honey lemon quinoa with corn and zucchini

a couple weekends ago, chris and i went to the beach.  i love going to the beach.  definitely prefer hawaii beaches over the beaches here on the east coast.  but really any beach with sand, water, and sun will do.  it was an amazing day relaxing on the beach, reading and just soaking in the sun.

as we drove back to virginia we passed by a few farmer’s stands and we stopped by one and picked up some sweet corn, zucchini, and watermelon.  nothing is better than fresh produce straight from the farm.

i used the corn and zucchini to make this bright and fresh honey lemon quinoa with corn and zucchini.  i found the recipe for the honey lemon vinaigrette on a super awesome blog, iowa girl eats.  i used her honey lemon quinoa recipe and adapted it just a little bit adding some extra vegetables and herbs – just some zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, and cilantro.  it worked beautifully and chris and i had a couple delicious, healthy lunches ready for the week.

the vinaigrette comes together quickly, just mix up some lemon juice and zest, honey, chopped garlic, salt and pepper.

then chop up the zucchini and cut the corn kernels off the ears of the corn.  we grilled the corn before hand, but you don’t need to.

saute the zucchini in a little bit of butter.

once it’s almost tender add the corn.

now add some chopped sun dried tomatoes.

once everything is mixed together, add the cooked quinoa and honey lemon vinaigrette.

mix well and add some chopped green onion.  you can probably see some ice crystals on the green onion.  this is because i keep a ziplock of chopped green onion in the freezer that way i always have some on hand.  this makes it so much easier since a lot of recipes only call for a couple stalks at a time.

once the green onion is mixed in, the honey lemon quinoa with corn and zucchini is done. oh wait, you can also add some cilantro if you want.  i like it but chris doesn’t so i added it to my portions later.  also, you can serve this quinoa warm, but chris and i preferred it cold.

hope you enjoy this super summery quinoa soon!

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southwestern quinoa

last week, chris and i moved to a new apartment.  i love it here.  our old apartment was fine, but this one is so much better.  we have our own washer and dryer which is absolutely amazing.  it’s a pet friendly, which is perfect for when we get a dog (yay!  i can’t wait). plus it’s just overall a nicer building and apartment.  but the one downside is that the kitchen is much much smaller than the one in our old apartment.  so we don’t have quite enough storage space for the many small kitchen appliances we own, or enough space for all of the food i tend to buy in bulk at costco.

therefore, i’ve resolved to stop buying so much food from costco because it’s actually quite unnecessary with only two people living in our apartment and we just don’t have enough space anymore.  i also need to work on using up some of the bulk food that i already bought.  one of those things is a large bag of quinoa.  so last night i made some southwestern quinoa to pack up for lunch the rest of this week.

it was absolutely delicious!  along with the quinoa, there is also black beans, corn, bell peppers, seasoned with cumin, taco seasoning and oregano, plus some cilantro and cheese!  sooo yummy!  i can’t wait to bring this for lunch and i think it’s good enough to keep me from wanted to buy lunch at the school food court.  yay for saving money and healthy eating!

p.s. want to know an awesome tip?  pick up some of these tubes of herbs next time you go to the grocery store.  if you’re like me and like to have herbs on hand but don’t tend to use them up in time before they get yucky, this is the perfect solution.  i often have some tubes of cilantro and basil in my fridge and it’s super convenient and actually affordable since i’m not throwing away spoiled herbs.

back to the southwestern quinoa, it starts of with of course some quinoa.

then in a large pan, saute the chopped onions and bell peppers.  next add some garlic.

  

now add the tomatoes.  i used some red and yellow cherry tomatoes i got from the farmers market at university of maryland.

time for the spices – add some cumin, taco seasoning, and oregano.

mix it up and then add the black beans and corn.

  

add the quinoa and mix to combine all of the tasty ingredients.  then season with salt and pepper and finally, some chopped cilantro if desired.

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quinoa pizza bites

sorry i haven’t been posting as regularly as i have in the past.  things have been busy – work has been full of orientation for our new students and outside of work chris and i have been busy wedding planning and getting ready to move (just down the street).  so it’s left little time to write blog posts.  but don’t worry, i haven’t forgotten about you and i hope to get back to posting more often.

until then, please enjoy these quinoa pizza bites.  remember a while back i made buffalo chicken quinoa bites?  well these are very similar to those except with the wonderful flavors of pizza instead of buffalo chicken.

there are a ton of different herbs and spices in these little bites plus a bit of mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni which make them incredibly flavorful.  i also dipped the bites in some marinara sauce and all together they definitely had all the flavors of pepperoni pizza.

but the great thing is these quinoa pizza bites are much more healthy than regular pizza – you get all of the wonderful nutritional benefits of quinoa like fiber and protein but they just taste like pepperoni pizza!  awesome!

to start just put everything in a medium bowl…

then mix it all together.

now scoop a bit of the mixture into each cup of a mini muffin tin.  press down on each one so that it’s nicely packed in.

bake the quinoa pizza bites for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

let them cool for a little bit to allow the bites to set.  this makes it a bit easier to get out of the muffin tin.  serve the quinoa bites warm with some marinara sauce.

for the recipe for these delicious quinoa pizza bites, visit so very blessed.

buffalo chicken quinoa bites

this is actually the second quinoa recipe that i made but some how i kept forgetting to write a post about it.  i don’t know how i kept forgetting though because these buffalo chicken quinoa bites were the bomb diggity.  to be honest you can’t even tell that there is anything remotely healthy about these bites.  the flavor of the buffalo sauce and blue cheese shine through and you get all the of healthy benefits of quinoa without even knowing it.

the outsides of the bites get nice and crispy while the inside, stays soft and fluffy – the perfect combination.  they magically pack a ton of flavor in just a small, bite sized nugget.  served with some blue cheese dressing they would make a great appetizer.

but i made these to pack up for lunch.  i just divided them up about 4-5 per a serving along with some veggies and light blue cheese dressing.  they microwaved wonderfully and they were surprisingly light yet filling.

to whip these bad boys up, start by combining all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  there’s shredded chicken, cooked quinoa, an egg, panko breadcrumbs, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, mozzarella cheese, onion and green onion.

mix everything together…

then divide the mixture among 24 mini muffin cups.  press the mixture down so it’s packed in there. this is important because otherwise the bites will just fall apart.

bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.

taking the bites out of the pan can be a little difficult, but i found running a thin paring knife around the edge of each bite helps them pop out of the pan more easily.  serve them with some blue cheese or ranch dressing and you’re done!

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banana nut breakfast quinoa

it has been a lot of fun exploring different quinoa recipes.  so far,  i’ve made greek quinoa salad and buffalo chicken quinoa bites (recipe coming soon!).  most of the recipes that i’ve seen have been savory – but then i stumbled across a recipe for a sweet breakfast quinoa.  huh?  but then i thought more about and it totally makes sense.  quinoa is a perfect and possibly an even healthier alternative to oatmeal.

i adapted the recipe and came up with this banana nut breakfast quinoa.  i am sooo excited to have this for breakfast this week.  it’s full of lots of nutty, banana-y, healthy goodness.

this breakfast quinoa is full of almonds, walnuts, and bananas and just a touch of cinnamon and honey.  you can easily adapt this recipe though, just change up the fruit – blueberries would be great; or change up the sweetener, how about brown sugar or maple syrup instead of the honey.  sooo many different possibilities!

making breakfast quinoa is very similar to making quinoa for a savory recipe, instead that you use milk instead of water.  so start by bringing a pot of milk to a boil.  stir in the quinoa, cover and the simmer it for about 15 minutes.  be careful, the milk has a tendency to boil over and spill all over your stove – not fun.  so watch it carefully.

  

stir in the honey and cinnamon and cook covered for another 8 minutes or until the milk is almost completely absorbed.

now stir in half the toasted, chopped walnuts and almonds.

  

allow the breakfast quinoa to cool a little bit and pour about a fourth of it into a bowl.  but i am going to have this for breakfast the rest of the week, so divided the quinoa into 4 different little containers.  p.s. i know it looks a bit liquidy right now, but i knew that the quinoa would continue soaking up the milk and i didn’t want it to be too dry when i was actually ready to eat it.

sprinkle the remaining walnuts and almonds on the breakfast quinoa.

top with sliced bananas.  here’s a little tip: since i’m going to be saving for a few days and i didn’t want the sliced bananas to get brown and yucky, i squeezed a quarter of a lemon on to the sliced bananas.  i made sure all the slices were covered with lemon juice and this will prevent the banana slices from going bad.

you can eat this banana nut breakfast quinoa warm or cold (i prefer it cold).  enjoy!

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