Friday, March 16, 2012

Trying to figure out Quinoa

Quinoa is the new craze in the foodie world! It's highly nutritional and contains a ton of protein for a "grain-like" food. I thought it was a grain until I wikipedia serached it and found out it's chenopod(?) which makes it close to beets, spinach and tumbleweeds?!? (yumm tumbleweeds... :-/  )

But I figured we need to add it into our diet and try out some different recipes with it. We basically made it like rice, tossed some veggies in a few times, just experimented but every time we made it the kids would barely touch it.. MY kids, the ones who devour rice and enjoy couscous so much! Great.. of course it's because it's healthy isn't it?!?

Came across another RECIPE I wanted to try with it- what if I attempt to hide it in the food!! :-) So I re-googled "how to cook quinoa" and came across this website How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly Well if he claims this is the perfect way why not give it a try. Then I started reading the article and it's common to cook quinoa like rice (a 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid). Well he does 1 part quinoa to 1.25 part liquid! Maybe that's the key! So too scared to cut the liquid down that much I modified and it turned out PERFECTLY! Way better texture! You can go to the link above and read about quinoa and different ways to cook it or you can read below how I did it using less water than I was before.

Perfect Quinoa
1cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water

If you got your quinoa from the bulk section (normally best price) make sure you rinse it in a mess colander before cooking. I didn't soak mine before hand- just a quick rinse with cold water.

Add rinsed quinoa and water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to low simmer. Cook 30mintues.

Uncover and fluff with a fork and tada!

(I didn't measure the end product but from what I read online 1 cup dry makes 3 cups cooked. that seems about right for mine. I used 2cups in a recipe and have some leftover still.)


Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups from Iowa Girl Eats!

Ok you know you stumble across a food blog that just has the best photos and the food looks soo yummy!?! This post isn't going to be one of those but the recipe below is slightly modified from a blog like that! :-)

Last night I attempted to sneak quinoa into a dish to see if my kids would actually eat it this time! And they did!! They loved the little "ham and cheese cupcakes"! Here is the original recipe from Iowa Girl Eats Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups I followed the recipes almost to a 'T'! Only things I changed was added some diced orange bell pepper and dried parsley not fresh because I dont stock that in my fridge! I'll type it out below but head over to her blog and check it out!

With cooking my quinoa (THIS WAY) these little cups turned out great! (Though I learned a lesson to not use cupcake liners!! Does not work! Hence no pictures of my cute mini cups!)

Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups
2 cups cooked quinoa (see this post for directions)
2 eggs
2 egg whites
3/4 cup zucchini- shredded
1/4 cup bell pepper finely diced (basically 1 cup total of veggies)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a cheddar blend)
1/2 diced ham
2 TB Parmesan cheese
1 green onion- finely sliced
a few shakes of dried parsley, salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all ingredients except quinoa Then add in the quinoa.

Generously spray a cupcake pan (you can easily do them in a regular sized cupcake pan- we did half mini and half regular)

Fill the cups to the top with the mixture.

Bake 15-20 for mini's  20-25 for regular sized. (time may vary) Remove once browning on top and around edge.

Check out her Great Food Blog! Love her stuff! Iowa Girls Eats! (her photo not mine!)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Best Slow-Cooker Pot Roast!

Ok the title seriously says it all! BEST pot roast and in a SLOW COOKER!! Whats better?!?
I know I've been posting a lot of vegetarian meals lately and we are continueing our health kick but every once in awhile I crave amazing red meat!! I just do.. cant help it! A great steak, hamburger (real not fast food) and super yummy roast!

Randomly came across this recipe when we were gifted some meat from a friend's hunting trip. It's orginally for venison, but regular old beef pot roast works great!

Best Pot Roast
3lbs beef roast
1 package of french onion soup dry mix
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
Large onion- sliced or chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 clove of garlic
Olive oil for pan
Carrots (optional)

1. Heat a small amount of oil in a pan. Take some of the dry soup mix and rub it over the meat. Then brown the meat on all sides.

2. Add meat to slow-cooker. Top with onions, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce.

3. Mix together remaining dry soup mix and cream of mushroom soup. Pour over meat. Top with carrots if you are adding. Salt, pepper and garlic.

4. Cover. Cook on low 6-7 hours

5. Take out to rest 10mins (if you are that patient) then slice. Reserved liquid is a GREAT gravy!!


Vegetarian Burritos- Yumm!

I have found a new recipe that I make AT LEAST once a week. It is so yummy and filling and low cost (big plus!)

My "foodie" board on pinterest is insanely full of recipes and now I have started a "vegan and veggie" board which is filling up fast. I came across two different burrito recipes that were meat-free for my husband and kind of mixed them together to make a super awesome burrito! Burrito inspiration recipe #1 Black Bean Veggie Enchiladas and Burrito inspiration recipe #2 Spicy Bean and Rice Burritos. Either of these would be amazing I think! But one, I have little ones that don't do spicy! And two I really wanted to add the extra veggies and rice to the burritos so coming up with my own little recipe turned out well for our family!

Vegetarian Burritos
1 small onion-chopped
1 bell pepper (you choose color)-chopped
2 garlic cloves- diced
A handful of mushrooms- chopped
15oz can of black beans- drained and rinsed
Small can of green chilies (my kids sometimes feel these are too spicy but really only if they see them!)
Taco seasoning (I just add a few dashes of cumin, onion powder, chili powder and oregano) But here is a link for how to make your own Taco Seasoning
Olive oil to slightly coat pan
Rice- either prepare your own or use leftover rice! Our family makes 1cup dry rice for these tacos, which yields about 3 cups cooked.
6 flour tortillas- burrito size
Shredded cheese
Choice of toppings- cheese, chopped lettuce, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, salsa

1. heat large skillet with a little olive oil. Toss in your onion and garlic. Let them get soft for a few mins. Then toss in peppers and mushrooms.

2. Once the veggies are to the tenderness of your choice (I like my peppers with still a little crunch) then toss in black beans, green chilies and seasonings.

3. Fill your burritos with rice, bean mixtures, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and avocado (whatever else you choose) and tad-da! Super yummy filling meat-free dinner for you family!!