Cheese and Veggie Quinoa Bites

I’ve had a little bag of quinoa sitting in my pantry for the last couple of weeks and I knew if I didn’t use it soon, it would get pushed to the back, never to be seen until the next time I cleaned those cabinets. So of course I turned to Pinterest (notice a trend here? LOL!) and there was a recipe for cheese and veggie quinoa bites. They looked so cute and something I could use to get some more vegetables into Madeline. She’s been getting a little picky lately so I knew I had to do something about that and these were the perfect little thing to get her to eat spinach without making a big deal about it. I don’t know what is up with her and vegetables, since this was the same little girl at age 2 who wanted to eat salad every day for lunch!

I’ll definitely be making these again! They’re so tasty and a great way to use up whatever vegetables you have laying around.

2 cups cooked quinoa

2 eggs
3 carrots, shredded
1 ½ cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
½ medium red pepper, chopped
1 medium shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 Tbsp flour
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Using a tablespoon, scoop the mixture into small balls and place into each mini muffin cup. Press down lightly to make sure the mixture is firmly packed.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Mini Potato Au Gratin

These are the cutest little things! I made them a couple weeks ago, see I told you I’m that far behind in blogging Jand devoured them! They would be perfect for a dinner party since you can serve them on a platter and let everyone pick which one they want. The base recipe is has the perfect combination of seasoning and cheese but you could easily change up the seasoning and type of cheese – the possibilities are virtually endless! I’ll be making these over and over again!

B sized potatoes


Fresh ground pepper

 Garlic powder

12 tsp aged sharp cheddar cheese

12 Tbsp light cream

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash and scrub the potatoes. Slice them very thinly. You could use a mandoline but since I don’t have one, I just did it by hand and it worked out fine.  Lightly spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Layer two slices of the potato in each muffin cup. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add two more slices of potato and season with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of cheese. Continue adding two slices of potatoes and seasonings until you fill the cups with potatoes. On the last layer, finish with just salt and pepper. Pour one tablespoon of cream into each muffin cup.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown and the top layer is crispy.

Source: Delishh

Roasted Garlic Dill Potato Salad

I’ve think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not a huge fan of potato salad. I’m not really sure what I don’t like, but it’s just something I that I usually pass over at picnics and parties. I’d rather have macaroni or pasta salad. My husband and daughter are much bigger fans than I am so; I usually make it for them. Since I don’t have a stand-by recipe for potato salad, I always go off searching for a new one each time I make it. This recipe is from Tasty Kitchen and highlights dill…which I think goes perfect with potato salad. I changed up the recipe slightly and used roasted garlic mustard instead of Dijon mustard. We’re still adding condiments back into our fridge since it was replaced in July (our other one decided July 4th was the perfect time for a compressor to blow!) and I didn’t have Dijon mustard. I didn’t even get to sample this as it was gone in no time. See I told you my husband and daughter like potato salad!

1 ½ lbs red potatoes

½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
¼ cup low-fat sour cream
1 ½ tsp roasted garlic mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
¾ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup Vidalia onion, chopped
1 Tbsp dried dill

Wash and scrub potatoes but do not peel. In a medium pot, add the potatoes and cover with water and season with salt. Boil potatoes for 20 – 25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Allow potatoes to cool enough to handle and cut into bite sized pieces.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, garlic, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper. Fold in the potatoes, celery, onions and dill. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Chill overnight or for at least 6 hours to allow flavors to combine.

Source: Tasty Kitchen

Farmers Market Skillet

We have been enjoying all the fresh fruits and vegetables this summer and I’m not looking forward to that ending in a couple of months. There’s nothing like a vine-ripened tomato from your garden or fresh picked corn on the cob. This recipe highlights all things I love about the summer! There’s zucchini, corn, tomatoes, basil and a refreshing vinaigrette. This skillet can also be made into a cold salad – perfect for those summer picnics!

1 3/4 cup chicken broth

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 green onions
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese
2 Tbsp chopped basil
salt and pepper

1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 garlic clove, microplaned
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Using the chicken stock, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Once cooked, fluff the quiona with a fork and let cool slightly.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.

Using a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown. Add the zucchini, corn and green onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute until just tender and then add the quinoa and half of the vinaigrette. Stir well and cook for an additional minute.

Add the remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta and basil to the skillet. Stir well to combine. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

If you want to make this a cold salad, do not combine the quinoa into the skillet. Let all ingredients cool separately and then combine the cooked quinoa, cooked vegetables, tomatoes, feta, basil and vingairette into a large bowl. Chill until you’re ready to serve.

Source: Iowa Girl Eats

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It’s another one of Madeline’s favorite things but I have been relying on that blue box a little too much lately. I’ve been looking for a quick recipe that I can make during the week especially since I’ll be starting back to work in 2 weeks. I’m amazing at how quickly the last 7 weeks have gone by. I’m looking forward to the daily interaction with adults, but will defintely miss spending time with my kids and seeing the bond between Madeline and Cooper grow. I know they’ll both be fine at daycare and Madeline starts Kindergarten in less than a month!

Back to the mac and cheese….I loved this recipe and will experimenting with different cheese and adding veggies to spice things up a little. The one thing that really made this recipe over the top is the addition of shallots. I rarely use shallots when cooking…not really sure why I don’t use them more often, but now I just might.

12 oz dried pasta
2 cloves  garlic, minced
1/4 cup shallot, finely minced
8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (or whatever cheese you like)
2 oz freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup half and half
4 oz lowfat plain greek yogurt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt water before cooking pasta. Cook the pasta according to the directions to just until al dente. Reserve one cup of the cooking water and then drain pasta well.

Immediately, return the pasta to the pot and add in the garlic, shallot and cheeses. Stir to combine. Mix in the half and half, yogurt and butter. Stir to combine all ingredients until the mac and cheese  is creamy. If needed, add a small amount of the cooking water to adjust the consistency of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Source: Annie’s Eats

Chickpea and Tomato Salad

We’re all big fans of chickpeas so I knew when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I had to make it. My daughter gobbled it up! It was a nice refreshing salad especially during this crazy heat we’ve been in having in the northeast. I can’t wait for more of our fresh cherry tomatoes to ripen and make this again. I know we’ll be eating this salad a couple more times this year!

15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
bunch of basil, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
drizzle of honey

In a large bowl, combine the garlic, vinegars, oil, honey and salt. Add in the chickpeas and tomatoes and stir to coat with dressing. Sprinkle with basil and stir. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to combine.

Source: Green Lite Bites

The Secret Recipe Club: Beet & Orzo Salad

I’m excited to be back participating in this month’s Secret Recipe Club! I took off last month in anticipation of the birth of my son, Cooper.

This month I was assigned Corina’s blog, Searching for Spice! Corina and I have a lot things in common – new babies (she had a little girl in April), trying new recipes and using our blogs as a way to record those new recipes. After searching through her recipes, I found one that looked and sounded delicious – Couscous, Beetroot and Feta Salad. My husband was a little skeptical of the salad, but since it was totally different and something I never would have thought to try on my own, we gave it a shot….and I’m so glad I picked this recipe. The salad was so refreshing, especially during one of the many heatwaves of the summer. I changed up the recipe slightly – using orzo instead of couscous and I used pickled beets instead of just cooked beets.

Orzo, cooked according to package (I made 1/3 box for 4 servings)
pickled red beets
1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese
fresh basil, roughly chopped
roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
fresh ground pepper
olive oil

Divide the orzo between 4 bowls. Top with pickled red beets, feta, basil and sunflower seeds. Season with fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Want to be part of the Secret Recipe Club? Join here!
Secret Recipe Club

Creamy Quinoa Primavera

Geesh where has the time gone? These last couple of weeks have been so busy and I can’t seem to catch up. I think between trying to get ready for baby boy, Madeline being a terror at bedtime and trying to work ahead 3 months to get things ready….I barely know whether I’m coming or going! I have about 6 weeks until my due date, but who knows when this little guy will want to make his entrance into the world. I’ve been dreaming about going into labor on June 6th, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

I had made this recipe back on Easter for lunch at my mom’s. See I told you I can’t seem to catch up! 🙂 It was a nice change from our traditional fare and definitely something that can be changed up using different veggies depending on what is fresh. It would be great to change it up to a Greek style in the summer when cucumbers and tomatoes are in abundance!

1 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (I used a tricolor blend)
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
4 ozs cream cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cups thinly sliced or bite sized pieces assorted uncooked vegetables (I used carrots, spring peas, asparagus)
3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Rinse quinoa throughly according to package instructions. In a medium sized pot, bring the stock and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat and cover until quinoa is cooked according to package instructions, usually between 20 and 25 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute until golden. Stir in vegetables and cook 3 to 5 minutes depending on how tender you like your vegetables.

Dump the quinoa in a large bowl. Stir in the cream cheese and basil into the cooked quinoa. Add the vegetables and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Source: Let’s Dish

Pineapple Stuffing

This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law. She always makes it for Easter and it’s a sweet treat to go along with ham. This year for Christmas, my mom made a ham and I brought a casserole of pineapple stuffing. While it’s not the healthiest, it’s ok to splurge and enjoy the holidays!

4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 can crushed pineapple in juice
4 slices white bread, broken into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the eggs and sugar. Add the bread pieces, stir to combine. Add the pineapple with juice and mix together all ingredients.

Pour into a 4 quart casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour or starting to brown and the stuffing is set. Check the browness at 45 minutes and cover the dish with aluminum foil if the stuffing is browning too quickly.

The Secret Recipe Club: Green Onion Scalloped Red Potatoes

It’s that time of the month again for The Secret Recipe club! I was super excited when I received my assignment this month…Get Healthy with Heather! Heather received my blog as her first assignment when she joined the SRC. She made my cream cheese, feta and cranberry roll-ups with a little bit of a twist. I’m glad I’m able to return the favor and make one of her recipes. I had a tough time chosing what to make but decided on her recipe for Green Onion Scalloped Red Potatoes.

I’m not a huge fan of scalloped potatoes but my husband is. I think in our 11 years together, I’ve never made him scalloped potatoes, so needless to say when he saw these on the menu, he was excited! The recipe was super simple and used ingredients I had on hand. The potatoes turned out good, except the milk never really thickened up. I’m thinking it might have been because I used skim milk but I’m definitely going to be making this recipe again and figuring out why the milk didn’t thicken. It was still tasty!

1/2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4-5 red potatoes
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
salt & pepper
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Saute the onions and garlic until softened but not brown.

Slide the potatoes into 1/4 inch thick rounds and cut the butter into very small pieces. Arrange 1/4 of the potato slices on the bottom of the prepared dish. Top with 1/3 of the sauted onions, 1 tablespoon of flour and a few pieces of butter. Repeat this process 2 more times. Finally, top with the remaining 1/4 of the potato slices. Season generously with salt and pepper and the last few pieces of butter. Carefully pour the milk into the dish making sure not to distrub the potato layers. Fill the casserole dish to just under the top layer of potatoes; you may need more or less milk. Top the casserole with the chopped green onions.

Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until the potatoes are fully cooked. Let the casserole sit for about 15 minutes for the sauce to thicken before serving.

Want to be part of The Secret Recipe Club? Join here!