Steel Cut Oats & Blueberries

What’s healthy, sweet and purple all over? Oatmeal with frozen blueberries added during cook time.

Simply cook steel cut oats according to directions, add frozen blueberries and continue simmering until cooked through. Serve with almond milk and maple syrup, to taste.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork & Quinoa

Part two of this week’s pre-made meal makeover was pulled pork in the crockpot, served twice (and counting!) with quinoa and veggies. It started with my recipe for taco-ready crock pot pulled pork, which basically consists of a pork tenderloin, a large can of diced tomatoes, frozen corn and taco seasoning in the crock pot.

I served mine two ways with quinoa as a base: accompanied by spinach and tomatoes on the first night…

On the second night, I melted a slice of pepper jack cheese over quinoa in the microwave, then topped it with leftover pork and sliced avocado…

And there is still plenty of leftover pork!

Quinoa Lasagna

I’m on a mission to morph my beloved casserole-dish meals, which have supplied dinner on many consecutive weeknights, into healthier versions.

So tonight I borrowed techniques from two favorites: “hamburger sour cream” casserole and ground turkey lasagna with yogurt bechamel. Quinoa replaced lasagna noodles, which actually cuts down on quite a bit of cooking time beyond the obvious health benefits.

First, brown 1+ pound of ground turkey and then add a large can of diced or crushed tomatoes and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa according to the package. Then, mix 1-2 cups of goat/coconut milk yogurt with freshly minced basil or chopped green onions. Stir into the quinoa.

Layer meat sauce followed by quinoa mixture in a casserole dish, and repeat. Optional: sprinkle top layer with shredded Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and allow top layer to get that nice golden color. Remove and serve.

Red, White and Chicken Apple

The same one-pan dinner I turn to on weeknights when I need to squeeze in a workout, can also be used for summer gatherings. While it bakes, you get a half hour or so of freedom from the kitchen to enjoy the festivities.

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Simply toss potato wedges, roasted red peppers (sliced into strips) and chicken apple sausage (cut into slices) in an oven-safe casserole dish with olive oil and seasonings of your choice. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes; cover with foil towards the end if the potatoes aren’t tender enough.

Bonus: only one dish and cutting board to clean!

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

I’ve gone a little overboard with jars of roasted red peppers and discovered three in the cupboard, beyond the two in the fridge today. So for our neighbor’s potluck, I decided to try making a roasted red pepper dip with coconut milk yogurt (a new option since goat cheese yogurt was not available), white bean hummus and goat cheese. Let’s hope the neighbors approve…

Mix two jars of roasted red peppers, a small container of hummus, 6 oz of yogurt and a small log of chevre in a food processor. Salt to taste, and serve with carrots, other veggies, or chips. Pretty easy and healthy as far as dips go!

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Put an Egg On It: Quinoa for Breakfast

My latest obsession is a fried egg on just about anything: pasta, veggies, hash. This time, I swapped the old egg-on-toast breakfast classic with protein-packed quinoa. And it couldn’t be easier.

Just follow the instructions for making quinoa, then fry two eggs over easy (season with salt while cooking). Place the eggs on top of the quinoa in a bowl, and enjoy!

Indy licked the bowl afterwards, so it’s quite possibly dog-friendly too.

Garlic Gnocchi with Avocado Mash, Peas & Tomatoes

Mashed avocado has become a popular topping for toast, so I was inspired to try it as a creamy coating for pasta – specifically garlic gnocchi, along with tomatoes, peas, and olive oil.

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It’s quick too. Simply boil the water for the gnocchi, while dicing tomatoes, scooping out avocado halves prior to mashing and seasoning with salt, and prepping the peas (I used frozen). After cooking the gnocchi for a minute or less to tenderness, drain water from the pot, and stir in the avocado mash and a little olive oil with the pasta, followed by the other ingredients. Top with Parmesan.

Beg, Borrow & Meal: Quinoa Southwestern Salad

Instant doesn’t have to mean unhealthy. Every week I order healthy and/or organic pre-packaged meals and snacks from Safeway.com to smooth out the hungry edges of a busy workday or post-commute dinner. This week, I made lemonade out of lemons (salads that arrived on the same day they expired), by beefing them up for heartier dinner portions.

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Using Safeway O Organics Southwestern Chicken Salad as a base, I added diced Safeway Select roasted red peppers, leftover O Organics quinoa from the previous night, Safeway Select pre-cut broccoli florets, and substituted the ranch dressing with goat milk yogurt. (David got both of our packets of tortilla chips.) I definitely recommend seasoning generously with salt.

(And if you’re listening Safeway.com, know that I’m a beyond loyal customer but I’m so tired of getting things delivered that have already expired or are about to expire in a day or two. My delivery drivers are always gracious about passing along the message to the store manager and I’ve called customer service countless times. The ability to return something doesn’t help if no replacement is delivered in its place.)

Quinoa Burrito Bowl

We’ve made burritos since college, but fortunately our eating habits have become much healthier since then. So tonight I decided to makeover our old standby as a quinoa burrito bowl, apropos for a more health conscious era.

Brown the ground turkey and season with salt, cumin and chili pepper. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa and prepare veggies as desired. Serve with a dollop of goat milk yogurt; season with salt, and stir to enjoy. Bye bye burrito!

Cast Iron & Wine

After tiring of burnt nonstick pans, I took the plunge with enameled cast iron. Rather than splurge on Le Creuset, I decided to get my feet wet with this four-star rated, dishwasher safe Cuisinart cast iron pan in Provençal Blue to match my cabinets. :)

Tonight’s test drive went surprisingly well. I turned 6-months frozen ground turkey (questionable on many fronts) into a perfectly browned and juicy filling for tacos. Call me a convert!

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