Chocolate Quinoa Cake

I had recently made a batch of quinoa for another recipe and had a lot of left over. I didn’t want to throw it away, so I went on a search for recipes that use leftover cooked quinoa and came across a recipe for a chocolate cake. Hmm…that might be interesting!

I’ve used cooked quinoa in muffins and cookies before, so I thought it would be something to try. Boy am I glad I gave it a chance. This cake was delicious! Super moist, full of chocolate flavor and easy to make. I topped my cake with a peanut butter frosting…which made it very rich. You could swap out the frosting for a dusting of powdered sugar and it would be just as delicious.

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Breakfast Quinoa – The Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to October’s reveal for The Secret Recipe Club! This month, my assignment was Pretty Polymath. You might recognize Hetal from last season’s Masterchef US! I was a little intimated by Hetal’s blog knowing that she was cooking at a caliber that far exceeds where I’m at, plus she cooks a lot of Indian food that I’m not familiar with. There were a few recipes that looked intriguing and I would love to try them, but I’ll need to find a grocery store that carries some of the ingredients that my little store has on the shelves.

I settled on her recipe for Breakfast Quinoa. I’ve been mentioning to my husband about trying quinoa for breakfast in place of oatmeal, but he just gives me this sideward glance when I mention using quinoa in another recipe. It’s been my go to grain lately and I love how many nutritional benefits it has. It was a hardy breakfast for me last week on one of our cold mornings. It’s been really cold her in PA this week and I could have gone for a bowl of yesterday morning when the temps were barely at freezing! I topped my quinoa with sliced bananas and some walnuts. I think next time I make it, I’m going to add a dollop of almond butter and swirl it in. YUM!

Breakfast Quinoa | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
fruit and nuts to top

In a small saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add in the quinoa and oats, stir to combine. Reduce heat and cover with a lid. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add the pumpkin pie spice, honey and brown sugar. Cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until the quinoa is completely cooked. Serve in bowls and top with fruit and nuts.

Check out all the other great recipes in this week’s reveal using the link below!

Pesto Chicken Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Bell peppers were on sale recently and it’s one of the vegetables my kids love. I was going to make regular stuffed peppers or stuffed pepper soup, until I came across this recipe for Pesto Chicken Quinoa stuffed peppers. YUM!! I love that these were packed with chicken and quinoa and pesto was a nice change from my regular recipe. I served these with a side salad and it was the perfect dinner. They were great for lunch the next day too!

Pesto Chicken Quinoa Stuffed Peppers | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

3-4 peppers (depends on the size)
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup cooked quinoa
6 oz jar of pesto or homemade pesto

Using your oven’s broiler, broil the peppers on high for five minutes until the skin blisters and starts to turn black. Remove from oven and place in a large ziplock bag to steam the skins off.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.While the peppers are resting, mix together the chicken, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, quinoa and pesto.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the outer skin and slice each one in half. Remove the seeds and membranes. Stuff each half with the chicken quinoa mixture and place on a baking sheet. Continue with the remaining pepper halves until all the stuffing is used. Top each one with cheese and bake for 10 minutes.

Source: Layers of Happiness

Double Berry Quinoa Muffins

Madeline asked me to make muffins the other day and after giving her different options, she said she wanted blueberry ones with cranberries. Ok..that would be too difficult to do since I had both types of fruit and it was the perfect opportunity to try out a new muffin recipe using cooked quinoa! I’ve been wanting to use quinoa in baked goods for a while and this recipe was a success! Madeline loves them, they’re super moist and packed full of protein – she’s actually been skipping her morning snack at school because she’s still full from breakfast.

Double Berry Quinoa Muffins | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled to room temperature
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin pan with paper liners, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the fruit.

Scoop out the batter into the prepared muffin pan until they are 3/4 of the way full. These muffins only rise slightly and are much more dense that regular muffins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan. Remove from pan and place on a wire rack to completely cool.

Slightly adapted from: Follow the Ruels 

Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

It’s been awhile since I made Chicken Parmesan and I was looking for a healthier alternative to making it the traditional way and came across this recipe on Pinterest. I liked that it used quinoa – a grain that is super healthy and packed full of protein! Plus it’s baked in the oven, so quick cleanup and no need to worry about pan frying. The crust was super crispy and the chicken was tender and moist. I served it along side with a side of whole wheat rigatoni noodles and a side salad. Of course, there were grumbles from my husband and daughter who didn’t want the pasta…since they don’t like spaghetti…weirdos!

Quinoa Chicken Parm | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced in half
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup jarred marinara sauce
provolone slices

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, Italian seasonings and water and cook according to the package instructions. While the quinoa is cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Season the chicken with the salt and fresh ground pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour, dip into the egg and then cooled quinoa mixture. Carefully place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue breading all the chicken until complete. I patted the quinoa mixture onto the chicken to make sure it really stuck.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the quinoa is golden brown. Top with the marinara sauce and a slice of Provolone. Place back into the oven until the sauce is warm and the cheese has melted. Serve with your choice of sides.

Source: Damn Delicious

Quinoa Mac & Cheese

My little guy loves mac & cheese…I mean, really loves it. I know it’s the one thing that he will always eat without fighting me. He’s starting to be picky and also with sitting at the table to eat, so needless to say, our dinners have not been very enjoyable. I’m looking forward to this phase being over.

I’m always trying to find new ways to incorporate protein into his food, because he doesn’t like meat. He loved this and it was great to send in for lunch to daycare. Madeline was just so-so on it, but I made it her eat it anyway. 🙂 I remember my mom making me eat baby brussel sprouts and baked lima beans as a kid…I now like brussel sprouts, but not the limas. This recipe is also easy to make and I always have the ingredients on hand, so I know I’ll be making it again. The original recipe called for a breadcrumb topping, but I’m not a fan of crust on my mac & cheese, so I left it off.

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tsp minced garlic
2 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. I used vegetable broth to cook the quinoa. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 
While the quinoa is cooking, whisk together the eggs, minced garlic and milk in a large bowl. Add in the cooked quinoa and cheese. Mix well until some of the cheese melts. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with leftover grated cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Let set 5 minutes before serving. 

Chickpea, Tomato and Cucumber Quinoa Salad

We had a little taste of summer a couple weeks ago and when that happens, I try to spend the least amount of time in the kitchen! Luckily for me, we finally bought a grill this year and my husband has been doing a lot of cooking…which gives me a little break in the kitchen. Grated, I do love cooking, but there are days when one child is hanging on your leg and the other is asking you 500 questions…cooking is next-to-impossible.

This salad was one of those sides that I could throw together, while Ross made BBQ chicken legs and thighs on the grill. It was a super light salad and perfect for summer picnics, especially since it’s mayo free. I know I’ll be making it many more times this summer!

1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced english cucumber
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
juice of 1 1/2 limes
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients right before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If preparing ahead of time, keep in refrigerator until ready to eat. 
Source: Skinnytaste

Chicken Thighs with Quinoa and Kale

Being a working mom, it’s always nice to be able to make a quick meal in under 30 minutes during the week. I usually save my more intensive recipes for Sundays and wish I had the time to make them Monday through Friday, but my kids would be screaming and crying on the kitchen floor if dinner isn’t ready as soon as I’m done working. Yes, I deal with the dreaded witching hour every night….it loathe the hour between 5 and 6 pm. Anyone else?

This recipe originally called for Israeli couscous and would have been one pot, but my grocery store doesn’t carry this type of couscous, so I substituted quiona in its place. I’ll need to pick up a bag of it next time I’m at Wegmans. This was a hit with everyone, even my little guy ate some of the chicken and kale. I loved that it was easy to make and took no time at all.

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1/2 cup dried couscous
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cloves garlic
4 cups thinly sliced kale

In a medium saucepan, cook the quinoa in 1 cup of chicken broth per the directions on the package. While the quinoa is cooking, combine the thyme, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Season both sides of each chicken thigh with this spice mix.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet and saute the onions until they begin to soften. Add in the garlic and kale. Season with the remaining spice mix. Cook until the kale starts to wilt and add in the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir to combine and then place the chicken back into the pan. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until the chicken is completely cooked through.

To serve, place a scoop of the quinoa in a bowl and then add in the kale, onions and chicken. Cover with the desired amount of broth and enjoy!

Slightly adapted from Eating Well Magazine. 

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash, Quinoa and Black Beans

Things have been pretty crazy around here especially coming off the rush of the holidays and trying to get back into the swing of things. Of course with the New Year, I’m trying to get us back to eating cleaner and working out again. It’s been going ok, but I need to really focus after my trip to Nashville later this week.

This stew was perfect since we were affected by the arctic cold and it was warm and hearty. It made a good amount and it was ideal for leftovers for lunch. I was surprised that my little guy even liked it, especially since he’s going through a phase of not liking anything right now. 

1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 quart chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
Steam the squash until just tender, approximately 10 minutes. Set half of the squash aside and steam the other half until very tender. Mash the fully steamed squash with the back of a fork and set aside. 
In a large saucepan, heat the chicken broth over medium-high heat until it simmers. Add the chicken thighs, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate to cool. Save the broth. 
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and when warm, add in the onions. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes until they’re turning brown. Add the salt, garlic and oregano. Add in the diced tomatoes, both cut and mashed butternut squash and stir to combine. Stir in the reserved chicken broth, quiona and black beans. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quiona is completely cooked.
While the stew is cooking, shred the chicken thighs with a fork. Stir in the chicken into the stew, uncover the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes. 
Divide out into bowls and serve! 

Grilled Shrimp with Citrus and Quinoa

I bought a bag of organic quiona a couple weeks ago and have been looking for a recipe to use it. I’ve never had it before, but have heard great things about it and it’s really good for you – high in protein. I was looking through the latest issue of Food Network Magazine and came across a recipe for Scallops with Citrus and Quinoa. Scallops were expensive so I figured I would substitute with grilled shrimp. I think the combination worked well, but didn’t care for the quinoa alone. I have some more and am going to try to work it into other recipes.

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
3 oranges (I used 2/3 cup orange juice)
4 tangerines
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed (I used 1/2 tsp crushed coriander)
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 lb shrimp
ground pepper
chopped fresh parsley, chives or scallions

Combine the quinoa, 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered until the water is absorbed, 12-14 minutes.

Meanwhile, grate 1 tsp orange zest then juice the 3 oranges and 4 tangerines into a bowl.

Sprinkle the sugar in a skillet and cook over medium-high heat until dark amber, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in vinegar, citrus juices and zest and the coriander. Return to medium heat and whisk in butter; keep warm.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Place on a greased heated grill/grill pan and cook until pink.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork and divide among 4 plates. Top with shrimp and sprinkle with the citrus sauce and sprinkle with desired herbs.

Adapted from Food Network Magazine, January/February 2010