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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Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese
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Up until recently, I haven’t had beets for quite some time. Maybe the occasional beet on a salad at a restaurant or at a wedding, but I would never just make them myself. Then, a few things happened. First, my sister made spiralized beets when I went to visit in March and they were really good. I think we put balsamic and something else on them…maybe honey, and just roasted them in the oven. Then, I actually ordered roasted beets at a tapas style restaurant when my brother was here visiting, and they were amazing. It made start thinking about creating my own similar dish. Finally, I happened to find a container of pre-spiralized beets at my local publix…yes I am that lazy/busy person that likes to take an occasional shortcut. Anyways, there was now no excuse not to try my hand at a delicious beet recipe.
Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese
Before I give you the recipe I should probably tell you why you should eat beets. Other than the fact that they are delicious of course. The short story is that beets are a vegetable and vegetables are good for you, we all know that. But why beets specifically? One of the great things about these root veggies is their high dietary nitrate content. Nitrates are a compound made up of nitrogen and oxygen and are naturally found in our food supply. They are abundant in vegetables such as leafy greens and beets and have been shown to help lower blood pressure and enhance exercise performance. So beets are delicious and heart healthy…you definitely have to try them now!
Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese

Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese

Ingredients 
4 Cups Spiralized Beets
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar + Extra for Drizzling
1 Cup Mandarin Orange Slices
1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Blue Cheese Crumbles

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss beets with olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar in a medium roasting pan. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in oranges. Mix together and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until oranges are warm and beets are to desired tenderness. Remove from oven, stir and place in serving dish. Top with blue cheese and drizzle with more balsamic vinegar if desired. Serve warm immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.
Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese
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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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