Recipe: Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Okay, so admittedly, this recipe was born solely from the fact that my husband was bugging me to use the big ol load of kale I got at the store on Monday and had yet to cook. So, I did a little once over of what we had in the fridge and then mentally recalled my Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl and just went for it (although I was totally not in a cumin mood, so I changed this one up to be more Italian).

Before we get started: Oh. my. goodness. I learned that you can make quinoa in the RICE COOKER! Hellllllllo. I totally would have made wayyyyy more quinoa before now (which, for the record, I call the stuff Queen-waa and even though I know that’s wrong, I think I’m gonna keep my way – hehe)! Apparently though, I’m not the only one who has trouble with it…

how to pronounce quinoa

Okay, sorry for that tangent.

On to the recipe! (By the way, I post most of the recipe pics at the end of the post… most of us just want to get to the recipe, but if you are into gawking at food, then I have included the pics just for you!)

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - stovetop bottom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

A little tip: As you chop and slice, combine ingredients that will go in the pan at the same time into the same prep-bowl. Bowl 1: carrots and tomatoes. Bowl 2: squash, zucchini, green onions. Bowl 3: mushrooms. Bowl 4: kale.

  • 1 carrot, cut into 2-3 inch strips
  • 2 handfuls of salad tomatoes, halved
  • 1 squash, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 “stalks” of kale, cut off stems, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning mix whose ingredients compare)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa if you have yet to do so.
  2. Bring four cups of water to a boil and then turn down to low. (You’ll need this in a minute to blanch the kale.)
  3. Heat a pan with the olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute or two then add in the Ana’s Herbs and allow to saute for several more minutes (this sorta “reactivates” the dried herbs). Add more oil to keep the herbs from burning if necessary.
  4. Add in the fire roasted diced tomatoes, mix together with herbs and let cook for three minutes.
  5. Add in the carrots and tomatoes and let them cook for three minutes.
  6. Add in the squash, zucchini, and green onions and let them cook for three minutes. {Ya seeing a pattern here yet? Hehe!}
  7. Add in the mushrooms and let them cook for… yep, three minutes!
  8. When you add in the mushrooms, pour the kale into the hot water and allow it to blanch while the mushrooms cook. No longer than three minutes!
  9. When the mushrooms are finished move the pan off of the heat, strain the kale, and combine it with the veggie mixture in the pan.
  10. Serve it over the quinoa as soon as you can because kale is at it’s best (and prettiest) when it is still bright green!

For the record: my husband said “Wow this is gooooood.” at least 7 times, which is the biblical number of perfection, so I’m going to deem this recipe a success!

And here are a few preparation pictures…

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - tomatoes

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - squash

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - mushroom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - kale

Recipe: Easy & Light Tortellini Toss

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I really wanted to call this Found It In My Fridge Tortellini Toss because that was my inspiration… stuff in my fridge. I knew that tonight was cheese tortellini night, but lately the tortellini bake that I make has been too… heavy and greasy. So, I wanted to make something a little bit lighter and this one just sort of… happened!

What I love about it: tastes restauranty and it only took me 15 minutes, start to finish!

Easy & Light Tortellini Toss

  • 1 lb cheese tortellini (I like the tri-color kind from Sam’s)
  • 3 Tbsp butter (or olive oil if you prefer)
  • 1/4 chopped onion (frozen is okay)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-2 tsp Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning), to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 orange (yellow, or red) bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 20ish cherry (salad) tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup white wine or white grape juice
  • 1 tsp parsley OR basil, chopped fine

You could veganize this by using another kind of tortellini and using oil each time instead of butter.

  1. Cook the cheese tortellini according to package directions, drain, and lightly coat with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet and saute the onions and garlic. Add the Ana’s Herbs, and allow to soak up the oil for about a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in the olive oil and then toss in the bell peppers for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes, wine, and parsley and allow to cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes depending upon how firm you want the veggies.
  4. Add the cooked tortellini to the skillet and mix everything together. Serve, and enjoy!

{I wanted to show you this picture of my cut tomatoes because,
yes, there is a Nerf gun partially on my cutting board.
When you have two boys, you just never know when you might get attacked!}

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{Such an easy starter to a light pasta sauce… right here: oil, onions, garlic, and Ana’s Herbs/Italian Seasoning}

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{I knew these were gonna be pretty in the mix!}

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{This is how I finely chop the parsley… with kitchen shears! Very culinary of me, right?}

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{Look how beautiful these are in the pan sauteing!}

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{The final product… even the hubs said it looked “fancy”!}

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Recipe: Easy And Fast Rice And Beans (Vegan)

Easy Beans And Rice - a rainy day meal

Truth be told, I only wanted rice for dinner (I won’t get into the gory details as to why), but my husband was going to require something a bit more substantial. So, I figured it was the perfect time for him to have rice and beans. I could just eat my rice and then load on a bunch of beans for him. No clue where to start, I looked through several recipes but didn’t have all of the ingredients for any of them, but I felt like I got the overall “feel” for the recipes, soooooo I took a plunge and made up my own, and he LOVED it! {Whew!}

But one thing I’m not sure of… is it “Beans and Rice” or “Rice and Beans”???

Easy And Fast Rice and Beans (Vegan)

  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion (frozen is fine)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 can RO-TEL (here is a recipe if you want to make your own from scratch)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of black beans (undrained)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 4 to 5 “squirts” of hot pepper sauce (y’all know Frank’s is my fav)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • lime or avocado wedge (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat large skillet on the stove at medium-high and heat the olive oil.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until crisp tender and then stir in RO-TEL and thyme. Let it cook for about three to five minutes while the juices cook out.
  3. Stir in beans, hot pepper sauce, and cumin. Lower heat to medium and let simmer for 7-8 minutes, stirring once.
  4. Serve over rice and top with lime or avocado!

Oooooo, I was so happy to see all the bright red tomatoes! I bet this would be even more beautiful with the homemade RO-TEL!

Easy Beans And Rice - tomatoes simmering

Yummy, yum, yum said the hubs!

Easy Beans And Rice - side shot

Recipe: UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole

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I purchased a bunch of green bell peppers at Sam’s last week intending to use them for stuffed bell peppers, but the more I thought about making stuffed bell peppers the more I just couldn’t muster up the energy to make them. They really aren’t that difficult, although the whole process of getting them to stand up never comes easily to me for some reason, but they are kind of difficult to eat. Plus, my bell peppers always end up a bit… soggy. And, well, that’s just plain ol’ gross. With this recipe because they only are in the oven for about 15 minutes, they still have a bit of crunch to them!

I remembered seeing a recipe for UNstuffed Bell Peppers, and although I couldn’t find it on Pinterest, I did find a couple of others that sorta reminded me of the basic idea, and then I made my own (vegetarian) version! It would be vegan if you just left out the cheese! I would love to try this with black beans as well, but we were out tonight.

A question for my experienced cooks: could I make this ahead and refrigerate it?

UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (frozen is fine)
  • 3 teaspoons of minced garlic (jarred is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (regular would probably be okay too)
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce (I used tomato and basil but I’m sure any would be fine)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6-8 dashes of Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 1 cup colby jack cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese chunks (if you want… we are feta freaks and so I put it in a lot of stuff where it doesn’t make “sense” but it always seems to be soooooo gooooooood!)

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to directions.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  3. Lightly spray a 9×13 casserole dish.
  4. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Saute garlic, onions, dried basil, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin until soft (about 3-5 minutes).
  5. While vegetables are cooking, cut and seed the green bell peppers. Cut into 2 inch chunks and arrange along the bottom of the casserole dish.
  6. In skillet, add fire roasted diced tomatoes and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes while the juices cook out a bit.
  7. Add in kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons cumin, and cayenne pepper sauce. Stir to combine and allow to heat through.
  8. Stir in rice.
  9. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of colby jack cheese lightly over bell peppers in casserole dish and 1/4 cup of feta cheese on top of colby jack.
  10. Spoon the vegetable and rice mixture into the bell peppers in the casserole dish.
  11. Sprinkle with remaining colby jack and feta cheeses.
  12. Cook at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until colby jack is melted (feta rarely looks melted).
  13. Serve and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes and then enjoy!

As soon as I arranged the bell peppers and saw how pretty it all was, I started to get excited!

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This step is really important I think because it lets some of the flavors come together without it having to spend a bunch of time in the oven.

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I could hardly wait when I pulled the dish out of the oven. It looked beautiful and smelled DIVINE!

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Recipe: Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl

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Well, I wanted to make frozen stir-fry tonight (because it’s easy), but my husband has officially turned his nose up to frozen stir-fry. (His parents recently brought us Pei-Wei for dinner and, well, it has ruined him… he only wants the good stuff.)

So, I decided to get cuh.raz.y. tonight and try to make something with the huge load of kale he bought at Market Street the other day.

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And this is what resulted. (My original inspiration came from this recipe at VegWeb… which is a nifty little vegetarian site.)

Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen onions
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped (I used three big “stalks” of the stuff and one little one… I will probably double or even triple that next time for more kale action)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2-3 mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 1 small tomato, diced OR 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained in the colander
  • 1 can red kidney beans (black or butter beans would work as well, I think)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin (more or less depending upon your taste preferences)
  • 9-10 “shakes” of Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce (this stuff is uh.maz.ing. I discovered it with this recipe for Black Bean Soup which is now my absolute favorite thing in the world to make, plus my husband loves it!)
  • 1 cup of quinoa… cook it according to the package directions
  • feta, optional (we put feta on ev.er.y.thing. but I bet any shredded cheese would be good too, or none at all!)

Instructions:

  1. If you haven’t already chopped your veggies, do that first… chop: the kale, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and tomato.
  2. If you haven’t already cooked the quinoa, get that started as well.
  3. Get some water boiling, cause you are going to boil the kale in just a minute.
  4. Heat up a large skillet to medium-high and pour the oil in. Saute the garlic and onions until tender.
  5. Add in the bell pepper, mushrooms, corn, and water. Saute until tender-firm.
  6. While the veggies are sauteing, boil the kale for three minutes and then drain in a colander.
  7. When the kale is finished and drained, add it as well as the tomato and beans and stir it all together.
  8. Sprinkle the cumin on as well as the Frank’s hot sauce and stir. Let it cook for two or three minutes.
  9. While the seasoning cooks in, place the quinoa in the bottom of the bowl, and then spoon in the sauteed veggie mixture.
  10. Sprinkle with feta, if desired, and enjoy!

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Recipe: Easy Black Bean Soup (Vegetarian and Vegan)

The Covenant Diet - EASY Black Bean Soup

My sister-in-law made this soup for a getaway weekend when my husband’s family got together to celebrate his dad’s 60th birthday. She made a chicken tortilla soup for everyone else and then made this one for me (she is super considerate)!

It was sooooooo amazinggggggg that I got the recipe and made it again last night! We loved it and we loved the leftovers today for lunch!

I’m not much a photographer, but I did snag that one pic!

Easy Black Bean Soup (Vegetarian and Vegan)
(Below is the stovetop version and the crockpot variations are in {fancy brackets}!)

Ingredients
• 2 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 4-5 cans (14-19 oz each) black beans, undrained
• 1/3 cup Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
• 2 cans (14.5 oz each) vegetable stock {1 can for crockpot}
• 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
• 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
• Sour Cream, optional
• Avocado slices, optional

Directions
1. Heat oil in 4 or 5 quart saucepan. Add garlic and onion; cook until tender.
{Skip this step if you want when making in the crockpot.}

2. Stir in beans with liquid, broth, Frank’s RedHot sauce, cilantro, and cumin. {Include chopped onion and garlic in crockpot.}

3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring often. {Cook on high for three to four hours. No need to stir.}

4. Remove 1 cup of soup. Place in blender; cover securely and process until smooth. Return to saucepan; stir. (Or do this with an immersion blender.)

5. Serve soup in individual soup bowls. Top with dollop of sour cream and avocado chunks or guacamole, if desired.

Note: This was a smidge over mild on my “tongue temperature” gauge, so if you are sensitive to heat then you might consider decreasing the hot sauce. And on the topic of hot sauce, I am not one for “brand name snobbery”, but I think the sauce really makes this recipe so it might be worth the extra trip or having this sauce for just this recipe. I seriously think you’ll want to make it again anyway!

Note: This soup freezes well. Freeze leftovers in individual portions. Thaw and reheat in microwave.

Prep Time: 10 minutes {5 minutes}
Cook Time: 35 minutes {3-4 hours}

Recipe: 7-Layer Meatless Tortilla Pie

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My husband is doing a test-run of the covenant during June, and since he’s a teacher then he’s on summer so I get to make childless treks to the grocery store. Which means, we’ll be eating well for the next couple of months! Plus, I got a cookbook from my mom for Mother’s day… The Vegetarian Bible!

7-Layer Meatless Tortilla Pie
• 2 cans (about 15 oz each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 cup PACE picante sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
• 1 can (about 15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 small tomato, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon lime juice
• 7 large flour tortillas or 14 soft taco tortillas
• 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese

* Preheat oven to 400°

1. Mash the pinto beans in a medium bowl with a fork or potato masher. Stir in 3/4 cup picante sauce and the garlic powder.

2. Stir the remaining picante sauce, cilantro, black beans, tomato, and lime juice in a medium bowl.

3. Place 1 tortilla on a baking sheet (or two soft taco sized tortillas side by side… to make two “towers”). Spread with 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over the tortilla to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Top with 1/4 cup of cheese. Top with 1 tortilla and 3/4 cup black bean mixture. Top with 3/4 cup of cheese. Repeat layers twice more. Top with the remaining tortilla and spread with the remaining pinto bean mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.

4. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until the filling is hot. Take pie out and uncover.

5. Turn off the oven.

6. Top with the remaining cheese and put pie back in for 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

7. Cut the pie into wedges. Serve with additional picante sauce and sprinkle with additional cilantro, if desired.

* Could add in shredded chicken or taco meat into either the black bean or the pinto mixture.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour