Chili with sweet potatoes & quinoa

Mmmm who doesn’t love chili? A simple hearty meal that is incredibly comforting and delicious.

This chili has quinoa added for extra health benefits! Yum! You can leave it out though if you want to save a little money.

I had some leftover vegan sour cream from another recipe, and I highly recommend adding a dollop of that to the top of your chili. Also very, very delicious.

This chili is crazy simple and very yummy. Enjoy!

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Chili with sweet potatoes & quinoa (adapted from Fort Mill SC Living)
3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp vegetable bouillon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp  oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced onion
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans

Other ideas for extra veggies: zucchini, yellow squash, corn, mushrooms, eggplant, carrots

  1. Make quinoa – 3/4 cup quinoa + 1 1/2 cups water.
  2. Meanwhile, saute sweet potato & green pepper with some olive oil for a few minutes.
  3. Add in all ingredients except quinoa. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add in cooked quinoa and simmer just until warm.
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Asian style quinoa

Friends, I have a few staples that I love to make a lot – pasta, pizza, soup, tofu, and quinoa. I just love this fancy superfood that is so easy to make into so many different dishes. The classic vegetarian staple is often grains + veggies, and quinoa is definitely my grain of choice. I’m not a huge rice person, so quinoa is pretty much where it’s at for me.

I have been looking into experimenting with different grains in future recipes though, did you know there are so many grains that people hardly ever talk about? There’s millet, farro, barley, buckwheat, the list goes on. I want to try them all! So, stay tuned for that happening. 🙂

Anyway, it’s about time I made another Asian dish, so here you go! This one is simple & delicious – hardly any prep time required.

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Asian style quinoa (adapted from Overtime Cook)
1 1/2 cups raw quinoa
1 pound stir fry vegetables (I used a frozen mix that I left defrost on the counter)
1/4 cup sesame oil (or just use olive oil with 2 tsp sesame seeds, though the flavor is different)
2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey or agave
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground ginger

  1. Cook quinoa – 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa + 3 cups water.
  2. Meanwhile, mix all other ingredients (except veggies) to make the sauce.
  3. After quinoa is done, add in veggies and sauce. Heat over low for just a few minutes or until vegetables are warm.

Stuffed tomatoes with quinoa & mushrooms

When I was in France, my host mom made this wonderful dish with baked tomatoes. I just loved the texture of tomatoes cooked in the oven like this, so of course I had to find a healthier, veggie version of this dish. =)

The last time I went shopping, I realized quinoa was slightly cheaper if I bought it in bulk as opposed to a box, so I filled up a bag… and bought $14 worth of quinoa. I clearly have no concept of how much quinoa I actually need. But it’s not going to go bad anytime soon so I’m not too concerned. This just means there’s going to be a lot of quinoa dishes coming up! Tehee.

I also was really excited to make this recipe because it was an excuse to use up some of my herbs I’ve been growing! I’ve never grown anything myself before, but I’ve always loved the idea of a small herb garden. Despite my black thumb, they’ve been growing okay and I was pretty pumped to try some fresh herbs! They were quite yummy indeed. Of course, you can use dried parsley in this recipe, but the flavor of fresh herbs really is a special treat. =)

Enjoy this simple but yummy dish!

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Stuffed tomatoes with quinoa & mushrooms (adapted from Honey & Milk)
6 medium tomatoes
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp dried minced onion
3/4 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (or 2 tsp dried parsley)
Pepper & salt to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut off the tops of the tomatoes and set aside.
  3. Remove the insides of the tomatoes with a spoon and toss insides in food processor. Arrange the hollowed tomatoes in a 13×9 baking dish, sprayed lightly with olive oil.
  4. Blend tomato insides until smooth.
  5. Heat garlic in a pan with a little olive oil, just until fragrant (30 seconds). Add in mushrooms and cook until most of the liquid is gone.
  6. Add in all remaining ingredients, including water, tomato puree, and dried spices. Cook until much of the liquid is gone. If the quinoa is not yet fluffy, add more water & cook until it is a fluffy, light texture.
  7. Stir in fresh chopped parsley. Fill tomatoes with tomato puree/quinoa/mushroom mixture. Place tomato tops on stuffed tomatoes. Spray lightly with more olive oil.
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until tomatoes are very wrinkled and soft.

Black bean burgers + a formula for veggie burgers!

Mmmm. I love me some veggie burgers. There’s so many varieties and flavors, and much more room for creativity than with a typical meat based burger.

I really enjoyed my past experiments with veggie burgers (check out my beet burgers and southwest themed burgers), so I’ve been itching to play more with this area of cooking.

I’m not sure if you know this, but I love cooking formulas. They’re just a fun way to have a little creative room but enough restrictions that things don’t turn out horribly! My truffle formula is quite an easy way to play with healthy dessert options. No matter what you put in there, you really can’t go wrong!

My veggie burger formula I didn’t make up from scratch, however. I found it on another wonderful website and just altered it slightly. I used it to make a basic black bean burger that was interesting in flavor but still able to be used with a variety of condiments. I think it turned out quite yummy but you’ll have to try it for yourselves & see what you think. =)

Also, let me know if you create any awesome burgers based on this formula! There’s so much room for creativity here, I’m excited to see what others will think of!

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Black bean burger
1 15 oz can black beans
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup corn
3 tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1  1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup quinoa, cooked

  1. Heat garlic in olive oil just until fragrant (30 seconds or so). Add veggies and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  2. Transfer to a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients and pulse just until chunky but combined.
  3. Form into patties and fry until golden brown on both sides.

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Veggie burger formula (adapted from No Meat Athlete)
1 15 oz can beans (black bean, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc.)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups diced veggies (carrots, mushrooms, spinach, corn, zucchini, squash, sweet potato, etc.)
3 tablespoons liquid flavor (mix any of these: ketchup, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, salsa, tomato paste, miso, etc.)
4 teaspoons spice (mix any of these: paprika, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, montreal steak seasoning, black pepper, cayenne pepper, curry powder, etc.)
1 cup dry base ingredient (bread crumbs, cornmeal, oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, etc.)
3/4 cup texture ingredient (nuts, seeds, olives, sundried tomatoes, rice, quinoa, lentils, etc.)

  1. Heat garlic in olive oil just until fragrant (30 seconds or so). Add veggies and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  2. Transfer to a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients and pulse just until chunky but combined.
  3. Form into patties and fry until golden brown on both sides.

Black bean, sweet potato, & quinoa stuffed peppers

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I had a fun time relaxing with both my family & Patrick’s. There was lots of delicious food and far too many cookies. =)

I whipped up these stuffed peppers last-minute as a vegan option for our Christmas dinner. They turned out to be a great a main dish for us and a side dish for the others.

Enjoy!

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Black bean, sweet potato, & quinoa stuffed peppers (adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can black beans
1 medium sweet potato
2 Roma tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large red bell peppers

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Bring 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth to a boil (save 1/2 cup for later).
  3. Add in quinoa and bring to a boil again. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer 15 minutes or until all the water is gone.
  4. Meanwhile, bring another small pot of water to boil. Add in peeled & diced sweet potato. Boil for 8 minutes or until tender. Drain water afterward.
  5. Stir together quinoa, sweet potato, drained black beans, diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, and spices.
  6. Cut red peppers in half and place in a baking pan. Stuff with quinoa mixture and cover dish with foil.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Perfect hummus (and another yummy breakfast idea)

I’ve always heard that everyone falls into two camps for breakfast foods: savory or sweet.

I am definitely in the savory category. Sugary things in the morning just sounds awful to me.

I used to eat lots of eggs for breakfast, but lately I’ve realized I don’t like the eggs themselves as much as I like something warm, comforting, and full of veggies.

So my new favorite breakfast food is quinoa! I know, you’re probably thinking that doesn’t sound very breakfast-y at all. And you’d be right, but for some reason, that just hits the spot for me. I cook it in the microwave for a few minutes with water and add frozen veggies halfway through the cook time. Then I pour in a bit of olive oil, add whatever seasonings sound good (usually italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, sea salt, garlic, and pepper), and enjoy! Super easy and so good for you. Quinoa is a superfood after all!

My other favorite breakfast food is bagels with hummus. I used to eat them with cream cheese, but I’ve been (sort of) cutting down on dairy. This is mostly due to my discovery of new research from Harvard that shows its link to various cancers & its capacity to decrease in bone density. But as you can tell from previous posts, I will probably still eat a bit of cheese. There are so many foods that aren’t good for you, but I think that recognizing this and cutting back significantly is a great step. I don’t think its realistic for me to never eat candy bars, fried food, or even dairy. It’s all about balance folks! Enjoy life but take small steps to be healthier when you can. =)

Anyway, I’ve been playing with a recipe for hummus for awhile now. I never could get it quite right, but I didn’t wanted to buy hummus because it is EXPENSIVE! I think I’ve finally created something that is perfect for my taste buds. Feel free to play around with amounts of ingredients though, because everyone has different preferences.

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Perfect hummus (adapted from finecooking.com)
1 15oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
Sea salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Paprika

  1. Pour liquid from chickpeas into a small container.
  2. Add drained chickpeas to food processor with all other ingredients.
  3. Add a small amount of chickpea liquid. Blend on high, scraping down the sides as needed.
  4. Add more chickpea liquid until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Keep blending lots & lots until it is super smooth.
  6. When serving, pour a bit of olive oil over the top and sprinkle paprika for presentation purposes.