Mediterranean Quinoa Bake
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When I’m short on time or I’m running low on fresh vegetables, I like to combine fresh veggies with canned ones for a quick and easy meal that still helps me meet my nutritional needs. When buying canned ingredients, I compare different brands and choose the one that is lowest in sodium, preferably no salt added, if possible. I also drain and rinse my canned beans and veggies that do have salt added to help further decrease the sodium level. If you like to use a lot of canned ingredients I would suggest investing in a little mini colander so you can easily rinse off your canned beans and veggies without having to use your bigger one. That way you can save precious dishwasher space and you may be more likely to actually take the time to rinse them off :)

 

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Bake

 

 

This week was pretty busy so I wanted to make a really easy, healthy and delicious meal that would be able to feed both me and my husband for two nights. Throwing veggies, beans, and whole grains into a pan and baking it seemed like a really good way to accomplish my goal. I also wanted to do a vegetarian dish because 1) I love vegetarian dishes, 2) Adding meat seemed like an unnecessary extra step, and 3) My friend Stephanie is a vegetarian who loves casseroles/bakes and is always looking for healthy recipes…so this recipe was partly for her. I chose to use mediterranean flavors in this recipe because I love them… annnnd I also happened to have a can of artichokes in my pantry I wanted to use. So if you like easy healthy recipes, veggies, chickpeas, and quinoa, this recipe is just for you.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Bake

Mediterranean Quinoa Bake

Ingredients 
1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
1 Can (16 oz) Reduced Sodium Chickpeas- Drained and Rinsed
1 Can (14 oz) Quartered Artichoke Hearts- Drained and Rinsed
1 Can (12 oz) Roasted Red Peppers- Drained and Rinsed
3 Cups Raw Baby Spinach
4 Plum Tomatoes – Sliced
1 Cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
3/4 Cup Reduced Fat Crumbled Feta Cheese
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Directions
Cook quinoa according to package directions and preheat oven to 350 degrees. While quinoa is cooking, add remaining ingredients except for feta cheese and balsamic vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Toss ingredients together mixing well. After quinoa is done cooking, spread quinoa evenly in a 9×13 inch glass baking pan. Top with veggie mixture. Cook in oven for 20 minutes or until veggies are warm and soft. Remove from oven, sprinkle feta cheese and drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top of casserole. Place back in oven for about 5 more minutes until cheese is warm and slightly soft. Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy!
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Balsamic Roasted Asparagus
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St. Patrick’s Day is coming up this week so I went through my recipes to see if I had anything green I can post, and I found a recipe for roasted asparagus I had made a few weeks ago. It is just a veggie side dish, so if you are looking for something a little more green and festive for St. Paddy’s Day, I like to make St. Patrick’s Day Green Eggs for breakfast every year. I use spinach to dye the eggs green so it adds both extra nutrients and fun!

 

 

Roasted Asparagus

 

 

Anyways, asparagus is a great vegetable. It is one of my go to side veggies when making fish. For some reason I love salmon with roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes…the flavors and textures just seem to go together.

Asparagus is full of many nutrients such as fiber (good for staying regular and feeling full), Vitamin A (good for your eye health and immune system) and folic acid (super important for pregnant ladies). It is super easy to cook, you can steam, roast or saute it, and although it does have a strong flavor you can still season it in very different ways. A lot of times I just use olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper which is fresh and super simple, but recently I have been adding a few different flavors…hence this new recipe today, which I think make become my new go to asparagus recipe.

 

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

 

Ingredients

1/2 Pound Fresh Asparagus (about 20 stalks)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Pepper

1/2 Teaspoon Minced Garlic

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

 

Directions

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Rinse off asparagus and chop off bottom tough ends of stalks. Spread cleaned asparagus out in in a glass baking dish. Mix oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl and drizzle over asparagus. Toss to evenly coat and then spread out asparagus in a single layer for even cooking. Cook in oven for 15 minutes. Remove and drizzle balsamic vinegar over asparagus. Place back in oven and cook for an additional ten minutes or until asparagus reaches desired tenderness.

 

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

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Healthy Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust
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I love pizza and trying to make it healthier and gluten free can be a bit of a task. I have seen a lot of recipes for cauliflower pizza crust but have been afraid to try it due to a terribly failed attempt at cauliflower tortillas. Basically the cauliflower tortillas fell apart and just didn’t taste very good so I have been poo-pooing the cauliflower as a pizza crust trend. But I decided to give it a try (it actually took two attempts to get it the way I wanted it), and it turned out pretty flavorful and didn’t fall apart!

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Cauliflower “Rice”

 

Basically making the pizza crust just consisted of making cauliflower “rice” in blender or food processor, cooking and squeezing the extra fluid out of the cauliflower, and then mixing it with eggs, cheese, garlic and basil to make a “dough.” And then bake! Super simple.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust Dough
Cauliflower Pizza Crust “Dough”

 

I didn’t put a lot of toppings on my pizza because I didn’t want to test the strength of the crust too much, due to my falling apart cauliflower tortillas…but it really didn’t need that many toppings to make it satisfying and delicious. I would recommend though that if you use watery veggies to top the pizza such as fresh tomatoes or mushrooms that you don’t use a lot and/or cook them a little in the microwave first to remove some of the water, because it will make the cauliflower pizza crust softer.

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

 

Making pizza crust out of cauliflower is a great way to get some extra veggies in your diet and it actually tastes good too!

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients
1 Head of Cauliflower
2 Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
3/4 Cup Reduced Fat Shredded Italian Cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a pizza stone with parchment paper. Rinse cauliflower head and remove stem. Break or chop cauliflower into pieces and pulse in food processor or blender until it looks like rice. Place cauliflower “rice” in a microwave safe bowl and cook in microwave on high for about 7 minutes, uncovered. Pour out onto a clean towel and allow to cool slightly. Wrap up the cauliflower in the towel and wring out over the sink to squeeze out the excess fluid. In a mixing bowl combine cauliflower, eggs, basil, garlic and cheese. Mix together well. Place mixture in center of the parchment lined pizza stone and spread out into a circle, about 1/4 of an inch thick. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top evenly with desired toppings and bake for another 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, slice and serve. Enjoy!

Healthy Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust
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