Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Quinoa Veggie Fried Rice

Surely this happens to everyone in busy family life. You hold that inner conversation with yourself that you are eating terrible. Too much grab and go food and not enough fruits and veggies. Well, I do! I get on a healthy kick....I take a cheat day, get busy with kids activities and shuttling throughout the week...then we fall off the wagon....we resume old habits for convenience sake and then I recommit to getting us back on track.

When I'm really trying to up the veggie intake this has become my go to dish. The hubby and I love it and the kids actually eat it too with little grumbling. They don't exactly celebrate when they know this is on their dinner menu, I mean they have a natural love like most kids for carb and cheese loaded comfort food dishes! For what this packs in when it comes to vegetable servings and variety, I'm thrilled I have 5 out of 5 people that will pull up a chair for this dinner, clean their plate with no complaints, and that just makes me happy.

I originally found this recipe HERE but for our family, we definitely had to do some modifications after reviews from the kids. They don't do soft/soggy veggies, it's an automatic thumbs down for them so I have eliminated a few of the ingredients leaving the ones that hold up with a nice crunch to them. I also felt the ginger did nothing for the dish. I don't care for the taste of it and it was just one more ingredient to get that I don't generally have on hand so it was nixed. Just my personal opinion but take a look at the original recipe we got our inspiration from and check out their rendition of this dish. I consider mine more "family friendly"

The entire recipe will be at the bottom of this post but follow along for step by step instructions. I am by no means an exceptional cook! I like easy, tasty and healthy recipes for my family and love to share.

Shown above are all the ingredients I started with. 

       Broccoli florets
       Matchstix carrots
       Bag of frozen peas
       Bag of frozen corn
       1 small onion
       Jar of minced garlic
       Soy Sauce
       **not shown but 2-3 eggs and some minced garlic

Start by dicing up your small onion and about half the bag of broccoli.

The beautiful part of this recipe is amounts are not critical. When I say half the bag, that's what I use but add as much or as little as you like. There is no magical measurement for the veggies.

Add a few tablespoons of oil to a pan. Add a heaping spoonful of minced garlic to the pan. I'm a cheater on all of this stuff. I've got my precut and cleaned bags of veggies, I'm also using the minced garlic that you find in the jar. I don't have the luxury of time so shortcuts matter in my house!

Add your diced onion and stir around until it starts to soften and becomes slightly translucent.

Next add your broccoli giving it a good stir so it's getting coated in the onion/garlic/oil mixture. Stir for just a few more minutes. I like to keep things moving in the pan so it's getting heated and cooked through but nothing is sitting getting soft. Again, my kids don't care for soft veggies (or soggy as they call it) so I'm aiming to keep the crunch while still heating it through.

Now add some shredded carrots. Nothing you need to measure, just whatever you like. I grabbed a handful. I eyeball things so it looks like a nice balanced color ratio. Again, just keep stirring the veggies every so often as they continue to heat through.

Now add some of your frozen corn and frozen peas. Stir these through the mixture for a few minutes.

Next we will be adding the cooked quinoa. Since the 5 o'clock hour can be the crazy hour for me in our house I will generally cook my quinoa earlier in the day so that it's ready to go. We will be adding 3 cups of cooked quinoa to this dish.
*1 cup of dry quinoa will make about 3 cups of fluffed up quinoa when cooked.

Now add the quinoa to your pan of vegetables. At this point I splash in a bit of soy to give the dish some flavor and stir through. I just go lightly though and everyone adds more to their bowl if they like. Better to start off needing a tad more then being drenched in sodium packed soy!

****I wasn't able to photo and include my kids' favorite part....the eggs! We didn't have any today but they love them in this dish. Take 2-3 eggs and pan fry them just like fried eggs and poke the yoke so it's cooked through. We don't want a runny center. Dice the eggs up and add to your veggie mixture.

My hubby needs something a tad more substantial so I always grill some teriyaki chicken when I make this as well and dice it up to add on top if desired. Quinoa packs a nice bit of protein in this dish but for the hungry fellas, it's well received adding some meat on top. You could even dice up some seasoned sirloin and use instead of chicken.

*The meat of course is optional as this dish can definitely stand up by itself.

**Need some heat? Add some Sriracha sauce.....or rooster sauce as we like to call it if you live in our house. Can't go wrong with that!

Serve and enjoy! Happy healthy eating!

Veggie Fried Quinoa
       3 cups cooked qunioa
       1 small onion
       minced garlic
       Broccoli florets
       Matchstix carrots - 
       Bag of frozen peas (about 1/2 cup give or take)
       bag of frozen corn (about 1/2 cup give or take)
       2-3 eggs - fried and diced
       Soy Sauce
       Sriracha Sauce

**optional diced chicken

Start by cooking the quinoa and setting aside
Soften the onion in the garlic and some oil in a pan
Add the broccoli and stir through
Next add the carrots and continue to stir
Add the frozen peas and corn, stir through
Mix in the cooked quinoa through the dish adding some soy
top with diced egg

Serve hot and add optional diced chicken for the extra hungry ones.

I usually serve some fruit on the side for my kids and this dish easily feeds my family of 5 with leftovers. So I'd say it'd safely feed 4-6 if you are topping with diced chicken and would serve 4 hungry appetites if you are keeping as a vegetarian dish.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Veggie Wrap .... the perfect Summer meal

Summer is quickly on it's way and of course it always makes me think of bathing suit season! The evidence of Winter needs to be undone with a little bit of sunshine to the skin, some added exercise to the daily routine and of course making some better choices come meal time.

I saw this veggie wrap on one of my favorite sites, The Pioneer Woman while perusing Pinterest. I'd been telling myself lately, I really need to get some more veggies in my own diet and this looked like a recipe I definitely wanted to give a try. I made some changes to suit my own tastes and the result was delish!

In the photo above are all the ingredients I used except for some Balsamic Vinaigrette that isn't shown.

1. Spinach wraps (but really grab whatever you want)
2. I used Sabra's Supremely Spicy hummus because I like lots of spice
3. red onion
4. roasted red peppers in a jar
5. jar of artichoke hearts
6. crumbled feta
7. small avocado
8. mixed greens
9. Balsamic dressing

First off dice some of that red onion and put it in a pan with a little butter and cook them til they are carmelized.

Next I prepped the other ingredients. I diced up my artichoke, some red peppers, gave a good crumble to the Feta to get those big chunks broken down so it can spread throughout the wrap better and then diced about 1/4 of a small avocado.

I took my wrap, put it on the stove and lightly browned it on each side in a. Not sure why but tortillas have this plastic taste to me straight out of the bag and giving it a little grill in the pan makes it taste better.
Then I just put a good smear of the hummus through the center.

Next I just layered the other ingredients. First the grilled onions, then the red peppers, the artichokes, feta and topped by my favorite diced avocado. I added avocado to this wrap because I love the taste, texture and it just leaves me feeling quite a bit more satisfied. Plus, avocados are the good fat right?

After that I just topped with some mixed greens to give it some bulk and just lightly drizzled with the Balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Now just wrap it up, add a toothpick to each side, cut in half and enjoy! You will love all the different flavors and textures in this dish. I think half the wrap with some soup would be a super lunch. 

Curious what this totals for calories? Well I can't guess the quantity you will put on your wrap but if you put in moderate amounts of ingredients your total wrap is going to be about 425-450 calories.

My kids even gave it a try and they gave it a decent review. I've modified it a bit for them. They aren't fans of artichokes so they get nixed, we used a milder flavor of hummus (just the roasted red pepper version) and then we added some turkey.