Asparagus Primavera with Couscous

If I had to pick my season, I would certainly be more of a summer person. The sun, the weather, getting to spend time outdoors, shorts, flip flops, lake trips. If you can’t tell by where my husband and I decided to move (Arizona), we dig this stuff. Despite my love of the season, I haven’t yet experienced the full wrath of an Arizona summer, so I’ve been trying to work-up my repertoire of “oven-free” meals to give my air conditioner a bit of a break as the thermometer climbs this summer. 🙂

The other bonus of “don’t heat up the house” recipes is that they are typically pretty quick. Quick. Cool. Delicious. Triple score! This is a no-bake recipe that I found at Multiply Delicious, and I was sold after noticing both asparagus and balsamic vinegar on the ingredient list. The recipe is easily adaptable and could fit different grains (quinoa anyone?), different vegetables, or even the addition of chicken if you need to please a meat-eater in the house. We made it exactly as written with the only exception of brown balsamic vinegar for the white (it’s really only a difference of appearance). 

Our verdict: It was a great meal! The flavors of the dish really shined despite a relatively simple ingredient list. Light. Fresh. Healthy. It is certainly a meal I am going to keep in my north of 100 degrees folder. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Asparagus Primavera with Couscous
From Multiply Delicious

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups dry couscous
1 lb. asparagus, rinsed and woody bottoms snapped off
1 cup shredded carrots
1 can (15 oz) White Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, cut into strips
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (white if possible)
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. garlic minced (I used 2 cloves)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Fill a shallow pot with about 1-inch of water and bring to a boil. In a separate medium pot, bring 1-1/2 cups water to a boil (can use chicken broth if desired), then add couscous. Remove from heat, stir and cover. Couscous will be ready in 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Cut asparagus into pieces. Place asparagus and carrots into shallow pot of boiling water, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain immediately. 

In a large salad bowl, toss remaining ingredients, except Parmesan. Add asparagus and carrots and toss again. To serve, spoon about 1 cup of couscous onto each plate. Spoon salad over the top, dividing evenly and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

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Taco Ring

This might be the recipe that won me my husband. See, being from Nebraska, we both were (and are) huge Nebraska football fans since as far back as I remember. My husband and I actually met while we were both in high school, and it was at one of these Nebraska football parties where our relationship really began. Guess what dish my girlfriend and I had made to bring to the party 🙂

Story aside, we had both sadly forgotten about this recipe until my husband brought it up during my menu plan a couple months ago. While football season is still a few months out, it worked quite well as our main dish for the college basketball finals several weeks ago. One of the things I love about this dish is that it looks really impressive while still being really easy to make. If you can brown hamburger and chop vegetables, you can master this recipe. Besides game day, this recipe would also work great for backyard barbecues and graduation parties. The other thing I love. The taste. It really is all the taste of tacos in a more portable vehicle. What’s not to love? We certainly won’t be waiting as long to make this again. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Taco Ring
Recipe from the Dobbes

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 pkg. taco seasoning or homemade taco seasoning
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Tbsp. water
2 pkg. crescent rolls
1 medium green bell pepper (any color will work)
1/2 head lettuce, shredded
1 small onion, chopped
1 can sliced black olives
1 cup salsa
light sour cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine cooked meat, seasoning mix, cheese and water in a large bowl. Arrange crescent triangles in a circle on a 13″ round baking stone or other baking dish with bases overlapping in the center and points to the outside (there should be a 5″ diameter in the center). Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the meat mixture over the rolls. Fold the points of the triangles over the filling and pinch dough together at the center (filling will not be completely covered). Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Using a v-shaped cutter or regular knife, but off the top of the bell pepper. Remove seeds. Shred lettuce and cube tomato. Chop onion. Place bell pepper in the center of the ring; fill with salsa. Mound lettuce, onion, tomato, and olives around the pepper. Garnish with sour cream. Slice with pizza cutter and enjoy.

Spaghetti al Limone

It has been a little while since I made this dish, but I feel like it is right in line with the spring flavors right now. For me, this was actually a recipe that came about to use several things that I hanging around the kitchen. While I was home over my Christmas break, I had some family friends gift us several bags of local (ie. grown in their backyard) lemons, tangelos, and grapefruit. We devoured the other fruit plain, but I really wanted to find a couple recipes to showcase the fresh lemons. One of the recipes that I settled on was these muffins. This is the other.

This recipe turned out really well and held up really well to a couple of substitutions that I made to use up a couple of things in my kitchen. This doesn’t really surprise me since it is a CI recipe. The ingredient list and cooking process is actually really simple. You cook the pasta, bring the sauce together in a separate pan, and mix the two together. Quick. Easy. Delicious. My changes were that I added some shredded Rotisserie chicken to our dish since I had some around and used feta cheese rather than Parmesan because that’s what we had in the kitchen. Even with my changes, it made for a great meal and definitely showcased my lemons! I would like to try it out again using the actual Parmesan to see how that affects the flavor. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Spaghetti al Limone
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Jan/Feb 2011

Ingredients:
table salt
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
1-3/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 Tbsp)
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1  lb. cooked, shredded chicken 
1 ounce (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmesan cheese (I used feta)
ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. shredded fresh basil leaves

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Reserve 1-3/4 cups cooking water, drain pasta into colander, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in now-empty Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1-1/2 cups of reserved pasta cooking water and cream into pot; bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat, add pasta and chicken and stir until coated. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. 

Cover and let pasta stand 2 minutes, tossing frequently and adjusting consistency with remaining 1/4 cup reserved pasta water if necessary. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling individual portions with oil (if desired), and sprinkling with  more cheese (if desired).

Savory Chicken Sausage, Spinach, and Onion Turnovers

Since I finished my school schedule a couple months early, I have been enjoying the opportunity to spend a decent amount of time in my kitchen. I have been trying to use this extra time “wisely” to tackle some of the meals on my “must-make list” that tend to take a little bit longer. You know the type. Yeasted breads. Decorated cupcakes. Mile long ingredient lists. While I have some time right now, this may not be the case in a couple months because a couple weeks ago I accepted a residency position that starts in July. I am REALLY excited for it to get started, but I also know that this means I need to start looking for some quick meal ideas.

This is a recipe I spotted in a section of Cooking Light called “store-bought shortcuts for easy, home-cooked meals.” They included a section about how using store-bought pizza dough, pie crust, rotisserie chicken can be okay (even nutritionally) if you have a night where you need to get dinner finished quickly. I actually defeated the purpose of the article by using my own pie crust, but to my credit, I had one in the freezer that I only had to thaw before using. They have a good point, and while I like to try to make these things at home when I plan out our menu for the week, there are nights (like last Sunday) where Trader Joe’s pizza dough certainly comes in handy.

So what about the part that matters. Were they good? Definitely! I was a little disappointed that my homemade pie crust didn’t brown much like the one in their photo, but on that thought, I don’t think it was a pie crust recipe that I will use again anyway. It just didn’t work quite right here or in the pie that I made. I only made one change because I realized at the last minute that the chicken sausages we had were already pre-cooked, so rather than crumbling them, I simply diced them and browned them quickly in the skillet. Besides my aesthetic browning issue, the turnovers were great! I was pleasantly surprised that they packed as much flavor as they did from a list of pretty unassuming ingredients, and I know that the hubby really enjoyed them too. Don’t let the pie dough turn you away. Even with it, all of this comes in at less than 350 calories per turnover. It is certainly a recipe that will be going in the “quick and easy” file for the next year. Enjoy!

I am linking this post to Melt in Your Mouth Monday!

(Printable Recipe)

Savory Chicken Sausage, Spinach, and Onion Turnovers
Adapted from Cooking Light April 2011

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
2/3 c. diced, peeled red potatoes
1/3 c. diced red bell pepper
1/3 c. diced yellow onion
2 (3.5 oz) links hot chicken Italian sausage, casings removed (or diced if pre-cooked)
3 c. bagged washed baby spinach
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 (14.1-ounce) pkg. Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough (or homemade dough for 1 crust pie)
2 Tbsp. water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp. grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add potatoes, bell pepper, and onion to the pan; saute 4 minutes or until onion begins to brown, stirring frequently. Add sausage; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble if using the uncooked variety. Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Stir in basil, salt, and crushed red pepper. Remove from the heat.

Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 5-inch circle. Spoon about 1/2 cup potato mixture on half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch boarder. Fold dough over potato mixture until edges almost meet. Bring bottom edge of dough over top edge; crimp edges of dough to form a rim with fingers or a fork. 

Place turnovers on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray if needed. Combine 2 tablespoons of water and egg white in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; brush evenly over the dough. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons cheese over each turnover. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 turnovers (4 servings)

I am linking this to Hunk of Meat Monday.

Hunk of Meat Mondays

Garlic Ginger Chicken

garlic ginger chicken

I have a few more sweet posts in the works, so I thought it might be time to mix them up with something more on the savory side. This was one of the first 3 recipes that my husband had lined up for me to make after I returned home. I have talked about his love for Chinese food on here before, but I am really not kidding. While we were in undergraduate college, we went to the Chinese buffet so often that the owners would ask him if he wanted them to make anything else for the buffet when we walked in the door. The guy loves his Chinese.

One of the things I like about making Chinese food at home is that you can make it so much healthier than you can get at a restaurant. The basis of the food is good for you – lean meats and vegetables served over rice. If you watch the sodium in your ingredients and don’t fry your meat, you can have an easy, healthful meal.

garlic ginger chicken cooking chicken
garlic ginger chicken close

The recipe for this chicken dish came from blogchef.net. There are tons of Chinese recipes on this site, and we’ve made several of them. It’s definitely the first site I look at when the hubby is wanting Chinese. The original recipe for this dish calls for deep-frying the chicken. I tend to shy away from deep-frying anything at home for various reasons. The health part of it is a big factor, but I also just don’t like to deal with a big pot of hot oil. I ended up following the recipe through the breading part and cooked the chicken in the wok in about a tablespoon of oil. Truthfully, this didn’t work very well. Much of the breading ended up falling off the meat, so I just picked it out when I removed the chicken from the wok. I don’t think this was a fault of the recipe as I imagine it would have worked much better in a pot of oil. Next time, I may try draining the marinated chicken and coating it lightly with cornstarch to give it just a little bit of crisp, but I’ll write the recipe as written.

With the exception of the breading issues, this dish was great. It was different from the other Chinese dishes that we’ve had in that it doesn’t rely on spice to flavor the sauce. In that manner, it would be great if you’re needing a milder dish for children or adults who don’t like a lot of heat in their food. I ended up adding a little cornstarch at the end to thicken the sauce, but this is more personal preference as my husband likes his sauces to be thicker. It has been awhile since we’ve made a Chinese dish, but I really feel like this is one of the better dishes I have tried at home. It’s now on our ever-growing make-again list. Enjoy! 

(Printable Recipe)

Garlic Ginger Chicken
Adapted from blogchef.net

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 Tbsp. rice wine
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 egg
1/3 c. cornstarch
fryer oil or olive oil 
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 c. dry brown rice 

Sauce:
6 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
6 Tbsp. rice wine
3 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
1 bunch green onions, sliced (optional)

Add chicken bits to a large bowl. Add 4 Tbsp. rice wine and 1 Tbsp. soy sauce. Marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions. After the 30 minutes is up, add the egg and cornstarch to the chicken mixture if you are wanting to fry the chicken pieces. Stir and blend until the chicken pieces are coated with batter. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees. Fry chicken in batches for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Alternatively, after the marinate, drain the liquid from the chicken and toss with just enough cornstarch to coat the chicken. Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir-fry the chicken pieces until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Set aside. Turn heat down to medium and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the wok. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add remaining soy sauce and rice wine, sugar, and chicken. Stir and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture at this time if desired to thicken the sauce. Top with sliced green onions and serve.

Yield: 2-3 servings

White Pizza with Tomato and Basil

white pizza with tomato and basil2

Home! I can’t believe how good it feels to be able to type that word. I finished up my last clinical rotation for pharmacy school this week. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I’m done and get to stay, but until it does, I’m just going to enjoy being here =)

I think the hubby must have missed “our” cooking while I was gone because the first three things we made since I’ve been back are pizza, chocolate chip cookies, and Chinese food in that order (more recipes to follow). I’m certainly not complaining because they’ve all been good, and it’s not just because I’ve been subsisting on pb&j and lunch meat for the past 3 weeks. 

white pizza with tomato and basil before baking

This pizza recipe is one that my husband picked out for dinner from my Cooking Light magazine while I was at a residency interview this week. I received a couple new magazine subscriptions for Christmas, and I have set a goal for myself to make a certain amount of recipes from each issue to help keep things interesting around here. If the rest of them are anything like this recipe, we’re certainly going to be eating pretty good this year!

We ended up using the prepared pizza dough from Trader Joe’s for this pizza because we were making it on pretty short notice. Their dough is really good, but I’m hoping to get back into the swing of making our own crust from scratch as I get back in the kitchen. Pizza is one of the things that my husband made on his own while I was gone, and he has his crust-baking technique down. It was perfectly browned and crispy enough to support the moister sauce that came with the extra ricotta cheese. The flavor profile is pretty similar to the chicken pesto pizza that I blogged on just a few posts ago, but the ricotta cheese gives it just enough of a twist that it’s different. Just looking at the pictures is making me want to make it again. Enjoy!  

white pizza with tomato and basil slice

(Printable Recipe)

White Pizza with Tomato and Basil
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2011

Ingredients:
1 pkg or recipe of prepared pizza dough (we used TJ’s herbed dough)
Cooking Spray
3 Tbsp. pesto with basil
3/4 c. shredded light Mozzarella cheese 
1/2 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
2 sliced small tomatoes 
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. small basil leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a stoneware pizza pan in the oven to heat for at least 10 minutes.

Roll out a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the pizza pan. Stretch or roll out the pizza dough to desired shape and thickness and place on the parchment paper. Lightly coat the crust with cooking spray. Spread pesto evenly over the crust, leaving a 1-inch boarder. Sprinkle Mozarrella cheese evenly over the pesto. Dollop ricotta, by teaspoonfuls, evenly over the Mozzarella. Arrange tomato slices and basil over the pizza. Sprinkle with the black pepper.

Remove the pizza pan from the oven and carefully transfer the parchment paper and pizza to the hot pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is nicely golden-brown. Slice and enjoy.

Pesto on FoodistaPesto

Chicken Pesto Pizza

It has definitely been no secret on this blog that the hubby likes pizza, but since I’ve been apart from him for school, it hasn’t really been something that’s been on my menu. Not only would a whole pizza take me a week of suppers to eat on my own, but I’m also apart from my breadmaker and a little scared to try rising the dough on its own in a bowl. 

Enter Trader Joe’s prepared pizza dough. Right around their grand opening I scored some whole wheat pizza dough from TJ’s for less than a dollar! Not too bad! While I’d like to get around to making my own again once I make it home, this one would definitely be a great substitute for those emergency pizza cravings. My husband has also been using it to make pizza on his own, and he says that the garlic one is great. 

This pizza is one that I crafted after finding the dough one night. I’ve been on a pesto kick lately, and it sounded like it would make for a good base to a pizza recipe. I added chicken, sliced tomatoes, and Mozzarella cheese to this one, but next time, I think I want to add chopped artichokes to it as well. The pesto idea was definitely a hit. We’ll be recreating this one more than once.

The only complaint I have is the baking temperature. The hubby and I have found that the dough packages here in Nebraska differ in temperature from those in AZ. Ours say to bake it at 350 degrees while his say 450. This is somewhat of a debate as the hubby thinks I just read the package wrong, but I am sure that it said to bake at 350 degrees. 350 is definitely not hot enough to fully cook the crust in the middle, so I say go with your normal pizza method. We like to roll the dough out on parchment while preheating a stone in the oven at 450. Placing the dough helps cook the dough from the bottom up so that you don’t end up with a soggy middle in your pizza.  My other home pizza tip is that if you like your cheese a little browned just switch the oven to broil for the last minute or so of baking. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Chicken Pesto Pizza
The Cookin’ Chemist Original

Ingredients:
1 pkg. prepared pizza dough or 1 recipe of homemade dough
1/4 – 1/3 c. pesto
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1-1/2 c. Mozzarella cheese
2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
artichoke hearts, chopped (optional)
other vegetables (optional) 

Place a stone pizza pan or stoneware pan in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. 

On parchment paper, roll or stretch out the pizza dough to desired thickness. Spread with pesto and top with chicken, tomatoes, artichokes, and other vegetables if desired. Cover with Mozzarella cheese. Remove the pan from the oven and place the pizza (while still on the parchment paper) on the hot stone. Alternatively, you can use a pizza peel if you have one. Bake for 11-14 minutes or until the crust starts to turn brown. If you want to brown the cheese, switch the oven to broil and let it cook for no more than 1-2 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Mexicali Chop Salad with Crunchy Tortilla Strips

I’ve got quite the string of sweeter recipe posts going, so I thought it’s time that I posted more of a healthful, savory meal. I first noticed the recipe for this salad in an older issue of Vegetarian Times. I don’t know about you, but I always seem to pick recipes out of magazines while I’m sweating away at the gym. Good thing they don’t have TV’s at the student gym. If I start watching food network, I would really be in trouble =)

Anyway, after coming home and immediately looking the recipe up online, I’ve already made this recipe twice. Since it was in the July/August issue, it has more of a “summer flair” to it, but I can attest to the fact that it was still delicious in October. The second time, I even divided it up into lunch-sized portions (minus pre-packing the dressing) and enjoyed it all week. The recipe calls for you to make a simple homemade dressing, and it is absolutely my favorite part. It ties the whole salad together and gives it just a little kick. 

I made a few swaps to the recipe using black beans rather than pintos, halved cherry tomatoes, and fresh bell peppers instead of roasted peppers. It is definitely one of those meals where you can swap ingredients wherever you see fit. If you’ve been craving vegetable-packed meals like I have, give this a try! It only serves as proof that lower-calorie, healthful meals can still be filling, flavorful, and delicious!

(Printable Recipe)

Mexicali Chop Salad with Crunchy Tortilla Strips
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Ingredients:
Tortilla Strips:
cooking spray
3 6-inch corn or flour tortillas
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

Dressing:
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. lime juice
1/4 c. chopped green onion
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
pinch cayenne pepper

Salad:
8 c. romaine lettuce (1 head) or spinach
1 pkg. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, diced and seeded
1 c. fresh or frozen corn (thawed if frozen)
3/4 c. black beans
1/2 c. fresh red bell pepper, chopped (can use roasted)
1/3 c. finely chopped red onion

To make the tortilla strips, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the tortillas with non-stick spray and spread on a baking sheet. Combine chili powder, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture over the tortillas. Cut tortillas in half with a pizza slicer and slice into 1/8-inch wide strips. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. 

To make the dressing, heat the olive oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, sugar and salt for 2-3 minutes over low heat until the garlic begins to sizzle. Add the lime juice, green onion, and cilantro and blend with an immersion blender until smooth (this can also be added to a stand blender if desired).

Toss together all salad ingredients. Layer tortilla strips on top of the lettuce mixture and top with the dressing. 

Yield: 4 (The original recipe says it serves 8, but those would be little salads. You will have extra dressing for only 4 salads).

Note: The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Black Bean Mexican Pizza

Alright, I know. I keep promising more posts… Well, I am finally armed with several recipes accumulated from the last two weekends, and I hopefully plan to get a few more of them up here for what good is a food blog if I’m not actually posting food? While I haven’t been so great keeping my blog updated, I HAVE been trying to keep up with all of yours. I can tell you that everyone is definitely posting some good eats. My “recipes” bookmark tab keeps getting longer and longer by the day…

This is a recipe that I saw a couple months ago on Cook Like a Champion. I bookmarked it immediately because if you know anything about my husband, you’ve heard me talk about how he loves pizza. We’ve gotten so that we make it quite a bit at home, and I have to admit that I think we’re getting pretty good at it. Anyway, we’re always looking for new variations on the standard sauce, toppings, cheese combination, and this just sounded delicious.

Unfortunately, after all that talk about how much my husband loves pizza, I actually made this one for my parents. They definitely enjoyed it, and I am sure it won’t be too long before I end up making it for the hubbs. The pizza as a whole reminds me a little bit of that addicting mexican 7-layer dip. I did end up changing things up a little bit simply to accomodate what we had in the kitchen. The roasted red peppers were swapped for some black bean and corn salsa and I subbed a diced jalapeno for the anaheim pepper slices. Overall, it definitely goes into the “make again” file at our place. Enjoy! 
Black Bean Mexican Pizza

Ingredients:
1 recipe homemade pizza dough (we’ve also used bread flour in this)
1 can black beans, rinsed
approximately 1/2 c. salsa of your choice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
salt
1-1/2 c. shredded part-skim Monterrey Jack cheese
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1-2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
shredded romaine lettuce
low-fat sour cream

Set a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board. Roll out the pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper to the desired size and shape. Set aside and let it rest. 

In a food processor, pulse the black beans until “mashed” (this can also be done by hand with a fork or potato masher). Add salsa as directed or until the desired consistency is reached. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin and mix until well combined and the mixture is smooth. Taste and season with salt, if desired.

Spread the black bean puree on the pizza crust, leaving a 1/2-inch boarder around the edge. Top with the cheese, tomatoes, green onion, and jalapeno pieces. Remove the pan from the oven. Use the cutting board under the parchment paper to help slide the pizza (including the parchment paper) onto the hot pan. This will start baking the underside of the crust immediately and will help it get crisp. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust begins to turn golden.  Transfer the pizza to a work surface and cut into slices. Top each slice with lettuce and dollops of sour cream and serve immediately.

Quinoa Stir-Fry with Vegetables and Chicken

At one of the houses down the road from where I’m staying right now, there’s a big German Shepard that apparently likes to chase cars. I don’t see him every morning, but on the mornings that I do he usually chases my car for the length of their property. As I approached this morning, I saw him standing along the road stretching out his back legs and front legs before he took off after my car. It was almost like he had to make sure he was ready to go =)

I’m not sure what the German Shepard has to do with this quinoa, but I thought it was a cute story. Maybe you could think of it as “running fuel” as quinoa is definitely toted for its health benefits. 

I have had this recipe bookmarked from Self.com for quite some time. I saved it before I really got into cooking with quinoa, and even after that, I waited to make it until I was visiting the hubby in AZ. I’m not big into making full meals for just myself because I tend to get bored with it before I am finished eating the leftovers. One or two days is okay, but a full week of leftovers is a little much. 

Our verdict: Definitely a repeat. It is kind of like a healthier, veggie-packed fried rice. As long as you have some pre-cooked chicken, it also comes together pretty quickly. There is quite a bit of chopping to cut up all the veggies, but if you time it out while you are cooking the quinoa, it could easily slide in at less than 30 minutes. I realize that this isn’t necessarily the best timing to post a recipe containing eggs, but as long as you cook them thoroughly, you’ll be just fine. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Quinoa Stir-Fry with Vegetables and Chicken
Adapted from Self.com

Ingredients: 
3/4 c. quinoa, rinsed
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 tsp. grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red chile, chopped and seeded
2 c. snow peas, trimmed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 egg, beaten
4 oz. chicken breast, grilled or just leftover chicken
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 c. cilantro
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

Place quinoa in a small saucepan with 3/4 c. water and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, undisturbed, until quinoa absorbs water, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside uncovered.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook carrot, stirring occasionally, until it softens or about 1 minute. Add bell pepper, ginger, garlic, and chile; cook stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add peas and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, about 1 minute.

Remove vegetables and return skillet to heat; add quinoa along with egg. Cook, stirring constantly, until egg is evenly distributed, about 2 minutes. Add vegetables, chicken, cilantro, and soy sauce; cook 1 minute longer. Serve warm.