One Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies

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I’m working longer days now. Which in part, I love because it earns me an extra day off per week (I’m working 4, 10-hr shifts). But, when that puts me walking in the door post-workout on a weeknight at 7:30, I don’t want a complicated recipe. (And honestly, who really does on a weeknight!)

I ran across this recipe, actually on Pinterest, a couple months back looking for easier dinner recipes. And this is one of the ones that stuck. We’ve made this several times. Often enough to be honest, that I’m a little embarassed that I haven’t added it on here yet.

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The basis for the recipe is from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. We make it largely as written using one of the pre-cooked flavors of chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s and tons of veggies. It’s probably us more than the recipe, but I usually end up roasting this on 2 separate pans. When the pans are too crowded the food ‘steams’ instead of roasting, and you all know we want the flavor that comes from those browned, roasted veggies.

With the addition of the red pepper flakes, it is a touch spicy. Probably not too much for many adults, but if you were making this for kiddo’s, you might want to back of the amount or leave it off. We typically serve this over brown rice, but you could easily serve over quinoa, couscous, etc.

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Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

One Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies
From Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Ingredients:
1 pkg. pre-cooked Trader Joe’s chicken sausage (5 links)
4-5 small red potatoes
0.75 lb. fresh green beans
2 bell peppers, any color
2 heads broccoli
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Quinoa/brown rice/couscous
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil.

For the veggies: cut the red potatoes into small pieces (~1/8 potato) to allow them to cook completely. Seed and chop the bell peppers. Cut the ends off the green beans and cut in half, if needed. Trim the broccoli florets and discard the stems.

Slice the sausages. Add both the sausages and the veggies to a large bowl. Add olive oil and spices, and stir to coat. Divide evenly between the pans. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir each pan and continue to roast for another 10-15 minutes. Serve over your grain of choice and top with Parmesan cheese.

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Grain Salad with Oil-Free Orange Ginger Dressing

whole foods layered salad2

Since I have been blogging, one of the areas where I have really branched out as far as food is concerned is grains. A couple years ago, I would have gone ‘huh’ at anything more exotic than brown rice. I am glad that we’ve expanded our world of grains because different variations on grain salads have become one of our favorite quick meals. Perfect for lunches or a lighter dinner.

The idea for this salad is straight from Oh She Glows. On her post, Angela mentions that she had something similar from Whole Foods and had to re-create it at home. It is completely grains, veggies, and a little bit of juice, and is quite delicious! One of the things in this salad that I had never tried before was wheat berries. I was able to find them in a regional store that sells lots of things in bulk, and they have to be my new favorite grain. In the recipe, the wheat berries are not cooked completely through. Only enough to make them chewy, and I am completely enamored with the texture they add to this salad! Try it out. Enjoy! 

Grain Salad with Oil-Free Orange Ginger Dressing

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked wheat berries
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup shelled edamame
1 cup diced carrots (about 2 large carrots)
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
kosher salt, to taste

Dressing:

2/3 cup 100% pure orange juice
1/3 cup 100% pure apple juice
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/4 tsp. Kosher saltIn a medium-sized pot, combine chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 13-15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside. In another pot, combine the wheat berries and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the berries start to soften and become chewy. Drain any extra water and set aside.

While the grains are cooking, chop the vegetables and whisk the dressing ingredients together. Mix with the cooled grains and enjoy. Will keep in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.

Spicy and Sweet Sqash Bowls

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As a child, I hated squash. Admittedly, I was a rather picky child (sorry mom!), but squash was pretty far down on the list of things I’d rather go hungry without than eat. There was one year where our neighbors gave us several of them from their garden. Mom roasted them with brown sugar and cinnamon (sounds good now, right?). Despite the sugar, there was no way either my brother or I were going anywhere near them…

As an adult, I was a little skeptical to give squash a second try. In reality, I have probably only embraced it in the last year or so, and I have found that I really enjoy it. Especially roasted with brown sugar and cinnamon. This recipe from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum takes uses that sweet side and mixes it up with some curry, pecans, and spices.

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spicy and sweet sqash bowls

My biggest advice about the recipe would be not to skip the hummus. It absolutely makes the dish. I used purchased hummus rather than the white bean hummus indicated in the recipe for a shortcut, however I am sure either would be great. Different. A little spicy. Healthy. I know squash is starting to go out of season, but this one will not disappoint. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Spicy Sweet Squash Bowl
Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
1-1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1/2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
salt
1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
1 cup fresh spinach, roughly torn
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
hummus

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the squash with olive oil, white sugar, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon curry, and salt to taste. Roast until fork tender, about 25-35 minutes depending on how large you cut the squash cubes.

Meanwhile, place quinoa in a medium saucepan with the broth (or water if you want), 2 teaspoons curry, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until the liquid is completely absorbed. Let sit for a few minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Mix with spinach and pecan pieces.

Divide the quinoa mixture between bowls. Top with the roasted squash and finally with a dollop of hummus. Mix together and enjoy!

Southwestern Quinoa Casserole

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In continuing the theme of meatless recipes, I thought I’d start with one of the Mexican-themed recipes I’d promised. This may not be true for everyone, but I’ve always found Mexican dishes one of the easiest types of Cuisines to make vegetarian. With all the beans, veggies, and cheese, it is easy not to miss the meat!

This dish mixes all those above things with none other than quinoa. No meat certainly does not have to mean no protein! I have definitely caught the quinoa “bug.” What is not to love about those little curly cues it sprouts after it’s cooked? 

The idea from this recipe comes from Not Rachel Ray. She used the filling both for southwestern stuffed pepper and in casserole form. We just made the casserole variety, but I am sure stuffed-peppers would be delicious (I also seem to have a “thing” for different types of stuffed peppers). I made a few changes to Rachel’s original recipe mainly leaving out the chicken, upping the amount of beans (hate having random half cans of stuff in the refrigerator), and adding a chopped bell pepper to the mix. We just planted several of these ingredients in our garden last weekend. Can’t wait until we could make this with the goodies from our garden!

You’ll find a lot of different ways to cook quinoa. I’ve tried quite a few different ways, but the method that has worked well for me is a ratio of 2:1 liquid to grain. Any more liquid, and I find the quinoa ends up too wet even after cooking. You can use all water, a mixture of water and broth, or even all broth if you’d like. If I have it, I like using half broth, half water. I haven’t tried this, but I think you could prepare most of this dish the night before (minus adding the bread crumbs). Add the bread crumbs and bake the next day. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Southwestern Quinoa Casserole
Adapted from Not Rachel Ray

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen corn or corn cut from 2 cobs
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
1-2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (make your own)
1-1/2 cups reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 whole wheat Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the quinoa and shake strainer to drain off any extra liquid. Place in a medium saucepan. Add broth and/or water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 13-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat. Let sit and remain covered for about 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.

Combine the cooked quinoa, bell pepper, onion, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, taco seasoning, and 1 cup of cheese. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish. Combine remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and Panko bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the dish. Bake 45-50 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.

Hearty Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa

Man. I feel like a little bit of a wimp saying this, but it was cold this week in New Orleans. No, not snow cold, but cool weather combined with rain can still be cold. We were there for a pharmacy conference and having to walk around in the rain is not synonymous with fun. I was definitely ready to get back to Arizona desert last night! Nonetheless, the chill stayed with me and has me thinking of one thing. Soup!

In reality, I made this soup a couple weeks ago, almost immediately after I ran across it online, and a bowl of it sounds about perfect right now! Dara from the Cookin’ Canuck came up with this recipe on her own, and I have to say she is a genius. Check out her site for the pictures, and let me tell you that this soup is as good as it looks. Extra points in because it is healthy. Delicious + healthy = win.

I changed the soup a little by using a sweet potato rather than a butternut squash and slightly varying the cooking method. The recipe calls for cooking the chicken in some broth, but you could certainly use cooked chicken as a time saver if you want. We loved our end result, but I’m sure it would be great with the butternut squash too. If you’re looking to warm up from some cool weather, this would be a great way to do it. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Hearty Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa
Adapted from Cookin’ Canuck

Ingredients:
1-1/2 lbs. sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
3-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley, chopped

In a medium saucepan, add sweet potatoes and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 5-7 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Remove half of the pieces. Continue boiling the remaining pieces of sweet potato until they are very soft, 3-5 minutes more. Drain and mash with the back of a fork. Set aside. 

In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add the chicken and cook until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl.

Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower the heat to medium. Add olive oil and allow to warm. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to turn brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and oregano. Cook stirring for 1 additional minute. To the saucepan, add tomatoes, cubed sweet potato pieces, and mashed sweet potato. Stir to combine. Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes. 

Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork. Stir in the chicken, olives, and pepper into the stew, and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve.

Chipotle, Lime, White Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad

Unfortunately, I’m finding myself in that area where I’ve worked down through most of my saved blog posts, and I find myself saving the ones that I do have so that I don’t run through them all in a couple of days. Right now, I am gratefully staying in the same place for a couple of months, so I’m hoping that maybe I’ll be able to work in a little bit more cooking because things have been a little sparse around here lately in both my cooking group posts and just regular blog posts =)

Ever since first trying quinoa early this summer, I seem to be on a quinoa kick. I’ve made these stuffed-peppers several times as well as this stir-fry, and I think I may be obsessed with finding new ways to use it. Fortunately or unfortunately, I can’t take any credit for this salad. The recipe comes from Jenny at Picky Palate. I’ve got tons of recipes bookmarked from her site. She comes up with some pretty creative and delicious looking recipes! In addition to that, my husband actually made this for himself for some easy lunches while in Arizona (he actually stopped to take the pictures too so that I could put it up on the blog). You can’t take it from me, but he says it’s pretty good.

So, if you’re still in the hunt for a salad to take to those Labor Day Weekend barbecues, give this one a try. You may just be the catalyst that causes someone else to find a new obsession =)

(Printable Recipe)

Chipotle, Lime, White Bean, and Corn Quinoa Salad
From Picky Palate

Ingredients:
1 c. uncooked quinoa
1 c. water or low-sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt with parsley
1 tsp. adobe sauce (from can of chipotle peppers)
1-1/2 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 can (14 oz) white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, chopped
1/2 c. red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. green onions chopped (the green parts)

Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer. Place quinoa in a small saucepan with either the water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside uncovered.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lime juice, salt, garlic salt, and adobo sauce. Pour into quinoa and mix in the corn, beans, cilantro, chipotle peppers, bell pepper and green onions. Cover and chill until serving.
  

Note: This is pretty spicy as written. Cut back on the chipolte peppers and adobo sauce if you like things a little more mild.

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.

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Well, I finally did it. I have been wanting to try a quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) for what seems like forever.  I have gone back and forth for awhile always looking at it when we went to the store, but had two reasons for being hesitant. One, quinoa can be a little spendy. Two, I had no idea how to cook it.  More recently, I’ve been keeping my eye out for quinoa recipes that pop up on blogs, and now I’ve got quite the stack.  Since that blew my second excuse, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and try it out 🙂

Because I had never made it before, I did a little bit of research: Quinoa is a grain originally eaten by the Incas in South America. When cooked, quinoa has a fluffy consistency, and it is touted for its slightly nutty taste. Probably one of the coolest things about quinoa is that it is a complete protein and also boasts calcium, iron, and B vitamins. 

I’m not sure what made me settle on this stuffed pepper recipe for my first go at quinoa, but I can tell you that I definitely enjoyed it. I changed the recipe a little based on what I have on hand but kept most things the same. One thing I wondered about was rinsing versus soaking the quinoa to remove the bitter taste that can be left beind. In my research, I found suggestions varying from needing to soak it overnight to just rinsing it off before cooking. I didn’t soak mine at all, only rinsing, and I can’t say that I noticed a bitter flavor at all. 

With the exception of this recipe, another thing I like about quinoa is that many of the recipes seem to be summer friendly requiring no baking time in the oven. I’m thinking that I may need to learn to be better about this since I will soon be living in Arizona 🙂 

Now I just need to pick out the next recipe since I’ve got another 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa that’s just begging to be cooked…

(Printable Recipe)

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from Delicious Living

Ingredients:
3 medium bell peppers, varied colors but with flat bottoms so they stand
1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 c. water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 c. soy nuts
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 small zucchini, peeled and chopped
2 oz. spinach leaves
1/2 can (14.5 oz can total) Italian-style diced tomatoes drained
couple shakes of sea salt
1/4 c. feta cheese plus a little extra for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile carefully cut around bell pepper stems to create a hole large enough to remove seeds and ribs. Cut an additional half inch off the top and chop these pieces and set aside. When the water boils, submerge the bell peppers and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain in a large colander and set aside.

Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, remove the lid and fluff with a fork.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add reserved chopped bell pepper and stir-fry for another 5 minutes. Add soy nuts, diced tomatoes, and cumin and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add zucchini, spinach, and salt. Stir-fry for 3 additional minutes then add cooked quinoa and the 1/4 cup feta cheese.

Set cooked peppers in a large rectangular baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each pepper with quinoa mixture. Sprinkle remaining feta cheese over tops. Bake for 20 minutes and serve warm.

Make ahead tip: Assemble and refrigerate; allow an extra 5-10 minutes for cooking.