style Quinoa

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
6-8 baby portobella mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 small can chopped black olives
1/3 cup feta cheese
salt and pepper

Bring the quinoa and chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes, until all the liquid has absorbed.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onions, peppers and garlic until beginning to soften, about 7 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat.
Add the cooked quinoa to the pan with the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice, black olives and feta cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 2-4.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

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