Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quinoa Mix Up

It has been awhile since my last post but that doesn't mean I have stopped cooking! As mentioned in an earlier post my school/work life has been slightly hectic, so finding time to write up my recipes and post them has been tough (especially with the slowest internet in the entire universe).

So here is a delicious and quick quinoa recipe.
 (Sorry no picture but I promise it looks great!)

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Tomato basil pasta sauce 
 Now to mix it up all together!
  • Start off my cooking your quinoa. Follow the recipe on the box, mine said to mix 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Then bring it to a simmer and cover until all of the water is absorbed.
  • The quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook, so while it's cooking, you can work on the spinach.
  • Heat up a skillet to about a medium heat, add the olive oil and chopped garlic clove.
  • Cook the garlic till it is lightly browned, then add the spinach.
  • Saute the spinach until it is a deep green and has decreased in size substantially. 
  • Place the sauted spinach and garlic in the bottom of a bowl and layer on top the finished quinoa.
  • Top it all off with some pasta sauce (how ever much you would like) and enjoy!
This will make about two bowls and will really be quite a satisfying meal. With quinoa being a complete protein, vegetables being great fillers for your tummy and garlic having tremendous healing powers, this meal is something your body will thank you for.

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lemon Broccoli Chicken with an Alfredo Sauce

So it's been awhile since my last meal post. I actually made this meal last week, but haven't really had a free moment to put up the post! Don't you just love teachers that give exams the week before spring break? I must say, I kind of do, because then I honestly can get away with doing absolutely no homework over spring break. Well that's enough of that, let's get to the meal!

What you'll need:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms (I used baby portebellas)
  • 2-3 stalks of broccoli, depending on their size
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 jar of Alfredo sauce (I used Bertolli and its was very delicious!)
Let's get cooking!
  • First things first, let's prep! Heat your skillet to a medium heat. While its heating up, cut up your broccoli stalks into slightly larger bite size portions (note: they will slightly shrink when cooking). Also slice 1/2 of the lemon and grate the skin of the other half (this will be used as a garnish at the end)
  • Once your skillet is hot, add the olive oil and coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in the chicken and mushrooms. After a few minutes toss in the lemon slices. Stir the chicken, mushrooms and lemon to make sure all the flavors incorporate into each other.

  •  Next add the broccoli, once again stir the mixture so everything is incorporated. 

  • Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the broccoli is slightly softened. 
  • Remove everything from the skillet and place on your serving dish (I placed mine on a bed on penne pasta)
  • Add the Alfredo sauce into the skillet, just to heat it up (make sure to stir it a lot or it may stick to the pan)
  • Add the Alfredo sauce to the top of the chicken/lemon/broccoli (and possibly pasta) blend, along with the lemon zest garnish. 

 And Voila! A beautiful meal for you to enjoy!

For students and teachers, have a wonderful spring break. To parents of students, enjoy (or not) having your kids home (:


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life of a Working College Student

As you may have noticed, I haven't been a good blogger this week, and that is due to the crazy life I live. This week and last week I have been consumed by studying (for the four tests I had this week), working everyday, memorizing every bone in the skeleton and somehow managing some time to spend with my roommate, boyfriend, and a little sleep. But this week really put into perspective the power of leftovers. Leftovers have been my main meal this week, and I'm going to teach you had to spice up those left overs.

The key to making a left over great is turning them into a different meal, so you don't feel like your eating leftovers. I'm one of those people that loves leftovers, but I know I am one of very few. Some people seem to just get bored with the same food over and over again (I say if you find a delicious meal, eat it as often as you can!).

One of my leftovers of the week was a Mexican casserole. I had some enchilada sauce, rice, beans, chicken, and cheese so I just decided to throw them all together into a casserole (and made quite a bit). The next day, out of my leftovers I made burritos! All I had to do was heat up a tortilla and place the casserole inside, and BAM! a portable meal for me to eat on my 15 minute break at work.

The next leftover was pasta with vegetables. These leftovers came courtesy of Matthew. For Valentine's Day he had made me homemade pizza (he made the sauce, dough, everything! This will be a future blog posting). I used the leftover sauce that didn't get used in the pizza as a sauce for my pasta, then just topped it with vegetables. It literally took about 10 minutes to make (basically to cook the pasta).

Leftovers are a quick and easy way to clean out your fridge and make sure you aren't wasting food. As a college student on the go, I know fast meals are necessary, and rather than turning to some fast food (if you can even call it food) check out that tupperware in your fridge and see what new meal you can create.

*Also, here is a great tool I found on Stumble Upon, you basically put in what you have available to cook with and it shoots out recipes for what you have! Click here!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Power Food of the Week: Avocados (Week 2)

With the Superbowl just one week ago, I'm sure many of you enjoyed the taste of avocados in a hearty guacamole. I'm here today to tell you all the wonderful things about avocados and some healthier ways to enjoy them.
Health benefits: Fat. That's right fat. Avocados are filled with great, essential fats for your body. They contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are the good types of fats for your body. (Opposed to the bad fats which are saturated and trans fats)  They can help lower cholesterol, and reduce your risk for heart disease. Avocados are also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3's help improve cellular function of brain cells, especially with communication with other brain cells. Avocados also naturally contain 6 essential vitamins including Vitamin C, E, and K, riboflavin, folate and niacin. There are many more benefits because of the many nutrients and vitamins involved in avocado, these are just a few to get your avocado cravings flowing.

How to incorporate avocados into your diet: Cut one in half, pull out the seed, and eat it straight, this is the best way to eat an avocado. Cut up a few slices and throw them into a salad, sandwich or wrap to add a unique texture. If you are having a southwestern chicken for dinner, avocado would be a great garnish. Avocados are an easily prepared additive to any meal.

Have a Happy Monday, and show some love to your heart this Valentine's Day with a little avocado!

Avocados are so cool they even have their own website, click here! And remember to buy organic whenever possible.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana garnished with Spinach and Mushrooms

So here's a take on an old classic. I took my dad's recipe for eggplant parmigiana, made it slightly healthier and added a little flair (with the help of Matthew). I don't mean to boast, but this is one mighty scrumptious meal, Matthew couldn't stop saying how delicious it was. So if any of you ladies or gents out there are trying to impress a loved one on this Valentine's Day, I would highly recommend this meal.

What you'll need:

  • 1 large eggplant ( cut to desired thickness, organic)
  • 1 jar (~24 oz.) of your favorite tomato sauce (I used a vodka sauce, which really made it taste fantastic)
  • 2-3 cups of bread crumbs (Italian)
  • 2 eggs, whisked with a splash of milk (cage free, organic)
  • Cracked red pepper (for seasoning)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bag of a 4 cheese Italian blend (or if you have the money, buy Parmesan cheese and mozzarella and shred it up yourself)
  • 2 cups of spinach (organic)
  • 2 cups of mushrooms (sliced, organic)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Pepper
  • 2 leaves of basil
Let's get cooking!

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have the whisked egg in a small, but deep bowl. Right next to the eggs have the bread crumbs mixed with the cracked red pepper in a spacious bowl, then at the end have a large baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and a little bit of olive oil. This will create a very functional assembly line for breading the eggplant
  • Taking one slice of eggplant at a time, dip first in the egg, making sure it is completely covered. Then dip the eggy eggplant into the bread crumbs and cracked red pepper making sure the whole thing is coated evenly, and place it on the baking sheet. Continue this process until all the slices are coated.

  • Place the breaded eggplant slices into the oven for about 8 minutes on each side, or until they are crispy brown. My oven is sort of sucky so I had to flip them, if you have a good oven you  may be able to just leave them in there for 16 minutes all together without flipping. (Eggplant parmigiana is usually fried, I bake it as a way to eliminate the use of extra oil and unneeded fats into the meal). 
  • Once browned, remove the eggplant from the oven and reduce heat of the oven to 350 degrees. Now we will begin assembling the eggplant parmiagiana. Get an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish and cover the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. Place about four or five breaded eggplant slices on top of the sauce. Coat with cheese and about four pieces of basil, then another layer of sauce. Continue layering until you have used up all the eggplant.

  • Place the layered eggplant back into the oven for about ten minutes.
  • While the eggplant is in its final stages, heat up a skillet with some olive  oil to about a medium high heat. (This would also be a good time to start cooking some pasta, just boil water and throw in the pasta until desired tenderness)
  • Throw in your mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are a darkish brown, then add the spinach. Sprinkle in some pepper as desired. Saute the spinach until it is a deep green, and has shrunk considerably in size. By the time this has cooked your eggplant should be finished. 

  • Remove the eggplant from the oven. If serving with pasta (I used linguini noodles) take a scoop of pasta onto a plate, then a few slices of eggplant and finally top with the spinach and mushrooms. 

 Now your meal is ready to enjoy! This meal made enough for Matthew and I to both have hearty servings, plus some left over for the next day.

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Power Food of the Week: Blueberries (Week 1)

    As I figure out the layout of my blog I know there are at least two posts a week that are must haves: A weekly homemade recipe, and a weekly power food. A power food is a label I use for a functional food (a food that provides health benefits beyond basic nutrition). These posts are for all those people that think healthy foods can't be appetizing. This week's power food will be blueberries.

    I may be slightly bias, but blueberries are one of the most delicious fruits of the Earth. Not only are they tasty, but they offer great nutritional value!

    Health benefits: Blueberries contain naturally occurring "plant chemicals", or phytochemicals which boost not only antioxidant activity, but can also help your body fight against the risks of heart disease and cancer.  Phytochemicals are not necessarily components our bodies need to function properly, but they certainly help keep us healthy. One such phytochemical found in blueberries and other dark berries are anthocyanidins. This specific phytochemicals reduces free radicals (cancer causing chemicals derived from oxygen containing compounds), maintains heart health, and regulates cell health.

    How to incorporate blueberries into your diet: Blueberries are a sweet little treat to add to many dishes. I enjoy some added into my oatmeal in the morning, or even a bowl of cereal. They are also great in a salad to give it a fresh spring taste. My all time favorite place to eat blueberries is on top of ice cream. Yes, ice cream may not be the healthiest of treats, but it is my one indulgence (and the blueberries make it not such a bad indulgence).  Blueberries are really just great enough to eat all on their own! You can have that sweet snack in the middle of the afternoon without feeling the guilt of overindulging, like you would if you had a milk and cookies.
    Here is one adorable book about blueberries and one of my favorite childrens books (: If possible at all for you, I would recommend finding fresh blueberries, right from the Earth itself. Berries are the best before they are picked, packed, and slowly rotting on a grocery store shelf. If you are unable to get your blueberries fresh, at the very least buy organic. With many foods covered in pesticides, the health benefits would be very much outweighed by the harmful nature of hazardous chemicals. Click here to see the dirty dozen, a list of foods you should always buy organic.

    Have a wonderful Monday!

    *I received most of my information from my nutrition book (Nutrition, Paul Insel) and from scientific articles. But I highly recommend you to do your own research as well. I wouldn't just Google health benefits of blueberries, because a lot of myths and fad nutritional benefits come up, but rather go to Google Scholar which searches scientific journals for the information you are looking for. Sometimes the scientific journals cost money, but most of the time you can read excerpts, or their main points for free.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Apple Coconut Curry Chicken

    Last week Matthew (the boyfriend) and I went out to eat at a delicious Thai restaurant, which is what inspired me to make this meal. If there is one thing you must know about Matthew and I, it is that we love love LOVE spicy foods, and Thai food is one of our favorites.  So here we go!


    • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Cut into small slices, so they can absorb the flavor of the curry)
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
    • 1 cup of coconut milk
    • 2 tablespoons of red curry paste (more or less depending on how spicy you would like it)
    • 1/3 cup of chicken broth
    • 2 apples (or one large apple) chopped
    • 1/2 of a white onion, chopped
    • A sprinkle of ginger (optional)
    Now that you have all the needed ingredients, let's get cooking!

    • Heat up a skillet on a medium to a medium high heat, and add olive oil. Spread evenly around the pan. Once the pan is hot, throw in the chicken
    • Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side or until they are slightly brown (should still be raw in the middle). While the chicken is cooking, go ahead and chop up your onions and apples. (save half of one apple for garnish at the end of the meal)
    • Once the chicken is browned remove it from the pan and set aside on a plate.
    • Add the onions and curry past to the skillet and stir until combined well, then add the chicken broth until glaze-like substance begins to form

    • Now add the coconut milk and combine well, continue to stir until the sauce thickens
    • Once the sauce has thickened, add the chicken back into the pan, along with the apples and ginger.
    • Bring the chicken and sauce to a simmer and cover. Reduce to a medium low heat and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

    Now you're all done! I served mine with some brown rice (Just bought some minute brown rice, took about five minutes) and homemade Thai iced tea (Iced tea with coconut milk, yum!)

     *Making dinner with you and your significant other is a great idea for a cheap date. Matthew and I cooked this together, I had some ice cream and then we watched some Dexter to top it all off!

    *And thank you to Jenn for the awesome plates, check out her blog at D.I.Y. Cupcake!