Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Category Archives: Healthy Dishes

Southwest Quinoa Bites

Happy Friday everyone!  Here’s a fun Friday Quinoa fact for you:

2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations (thank you Wiki Wiki Wack Wikipedia).  Looks like we were one step ahead of the game with this Quinoa Bite series eh?

Ok, enough jib jab.

One of my favorite things is when you throw a bunch of stuff together, throw it in the oven and keep your fingers crossed that it will come out delicious and it does! That’s just what happened with these Southwest Quinoa Bites.  I love me some southwest flavor, as you’ve seen in recipes like Southwest Chicken Burgers and Mexican Pizza.

So why not share the Southwest wealth with Quinoa Bites?

Southwest Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields 12 regular muffin sized bites

2 cups cooked Quinoa

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 cup pepper jack cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup canned corn

1 medium red pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 scallions, chopped small

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

3 eggs, lightly beaten

salt & pepper to taste

ranch dressing for dipping

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place your Quinoa, bread crumbs, cooked chicken and cheeses in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3) Heat your olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, add your black beans, corn, red pepper, garlic, scallions, cumin and chili powder and saute for 3-5 minutes.  The goal here isn’t to cook the vegetables through, but simply allow the flavor of everything to combine a bit before adding it to the rest of the mixture.

4) Add the veggie/spice mixture to the quinoa/chicken/bread crumbs/cheese and allow it to cool for a few minutes before adding the eggs (about 5 minutes).  You can then add the beaten eggs and combine the mixture.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5) Take a regular sized muffin tin (12 muffins) and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Add about 1/3 cup of the mixture to each muffin slot.

4) Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Serve with a side of Ranch dressing for dipping!

Since this was dinner, I decided to use a regular sized muffin tin vs. the mini-muffin tin, but these would certainly be great bite sized as well!  Served with a nice side salad, it was a perfect, healthy and scrumptious dinner.  If you wanted to add a little kick to these, you could always toss some crushed red pepper flakes in with the cumin and chili powder! I personally like when my lips aren’t on fire, but to each his own 🙂

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Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites

Worst part of this week = having to pack a lunch for FIVE WHOLE DAYS! It’s been weeks since I’ve put in a 40 hour’er – the joy of Christmas brings with it the joy of consecutive 4-5 day weekends.  But now, the grim reality that the next company holiday won’t be here until the snow is melted and my brown puffy down coat has been retired for the Winter.  Sigh.

Thank god I have these delicious Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach and Goat Cheese Quinoa bites to look forward to at lunch 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 34 bites

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small jar of roasted red peppers, chopped

2 cups frozen chopped spinach

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 eggs, lightly beaten

salt and pepper to taste

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, add chopped red peppers, spinach and minced garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes, until all the liquid from the peppers and spinach has evaporated. Remove from heat.

instruction1

3) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, spinach/red pepper mixture and crumbled goat cheese.  Mix together to allow the goat cheese to melt.  Once the mixture has cooled a bit more (about 10 minutes), you can then add the eggs and mix together.  Season the mixture with salt & pepper to taste.

instruction2

4) Spray a mini-muffin pan (24 count) with non-stick cooking spray, making sure to spray the top of the pan as well to avoid the bites from sticking.  Place one tablespoon of the mixture in each muffin slot and bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

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These are a nice light option for lunch or even a snack.  They’d also be a great appetizer for your next ladies night! Healthy, yummy and would go nicely with red OR white 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites


Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

First full week back to work = a fresh week to start a great series with a yummy little ingredient I’ve been seeing a LOT of lately – Quinoa – reminds me a little bit of Cous Cous, but much heartier and packed with protein.  I’ve come to learn too that it’s a great base for a lot of fantastic recipes too – Quinoa bites in particular.  A while back, I tried these delicious Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites from Miki’s Kitchen and they were a perfect, healthy snack for anyone out there that is as Buffalo Chicken crazy as I am.  Bites are perfect really – they’re small – they’re cute – you can eat them with your fingers, and it’s generally assumed that you can have one or two extra, cuz’ hey! They’re bite sized!

Why else am I pushing Quinoa? Well, due to it’s protein punch package, it’s considered a power food which I’ll be needing a lot of lately as I begin (or, more like “focus” on) my Half Marathon training schedule.  There I said it out loud.  Some of my besties from home and I are headed down to Disney in just a few short weeks to do the Princess Half Marathon – and while I can’t WAIT to get down there, catch some rays, eat some Dole Whip, and hopefully get a glimpse of Mickey & Minnie, there’s that whole 13.1 miles to get through first, and I’ve got a ways to go training wise.  So come on Quinoa, help a sistah out will ya?

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

Ok first up, Quinoa Bites for breakfast, the most important meal of the day! And this combination of quinoa, apples and a sweet sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar will start your day off just right 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 26 bites

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup quick oats, uncooked 

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 cup chopped apples

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a large mixing bowl, add your cooked quinoa and quick oats.  In a separate smaller mixing bowl, combine your cinnamon, nutmeg and sugars and then add the spice mixture to the quinoa and oats.  Then add the maple syrup, apples and eggs and mix until just combined.

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

3) Spray your mini muffin pan (24 count) with non-stick cooking spray.  Make sure to spray the top of the pan as well.  The quinoa bites will overflow out of the cup a little bit, so you don’t want the tops to stick.

4) Fill each muffin slot with 1 tablespoon of the mixture and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

Oh yummmm – these were like little hearty mini muffins packed with deliciousness and nutritiousness – the best of both worlds!

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites


Chicken Chili

We’re baaaa-aaaack!  Were you nervous we had flown the coop? Well technically, I guess we did for a bit, now we’re back and ready to blog our socks off!

Where’ve we been for the last 2 weeks and change? Well I’ll tell you!

We spent a long weekend in Vermont with lots of:

1) Great friends & foliage:

Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili

2) Great Beer:

Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili

3) The wedding of a GREAT couple, our friends Maggie and Vinny!  It was the picture perfect Vermont wedding, with every last detail covered, down to hand written notes from the bride and groom to every single guest at the wedding – my hand is cramping just thinking of it! What a great day it was.

Chicken Chili

4) A week in Chicago for the greatest metal show on earth (a.k.a – my ‘real life’ job as a metal tradeshow planning machine)

And all the celebrating, beer drinking and metal’ing has left me feeling a little under the weather with a headcold that hit me like a ton of bricks.  That and the chilly fall air that has made it’s way to Boston, made me realize that it’s Chicken Chili time.  It’s a great spin of that delectable Black Bean Vegetable Soup, with a few adaptations to make a little more ‘chili’esque’, while still being healthy.

Chicken Chili

INGREDIENTS

1lb 99% fat-free boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 packet of mild taco seasoning

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. Chili powder

1 tbsp. cumin

2 cups chicken stock

2 – 15oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 – 8.75 oz. can whole kernel corn

salt & pepper to taste

1) Coat the chicken breasts with taco seasoning. Cook both sides of chicken in a large saucepan over medium heat until just browned on either side, and set aside.

1) In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat; cook onion, carrots and garlic until onion is softened (about 5 minutes).  Season cooked veggies with salt and pepper.

2) In the meantime, take the crushed tomatoes and 1 can of black beans and puree them together in a food processor.  Set aside.

3) Add chili powder and cumin to onion/carrot/garlic mixture and cook stirring for about a minute.

4) Add the chicken stock, 1 can of black beans and can of kernel corn and bring to a boil.

5) Once the veggies have come to a boil, add the black bean and tomato puree and browned chicken breasts to the pot.  Reduce heat, cover chili, and simmer for about an hour.  After an hour, the chicken will be fully cooked which will allow you to shred it using 2 forks.  You can remove it from the chili to shred or shred right in the dutch oven.  If you shred it outside, make sure to return the chicken back to the chili.  Simmer on low heat for another 1-2 hours so the shredded chicken can absorb the flavors.

This is great for Sunday Funday, or even divvy’ing it up into individual containers for lunch during the week.  It also freezes really well too, in case you have left overs.

I hope these last couple weeks have been as good for you guys as it’s been for us!  But – it’s good to be back 🙂


Skinny Kale & Feta Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

My gals pals and I had our Fantasy Football draft the other night.

Three years ago, we thought “heck, wouldn’t it be fun to make our own Fantasy Football team and pick all of our players based on 1) cuteness  2) level of hot body’ness?”  Well, let’s just say that this strategy didn’t get us too far in terms of winning anything.  But, it was a great excuse to sit by the T.V. every Sunday hooting and hollering alongside the men – although we were hooting and hollering at tight camera shots of bums and other body parts vs. touchdowns and field goals.

Last year, it got a little more competitive – my friend Erin took over the roll of commissioner.  By day, Erin is this cute little CPA who works for the IRS – on Sunday’s during football season though, she’s a crazed, football-jersey-wearing maniac that screams at the television and sits with her legs open staring intently at the television holding her breath to see what the next play brings (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating at the sitting w/ her legs wide open part – everything else is 100% true!).  With Erin as commissioner, we started to take things a little more seriously, and really started to care about more than how long Tom Brady’s hair had gotten or if the camera’s shot to our favorite celebs in the stands during games.  We actually like, paid attention – and made changes in our roster every week – and like, kind of knew what was going on!

Skinny Kale & Feta Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

And this year’s draft was a nail biter, probs the most stressful hour and a half that I’ve had in a while.  While we may be ladies Monday through Saturday, on Sundays, the claws will be out.  But we need sustenance to keep ourselves going during hours and hours of football watching.

Delicious food goes hand in hand with football season – chilli – wings – dips of all kinds – which is what we have today! I’m a huge Spinach dip lover, so this is a Skinny version of a great Sunday Funday snack, made with Kale and Feta Cheese (you could easily use spinach too, I just wanted to shake things up a bit) and homemade pita chips! I am OBSESSED with the Josephs© line of sandwich wraps.  They have pita bread, wraps and lavash that are all only 2 WW points each!  And, they made amazing home made pita chips!

Kale & Feta Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 1 cup of dip and 16 pita chips – serving size is 1/4 cup of dip and 4 pita chips

For Kale & Feta Dip:

4 cups chopped kale

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup fat-free cream cheese

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1/4 cup fat-free feta cheese

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp. grated parmesean cheese

salt and pepper to taste

For Pita Chips:

Non-stick cooking spray

2 whole Josephs Pita Breads
(the large size, not the smaller sandwich size ones)

Salt and Pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a medium sauce pan, sautee minced garlic and chopped kale over medium heat until it shrinks to about 1/2 it’s original size.

3) Place cooked kale in a large mixing bowl and add cream cheese, sour cream, feta and lemon juice and mix until combined.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

4) Place in an oven-safe baking dish and sprinkle grated parmesean cheese on the top.  Cook for about 10 minues, or until bubbly.

5) Slice the pita breads into 8 triangles (16 total).  Spray with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in oven about 5 minutes on each side, until chips reach desired level of crunchiness.

TOUCHDOWN! A delicious dip, that can be served hot or cold, that is only 3.5 WW points per serving.  So if you were so preoccupied with the action and ate the whole thing by mistake, it wouldn’t be so bad!

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone 🙂

Skinny Kale & Feta Dip with Homemade Pita Chips


Skinny "Ice Cream" Sammies

It seems like ice cream sandwiches have been around since the dawn of time – other frozen novelties have come and gone from the shelves of your local grocery store, but the simple combination if vanilla ice cream perfectly sandwiched between two soft and chewy chocolate cookies has been a crowd pleaser for generations.

I like ice cream – I actually love it.  And biting into an ice cream sandwich might be one of the best tastes of summer – especially when the soft cookie gets stuck to the roof of your mouth – love that.

So how can you fake out your taste buds and save yourself a few cellulite dimples?

See below 🙂

Skinny “Ice Cream” Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS
*yields 4 sammies

4 full Chocolate Graham Cracker sheets

8 tbsp. Fat-Free Cool Whip

Rainbow Nonpareils

1) Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.

2) Snap each full graham cracker sheet in half and lay out on the wax paper.

3)  Place 2 tbsp. of fat-free cool whip on one of the 2 graham crackers and then top with the other.

4)  Sprinkle with rainbow nonpareils (or any ‘decoration’ of your choice – nuts, chocolate chips, the options are endless!)

5)  Place in the freezer for about an hour in order for cool whip to freeze.

Once frozen, the cool whip takes on a soft, chewy texture that takes you to your Ice Cream happy place, without all the guilt.  And for only 2 WW points per sammie, well, you could even have two 🙂

Skinny "Ice Cream" Sammies


Summer Bruschetta

It’s the last week of summer (I know – sniff, sniff).  That means there is one week left to:

1) Strut around in your bikini (or one-piece with conservative coverup) while the weather is still nice

2) Capitalize on the freshest produce of the year!

And these next recipes will be nothing but bikini friendly.  In only a couple short weeks, it’ll be time to stuff ourselves in sweaters and shovel in the chilli w/ cheese, sour cream and fritos while watching Sunday football.  HOWEVER, until then, let’s keep it on the skinny, shall we?

This Summer Bruschetta is SOO freaking delish, a take-off on that delightful Tomato, Cucumber & Feta Salad.  I think I’ve made it about 7596943 times this summer.  It’s easy – it’s healthy – and there’s no better way to showcase one of summer’s star veggie-fruits than with bruschetta.

Summer Bruschetta

INGREDIENTS

1 large package of heirloom tomatoes, chopped or pulsed a few times in the food processor (about 2 cups)
(I like to use the different colored ones, but all red would do too)

1 tbsp. lite italian dressing

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup fat-free feta cheese

8-10 large basil leaves, chopped

1) Chop tomatoes into small pieces or pulse in the food processor a few times until they reach your desired size.  Place in a mixing bowl and set aside.

2) In a small mixing bowl, whisk together italian dressing, balsamic vinegar and minced garlic.  Pour mixture over the chopped tomatoes and fold with a spatula.

3) Add fat-free feta cheese and chopped basil and fold into tomato/dressing mixture.

4)  Let the mix sit for at least 1/2 hour.  I personally like letting it sit at room temperature (cold tomatoes = yucka) but you could also chill it in the refridgerator.

5) Serve on sliced french bread or crackers!

You can adjust this recipe as you see fit, adding more/less basil & feta cheese, but the ENTIRE bowl of bruschetta (minus the bread/crackers) is only 3 WW points – 3.  Whole thing.  Chilli can wait!

Summer Bruschetta



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