Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spinach Zucchini Quinoa Bake

When thinking about what to make for dinner tonight, I wanted to make something that didn't need a lot of babysitting...I was tired and not feeling great so I decided to make some type of casserole. Usually this means something in the vein of Campbell's chicken and rice casserole. You know the one where you mix rice and cream of something soup, sometimes some cheese in a pan and put chicken breasts of the top and bake. Yeah, I know the cream of something soup is awful but the dish is so easy to make when you don't have a lot of time for prep. Well, it got me thinking, could I somehow replicate the dish and make it PINK friendly?

I thought about the Alfredo sauce that I posted about here, and knew that I could use that as the creamy base to cook the rice in. Then I thought about the rice, did I want to use brown rice? I could but brown rice takes so long to cook I wasn't sure it would fully soften in the oven, so I decided to use quinoa because it cooks quickly like the instant rice you would use in the traditional casserole. I knew I was on to something so I decided to give it a try. I however didn't add the chicken on top, you could  with some seasoning and have an easy meal...I didn't because I was really just experimenting this afternoon when I made this and I didn't want to hassle with the chicken part. I simply baked some chicken in the oven at dinner to go along with the dish.

Spinach Zucchini Quinoa Bake
1 cup quinoa
1/4 onion chopped
1 zucchini shredded or use your saladacco if you have one
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach chopped
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup plain almond milk
1 cup water
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Bragg's Aminos
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped garlic

Chop your onions, mushrooms, spinach and shred your zucchini
(on a side note, as I made zucchini noodles using my saladacco tonight, my kids thought it was so funny that I was getting such long noodles  6+ feet, they said, "Let's pretend we are Lady and the Tramp" so I they stole some of my noodles and spread across the room and proceeded to eat them, until they got closer and closer, you know how it goes. I love that my kids are eating raw zucchini now, before PINK the only way I could get them to eat it was in zucchini bread which is not healthy at all. Okay thanks for humoring me, I just thought the picture was funny and wanted to share.)
Saute your onions, mushrooms, spinach and zucchini in a saute pan with a mist of olive oil.
In a separate bowl, mix your almond milk, water, Dijon, Bragg's, yeast, lemon juice and garlic.
Add your almond milk mixture to the pan along with your quinoa and stir to combine.
When the liquid begins to boil, pour into a casserole dish, mine was about 6 x 9 but an 8x 8 would work or a pie pan. I just wouldn't use a big pan like a 9 x 12, I think the quinoa would be spread to thin and might not cook correctly. At this point you could add your chicken to the top to make it an easy meal.
Cover your dish with foil or a lid if your casserole dish has a lid and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You could also skip putting it into a pan and baking and just finish it on the stove top letting it simmer until the quinoa has softened, that is fine. I just wanted to be able to forget about it and not have to watch it like you do on the stove top.
Like I said I didn't add chicken to mine, next time I will. I simply sprinkled some almond meal with a little Mrs. Dash to the top of my chicken and baked in the oven. Serve the casserole along with a salad and dinner is done.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

I know I have posted baked oatmeal before and I am sure most of you probably have already thought about tweaking it to make different flavors but it dawned on me the other day to try and make a carrot cake version. I finally had some time this morning to do just that and the results were good. A word of warning though, if you make this expecting carrot cake in the traditional sense you will be disappointed. While it contains the flavors of carrot cake, it is not really sweet like carrot cake is. You could add in other things to make it more carrot cake like such as raisins and walnuts if you wanted. I chose not to because I wasn't sure that raisins or walnuts are PINK approved, not to mention I am very allergic to walnuts so they wouldn't go in anyway. I also thought of using some crushed pineapple but again it is not listed on the approved list of slow fruit so I didn't use pineapple but I bet that would be good also.

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal 
2 1/2 cups Old fashion oats
2 cups almond or coconut milk
2 eggs
2 under ripe bananas

1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Stevia to your liking of sweetness

Optional topping
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
stevia to sweeten

Mash bananas
Add in grated carrots to banana and stir to combine
Add in eggs, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and baking powder and stevia
Whisk in milk to the egg mixture
Add in oats, stir to combine
Using a 1/2 cup measuring spoon fill your muffin pan. You should get 12 oatmeal muffins with this recipe
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the oatmeal has set

These can be eaten hot or cold, I prefer them warm. I also topped mine with a little vanilla Greek yogurt.

I eat 2 as a serving, they freeze really well so make a bunch up when you have some free time and your breakfast during the week will be easy peesy!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cauliflower and White Bean Hummus

Did you watch the Academy Awards last night? Me, kind of...when my kids would allow me to. All you mama's out there know how that goes. I was thumbing through the Everyday Food magazine the other day while waiting in line at the check stand and came across a recipe for a cauliflower and white bean dip that looked a lot like hummus. I quickly took a mental not of the ingredients and knew that it would be a perfect snack/dinner to have while watching the Oscars tonight.

Cauliflower and White Bean Hummus
1 head cauliflower
6 cloves garlic
1 can white beans
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup almond milk
Mrs. Dash Original

Start by cutting up your head of cauliflower into bit size pieces.

Lay out on a cookie sheet along with your garlic, spray with a mist of olive oil and sprinkle cauliflower with Mrs. Dash or you seasoning of choice.

Roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until cauliflower has softened.

While it cauliflower is roasting, open the can of white beans drain the beans and rinse with water.

Add beans, roasted cauliflower, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil to your blender.

Blend until the dip is smooth, adding almond milk by the tablespoonful until it reaches the desired consistency, you may not need the entire 1/4 cup.

This will make about 2 cups of dip, I counted 1/2 cup as a serving because 1 serving of protein in PINK is  half a cup of beans.

Would you like a bite?
Serve with cut up vegetables.

I also made some vegetable stuffed mushrooms to complete the meal. A great little snack/dinner to have while  watching the Oscars. This would also be a great dish to take to a party so that you know that something there will be PINK approved.


Zuppa Toscana Pink Style

We had another cold day here in Oregon...we had snow mixed with rain yesterday, not that we had any accumulation but it triggered that need in me for comfort food. Anyone else have that happen when it is cold outside? No, hmm maybe it is just me.  Well, because of the wonders of cauliflower I was able to make one of my favorite soups, Zuppa Toscana.

I first tried this soup at the Olive Garden which contains Italian sausage, potatoes and kale in a cream based broth, it is so good. Well, cream and potatoes in the volume they are in this soup are a no, no on PINK. I am pretty sure that the full fledged sausage called for in the original soup is also a no no. However by subbing cauliflower for the potatoes and cream in the original soup and using a lean turkey sausage, I can now enjoy my favorite soup again. Yippy! At the end of the post, I also will tell you how I make the soup for my family since they aren't as gung-ho about cauliflower as I am.

Zuppa Toscana PINK Style
1 head of cauliflower
1 white onion (you will used 1/3 for your soup, 2/3 for the family version)
1 20 ounce package of Italian style turkey sausage (you will use 4 ounces for your soup, the rest goes into the family version)
       -Note: I used the Foster Farm brand, it is just lean ground turkey,  mixed with the spices used in Italian  
                 Sausage. It does not come in a casing like a traditional sausage does. It is 96% fat free so I          
                 think it meets the requirements of PINK for lean ground turkey.
4 cups low sodium chicken broth (1 1/2 cup for pink version, 2 1/2 cups for the family version)
2 tsp chopped garlic
3/4 cup half and half (only for the family version, not the PINK version)

Start by browning your ground turkey sausage. When it is cooked thoroughly pull out 4 ounces of the turkey sausage for your soup.

Chop up a head of cauliflower and your small onion.

Add your cauliflower, turkey sausage, garlic, 1/3 of your chopped onion and 1 1/2 cup chicken broth to your pan and let simmer until the cauliflower has softened.

Pull out about half of the cooked cauliflower along with a little bit of broth and blend in the blender. You are wanting to create a smooth paste, a little thinner than if you were making mashed cauliflower.

Take your mashed cauliflower and add it back into your soup. Stir it around. The mashed cauliflower when added to soup will give the soup/broth a creamy like consistency.

Chop up your kale, I ended up with about 2 cups and used 3/4 cup in the PINK friendly soup and added the rest to the family version.

Add your kale to your soup and stir to combine.

The heat from the soup will wilt the kale.

Spoon into a bowl and Enjoy!

Family Version
For the family version, you will make it the same as the PINK version except use potatoes instead of cauliflower.

Add potatoes, 2/3 chopped onion, garlic, ground turkey and chicken broth to a large pot and let simmer until the potatoes have softened.

Once the potatoes have softened, instead of making the cauliflower paste like you do above, simply add your half and half to give your soup a creamy consistency.

Add your Kale to your soup and stir so that the kale will wilt.

Spoon into  a bowl and let your family Enjoy!

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