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: Build A Perfect Salad

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I don’t know an.y.thing. about nutrition and so whenever I make a discovery I assume that probably everyone else out there that is even remotely nutritionally focused knows about it. And this is one of those things.

However, I have learned that there are actually quite a lot of “I don’t know an.y.thing. about nutrition” people out there with me. So, if you are a nutrition junkie, feel free to say “Wow – I’m so happy that she has learned this since I have used this trick my entire life!” and if you are a nutrition newbie, then feel free to say, “Wow – I’m so happy that she has learned this since I have never thought of doing that!”

Here ya go.

Build A Perfect Salad

(for two salads)

Ingredients

When choosing your ingredients… think about colors. It’s amazing how easy it is to get a variety of nutrients when you simply vary color. Plus, to me, a pretty salad is always immediately more appetizing than all green. So, if you have a green celery… then choose a bright orange carrot. Or if you have a red tomato, choose a yellow bell pepper to compliment it.

  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large celery stalks
  • 10-15 salad tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • fresh oregano (or other herb or optional)
  • feta cheese, optional
  • lettuce
  • salad dressing

Instructions (I put my “commentary” in italics!)

1. Get out your two salad bowls, cutting board, knife, and all your veggies.

2. Start out with chopping up the carrots, celery, and halving the tomatoes. As you go you’ll see how the bowl really fills up with the “good stuff”. If you realize that you’ve got way too much of a particular ingredient just put the extra in a tupperware for tomorrow.

3. Add in your peanuts, kidney beans, oregano, and feta and mix everything together. That’s right… no lettuce yet!Just look at how full your bowl is of all the good roughage with all the good nutrients… too many of our salads are filled with 80% LEAVES because that’s what we put in first… but I think that’s part of the reason that we all get so burned out on them!

4. So, NOW, add your leaves (aka: lettuce) and some dressing.

5. This step is negotiable, but I always chop-mix my salad at this point. I like to do it because it is a good way to really mix everything together, plus I have terrible TMJ and so my bites have to be pretty small. You can chop-mix it by dumping it all out on a cutting board, but that is a mess and a half. Or you can get a good serrated knife (like a steak knife) and a fork and just cut it up a lot. OR, you can do my favorite method and get a pair of these salad choppers which I use for tons of stuff.

Okay, so it’s not like some kind of phenomenal life altering recipe… it’s more of a method. But it’s gotten me to build and eat more substantial salads instead of a bowl full of mainly leaves.

{My bowls before the leaves}

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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: Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup (Vegan)

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This one is partially for my husband who lovvvvvvvves anything I cook with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce. And it’s also partially for my friend over at love.life.chocolate who has lost FIFTY pounds as a vegan!

Buuuuuuut, mainly it’s for me: because it’s EASY. And it’s all pantry/freezer stuff except for the bell pepper – although I have found frozen green bell pepper before, and you could chop them up and freeze them ahead of time if you needed to. You could also easily make your own beans and use fresh tomatoes if you wanted!

Taste-wise, it is reminiscent of my Easy Black Bean Soup… which is probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Well. Maybe not THE most amazing… but it definitely ranks up there in levels of awesomeness!

Anyway, I named it this because it uses a lot of the same ingredients that I used in my UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I prefer the ones that are fire roasted)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped into chunks
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin

Instructions

  1. Dump everything in a large soup pot and stir to mix. (Don’t rinse or drain the beans or tomatoes)
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer at medium for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Let cool for five minutes and DIVE IN!

I just LOVED this picture of the soup… and allow me to just gush praise over this bowl! My husband’s grandmother (Bernice) makes them and she might just be one of the most amazing potters on the planet and she just GIVES me these beautiful hand-crafted unique gorgeous bowls! They are some of my most cherished belongings… partially because they are so amazing, but also because they were formed by the hands of a woman who has spent hours praying over her family. Somehow that just makes them extra beautiful!

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Here is my psycho “this stuff is good” face for all to see. And, yes, I am eating in bed. The boys and I go in my bedroom during my husband’s guitar lessons for their TV time cause otherwise they get too loud!

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