Tag Archives: eating lighter

Creamy Lemon Mushroom Quinoa

Creamy Lemon Mushroom Quinoa

Looking for another recipe to incorporate the super healthy quinoa in your meal plan? Well, if you have left over mushrooms from making your own Cream of Mushroom Soup and a leftover lemon from the Lemon Rosemary Chicken, you can use them up with this yummy quinoa dish! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth (optional)
  • 2 cups mushrooms sliced
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Cook quinoa according to package directions using the broth instead of water.  {If you made broth with the Lemon Rosemary Chicken here’s a great opportunity to use it!} While quinoa is cooking, saute mushrooms in a frying pan with the butter.  Once mushrooms are cooked add the lemon juice and stir for a minute or two.  Add cream and stir together on medium low heat until sauce is reduced by half.  Once quinoa is cooked serve topped with sauce and sprinkle with cheese.  Capers or fresh chopped parsley would be nice garnishes too!

Lemon Rosemary Crockpot Chicken

Lemon Rosemary Crockpot Chicken

Want another EASY chicken recipe?  You got it!  You can even pull a chicken straight out of the freezer and throw it in your slow cooker for this one!  {At least that’s what I did!} 6 hours later… you’ve got a delicious main dish for dinner! The lemon and rosemary give the chicken a wonderful flavor that reminds me of SPRING!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 T rosemary
  • salt

 Slice onion and lemon into rings, and cut celery stalks in half.  Rinse off the chicken, and place in the crockpot.  {If the chicken is thawed out I usually remove most of the skin first, but this time it was frozen so I didn’t.}  Sprinkle with salt.  Arrrange celery around chicken.  Cover the meat with the onion and lemon slices and then sprinkle everything with rosemary.  Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on high {3-4 hrs if chicken was thawed out.}

Before...

 

After!

After you eat remove all the meat you can put the bones and skin back in the crockpot with the cooked lemon, veggies, and drippings and fill up to the top with water.  Cook overnight on the low setting and in the morning strain out the solid stuff and keep the chicken broth.  It’s so savory!  This is a great broth to use for the Rosemary Pumpkin Soup!  I freeze it in quart baggies up to 6 months.  It’s a great way to get more than one meal out of your chicken!

 Enjoy your Spring Chicken!!!!

 

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Tuesday Tutorial: How to Make Applesauce!

Tuesday Tutorial: How to Make Applesauce!

Ever have a bunch of apples that are getting a little too soft to eat? {Maybe it’s just me, but I HATE biting into a mealy  mushy apple!}  Don’t through them out though!  Make your own applesauce!  In the fall we picked a bunch of apples from our neighbor’s trees {with their permission, of course!}  Even though they lasted quite a while in cold storage, they were getting to that point where we needed to use them up! 

So here’s what we did!

1.  Wash apples thoroughly.

 

2.  Cut up apples.  (You can leave the core and just quarter them, or use a handy-dandy corer-slicer.) If your apples were hand-picked cut out any wormy  or yucky parts.

3.  Pour a little water to a big stock pot (enough for to cover the bottom of the pan with an inch of water) and add the apple slices.  Cook apples on medium heat until very soft.  Keep an eye on it and stir often.  A little burnt applesauce will ruin the whole batch.  {And, yes, I know that by experience!}

4.  Run cooked apples through a foley mill to separate skins and any stray seeds.  Taste your applesauce and add sweetener and/or cinnamon if you like.  If it’s too thick just add a little water.  Store the applesauce in freezer bags or jars!  {We also use empty yogurt containers if we’re going to freeze the applesauce, but be sure you don’t over fill them…and yes, I know this by experience too!}  If you want to can your applesauce to store long-term follow these instructions for a hot water bath canning for about 25 minutes (depending on your altitude.)

**If you don’t have a foley mill another way to make applesauce is to peel and core your apples to remove all the skin and seeds before you cook them.  Cook the fruit down with a little water and you have chunky applesauce.  If you want really smooth sauce run the batch through a blender! 

The nice thing about applesauce is that you can do a batch of any size!  If you just have a few apples, you may have enough sauce for lunch!  If you have crates of apples like we did, you can make a lot to freeze or can and not worry about wasting all that good fruit! 

Cinnamon Applesauce!

 
 Use your homemade applesauce as an oil substitute in baking for lighter/healthier recipes too!

Tuesday’s {Cheating} Tutorial: Bread!

Tuesday’s {Cheating} Tutorial: Bread!

I’m going to cheat today.  Instead of blogging and preparing for a tutorial for today, I spent yesterday with my husband! (Thanks to my mother-in-law and sis-in-law!  Thank you!)  So, for today’s tutorial I’m sending you to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers. 

In my journey to eating lighter, healthier foods I’ve been transitioning from prepackaged store-bought to homemade foods, especially bread.  I want healthy yummy whole wheat bread without the preservatives.  And I found it!  Courtney introduced me to Heavenly Homemakers where there are tons and tons of great recipes, many with freshly ground whole wheat flour.  My favorite recipe though, is the bread. 

So here’s Laura’s tutorial on how to make a delicious whole wheat bread from scratch! I hope you’ll make it someday and enjoy it as much as we do!

My son grinding flour for bread!

 

Crockpot {Pinto} Beans

Crockpot {Pinto} Beans

I once tried to make refried beans at home.  It was not pretty.  They were down right gross.  As I explained what I did to Maria, {our co-worker at the restaurant Courtney and I served at} she laughed at me.  “You did what?!?”  She took pity on me, and invited both of us over to show us how to make authentic  beans and Mexican rice.  I will forever be grateful! (And so will my husband!) :)

Now I pass the knowledge on to you!

 

This big bag was from Costco. If memory serves me right it cost less than $8.  The nice thing about beans is they last a loooooooong time, they’re healthy, and they’re cheap!

Start by filling a teakettle or pot with 6-7 cups of water and bring to a rolling boil.  While you’re waiting, rinse about 2 cups of dry beans.  After rinsing dump them in the crockpot.

 Once the water is boiling, pour it over the beans and cover.  Maria salted the beans at this point, but since I’ve discovered yummy desserts with cooked beans I hold off and add salt just before eating.  Set your crockpot to high and in about 3 hours you’ll have cooked beans!

{2 cups of dry beans and 6 cups of water yielded 5-6 cups of cooked beans for me and a lot of “juice”}

If you want to make Mexican refried beans make sure you don’t drain the beans.  You want some of that juice!

In a large skillet heat oil on medium-high setting.  I use grapeseed oil.  It’s healthy, flavorless, and able to withstand high temps!  And I didn’t measure–SORRY–but just use enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the whole pan.

***WARNING: Now this is where it can be dangerous so clear little ones out of the kitchen!  We’ll add watery stuff to hot oil and it SPLATTERS!  Very carefully add a couple of scoops of cooked beans with some of the bean juice.  I did two cups cooked beans.

Once the spattering stops grab a potato masher and mash!   This is a great time to add salt and spices if you like. Maria just used salt.   I add salt, a little onion powder and a little cumin for really flavorful refried beans.  A little salt really does bring out the flavor.  If they’re not tasting quite like refried beans you get at the Mexican restaurant, add a little more salt and then taste again!  If the beans are too dry, add more bean juice.  If they’re too wet, just keep mashing/stirring and wait.  The liquid will evaporate.  That’s the great thing about this recipe…it’s very adjustable!

This is the consistency I like.  The rest of the cooked beans I didn’t use to make the refried stuff, I put in a baggie {with juice!} and froze.  They’re easy to thaw out and throw into soup, make chili, or more refried beans at a later date!

These refried beans are delicious with salsa and cheese as a meal. My husband also loves when I make a big batch and do a bunch of bean and cheese burritos to freeze.  It’s an easy and delicious lunch for him to take on the road! A side of Mexican rice {stay tuned for a later post!!!!} is a great compliment and a yummy touch to burritos too!

So, there you are: Crockpot Pinto Beans!  I’ve used this same method for black and great northern beans too.  Some bean varieties just take a little longer to cook.    Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Southwestern Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Black Bean Salad

What is quinoa? It’s a very healthy seed masquerading as a grain.  It’s cooked a lot like white rice but with a LOT more nutrition!  Quinoa is high in fiber, whole protein, and minerals like manganese.  It is low on the glycemic index if you’re watching your blood sugar and it’s naturally gluten-free.  Check out this article if you want to know more about the health benefits.

One downfall to this “superfood” is that it is BLAND!  Sure,  it’s good for me, but who cares if I’m not gonna eat it?!?! My kids eat it with a little honey drizzled on top, but I need a little more umpf to tempt my taste buds.  Thus I found a more flavorful way to actually enjoy this little wonder-seed: a yummy southwestern flavored salad!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c dry quinoa then cooked according to package directions
  • 1 c or can cooked black beans
  • 1 red/yellow/orange bell pepper chopped
  • 1/4 c cilantro chopped
  • 3-4 green onions finely chopped (or half a yellow onion)
  • 1 lime
  • 3 T honey
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Salt to taste

 

 

 

 

Cook quinoa as directed.  It looks like this when done:

Cut lime and squeeze all the juice into a small bowl.  Add honey and olive oil to the lime juice and stir together until well mixed.  Pour liquid over the quinoa and add the beans, chopped onion, and pepper.  Stir together, salt to taste, and there ya go: a flavor-FULL version of quinoa that I hope you will enjoy!

The fresh-cut pineapple compliments the flavor of this salad wonderfully!!!

Amazon has a 4 pound bag of organic quinoa on sale right now for 50% off!   This should last you a while!

 

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Blueberry Salad—Great way to (b)eat away the winter blah’s!

Blueberry Salad—Great way to (b)eat away the winter blah’s!

We don’t live very close to a Trader Joe’s, so it’s a big deal when I get to one!  And we went to one Saturday!  Of course I took full advantage of it, and stocked up on some yummy organic produce…including BLUEBERRIES.  It was a splurge and one I am still enjoying!!!!

Inspired by my blueberries, I created a salad for lunch yesterday.  It was so good, bright for my eyes and light on my tummy, so I thought I should share!  I didn’t really measure anything…just a bunch of torn lettuce leaves and a little of everything else tossed together.

  • Romain lettuce
  • fresh blueberries
  • chopped yellow bell pepper
  • chopped green onion
  • pecans
  • raspberry vinaigrette
  • flax seeds

I know it probably sounds like a really weird combination…but I used what I had on hand and this ended up being a delicious and healthy lunch…one that made me forget that it’s winter in Minnesota…until I went outside!  😉

 

Yummmmm!

What’s your favorite kind of salad?

 

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