Southwestern Quinoa Filled Zucchini

Hi lovelies! Happy Friday! Do you guys have any fun weekend plans? I’m finally feeling better so I have some fun plans in the city on Saturday with the girls and am going to try to keep it a little low-key today and Sunday just to ensure I’m fully healed. Not only does my body feel better but I did a huge room clean on Wednesday and am feeling much better about things!

And remember how much I wanted to get vegetables back in my diet? Well I’ve done just that and after having a salad for lunch I decided to up my game a little last night. In the past I’ve mentioned that I’m not really a cook, but I’m trying to change that in 2012 and tonight was another step in that direction. After my successful quinoa dinner last week, I decided to use my favorite grain again in tonight’s dinner!

Southwest Quinoa Filled Zucchini

Inspired by Daily Garnish Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Ingredients

  • 5 Small-Medium Zucchini
  • 1/2 Cup Tricolor Quinoa
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (Fresh could also be used)
  • 1 Small White Onion
  • Lite Mexican Blend Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

1. Hollow out zucchini with a melon scooper (a spoon will also work) and save all the insides of the zucchini in a bowl.

2. Combine 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup water (or broth) and boil. Once it starts to boil, cover and let simmer. The tricolor actually got done quicker than most and only took about 10-15 minutes for the water to reduce and the quinoa to fluff up.

3. While waiting for your quinoa, chop onion and saute. Once onion is soft, add the inside of the zucchini. You could chop up the zucchini scoops beforehand, but I just did it as they cooked with the end of my spatula in the pan.

4. Next, combine the zucchini and onion with the quinoa and add in the black beans and tomatoes. I drained the black beans prior to using but I combined some of the tomato juice with the mixture. Combine well and salt and pepper to taste. This would also be a great time to add corn or chilies!

5. Scoop heaping servings of your mixture into your hollowed out zucchinis. The only hard part about this step was stopping myself from just standing at the stove eating the mixture straight out of the pot… it’s that good.

6. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with a foil tent. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes and remove foil and bake for 10 additional minutes.

These are veggie and protein packed and so delicious! They would be great topped with avocado, salsa, Greek yogurt… the possibilities are endless! I kept mine basic because I’m kind of wimp when it comes to spicy stuff but for those who love the heat you could definitely add some spices to the mix. I packed some for lunch today and can’t wait to have them! (Oh and this does yield extra filling… I’m already imaging it on top of salads, in whole wheat tortillas, straight out of the container…)

Have a great weekend!

Questions:

-Do you like quinoa? What’s your favorite way to use it?

-Are you into spicy foods?

 

Quite the Contrast

Hi lovelies! Happy, happy Friday! I hope that you all have some great weekend plans in store. Are any of you watching the Superbowl on Sunday? Or better yet, making anything delicious for super bowl parties?

Last night as I started baking for a Girl’s night that I’m attending tonight, I got to thinking about the stark contrast between my two forays into cooking this week. I’ll let the photos (mostly) speak for themselves but tell you this– it’s all part of the healthy living balance and both were equally enjoyed!

I saw this recipe for Butternut Squash Quinoa on Pinterest and knew it would be the perfect one-dish meal. Healthy grains + veggies + cheese? Yes, please! This is gluten-free and could be dairy-free or vegan and was well received by all who tried it! I will definitely be making this again as it tasted decadent but was healthy!

And on the only decadent side, we come to what I took out of the oven at midnight last night… “Slutty Brownies” which were obviously another Pinterest find! I’ll post finished pictures on Monday but here’s a little preview…

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Layer 2:

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I hope everyone likes them! I’ll be sure to report back! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Questions:

-What’s your favorite healthy thing to make?

-What’s your favorite decadent recipe to make?

-Any Superbowl Sunday plans?

Pumped for Pumpkin

Hi lovelies! How was your weekend? I hope that you all had a great one! It was very rainy in San Francisco on Friday, but I embraced it by having a red cup drink (americano with a pump of peppermint…yum) and sticking close to my heater. Luckily, the sun came out for the rest of the weekend and I’m hoping it’s here to stay!

I’ve mentioned before that although I love food and healthy living, I’m not really a cook. I just haven’t had much experience with it and sometimes get uncomfortable in the kitchen. But since one of my October goals was to actually cook, I decided it was time to just do it. In honor of Fall and the amount of delicious pumpkin recipes I’ve been seeing on other blogs, all of my creations involved pumpkin!

Pumpkin-Goat Cheese Quinoa

This was the first version which I used parmesan for...

Ok, well I’m not sure if most people would even qualify this as cooking, but it involved me using a stove so I’m counting it! All I did was cook up a giant batch of quinoa on the stove (note to self: when making quinoa, remember how much it expands when cooking) and added canned pumpkin directly to it. The result, was a creamy, risotto like texture that was slightly sweet. But, since I was going for a savory dish, I stirred in some goat cheese, though you can use parmesan like I did above, but I think the goat melts better. And bam, that’s it. A fiber-packed delicious, very easy dinner- You can bet I’ll be “cooking” this again.

Healthful Pursuit’s Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Breakfast Bake

Mine didn't turn out as expected, but it was delicious nonetheless!

After spotting this recipe on Leanne’s blog, I figured it would be the perfect way for me to combine my newfound love of pumpkin and quinoa. It looked easy enough and seemed like a fabulous change of pace from my usual greek yogurt breakfasts. However, as a new cook, I have to admit that I was pretty bummed when mine didn’t turn out like hers. I’m still not quite sure what I did wrong, but did realize that I didn’t have the right pan to bake it in, so I had to improvise. (Note to self #2: Always check the pan before you decide to make something.) In the end it still tasted pretty delicious and that’s what matters most.

Peanut Butter Fingers’ Pumpkin Butter Granola

All packed up and ready to go!

After impulse buying my first jar of pumpkin butter from Trader Joes, it has been sitting in my fridge looking awful lonely. It’s not that I don’t like it- I do! But I cannot seem to figure out what to do with it! I’m not wild about it combined with peanut butter and it seems weird on my normal wheat toast. But then it all changed for me when I remember Julie’s granola recipe. As my namesake says, I truly do love granola- yet I have yet to make my own! But tonight, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it, and guess what I found out? It is so easy! I loved making the granola myself because I was really able to control what I put in it!, i.e. I added nuts to mine and made sure there were extra clusters. Plus, it’s definitely cheaper than the store bought stuff. I have bags all portioned up and ready for me to take to work tomorrow to put on my Greek yogurt, but after sampling right off the tray, I can tell you that this stuff is amazing! I will definitely be making this again and am so excited to try out some others very soon!

Questions:

-How confident are you in the kitchen?

-Do you have any favorite uses for pumpkin butter?

-What’s a savory flavor combo you love?

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