Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Quinoa Patties with Feta Cheese & Spinach

Quinoa is nutritious, easy to make, and so versatile. I usually add it to my salads to add more texture, or eat it as a side in place of rice. This was my first time making it like this, and I'm not sure why it's taken me this long to discover these scrumptious patties. 


They came out so yummy! They're crispy and browned on the outside, delicate and full of flavor on the inside. Best of all, the possibilities are endless. I added fresh spinach and feta into my patties, and I can't wait to try other variations using different cheeses and veggies. You could play around with the spices, or add in other components like olives, zucchini, peas, corn, and black beans.

You'll need:

4 eggs
1 cup of uncooked quinoa
1 cup of fresh spinach, chopped
3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped and sautéed
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
1/4 teaspoon of cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil, butter, or ghee for cooking (your healthy fat of choice ;)) 

  1. Cook the quinoa. Let it cool. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Then add the quinoa, chopped spinach, feta cheese, sautéed red onion, & spices.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together well. Let the mixture set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  4. Form the patties. 
  5. Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil, butter or ghee. Cook the patties for 6-8 minutes or until the patties are golden brown. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the other side has browned.

Makes 9-12 patties depending on the size you make them.

Yogurt mint sauce

You could serve them over greens, in pita bread with yogurt sauce, with a warm tomato sauce, next to a soft boiled egg (because everything tastes better with eggs), with beans, with fish/chicken/beef, or on their own. Like I said, the possibilities are endless! Enjoy :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Stuffed Collard Greens

If you love grape leaves you'll love this dish. I find it difficult to find fresh grape leaves where I live, and the ones that come in a jar just don't taste the same. I found fresh collard greens to be a great alternative. This is a VEGETARIAN/VEGAN recipe. However, if you're feeling meaty please feel free to add half a pound of cooked ground beef to the filling mixture described below!

2 bunches of collard greens, approximately 20 leaves, washed

For the filling:
2 cups Egyptian rice or medium grain rice, rinsed
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound vine ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses (optional)
1 Tablespoon dried mint leaves or 1 small fresh bunch, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For cooking together in pot:
2 TBs olive oil

-Fill a large pot with water (halfway), bring water to boil. Drop 4-6 collard leaves at a time and boil for 2 minutes. Remove with tongs and place in strainer, continue until you've boiled all the leaves.
-While the leaves cool, prepare your filling.
-Mix all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. You'll end up with a mixture that looks like this:

-After the leaves cool, grab your kitchen sheers and start prepping the leaves to be stuffed. First step is to cut out the stem, then cut this way: 
If it's a smaller leaf you won't need to cut the top part just the two sides.
-Fill each leaf and roll it like so:

 -After you finish rolling all the leaves place some of the stems in the bottom of a large pot and line up your leaves like so:

-Cover the leaves with a small plate to weigh them down then add enough water to cover the leaves by half an inch or so. 

-Add olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring it to a boil on high heat, let boil for 5 minutes on high. Then cover and simmer for about an hour or until all the liquid is gone.

-You'll also know they're done by taking one out and tasting it! :) It should be easy to pierce a fork through it. 

-Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, some salad or plain yogurt on the side. Enjoy!

P.S: It's easier to flip the pot over unto a large dish when you're ready to serve, they'll stay in tact a bit better ;)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Creamy Pasta with Veggies and BBQ Chicken

I usually take a break from cooking on the weekends, but this past Sunday was different. The weather was nice and cool for a picnic, so I whipped this up and off we went! It's not your typical picnic food but it worked for us and the kids loved it!

12 oz pasta of your choice (I used Vegetable Radiatore) 
1 Pint Heavy Cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 
1/2 lb fresh broccoli, cleaned, cut into small pieces, and steamed
3 oz sun dried tomatoes (I used the packaged/dry one)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups reserved pasta water (from boiling pasta)
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast cutlets, thinly sliced
BBQ Sauce

-Start off by marinating your chicken with BBQ sauce. Crush some black pepper and mix well. You can either grill your chicken right away or let is marinate in the fridge until you're ready. After grilling my chicken in my cast iron griddle pan I cut it into small pieces using my kitchen sheers.

-To prepare pasta:
-Boil your pasta according to package directions and save some of the water as you drain it.
-Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot, add garlic and sauce til fragrant and golden. Add sun dried tomatoes and saute for 30 seconds then add heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Heat sauce then add broccoli and pasta.
-Add 1 cup of pasta water at this point and gently mix in. If you want your sauce to be lighter you can add more water. I suggest adding it gradually until your sauce reaches a consistency you enjoy.
-Over medium heat bring to a boil then reduce heat and let it simmer for a few minutes. Now it's time to taste it. Feel free to add a bit of salt or pepper if needed.
-Top with grilled chicken and enjoy.

P.S: If you're trying to cut down on carbs you can make the sauce and instead os pasta add cooked spaghetti squash. I've tried it before and it's delicious!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars

When I first discovered Larabars, I was amazed at how short the ingredient list was.  Not only that, but I could actually understand what the ingredients were. My personal rule with any packaged food is that if I don't know what an ingredient listed on the label is, I don't eat it. 

Most energy/health bars are highly processed, filled with added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, food dyes, and so much more. These bars on the other hand, are made with just a few, wholesome ingredients. 

These bars are so simple, you can make them at home. Making them at home is more economical, and in my husband's opinion, much tastier. 

I'd have to agree, these taste SO much better than the packaged ones! All you'll need is a food processor, and these 3 ingredients:

  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1/2 cup of peanuts (mine were salted, but if you use unsalted peanuts, add a pinch of salt to the mix)
  • 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
  • Put all of the ingredients in a food processor.

  • Pulse for 1-2 minutes, or until the ingredients form into a dough ball.
  • Press the mixture into cling wrap (or parchment paper) lined pan. 

  • Chill in the freezer for an hour.
  • Cut into bars, and wrap them individually in cling wrap.

That's it! These bars taste SO good, and make a perfect snack to take on the go. They're also a much healthier substitute for dessert. Enjoy!