Ole’ Lentil Budget Bowl

This year is turning out to be the year of the “quinoa bowl meal”, and with good reason.

These meals are versatile, delicious, and SUPER CHEAP!!!!

We have all heard the complaint that it is simply too expensive to eat healthily and/or to eat gluten free. I would like to challenge any persons who says that to a cook off! At one point, my husband and I were both unemployed. Yet, we still managed to eat a plethora of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. I made my own almond milk, baked my own gluten free bread, and we ate like kings on less than $150 a month.  It is possible. You just have to want to do it and put forth the effort.

Okay… I will step off my soap box now.

It is currently snowing sideways, wet, and nasty outside. I knew that dinner needed to be something spicy that would warm me from the inside out. Out came the hot sauce, cumin, and salsa, and I was on my way!

PS – Guess who finally remembered to charge her camera battery? This kid!

Ole’ Lentil Budget Bowl

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 of a Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Broccoli, chopped
  • 3 Tblsp frozen Peas
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/8 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 cup Beet Greens, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Green Lentils, cooked
  • 1/4 cup Quinoa, cooked
  • 3-4 Tblsp Salsa
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
  • dash of Hot Sauce

Directions:

  1. Melt oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Saute’ onion until translucent. Add Broccoli and cook until tender.
  3. Next, in go the frozen peas, and cook until defrosted.
  4. Sprinkle in cumin and chili powder, and add greens, cooking until just wilted.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.
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Pesto Quinoa & Lentils

As a continuation of yesterday’s post, we are moving on to the delicious smorgasbord that could be seen below the steamed beets!

I know you were all waiting with baited breath….

I noticed that I rarely use a plate. Every meal seems to be some sort of a bowl meal. What does that say about me? Hmm….

Anyway…. A delicious recipe made from leftover components of meals from the last week is the star of today’s post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Pesto Quinoa & Lentils

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 of a Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Beet Greens
  • 1-2 tsp Beet Green Pesto (recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup Green Lentils, cooked
  • 1/4 cup Qunioa, cooked
  • 2 tsp good quality Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Saute onion until translucent. Add carrot & broccoli and saute until tender.
  3. Add beet greens & pesto and cook until just wilted.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.
  5. Top with Steamed Beets (Recipe Here)

Quinoa with Beet Greens & Lemon

Ahhhh…..  I just got back from this week’s work trip, and am thoroughly enjoying sitting on my couch watching Glee.

Not that my trip was awful. Quite the contrary! I got to spend a delightful evening cooking and taking in the sunset with my lovely sister in-law.

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And come on, you can’t beat a view like this one….

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But, it is ALWAYS good to be home and cooking in my little kitchen.

If you can’t tell from my last post, I am a little obsessed with soft-boiled eggs right now.

What’s not to love about them? You get a rich, creamy yolk without the mess of it sticking to a skillet! It’s genius, I tell you! GENIUS! …I also get overly excited about Jeopardy, so I’m not the most creditable judge….

Anyway, this recipe is definitely one for the vaults. The punch of acidity coupled with the earthy flavor of the beet greens and the creamy richness of the egg yolk creates sheer perfection in a bowl!

For those of you who are not egg lovers, this recipe would be equally delicious sans l’oeuf.

 

Quinoa with Beet Greens & Lemon

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 cup Beet Greens, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1/4 cup frozen Green Peas, defrosted
  • 1 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh Basil, minced
  • 1 large, Organic Egg
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the egg, and boil for 5 minutes. Remove promptly and cool slightly before gently removing the shell.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beet greens and lemon juice and saute until wilted. Add peas, nutritional yeast, fresh basil, salt & pepper, and cook until heated through.
  4. To serve, place the quinoa in a bowl, and top with the soft boiled egg.

Vegan Cheezy Quinoa

For weeks on end, I have lacked inspiration in the kitchen.

I have fallen into the dangerously boring trap of tossing random vegetables & legumes in a skillet or steamer, topping with marinara sauce or Braggs, and calling it a day. It’s partly because I have no one to cook for, and partly because I have found an inspiring career into which I now pour the energy that I used to pour into my food.

Well, these last few weeks, I began to find a balance between my work and caring for myself. I started Pure Barre classes and recommitted myself to daily workouts & HIIT. I started taking a little more time to prepare meals and listening to what my body needed.

My pictures leave something to be desired. (I kept forgetting to charge my camera battery…..) The recipes, though, are another story. Delicious, nourishing, and comforting… Enjoy!

Vegan Cheezy Quinoa

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Quinoa
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened, Plain Almond Milk
  • 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1.5 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 small clove Garlic, minced
  • 1.5 Tblsp Cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • frozen Green Peas, defrosted
  • 2 Tblsp Sundried Tomatoes
  • 1 Tblsp fresh Basil, minced

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa, water, & bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Remove the bay leaf, fluff with a fork, and set aside.
  2. Make vegan cheeze sauce by placing almond milk, nutritional yeast, garlic, cornstarch, salt, dry mustard, paprika, turmeric, peanut butter, & black pepper in a blender and processing until smooth.
  3. Pour cheeze sauce over the quinoa in the saucepan and return to medium-low heat. Cook until sauce has thickened to desired consistency.
  4. Stir in the peas, sundried tomatoes, & fresh basil. Cook until heated through.

Mushroom Quinoa-sotto

Work was particularly stressful on Friday. Then, it started snowing an hour before I left the office. My 45 minute commute turned into almost 2 hours. By the time I arrived home, all I was planning on eating cereal for dinner.

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That’s what I was planning, but that’s not what happened…

As I stood in front of my open refrigerator door, I realized that a bowl of cereal was not quite the soul-nourishing meal I needed. I needed something that would warm me from the inside out. I needed to stand in front of a bubbling pot, methodically stirring away the days’ stresses. I needed risotto.

My long time readers know that I rarely make a traditional risotto. To be honest, it is because I am a complete dunce when it comes to cooking rice! It always comes out over done or under done, and just isn’t worth the hassle. Instead, I turn to my favorite “grain”, Quinoa. Quinoa is better for you than rice, and makes a delicious faux risotto.

Since I will be heading out of town again on Sunday, I did not want to open any new ingredients. Instead, I emptied my produce drawer, grabbed the only open carton of stock in the refrigerator, which turned out to be beef stock, and set to work.

I chopped and stirred for the better part of an hour. By the time I sat down to eat, my mind was calm, my body was relaxed, and my soul had been fed. Who needs a shrink when you have a stove?

Mushroom Quinoa-sotto

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried Thyme
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Quinoa
  • 1/4 cup dry White Wine
  • 2 cups Beef Stock, warmed
  • 1/4 cup Smoked, Sundried Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup frozen Green Peas, defrosted
  • 2-3 handfuls Baby Spinach, plus move for serving, if desired
  • 1/3 cup Lentils, cooked
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan, or small pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and saute until translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to sweat.
  4. Add minced garlic, thyme, salt & pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Next goes in the quinoa, gently toast for 30 seconds.
  6. Deglaze the pan with white wine, and stir until absorbed.
  7. Stirring continuously to keep liquid from coming to a boil, add warm beef stock, 1/3 cup at a time. Wait until all liquid is absorbed before adding the next 1/3 cup stock.
  8. Continue until you only have 1/3 cup stock remaining to add to the pot. At this time, add the remaining ingredients, along with the remaining beef stock.
  9. Stir until all liquid is absorbed.
  10. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately on a bed of fresh baby spinach.

Herbed Quinoa Pilaf

Fun times and frivolity have been in abundance in the Gidget household.

Mama Gidget came for a visit. We are both hyper-active to begin with. Put us in the same room and chaos ensues! We dominated a Farmer’s Market, painted the town, jammed to my old school record collection…

…and even managed to completely redecorate my apartment, all in 3 days!

We ate out once, then opted to cook at home using our Farmer’s Market haul the remaining days. You can’t beat local, organic celery, tomatoes, hybrid cauliflower, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, basil, parsley, dill, and cilantro. I don’t care who you are!

I made the following Quinoa side dish to accompany our dinner one night. The leftovers of which rounded out our remaining meals!

Herbed Quinoa Pilaf

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa, water, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 12-15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Remove the bay leaf, season with herbamare and pepper, and fluff with a fork.
  4. Gently fold in Earth Balance and fresh herbs.

Chicken Quinoa Casserole

GF Guy and I move tomorrow.

All of our possessions are in boxes waiting for tomorrows’ truck. All of our possessions, that is, except an oven safe pan and a roll of foil…

What kind of Gidget would I be if I packed away all of my kitchen essentials when there are still frozen vegetables needing to be eaten? Our very last meal in our very first Denver apartment was a delicious casserole. Warm and filling, it was just what we needed after a long day of packing, lease signing, and dodging raindrops.

This meal is a one dish wonder, so prepare yourself for few dishes and zero leftovers! I’m not sure how much cooking I will be doing over the next few days, especially since there is a ridiculous Gluten-Free friendly Cuban restaurant around the corner from our new place. 😉 BUT, I will do my best to bring you more delicious recipes soon! If you have any suggestions for recipes you would like to see converted to be gluten-free and dairy-free I would love the inspiration!

Chicken Quinoa Casserole

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups warm Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp House Seasoning Blend of choice
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Boneless, Skinless Organic Chicken Breast, sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen Broccoli Florets
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen Peas
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (375 if at a high altitude)
  2. Mix together quinoa and spices and place in the bottom of a deep and large, oven-safe skillet.
  3. Top quinoa with chicken and frozen vegetables.
  4. Pour warm chicken stock over top all ingredients.
  5. Cover pot tightly with a lid or foil.
  6. Place in preheated oven and cook for 1 hour, or until quinoa is cooked through.
  7. Remove casserole from the oven and remove the lid or foil.
  8. Turn the oven to Broil.
  9. Sprinkle Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese evenly over top the casserole and return to the oven uncovered.
  10.  Broil 3-4 minutes until vegan cheese is melted and bubbly.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl

I don’t have a photo of this meal, but it was so delicious I simply had to share it…..

Friday night after work, I hurried home, changed into a pair of comfy socks and a fuzzy sweater, and drove over to my friend “G”s apartment for a dinner/movie/wine night. He is my BFF in this city and it had been far too long since we had hung out. Feeling rather lazy, we wrestled back and forth between being sensible and making dinner or being lazy and ordering from the Cuban restaurant next door. In the end, sensibility (and the fact that it was raining and we didn’t feel like venturing out to pick up our food order) won out and I made an impromptu dinner. We sipped red wine and caught up on life as the sweet potato baked and the quinoa simmered. I warned him that I had no idea how this “recipe” would turn out, but he is used to such warnings from me. He has become a very amiable “guinea pig” for my recipes these past few months. In the end, I need not have worried. We were both surprised by how much we enjoyed this dish. To quote “G”, “This is much better than the pasta I was going to make myself!” Coming from the mouth of an Italian, I take that to be high praise.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Wrap the sweet potato in foil and place in a 400 degree oven. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  2. When potato has been cooking for 30 minutes, begin preparing the rest of the meal.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the water, quinoa, and vegetable stock base and bring to a rolling boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15-20 minutes until the water has been absorbed.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the smoked olive oil over medium-high. Saute the sliced onions 5 minutes, or so. Add the sliced carrots and cook until tender.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and add the thawed broccoli florets. Cook about 2 minutes.
  6. Add cumin, paprika, cilantro, herbamare, and pepper and stir until combined.
  7. Toss the kale and salsa into the skillet and cook until kale is wilted.
  8. To serve, start by placing a bed of raw Baby Kale in the bottom of a bowl. Top kale with quinoa and half of the baked sweet potato, cut open to form a pocket.
  9. Stuff sweet potato pocket with the vegetable filling and top with sliced avocado.

Italian Inspired Quinoa Bowl

I’m finally home!!!!!

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….for 3 days….

But, at least I’m home. It felt amazing to sleep in my own bed, to cook in my own kitchen, to fall asleep on my own couch while watching Psych on Hulu…..

It truly is the little things in life that give us the greatest pleasure.

I arrived home around supper time on a Thursday night after being gone for a solid 3 weeks. Immediately, project “Scrape Together a Meal” commenced. Scouring my cabinets and freezer for ingredients that could slightly resemble a meal, I set to work creating one of my infamous “Bowl Meals”.

I have waxed poetic about my love of “Bowl Meals” before, but in case you missed it…..

  1. Fewer Dishes – Less clean up time… ’nuff said
  2. Balance of Flavors – Everything is mixed together so you get the perfect balance of flavors in each bite
  3. Nostalgia – Eating out of a bowl inspires feelings of childhood nostalgia in my heart that make me want to turn on cartoons and snuggle under a fuzzy blanket

If you love me, you must learn to embrace the Bowl Meal. You will be eating them often. Love them as you love me and we will get along just fine. 😉

Now, on to the recipe. I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this turned out! Initially, it was intended to be two servings, one for dinner and one for lunch at work the next day. …..I ATE THE ENTIRE THING! Apparently, I missed my own cooking and was hungrier than I at first thought. So, no judgement if this only feeds one for you too!

Italian Inspired Quinoa Bowl

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/8 tsp powdered Vegetable Stock Base
  • 5 oz frozen, chopped Spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen Peas, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp Sundried Tomatoes packed in Oil, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Vegan Gourmet Non-Dairy Sour Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
  • Herbamare (or Sea Salt) and Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place water, rinsed quinoa, and powdered stock base in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer 13-17 minutes until water is almost completely absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients until Earth Balance is melted and ingredients are evenly incorporated, adjust seasonings, and enjoy!